Steve Bankhead: Watsonville's 'sweeth...

Steve Bankhead: Watsonville's 'sweetheart' loan puzzling

There are 11 comments on the Santa Cruz Sentinel story from Jul 18, 2010, titled Steve Bankhead: Watsonville's 'sweetheart' loan puzzling. In it, Santa Cruz Sentinel reports that:

A recent Sentinel story covered the decision by Watsonville to lend $400,000 in Redevelopment Agency RDA funds to the Romo family for improvements to their commercial building across Second Street from the Civic Plaza building.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Santa Cruz Sentinel.

Seacliff Local

Brookdale, CA

#1 Jul 18, 2010
Very interesting! I would love to read the City of Watsonville's response to this editorial.
Not a bad deal

AOL

#2 Jul 18, 2010
I think the lowest small business loans available are over 6%, and some banks charge over 8%, so 3% is pretty sweet.
Inquiring minds

Watsonville, CA

#3 Jul 18, 2010
Thank you for writing this article Mr. Bankhead. Undoubtedly you will anger some folks who don't like having their dirty deals exposed to the light of day. I've heard it over the years and from more than one source that this same family has long been involved in trafficking of illegal contraband, but they seem to avoid any scrutiny. Since you live in town, Mr. Bankhead, drive down Riverside Drive as you pass their auto lot. You'll see a building directly touching the Romo building. This building, if you look closely, has Chinese characters on the front window. This is/was the property of the Suey Sing Chinese Benevolent Association, comprised of members of the local Chinese community. Many of thise members have passed away or are quite elderly now and the community is not very active. It appears that the Romos have 'acquired' the property via a fence completely surrounding the building, and their own newer building butting up against the structure! If they legally owned this property they would have demolished it properly.

I remember going into this building as a small child and my mother telling me it belonged to the Chinese community. I don't remember it being sold by, or to anyone. It could have been but I doubt it, given the looks of things.
Down Town Charlie

United States

#4 Jul 18, 2010
I guess we really won't know if the $400,000 loan is a wise investment in the Romo building until we see a thriving business there. Undoubtedly, Redevelopment Agencies throughout the state are controversial because they freeze the tax base within a redevelopment agency and any subsequent tax increase is used in the redevelopment area to eliminate what some characterize as "blight." In my mind, there is no question that downtown Watsonville needs to be transformed. Most "old" downtowns in other cities have disappeared entirely or are barely surviving. Although I don't really care for corporate food chains, the earlier downtown Burger King investment is successful and continues to thrive. I just hope that whatever goes in the new Romo building is a successful, respected, reputable business that brings people downtown to spend their money and increases pedestrian traffic.
Location location

Castro Valley, CA

#5 Jul 18, 2010
Down Town Charlie wrote:
I guess we really won't know if the $400,000 loan is a wise investment in the Romo building until we see a thriving business there. I just hope that whatever goes in the new Romo building is a successful, respected, reputable business that brings people downtown to spend their money and increases pedestrian traffic.
Reason given for the loan was that changes were needed to be made in the Romo building in order for it to be more usable for offices by prospective tenant Whole Foods. Problem is, Whole Foods already has offices across town in the Westridge Business Park. So this won't be bringing in new jobs - just moving them downtown. Probably the major benefit in that is filling an empty building right next door to city hall.
Ronald

Watsonville, CA

#6 Jul 18, 2010
Of course the whole thing stinks.
This requires examination by the Grand Jury.
freedom

Palo Alto, CA

#7 Jul 18, 2010
I looks bad to have a run down building next to "Saddam's palace" (the government center).
Tale of two cities

Castro Valley, CA

#8 Jul 19, 2010
As I read this piece, I kept thinking of the favors and protections provided by the Santa Cruz local government for the business ventures of the Coonertys, Sr. & Jr. It looks like other cities also have their favored families.
Home in Wats

