Video highlights – City Council votes NO on industrial safety, June 19, 2018

Video taken from the City of Benicia, edited and reposted by Constance Beutel on YouTube
[Editor: Scroll down for 5 videos on various portions of the Benicia City Council’s June 19, 2018 review of industrial safety.  Council took over 5½ hours that night – here’s a shorter way to stay informed on the ISO decision.  – RS]

1. Presentation to support Benicia Industrial Safety Ordinance Review
City of Benicia video, excerpt by Constance Beutel (32 min.)
On June 19, 2018 the Mayor and a Citizen Group presented a draft Industrial Safety Ordinance to Benicia City Council to recommend that they refer the ordinance to City Staff for expert review and comments. This video captures the presentation and rationale.


2. Citizen testimony to support Benicia Industrial Ordinance
City of Benicia video, excerpt by Constance Beutel (37 min.)
On June 19, 2018 the Mayor and a Citizen Group presented a draft Industrial Safety Ordinance to Benicia City Council to recommend that they refer the ordinance to City Staff for expert review and comments. Citizens who spoke in favor of the review of this ordinance are shown in this video.


3. Valero Opposition to a Benicia Industrial Safety Ordinance
City of Benicia video, excerpt by Constance Beutel (9½ min.)
On June 19, 2018 the Benicia City Council was asked to refer a citizen draft Industrial Safety Ordinance to City Staff for expert review and comment. Valero spokespersons urged Council not to approve this request for review.


4. Council discussion and vote on ISO for staff review
City of Benicia video, excerpt by Constance Beutel (52 min.)
On June 19, 2018 the Mayor and a Citizen Group presented a draft Industrial Safety Ordinance to Benicia City Council to recommend that they refer the ordinance to City Staff for expert review and comments. This video captures the Council discussion and vote to reject the proposal.


5. City approves individual as “organized group” (2½ min.)
Finally here’s a quirky – if not outright stupid – segment of the meeting (taken directly from the City website).  As Larnie Fox put it, “We saw an embarrassing moment” when a citizen claimed to be an organized opposition group.  When asked to define “organized opposition,” the Mayor deferred to City Attorney Heather McLaughlin, whose baffling response (below) allowed the person to speak out of turn as an “organization of one.”  He could have but thankfully didn’t carry on for a full 15 minutes.  It is widely assumed that the City will redefine “organized” support and opposition before this precedent is acted upon again.  – RS, editor

    Larnie Fox: We would simply like to know what is in the air

    Submitted by the author…

    Simple

    By Larnie Fox, June 25, 2018

    Larnie Fox, Benicia

    As a citizen of Benicia who lives close to a refinery I, like many other Benicians, would simply like to know what is in the air that we breathe.

    At the Benicia City Council meeting last Tuesday, 6/19/18, the Council missed an excellent opportunity to get us that information. Valero clearly does not want us to know what is in the air we breathe. Unfortunately Tom Campbell joined Mark Hughes and Alan Schwartzman in opposing the proposed Industrial Safety Ordinance. Tom did say that he would vote for such an ordinance in November “if Valero doesn’t act”. I have no doubt that Valero will “act”, but I doubt that it will act in such a way that gets us real-time, publicly accessible air-quality monitors in our neighborhoods. People in our community have been working to get such monitors for close to twenty years. Valero has consistently hampered efforts in that direction. These are the simple facts. It raises the simple question: why does Valero not want us to know what is in our air?

    My wife and I are not part of the ISO Working Group, but we and scores of Benicians supporting an Industrial Safety Ordinance sat through the marathon Council meeting last Tuesday until the wee hours of the morning.

    • We heard a very detailed, commonsense, comprehensive proposal for an ISO that included both fence-line and community air monitors and a “seat at the table” that would give our representatives a voice and access to information about events at the refinery.
    • We heard requests from City Council members for Valero to provide more information about the May 5, 2017 flaring incident, which prompted shelter-in-place warnings in our schools and evacuations and sent residents to the hospital, and explain why such information had not already been provided.
    • We heard Valero stonewalling those requests to the obvious frustration of all five Council members.
    • We heard them talking about installing only fence-line (not community) monitors, and even being unwilling to say where those would be located. (We found out they would be on the side of their facility that would measure air moving away from Benicia.)
    • We saw an embarrassing moment when Robert Livesay, a frequent contributor to the Benicia Herald, claimed to be “an organized group” in order to speak out of turn and for an extended time – for an incoherent diatribe against community engagement on this issue – taking advantage of the courtesy the Council extends to actual organized groups like Benicians for a Safe and Healthy Community and Valero Energy Partners. This was unfortunate as our local democracy flourishes only because of the civility and courtesy we show each other, even if we disagree on issues.
    • We also saw many well-informed members of our community ask our elected representatives for an ISO that would get us the information we need to be able to save lives should an accident worse than the May 5, 2017 event occur at Valero in the future.

    This is not a simple issue. The ISO is multifaceted and complex. However, the simple fact remains that we deserve air-quality monitors in our neighborhoods and access to the information from those monitors in real time. The Council has again delayed this legitimate request. Let’s thank Mayor Patterson and Vice Mayor Steve Young for their leadership, and remember to hold the other three accountable in November.

    Larnie Fox

      Support for candidate Josh Harder – California’s 10th Congressional District

      Repost of an email from SwingLeft
      [Editor: Anything we can do to help flip California’s 10th Congressional District (Northern San Joaquin Valley, including Modesto, Tracy, etc.) – we should do!  This is a fundraiser email, but it has good info about candidate Josh Harder and his Trumpish Republican opponent.  Josh Harder’s website is at harderforcongress.com.  – RS]

      Hey Swing Left CA-10,

      Meet your Democratic nominee, Josh Harder, who accepted the nomination in CA-10 last week!  Harder is a small business leader who teaches at Modesto Junior College. He’s campaigning on Medicare for All, immigration reform, and investing in infrastructure for the Central Valley. He also wants to overturn Citizens United, restore the Voting Rights Act and put an end to gerrymandering.

      His opponent, Republican incumbent Jeff Denham, voted to repeal Obamacare, voted for the GOP Tax Scam, and is against women’s right to choose. He’s also taken money from the NRA. On the subject of climate change, he says “nobody really knows the cause” and doubled down with a cynical and glib suggestion that “maybe we should kill the cows to stop the methane, or stop breathing to stop the CO2.” We say maybe he shouldn’t be a member of the House anymore!

      Make a contribution to Josh Harder’s campaign through Swing Left right now.

      Grassroots donors have already raised more than $200,000 for the Swing Left District Fund for CA-10, which has been given directly to Josh Harder’s campaign. Early money like this enables candidates to hire campaign staff, open offices, and buy ad time at a cheaper rate to help flip this important seat blue.

      Now that we’re in the general election season, there are two big ways you can help Democrats take back the House in November:

      1. Make a contribution to Josh Harder in CA-10. Your donation will go directly to his campaign, where it can have the biggest impact.
      2. Stay involved. Forward this email to your friends and let them know about the official nominee for your Swing District. We’ll be in touch soon with more opportunities to hear directly from the candidate and volunteer to help the campaign win in November.

      Thanks!

      Ethan, Miriam, Michelle, Matt, and the Swing Left Team

      P.S. Here’s Josh accepting his Big Blue Check. Let’s keep it going!


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