BenitoLink Team


Leslie David, Executive Director

Email: lesliedavid@benitolink.com
Phone: (831) 801-1356

Leslie David is a founding board member and is currently BenitoLink executive director. She is a Bay Area independent reporter/producer and has produced for radio, television, newspaper and magazines in both California and Wyoming. She was with KRON-TV News in San Francisco as camera-woman, editor and field producer, where she and Linda Yee won the Commonwealth Club Thomas Storke Award for their series on the Aids Epidemic where they explored England’s established needle exchange program and introduced it to the Bay Area television audience. Leslie started as a small market news reporter/photographer at KEYT-TV in Santa Barbara,Ca. shooting and editing 16mm film. Today, Leslie lives on a ranch with her family in San Benito County.

Nicholas Preciado, Content Manager

Email: nicholaspreciado@benitolink.com
Phone: (909) 720-0263

Nicholas Preciado is content manager for BenitoLink, as well as a writer, editor, and journalist. He previously worked at the Hollister Free Lance, Gilroy Dispatch, and Morgan Hill Times newspapers. Nick graduated from Humboldt State University in 2013 with a B.A. in English Writing Practices and a minor in journalism.

Noe Magaña, Staff Reporter

Email: noemagana@benitolink.com
Phone: (831) 801-5846

Noe Magaña is a BenitoLink reporter. He also experiments with videography and photography. A San Benito High School graduate with a bachelor’s in journalism from San Jose State and a Liberal Arts Associate’s Degree from Gavilan College. Noe also attended San Jose City College and was the managing editor for the City College Times, the school’s newspaper. He also was a reporter and later a copy editor for San Jose State’s Spartan Daily.

Carmel de Bertaut, Reporter

Email: carmeldebertaut@benitolink.com

Carmel has a BA in Natural Sciences/Biodiversity Stewardship from San Jose State University and an AA in Communications Studies from West Valley Community College. She reports on science and the environment, arts and human interest pieces. Carmel has worked in the ecological and communication fields and is an avid creative writer and hiker. She has been reporting for BenitoLink since May, 2018.

Liz Smith, Bookkeeper

Email: lizsmith@benitolink.com

Liz Recalde Smith was raised in Panoche Valley in the rural, south-eastern part of San Benito County. She is a bookkeeper and also a great reference for what is authentic San Benito County.

Francisco Romero, Web Developer

Email: franciscoromero@benitolink.com

Francisco came to BenitoLink as a web developer as an Emma Bowen Foundation intern. He was raised in San Benito County and is a recent graduate of San Jose State University where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in Software Engineering. Since his internship, he has continued on as a contractor assisting BenitoLink in web development.

Reporter / Photographer

John Chadwell, Reporter

Email: johnchadwell@benitolink.com

John Chadwell is a BenitoLink reporter and an author. He has many years experience as a freelance photojournalist, copywriter, ghostwriter, scriptwriter and novelist. He is a former U.S. Navy Combat Photojournalist and is an award-winning writer who has worked for magazine, newspapers, radio and television. He has a BA in Journalism and Mass Communications from Chapman University and underwent graduate studies at USC Cinema School. John has worked as a script doctor and his own script, God’s Club, was released as a motion picture in 2016. He has also written eight novels, ranging from science fiction to true crime that are sold on Amazon.

Becky Bonner, Reporter

Email: beckybonner@benitolink.com

Becky Bonner is a local teacher at San Benito High School who is passionate about sharing things to do in San Benito County.

Frank Pérez, Reporter

Email: frankperez@benitolink.com

I’m a lifelong resident of San Benito County. I reside in Hollister with my wife, Brenda. I’m embarking on my 19th year at San Benito High School, where I teach world history and Mexican-American history. In addition, I’m moonlighting as a freelance journalist for BenitoLink. My passion is delving deeper into the nuances of the local, historical record, while including lesser-known stories of our past. My hope is that county residents will have a greater appreciation for the diversity and complexity of San Benito County, realizing that its uniqueness depends upon our responsibility as its stewards.

Mathew Koller, Reporter

Email: mkolle01@gmail.com

Matt Koller is a freelance journalist and photographer covering issues that affect both San Benito and Monterey County. He’s worked as a naturalist in Southeast Alaska, a photographer in the mountains of Colorado, and crewed sailing boats in Hawaii—but feels most at home on the Central Coast, writing about the community.

Patty Lopez Day, Reporter

Email: pattylopezday@benitolink.com

Patty Lopez Day, is a journalist and writer by trade. She's published in print and online media throughout the Bay Area, most notably La Oferta, the longest running bi-lingual, Latino-owned media in San Jose California. She started her journalism career after graduating from UC Santa Barbara in 2005 in English and Chicana/o studies.  Born and raised in San Jose, she is now establishing roots alongside her husband and 2 children in San Benito County. Lopez Day covers mostly education, local news and  features for Benitolink and remains open to new story ideas, sources and tips on any subject matter of interest to the community at large.

Andrew Pearson, Reporter

Email: akpearson99@gmail.com

Andrew Pearson lived in Hollister for seventeen years before going to college in Oregon. Now that he’s back in Hollister with a B.A. in English, he reports for Benitolink and hopes to serve God and the people of San Benito County with his work.


Emma Hoffman, Reporter Intern

Email: ehoffman3000@gmail.com

Emma Hoffman is a reporting intern at BenitoLink. She attended local schools and is now a Senior at Monte Vista Christian School. She plans to pursue a career in Creative Writing and Film.

Julia Hicks, Reporter Intern

Email: karatejulia177@gmail.com

Julia Hicks is a senior at San Benito High School. She is a student-athlete in track & field, co-editor in chief of the yearbook and Historian for SBHS’ Associated Student Body. Julia is also a 4th degree black belt at Ernie Reyes’ West Coast World Martial Arts and has been in martial arts for 12 years. After high school, Julia plans on attending a 4-year university and major in criminal justice. She also wishes to continue journalism opportunities throughout her senior year and beyond.

Kurt Higa, Web Developer Intern

Email: kurthigaa@gmail.com

Kurt Higa is a web developer intern and a Emma Bowen Foundation fellow. He was raised in the East Bay and is currently studying Computer Science at UC Santa Cruz.

Erika Pina, Reporter Intern

Email: eripin1177@gmail.com

I have an A.A in Political Science with an emphasis on Sociology from Hartnell College. Thus, I am transfer student at UC Davis, studying Poli-Sci. I am an intern reporter for Benito Link since February 2020. As a reporter I focus on articles of community events and profiles on people from the community.