Watsonville city council
Tarmo Hannula/The Pajaronian

The start of 2023 was far from what anyone expected it to be. Our region was battered by an unprecedented atmospheric river that brought heavy rains, flooding and evacuations for our residents.  

While this was unexpected and severely impacted thousands in our community, I was reminded of how resilient Watsonville is and how quickly we come together to help each other. I am incredibly grateful for my fellow council members, volunteers, partner agencies, local non-profits, private partners, City employees and many others who worked tirelessly to help our community weather the back-to-back storms and flooding. While there is still a lot ahead of us as we shift to the recovery phase, please rest assured that we are doing all we can to bring the resources necessary for our residents to recover. 

Amid these efforts, our Watsonville Municipal Airport welcomed President Joe Biden, Gov. Gavin Newsom, U.S. Senator Padilla, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, Congressman Jimmy Panetta and the FEMA director. The President and state leaders surveyed and assessed what additional Federal support was needed. I am pleased to report that they are working hard to help those impacted by the recent storms. The FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers in Watsonville and Felton also continue to assist community members. To date, the centers have helped more than 1,800 Santa Cruz County residents apply for Federal Emergency Management Agency benefits and countless more connected with local services. 

Although one of the main focuses has been to recover from these winter storms, the City hasn’t lost sight of other important initiatives, such as continuing to build on the work by the Teen Action Council started last year. In January, your City Council had the pleasure of appointing several youth representatives to the Watsonville Library Board of Trustees and the Parks and Recreation Commission. This continues our work to bring forward and incorporate the youth’s voice and perspective into our decisions. Our City Manager is also actively engaging with other youth-led efforts alongside Pajaro Valley Prevention and Student Assistance and Pajaro Valley Unified School District. 

Thanks in part to the ongoing collaboration between the City and the Pajaro Valley Unified School District, youth in our community will continue to have access to additional educational programming through the district’s Extended Learning Opportunities Program. This renewed three-year agreement will increase the number of students enrolled in various programs.  

In an effort to strengthen our collaborative efforts with county, state and federal officials, City leaders held an annual Legislative Breakfast to discuss some of the topics that matter most to our community. Our presentation centered around economic development, affordable housing, homelessness, road and infrastructure improvements, and climate resilience. This annual gathering aims to keep our state and federal officials informed of pressing issues affecting our community and find solutions the legislators can support. We were fortunate and grateful that both Senator Laird and Assemblymember Robert Rivas could join us, as well as key staff members from U.S. Senator Padilla and Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren’s office. Santa Cruz County Supervisor Felipe Hernandez was also in attendance.  

This week, City staff will begin to present the 2050 General Plan and Housing Element. 

Over the upcoming months, I urge you all to be on the lookout for many activities, dates and outreach efforts that will give you the opportunity to have a say in the future of your City. We are committed to working hard to provide what our community deserves.  

Finally, I would like to thank three local heroes I hope to formally recognize in the near future. First, Watsonville Police Corporal Isaak Rodriguez, who along with several good Samaritans, lifted a stolen car to save an elderly man pinned underneath. Corporal Rodriguez has been named a top nominee nationwide for an Axon 2023 RISE Award for his quick thinking and actions. Secondly, a heartfelt thanks goes out to two Watsonville residents Miguel Hernandez and off-duty Capitola Police Officer Armando Sanchez, also a former Watsonville Police employee and Watsonville Police Cadet, for their bravery in rescuing an elderly woman from her burning home. 

Watsonville is truly fortunate to have such outstanding members living and working in this community.  

Until next time, Watsonville.

Mayor’s Update is a recurring column from Watsonville’s mayor.

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  1. thank you, Mayor , for recognizing WPD heroes . they deserve it.
    on other matters, all of these deserve attention:
    1. potholes EVERYWHERE.
    2. we need to slow traffic speeds in downtown.
    3. we need to promote our wonderful Watsonville Brillante mural project on the city parking garage.
    4. yes, a name change for the city should be on next year’s ballot.
    5. the city needs more effort for flood control BESIDES the Pajaro River. we have a number of creeks that flood too easily . too many people suffered property loss and financial ruin in January.
    6. The city needs to work with our community college campus to bring, at long last, electric car recharging stations to our Watsonville campus.
    7. Ramsay Park needs a total upgrade and a bird sanctuary.
    8. as park and rec dept. employee numbers permit, we need more pro social events at all our parks.

    the city needs to work with our community college trustees and President Wetstein to submit ideas for the new name for our community college.

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    • What? Item 4: A name change for the city should be on next year’s ballot. ???? First Cabrillo and now Watsonville? There was nothing in the Mayors message related to a change of the city name.

      In any case, who cares what this self important know nothing thinks his opinions on what the city needs are relevant. He is a transplant and evidently thinks he is the mayor? What the city and county need are for Mr. Trujillo to go away, or at least learn how to punctuate.

