As this campaign draws to a close, I want to express my heartfelt thanks to those who have stood with me and supported me through what has been a very difficult period.
No one likes to be attacked so mercilessly. It bothered me to be accused of “living off the taxpayers” because I have a pension; or to have my $379 monthly stipend and health care benefits described as “taking thousands of dollars a month from the City” in an effort to attack my integrity and character. But, I realize that seeking elected office in a small community means having to put myself out there and expose myself to all forms of public scrutiny, real or imagined.
As challenging as running for office can be, the real work begins when I take office, assuming I win on November 3rd. In order to accomplish the things that need to be done, there will need to be compromises on the part of the Council. The Mayor’s powers are limited and it will still take three votes for us to effect change or enact solutions. I commit to work with the entire Council regardless of past disagreements or oppositions in order to move our City forward.
Throughout my campaign, I’ve made a variety of pledges to the people of Benicia. I will carry those pledges with me into the Mayor’s office. To recap, I pledge to:
Maintain as much transparency as possible.
Stay active on social media as a means to stay in touch with my constituents.
Respect the outcome of Measure D and honor the people’s vote
Refuse to accept corporate or union contributions.
I intend to be a conscientious Mayor for all Benicians; representing seniors, families, youth, longtime residents, and new arrivals. And in spite of their determination to defeat me, I will do my part to repair the discord with Valero and request their leadership meet with me on a monthly basis to improve our understanding and communication.
We have many challenges in front of us: economic recovery from the pandemic for both businesses and residents; improving efficiencies at City Hall; and dealing with our underfunded pensions, roads and utility infrastructure.
None of this will be easy. But all of it is necessary.
I ask for your vote and help, elect me as your next mayor on or before November 3rd.
Latest info from Solano County Registrar of Voters
The Solano County Registrar of Voters (ROV) is reminding residents that Tuesday, October 27 is the last day the ROV can mail ballots to voters for the November 3 General Election. Voters who have not yet received a ballot for this election should contact the ROV by or before Tuesday.
“Starting back on Monday, October 5, we’ve been busy mailing out ballots to the more than 258,000 registered voters here in Solano County,” said Tim Flanagan, Solano County Chief Information Officer and Registrar of Voters. “I want to remind everyone that after next Tuesday, October 27, all ballots must be picked up in-person at the Registrar of Voters Office or at a polling place on Election Day.”
The ROV has extended its office hours on Saturday, October 24 and Saturday, October 31 from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. to give voters additional time to register to vote. Voters who are still not registered by Election Day can visit any polling location for same-day registration, giving them the option to participate in the General Election.
The ROV encourages voters to take advantage of NO-CONTACT VOTING OPTIONS by using one of 16 secure ballot boxes located throughout the County. Starting on Thursday, October 29, an additional 10 curbside ballot drop-off locations will open, allowing voters a convenient and safe way to drop off their ballots. For more information, including ballot box and curbside drop-off locations, visit the ROV website at www.SolanoCounty.com/Elections and click the “Ballot Drop-Off Sites” and Curbside Drop-Off Sites links.
Early Voting is available at the Registrar of Voter’s Office, located at the Solano County Administration Center, 675 Texas St, Suite 2600, in Fairfield.
Important for readers of the Benicia Independent: The deadline to submit your questions to candidates on the Valero PAC’s attempt to buy our Mayor’s seat and other “hit pieces” is close of business (5pm) on Thursday, October 29. Send by email to Benicia’s City Attorney Benjamin Stock, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
City of Benicia announcement on Nextdoor, October 24, 2020
City of Benicia Communications Office of Economic Development, Teri Davena
Candidates’ Forum Scheduled for Saturday, October 31, 10 a.m.
Candidates for the Benicia City Council will have the opportunity to participate in a Candidates’ Forum on Saturday, October 31 at 10 a.m.
All candidates running for Council Member and Mayor in the November 3 election have been invited to attend.
The forum, sponsored by the City of Benicia Open Government Commission, will be broadcasted live on Zoom and on local government Channel 27.
At the forum, voters will have an opportunity to hear candidates discuss any ‘hit pieces’ distributed before the election.
Members of the public are encouraged to send questions relating to ‘hit pieces’ for candidates to answer at the forum to the City Attorney Benjamin Stock, at email@example.com by close of business on Thursday, October 29.
Please note that the candidates’ forum may be canceled by unanimous decision of the candidates.
