I support Kari Birdseye for the Benicia City Council.
In my opinion Kari is dedicated to making Benicia better. This has been shown not just by Kari’s words but by her actions.
As a Benicia planning commissioner, and more recently as its chairperson, Kari has sought public input on the various issues that come to the commission. But she does not just solicit input she carefully listens to what is said and considers the information before deciding on the project the commission is considering.
In considering the public input, and all the other factors that go into her decision making, first and foremost is – what is best for Benicia
Kari will not only bring new ideas and fresh leadership to the City Council, but she will make sure that public input is not only sought but fully considered before making a decision.
In addition, Kari supports Measure K – the renewal of the City’s Urban Growth Boundary.
Join me in voting for Kari Birdseye for Benicia City Council.
Join the movement to oppose Valero’s big money effort to control the Benicia City Council
By Roger Straw, September 29, 2022
I’ve added my name to a growing group of Benicia residents who are asking Valero to play fair in our elections Benicians For Clean Elections. Their website is packed with information, and you can get involved here.
For too long, the Texas-based Valero Energy Corporation has used the “Working Families” VALERO PAC to spend massive amounts of money, and often used unfair campaign tactics, to get its preferred City Council and mayoral candidates elected. The PAC has refused to sign on to Benicia’s voluntary campaign pledge that limits how much it can spend and that require certain standards of honesty, decency and fairness in political ads, calls and mailers. Go to BeniciansforCleanElections.org for more information.
We’ve had enough of Valero’s toxic tactics and are taking a stand. Join us by adding your name, getting a yard sign, volunteering, and more at beniciansforcleanelections.org.
Check out the numbers – The Valero PAC spent nearly a half-million dollars in 2018-2020 – what’s next for this year?
By Roger Straw, September 28, 2022
The Valero Political Action Committee (“Working Families” PAC) has amassed nearly a quarter-million dollars this year to influence Benicia’s November election. A new report, due on September 29 and likely to be made public sometime next week, will surely add to the $232,387 the PAC reported earlier this year.
The new report will also give some ideas as to how the Big Oil and Valero-based labor groups are spending their fortune this year. Stay tuned.
A friend asked me how much the PAC spent to buy seats on Benicia’s City Council in our 2018 and 2020 elections, so I went back over the City of Benicia’s archive of mandatory campaign finance reports.
As you read these massive Big Oil numbers, keep in mind that individual real-live Benicia candidates for election – our neighbors and community leaders – have all signed onto the City’s voluntary spending limit of $34,790.
2018 – the Valero PAC spent $192,347
2020 – the Valero PAC spent $253,878
2022 – the Valero PAC has on hand $232,387
Total in these 3 small town elections $678,612
I think this stinks. A Texas corporation has no business exercising a vise grip and invasive control over its host village.
As of today, it’s too soon to know if and how Valero will spend its campaign cash. We can be sure they will back the same candidates they backed in 2018 and 2020: Christina Strawbridge and Lionel Largaespada. Whether the PAC has learned to play nice is still a question. Either way, it is simply not right that they stick their noses into our local election.
I have endorsed and spent time and finances this summer and fall supporting these campaigns – I hope you will, too!
In her letter to the editor in the Benicia Herald on September 23, 2022, my friend Patty Gavin quoted me writing to Christina Strawbridge “Thanks for your commitment to the arts…”. Unfortunately, she inadvertently implies that I am supporting Christina in the upcoming elections. To be clear I am strongly supporting Kari Birdseye and Terry Scott for City Council. So strongly in fact that my wife and I have spent hundreds of hours working with a talented group of people organizing scores of local artists to create colorful, creative, one-of-a-kind campaign yard signs for Kari and Terry. Watch for them around town and on social media.
Kari has kept a steady hand on the rudder as Chair of our Planning Commission, doing her homework, making careful decisions, guiding us through difficult times. Terry has shown boundless energy as Chair of our Arts and Culture Commission, working to open up the Majestic Theater, bringing Shakespeare in the Park, facilitating concerts by the Golden Gate Symphony with their Benicia Chorus, working to fund all our local arts nonprofits, and bringing a flowering of public art to town, crowned by the stunning “Neptune’s Daughter” sculpture gazing out from our waterfront. Kari and Terry will bring new energy and new ideas that our Council clearly needs.
I personally like both Christina Strawbridge and Lionel Largaespada. However, Lionel is still a Republican who leans toward short-term thinking, and Christina has been weak on crucial issues. Both have been compromised by our elephant in the room, Valero.
I do NOT want to live in a “company town”. Lionel works for a company that does business with Valero. Christina is married to a man with powerful connections to pro-Valero Unions. She has been working behind the scenes to obtain funding from Valero for a multi-use soccer field. Though Christina and Lionel publicly deny any connection to Valero, I find it troubling that Valero spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to support them in past elections, and to discredit Kari Birdseye and Mayor Steve Young. What does Valero know that we don’t?
I know that whoever wins our two City Council seats will be decent people who care about Benicia, but I don’t want them beholden to big oil. I want them to be focused on keeping Benicia safe, clean, culturally engaging, economically vibrant and independent.