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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.”

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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