All posts by Roger Straw

Editor, owner, publisher of The Benicia Independent

Progressive Democrats of Benicia endorse Kari Birdseye & Dana Dean

Repost from Progressive Democrats of Benicia

Kari Birdseye for City Council, and Dana Dean for Solano County Board of Education

At its August 14 membership meeting, the Progressive Democrats of Benicia interviewed Democratic candidates for Benicia City Council and Solano County School Board. Ballots were cast, and today were made public.

Kari Birdseye for Benicia City Council

Only one of two declared Democratic candidates for City Council received a majority vote earning endorsement: Kari Birdseye. The Progressive Democrats of Benicia are proud to endorse Planning Commission chair Birdseye. Find out more about Kari and offer your support at her campaign website,, and be in touch on her Facebook page.

Christina Strawbridge, candidate for Benicia City Council

Democratic candidate for City Council and member of Progressive Democrats of Benicia Christina Strawbridge narrowly lost her bid for endorsement.  Find out more about Christina at her campaign website,  and be in touch on her Facebook page.

Dana Dean for Solano County Board of Education

Also interviewed was candidate for Solano County School Board Dana Dean.  Dana is unopposed in her bid for re-election, and was also endorsed by a majority of Progressive Democrats at last night’s meeting. In her presentation, she declared victory, as no other candidate has filed to run against her.  Find out more about Dana at her campaign website, and be in touch on her Facebook page.

    Valllejo Times-Herald: Hughes, Schwartzman not running for re-election to Benicia council

    Repost from the Vallejo Times-Herald
    [Editor: Thanks to Vallejo Times-Herald reporter John Glidden for this. Like so many print newspapers, the Times-Herald is operating under severe financial duress.  We recently lost the Times-Herald’s only Benicia reporter, and last I knew, the paper had no plans to cover news in Benicia. Yay – thanks John! – RS]

    Hughes, Schwartzman not running for re-election to Benicia council

    By John Glidden, 08/13/18, 4:22 PM PDT

    BENICIA >> Changes are coming to the City Council as incumbents, Mark Hughes and Alan Schwartzman, failed to file candidacy paperwork prior to the Aug. 10 deadline, the Benicia City Clerk’s Office confirmed Monday.

    This has triggered an automatic extension of the filing deadline — which is now 5 p.m. Wednesday — allowing the opportunity for additional residents to submit candidacy paperwork.

    The current council contest is shaping up to be interesting as three residents have already qualified for the November ballot. They include former Benicia Councilwoman Christina Strawbridge, chair of the Planning Commission Kari Birdseye, and current Economic Development Board Chair Lionel Largaespada.

    Strawbridge served on the council from 2011 until 2016 when local voters decided to go in another direction. Largaespada was spurned by voters too in 2016 as he placed fourth out of five candidates.

    Having served on the council for 13 years, Hughes said he had decided to focus more on his family.

    “Spending more time with my family, including my 96-year-old mother, my 11-month-old granddaughter, and all family and friends in between, is a very high priority for me,” Hughes wrote in an email to his supporters, which was shared with the Times-Herald. “And at this point in our lives, it’s important for Michele and I to have more flexibility in our schedule to accomplish this.

    Prior to his run on the council, Hughes was appointed to the city’s Parks, Recreation and Cemetery Commission.

    In 2016, Hughes ran for mayor, but was defeated by incumbent Elizabeth Patterson.

    Schwartzman also has an extensive political history in Benicia having being first elected to the council in 2005 after serving six years on the Planning Commission.

    He couldn’t be reached for comment Monday regarding his decision to not seek re-election.

      Benicia City Council: Hughes & Schwartzman not running, Birdseye official

      City Clerk posts only 3 candidates for City Council at deadline

      At close of business on Friday, August 10, City Clerk Lisa Wolfe listed only three candidates who filed to run for the two open seats on Benicia’s City Council in November’s election.

      Rumors had been circulating that both incumbents had decided against running again.  But until Friday, no one was sure.  Now it’s certain: Councilmembers Mark Hughes and Alan Schwartzman will not run.  City Council will definitely have a different look after this November’s election – including at least one more woman.

      Both Christina Strawbridge and Lionel Largaespada declared as candidates soon after their defeat in the 2016 election that they would run again in 2018.  Both have filed and are in the race.

      Kari Birdseye, candidate for Benicia City Council

      The new face on the ballot will be Planning Commission chair Kari Birdseye.  Kari  has a long history of community service and excellent credentials – she will be a breath of fresh air on our City Council.  I take this  opportunity to endorse her 100%, and to send you to her website and her Facebook page.