Santa Cruz Good Times

Wednesday
Feb 10th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Town Hall with Watsonville Mayor Karina Cervantez

Karina CervantezFrom Watsonville Forward to initiatives you plan to pursue, how are you planning to foster economic development and opportunity as the new mayor of Watsonville?  

It is an incredible honor to serve as the mayor of the City of Watsonville in the New Year. This is a city of great possibility and opportunity because of its hard-working families, its rich agricultural heritage, and the fact that it is an emerging hub for entrepreneurs and businesses from various industries.

Watsonville Forward started with the idea of bringing together professionals and entrepreneurs that live, work and contribute to strengthening our community and local economy. Our long-term goals for this initiative include expanding economic opportunities for college graduates returning to the region or those choosing to live in Watsonville for the first time. Our proximity to UC Santa Cruz, California State University Monterey Bay, and Cabrillo College provide many opportunities for collaboration with the city. Networking opportunities are important but only the beginning of building a stronger economy. 

With the dissolution of redevelopment agencies, critical tools for economic development, job creation, and affordable housing are no longer available to local municipalities. For economically disadvantaged communities like Watsonville, this has resulted in a much slower recovery from the national recession. As a board member of the Latino Caucus of the California League of Cities, I am involved at the state level in helping to develop and implement post-redevelopment tools that will help our community. Watsonville, with the support from the Governor’s Office for Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) and the reformed Enterprise Zone program, can offer a number of incentives to businesses seeking to invest and expand in the Pajaro Valley.

Within the context of limited state resources, our downtown revitalization committee of community and business leaders has been meeting regularly for the past year to identify key areas to spur economic development. Specifically in the coming year, the emphasis will be on supporting local businesses and facilitating the development of a downtown merchants association. Part of our downtown revitalization also includes the possible relinquishment of Highway 152 that runs through the center of our downtown. Still under negotiations, the relinquishment would allow for greater local control of our downtown, including traffic control, pedestrian-friendly sidewalks and providing businesses greater use of the outdoors for entertainment and dining purposes.

I will work to develop a stronger partnership with the agricultural industries and associations in our region to address labor shortages by advocating for comprehensive immigration reform as a local issue. The need for workers is currently putting a major strain on our agricultural industry and hurting jobs in the Pajaro Valley. A stronger collaboration is important to attracting additional ag-tech businesses and innovation that promote 21st century jobs and careers in agriculture. Cabrillo College’s Solari Green Technology Center could facilitate training for local workers to fit the needs for employers looking to invest in Watsonville.

What will be your other top priorities for Watsonville as you embark on your first year as mayor?

Public safety continues to be a top priority in our community. Because of our commitment as a city to safe and healthy neighborhoods, we have been able to maintain a high level of service with our police and fire departments, as well as neighborhood services during some of our most difficult financial times. However, as costs continue to rise and our economic recovery remains slow, we need a temporary solution. A citizens committee of community members and business leaders has examined the necessity and feasibility of a revenue-generating measure to raise funds for police, fire and prevention services. This could be brought forward to Watsonville voters in 2014 to help fund our public safety. I would support bringing this measure with community consensus. As always, I will continue to work for a strong and vibrant community. I look ahead with excitement and optimism. 

Comments (3)Add Comment
Mayor of the City of Watsonville
written by Karina Cervantez, January 08, 2014
Thank you for highlighting the importance of the Watsonville Wetlands. I have worked with and continue to support the work of the organization preserving our wetlands, Watsonville Wetlands Watch. Here is a link to a recent op-ed that I wrote in support of expanding our local trails and connecting them with emerging regional trail systems. http://www.register-pajaronian...y_id=15553 Safe access and full use for our local residents is a top priority. Please feel free to contact me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with additional questions or concerns.




wetlands not a priority
written by We care for nature, January 08, 2014
Dear Watsonville Resident,
The old council did not care about the main resource in town, The Wetlands. They are trying to open them up for agriculture. They put a garden on one that is 10 feet from the slough. No one wanted it but the city. The only thing this town has going for it is The Wetlands.
Thanks for bringing it up. I do not think we will see any change with this new lady in charge as she was one who voted when she was on the Parks and Recreation board, to have the garden placed on the Wetlands. They did not listen to the more than 30 people who came to ask "why put more agriculture on the Wetlands"
They continue to miss the big picture and have no plan for long term viability of Watsonville.
Watsonville Resident
written by Jeanne Greatorex, January 07, 2014
I do wish that the new mayor had included in her development plan another wonderful resource that is part of Watsonville - the Wetlands with its trails, wildlife and open space.

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

On the Run

Is there hope for California’s salmon?

 

Chinese New Year of the Red Fire Monkey

Monday, Feb. 8, is Aquarius new moon (19 degrees) and Chinese New Year of the Red Fire Monkey (an imaginative, intelligent and vigilant creature). Monkey is bright, quick, lively, quite naughty, clever, inquiring, sensible, and reliable. Monkey loves to help others. Often they are teachers, writers and linguists. They are very talented, like renaissance people. Leonardo Da Vinci was born in the year of Monkey. Monkey contains metal (relation to gold) and water (wisdom, danger). 2016 will be a year of finances. For a return on one’s money, invest in monkey’s ideas. Metal is related to wind (change). Therefore events in 2016 will change very quickly. We must ponder with care before making financial, business and relationship changes. Fortune’s path may not be smooth in 2016. Finances and business as usual will be challenged. Although we develop practical goals, the outcomes are different than hoped for. We must be cautious with investments and business partnership. It is most important to cultivate a balanced and harmonious daily life, seeking ways to release tension, pressure and stress to improve health and calmness. Monkey is lively, flexible, quick-witted, and versatile. Their gentle, honest, enchanting yet resourceful nature results often in everlasting love. Monkeys are freedom loving. Without freedom, Monkey becomes dull, sad and very unhappy. During the Spring and Autumn Period (770 - 476 BC), the Chinese official title of Marquis (noble person) was pronounced ‘Hou,’ the same as the pronunciation of ‘monkey’ in Chinese. Monkey was thereby bestowed with auspicious (favorable, fortunate) meaning. Monkey years are: 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016.  

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of February 5

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Wine and Chocolate

West Cliff Wines gets its game on, plus a brand new chocolate cafe on Center Street

 

How would you stop people from littering?

Teach them from the time that they’re small that it’s not an appropriate behavior. Juliet Jones, Santa Cruz, Claims Adjuster

 

Dancing Creek Winery

New Zinfandel Port is a ruby beauty

 

Venus Spirits

Changing law could mean new opportunity for local spirits