Benicia City Council Candidate Forum Wednesday, October 12th from 7:00 – 9:00 P.M.
Benicia Senior Citizen’s Center, 187 East L St., Benicia
SOLANO LEAGUE & CO-SPONSORS ANNOUNCE A NON-PARTISAN BENICIA CANDIDATE FORUM
Your Vote/Your Voice: Make an Informed Choice
As part of its mission to provide non-partisan political information, the League of Women Voters of Solano County (LWVSC) and co-sponsors provide forums that allow voters an opportunity to hear candidates, discuss issues face-to-face, and provide candidates an opportunity to answer questions from constituents. All candidates are invited to participate to stimulate public interest in their campaigns. For details please check LWVSolano.org.
The League of Women Voters Solano County (LWVSC) and American Association of University Women (AAUW), sponsors: Benicia City Council Candidate Forum Wednesday, October 12th from 7:00 – 9:00 P.M.
Benicia Senior Citizen’s Center, 187 East L St., Benicia
Measure R … the most direct way to assure our roads will finally be fixed
Guest Editorial by Mayor Steve Young, October 7, 2022
Measure R is the Benicia Local Road Repair & Infrastructure Measure! This measure is a local initiative that will provide the necessary funding to fix, and then maintain, our roads. The Benicia City Council has placed this measure on the ballot in the hopes that voters will approve of the most direct way to assure our roads will finally be fixed.
Measure R would increase the sales tax on certain purchases made in Benicia by 3/4 of 1 cent. This means if you spend $100, Measure R would cost you an additional 75 cents. Sales taxes apply to certain retail purchases, but does not include food and medicine purchased in grocery stores. Additionally, the use of a sales tax is a way to lesson the burden on Benicia residents since a significant portion of the proceeds of the sales tax is paid by tourists and others coming from out of town to enjoy our great restaurants, charm and ambience.
If Measure R passes, our sales tax rate will be 9.125%. That would still be less than several of our neighboring cities including Concord, Pleasant Hill, Martinez, Richmond, El Cerrito, Emeryville, Berkeley, Oakland and more. No one wants to pay more taxes, but if we are ever going to get ahead of our deteriorating road conditions, this is the most direct way to do so. If we fail to pass this measure, our roads will continue to get worse.
So why do we need Measure R? Its clear to most that our roads conditions are poor, to put it kindly. Independent engineering studies have noted that our roads conditions have a score (PCI) of 57 which is deemed “at risk”. Further, 42% of our roads are considered “poor or failed” and we have some of the worst roads in the region. The report also noted that in order to fix our roads to an acceptable standard (70 PCI) we need to invest nearly $6 million each year for the next ten years.
If passed, Measure R would generate approximately $5 million/year. Currently the City only receives about $1.1 million/yr from the State Gas Tax and other sources to invest in our roads. If Measure R passes, it would generate over $50 million over the next ten years, which is what we need to bring our PCI to a score of 70. Additionally, it would generate all the money we would need to continue to maintain our roads going forward.
While this measure is titled The Benicia Local Road Repair and Infrastructure Measure, it is a general tax which, theoretically, could be redirected by a future Council to non-road and storm drain repairs. For those who distrust this Council to keep our word on the use of these funds, voters should consider how the City has kept its word on the use of Measure C funds. Measure C, “The Benicia Quality of Life Measure”, was passed by voters in 2014 . As the title of the measure suggests, the purpose of Measure C was to support existing City services. The City has used Measure C Funds to invest in a variety of projects including public safety, City facilities, parks, the library, and roads. In fact, 33% of all Measure C funds ($15 million) has been invested in roads and infrastructure. Yet that amount is not nearly enough to fix our roads.
Bottom line is that the City needs to find a way to address the long standing priority of repairing our roads, and it is not realistic to think we can cut our $50 million budget by 10% every year for the next ten years without stripping away some programs that the community has come to rely upon.
To help ensure that this Council and future City Councils stays on course with investing in our roads, spending from Measure R would have strict oversight provided by our Economic Development Board, including our City Treasurer.
In the end, voters should realize this is the best opportunity to deal with our old and failing roads, and for which no other reasonable way exists to fix them.
On behalf of the City Council, I thank you for your trust in supporting this critical investment in our infrastructure. Please join me in voting YES on Measure R.
To learn more about Measure R, please visit BeniciaMeasureR.org.
She is, in my opinion, the single most qualified candidate for Council we have seen in the last dozen years.
By Benicia Mayor Steve Young, October 7, 2022
I want to issue my strongest possible endorsement for Kari Birdseye in her campaign for Benicia City Council. She is, in my opinion, the single most qualified candidate for Council we have seen in the last dozen years.
I got to know Kari in 2014 when we served together on the Planning Commission. Among the most contentious projects we reviewed and acted upon was Valero’s Crude by Rail project which would have changed how the refinery receives crude oil from tanker ships to train cars. We spent more than two years on that project, and listened to dozens of speakers, both for (including current council member Largaespada) and against (many Benicia residents as well as representatives of other governmental entities including California Attorney General Kamala Harris’ office, CalTrans, and a variety of environmental organizations).
During this time, Kari was studious, thoughtful, and respectful of all sides before finally voting along with the entire Planning Commission to reject the Valero proposal.
Kari ran for City Council once before, in 2018, when the Valero funded PAC (“Working Families for a Strong Benicia; a coalition of Labor, Industrial Services Companies, Public Safety and Local Leaders Supporting Christina Strawbridge and Lionel Largaespada and Opposing Kari Birdseye for Benicia City Council”) spent more than $200,000 to defeat her.
These characteristics of independent thought, doing her homework, and respectful listening and consideration of all viewpoints have also marked her role on the Planning Commission, where her colleagues have elected her Chair five times. These are skills needed on the City Council.
She has a long history of service to our community ranging from her leadership in the Matthew Turner PTA and Benicia Stingrays Swim Club, to her appointment to the Benicia Human Services Board before being appointed to the Planning Commission. I appreciate that in our 2022 election, Kari supports measures K and R.
Please join me in voting for Kari Birdseye for City Council.
It is with great pleasure and honor that I throw my full political support behind Kari Birdseye – candidate for Benicia city council election this November.
Kari Birdseye is a native Californian who treasures Benicia, the place we call home, for its history and its small town qualities as part of the Bay Area of water, open space, and an unmatched environment. She is a Californian who went east to learn and practice the trade of television news broadcasting. She learned to listen and ask questions and follow up questions. Coming back to California was to further her interest and career in the environment and raise her children in Benicia.
Kari dedicated herself to supporting our schools and set a record for fundraising at Matthew Turner Elementary. She is able to help her parents and grandparents in her busy life of job, children and school interests. She walks Olive her boxer dog and values our trails and open space.
I had the opportunity to appoint her to the Planning Commission where she has served as chair for five years. I like to watch her for pointers on how to engage the commissioners, pursue a line of questioning of staff and shepherd decisions to conclusion.
Her loyalty to her community is unfailing.
Now she wants to serve our fair city as a council member. I for one cannot think of anyone more suited to the job.
Elections are only a month away, and you deserve a say in who runs our city. Voting for Kari Birdseye is a vote for a person who I consider the most qualified candidate to run for city council and I support her with unqualified enthusiasm.