watsonville community hospital
Watsonville Community Hospital. Pajaronian file

Watsonville Community Hospital is vital to the economic success of the Pajaro Valley. Businesses, their employees and customers all benefit from local access to healthcare.  From employees to medical providers, the hospital provides nearly 1,000 local jobs and medical care for over 100,000 people in the Hospital District through emergency, obstetrics, pediatrics, surgery and laboratory services. As local business leaders, we, our employees and their families, all depend on the hospital for essential healthcare services.  By voting yes on Measure N on the March 5, 2024 ballot, we have an opportunity to make our hospital a center of excellence where all patients choose to go, regardless of health insurance.

In September 2022, the hospital was returned to community ownership – our ownership.   Now, it is our responsibility to develop and improve it for the long-term benefit of our families, neighbors and our businesses.   Acquisition was the first step and a major achievement in assuring local control of and investment in our community hospital. The next step – Measure N – is our opportunity to ensure it will be here providing the quality services we need for years to come.   Measure N is not just about sustaining our regional healthcare system; it’s about ensuring accessible medical care for everyone in our community.  Access to local healthcare ensures a healthy and stable workforce and a thriving community, and Watsonville Community Hospital is an integral part.

A Yes vote on Measure N would provide up to $116 million to Watsonville Community Hospital, to be drawn down as needed for capital investments.  It will unlock the hospital’s potential and facilitate a long-overdue investment.  Measure N funds support plans to expand and renovate emergency care, upgrade labs and imaging services, build a pipeline of doctors, nurses and professional staff, update and prepare facilities’ systems for the future and ensure long-term local control of the property.  This means modernizing crucial services with cutting-edge equipment so we receive high-quality care long into the future close to home.

Since losing local control over the past two decades, we saw out of state interests drain investments and resources.  Some of us may have chosen to seek care elsewhere.  But things are different now.  Two years ago, the communities that make up the Pajaro Valley Health Care District – Watsonville, La Selva Beach, Corralitos, Pajaro, Las Lomas, and parts of Aptos and Aromas — united with business, government and local electeds to collectively form the health care district and purchase Watsonville Community Hospital. Since then, the dedicated leadership, staff, and healthcare professionals at the hospital have worked tirelessly with the district’s elected board of directors to rescue the hospital, restore its nonprofit status, and implement a robust turnaround plan.

Voting Yes on Measure N provides the investment needed to complete this essential turnaround. Since the reinstatement of community ownership and operation of the hospital in September 2022, significant changes are underway, like the addition of a cardiac catheterization laboratory, the installation of a state-of-the-art surgical robot and adopting a balanced budget with sustainable multi-year labor agreements. With Measure N, these enhancements will be just the beginning and reflect the hospital’s commitment to providing the necessary services, equipment, and technologies our community needs and deserves.

Supporting Measure N means investing in our own health and well-being. It positions us to control our own destiny and future economic and business viability. As business leaders, we are committed to the health and economic future of this community and urge a “yes” for Measure N.

S. John Martinelli is the Chairman of the Board of S. Martinelli & Co.; Rocky Franich is the retired owner of Franich Motors; Miles Reiter is the retired CEO of Driscoll’s; Annie Morhauser is the owner and operator of Annieglass; Tom and Constance Broz are the owners of Live Earth Farm; and Nita Gizdich is the owner of Gizdich Ranch.

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  1. The hospital has served its community since its inception, without yearly tax measures. Now that it’s “community owned”, there are measure after measure. This isn’t the first, nor will it be the last. The community still doesn’t own the land 🧐.
    Ask yourself why, and who is to benefit. The investors? Those who signed this letter? Why are the citizens punished?

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    • I always wondered why our beautiful hospital building was deemed unsafe after earthquake of 89 and a new one “had” to be built. If it was so unsafe for hospital to be used, why was it safe for PVUSD to use it? Why did a new hospital have to be built and shoddily built at that. Service is awful at the local hospital and no amount of money thrown at it will improve service. I plan to vote a big NO on this tax hike on property owners unless those seniors over 65 are exempt from paying more tax. We just can’t afford it. Plus I read that PVUSD is going to hit us up for more money while enrollment is declining. I am a NO vote on any new property tax unless seniors are exempt. Enough is enough. Mr. Martinelli is rich enough, he doesn’t have to worry where the money for higher property taxes is going to come from without being unable to buy food or pay our current property taxes which have doubled since we purchased our house. Our SS isn’t enough to cover more property taxes.

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    • I forgot to add, who is paying for all the fancy mailers I’ve been receiving pushing this tax increase? What a waste of money. All the people signing this letter asking us to vote yes are wealthy and don’t have to worry about a property tax increase.

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  2. I don’t understand, if it is a county hospital, then why aren’t all the cities in the county subjected to the bond tax? I voted Yes already, however, if the entire county benefits then why are only a few areas subjected to the tax burden?

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  3. More taxes on the back of homeowners, and not the public at large.
    Watsonville Hospital has been mis-managed for decades, and now the homeowners will be on the hook for funding decades of more mismanagement and the hospital will now be manged properly???
    It’s like giving your kids a big allowance increase and expecting them to now be responsible money managers…..
    California making home ownership more affordable!

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    • Hi Dave
      Glad to see you are once again bringing some common sense to this forum!
      It’s been very quiet lately without our old nemesis “the college trustee” around
      I wonder if he moved back to LA? In any case Watsonville is a much better place without him and his kind!
      It’s going to be a nice summer!

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  4. Since these businesses have such a keen interest in keeping the hospital open they should put their money where their mouth is. Kick it up Mr Martinelli you got the cash

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