Fodder Modder

By Emilio, on Dec 22, 2013

Although many of us are amazed that the blatant misconduct and questionable incompetence that has a grip here in Watsonville seems to go unnoticed by the District Attorney, at the very least we can sometimes laugh about some of it. And, nothing is better than reading some local periodicals for some fodder. I have taken the liberty to satirize some of the news stories I read these past few days; here are the ones that provided the fodder for a few parodies.  But, first a summary of what was reported: 

According to the Santa Cruz Sentinel’s Donna Jones (12/19/13), Watsonville will hire two temporary firefighters to “curb overtime costs”, but when City Manager Carlos Palacios was asked how much money the city would save, his response was that he didn’t know. We compensate Palacios around $200,000 annually and he doesn’t have an idea how much money this program is going to save the city if any? After 22 years as City Manager and we can’t depend on him for some simple math?

Then there was the story in the Register-Pajaronian (12/13/13) regarding the signatures for two city charter amendments. The R-P’s Todd Guild reported that City Clerk Beatriz Flores, who earns around $100,000 annually, made a mistake when counting the days allowed gathering the signatures. Flores, who has a documented history of making mistakes and has some trouble with the English language, confirmed her mistake, but could not resist coming up with an excuse; that she was working short staffed. What? It takes two city employees to count the days needed as outlined on the City Charter?

But, with that said, can you imagine how it will go with the two new firefighter recruits? It could go something like this at the fire station parking lot:

“Alright, line up you two. Welcome to Watsonville where we pride ourselves with our professionalism and top notch firefighting equipment.”

(In unison) “Thank you Chief Buz…”

“It’s Bisbee, you farts for brains! Now listen up. First we are going to orientate you to our 100 foot ladder truck, fire engine number 4471, the pride of Watsonville.”

“Is that the one behind you chief?”

“Yes. Why?”

“There’s a large puddle under it.

 “Hey, what’s that crank for that’s sticking out of the front bumper? It isn’t to start the engine, is it?”

“Its’ an oil leak, but don’t you two worry about it. Here are some long johns, two carbon monoxide detectors and lanyards.”


Look, the fire station’s heater blew and it gets below freezing in there sometimes and we think its also leaking some carbon monoxide. So before going to bed, I recommend the long johns and tying the detectors around your neck with the lanyard. We run a top notch safety program here.”

“What about the bullhorns? What are they for?”

“Mine has a name tag on it…..who’s Luis Alejo?”

“They are communication devices you both will need to drive the ladder truck. It takes a front and rear driver and unless the rear driver knows where the front driver is turning, it could be catastrophic.”

“You don’t expect us to drive that truck, do you?”

“You two going to woosy out because of a lousy oil leak?”

“I don’t think that puddle is oil…it smells like diesel to me. Hey, who’s that lady walking towards us…the one that’s smoking? It smells like 4-2-0!”

“Dammit! It’s that reporter…she probably wants to interview you two new guys.”

 ‘Hey you! Get out of here with whatever you’re smoking! Can’t you smell the diesel…er…oil! You can interview these guys early tomorrow morning after you’re done with Carlos’.”

“Hey, you know what? I don’t think I wanna work here.”

“Me neither, Buzzbee!”

“It’s Bisbee dammit! And you two signed Contracts!”

“Oh yea? Well, who wrote up the Contracts, because I don’t think they’re any good?”

“Our City Clerk did. Why, what’s wrong with them?”

“Well, who’s Chimi Changa? My name’s Jimmy Chang.”

“Mine says Churro Gordo and my name’s Chuck Gordon!  Oh shit! The fire truck just caught fire! What the hell are you doing chief?”

What the hell do you think I’m doing?” “I’m calling the Santa Cruz Fire Department!  


Then there was the article, “Bigwigs line up behind Coonerty”, in the Santa Cruz Sentinel about Ryan Coonerty’s fund raiser who is running for County Supervisor. It was mentioned that Watsonville Mayor Karina Cervantez, Assemblyman Luis Alejo’s wife, was in attendance. I wondered if Mayor Cervantez-Alejo blushed when Coonerty expressed his desire for a more transparent government. But, what caught my attention was that Luis’ name wasn’t mentioned in the column, especially because he seems like such a publicity hound. Is there trouble in paradise, I wondered, and the Mayor didn’t want her hubby at the fund raiser? If there is, maybe a conversation went something like this:  


So why can’t I go?”

