WATSONVILLE—Five candidates have pulled papers to possibly run for Watsonville City Council in the upcoming Nov. 8 election, a key decision day that will see major turnover in South County leadership.

Current Watsonville Mayor Ari Parker is running for reelection in District 7, which encompasses the east side of the city, including the older adult villages and many of the neighborhoods off of East Lake Avenue. But she will be the lone current council member who will try to—or is able to—retain their seat in November.

Francisco “Paco” Estrada announced earlier this year that he will not run for reelection in District 4—which is made up of most of the neighborhoods off Ohlone Parkway and communities just north of Clifford Avenue up to Freedom Boulevard—and Rebecca Garcia and Lowell Hurst will both term out this year, meaning they will have to take a break from the council for two years before they can run for a seat once again.

Garcia currently oversees District 5—a region that is made up of neighborhoods at the center of the city such as Miles Lane, Hammer Drive and Auto Center Drive—and Hurst manages District 3—the region of the city north of Green Valley Road.

In District 4, Kristal Salcido, a Santa Cruz County Assistant District Attorney, has come forth as a candidate.

In District 5, Casey Clark, a longtime community volunteer who Garcia defeated in 2018, pulled papers to once again run for the seat.

As of Thursday afternoon, District 3 is the lone seat in which more than one person has declared their intention to run. Pajaro Valley Unified School District Board Member Maria Orozco, who won reelection for the Area 6 seat in 2020, and Providence Martinez, a community volunteer and newcomer to local politics, have come forward as candidates.

The nomination period for candidates opened on July 18. It will close on Aug. 12, save for offices in which an incumbent decides to not run for reelection. In that case, the nomination period will extend for five days.

There will be several other local offices up for grabs in November, including four seats on the Pajaro Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees.

As of Thursday afternoon, only Area 7 Trustee Jennifer Holm had pulled papers to run for reelection. Trustees Kim De Serpa (Area 1), Daniel Dodge, Jr. (Area 4) and Jennifer Schacher (Area 5) are also up for reelection.

For information, visit cityofwatsonville.org/296/Elections or votescount.com. 

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Tony Nuñez is a longtime member of the Watsonville community who served as Sports Editor of The Pajaronian for five years and three years as Managing Editor. He is a Watsonville High, Cabrillo College and San Jose State University alumnus.


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