Category Archives: Benicia city staff

Benicia Black Lives Matter on structural racism: ‘we still have a long way to go’

An email by Nimat Shakoor-Grantham, Benicia Black Lives Matter Organizer  [See also BBLM on Facebook, and “Our Voices” Interviews]

A Better Benicia

 

Hello Everyone,

I just read this powerful document from Elizabeth Patterson and I must say that I am experiencing a lot of emotions. I am very Happy that Elizabeth had the insight, awareness and courage to write this. She saw the apparent disparity and refused to remain silent as many people who shouldn’t remain silent choose to do.

If no one acknowledges and speaks out about such things, then such things will continue to happen. I found this writing very enlightening and encourage all to read it. This writing is not one of blame, but of shedding light on a problem that has remained in the dark for much too long.

I am saddened because situations like this still exist and not many people are even aware of it (“There’s no racism in Benicia”) . If people are aware of it, they are choosing not to speak; Maybe because the powers that be and community members at large don’t see this as an issue, they agree with this behavior, or are too timid to say anything, as some people think it best not to “Rock the Boat.”

I assure you that the Benicia Black Lives Movement (BBLM) is here to “Rock the Boat,” not by burning, looting or hating the police (as is the falsely applied stereotype), but by bringing to the attention of the government and the citizens of Benicia that events and issues of structural, conscious/unconscious racism, bias and social injustice will be identified, called out, fought against, and will certainly not be tolerated.

This is why I am so proud of Elizabeth for writing this document. The BBLM is collaborative and will not identify challenges that need to be addressed without working with the appropriate people toward the solution. I Thank the City Staff, Mayor, Past Mayor and City Council for the support you have shown us so far, but we still have a long way to go (as is made very clear by this attached writing). I again recommend that everyone read Elizabeth’s writing and work with us to create a better Benicia for All Citizens.

Sincerely,

Nimat Shakoor-Grantham
Benicia Black Lives Matter Organizer 
https://www.facebook.com/BeniciaBLM
https://beniciablacklivesmatter.com/interviews

 

Benicia staff report on air monitoring – to be discussed at January 5 Council meeting

By Roger Straw, December 30, 2020

The City of Benicia released its City Council agenda for January 5, including an important discussion of air monitoring in our refinery town.

Local environmental activists (including me) are hailing this effort on the part of City staff as a show of responsiveness to years of citizen requests for more and better access to real-time air quality information.

Your thoughts are being sought by Benicia elected officials and staff.  Please read the staff report, and plan to attend the zoom Council meeting on January 5.

Staff Report: STATUS UPDATE: Benicia Air Monitoring and Improvements to the City’s Community Emergency Notifications

Agenda: (including instructions for virtual attendance and how to comment) Benicia City Council virtual meeting January 5, AGENDA

City Council considers major program to recognize Benicia Black Lives Matter and address unconscious bias

Important Benicia City Council meeting Tues. August 25, 6pm – Please write or call in to show support!

By Roger Straw, August 24, 2020
Protesters hold up signs during a “Black Lives Matter” protest in front of Borough Hall on June 8, 2020 in New York City. Vanity Fair, by ANGELA WEISS/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

Following the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police and peaceful protests here in Benicia, a new local organization was formed, Benicia Black Lives Matter (BBLM).

When BBLM members contacted Benicia elected officials and city staff, including Police Chief Erik Upson, they were met with attentive openness, warmth and a willingness to take action.

BBLM offered a good list of recommendations, and shortly, a Staff Report and a City Resolution were drafted for consideration by the City Council this Tuesday.  The report, Recognition of Benicia Black Lives Matter and Consideration of Resolution to Take Actions to Address Unconscious Bias and the accompanying Resolution outline measures already taken, and call for significant changes, including these 3 major components and more.

  • Creation of a part-time Equity and Diversity Manager position (30 hours/week) at an estimated cost of $133,000 per year;
  • Conduct an “Equity Indicators in Benicia” report with consultant costs estimated at $75,000;
  • Mandate anti-bias training for all City employees and elected and appointed officials at an estimated cost of $8,000.

City Council members will consider whether to approve the resolution at its meeting today – Tuesday, August 25, 6pm on ZOOMThe discussion and vote is the ONLY item on Tuesday’s Agenda, so it will come up quickly.  The ZOOM access information follows below.

To show support by email, see BENICIA – WHERE TO WRITE

To attend the ZOOM meeting – here’s from the 8/25/20 Council Agenda:

How to Submit Public Comments for this videoconferencing meeting:

Members of the public may provide public comments to the City Clerk by email at lwolfe@ci.benicia.ca.us. Any comment submitted to the City Clerk should indicate to which item of the agenda the comment relates. Specific information follows:

– Comments received by 3:00 pm on the day of the meeting will be electronically forwarded to the City Council and posted on the City’s website.
– Comments received after 3:00 pm, but before the start time of the meeting will be electronically forwarded to the City Council, but will not be posted on the City’s website, and will not be read into the record.
– Comments received after the start time of the meeting, but prior to the close of the public comment period for an item will be read into the record, with a maximum allowance of 5 minutes per individual comment, subject to the Mayor’s discretion.

Additionally, the public may view and provide public comment via Zoom (via computer or phone) link:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87202237323?pwd=Q2F2ZkUzbU1HMm5HYmNNU0kxNGZ2Zz09
• If prompted for a password, enter 454382.
• Use participant option to “raise hand” during the public comment period for the item you wish to speak on. Please note, your electronic device must have microphone capability. Once unmuted, you will have up to 5 minutes to speak.

UPDATE: Benicia City Council adopts mandatory face mask order

GREAT NEWS… MANDATORY MASK ORDER PASSED UNANIMOUSLY IN BENICIA !
(UPDATE – FINAL DRAFT OF RESOLUTION)

By Pat Toth-Smith, Benicia resident, June 17, 2020

Benicia city council did the right thing last night after much discussion and overwhelming support came from many callers and letters.

Congratulations to all who worked hard on getting this passed!  Benicia is now a safe place to shop and be !!!!!! 🍾🎉🙌🎊❤️❤️

Thank you council member Steve Young and Mayor Elizabeth Patterson for taking the lead, doing the right and hard thing for our citizens early.  And thank you city staff and police chief Upson for your work on this.  Thank you council member, Tom Campbell for coming around quickly during the meeting to vote  for it, you got the ball rolling.  And lastly, thank you to council members Largaespada and Strawbridge for also doing the right thing in the end for us citizens even if you maybe didn’t agree with all of it.

Proud to be a Benician …

Thank you all.  Pat


NOTE: The draft resolution (minus amendments) can be downloaded here: A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF BENICIA REQUIRING THE USE OF FACE COVERINGS IN INDOOR AND ENCLOSED PUBLIC SPACESUPDATE: Here is the final draft with the amendments.