Watsonville has four city council seats up for election this November, but only one seat, District 7, has a race. The others are uncontested. In District 7, Mayor Ari Parker, the incumbent, faces veteran politician Nancy A. Bilicich. Lookout asked each candidate to answer two questions. Only Bilicich responded; here are her answers.
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Nancy A. Bilicich
Please tell readers why they should vote for you. What specifically sets you apart from your opponent?
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I am a lifelong resident of Watsonville and have served on the Watsonville City Council for nine years, including one year as mayor. I worked with the senior community and we succeeded in changing the median foliage, reducing speeding and making a welcoming entrance. I have also served on three levee boards. The levee has been a major challenge, which concerns many residents of District 7.
Working with U.S. Rep. Jimmy Panetta, state Sen. John Laird, Santa Cruz County Supervisors Zach Friend and Greg Caput along with Monterey County Supervisors John Phillips and Luis Alejo, we have been able to secure $442 million for the Watsonville and Pajaro communities to reconstruct the levees.
I have been a teacher, counselor and administrator for more than 45 years. I am currently director of Watsonville Aptos Santa Cruz Adult Education. I have a master’s degree from Santa Clara University and a Ph.D. in education from Nova Southeastern University.
I am an experienced candidate who enjoys working with and listening to people. I have continued to work with city groups and organizations through my lifetime. My mantra is “getting things done,” which I do with the community’s help. I work with people to find solutions to the many concerns the public encounters.
Please focus on the single most important issue facing your city and how, if elected, you will address it. Be as specific as space allows.
Answer: Completing the Pajaro River and Salsipuedes Creek levees.
The single most important issue facing the city is the completion of the Pajaro River and Salsipuedes Creek levees to put residents’ minds at ease over the continuous issue of potential flooding and high flood-insurance premiums. I will continue to serve on the three levee boards to see this project completed. We will need to have various community meetings to gather input from residents and keep residents informed of the project status as we go through the project phases.
Another issue for the east side of town is the addition of a fire station — or at least an emergency medical technician station — as the city has grown. Joyce-McKenzie Park was supposed to be the site of the third fire station in the 1970s. The east side of Watsonville has exploded since then, with numerous housing projects and a school. A quicker response time is needed, especially since much of the housing serves seniors.
Other items facing the city include traffic, speeding and pedestrian/bicyclist safety and working with city staff to implement calming devices to slow the traffic down.