Orozco is the best candidate

As a lifelong citizen of Watsonville and a veteran teacher of more than 30 years in the Pajaro Valley Unified School District, I encourage our local voters to vote for Maria Orozco for the seat on the Pajaro Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees, representing Area 6.

As a Parent Education Trainer, I’ve had the pleasure of working with Maria over the past years and have seen how Maria listens to local parent needs. She has attended the District English Learner Advisory Committee (DELAC) over the years and keeps parents up to date with the current School Board decisions but more importantly she brings answers to many of the questions or concerns that she hears from the DELAC parents.

Maria has all of the qualifications needed to continue to do this job. She is from this community, is bilingual, a parent of a PVUSD student, she is highly qualified in her education, is involved with other local groups and committees and has proven to be a true advocate for PVUSD parents.

Maria is always accessible and open to listening to comments, questions and concerns. But she is more than just a listener, she is also quick to help find answers and possible solutions to the questions and concerns.

I live in Area 6 and I’m extremely happy to have such a strong candidate like Maria Orozco. I encourage all others who live in Area 6 to vote for Maria, she is the best candidate for this job.

Ruby Vasquez, Watsonville

John Laird for State Senate

My father, the late Senator Henry Mello, represented the Monterey Bay region in the state legislature for 20 years. The State Senate seat he held is now on the Nov. 3 ballot and voters have a chance to continue my father’s high standard of representation with Senate candidate John Laird. John would continue in the tradition of strong local leadership. My father was based in the community and served as County Supervisor and State Assemblyman before moving to the Senate. John has served as a mayor, Cabrillo College trustee and in the State Assembly. My father delivered help for our area after the Loma Prieta Earthquake and John helped get funding for the Pajaro River flood project. We have a chance to continue this tradition of dedicated leadership and representation on the Central Coast. That’s why I’m supporting John Laird for the State Senate and ask you to do the same on November 3.

John Mello, Watsonville

Democratic party condemns hateful campaigns

The Santa Cruz County Democratic Party believes in equality, liberty, and justice for all—the right of a woman to choose her own future; the right to fair treatment in the criminal justice system; the right to excellent public education; the right to affordable housing; the right to clean air, water and protected natural resources; access to health care and the right to live without fear of hate crimes or gun violence.

We are very concerned with mean spirited campaign tactics and condemn hateful words and deeds.

We proudly support John Leopold for County Supervisor, Nancy de la Pena for Superior Court Judge, Kristen Petersen for Capitola City Council, Shebreh Kalantari-Johnson and Martine Watkins for Santa Cruz City Council, Jack Dilles for Scotts Valley City Council, Felipe Hernandez for Cabrillo College Trustee, Maria Orozco for PVUSD Trustee, and Bruce Daniels and Tom LaHue for Soquel Creek Water Board.

Coco Raner-Walter, Chairperson, S.C.C. Democratic Party

Our issues are not unique

The recent brouhaha over the bust of George Washington at the City Plaza has saddened me. Earlier immigrants to Watsonville have been pitted against more recent immigrants over a symbolic social justice issue. Both sides have even expressed fear of violence from the other side. It pains me most to see some of the old-timers that have worked all their lives for peace and justice in their hometown, called racists. Over my 35 years working in the Pajaro Valley Unified School District, Alex Solano and his son Manny ranked right up alongside Mas and Marsha Hashimoto as local proponents of social justice.  

But, there is a clear social justice issue—not symbolic—that is Watsonville’s elephant in the room. How can we continue to tolerate having thousands of second-class humans in our midst that live in fear and have no rights? Armed men (ICE) stalk them and they have had to tell their children where to go if they don’t come home from the fields, likely to never see their parents again.

Why do hugely profitable international food corporations need to employ undocumented workers? The reason is that undocumented workers will not strike.

To be sure, this problem is not unique to Watsonville, and is certainly not something the City can do much about, but we can start the discussion. This is not a symbolic issue. These people are real, and are living in the shadows.

Don Eggleston, Aptos

Why my vote goes to Dutra

As a Watsonville native who left the area for college, I returned in 2000. Coming back to Watsonville has been the best plan and decision for me and my family. For many years I was happy to spend time at home, commute to UCSC for work, and engage in various hobbies. When my lifelong friend Jimmy Dutra moved back to Watsonville several years ago, and became involved in local service and government, it was only then that I felt a call to get involved, to inform myself about local issues, and to pay attention to the policies and laws that affect us. Jimmy inspired me to pay attention.

Jimmy Dutra is the best candidate for the District 6 City Council seat because his passion for people is real and he shows up. Jimmy has clear convictions, ensures he is informed about the multiple perspectives on issues, and takes time to listen to people with genuine curiosity. Jimmy is motivated to create a better community. When Jimmy served as a City Council Member between 2014 and 2018, I had the honor to be appointed as personnel commissioner. I learned about our city’s human resources and organizational structures while experiencing first-hand Jimmy’s level of engagement in his work. Jimmy asks important questions, challenges systems and processes that need challenging, and he’s not afraid to step into difficult conversations that need untangling.