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      • your efforts at trying to get me to “go away” are meeting with a distinct lack of success. I am staying right here. any your pitiful efforts are laughable. I have no illusions about my being mayor, but this website provides feedback to what our mayor wrote. and that is what I am doing. we live in something called a “DEMOCRACY”, unfamiliar to you, and that allows you, me and anyone else to comment. FIRST AMENDMENT RULES !

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        • Actually we live in a Republic, but I am certain you don’t know the difference…. as in the Pledge of Allegiance: “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands”. Note “to the Republic”, not to the Democracy…).

          Btw, your comment rant on WT’s post regarding Texas is hilarious. And you claim to be a responsible well-adjusted person? I think not. You are an embarrassment to Cabrillo and Watsonville in general.

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        • So Stevie, please address your item #4 regarding a name change to the city.

          And how about your priority for Ramsay Park is a Bird Sanctuary?

          You regularly ignore salient questions and resort to childish comments and all caps. You have yet to address the poor example you set as a Cabrillo Trustee with your inept writing skills. You are like a George Santos. Guessing you were never a bona fide counselor, a credentialed school teacher, or an author of a bona fide book, which you still decline to name. I will however credit you for inventing the frying pan. Well done.

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          • I forgot how much fun it is to push Steve’s buttons! At least he can’t delete us anymore! We are going to miss him when he moves to Florida!

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  2. Well
    Based on the amount of posts on this forum lately, it seems that not too many people in the city give a hoot about the left wing reporting of this newspaper Todd Guild we don’t care about what you have to say, Tony Nunez is irrelevant and the citizens of Watsonville are tired of the illusion of truth. I’m not going to attack Steve because that’s a rabbit hole that I don’t care to engage.
    Watsonville is done the last flood sealed the deal on Watsonville and Salinas
    Beautiful weather here in Texas but I will be back to collect rent from my Watsonville tenants


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  3. But we don’t have floods that wash away homes 😜 like your home was recently.
    BTW there is SNOW in the forecast for Watsonville so it’s freezing there NOW

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  4. 1. my home was NOT washed away i had water on my front sidewalk, and is went through the street drain and was flushed into Salsipuedes Creek from the city provided Generac pump at 740 Bronte avenue.
    2. we have had a few mornings in the low 30s. but we do not suffer from the mass power outages as Texas does with its INFERIOR POWER GRID. I know. i walk my dog daily just after daybreak when the temperature is at its lowest.
    3. Charles Watson was a NOTORIOUS drunk and confederate sympathizer. he instigated violent drunken brawls in saloons here in town by trashing Lincoln and the emancipation movement. he got himself appointed to briefly be our state assemblymember in Sacramento and got tossed by them for the same kind of behavior. he came from , of course, TEX-ASS, and brought his slave with him . he insisted that CA become a slave state so he could continue to “keep” him. he tried to take 400 acres of land from the Rodriguez family and LOST in state court. (Rodriguez street is named for them. notice: NO STREET in town is named Charles Watson.) he abandoned our city in the early part of the civil war and went to Nevada to try to mine for gold . he died alone, in a shack in the Nevada desert, nearly penniless. AND YOU THINK HE IS THE RIGHT PERSON FOR OUR CITY NAME? you are simply bonkers.
    4. I earned an MA and PPS credential at San Jose State U n 1989. your guessing is based on ignorance. it is all in the SJSU files. your lies about me reflect the fact that my resume is true and impressive. and yours is nothing but anonymous hate speech. no wonder you are so miserable.
    5. if I am such an embarrassment to our college, then why did 5 of my fellow colleagues agree with me on changing the name of the college? i ran on it as a campaign issue and WON in 2020 with more than 60 percent of the vote. YOU are an embarrassment to YOURSELF.
    6. we live in the PAJARO VALLEY. in Spanish , the word Pajaro is BIRD. in January of 2022, the society of bird watchers international met here and counted 206 species of birds. many of them are on the endangered species list. WE NEED TO PROTECT THEM. yes , we need a bird sanctuary , and Ramsay Park is the perfect place for it. read up on ornithology. oh , wait. get a picture book from the libarry. You cannot even spell ornithology let alone read about it. LOL !
    7. we live in a democratic republic . we have a first amendment. YOU and your bigoted friends believe that only YOU should have the rights of living in a democracy, and the first amendment right to freedom of speech. it applies to ALL OF US., TEX-ASS TWERP.
    8. the reason you do not wish to “engage” me in debate on this website is that you deal in trumpist, righwing fantasies, QANON mythology, racist and homophobic tropes and memes and have only a faint acquaintance with facts and reality. the rabbit hole you speak of is the one your create for YOURSELF, trying to lie and prevaricate your way out of the absurdly stupid state of your intellect. You know practically NOTHING about science, government, education, history ( even local history, or you would NOT defend Charles Watson , for whom the city is named. thank God he produced no heirs.) , economics, parenting or policing in America. pull your head out of your asses , get a library card and READ a BOOK. look at the article about Black History Month elsewhere in this edition of the Pajaronian and get a hint.
    Both of you are right wing trolls whose spleen produces so much venom, you are forced to think that you must vent it here. Both of you are disgraces to yourselves. What should join WT in Texas. That state deserves you. Texas Taliban government suits you. . WE DO NOT.

