Category Archives: Glyphosate (Roundup)

Benicia’s State Senator Bill Dodd – campaign linked to Monsanto and Roundup

Dodd’s campaign accepts $2,000 from Monsanto

Vallejo Times-Herald, by John Glidden, January 7, 2020

Bill Dodd, California Senate District 3

State Sen. Bill Dodd’s re-election campaign accepted a $2,000 donation from the agribusiness giant Monsanto, according to a contributed report submitted to the California Secretary of State on Dec. 23. Monsanto, which was acquired by Bayer pharmaceutical company in 2018, developed the glyphosate-based herbicide, Roundup, which has been accused of causing cancer.

In August 2018, Monsanto was ordered to pay $289 million to Dewayne Johnson, a former groundskeeper at Benicia Unified School District. The jury sided with Johnson, who is dying of cancer, saying Roundup weed killer contributed to Johnson’s disease. A judge later reduced the award to $78.5 million.

An Alameda County Superior Court jury in May 2019 awarded a couple $2 billion in punitive damages, stating that Roundup was a “substantial factor” in their getting non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The couple, 76-year-old Alva, and 74-year-old Alberta Pilliod, was expected to get an additional $55 million for pain and suffering and to pay for medical expenses.

The couple said they used the weed killed for about 30 years on residential landscaping.

When asked if Dodd feels Monsanto’s products are safe, and whether the campaign expects to keep the donation, Matthew Reilly, a consultant with the Dodd campaign issued a brief response.

“Monsanto, and Bayer who owns them, employ over 400 people in Senator Dodd’s district and those people make a wide array of products,” Reilly wrote in a response to the Times-Herald. “Your premise amounts to comparing apples to oranges.”

Dodd represents California’s 3rd State Senate district, which includes the cities of Vallejo, Benicia, Fairfield, Napa, Dixon, Davis, American Canyon, Rio Vista, and Vacaville, among others.

Monsanto’s $2,000 contribution came in two separate donations of $1,300, and $700 on Dec. 23, respectively, the campaign reported.

Dodd’s campaign experienced a healthy holiday season, receiving nearly $70,000 in cash contributions from multiple sources through the month of December and in the first few days of 2020.

State contribution rules cap the donations from individuals, businesses, and political action committees at $4,700 per election for state Senate and Assembly candidates.

Dodd’s campaign reported it received $4,700 each from attorney Elinor Leary with the San Francisco- based The Veen Firm, the Law Office of Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger, also located in San Francisco, and from insurance provider Blue Shield of California.

The campaign picked up numerous contributions from power and water companies.

The California Water Service Company gave two donations totaling
$4,700, while the Chicago-based Middle River Power, LLC gave $1,500, the California Water Association PAC contributed $1,700, and $1,500 each came from the San Gabriel Valley Water Company and the San Jose Water Company, respectively.

Dodd’s campaign reported receiving $1,000 each from the California American Water Employee PAC, Consumers for Clean Water, and the Golden State Water Company. Prior to his elected career, Dodd worked in the water industry owning a Culligan Water business.

Additional sizable contributions include $4,400 from Roger Trinchero, chairman of Trinchero Family Estates, $3,700 from REACH Air Medical Services, $3,000 from the Los Alamitos Race Course, $3,000 from Alexander Dean Jr., investor and chairman Hawk Hill Management, LLC, $2,500 from the McDonald’s California Operators PAC, $2,500 from the Alliance of Automobile Manufactures CA PAC, $2,000 from the entertainment company AEG and Affiliated Entities, $2,000 from the John Edward (Jed) York & Affiliated Entities, including the Forty Niners Football Company, LLC, and $2,000 from the Abbott Laboratories Employee FED PAC.

Meanwhile winegrower Daphne Araujo, of Accendo Cellars, gave the campaign $1,900, the California Association of Health Facilities PAC contributed $1,700, and $1,500 came from the California Academy of Eye Physicians & Surgeons PAC, Verizon, and Zuffa, LLC, respectively.

The campaign picked up $1,000 donations from Allstate Insurance Company, Michael Graham, business owner of Napa Valley Tours & Transportation, Walter Klenz, Donald Sodaro, CEO of Hanford Hotels, LLC, winemaker Rolando Herrera, and Google.

Michael Gallagher, cofounder of CityPASS, also gave $1,000, however, since he already donated $4,700 for the March Primary Election, and $4,050 for the November election, $350 of the recent contribution was refunded to him due.

Dodd was first elected to the State Senate in 2016 after serving in the Assembly for a term and 14 years on the Napa County Board of Supervisors.

His campaign reported receiving $330,670 in cash contributions for the first six months of 2019.

Dodd is running unopposed.

Silent Spring in Benicia? City and school officials respond, activists call for ban

“Silent Spring in Benicia” – Progressive Dems of Benicia Forum on local glyphosate use and disuse

By Pat Toth-Smith, June 13, 2019

(Repost from

“As we move away from herbicides things are going to look shabby at first until we figure it out,” stated Alfredo Romero, Benicia Unified School District (BUSD) Maintenance Director.  He also added, we’ve stopped using Roundup and we’re moving towards more natural approaches.”  He cited goats as an example.

