News & Updates

Fishing for Dollars?

By Emilio, on Sep 24, 2016

Diamond Lane

They’re gone. Former City Manager Carlos Palacios, former Assistant City Manager Marcela Tavantzis and numerous city employees mostly from the Community Development Department finally hit the road after Grand Jury investigations, a Grand Jury initiated Audit, State Audits, and a former councilmember-now blogger (yours truly) shed enough light to send them scrambling for cover. Even if former Santa Cruz Sentinel reporter Donna Jones was still around, she couldn’t have used her historical bush league spin tactics to conceal the obvious…..that at the end of Palacios’ 20 year reign, Watsonville was left on the verge of bankruptcy. Did corruption and cronyism finally take its toll?

But one of the most asked questions by some members of the community is how and why Palacios and Tavantzis were rewarded with jobs by the County (Palacios as a Deputy County Administrator and Tavantzis as an Assistant Director of Public Works) considering their performance or lack thereof. A conceivable conspiracy theory is that Palacios and Tavantzis, with the assistance of some council members and other city and county administrators, made a deal with the County to build the majority of low-income housing, over 2,500 units, in a flat area with easily accessible utilities…..the airport. And although the attempted feat was foiled by the Watsonville Pilot’s Association (led by the late Mr. Dan Chauvet) by winning two legal battels in both Superior Court and the State Appellate Court, could it be possible that some county officials felt obligated to reward Palacios and Tavantzis for their efforts? Or, was it also possible Palacios handed over the city’s Buena Vista landfill methane gas to the County who sold it to produce green electricity? Both the County and the City own adjacent landfills on Buena Vista which produce methane gas. The gas creates “green” electricity according to a 12/29/2004 Environmental News Network article which also included that Palo Alto’s  utilities department “has inked a deal to buy "green" electricity created by the methane gas that seeps out of the buried, decomposing garbage in the Santa Cruz County landfill”. Did Watsonville, or just the County, profit from that deal? Sounds like a Public Records Request to me.

Regardless, Palacios and Tavantzis were forced out of their comfort zone just prior to their golden years, and now face bosses who expect them to work after a brutal commute. I can’t help but smile while driving leisurely to the harbor to hop on my boat to go fishing knowing that Carlos and Marcela are grinding their teeth trying to clock in on time, stuck in a sea of slow moving headlights wishing for a Diamond Lane.    

The Irresponsible Culprits

But who are the ultimate culprits who disregarded Palacios’ continual questionable conduct even after the 2012 Grand Jury found:

“The City of Watsonville had not been conducting its business in a professional way; one that is transparent in all its dealings, and one that gives all relevant information needed by elected officials to be able to make informed decisions.”

And that:

“……. the 2011-2012 Grand Jury decided to investigate issues that are “illustrative of a laxity of process and controls” in the Watsonville City Government, both those identified by the prior Grand Jury and new relevant concerns:

  • · Issuance of a $225,000 check in April 2008 for a fire truck, more than three years prior to its delivery. Nearly a year after its delivery, its operational status remains unclear.

  • · Continuing concerns about the process by which Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds were used to purchase the fire truck.

  • · Cash handling procedures for the Strawberry Festival

  • · Citywide cash handling policy and procedures

  • · Difficulties obtaining complete, accurate, and timely information, which suggests a lack of transparency.”

 The answer may lie in a quote by Andrew Jackson: “The people are the government, administering it by their agents; they are the government, the sovereign power.” If you and I are in fact the government and councilmembers are our agents, we are the ultimate culprits for our failure to vote, to vote responsibly, and/or hold elected officials accountable.

Well most of you are more responsible for our city’s pitiful reputation and financial devastation than I am because as some of you may recall I was the city council member who determined the whereabouts of the fire truck in question and that it was a lump piece of sheet metal, and also questioned at a city council meeting why $20,000 cash was floating around during a Strawberry Festival which instigated the 2 Grand Jury investigations and the Superior Court Ordered Performance Audit. And I did it without any support from fellow Latino council members (and two wannabees) who also misled the tax paying public to believe that Palacios was doing a good job regardless of what was determined by the Grand Jury and Audit.

