Written by Emilio Martinez
RESPONSE TO KURT OVERMEYER
We are not stupid…ok?
We know the city isn’t building a McDonald’s leastwise own one. What we do know is the City approved the sale of city owned property knowing full well that a fast food restaurant is going to be built on it. That is the issue.
The “site” may be far outside the “core of Downtown”, but the fast food joint will be right across the public library which, on a daily basis, is full with school children.. Many of these children have diabetes and are obese. Here the city refuses to provide a beer and wine license to American Fuels because of it sitting near a high crime rate area and police station, but disregard the health of children by providing fast food across the street from a public library? Double standards and selective Code Enforcement?
I understand that a Trader Joe's cannot not open doors in Watsonville, but your comment, “We don't have new restaurants because we have no place to put new restaurants.” Isn’t McDonald’s a restaurant? What about the old Chop Stix- isn’t that a closed restaurant, or the old Green Valley Grill location? There are over 10 commercial buildings listed for sale and/or lease that can be used as restaurants in Watsonville today.
I agree having some developable land next to a freeway does change demographics, but when Dodge’s Measure T was proposed to do just that, neither Dodge nor the city could provide one letter of intent from any big box store, including Costco, that wanted to build in Watsonville. Had the City been transparent, maybe Measure T would have passed. But, as you are fully cognizant, the lack of transparency in Watsonville is well documented and verified. Therein is the major obstacle to any “positive” changes in Watsonville?
Watsonville made some exceptional incentives to some developers. Ask Palacios about the Francesce 60 unit townhouse development. The City provided 44 loans to first time home buyers after increasing loan limits to $365,000 for the 60 unit complex. Four of those loans went to City employees. And, Francesce was selling his units (16) for under $270,000 until the city increased the loan limits to $365,000. Guess how much Francesce starting selling the units for after the city increased the loan limits? And guess how much money the city loaned and in what period of time they were issued. Better yet, read the next Fishing Report.
I agree the city can’t talk about proprietary information-Remember the Romo loan?
- One major positive idea is to renovate Ramsay Park into a Sports Complex. Take a look at Manteca and Redding. Call Youth Soccer. Call Field of Dreams. Call the City of Manteca. I did and found that Ramsay Park is basically a jewel sitting and rotting, literally, in a corner while we attempt to come up with positive ideas (?)