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.”