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Divisive City Councilman Will Not Seek Second Term

Emilio Martinez said it's time he went fishing.

Controversial, outspoken and often absent Watsonville City Council Member Emilio Martinez said Friday he will not run for re-election in November.

“I’m gong to be 60 next month and I’ve accumulated a lot of toys. God’s been good to us. I want to play with my toys," said Martinez, who has been politicking so much lately, the battery died in his classic car from lack of use.

Best known for dissenting from the majority and missing city council meetings—nine of 24, by one count—Martinez said he feels he's done a service to Watsonville residents by asking questions and pushing for transparency in local government. It was Martinez's probing that led t to twice investigate Watsonville's city practices, including the purchase of a refurbished fire truck and how petty cash is handled.

“I know I can be a bull in a china shop," Martinez admitted. "I know my deficiencies at my age but I certainly accomplished my goal … the credibility the Grand Jury gave me by saying there is a big lack of transparency.”

He said he often wonders why others don’t question anything in city government.

“It is disturbing. It’s scary. … Nobody is willing to step forward and say there’s something wrong here," Martinez said.

Martinez, who represents District 6, served on the Latino Affairs Commission for a year, was a planning commissioner for two years and was elected to the Watsonville City Council in 2008.

“If  , God bless her," Martinez said, speaking of the current District 6 planning commissioner, who has pulled papers to seek the city council seat.

Martinez said he decided in the spring to not run again, and that's why he's skipped several city council meetings.

Also, his boat, moored in the Santa Cruz harbor, sunk and three weeks ago he purchased a new boat with insurance money. It's time for him to go fishing.

“I thought, do I want to fish or do I want to be a politician? and I want to fish," Martinez said, who posts his criticisms of the city on a blog titled The Watosnville Fishing Report .

He's been critical of the structure and tone of the meetings because it takes too long to get down to the business of running the city. The meetings generally feature proclamations and announcements for the first 30 minutes.

Martinez also fell into the minority of the council on most issues. He said he didn't think he could win another term because too many people disagree with him.

“There’s no way I could win. The machine would go up against me," he said, referring to the council majority, including Mayor Eduardo Montesino and council members Daniel Dodge, Oscar Rios and Felipe Hernandez. “The only thing that saved me was being Latino and habla español todavia."

Martinez did warn that his vigilance of city government will not end when his term expires and promises to keep Coffman Gomez, or whoever wins the seat, busy.

"I wish her the best," Martinez said. "She’s going to be working for me, because I’m in her district.”

