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."
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.