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  5. Steve
    Have a nice day! Keep paying your taxes your ignorance is on display!
    Write another book about how much you hate me and my home because it doesn’t matter to me because I have the $$$$ and you don’t! Enjoy your time with sleepy Joe his days are numbered in office.


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  6. 35 billion state deficit should diminish your retirement soon! Stick with Governor Grusome!

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  7. our economy is in good shape. and we have a multi million dollar reserve fund.
    and bad habit Abbot wants thnks any woman who wants an abortion is a criminal , any mention of the word gay or lesbian in public school is criminal, any use of solar technology is cause for fines, and your governor cannot even keep the heaters on in February in his miserable state because of the power grid. and when it gets cold, his IDIOT senator TED SCREWS, runs off to Cancun , Mexico. what a pitiful state!
    by the way, I am getting a NICE refund of my state income taxes . i have already filed. so , yes, i believe in Governor Newsom and will continue to pay CA state income taxes. I am not trump ( or you either).
    and Biden wiped up the Capitol floor with the GOP at his SOTU address. the GOP looked just like you: brain dead, rude obnoxious whiners with NO plan for immigration, inflation or anything. just demonize transgender people and make women who get an abortion criminals. again, it is the TEX-ASS Taliban state government.

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  8. Brittanica defines the difference between democracy and republic this way;
    democracy says the majority shall rule the govenrment. republic says minority views are allowed , but do not make the decisions.
    that is why the electoral college needs to go. out of the last 7 presidential elections, the GOP has won only one of them by popular vote : 2004. the other six the Democrats won, including 2000 and 2016.
    The electoral college was created in 1789 to protect the smaller slave -owning states. it was created to keep racist slave owners like Charles Watson ( who provided the name of our city) happy.
    we are a DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC, and so shall we remain.

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  9. Both WHAT and WATSONVILLE TRUTH are internet trolls who hide behind their nasty, right wing attacks using fake names and anonymity . no wonder. their extremist rhetoric would make them the laughing stock of Watsonville if people knew who they were.
    I , on the other hand, am transparent, tell the truth about our nation, our county our community , our state and myself. NOBODY has to agree with me, but if you attack me -personally, I will respond on this website. and you won’t like it.
    I am proud to be a gay, out Latino senior . I am proud to be a WOKE progressive liberal Democrat and a Cabrillo Community College Trustee for district 7 , elected in 2020 with more than 60% of the vote.
    I will be in the crowd today at the March for the Dream at 10am in downtown Santa Cruz . This , to celebrate the dreams of MLK, postponed until today due to the heavy rain. this is a good way to celebrate BLACK HISTORY MONTH.

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  10. What had it right

    You regularly ignore salient questions and resort to childish comments and all caps. You have yet to address the poor example you set as a Cabrillo Trustee with your inept writing skills. You are like a George Santos. Guessing you were never a bona fide counselor, a credentialed school teacher, or an author of a bona fide book, which you still decline to name. I will however credit you for inventing the frying pan. Well done

    Get a life Steve

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    • I have a life. and it is a good one. and your so called “salient” questions are not salient, but stupid.
      I was a migrant program counselor at Alisal high school, a resource counselor at San Benito high in Hollister, a regular program counselor at Mountain View high school, and a part time drop in counselor at De Anza College.
      Because you are a total failure as an American, you attack anyone (especially one of color who is gay), you choose to live in a state that celebrates Taliban rule , TEX-ASS style. your practice cognitive dissonance, which means that even confronted with facts, you live in your own psychotic world devoid of facts, truth or reality. so you are appropriate for TEX-ASS.
      your guesses about me are idiotic, and there is documented evidence to support my background. I am transparent, and you hide behind your stupid trump -inspired fake name. GEORGE SANTOS is your party’s shame, not mine. like you, George is a phony , a liar , a fake and an fraud. and there are more like him elected to office in TEX-ASS. TED CRUZ, for example.
      I never claimed to invent the frying pan. but I know how to use one, which you probably do not. more nonsense from you that is meaningless.

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  11. Hi Steve!
    Well, another week of crummy weather at the coast! Watsonville will have temps in the LOW 30’s with SNOW! There are MASS POWER OUTAGES on the central coast according to KSBW
    Charles Watson is who your town is named after get used to it or move down the road and leave WATSONVILLE in peace.
    I guess the snow you wished on Texas is visiting your town so rub two sticks together and stay warm.
    Remember I did not personally attack you recently but you couldn’t resist attacking me and where I live. I hope you get too upset at this post and have a stroke or brain bleed like your partner had then discarded him like a soiled napkin. Make a snowman my friend then prepare for another flood!

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  12. I was happy to attend last night’s city council meeting , and speak to the response to the mayor’s editorial above. The mayor was receptive to my remarks, and most gracious.
    if either one of the right- wing trolls above actually attended a city council meeting, they might get educated. what a concept !

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