“Because you get enough attention already Louie! And if I am going to run for County Supervisor I need to show I’m an independent thinker. I hear that people are saying I’m your puppet wife who follows orders like Felipe, Lowell, Eduardo, Trina, and Daniel. I want to be known for my own identity, Louie.

“I don’t think you’re having any problems with that. I mean you won’t hyphenate your name. And look at what you said at the last city council meeting….that your name is not Alejo ”

“Ok, if you want to go, you can’t wear that stupid silly looking hat. Besides, I was told there’s going to be lots of big wigs there so why don’t you just get one if you’re so worried about almost being bald.”

“Ryan’s getting one too?”

Decinzo’s Take on Assemblyman Luis Alejo’s wife, Mayor Karina Cervantez


I could not stop from cracking up all morning. Well, off to buy tamale makings!


By Emilio, on Sep 7, 2011

Have our Strawberry Festivals been generating additional income to our city’s coffers or has it been operating in the Red and a financial liability? This question has become additionally prevalent when records provided by the city verified that the city used approximately $19,000 in “Petty Cash” to operate this year’s Strawberry Festival, and that after the Festival the City Council was asked to approve this this expenditure without any explanation. Sounds like Grand Jury fodder to me.


At our previous city council meeting I inquired about 4 checks totaling over $20,000 for “Petty Cash”.  I received a response from our Finance Director explaining that $10,450.00 of it was to pay 3 bands that performed at this year’s Strawberry Festival. Banda Autentica de Jerez was paid with 70 one-hundred dollar bills, Los Grandes de Tijuana was paid with 30 one-hundred dollar bills, and Mariachi Salinas de Martin Alcantar was paid with 4 one-hundred dollar bills and one fifty dollar bill.


The response prompted these additional questions to City Manager Carlos Palacios:

·         Why couldn’t these bands accept checks?


·         Other bands played at the Strawberry Festival. Were they also paid with cash money?



·         The check, #182454, in the amount of $18,650 for the bands, Sodas, Parking and Sales was issued on July 27th, which is 10 days prior to the festival. When was the check cashed and who had the care, custody and control of the cash for the days preceding payment?

·         Who handed out the 104 One-Hundred Dollar Bills and the one Fifty Dollar Bill to the Bands, on what date and to which individuals (names)?


·          When was it agreed with the Bands that they would be paid with cash money?



Can you imagine how maybe conversations went when 104 one-hundred dollar bills were being handed out?


By Emilio, on Aug 31, 2011




The Great Recession does have one redeeming quality that is pestering some elected officials and local and state employees- it’s the increasing demand for transparency.


In case you’re not keeping up, The Los Angeles Times and The Sacramento Bee have filed a lawsuit seeking expenditure records from Legislators. It seems this all started when State Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, a Democrat, voted against the state budget and he and Assembly Speaker John Perez, also a Dem, got into an imbroglio.  Portantino accused Perez of being retaliatory when his (Portantino’s) budget was slashed by Perez. Portantino, in his own self-defense, is demanding that copies of budgets for all Assembly Members be provided to the public.


One Assemblyman’s budget and expenditures I would like to see is Luis Alejo’s. Certainly he has nothing to hide, except maybe how he outspent all new Assembly Members with his new big black SUV in a “historic” economic time when people without jobs struggle everyday trying to make ends meet.  


But, one has to wonder what would happen here in Watsonville if Assemblyman Portantino demanded transparency. He just might be referenced by the first 3 letters of his title along with “hole” when his name came up in city staff meetings.  Asking questions about how our tax dollars are being spent is like asking for a lung from a bitter chronic smoker.


Tell you why, did any of you notice that in last week’s city council meeting the Grand Jury Report was discussed during the 4:30 PM Redevelopment Agency Session and not the in the regular 6:30 PM City Council Meeting? Where were you at 4:30 PM? In a nutshell, the Grand Jury was very critical of city staff for not being transparent. How did Mayor Daniel Dodge and City Manager Carlos Palacios respond to the Grand Jury allegations? Both took exception. And, although comical but alarming, both responded to the Grand Jury with two separate documents but both used the same verbiage. So who wrote Daniel Dodge’s Media Release letter back in June when the Grand Jury released their report? Was it him or City Manager Palacios? Or did both need assistance from a mystery writer?

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