randy July 20, 2012 at 06:33 PM
Emiiio was and is a straight shooter. He doesn't pull any punches. The snerks on the council are all self serving. And mr. I just got to say this... He will drink to anything so follows the crowd. Emilio. Thank you for bringing to the public that those fat four are only there to service themselves. Look forward to many more fishing reports. Wishing you the best... This is Randy's opinion and it is a good one
David H. Perez July 20, 2012 at 06:47 PM
As far as I am concerned, Emilio and Nancy are the only two on that City Council that have any integrity. Thank you for a good job, Emilio, and happy fishing. But when you are not fishing and we are not RVing, we want to help you to continue to fight the corruption in this city. It's not over!
Steve Bankhead July 20, 2012 at 08:17 PM
Since the "divisive" District 6 Councilman Martinez won't be running for reelection and his prospective replacement Trina Coffman-Gomez has indicated an intent to work more cooperatively with the council majority, that means we'll no longer have all those nail-biting 5-2 votes against him and Councilwoman Bilicich. 6-1 votes against Councilwoman Bilicich won't be nearly as exciting, but perhaps she can take up knitting and whip out a few afghans during future proclamations.
Morgan Martinez July 20, 2012 at 10:01 PM
Looking forward to www.Watsonvillefishingreport.com becoming more of a watch dog group. If you want to be involved let us know. Morgan.martinez1@gmail.com
Cathy P. July 20, 2012 at 10:08 PM
I live in District 6 and haven’t been able to decide if the political corruption in Watsonville is Nepotism - granting privileges and positions of authority based on relationships, regardless of actual ability, or, Patronage -disregarding the formal rules of local government and using personal instead of formalized channels to gain an advantage – maybe a little of both. And while I may not have always agreed with Mr. Martinez’ tactics, he has definitely uncovered SOMETHING going on at city hall and we are just beginning to see the tip of the proverbial iceberg. All the demographic and socioeconomic factors are there: low economic development, poverty & less opportunity to get out of poverty, lower levels of education - uneducated residents are less likely to be aware of the corruption and/or have no idea how to stop it. Without some kind of political awareness, residents do not know which candidates to elect that are honest or dishonest. Thank you for being the odd man out for four years, and while some may call it “a lot of smoke and not much more,” I have a feeling that time is going to tell on that one. If I had a choice between my toys and a daily bummer, it would be a no-brainer for me too. Job well done I say. And for who ever decides to run in District 6, you absolutely will not have my support if you are anti-Airport and pro Atkinson Lane development.
David H. Perez July 20, 2012 at 11:30 PM
And to dovetail off of Cissy's comments, you who becomes our new District 6 representative will NOT have my support if you have no backbone of your own and just vote along with the dysfunctional majority on the CC. I am also pro-airport and adamantly against the Atkinson Lane disaster. Some say that Emilio has not adequately represented his district. So for whoever takes his place, if you think you will do a better job, then you had better listen to District 6 residents. Otherwise, we will show up and voice our objections at CC meetings, on the Patch, in the RP, etc., and make you question why in the world you wanted this job in the first place.
Watzon McWats July 21, 2012 at 12:36 AM
Interesting to find out that the cultural and philosophical divide that I've witnessed between the north east corner of town, or what I now know as District 6 and 7, and the rest of the city mirrors itself in the City Council. Too much of this town just doesn't seem to care.
Steve Bankhead July 21, 2012 at 01:39 AM
Watzon: MALDEF attorney Joaquin Avila Gerrymandered Watsonvile with his district maps to squeeze a huge percentage of voters into Districts 6 & 7 to enable controlling the council with the election of politically acceptable people in the other five lightly populated districts to keep a strangle hold on council control. With only the need to round up 2 or 3 hundred voters in those districts by pushing candidates supported by the muscle of the Brown Berets, Central Labor Council, Santa Cruz progressives, etc., they have brought Watsonville to the fiscal brink we're currently at. Perhaps if Watsonville crashes and burns, the jackals will leave town for greener pastures and allow the real community to try piecing things back together.
David H. Perez July 21, 2012 at 03:35 AM
Good observation, Watzon.
David H. Perez July 21, 2012 at 03:41 AM
Steve - So many of us clearly see what is being done to us right under our noses. The Grand Jury sees it. How do these jackals keep getting away with this? Aren't we mad as hell, and not going to take it any more?
Watzon McWats July 21, 2012 at 05:21 AM
Even better points Steve Banks. So essentially they drew the district lines in a way that hushed up and watered down the votes of Watsonville's local minority demographics. *brain explodes*
Patricia July 21, 2012 at 11:44 PM
Thank you, Mr. Martinez for your diligence and patience. Doing a good job does not always make you popular but I'll bet you sleep a lot better than some people. Job well done and you can be proud of having defended your community through slings and arrows.
HizDesign July 22, 2012 at 05:11 AM
Just read the breaking news report re: the $54 MILLION surplus for State Parks that was 'discovered'. Geeeeeeeezzzzzzzzzzz.................sounds a bit like home....Thanks Emilio for your service......for bringing some things to light...for stirring the waters.....thank you.
Steve Bankhead July 22, 2012 at 05:31 AM
HizDesign: It's interesting with that issue that local lifelong taxpayer trough imbiber John Laird, though in an oversight position and having all those vaunted accounting skills as former assembly budget committee chair, is apparently being given a free pass in the hidden $54 million in parks funds while lower heads fall. In other words: Unprepared Laird Erred Unimpaired. This is a state where the old rule that "When the sword swings the highest head falls first" is no longer operative. I'd wish for him to be unappointed from his current state position, but he'd probably just be reappointed to a similar sinecure local position by his county cronies which would have to be funded by local taxpayers.
HizDesign July 22, 2012 at 09:07 PM
