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Annexation Proposal Gathers Required Signatures

Local media is reporting that the movement spearheaded by Councilman Daniel Dodge has enough support to go a public vote.

A controversial petition effort to annex 80 acres of actively farmed land on the outskirts of Watsonville appears to have enough signatures to be placed on a ballot in 2013.

Watsonville City Councilman Daniel Dodge and a volunteer staff that gathered the local support delivered 2,206 signatures of Watsonville registered voters to the City Clerk on Tuesday, according to the Register Pajaronian.

Dodge has said annexing what's known as the Sakata Kett parcel into the city's reserves could create a hub of economic activity. He envisions a commercial center with anchor stores such as Costco that could provide jobs and tax revenue.

The citizen-driven proposal to annex the land south of West Beach Street and east of Highway 1 began earlier this year but fell out of the public eye in the summer when organizers missed a deadline to turn in the required 1,500 signatures for the November ballot. 

The Santa Cruz Sentinel reported that City Clerk Beatriz Flores will have 30 days to verify the signatures so the initiative can be placed on a ballot next year.

The county Farm Bureau has come out in opposition of the annexation proposal.

Cathy P. October 31, 2012 at 04:18 PM
Oy vey, let the battle begin (again)!
Adam D. October 31, 2012 at 04:32 PM
Yup, it's bad enough they have already gotten approval for a new commercial center over near highway 1 off the Freeway. I'll do whatever I can to put a stop to this. There are enough dilapidated stores not being used downtown. Use what we have first and then look elsewhere for commercial opportunities.
Steve Bankhead October 31, 2012 at 05:10 PM
Since today's Sentinel identified Councilman Dodge's partner in the petition effort as Julian Posadas, I googled the name and the most likely ID was the vice-president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employeess union, local 3299. 3299 seems primarily based on over 20,000 members in the UC system. If that's him, it certainly explains how they were able to get enough volunteers to gather signatures. Still unexplained, however, would be the interest of a public employee union in bringing a Costco to Watsonville...which was a strange idea from the beginning, considering the proximity of Costcos in Santa Cruz, Gilroy, Salinas, etc. Who would it draw customers from, other than existing Watsonville businesses?
Steve Bankhead October 31, 2012 at 05:10 PM
Since today's Sentinel identified Councilman Dodge's partner in the petition effort as Julian Posadas, I googled the name and the most likely ID was the vice-president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employeess union, local 3299. 3299 seems primarily based on over 20,000 members in the UC system. If that's him, it certainly explains how they were able to get enough volunteers to gather signatures. Still unexplained, however, would be the interest of a public employee union in bringing a Costco to Watsonville...which was a strange idea from the beginning, considering the proximity of Costcos in Santa Cruz, Gilroy, Salinas, etc. Who would it draw customers from, other than existing Watsonville businesses?
Watzon McWats October 31, 2012 at 05:57 PM
Cool man, but when are we gonna get jobs for PEOPLE WHO AREN'T CONTENT WITH TEN BUCKS AN HOUR!? Sorry for the yelling...
Watzon McWats October 31, 2012 at 05:59 PM
I dig the Costco idea Steve, but you have some very good points.
HizDesign November 01, 2012 at 12:01 AM
Watz, :) when "we" start bringing in places like Costco etc., or.........maybe never lolol
beproductive November 01, 2012 at 01:17 AM
I am a long time Watsonville resident who would appreciate a local Costco or Whole Foods or anything that would add variety to our options in Watsonville. Commuting to Santa Cruz, Salinas, Monterey or Gilroy is doable but instead of a 30 minute trip to the store, I have an hour round trip (if there is no traffic) plus the 30 minutes at the store. Not to mention the price of gas. I am not sure what it is those of you who oppose business growth but are ok with the massive increase in housing excpect the town to do to support our infrastructure. Our roads are falling apart, bringing additional income streams to our town is a positive thing for individuals who need jobs and for the city who needs the revenue. If you have a better option to obtain these things and improve our town please GET it on the ballot. I will gladly support you. If you are just blocking progress for the sake of "no change" then you are part of the problem. Take action don't just complain.
Dave N November 01, 2012 at 01:31 AM
I would love to have Costco in Watsonville - I go to the ones in Santa Cruz and Gilroy frequently both for business and personal shopping. I hate the drive to both. I still want to see a Wal-Mart in Watsonville also. Same reason - I hate the time and drive required to shop at what is available. Like I have pointed out previously - when I go to Gilroy, Salinas or Marina to shop at these stores I usually have lunch or dinner there as well as do some of my other shopping at places like Home Depot and Orchards Supply Hardware. I would much rather spend those dollars locally if given the chance. I realize I could shop those locally but my time is important to me so I minimize shopping time by hitting the stores that are close to each other. As far as the complaint about wages - I agree it would be nice to have higher paying jobs available and there is no reason one can't have those too. Many companies choose where they are going to locate based on the resources available to them and their employees so one often goes hand and hand with the other.
Constance St.George November 01, 2012 at 02:04 AM
The market in Watsonville is just too low end for a Wal-Mart. The psycoeco makeup of the area demands low end goods.
Constance St.George November 01, 2012 at 02:10 AM
