Blog Posts - April 2011

Fluoridation and Watsonville

By Emilio, on Apr 28, 2011

Fluoridation of city waters has been brought forth to the national forefront, again, but this time by Andrew Young who Wikipedia describes as follows:  

 

IS THAT THE THANKS HE GETS?

By Emilio, on Apr 26, 2011

During Manny Solano’s first year as Chief of Police, according to statistics, crime dropped 15% in Watsonville which is the lowest in 30 years. Chief Manny Solano’s accomplishment during difficult economic times in a city that probably is the most economically downtrodden in the entire region is a well- deserved, Kudos to Chief of Police Manny Solano!

Pinpointing the Real Ethics Violations

By Emilio, on Apr 25, 2011

I would believe it to be astounding the amount of media attention that has been given to the Code of Ethics violation that I allegedly committed against George Ow lobbyist, Elias Alonzo, but in retrospect the obvious is becoming evident.

The violation that I was accused of was that of being "disrespectful" to Elias Alonzo, by his good friend and council member Manuel Bersamin. I was having a private telephone conversation with Elias from my home, of many that we have had before and many of which he generated.

A Unethical Investigation into the Code of Ethics - By Steve Bankhead

By Anonymous, on Apr 25, 2011

I dislike writing on the same subject too often. I have columns planned regarding a local cartoonist, Asian and American pyramids, and other subjects; but before I can complete one of them, the local council majority does or says something demanding more immediate attention. That’s happened again, so once more unto the breach, dear friends ...

MYTHS, TRUTHS, & CONSEQUENCES

By Emilio, on Apr 21, 2011

It is concerning to continually read in on-line publications and other news media how the Manabe-Ow project is going to create jobs. Just recently one on-line publication wrote that it would create 3,000 jobs but disregarded one important fact, when can these jobs be anticipated?

Back in December, former Redevelopment Agency Manager Marty Ackerman responded to my inquiry about when we could anticipate 2,100 jobs. She responded:

FIELD OF A BROKEN DREAM

By Emilio, on Apr 18, 2011

What I have wanted for our city, years before I became a council member, was a Sports Complex that will attract National Youth Soccer competition team tournaments. I did some research and found that cities like Manteca and Redding which have sports complexes generate a considerable amount of revenue.

Sweet Honesty

By Emilio, on Apr 16, 2011

IT’S MY MONEY AND I CAN CRY IF I WANT TO

According to state records City Manager Carlos Palacios is supported by a Deputy City Manager, an Assistant City Manager, and an Assistant to the City Manager. Palacios and his personal Assistant alone earn a combined annual income of $298,606 with Palacios earning $204,069 of it. The combined annual income of Palacios and his 3 member staff is $596,570.

COUNCILMAN MARTINEZ ISSUES STATEMENT ON BOGUS CLAIMS

By Emilio, on Apr 12, 2011

Watsonville City Councilman Emilio Martinez issues the following statement about the proposed ethics investigation that will be spoken about tonight at the Watsonville City Council meeting.

“Throughout my time on City Council I have stressed to my constituents that transparency in the City of Watsonville is of the up most importance to me.  It is my job as a Councilman to explain to my constituents where their tax money is going.   Through doing my due diligence I have found out that the tax payer’s money may have been misused in the City of Watsonville.

TONIGHT’S CIRCUS MEETING

By Emilio, on Apr 12, 2011

SOME OF THE REST OF THE STORY

The Sentinel’s April 12th story by Donna Jones about the Watsonville AWOL fire truck is partially factual. She failed to mention one very important thing.  The mileage on the fire truck has attracted an investigation by the Department of Motor Vehicles. According to an April 2008 report provided to the Watsonville City Council, the KME fire truck had 43,527miles which are the exact amount of miles reported by the previous owner, the city of Pasadena, on December 16, 2010 when they traded in the truck. It could be possible that the truck did not move more than a quarter mile for two years and eight months, but on October 29, 2010 a company that serviced the KME fire truck listed the mileage as 46,725. But, DMV documents the City of Watsonville produced indicate that the truck had 45,937 miles when it obtained the title of ownership on December 8, 2010. The DMV may be also looking into other possible impropriates.  

One of those impropriates may include that the dealership may have accepted the city’s check for $225,000 back in April 20, 2008 for the intent and purpose of selling a fire truck that it did not own or have possession of. According to DMV records, the City of Pasadena did not trade in the truck to the dealership until December 16, 2010. Yet, DMV records produced by the City of Watsonville state that we (the city) purchased the truck on December 8, 2010.  You may be confused, as I was, and that may be the possible reason the DMV is conducting an investigation.   

Pasadena City Council Minutes!

By Emilio, on Apr 8, 2011

Take a look at the City of Pasadena’s city council meeting minutes. Confused? Me too, especially when our city council was told last November that the fire truck was in Rancho Cucamonga being refurbished when in fact it was at a Pasadena fire station.

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BUTTON YOUR LIP

By Emilio, on Apr 8, 2011

 When ex-council member Antonio Rivas screamed at a city council meeting audience to “Shut up, Shut up” I don’t think he knew that maybe his words could soon be Watsonville’s new motto because a pattern is beginning to emerge that anybody who dare question City Manager Carlos Palacios may possibly be targeted with intimidation tactics.


