In the News

SANTA CRUZ WEEKLY ENDORSES LUIS ALEJO FOR ASSEMBLY

SANTA CRUZ WEEKLY ENDORSES LUIS ALEJO FOR ASSEMBLY

Thursday May 27, 2010

There’s a reason Luis Alejo has amassed a comprehensive list of endorsements, including from Democratic central committees throughout the 28th District: he’s been laying the groundwork for this race for a long time. A Watsonville native with a Harvard education, a law degree and stint as a legislative aide under his belt, Alejo currently serves as Watsonville’s mayor when not at his day job as a staff attorney for the Monterey County Superior Court.

In keeping with the district’s profile, he cites jobs creation, health care reform and education as top priorities, along with amending the two-thirds majority requirement on passing a budget. His main challenger, Janet Barnes, has strong Salinas Valley support and a 12-year track record on the Salinas City Council, but she lacks the breadth of support Alejo has, including the connections in Sacramento that will enable him to be an effective representative right out of the gate. We recommend Luis Alejo for the 28th Assembly District.

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Watsonville considers license for tobacco retailers

Watsonville considers license for tobacco retailers

Tuesday May 25, 2010

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WATSONVILLE - The City Council took a step toward requiring cigarette sellers to get a local license Tuesday, unanimously directing the police department to develop an ordinance for consideration.

If approved, police say they would have more authority and resources to ensure minors can't get smokes.

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"It's not a panacea," said Mayor Luis Alejo. "But it would provide significant resources to have local control, local oversight over the problem."

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'Mud slinging' ad turns up volume on Assembly race between Alejo, Barnes campaigns

'Mud slinging' ad turns up volume on Assembly race between Alejo, Barnes campaigns

Monday May 24, 2010

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Alejo acknowledged having received nine tickets in 20 years. "Some were fix-it tickets, with a broken tail-light, or were dismissed," he said, and none involved injuries or driving under the influence. The ad mentions a citation for "reckless driving" issued when Alejo was 17.

The candidate, who is also a staff attorney for Monterey County Superior Court, is 36. His driving record is irrelevant to the issues in the election, Alejo said.

"She [Barnes] accuses me of reckless driving," he said. "This is something that occurred 19 years ago. It's a clear example of reckless advertising."

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Watsonville mayor decries attack ad by group supporting Janet Barnes in Assembly primary

Watsonville mayor decries attack ad by group supporting Janet Barnes in Assembly primary

Saturday May 22, 2010

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Watsonville Mayor Luis Alejo, who is battling Salinas City Councilwoman Janet Barnes in an Assembly primary race, condemned a television attack ad Friday that says he received nine traffic citations and was fined $1,000 for reckless driving.

The ad, which features the inside of a cartoon vehicle in motion with Alejo depicted as a bobble-head doll on the dashboard, was rebuked by Assemblyman Bill Monning, D-Carmel, a supporter of Alejo.

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SANTA CRUZ SENTINEL ENDORSES LUIS ALEJO FOR ASSEMBLY

SANTA CRUZ SENTINEL ENDORSES LUIS ALEJO FOR ASSEMBLY

Friday May 21, 2010

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Alejo brings a unique life story to a campaign in which he is vying against Salinas City Councilwoman and teacher Janet Barnes and Gilroy school board President Francisco Dominguez.

Alejo, who has garnered union support and raised more money than the other candidates, has worked hard both to rise from humble circumstances and to give back to the community. A law graduate of UC Davis, Alejo got his BA at UC Berkeley and a master's of education degree from Harvard University. In addition to serving on the Watsonville City Council, he currently works as a staff attorney with Monterey County Superior Court, where he helps people who are representing themselves in legal matters such as foreclosures.


Alejo says he'll push to get local projects paid for with federal stimulus money -- and work to ensure California companies get bidding preference.

He's also trying to organize a "summit" aimed at high-school dropouts who need to get back to school and who need job training.

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Attack ad riles 28th Assembly campaign: Mayor Luis Alejo defends record

Attack ad riles 28th Assembly campaign: Mayor Luis Alejo defends record

Friday May 21, 2010

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"They are totally misconstruing my driving record," he said. "I'm not a bad driver, but I've gotten an occasional ticket."


The ad doesn't say, for example, that the 36-year-old Alejo was 17 when he was cited for reckless driving. Nor does the ad give a time frame for the nine tickets it cites - two of which were fix-it tickets for improper lighting on his car.


