Tag Archives: Local elections

Benicia election – a flood of letters for Kari and Terry, and blasting Valero’s corrupt influence

Letters for Kari in the media and on this website have taken a huge turn – see below.

By Roger Straw, November 4, 2022

RECENT LETTERS OF SUPPORT & CONCERN
EARLIER LETTERS OF SUPPORT

More letters, news & links about the 2022 election, Kari Birdseye and Terry Scott here on the BenIndy


And best of all – Kari’s website!

Jan Cox Golovich: Many thanks to those exposing Valero’s corrupt influence

The overwhelming response from the community when Valero’s campaign contributions and deceptive practices are exposed is one of outrage.

By Jan Cox Golovich, November 1, 2022

Jan Cox Golovich, Benicia CA

I would like to express my appreciation to the many community people who have worked diligently to expose the corruption of our local city council elections with Valero’s efforts to buy council seats for Strawbridge and Largaespada during the last three election cycles (2018,2020,2022) Specifically, I would like to thank Lawrence Dutch with his Letters to the Editor, Andres Soto via his radio show on KPFA, leaders of the newly formed group Benicians for Clean Elections and Roger Straw, Editor and Publisher of the Benicia Independent.

Valero has poured massive amounts of money to secure these seats for their hand-picked candidates Strawbridge and Largaespada. In 2018 and 2020, they spent $445,000 buying ads, bombarding us with endless phone calls and smearing good, honest candidates. As far as I can tell in my research, this is an unprecedented amount for a small town of 28,000 people. Presently, Valero has a war chest of over $225,000 for the 2022 election. They have sent out deceptive mailers and conducted phone banks promoting their candidates disguised as a neutral “poll” These last minute maneuvers are difficult to counter, as they hide many of their expenditures until AFTER the election.

The overwhelming response from the community when Valero’s campaign contributions and deceptive practices are exposed is one of outrage. We cannot tolerate or accept this as the status quo in our town. The community displayed its intolerance in 2020 when Strawbridge was trounced in her bid for the Mayor’s seat, despite the massive financial backing of Valero. Yet, Valero has persisted in building its campaign coffers and coming up with even dirtier tactics.

Sadly, our elected officials have displayed an astonishing disconnect from its outraged electorate and rather than criticize Valero for corrupting our elections, they have turned on the very community people who have exposed it. The two beneficiaries of Valero’s campaign funds feign ignorance as to why Valero would support them with these massive amounts of money and complain that those exposing these “facts” are engaging in “negative campaigning”. Another elected official writes a letter to the editor calling the attacks on Valero “over-the-top”, ignoring the fact that the money Valero pours into our elections to buy council seats is much more egregious. Yet another councilmember writes a tone-deaf letter to the editor saying that Strawbridge and Largaespada would make good council members and calls for their detractors to “stop talking trash.” Strawbridge and Largaespada may make great council members for Valero, but their ability to do good for the community is completely compromised by Valero’s sponsorship.

I have lived in this town close to forty years and have always been proud of the strong voice of the community that comes together and stands up for what is right. Whether it’s preserving open space, cleaning up toxic waste, blocking petroleum coke domes on the waterfront or fighting against exploding Bakken oil trains, this community has ALWAYS won the fight; we have done this despite opposition from City Hall and powerful monied interests. I have no doubt that we will go back to having clean and honest elections one day very soon. Thanks to all that are making this happen.

Jan Cox-Golovich
Former Benicia City Councilmember

More letters, news & links about the 2022 election, Kari Birdseye and Terry Scott here on the BenIndy


And best of all – Kari’s website!

Candidate Terry Scott on Valero’s deceptive flyer

…here we go again.

By Terry Scott, 2022 candidate for City Council, October 28, 2022

I saw this flyer and the first thing I thought was: here we go again. Valero and it’s PAC dumping huge amounts of money to support the same preferred candidates they effectively supported for City Council in 2018. Why would they do that? Why would they want their preferred candidates to be re-elected. Why create a misleading mailer under a new PAC NAME.

We know why.

Valero PAC has every legal right to support whomever they want with or without the candidates permission.

Is it legal, yes as noted.
Is it moral, no it’s not fair.
I had hoped Valero would have
Let Benicians elect Benicians without outside influence and money.

Terry Scott’s half-page ad in the Benicia Herald, October 30, 2022 – click to enlarge.

The BenIndy has endorsed BOTH Terry Scott AND Kari Birdseye.
I am active in Kari’s campaign – more here on the BenIndy


And here’s Kari’s website!

Benicia Mayor blasts deceptive Valero PAC flyer

We gave no permission for them to use our photos in this obvious attempt to confuse voters about whom we support.

By Benicia Mayor Steve Young, October 28, 2022

Benicia Mayor Steve Young

A recent glossy mailer from the Valero PAC sent in support of Christina Strawbridge and Lionel Largaespada could not be more deceptive. It implies that all the members of the Council (who are pictured in the flyer) are supportive of their re-election. The fact is that NONE of the current Council (other than themselves) are supporting them.

Vice Mayor Campbell and I are supporting and endorsing Terry Scott and Kari Birdseye for the two open Council seats, and Trevor Macenski has been neutral. We gave no permission for them to use our photos in this obvious attempt to confuse voters about whom we support.

In 2018, the Valero funded PAC successfully defeated Kari Birdseye and helped elect Largaespada and Strawbridge with a toxic negative campaign against her. In 2020, a similar negative campaign was launched against me in my race against Ms. Strawbridge, but Benicia voters saw through the negative ads and I was elected Mayor.

So far, the flyers sent by the PAC do not target a specific candidate, however they are untruthful and full of misinformation. The flyers themselves are expensive to produce and mail, and this type of spending demonstrates everything that is wrong with this type of PAC’s involvement in small-town elections: unlimited funding; no oversight of truths, exaggerations or lies; and a win-at-all costs mentality.

Terry Scott and Kari Birdseye cannot compete with the Valero PAC’s budget of more than $200.000. The only way they can fight back is through social media, volunteers walking precincts, and word of mouth. If you are supportive of Kari and Terry, please share this and related messaging with as many Benicia voters as you can.

Let’s send Valero another loud and clear message that our community rejects their effort to manipulate our election by electing Terry Scott and Kari Birdseye to the City Council. Perhaps they will finally learn, once and for all, that our City Council cannot be bought.

Enough. Let Benicia voters decide Benicia elections.

Steve Young
Benicia Mayor

More letters, news & links about Kari here on the BenIndy


And best of all – Kari’s website!