So here we are again with 3 city council seats up for grabs in November and we have another opportunity to elect council members who will represent our best interests, not theirs or special interests groups they support. Thus, this brings up to question why Oscar Rios once again is seeking a city council seat. Rios, President of the Non-Profit organization, La Alianza Del Valle Pajaro (Which is the money engine for Mexican Independence Day and Fiestas Patrias here in Watsonville) may have an underlying motive.  Rumors are that councilmembers Felipe Hernandez and Karina Cervantez-Alejo are not pleased with newly hired City Manager Charles Montoya and may want to oust him already. Four votes are needed by the city council to hire and fire the city manager, city clerk, and/or city attorney and at this point in time the Alejoite contingent do not seem confident that they have the votes to rid themselves of Montoya.

What did Montoya do that irked Hernandez (who was Best Man at Luis Alejo and Karina Cervantez’s wedding) and Cervantez-Alejo? Seems one of the reasons is that Montoya had the audacity to hire Anglos for the Assistant City Manager and Deputy City Manager positions. What the….? How dare he hire on the basis of competence because after all, we’ve endured incompetence for around 20 years. What’s another 20? And it also seems that Montoya has voiced concern that the Strawberry Festival is a financial liability therefore another location, possibly the Fairgrounds, would be the solution and/or a location where an entrance fee would off-set the costs.   

You know, I’m baffled that some of our populace still eat up the BS that we need the likes of Rios on the city council once again. This is especially true considering his documented history of racially divisive tactics on his previous stints as a councilmember. Surely we can’t believe that he is concerned that almost 90% of the city’s population will not be appropriately represented. I mean, how many white people do you see while driving around town? The wide-eyed ones, mouth agape, looking lost and speeding on the wrong side of the street towards Highway 1 don’t count. Fortunately Rios is being opposed by David Hermosillo, a former Watsonville fireman. I have not personally met Mr. Hermosillo although I did have the opportunity to read about him and also had a conversation with him. He is well informed of the issues facing Watsonville as he has lived in the community for the majority of his life. And unlike Rios, he will not cater to a racially divisive agenda which creates an us against them mentality, but rather focus on needed short term and long term remedies especially considering our police and fire departments.  

In District 1, unfortunately we have current mayor Felipe Hernandez running unopposed.

My concern with Hernandez along with his pal Luis Alejo and cohorts is that they are, in my opinion, most responsible for rendering Watsonville a stigma in the Monterey Bay area. Hernandez has the political experience to create the illusion that he is inclusive with dog walks (“Excuse me sir but I believe that the pit bull clamped onto your leg is my dog”) a Bike Ride (“Gee I thought there we would be more than just four of us following Felipe down Main street…”) and a Food Truck Party which was an idea I presented to the City back around 2008 along with a Sports Complex. Although, he is almost professional when it comes to photo-ops; I would bet that he would appear at the unwrapping of tamale if it got him print. The only other councilmember that might give him some competition is Lowell Hurst.


Then, there’s Hernandez’s list of bunkum. In a publication, he was quoted that his campaign will highlight his accomplishments over the past four years, which he cites as “job creation, economic development, housing, parks, downtown revitalization and a better quality of life for all residents.” He creates jobs but he doesn’t have one? And, Watsonville still ranks as the city with one of the highest unemployment rates in the state as it has for at least the previous 10-15 years. Additionally, in regards to him being part of the downtown revitalization, do you recall the last movie you saw at the Fox Theater or the last time you shopped at the Gottschalks building? But the best illusion he has created is that he is inclusive. Does he really believe that we have forgotten Measures H, I and J? Had Felipe been inclusive why did it require a Measure (Measure I) which dictates that the Mayor is chosen on a rotating basis? Instead, he adhered to his buddy Luis Alejo’s agenda which included exclusive self-serving actions such as voting for his replacement on the city council, helping to prevent councilmembers (especially Anglos) from being appointed mayor, and his attempt to name the City Plaza after Dolores Huerta all of which were the instigating factors for the Measures. All three Measures were resoundingly approved by voters. No we don’t need Hernandez on the city council but he is running unopposed. If people could vote for “Other” I wonder if “Other” might stand a chance.

