.Watsonville Hospital’s Measure N Projected To Narrowly Pass

Two supervisor races headed to November runoff

As election results continued to roll in on the night of March 5, Measure N came out swinging, with 69.9% of voters approving it.

That number had dipped to 68.5% by March 6, just barely making the required two-thirds supermajority needed to pass.

Measure N would provide $116 million for Watsonville Community Hospital to make an array of improvements took an early lead Tuesday, with 69.9% of voters saying yes.

The measure would also allow the Pajaro Valley Health Care District (PVHCD)—which runs the publicly owned hospital—to purchase the building and grounds, saving $3 million per year in rental costs.

The measure is seen as a life raft for the hospital, which suffered from years of financial mismanagement, and bankruptcy, before PVHCD took over.

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It would place $24 per $100,000 of assessed value on property tax bills for properties within the district.

The measure includes an independent citizens’ oversight committee, which will make sure the district is spending the money as per the bond requirements.

PVHCD board member Tony Nuñez said he is “cautiously optimistic” about the preliminary results.

“It’s close, but we kind of figured it would be,” Nuñez said.

Nuñez said the numbers are a testament to the work of volunteers, who walked the district, which stretches from Aptos to northern Monterey County. during the campaign, 

“Everyone in here put a lot of effort into this, and I want to thank them for all that they did.”

Santa Cruz County Supervisor District 1

Incumbent Manu Koenig will defeat challenger Lani Faulkner, with 54.5% of the vote as of March 6, fending off a formidable opponent.

Koenig said he is confident in a positive final outcome

“I’m feeling very encouraged by the results so far. Democracy is a team sport and I’m really proud of my team. It’s looking like our hard work paid off,” Koenig said.

Santa Cruz County Supervisor District 2

While a simple majority would have clinched an immediate win, that was not likely in a field of five candidates. And so Pajaro Valley Unified School District Trustee Kim De Serpa and Capitola Mayor Kristen Brown are headed for a November runoff after edging out three challengers with 26.1% and 32.9% of the vote, respectively.

District 2 covers Aptos, La Selva Beach, Seacliff and Rio Del Mar, parts of Corralitos, Freedom, Capitola and Watsonville. The seat freed up when Supervisor Zach Friend announced he would not seek a new term.

De Serpa said she is ready to continue the campaign, and said she’s grateful to the voters.

“I’m feeling energized,” she said. “I cannot wait to see it through to November.”

De Serpa also tipped her hat to her fellow candidates after the long campaign.

“It takes a lot of chutzpah and a lot of guts to run for office, she said. “You make yourself really vulnerable, and there is a lot of work in preparing.”

Brown said she was cautiously optimistic about the early results.

“We feel really good about it, but we know there are a lot of votes left to be counted, so we’re not taking anything for granted,” she said. “We’re excited for what we’re seeing so far, and we’re looking forward to seeing what comes next.”

Santa Cruz County Supervisor District 5

Another pair headed to a runoff in November are Monica Martinez and Christopher Bradford, who are vying for the District 5 seat that opened when Bruce McPherson announced he would not run.

Martinez is the CEO of local nonprofit Encompass Community Services and resides in Felton.

The district has faced serious environmental challenges, including the 2020 CZU Lighting Complex Fire, which devastated the area and destroyed multiple homes. Most recently, residents of the Big Basin Subdivision have endured a water and sewage crisis as embattled private utility company Big Basin Water moves into a public receivership.

Bradford, a small business owner, is a resident of Big Basin has been an advocate for a viable solution to the ongoing water problems.

As of March 6, Martinez enjoyed  45.8% of the vote and Bradford garnered just over 21%.

Josué Monroy contributed to this report

1 COMMENT

  1. Measure N is the only way we can have a fully professional hospital in Watsonville. without it, closure of the hospital is all but certain. In vast stretches of the midwest and deep south, make sure you do not get sick or injured. in the less populated areas, NO MEDICAL CARE from a nearby hospital. Don’t believe me? travel there and see for yourself. yes, it is more expensive to live here, but the reward is we get public services that rural Mississippi does not have.
    we need to pay in taxes for our hospitals. and with an oversight board, it is a responsible decision and i want to thank Tony Nunez, former ( and better) editor of the Pajaronian, for serving on the hospital board.

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