70.4 F
English English Español Español
September 22, 2023

Political sign drama draws attention

WATSONVILLE—Two wacky sign situations in Watsonville have caught the attention of voters in the final week before the election.

On the east side of the city by the Staff of Life Natural Foods grocery store, a pair of political signs for current District 7 City Council representative Ari Parker emblazoned with the quote “When they go low, we go high”—a saying made famous by First Lady Michelle Obama—are offsetting two signs for District 7 candidate Nancy Bilicich. 

Bilicich, who was first appointed to the city council in 2009 and twice earned reelection before leaving office in 2018, says she has “no idea” why her opponent included the quote under her typical signs.

“One day they just appeared,” says Bilicich, the director of the Watsonville/Aptos/Santa Cruz Adult Education program.

Bilicich said she has nothing else to say about the matter.

Parker, who is currently serving as mayor, did not respond to emailed questions before press time Thursday.

Steve Trujillo, who ran unsuccessfully against Parker in 2018 and is now on the Cabrillo College Governing Board, said at a recent city council meeting that he would not vote for either candidate because of ongoing “smear” tactics from both sides. Instead, he said, he planned to vote for himself as a write-in candidate.

Trujillo said via email that he did not want to comment on the matter further. 

Meanwhile, on the other side of the city, political signs next to a bus stop at the Overlook Shopping Center have been getting butchered. This includes a sign for 4th District Supervisor candidate Felipe Hernandez that has been tagged with graffiti and chopped up to remove the former Watsonville mayor’s face. 

In a photo posted to social media, Hernandez combated the literal defacement by replacing his missing face with a photo of slasher villain Michael Myers. He also added the words “Happy Halloween” at the bottom of the sign.

“Getting in the Halloween spirit and turning lemons into lemonade,” Hernandez wrote in the post.

Tony Nuñez
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.


  1. I will comment further here.
    I want to thank Tony Nunez for contacting me in writing this article.
    Felipe, you are my fellow trustee on the Cabrillo board, but i cannot support your campaign as I have stated before in this newspaper. And I do not think putting Michael Meyers face over yours is appropriate . that is not who you are, but it would fit perfectly over the face of trump.It does not help the election process by making putting faces over those who are running for office. it merely encourages VANDALISM, which is what it is.
    I am an out, proud Gay Latino male of nearly 70 years in age. I am no beauty, but I am not comparable to a horror movie character. I write this narrative as one member of the Cabrillo board of trustees, not representing the college or my other trustees, including Felipe. just me.

    I ran for city council against Ari Parker and Lupe Rivas in 2018. I had little chance of winning, as i had only lived here in Watsonville for 3 years. Nonetheless, i received more than 450 votes. In 2020, I defeated a two term GOP incumbent for the Cabrillo community college trustee position with more than 60 percent of the vote.
    This year, I was approached by both city council candidates asking for my endorsement. I refused. Now I am glad that I did. this ongoing sign stealing has left me really no choice but to offer myself as a third alternative . here is why:
    1. No one has ever accused me of a crime, including sign stealing.
    2. I have served ever since 2010 in pro bono ( no salary) positions serving the public FOR FREE. first, as Santa Cruz city school trustee from 2010-14. that ended when my ex partner had a massive stroke, which nearly killed him. the next year we moved to Watsonville to find an affordable 1 story house, instead of the 2 story condo in Capitola. i have also served as : Watsonville personnel commissioner for 3 years, Vice President of the Pajaro Village homeowners association, member ( the only male) of the Friends of the Watsonville Library,
    active member of SafeAg/SafeSchools, steering committee member ( and former Diversity Center board member) of the 60+ GLBTQIA seniors group, former YMCA fundraiser, and volunteer adopt a park (Atri Park) care taker for the park ( picking up trash every day, calling in graffiti and vandalism to the city on a regular basis) with my dog Pepita.
    I will put my record against anyone else running for office this year.
    3. I ran on a number of issues for the college, including changing the name of the college. this is 60 years overdue. Cabrillo was a miserable, disgusting human being who brought misery to the Ohlone people in the 1540’s. He committed genocide, brought disease and human trafficking to CA. this is NOT someone for whom you name a CA community college.
    4. the COMPROMISE idea to move the statue of GW was MY IDEA. the city planning commission and the city council like it. the statue is now SAFE in our public library.
    5. yes, i want to build a city aviary, or at least a bird sanctuary in Ramsay Park.
    6. yes, we need to pass Measure Q as we must maintain our farmland. it brings in millions to our city. we grow some of the best food ANYWHERE, and we must continue to show the world how it is done.
    7. we MUST build environmentally safe low cost housing. we cannot leave hundreds of people unhoused.
    8. we must slow down downtown traffic. we must make downtown safe for seniors, the disabled and slow walkers. speeders can go race at Laguna Seca , NOT HERE.
    9. we need low cost , fun recreation. we need to build a bowling alley and other such fun places for our residents.
    10. We need more city parks. we have one eighth the amount of city parkland that Santa Cruz has. if that is not environmental racism, i do not know what is.
    and that is just some of who I am. I am fully transparent. I don’t customize my beliefs to whomever I am speaking. I tell you the truth. i am proud of my education: BA in political science and MA in counseling, both at CSU schools. 36 years as a public school teacher and counselor.
    I am a proud liberal progressive. i wear that badge with reverence.
    want a choice for district 7 ? at the bottom of the other two choices, there is a box and a line . write in the name STEVE TRUJILLO and check the box. select positive change for our city.
    I forgot to mention that 2 members of the city council credit ME for making the city of Watsonville ABANDON the use of Roundup, a toxic , cancer causing chemical.
    thank you for reading. and best wishes to all.

      • Absolutely correct, the only one that supports ST is ST. This paragraph in the article jumped out:

        “Steve Trujillo, who ran unsuccessfully against Parker in 2018 and is now on the Cabrillo College Governing Board, said at a recent city council meeting that he would not vote for either candidate because of ongoing “smear” tactics from both sides. Instead, he said, he planned to vote for himself as a write-in candidate.”

        Unbelievable. Folks, Vote No on Trujillo for any position or office. This man has a screw loose.

        • I’ll give the guy a break he’s just testing the waters by dipping his pinky toe .
          Wednesday’s results will tell us how that worked for him

        • What? He has no chance of advancing. If he ever does decide to run for public office there are more than a few Steve Quotes that will disqualify him
          Haters? Not me. If I am a hater why are you (Steve) the only one who has blocked me? But that fine with me because I can speak the truth without dealing with you anymore
          The great thing is everyone else sees my posts but you!


          • you deserve nothing. you are a whiner and a do nothing. not to mention you do not have either the courage to run for any office or to do anything to help your community. so I dismiss your comment.
            a library card would truly help you. but you have to use it. your gaps in knowledge about local government are incredible.

  2. the haters that post beneath me are just that: HATERS. they hate me, they hate democracy and they hate anyone who is LGTBQ. fortunately, they are in the minority.

    • Steve… you are the Trump of the Left…another narcissist who seeks only personal attention, a joke among the Conservatives and real Progressives in this area. Your ideology is misinformed and harmful


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


ramsay park mural

New mural goes up in Ramsay Park

Thanks to the efforts of a group of local students and artist Jaime Sanchez, a new colorful mural has been added to an outdoor...