District 6 councilmember (My District) Trina Coffman-Gomez is being opposed by Doreen Martinez (No relation). Coffman-Gomez, in my opinion, is a fortitude-lacking weathervane. Early on she voted on the side with the most votes until Councilmember Jimmy Dutra called her on it. But, my concern is that Doreen Martinez has an agenda which would include creating another Bloc whose underlying intent is to either control or oust City Manager Montoya. Montoya, who is on miraculous tract of making chicken salad out of chicken shit, should not have to answer to a contingent of politicians whose records are reflective in one of the entrances to our city: the embarrassing 20 year old eyesore, Freedom Blvd. What I want to know from both of these candidates is their plan for City Manager Montoya. Possibly Ms. Martinez may come knocking on my door, while walking the District, allowing me the opportunity to ask the question. Coffman-Gomez? Let’s hope Rios doesn’t win because she is not an independent thinker and could side with that group at the sight of a changing wind.  

Hey remember Daniel Dodge (aka T-Boned)? He is the former city council member who attempted to hoodwink us with Measure T. I read that he is running for a seat on the Cabrillo Community College District Board of Trustees. He is running against incumbent Leticia Mendoza whose credentials include a B.A. in Economics from UCSC, two M.A.s in Public Administration and Philosophy from Columbia University, and a lengthy list of Community Involvement Awards and Fellowships. Daniel? I believe graduated from high school but I don’t know if he could spell Trustees if you spotted him “trust”. But he may have received a Proclamation for Best Baggage Handler of the Decade from Assemblyman Luis Alejo who has since left his beloved Watsonville for Salinas.

Mo Money Mo Free Lunches and Mo Disneyland Tickets?

Good ole free-money chasing Little Louie Alejo supposedly has been living apart from his wife Karina, a City Council Member and Assembly candidate, for around 1 ½ years? That would be the case if truly she is still residing here in Watsonville at the Carr St. residence to meet city council residency requirements while Luis resides in Salinas to comply with residency requirements in his running for a Monterey County Supervisor seat. Ah….their dedication to helping citizens’ best interest…. or theirs?

But, I am of the opinion that Karina Cervantez-Alejo’s chance of winning against her opponent, Ms. Anna Caballero, are about as good as Luis skipping a free Hawaiian Convention sponsored by special interests groups. Oh…I forgot….Karina also went on the Hawaiian vaca…er….convention. Do we really need more special interest group supported politicians in our Assembly and County?      

My Choices

Assembly:              Ms. Anna Caballero

City Council:

District 1:         Other

District 2:         Mr. David Hermosillo

District 6:        Depends How the Wind is Blowing

 Cabrillo College Board of Trustees:   Ms. Leticia Mendoza.

For Congress:     Ms. Casey Lucius

For President:     As a friend said, and I quote, “We’re F#@ed either way!” I replied, “Hey we’re from Watsonville so we know how that feels!”

 Well off fishing again because as always something smells fishy in Watsonville. 



The Illusionists and their Tricks of the Trade?

By Emilio, on Jun 1, 2016



(First, I want to explain the absence of the Fishing Report for the past few months. Of course, and as usual, the fishing season began in April. Then our good friend Mr. Dan Chauvet passed away. That took the wind out my sails. It has been difficult to write knowing that the two previous Fishing Reports were about Dan and that they would be replaced with a new one. But, here it goes.)  

I began conducting some research and a background investigation on the two candidates pictured above, Luis Alejo (for Monterey County Supervisor) and his wife Karina Cervantez (now Alejo-for State Assembly). But in the initial phase of my research (plain ole Googling) the Watsonville Fishing Report kept popping up. Boy, we can all be thankful that I decided to take up writing the Fishing Report back in 2008 because possibly many of you would still be sucking it up….hook, line, and sinker.