Stopping herbicide use was a common theme voiced by many of the speakers at the Tuesday night “Silent Spring” forum in Benicia held at the library, and sponsored by the Progressive Democrats of Benicia.

Romero worked with Lee Johnson, the former BUSD employee who won a historic lawsuit against Monsanto, when a jury agreed that his exposure to Roundup on the job was the cause of his lethal, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  Romero said, “I remember when Lee was starting to get ill and didn’t want to spray the weed killer.  We supported him in not doing it anymore….  I don’t ever want what happened to Lee to happen again,” He said at the end of his talk, “It will take a community effort to stop using chemicals, because using the herbicides are cheaper, and we need to have an increased tolerance for weeds.”

Theron Jones, Benicia Parks Supervisor, reported that Roundup is not being used by the city Parks staff and that they are moving towards an integrated pest management approach.  He said, “We never apply herbicides to playgrounds. The only places we apply herbicides to control weeds are in tree wells, planter beds and along fence lines.”  Asked about what herbicides are used, he continued,” We use the emergent weed killers sparingly, and what is applied includes Gallery S.C., Dimension Ultra, Finale, and Vastlan.”

One of the featured speakers at the forum was Kat Furey, a Client Advocate for the law firm which provided legal support for the Roundup non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma clients.  She spoke about the dangers of “glyphosate,“ the main ingredient in Roundup.  She cited the World Health Organizations’ International Agency for Research on Cancer’s declaration that glyphosate is a probable carcinogen, and noted that at this time three California courts have agreed, and awarded billions of dollars in damages to plaintiffs.  She continued, “Besides the cancer connection, glyphosate is also an endocrine disrupter, a neurotoxin, and a genotoxin, and there is no safe level of glyphosate.”  She said that it should have a warning label.   She encouraged eating organic foods as the main way to avoid glyphosates.  GMO foods have the Roundup ready gene in it to prevent the GMO plant from dying when sprayed.  Roughly 85% of our food supply contains some level of glyphosates in them as a result.

The final speaker was Makenzie Feldman, founder of Herbicide-Free UC.  She said she became an activist when groundskeepers at UC Berkeley beach volley ball courts were spraying herbicides to kill weeds in the vicinity of where her team practiced.  She and her teammates were worried about the dangers of Roundup, and so struck a deal to pull the weeds out by hand themselves. She educated herself about glyphosates and wrote an op-ed piece for the newspaper, which attracted like-minded students.  Eventually a temporary ban by the U.C. Regents on Roundup at UC Berkeley was achieved.  Ms. Feldman now is working to make the ban permanent, and has partnered with the group, “Beyond Pesticides,” to train the U.C. groundskeepers in organic methods of pest control.  These include methods to return microbial life to the soil, which naturally helps control weeds.  She also organized student volunteers to pull weeds and mulch soils to help control weeks, but added, “People need to learn to accept some weeds.”

Poisonous weed killer – Glyphosate, the underrated risk?

Coming on June 11: Silent Spring in Benicia?  Bring your questions, learn a lot. One of my questions, as a former user of Roundup (purchased at Ace Hardware) – what is the best way to dispose of a half-used jug of it?  Great video below…  – R.S.

Poisoned Fields – Glyphosate, the underrated risk?

wocomoDOCS, Jan 25, 2016, on YouTube

Glyphosate is the world’s most widely used weed killer. Some claim it is completely harmless, others say it is a serious health hazard for man and animals. A topical investigation into a controversial substance.

Glyphosate is the world’s most widely used weed killer in farms and gardens. German soil was treated with six million kilograms in 2012 alone. Glyphosate is cheap and readily available at all wholesale garden stores. Some claim it is completely harmless, while others say it is a serious health hazard for man and animals.

Large-scale studies of the herbicide have only been carried out by the industry itself. Such studies would be far too expensive for individual authorities.

But glyphosate so far only has a limited licence in Europe, and this year, the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment in Germany is responsible for extending it. Now, the WHO has suddenly announced it is calling for an all-out ban on glyphosate, right in the middle of the decision-making procedure. A WHO cancer research team considers the herbicide produced by Monsanto, Syngenta and BASF to be absolutely toxic and probably carcinogenic.

More and more people and animals that are exposed to the substance become ill – and there are a large number of unexplained miscarriages and deformities in humans in South America, especially in areas where glyphosate is used on large monocultures.

Critical scientists have been warning of the long-term damage for years. But their studies have not been recognised by the authorities.

We ask how a substance without a tested licence in Germany has been extended for test operation since 1974, even though there has been evidence of its toxicity for the past 10 years. The film sets out in search of sick animals and humans and asks how the WHO has reached these new conclusions and what action the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment is taking.

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