It's good to see the comments and realize that we are in all probability NOT the minority here ( we who demand truth, transparency, & accuntability for starters, from any and all city 'officials'... we who ask 'Are ya qualifed & committed to the people?' We DON'T ask nor DO WE CARE whether you're Mexican' Puerto-Rican, Jewish, English, Irish, African, or anything else, as long as you are a CITIZEN whose primary goal is to BETTER the CITY rather than deain its funds & lower its moral to nothing through selfish & questionable practices. I am pro-airport, pro-transparency, etc. And it actually looks like I am NOT outclassed, outschemed, or outvoted....we have only been outdone thus far not because we are a minority against "all of the City Council" but we are here by default. Since we now know what's been going on, what is our next step?? We have been the silent majority too long! What's next? Steven? David? Patricia? Watson? Cathy? Morgan??
Eye B. Tender September 14, 2012 at 08:09 PM
"How do these jackals keep getting away with this? Aren't we mad as hell, and not going to take it any more?"e "We" might be Dave, but the Collective Overall Electorate HAS NO REPRESENTATION in Watsonville's local government. The Voters need to be allowed to elect THEIR OWN strong mayor and instill that Office with the power to Veto the most dangerous whims of the Clown Council. NOTHING ELSE will ever provide any relief.
HizDesign September 17, 2012 at 05:46 PM
EYE B : I am actually 100% for electing our own Mayor; I am for a strong AND healthy, transparent and accountable City Council...but while I READ many folks (listed in comments above) who also seem to want the same things, I HAVE NO IDEA EXACTLY HOW TO ACCOMPLISH IT...Do you? I am sincerely open to concrete ideas, and more than willing to be involved in changing things in order to restore strength and integrity ( as well as GOOD jobs& financial solvency) to Watsonville...) Might we begin by calling for the trashy paper advertisements to be immediately removed from the front windows of former J C Penney building @ Main and E. Lake?? Please communicate with me... I was born here, loved it, and now find I despise what it has become...hoping to hear from you or someone, Sylvia L.
Eye B. Tender September 18, 2012 at 06:05 AM
Sylvia L. I hope that the good people of Watsonville are legally entitled to take matters into their own hands by circulating a petition. But, if a petition is not allowed, perhaps the best way is to haul the city into court The Collective Overall Electorate clearly has no representation in this City Government. How could such an unrepresentative tyranny be considered Constitutional in an American courtroom? But, as far as I know, this matter has never been brought into a courtroom.
randy September 18, 2012 at 03:22 PM
Glad to see this article revisited. We are being forced to accept what the "clowncilmen" order. Even Eduardo went against what his people in his district wanted. Right there in front of GOD and everyone, he voted for the community garden even though there was a petition from his district. Is this what the clowncil are voted to do. Just promote themselves and not the people. People, you vote and it does you no good because if the fat 4 decide that isn't what they want, they won't vote for it. Randy stating my opinion
Sylvia Lazo September 18, 2012 at 10:26 PM
As I said in my reply to Eye B., I am willing to be involved in restoring Watsonville, (for specifics see my reply above)-what I don't know, & am hoping some of you do, is how or where to begin. For example, is it legal for us ( not ME, us) to circulate a petition? I believe Emilio did this once; I'd like to know more re: that; Also, on another note :) WHO IN THE WORLD gave the OK for the TRASHY LOOKING butcher paper/colored marker price signs taped up in all. the front windows of the former J C Penny store?? OK, I'll look into that and get back to "here" about it...:) Anyone who will communicate with me as to how to actually do or start doing something to fix Watsonville, I greatly apreciate it, and will be waiting to hear from you. I'm not hot air, and I don't play 9 inning games:I ay til I win. Anyone else? :)
Born & Raised September 18, 2012 at 11:41 PM
As much as I would like to stand and fight with you, we are too far down the road for that, in my opinion. My plan is to sell and get out before the last of what is left of value here is completely obliterated. We are outnumbered by liberals and entitlists....where Watsonville goes, the entire US is sure to follow. So glad I am old enough to be assured of being dead and gone when this happens.
Sylvia Lazo September 18, 2012 at 11:49 PM
OK, so regarding the so-called signs in the front windows of Centro Mall, & Ay Market specifically, I called the 'city' and was transferred to a man in the planning dept., who then advised me to call Elizabeth Reese who is incharge of bldg code enforcement. I did so, &, not easily put off by things like answering machines etc., I left a clear and detailed msg. asking whether the sprawling butcher paper/ colored marker mess that passed for shop signs is up to or within the bounds of city code, ( at the same time I can't help but question 'Do we actually HAVE any codes re: the appearance of our city anymore?' ) Anyhow, I left her my cell number, and requested a return call...This is Tuesday... we'll see... HizDesign/Sylvia L :)
Sylvia Lazo September 19, 2012 at 12:09 AM
Born and Raised: I also was born and raised here...I'm sure we will now begin to see just who are willing to put feet to their words, and who, sadly enough, will throw up their hands and quit, or, as you say, sell and get out, because we're "too far down the road" to fight. We are never too far down the road to turn around and go the other way!! Like I said earlier, I don't play 9-inning games I play to win and I play UNTIL I win. Someone wanna respond??
Steve Bankhead September 19, 2012 at 02:08 AM
Sylvia: Watsonville isn't my home town. I was actually born in Visalia and was at the advanced age of 3 when my family moved here in 1950. But my earliest and dearest memories are of Watsonvile, which was a wonderful town in the past despite the efforts of local historical revisionists on the city council and elsewhere who claim they've made it a better place. Perhaps they can fool young people having shorter memories with such disinformation, which is why they constantly try appealing to them during meetings. But I think a petition for reverting to an at-large mayor position is very doable...especially now after the recent actions of our deaf and dumb council majority. Circulate it, and they will come.
HizDesign September 20, 2012 at 12:51 AM
Steve, Sorry to be so ignorant on this, but... where do I start? Where do I get the petition? Wish I could talk in person but this will do... And, thank you for your support & encouragement:)
HizDesign September 20, 2012 at 12:57 AM
So, I did receive a call back from Elizabeth Reese regarding the crummy signs on the store front at Centro Mall, specifically Ay Market. Apparently there are some codes addressing this, & she told me she'd be checking on them today to be sure they were in compliance. Thank you Elizabeth :)

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