Their Definition of the Truth?

Karina and Luis Alejo have taken exception to a mailer (paid for by the Govern for California Action Committee) that Karina became Mayor of Watsonville “Though a Backroom Deal”. Luis came out swinging, defending his wife. In the May 14th Californian news article, Luis was quoted: “These Trump-styled lies are deplorable and false and should be rejected. I am calling on Anna Caballero to publically denounce these by her supporters.” Caballero is the Assembly candidate who will most likely send the Alejos packing to a central valley city like Turlock to reinvent themselves. But, come on Luis…Trump? You’re reaching, and desperately too.

And I am not surprised with Luis’ selective-memory-finger-pointing defense either. What, he doesn’t recall back in 2008 when he attempted to become mayor in his first year as a councilmember? That also was a backroom deal. I had been elected to the city council the same year as Luis and learned quickly how things worked in Watsonville. Then Mayor Antonio Rivas called asking to meet with me. I sensed that something wasn’t right and declined. Rivas, at least having my attention on the phone, couldn’t contain himself and said that the fix was in to select Luis as Mayor. Apparently Luis already had plans to run for the Assembly and the Mayor title would further enhance his credentials. Rivas wanted to be Mayor for a second term and proposed that if I voted for him instead of Luis, he in turn would vote for Dale Skillicorn as Mayor Pro-Tem. Skillicorn had never been selected for either Mayor or Mayor Pro-Tem although had served on the city council for years.  And now Luis is pretending that the Alejos don't participate in backroom deals in good old Watsonville?? Now, here we are today with the allegation that Karina Cervantez-Alejo was selected mayor in a back room deal. I don’t know if she was or wasn’t, but there is an ole fisherman saying (well I just made it up) if it smelled fishy yesterday, it will still smell fishy today.

Luis Alejo creating the illusion that Caballero is somehow responsible for the mailers scorching Karina Cervantez-Alejo is laughable considering his role with some mailers sent by his camp when he ran for Assembly against Janet Barnes. Boy, those were some scorchers.  The FPPC’s (Fair Political Practices Commission) Enforcement Division found that Joaquin Ross, Alejo’s campaign manager at the time, was also the principal officer for the Committee of Voters for a New California which paid for all 3 or those mass mailings, costing $28,892.00, in support of Alejo’s Assembly candidacy. Remember there isn't supposed to be a connection between the "independent committee" and the candidate (who is subject to all kinds of donation and expenditure limits) under the FPPC rules.  Well the FPPC didn't buy that the Committee of Voters for a New California was independent.  So although Luis attempted to downplay his role,  the FPPC found that he was responsible for the mailers.  Alejo claimed the FPPC “requested” he repay the $28,892.00, but I found a Memo from the Enforcement Division that they “Notified Assemblyman Alejo of his duty to “pay down” the over-the-limit portion of the contribution from Voters for a New California by making payment to Voters for a New California in the amount of $21,092 (which was the amount over the limit). And that: “On October 4, 2013, the Enforcement Division received proof of payment in this regard from Assemblyman Alejo.”  Now, does that sound like a “recommendation” as the illusionist claimed? Sounds to me like Alejo had his hand caught in the pot, and his campaign was fully responsible for those flyers against Barnes.  Must be his own "ethics" that tell him that Caballero must be behind the flyers exposing the truth about Karina.  Thus his self-serving tirade.   


Living Apart for the People or for Personal Gain? 

According to a January 17, 2016 Monterey Now column Luis and Karina have been living apart for 7 months since November 2016 because Luis had to establish residency in Monterey County in his quest for a Supervisorial seat and Karina because she has a legal obligation to reside in Watsonville as a councilmember. Karina claims she still resides in the same political flop-house on Carr Street that Luis claimed to have lived in when he ran for city council. If it had not been an easy District to win, I doubt Luis and/or Karina would have “moved in” to the Carr Street address. Additionally, public records indicate that Karina was residing at 162 Rio Del Pajaro Ct. in Watsonville up and until July 2012. So how did she, seemingly convenient, “move into” the Carr St. address with Luis when she ran for city council? Of that's right-where you "live" maybe not be where you "reside" in the ever famous world of Watsonville politics.    

