Sacramento trades council donates $40,000 to local contests in Vallejo, BeniciaBy JOHN GLIDDEN, October 24, 2018 at 3:52 pm
A Sacramento-based trades council has gotten involved with local politics by contributing a combined $40,000 to supporting various candidates for the Vallejo and Benicia city councils.
The State Building and Construction Trades Council of California Independent Expenditure Political Action Committee (PAC) gave $30,000 to a separate committee called Working Families for a Strong Benicia which supports Lionel Largaespada and Christina Strawbridge for the Benicia City Council.
The financial information was submitted to the Benicia City Clerk’s Office on Oct. 11.
The Trades Council of California PAC donated $10,000 this week to JumpStart Vallejo, similar records to the Vallejo Clerk’s Office show. JumpStart is supporting Pippin Dew, Hakeem Brown, and Jess Malgapo for the Vallejo City Council.
Working Families is supporting the two Benicia council candidates while also opposing fellow candidate Kari Birdseye.
The committee, known by a lengthy name, 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 2018, has raised $154,200 since Oct. 11.
Working Families is backed by the Valero Benicia Refinery, which has sunk $14,200 into the committee.
The committee, through political calls to Benicia residents over the past two weeks, has accused Birdseye of being a “yes man for the mayor.”
Don Wilson, vice president and general manager for refinery, in letter to the editor published by this newspaper on Oct. 16 argued Patterson has targeted the refinery and its operations. Wilson said if elected, Birdseye would join Patterson and Vice Mayor Steve Young on the five-person council to oppose the refinery.
Birdseye has previously denied the accusation regarding herself and Benicia Mayor Elizabeth Patterson.
“I’m a critical, strategic thinker with years of experience in management, finances and leadership,” Birdseye previously said in an email to the Times-Herald. “I’m the last person who wants to give oxygen to the lie being spread about the Mayor and Vice Mayor building their shadow government, but if you look at the Vice Mayor’s voting record, he also is an independent thinker.”
Additional cash contributions have come from the Heat & Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Local Union 16 Political Action Committee which gave $20,000 to the group, while $30,000 came from the International Brotherhood of Boilmaker, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers & Helpers Local 549 PAC, according to 497 forms posted to the city’s website.
Additional contributions of $30,000 each were contributed to the committee recently from the District Council of Iron Workers Political Action League, and the California State Pipe Trades Council PAC.
The Working Families committee has spent that money on the calls and political ads.
Birdseye, Largaespada, Strawbridge, and Will Emes are all running for two open seats on the five-person Benicia City Council this fall. The two incumbents, Alan Schwartzman and Mark Hughes, have both declined to seek re-election to the council.
Meanwhile in Vallejo, five candidates are running for three seats up for grabs in the election. Malgapo, Dew, and Katy Miessner are seeking re-election, while being challenged by Brown, and Vincent May.
JumpStart, which is an independent expenditure committee, is also supporting John Fox, Tony Ubalde and Tony Gross for the Vallejo City Unified School District Board of Education. Ubalde, Ruscal Cayangyang, and Burky Worel are seeking re-election to the five-person board. Gross, Fox, Allan Yeap, Ryan Messano, and Christy Gardner are challenging for a seat.
The election is Nov. 6.