As more information comes in, it seems that ex-council member Bill Neighbors was being pressured not to question fluoridation, the already in progress Atkinson Lane Development by Owen Lawlor, and the Code of Ethics violation investigation of yours truly. And most recently City Manager Palacios voiced his displeasure with Neighbors for sharing their e-mails with me, which are public records. But, it didn’t matter because as you can see I already had made a public records request for the emails to our city clerk the day after Mr. Neighbors resigned because like many of you, I too wondered what role City Manager Palacios had in the matter. I have yet to receive a response to my following e-mail:
_________________________________________________________________
From: emilio martinez [mailto:emar007@charter.net]
Sent: Wednesday, April 06, 2011 3:58 PM
To: Beatriz Flores (bflores@ci.watsonville.ca.us)
Subject: Public Records Request

Good Afternoon Beatriz
Please provide copies of all emails between City Manager Carlos Palacios and Mayor Pro-Tem Bill Neighbors from February 20, 2010 through today’s date.
Please advise of the date when these documents can be anticipated.
Thanks
Emilio

The Real Mayor Pro-Tem Bill Neighbors Story

By Emilio, on Apr 7, 2011

MAYOR PRO-TEM BILL NEIGHBORS RESIGNS THE DAY AFTER HIS OP-ED WAS PUBLISHED IN THE REGISTER-PAJARONIN

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

By Emilio, on Apr 3, 2011

As some of you know things are getting interesting in City Hall. I missed the city council meeting where some upper echelon members of the staff took to the podium as “private citizens” and blasted me for implying they are lazy, and was called a “malicious bully” by soon to retire Redevelopment Agency Manager Marty Ackerman who got a little over-animated. This was all because I wrote a column (R-P and Sentinel) about how much these members of city management staff earn. I compared their wages to those of the City of Pasadena which unbelievably, position by position, earn not much over what we compensate our city employees. But, instead of taking exception to the fact of how much they earn and that they receive car allowances they resorted to talking about Pasadena. Real soon they will find out why I used the city of Pasadena as an example. Maybe you can tell them. 

As many of you know I am a private investigator and have been an investigator for the majority of my life. It is difficult to turn on, or off, investigative instincts acquired through education, training and experience. As the result many times I find myself between a rock and a hard place which is going to happen more often now because as I become better informed how our city works, the more questions I have. 

REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY FUNDS (you know, the money to be used for redevelopment of blighted areas)  Eleven city employees and other “personnel costs” for Code Enforcement, Planning, and Accounting, are being paid over a Million Dollars from Redevelopment Funds. Marty Ackerman led this team of employees with $107,774 and add another $44,021.00 from another unknown source of funding for a grand total of $151,795.00 for a year’s pay. There are several others in the $100,000 Plus Club. Doug Mattos, a Sr. Administrative Analyst, earns a total of $104,867.00, almost $40,000 of it coming from redevelopment funds. Tamara Vides, another Administrative Analyst, earns $108,948, $54,474 of it from redevelopment funds. Kurt Overmeyer, Redevelopment Economic Manager earns a total of $116,760 with $17,514 coming from “other funds”.

Here is the kicker; have we been paying Jan Davidson as an “Assistant Redevelopment & Housing Director-Temp, Part Time” $57,801 from Redevelopment Funds for this past fiscal year? Is this is the same lady that City Manager Carlos Palacios recently announced that she was coming back on an interim half-time basis? If we have been paying Ms. Davison that amount of money it may be possible that we may have been paying $209,596 a year for 2 people to manage our Redevelopment Agency. So we are paying around 2 million per year to 20 city employees?

MEANWHILE, BACK IN PASADENA
Where is our fire truck, I asked. I found that our city wrote a check in the amount of $225,000 back in April 2008 for a ladder truck that we still don’t have possession of. After I asked about the location of the truck, we finally purchased it on December 8th, 2010 and received the title, but not the truck. But why, for over 2 years and 8 months, did $225,000 of our federal tax dollars inexplicably sit in a fire truck dealership’s bank account gaining interest while we were asking both our fire and police departments to take cuts in pay? But, this isn’t the worst of it. After conducting due diligence, I found out that the truck we “purchased” still belonged to the city of Pasadena and not the dealership. This left me little choice but make a public records request from the City Clerk in Pasadena. They provided me a document that was produced to their city council whereupon it was reported that the fire truck, which our city council was led to believe was in “excellent condition” by Fire Chief Mark Bisbee, could not be sold because it did not meet state safety requirements and standards. And, as the result the Pasadena City Council was told that the value of the fire truck was $20,000, if that much, and could only be used as a trade in.

What our city council was led to believe, what we paid for the truck, or that the money sat in a bank account other than our city’s, for almost 3 years, may seem astounding. But what is additionally concerning is that it took me since November 29, 2010 until a few weeks ago to determine the majority of the facts. An elected official should not have to spend 3 months and over one hundred hours of due diligence, and require the use of the Freedom of Information Act because of a simple question; “Where is our money”?   

I have been accused of being a “malicious bully” by RDA Manager Ackerman, and currently being investigated for a Code of Ethics Violation by an Ad-Hoc Committee appointed by Mayor Dodge all because a lobbyist (Elias Alonzo) for a multi-millionaire developer wanting redevelopment agency money with direct connections to our city manager, mayor, and some council members, is demanding that somehow I have to go. What’s next, another smear campaign or as Antonio Rivas demanded a recall?

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