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November 29, 2022

Watsonville sales tax measure campaign kicks off

WATSONVILLE—Around 70 people gathered at Jalisco Restaurant on Wednesday to kick off the campaign for the proposed half-cent sales tax measure that will go before voters in the Nov. 8 midterm election.

Measure Rplaced on the ballot by Watsonville City Council in June—would raise the city’s sales tax to 9.75% and bring in an estimated $5.1 million into the city’s general fund. City leaders say that the additional revenue would be used to upgrade and upkeep Watsonville’s parks and roads, as well as its library and older adult services.

“Measure R is about giving our community an opportunity to control its destiny and control its future,” said Watsonville Parks and Community Services Department Director Nick Calubaquib. “Things are good in the community now, but what the money from Measure R will do is allow us to have opportunities to make things better.”

Local politicians, city employees and nonprofit leaders were in attendance at Wednesday’s event. In addition, several everyday citizens also showed up to sign-up for the campaign’s upcoming outreach efforts, which will include a door-to-door knocking campaign that will begin in earnest in the coming days.

There was no argument in opposition submitted to the county against Measure R.

Friends of Watsonville Parks and Community Services President Alfonso Lobato; Friends of the Watsonville Public Library President Carol Heitzig; 831 Youth Sports Director Barbie Gomez; Parent Education Trainer and Teacher on Special Assignment Ruby Ann Vasquez; and Vision Zero Traffic Safety Task Force Member Anna Kammer wrote the argument in favor of the measure.

It cost the city between $55,137.50-$88,220 to place the item on the ballot.

Because of state law, the tax would not apply to essential purchases, such as groceries and medicine. The tax would also be subject to an independent citizen oversight committee, mandatory financial audits and yearly reports to the community. 

As a general tax, it only needs a simple majority vote for approval.

The Watsonville City Council was not unanimous in its vote to place the item on the ballot. Mayor Ari Parker and Councilmember Jimmy Dutra cast dissenting votes, saying that Watsonville voters would likely not support taxing themselves further during the current cloudy economic period.

Abel Sanchez, who serves on the County Office of Education Governing Board and Watsonville’s Parks and Recreation Commission, is serving as co-chair of the Committee For A Vibrant Watsonville along with Ashley Ayala, a local teacher.

Friends of Watsonville Parks and Community Services paid for the gathering.

Tony Nuñez
Good Times News Editor 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. A Watsonville High, Cabrillo College and San Jose State University alumnus, he covers the city, business, housing, entertainment and more.


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