Ari Parker leads Nancy Bilicich in the District 7 Watsonville City Council race as of Friday Nov. 11. (Stephen Baxter — Santa Cruz Local file) 

Last county update: 11/23/2022 4:00:00 PM

Watsonville City Council, District 3 (vote for 1)

CandidateTotal
MARIA OROZCO1142 (94.85%)

Watsonville City Council, District 4 (vote for 1)

CandidateTotal
KRISTAL SALCIDO1098 (96.06%)

Watsonville City Council, District 5 (vote for 1)

CandidateTotal
CASEY K. CLARK730 (91.59%)

Watsonville City Council, District 7 (vote for 1)

CandidateTotal
NANCY A. BILICICH948 (44.89%)
ARI PARKER1138 (53.88%)

WATSONVILLE >> Ari Parker led Nancy Bilicich in the District 7 Watsonville City Council race in election results posted by the Santa Cruz County clerk this week.

Results are expected to updated several times this month before the election is certified in early December.

Parker is the mayor of Watsonville and Bilicich is a former Watsonville mayor. The other Watsonville City Council candidates — Kristal Salcido, Casey Clark and Maria Orozco — ran unopposed in their districts.

This August, Santa Cruz Local interviewed and surveyed about 60 Watsonville residents in interviews and an online survey. Their most common questions and issues were taken to the candidates.

The top themes raised by Watsonville residents were:

  • A need for more youth activities.
  • A need for more businesses that cater to young people and families.
  • Help with rent.
  • Safer streets for walkers and cyclists.
  • Better quality jobs and higher wages.

Here is where the top vote getters stand on the issues, based on our interviews with the candidates.

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Nancy Bilicich, candidate for District 7 Watsonville City Council

Nancy Bilicich (Contributed)

  • Bilicich served on the Watsonville City Council from 2009 to 2018 representing District 7. She served as the city’s mayor in 2015.
  • Some Watsonville voters said they wanted better quality jobs and higher wages. When asked about bringing higher quality employers to Watsonville, Bilicih said skills training is key. “In my current position in adult education, I work with the Monterey Santa Cruz Building and Construction Trades for the developing of skilled workers in the trades industry,” Bilicich said. “This results in higher paying jobs for those who complete the program. I would work with the chamber of commerce to encourage better paying jobs in the city of Watsonville by motivating new companies to join our city.”
  • When asked about making streets safer for cyclists and walkers in Watsonville, Bilicich said she wanted to continue new construction on bike lanes and crosswalks with grant money. “We need to continue this process determined by city surveys to implement bike lanes in the busiest areas,” Bilicich said. “In addition, we need more flashing crosswalk lights and other more modern LED (light) traffic-safety technologies.  I think this is needed across the city, obviously, with the current plan that they want to move forward with which does prioritize some of the downtown area, just to make it more walkable and to have more connections to bus stops and so forth.”
  • Read more about Bilicich in Santa Cruz Local’s Election Guide.

Ari Parker, District 7 Watsonville City Council candidate

Ari Parker (Contributed)

  • Ari Parker is the mayor of Watsonville. Parker declined to participate in Santa Cruz Local’s election guide.

Maria Orozco, District 3 Watsonville City Council candidate

Maria Orozco (Contributed)

  • Maria Orozco is the sole candidate for Watsonville City Council District 3.
  • Orozco has served as a Pajaro Valley Unified School District trustee for nearly 10 years. She has served on Watsonville’s Parks and Recreation Commission for eight years and on several county boards and commissions including the Santa Cruz County Women’s Commission.
  • Orozco said job creation and economic development are her priorities. “With the rising cost of food, fuel and housing, Watsonville residents do need access to those types of opportunities,” Orozco said. Orozco said a way to further that goal is to support development of programs that offer access to career pathways, internships, apprenticeships and educational and skill development programs. Orozco added that there is a need for more housing across all income levels, including affordable housing, workforce housing and programs for first-time homebuyers.
  • Read more about Orozco in Santa Cruz Local’s Election Guide.

Kristal Salcido, District 4 Watsonville City Council candidate

Kristal Salcido (Contributed)

  • Kristal Salcido is the sole candidate in Watsonville City Council District 4.
  • Salcido is a Santa Cruz County assistant district attorney.
  • Salcido said she wanted to make that sure city spending is aligned with what residents want. “We are a city that is of limited means and limited budget. As a city councilperson, I see my role as really being that focused, independent audit to make sure that every dollar that we’re using is used in the most appropriate way,” Salcido said. City money must have “the most impact, and that we’re prioritizing what it is we want in our community by listening to the community.”
  • Read more about Salcido in Santa Cruz Local’s Election Guide.

Casey Clark, District 4 Watsonville City Council candidate

Casey Clark (Contributed)

  • Casey Clark is the sole candidate in Watsonville City Council District 5.
  • Clark declined to participate in Santa Cruz Local’s Election Guide.

Read Santa Cruz Local’s Election Guide on the Watsonville City Council to learn about:

  • Council members’ roles and responsibilities.
  • District boundaries and the format for council elections.
  • Candidates’ profiles.

Read more about early results:

Santa Cruz County election results

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Stephen Baxter is a co-founder and editor of Santa Cruz Local. He covers Santa Cruz County government.