By Manuel Bersamin
Dear City Clerk Flores,
Due to my 95-year-old mother’s recent fall and broken right arm and her subsequent incapacitation, I am submitting this letter of resignation from the Watsonville City Council effective concurrently with the appointment of my successor to represent District 1 on the city council.
It has been a great honor and privilege to work alongside Carlos Palacios, a true visionary and builder of what the City of Watsonville can become, Alan Smith, our legal champion of the city against the never ending legal threats against the City, and you, Beatriz Flores, the heart and alma (soul) of the city and the city council. I have also appreciated the multiple roles of the work of both Marcela Tavantzis, Assistant City Manager and Deputy City Manager Mario Maldonado in serving the people of Watsonville, especially the residents who have the least resources. I have the upmost respect for all the department heads, especially Police Chief Manny Solano, Fire Chief Mark Bisbee, outgoing Administrative Services Director, Mark Pimentel, Parks and Community Services Director, Ana Espinoza, Public Works and Utilities Director, David Koch and Library Director Carol Heitzig.
I am so proud to have served alongside a series of city council members but I am most proud to have served alongside the most current council which is the best council I have served with in these nine years. All of the current council members have great talent and despite the media, we all have gotten along together quite well. We made the City better and they will continue to improve the City into the future. Brothers and sister, thank you for everything.
I have a great deal of satisfaction for these nine years of fighting for the causes I won on the council, including building more affordable housing, developing present and future economic development, increasing public safety, generating a focus on the need to improve the image of the City, fighting the intimidation of the gangs, the enhancement of afterschool activities, creating safer neighborhoods, naming Watsonville a sanctuary city, increasing services and access for Spanish Speaking residents and especially the rebuilding of the Riverside Mobile Home Park neighborhood.
I even feel satisfaction for the causes I lost, including trying to get the local school district to improve academic outcomes so that the City could attract more local jobs for our students, the fight for the fluoridation of the city’s drinking water for our children and the fight to protect bilingual education in the local schools that will be needed for Watsonville to compete in an increasingly global economy.
However, I will continue to fight for the most important battles that I waged as a councilman, including the attempt to reduce the City’s gang violence and the longest fights of all, the improvement of the academic results in the local schools and lastly, the long overdue rebuilding of the Pajaro River levees.
In closing, while I was especially proud to become the City’s first Asian American Filipino Mayor, I was MOST proud to be a mayor of Watsonville who is a son of the Farm Workers and Cannery Workers who have long been the life blood and hard working muscle of the City Watsonville. I am proud to have represented and served “la gente de razon’ these nine years and now I am proud to return to them having done the very best I could for them and all the people of Watsonville.
Sincerely and Si Se Puede, Manuel Quintero Bersamin