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Manuel Bersamin Leaves City Council

The longtime local leader says he needs to be 'a good son' and care for his ailing mother.

Manuel Bersamin resigned from the Watsonville City Council on Thursday morning, citing family obligations.

Bersamin, 54, was first appointed to the city council in 2003 and has served just shy of nine years. He said his original plan was to finish his term as the representative of District 1, but his mother's declining health led him to step down Thursday.

"I have to leave because my mother, who's 95, had a fall," Bersamin said. "She's pretty fragile and I need to be a good son."

Read Bersamin's resignation letter in full here.

City Manager Carlos Palacios confirmed Bersamin's departure. Palacios said the city council would decide if they would appoint someone to fill the vacancy or wait until the November election. The position would have been up for election this year regardless.

Bersamin said he was most proud of revitalizing a blighted mobile home park in the .

“I would say my greatest achievement was we rebuilt a neighborhood called the Riverside Mobile Home Park,” Bersamin said. Residents got new trailers, among other improvements. “I was at the very center of that. I feel very proud of that.”

Bersamin also said he was pleased to see the . He was a newbie on the city council when projects like and Manabe-Ow were beginning.

“I find myself the old man on the council," Bersamin said. “I’ve learned on council that some of the projects will take 10, 15 years.”

But he said he was disappointed that he was unable to improve . River levee improvements are another thing he’s fought for and hasn’t been able to get done.

“We’re so afraid of another flood," Bersamin said. 

When asked what advice he would give to whoever fills his shoes on the council, Bersamin said, “try not to speak as much.”

Bersamin has been known for his lengthy monologues and heated debates with Council Member Emilio Martinez during council meetings.

“I speak to much and sometimes I got really angry at Council Member Martinez… that didn’t really do the council or city well," Bersamin said. “I think what’s happened to be though is I always spoke from the heart.”

The city council will hold a special meeting at 7:30 p.m. March 6 to consider the appointment process to fill the District 1 seat.

jaja surita March 01, 2012 at 10:54 PM
sir ur a god photo
Theodora Kerry March 02, 2012 at 02:57 AM
As one of the many citizens consistently berated by Bersamin for taking the time to come to City Council meetings to express my informed opinion that fluoridation was a dangerous boondoggle (even the CDC/Center for Disease Control warns against giving infants fluoridated water), I say "Good Riddance" and "Thanks, Mom"!!!! Theodora Kerry, Fluoridation Fighter
Cathy P. March 02, 2012 at 04:16 AM
1 down and (at least) 4 to go, maybe 5.
David H. Perez March 02, 2012 at 04:21 AM
First, let me begin by saying I wish Manuel Bersamin's mother the best. As a recent retiree, I have also spent time taking my elderly mother to doctor appointments and helping her with day-to-day needs. Our mothers gave up much of their lives to raise us, and we have a duty and obligation to be good sons. Hats off to you for this, Manuel! As far as Bersamin leaving the City Council, I say hooray, it's about time, good ridance!!! In my opinion, Manuel Bersamin has been an embarassment to this town with his racist comments and innuendoes and disrespectful statements made toward residents with differing views. His manifesto has been to keep Watsonville poor and dumbed-down so that he can be perceived as someone who will fix things and who the uninformed will keep voting for. Bersamin has made it very clear in the past that if you are not part of his posse or the underlings he claims to support, you are chopped liver. His ideology has been a strong force in keeping Watsonville dumbed down. I have no doubt that Bersamin and his other ideologues on City Council already have his successor groomed and chosen. So let the next battle begin! In the meantime, I pray for Manuel's mother. I also pray that he will stay out of city politics and that we will never have to be subjected to his brand of racially divisive politics again.
Butch Cole March 02, 2012 at 05:36 AM
Mr. Bersamin......take good care of your Mom....get some rest. You deserve it! Thanks for all you have done for our city. I'd particularly like to thank you for your support of the employees at Watsonville Community Hospital....we could always count on you being behind us with your support.
richard March 03, 2012 at 06:40 AM
i agree 100% hopefully Oscar is next...(fingers crossed)
richard March 03, 2012 at 07:08 AM
time to get a city council that is NOT RACIST..!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Randy C. March 03, 2012 at 07:51 AM
Sorry for the reason but good riddance!!!
Rebecca Garcia March 03, 2012 at 03:32 PM
There may have been racial prejudice portrayed by City Council, but it definitely was not racist. Only White people can be racist because only White people have Institutional Power (CEO's of corporations, higher rate of wealth, largest rate of lawmakers and judges, most educated, etc.). However, I am disappointed that as a Latino majority the Council often treated the White minority like they treated us when they were the Majority. As an advocate for single-member district elections the intent was that the growing Latino population would have a voice in the decisions made for the betterment of all Watsonville populations. I have hope that that will still occur.
David H. Perez March 03, 2012 at 04:19 PM
Ms. Garcia's reply to my previous comments does not surprise me. Whether you want to call it racism or racial prejudice, hatred is hatred, and Mr. Bersamin has been the City Council's poster child for hatred. He claims to want to help the poor Latino community, yet he has attempted to do so by creating division and resentment which creates even more hatred. I believe he has hurt the Latino community. Why can't we just consider all of ourselves fellow human beings instead of Latino and White? We are all earthlings, right? I think our community would be a lot better off if we had some leadership that fosters the things we all, Latino, White and otherwise, have in common instead of stirring up more poison to divide us. I have no problem with single-member district elections, but I do have a problem with the hostile takeover of this City Council that has occurred. The City Council is supposed to represent EVERYONE, and you do not right an old wrong with another wrong. I also resent not being able to vote for a mayor, and the fact that the only way to get selected mayor is to swallow "their" poison.
Cathy P. March 04, 2012 at 04:20 PM
"Only White people can be racist ...." ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Wow, you keep drinking the kool-aid now. Racists come in all colors and nationalities. No one group is immune, all are guilty. Bigotry, prejudice, whatever else you want to call it, none of it is right and should not be tolerated.

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