Letter to the editor by Judi Sullivan of Benicia, October 23, 2020
‘This is the same PAC that infected our last election…’
As a Benicia resident, I ﬁnd it disturbing to be repetitively assaulted by non-fact-based, character-smearing tactics showing up again in our city election via a well-funded, mass media/mailing PAC campaign. This is the same PAC that infected our last election with a series of lies slandering a well-qualiﬁed candidate. The PAC responsible for this behavior, titled, “Working Families for a Strong Benicia,” has The Valero Reﬁnery listed as its main donor. The purpose of the PAC’s multiple forms of mass advertising is to support one candidate while at the same time, (ﬂip side of the ﬂyer), falsely slandering another for the position of our Benicia Mayor.
Do they feel their chosen candidate, Christina Strawbridge, is not capable of being elected on her own merits? Their desperate need to slam her opponent belies her own credibility. From an educated voter’s point of view, this ploy is disrespectful to both individuals.
The negative campaigning from our last election led to the citizen-suggested concept of creating a “Code of Ethics” among candidates for future city elections. Instigation of this code was adopted in response to the dirty politics we had just experienced.
Where is the accountability to this new “Code of Ethics” showing up in this election? What different, proactive responses are candidates taking to respond to the same debacle faced in 2018, prompting the need for this code? Some candidates running now, ( Steve Young, Christina Strawbridge and Tom Campbell), worked on creating this code.
So far, “Code of Ethics” credit is due to three current candidates who have chosen to take an active stand in response to the PAC’s repeatedly offensive negative modus operandi. They are Steve Young, along with Jason Diavatis, both of whom are running for Mayor, and Terry Scott for City Council. In addition, they offered alternative suggestions of more beneﬁcial ways the PAC could support the needs of our city during these times of COVID & economic duress through the use of their abundant discretionary income. If interested, check out their quarter page newspaper ad in the Sunday, Oct. 11th edition of “The Benicia Herald.” These candidates are thanked for having the courage to publicly make a strong stand against dirty politics in our elections. I was hoping all of you would do so. If you took this stance repeatedly, dishonest negative politics could not be substantiated. Your continued collective outcry for lack of decency would undermine that game plan, no matter how much money went into the effort. As candidates, you have that power should you choose to use it. As citizens, we have that power, too.
The PAC referred to has knowingly overextended our city’s mandated contribution limits to run a campaign. No more than $34,200 per individual candidate is allowed to be raised by a campaign as regulated by our city’s election ordinance. This limit was set up for the purpose of keeping an even playing ﬁeld where campaign ﬁnancial contributions are concerned. However, over $200,00 this year has been spent so far by this PAC in support of Christina Strawbridge for Mayor. Last election she and Lionel Largaespada were funded by this same PAC. Needless to say, whomever the PAC supports has an unfair advantage ﬁnancially and exposure-wise in the their attempt to “buy a seat(s)” in our city government.
Since 2010, when the CITIZENS UNITED National Mandate was formed, PAC’s have been enabled to contribute unlimited amounts to campaigns. Unfortunately, Federal Law super cedes our own city’s Election Ordinance Mandate. Although we cannot legally stop this inﬂux of excess money from entering our elections, we can each voice our concerns for the inequity it creates by going against our local mandate. Under these circumstances, what is legal does not necessarily fall into the category of being ethical. I am also asking for ethical campaigning. For each candidate to stand up against obviously slanderous negative statements that are so offensive to most of us, regardless of whether it is denigrating our chosen candidate or another. It’s a despicable practice misrepresenting candidates.
I am requesting ALL candidates and funders of campaign strategies to focus on policy-based campaigning, using the foundation of facts, past and current experience
relevant to the position sought, along with accurate depictions of facets of the candidate’s character relating to the job they are seeking. What a refreshing change that would be!
Each of you can stand on your own merits. Do any of you really want to win based on maligned misinformation spread about your opponent? That is not a clean “win.” I hope each of you will step up by demonstrating the desire for a fair, honest election through consistent actions taken towards producing that goal. That may include daily repetitive comments to discount disreputable injustices propagated by surly ad campaigns. Each candidate, or preferably the candidates as a collective, can choose to demonstrate the strength and purpose of the newly formed “Code of Ethics.” Otherwise, this code is merely a collection of words on paper.
Judith S. Sullivan
41-year Benicia resident