The nine tickets were issued between 1992 and 2009, but Alejo received all but one since 2004. The moving violations include speeding, making an illegal left turn, failing to yield for a pedestrian and tailgating.


Alejo said the tax and lien issues raised in the ad are related to a home he bought with his father. He said his father couldn't qualify for a loan by himself, but owning a home was his dream so, like in many families, he tried to help out.


When his father retired and realized he couldn't keep up the payments, he put the house on the market, Alejo said. By then, the house was worth less than he had paid for it, and his father got behind on the property taxes while negotiating with the bank on a short sale.


Alejo talks about the loss of the house in his own television commercial, and, though he says he helped his father buy the house, doesn't mention he was a co-owner.


Many others in the 28th District have found themselves in a similar situation in recent years, Alejo said.


"I know what a lot of families are going through," he said.

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District 28 Attack Ad Examined

District 28 Attack Ad Examined

Ad From Independent Groups, Candidate Says

Friday May 21, 2010

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SALINAS, Calif. -- A new ad concerning the California 28th District Assembly seat is getting a lot of attention for how it personally attacks one of the candidates.

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In the last six years, Alejo has had tickets for speeding, failure to yield, an improper left turn, following too closely to another vehicle, two tickets for a broken light on his car and one for a missing car registration sticker on his license plate.


Also, Alejo did have his license suspended for reckless driving, but it was nearly 20 years ago when Alejo was an 18-year old. He is now 36.


As for the tax problems and the lien, Alejo said that it resulted from a home his father owned that is being foreclosed.


Alejo said he doesn't like the ad tactic and is getting support from an Assembly incumbent.


"If it's being done in your name I think you have a responsibility to say it's not in my name, I renounce this," said Bill Monning, who represents the 27th District. "I want to focus on issues and not this smear campaign."

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Dem primary for Assembly seat key to November

Dem primary for Assembly seat key to November

Six candidates seek to replace Caballero

Saturday May 15, 2010

Alejo, a staff attorney with the Monterey County Superior Court, has taught high school in Watsonville, gone to Harvard University and worked as a legislative aide in Sacramento and as a legal aid attorney. He's been a Watsonville council member since 2008 and a community activist since he was a teenager.

He's confident a grass-roots campaign active since February will more than neutralize Barnes' possible advantage in the Salinas Valley. "I think I'm the candidate that has worked the hardest," Alejo said.

Alejo, who has a long string of endorsements from Democratic party groups and elected officials, describes himself as a centrist who is "a little more progressive on social issues."

His top priorities are jobs, making it easier to pass a state budget, public safety and education. Alejo spent a year working in the Legislature and says that experience should make him attractive to voters.

"They want to see who is best equipped," Alejo said.

He, too, said he wants to keep the campaign positive, but knocked recent criticism from a group backing Barnes over alleged campaign violations as a sign of desperation.

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Commuter Race draws attention to alternate forms of transportation

Commuter Race draws attention to alternate forms of transportation

Tuesday May 11, 2010

WATSONVILLE -- The seventh annual Santa Cruz County Commuter Race was held during rush hour in Watsonville Monday, where three community members competed against each other on various forms of alternative transportation. Participants in the three-mile race were required to stop off at three Watsonville businesses to simulate running errands during Watsonville's heavy 4 p.m. traffic.

Watsonville Mayor Luis Alejo, who drove a Zap! electric truck in the race, said that he was excited to see the different forms of alternative transportation in action. Alejo, who was competing in the annual race for the first time, said the event was fun for participants and educational for the community.

"This is a great event," Alejo said. "It's a cost-friendly way to get around. It promotes exercise for locals. Here in Watsonville, we have a lot of bike-friendly roads. We'd like to see a lot more people using alternative forms of transportation in the future."


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Eight Sureno gang members busted during Operation Groundhog in Watsonville already convicted, four sent to state prison

Eight Sureno gang members busted during Operation Groundhog in Watsonville already convicted, four sent to state prison

Tuesday May 11, 2010

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WATSONVILLE -- Four of the gang members arrested during Operation Groundhog, a year-long Watsonville police investigation into a violent Sureno street gang, already have been sentenced to state prison, District Attorney Bob Lee said Monday.

Another four have been convicted of charges and sentenced to local jail time or probation, according to Lee.

In total, 45 suspected Poorside gang members were arrested during the probe while two others are wanted, according to Watsonville police.

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Gesturing at the pile of guns, Watsonville Mayor Luis Alejo said, "We all know these guns that are here before us represent lives saved."

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