In my role as Mayor of the City of Watsonville, I take great pride in celebrating members of our community in my monthly articles. This month I want to especially celebrate and honor mothers in our community and workforce in Watsonville.
I believe it is our mother’s daily dedication, hard work and guidance that allows many of our households to thrive. Words cannot express how grateful we are to our city of Watsonville’s superhero moms who show up for work every day and serve this community, even while running a household. There are two employees in our city who will be inducted into the rank of Mother this month of May: Marisa Fernandez, Executive Assistant to the City Manager and City Council, and Katie Nunez, Adult Services Supervisor. My special congratulations to these two new mothers-to-be.
Thanks to all hard-working mothers, grandmothers, godmothers, stepmothers, mothers-in-law, foster mothers, bonus moms and women who love with mother’s hearts. I want to recognize you all as you are the backbone of our families, the ones who nurture, love, minister to, sacrifice and more importantly, push us forward and make the city of Watsonville a true community. Please join Pajaro Valley Shelter Services in the Mother’s Day Run on May 8th at 8am at Pinto Lake. Visit www.pvshelter.org for more information.
We’ve continued to advance Watsonville in many ways over the past month. Numerous projects and initiatives have been launched to improve the quality of life for our residents: $400 million in federal and state funds brought to our community to repair the Pajaro River flood levee, new signage, repair of Roads, including pipe replacements, new regulations to protect the environment and road safety for our local residents.
• A vote on whether to keep $400 million for the 100-year Pajaro River Flood Defense Project in Watsonville and the Pajaro Valley is due by the June 2 deadline. If you vote yes, this historic project will finally become a reality. If that doesn’t happen, the $400 million in hard-won federal and state funds that Rep. Jimmy Panetta, Sen. John Laird, and Rep. Robert Rivas and Mark Stone have given us will disappear.
History is being made in Watsonville as advances have been made to protect the city of Watsonville, the city of Pajaro and the surrounding agricultural areas in the Pajaro Valley from the high risk of flooding from the Pajaro River. Today, our dykes only provide flood protection for eight years. Our project has been identified as the most needed flood defense in California and the United States. The goals are not only to reduce flood risk to life, safety, homes, the local economy and critical infrastructure, but also to provide 100 years of flood protection to the city of Watsonville and the city of Pajaro
The $400 million project is managed by the US Army Corps of Engineers in partnership with the Pajaro Regional Flood Management Agency and the California Department of Water Resources. Federal and state authorities should bear 100% of the project costs. (www.prfma.org) The people of Watsonville will never get a better deal than this. Please vote yes if you received a special evaluation ballot.
• Crews are working on a new plan for a citywide signage program to help residents, commuters and others navigate our community efficiently. Thoughtful, aesthetically pleasing signage not only helps people who are familiar with our city, but also those who find it difficult to find key destinations, business districts, industrial parks, and future developments with ease. This beautiful new signage will serve to create a unified feel and look across our community, provide a sense of place and serve as an important part of our community’s identity and landscape. Be careful, everyone!
• Road repairs continue and a major project comes our way on a busy thoroughfare. It’s not an exciting project, but it’s a necessary part of our infrastructure and serves to keep the city moving and healthy. The sewer and water lines that run along Freedom Boulevard and Green Valley Road. have reached the end of their useful life and need to be replaced with new larger diameter tubing. Construction work on this heavily trafficked route is expected to start in early May and last until late autumn this year. Please consider whether you are visiting our town or just walking down the road to the shop and please plan for alternate routes while this project is completed.
• We are also pleased to announce that our Solid Waste Division continues to supply thousands of green bins as part of our Residential Organics Collection service.
• Watsonville residents can now dispose of their kitchen and yard waste in these green bins. Residents will receive a notification in the mail letting them know when to expect their new bin. The program will gradually be extended to the entire city. This statewide effort, known as SB 1383, aimed at reducing emissions requires the participation of all Californians. Thank you Watsonville for embracing this conditional shift.
• Driver and pedestrian safety remains a top priority for the City of Watsonville. Residents across the city have expressed concern about the unsafe practices of many driving down the Watsonville road. Officers from our Watsonville Police Department have focused heavily on speeding, distracted driving, red lights, stop sign violations and, most importantly, pedestrian violations. Just last month they ran a special traffic enforcement operation called BADGES (Before Aggressive Drivers Get Everyone Stopped). California Highway Patrol, Scotts Valley, Capitola, Santa Cruz and Watsonville traffic officers focused on specific citywide traffic violations.
• The work on the streets of our city is not over yet. Our Public Works and Utilities Department has been working with neighborhoods to find solutions to make our streets safer. These efforts include major investments in our infrastructure, such as B. the installation of speed bumps and other traffic calming devices.
Since the beginning of the year, our officers have arrested eight people for reckless driving, impounded five cars and issued more than 45 speeding subpoenas. We have focused heavily on the following areas: Green Valley Road, Airport Boulevard, Harkins Slough Road, Ohlone Parkway, West Beach Street, Riverside Drive and Main Street. But let’s not forget that each and every one of us has an important role to play in making Watsonville safer. We must work together and make smart decisions every day to keep residents safe. Drive safely. be vigilant. Watch out for pedestrians. Even if you cross the street, do not text and always be aware of your surroundings. Thank you Watsonville for doing your part to make our city a better place to live.
See you down town, Watsonville!
Ari Parker is the mayor of Watsonville.