Then there is the commute from Salinas to Watsonville and vise/versa which can be grinding and time consuming. I say this because Luis is claiming to reside at a home on E. Curtis St. in Salinas (to meet his candidacy requirement) but Karina’s name also pops ups (according to public records) as residing at the same address. Maybe that’s why, according to the Govern for California Action Committee, that “In less than one term on the Watsonville City Council (Karina Cervantez-Alejo) “Skipped at least 9 Council meetings”, “Missed 60% of County Transportation Commission Meetings”, and “Failed to show up at nearly 1/3rd of Metropolitan Transportation Board Meetings”. Has the commute from Salinas to Watsonville affected Karina’s duties as a council member? And, then there is a possible violation of the City Charter which should not be ignored by the District Attorney.  

So where do these two possible carpet baggers vagabonds actually live, or is it reside? Your guess is as good as mine, but they may be living at another Salinas address altogether. One possible way to find out is to hire a good surveillance private investigator, but then what do I know? 


The Gravy Train Express Stops with Your Vote

Why do you think that Karina and Luis want so desperately to remain in politics? In my opinion they are in it for the freebies, and as we all know there are no free lunches. Luis has a documented history as one of the Assembly’s highest gift recipients. A 2012 Report by Common Cause, “Gifts, Influence and Power” (Gifts given to California’s Elected Officials) lists Assemblyman Luis Alejo 5th on the list. That’s 5th out of 80 members.

Luis’s Form 700 state gifts received that range from free Disneyland tickets ($300.00), movie tickets, boxing tickets, flights, concert tickets, AT&T Pebble Beach Golf Tournament tickets, free airport parking and thousands upon thousands of dollars in free meals, to mention just a few.

A March 3, 2015 L.A. Times news article identified 25 state lawmakers who flew to Maui “to attend a conference that was partly funded by a group of special interests, but it was not until Tuesday that all of their identities were made public when they were required to file annual gift reports.” Assemblyman Luis Alejo and his wife both attended the conference. (Bet you are not surprised). And that “The nonprofit Independent Voter Project, the sponsor of the conference, pays an average of $2,500 in expenses, including $350-a-night hotel cost, for each legislator attending its conference at the Fairmont Kea Lani Hotel in Wailea.” Additionally, “The group gets its money from interests including Occidental Petroleum Corp., the Western State Petroleum Assn., Eli Lilly & Co., the Altria tobacco firm, the California Cable and Telecommunications Assn., the state prison guards union and the California Distributors Assn., which represents distributors of tobacco and other products.”


In my humble opinion, Luis and Karina are self-serving opportunists who spin the truth for a free meal ticket. The time has come to send these two packing to Southern California.  So let's get out and vote!  

New Wings in the Forever Sky

By netboots, on Apr 26, 2016

Dan Chuvet


Mr. Dan Chauvet earned his forever wings on Thursday April 21st. Mr. Chauvet was a gentleman and a warrior with grit, integrity, and rightfulness. With these traits he took on City management, mayors, and some city councilmembers to protect our Airport from eventually being turned into a housing development. He prevailed with dignity, transparency, and accomplished it fearlessly.


Rest and Fly in your beloved Sky, Dan

Your Smart Feller friend, 



WRAP Dinner

By Emilio, on Mar 21, 2016

Mr. Dan Chauvet, Watsonville Regional Airport Promotion (WRAP) President, and recent recipient of the Master Pilot Wright Brothers Award by the Federal Aviation Association is requesting your presence at the WRAP Dinner on April 30th. Please mark the Date on your calendar and purchase your tickets early. The following is the Notice provided by Mr. Chauvet.

Thank you~ Emilio  

WRAP Dinner

April 30th is the Watsonville Regional Airport Promotion (WRAP)-PAC Dinner.  Put this one on your schedule.  