Costco would require a area with a much higher income base than Watsonville. A Try-and-Save or Costmoe might be more the number. There are also a number of chains expanding from Mexico under NAPTA that would fit right in.
Adam D. November 01, 2012 at 03:10 AM
Hey beproductive, If you want better grocery stores then you must shop at them. There is a reason our city is turning into a slum with the FoodMax, Grocery Market and the other discount grocery stores destroying the areas home values. We don't need a Costco, in fact we can't support a Costco. The only way I would support this measure is if Costco promised 50% of their work force would be illegal residents and Costco would give them work Visa's and require they work towards citizenship to be employed. We need to build the community, not more shopping centers. There is a Costco in Seaside and Santa Cruz so having a Costco in Watsonville makes about as much sense as paving over the fields. There are more jobs in Watsonville than their are people. I dare you to tell me differently.
Adam D. November 01, 2012 at 03:14 AM
Once the education starts raising. There are hundreds of jobs for those qualified for them that pay a decent salary. West Marine, Driscolls, Well Pict, Martinelli's, Granite Rock, just to name a few. If you are stuck in a job at $10 an hour, it may not be the job market that is hampering your salary growth.
brandon faria November 01, 2012 at 03:14 PM
This is crazy. You let one farm field get paved over and that is leverage to pave the next and the next. Don't forget how much agriculture contributes to our economy. If you think building new shopping centers is the answer then you are sadly wrong. Supporting local businesses is the only way to support the local economy. Why bring in gigantic corporate stores that will only force local businesses to close doors since they can't compete? We need to focus on bettering our current infrastructure not add more to it. And who is the developer behind this? Someone is looking to get rich off of this and that is the incentive. Walmart and costco are the worst stores to bring into our community. If you support them then you are selfish and don't support the community. More money will leave our community then will come in. I'm in support local small businesses, not greedy developers and global corporate big businesses!
brandon faria November 01, 2012 at 06:38 PM
I'm all for retail and farming. That's most of our economy, but you there is a huge difference between a large corporate business and locally run business. If the business is based here in watsonville then I'm all for it. We don't need big business undermining our small businesses. And by selfish I meant people would rather have cheap prices and convenience as opposed to paying a lil more for a quailty good that is locally produced. I'm for growth but not until we fill empty buildings. And developing ag land is not the answer!
Watzon McWats November 01, 2012 at 07:33 PM
Adam, I agree with everything you said regarding education and such, but those local jobs are highly sought after and difficult to attain. As you said, there are "hundreds", literally, in a town of 50,000 residents. Most Watsonvillians making a decent income commute to Santa Cruz or San Jose to do so. Would be nice if that didn't have to be the case. :-)
Dave N November 01, 2012 at 09:15 PM
"by selfish I meant people would rather have cheap prices" Brandon, Well - I'm happy for you that money is not an issue - that’s not the case for many of us. If we have to pay more for everything then we run out of money and have to go without, and I am talking about basic necessities. To me it sounds more like you are being selfish for proposing that others just bite the bullet of higher prices and give up our hope to live comfortably.
Andrew Bokariza November 01, 2012 at 09:24 PM
The trend that I see is that Watsonville is on a downwards spiral. I see the number of section eight rentals going up each year and more and more people living in storage rooms and garages. Before the 'nice' stores will move in the area incomes will have to go up, education will have to become important and the gangs will have to be smashed. I'm not holding my breath. I know it's easy for people like you to say these things as they live in places like you (LaSiva Beach) but the reality is that the quality of life in Watsonville will keep going down until there are major changes in the population demographics.
Cathy P. November 01, 2012 at 09:58 PM
@brandon: filling the empty buildings is ultimately the goal, especially downtown. Big businesses and small businesses do co-exist (and always have) and I don't see large corporations as necessarily evil but their "bottom line" does dictate what communities they will come to. Locally run businesses have their place as well but they aren't the end all and be all for most of us. I do like convenience and fair prices as well as variety, why can't we have both?
Me me me November 01, 2012 at 10:56 PM
How many Starbucks are there in the East side of town? All of the better stores are in the up in the north near the newer homes. Lower main is a war damaged free for all that most avoid.
brandon faria November 02, 2012 at 12:00 AM
I make 15 an hour working part-time and am a full time student. I've been homeless and gone without basic necessities more than most. I've never had money to blow. I work hard for every penny I have. But with the little money I do have I invest where it will have the most positive impact on our local economy. I don't want my money disappearing over seas where large corporations have their factories. And I especially don't want to buy something cheaper just to have it break and have to dispose of it. I invest in quality goods produced by quality businesses produced locally. If that means I have to live simply then I have no problem with that. One of the greatest powers we have, as individuals, is where we spend our money. Did life not exist before wal-mart and costco!? Support local growth and local economies! Keep your hard earned money local!

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