Jimmy and I are also neighbors and we have been walking together most evenings since March. While observing Covid-19 safety precautions, we talk and observe, dream and laugh. Jimmy is an incredible friend. Jimmy says hello to every single person we pass along the way, and often stops to ask people how they are doing, how their families are doing, and how he can help them. Jimmy cares about people and cares about making a better city for all of us.  

Lucy Azevedo Rojas, Watsonville

Dutra will be a Mayor for all

This year’s election will soon be over and we will know if my son, Jimmy Dutra, will be the next Mayor of our wonderful city. I am proud of my son who works tirelessly, day in and day out, for our community. He is professional and exceptional in all he does. As the former Watsonville District 4 City Councilmember and Mayor Pro-Tem, he worked collaboratively with the community to bring positive growth. He has also been actively involved with so many organizations that strive to make life easier for so many of us. He was the former board president for the Pajaro Valley Shelter Services, commissioner on the Regional Transportation Commission, and chairman of the board and board member for Santa Cruz Metro. Currently, he sits on the board for the Santa Cruz County Diversity Center as he strives to achieve inclusion and tolerance for all people. As a teacher for the Pajaro Valley Unified School District, my son has been able to give the gift of education to hundreds of our youth in our community. He understands the importance of an education and works diligently to provide it to his students.

I am sure many people have already voted. As Jimmy’s mom, I am so grateful for all of your support over the years and during this campaign. Elections can be ugly, but we are confident with your support we will all succeed. It really does take a village and because of you Jimmy Dutra will be the next Mayor for all of us.

Terry Tavarez-Dutra, Watsonville

Cabrillo needs Felipe Hernandez

Felipe Hernandez went to local public schools, attended both Cabrillo and Gavilan Community Colleges and graduated from UC Santa Cruz in Communities Studies.

He was also an Army combat veteran from the Gulf War era, but I know him best as a successful two-term Councilman, former Mayor of Watsonville and a friend.

I have great faith in Felipe and know he will bring fresh ideas and action to Cabrillo College as their new Area 5 trustee. Your vote for Felipe is a vote to a better future and a strengthening of education throughout our community.

Lowell Hurst, Watsonville Councilmember

Vote Brad Williams—a parent’s voice

Our children are our future. For that reason, the open seat on our County Board of Education should be filled by a person with distinguished qualifications; a person who has exhibited mature leadership, that will enable them to effectively address our children’s current needs. Hands down, that person is Brad Williams.

I was born and raised in Santa Cruz County and know this is an exceptional place to grow up. My husband and I have two children, ages 9 and 12, just like Brad and Cindy Williams. I have had the pleasure of knowing Brad, and his beautiful family, for over a decade. Brad Williams has the character and intellect, as well as a strong commitment, to ensure that all children of Santa Cruz County return to school in a way that is both safe and responsible.

Brad has a Baccalaureate in Nursing, with over 20 years of public service as an Emergency Room Nurse at Dominican Hospital. That experience, along with FEMA training in chemical and biological exposure, positions him perfectly to oversee the safe return of our children to school in an expeditious manner.

Brad speaks with the voice of a parent, not a politician. Not even one of the seven current County School Board members has any school-aged children!

Please, vote for Brad Williams for Santa Cruz County Board of Education—supported by parents, not politicians.

Heather Kilby, Soquel

Tony Gomez: A dedicated, experienced leader for City Council

Voters in District 6 have a chance to elect a very highly qualified candidate, Tony Gomez, to become their councilman and the next mayor. The City of Watsonville needs a stable and dedicated leader in these uncertain times. Tony’s lifelong career with PG&E required safety to be of paramount importance, along with integrity and responsibility. You would not stay long in his line of work if you were undependable.

Tony is a lifelong Watsonville resident, a family man and a member of the IBEW electrical workers union, so has the natural ability to represent the community, our workers, our elderly, and our youth.  Tony is a veteran and served in Korea and this service is further evidence of his dedication to serving, even at great personal risk.

As a member of the Watsonville High School E-tech Advisory Committee, I am tasked with helping to match students with industry mentors.  Tony shares his experience in the skilled trades with high school students as a volunteer mentor.  Tony didn’t hesitate when I asked him if he would become a high school mentor. 

His dedication to the community and attention to public safety is proven by many years serving as Scout Master, facilitator of Sober Grad Night, and his desire to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists throughout the city.  He also wants to be sure our agricultural workforce and their families have safe and stable work conditions. These are characteristics you look for in a stable leader, one who cares about his work and his community.

Endorsed by council members Lowell Hurst, Ari Parker, Aurelio Gonzalez, Felipe Hernandez and Trina Coffman-Gomez as well as Santa Cruz County Supervisor Greg Caput, Tony Gomez is the kind of leader and just the kind of person Watsonville needs to lead the community through uncertain times.

Barry Scott, Watsonville

The Pajaronian welcomes letters. Letters and columns may be dropped off or mailed to The Pajaronian, 21 Brennan St, Suite 14, Watsonville, CA 95076. Letters and columns may also be sent via email to [email protected]. Letters should be less than 300 words, and columns are no more than 700 words. All letters and columns must be signed and have an address and phone number for confirmation purposes. We reserve the right to edit and condense all submissions.

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