Mountain View, CA

#9 Jul 24, 2010
Let's say that the obvious pocket lining relationship between Romo and Palacios is eliminated, the entitlement actions performed by the Watsonville city staff on behalf of a single citizen/company is overlooked and we pretend that the 'acquisition' of an adjacent property related to these players isn't fishy.
Even if the facts that build the above premises were non existent, what city planner, manager or finance director would think that a building of "Saddam's Palace" stature and it's related cabanas should be in Watsonville?
Who is going to occupy those spaces? What business would relocate to Watsonville?
Even if there WAS a promise of full capacity by the county or WHATEVER ..........has anyone else looked around at this city lately?
Trash, grafitti, noise, shopping carts ...... not to mention the terrifying fireworks nights we must endure at least twice a year as our houses are showered with sparks from the illegal fireworks that the city allows. The fourth of July in Watsoville looks like Baghdad.(I have video from 7-4-10 if you are doubtful)
And it seems, to this resident, that it's getting worse, not better. Immigrant farm labourers sleeping at the levy or in the slough. Gang members shooting or stabbing or beating each other to the point they have to be helicoptered out to trauma centers.
These are not good demographics to have on your "Redevelopment Report Card."
Please tell me - who would move their business to downtown Watsonville. I've been here for 5 years and I have only seen business (i.e. Gottshalks) close and move - not open and stay. Who?
This situation is no different than what happens in Washington DC every day with lobbyists and special intersts. What a sad comment on the ruling class and city officials of Watsonville. You officials are elected and appointed to serve the people. ALL the people - not just one family. And your service doesn't include neglecting the basic functions of the city's infrastructure while lining your pockets.
As Watsonville continues to deteriorate, a select few are rewarded and grow richer.
A very common theme all over the US.
sweetcakes

United States

#10 Sep 22, 2010
Inquiring minds wrote:
Thank you for writing this article Mr. Bankhead. Undoubtedly you will anger some folks who don't like having their dirty deals exposed to the light of day. I've heard it over the years and from more than one source that this same family has long been involved in trafficking of illegal contraband, but they seem to avoid any scrutiny. Since you live in town, Mr. Bankhead, drive down Riverside Drive as you pass their auto lot. You'll see a building directly touching the Romo building. This building, if you look closely, has Chinese characters on the front window. This is/was the property of the Suey Sing Chinese Benevolent Association, comprised of members of the local Chinese community. Many of thise members have passed away or are quite elderly now and the community is not very active. It appears that the Romos have 'acquired' the property via a fence completely surrounding the building, and their own newer building butting up against the structure! If they legally owned this property they would have demolished it properly.
I remember going into this building as a small child and my mother telling me it belonged to the Chinese community. I don't remember it being sold by, or to anyone. It could have been but I doubt it, given the looks of things.
If you go to the Alejo for Assemblyman web page you will see that Stella Romo is one of his supporters. Now you understand. Huerta and the flouride faction are also Alejo's supporters. Now you understand. Look for favors and then look to see if their name is on Alejo's list. Crooked, you bet.
sweetcakes

United States

#11 Sep 22, 2010
Seacliff Local wrote:
Very interesting! I would love to read the City of Watsonville's response to this editorial.
I went to the minutes of the July 1 meeting where it was decided that the Rich Romos would get a 3%$400,000. loan from the City of Watsonville.
Alejo chaired this meeting and also voted.
He should have recused himself from voting and chairing due to Romo being a contributor to his campaign and a supporter.
It stinks.
Perhaps Jerry Brown should be informed of this conflict of interest.
It reminds me of Bell Calif council. A lot of crooked deals.

Tell me when this thread is updated:

Subscribe Now Add to my Tracker

Add your comments below

Characters left: 4000

Please note by submitting this form you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Service and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator. Send us your feedback.

Life Discussions

Title Updated Last By Comments
News 7 weird and wonderful things to eat in the Grim... 4 hr Parden Pard 1
News Women's March Demands Equality 4 hr let go 7
News We tried the fried fish sandwiches from the big... 6 hr Lets Have It 1
News Ann Coulter's Anti-Semitism Runs Deep (May '16) 11 hr Tm Cln 60
News March, Rally Planned In Downtown Today Sat binaries 1
News Santa and the housekeeper: The forgotten JonBen... Sat kauna 125
News Shock Ramsey weapon theory Sat Texxy 4
More from around the web