Watsonville Airport's Future we expect will be the subject of Charles Montoya's (new City Manager) speech at the WRAP dinner.  Q&A? Expected.  


When?  Saturday April 30, 2016 at 5:30 PM (1730 hours)

Where? At the VFW Hall at 1960 Freedom Blvd, between Airport Blvd and Green Valley Road. (parking in back of building).  

Why? #1 It's an informative social gathering of aviation folks and local community folks; #2 it's a fund raiser for WRAP.  WRAP supports local candidates for public office that will support, protect and keep KWVI a safe airport.

Dress?: Yes. Dan is wearing sport-coat, tie (with airplanes on it), pants and shoes.  Ladies, the usual, wear anything they want.

The Menu:  Tri-tip Beef will be on the buffet, presented by Monterey Bay Caterers, well known for excellent fare.


How? Sign up by getting on the attend list (RSVP), there are no tickets.  Send a check for $50.00 per each to WRAP, PO Box 2074, Freedom, CA 95019.  Or call PAC Chairman Dan Chauvet at 831-724-8256.  We need to know projected attendance ahead of time.  


The schedule:  5:30 pm - 6:00  Visit

                       6:00 pm sharp - Introductions:

                       6: 20 - Dinner

                       7:00 - Introduction of Main Speaker


In the last election year, 2014, WRAP had its most successful year.  We joined in with the Let the People Vote Group and Measures H, I & J passed by a large margin.  It improved Watsonville city government.  The council improved.  Good government=protected airport. Thanks for supporting KWVI.  

Dan Chauvet, WRAP Chairman

Grant Wrathall, Vice Chairman

Nancy Shott, Secretary-Treasurer



Note: WRAP is stand-alone, not affiliated with EAA, 99s, or WPA.  It's nonpartisan.  

City’s Response a Coincidence or an Attempt to Prevent another Audit?

By Emilio, on Feb 29, 2016

A few months ago I begin to look into Grants received by the City from both Federal and State funds. I don’t recall what prompted me to become suspicious but it may have been something I read that caught my attention. Regardless, in my first round of digging through documents I found a June 6, 2011 “Memorandum” from former Public Works Director David Koch directed to former City Manager Palacios requesting approval (from the City Council) to award the Freedom Blvd. Reconstruction project to Monterey Bay Peninsula Engineering for $1,105,767.00. As some of you may recall that project had numerous delays prompting some business owners to file claims against the city for loss of business and some moved out.

But what caught my attention was that I recalled that some work was not completed among several other issues, thus prompting me to write a Public Records Request on February 17, 2016:

From: emilio martinez []
Sent: Wednesday, February 17, 2016 3:37 PM
Beatriz Flores (
Cc: Charles Montoya (; Alan Smith (
Subject: Public Records Request


Good Afternoon City Clerk Flores

I am attaching a copy of the June 6, 2011 Memorandum (with the Resolution)  from former Public Works/ Utilities Director, Mr. David Koch, directed to former City Manager Carlos Palacios.

The Memorandum, as you can see, is regarding awarding the Construction Contract for the Freedom Boulevard Reconstruction Project. Monterey Peninsula Engineering (MPE) was awarded the contract.

Please provide Copies of the following documents:

The bid by Monterey Peninsula Engineering.

The Estimate by Monterey Peninsula Engineering.

The scope of work by Monterey Peninsula Engineering.

Please also provide copy(s) of all checks (warrants) issued to Monterey Peninsula Engineering and all checks (warrants) issued to any subcontractors by the City.

Thank you. Please do not hesitate to call me if you and/or any members of city staff have any questions.

Emilio Martinez

How Did The City Respond?


On the same day that I sent my email, on February 17, 2016, the City sent out letters to the Business owners on Freedom Blvd. that had been detrimentally inconvenienced before: 



I have yet to receive a response to my Public Records Request. But when I do, I will let you know how my fishing expedition is going. Right now, I feel a slight tug on the line.

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