Category Archives: Local elections

Terry Scott Announces Candidacy for Benicia City Council

PEOPLE OVER POLITICS – Facing the Challenge of Change

BENICIA — Terry Scott, a long time Benicia resident, seasoned businessman, futurist and philanthropist has announced he is running for Benicia City Council.   

“I am running because I believe the role of City Council is to make the hard decisions now in order to maintain our quality of life tomorrow,” he said  

“The next four years will be full of important opportunities for our city—as well as present many complex challenges.  I will bring to the Council proven business leadership and the ability to build bridges through transparency, strategy, collaboration, and a commonsense view leading to practical solutions”, he added.  

Mr. Scott has served as Chair of the Arts and Culture Commission, Public Art Committee, a founding member and former Executive Director of the Benicia Community Foundation as well as helped form several philanthropic and local civic groups.

“Benicia is a strong community. It requires strong leadership, one with vision,” he said.  

Mr. Scott added, “My vision for Benicia is to be an economically vibrant community while at the same time preserving its friendly, small-town atmosphere. Benicia is a special place, rich with history. I’m passionate about maintaining a community that embraces all people with all perspectives, supports local art and provides a safe home for its residents with clean air and water.”  

“We must be prepared to face the challenge of change and find ways to thrive. Benicia is a multi generational community. Whether you chose to live here in retirement, to raise your family or start one, we are all hungry to experience the quality of life unique to our amazing town. That change requires us to look at the needs and wants of current and future residents.  

“I am running because I believe the role of City Council is to make hard decisions now to maintain our quality of life for tomorrow.” 

“Through my extensive work and service to our community, I’ve built a reputation for finding solutions, putting in the work and getting things done. The key to all things in our community,” he continued, “is understanding what is our financial and economic condition.”

“Without a thorough understanding of our financial health, how is strategic planning possible? How do we improve our roads? How can we maintain our facilities, control water rates, and maintain the quality of life we expect in Benicia? Without fiscal management, making the hard choices that are ahead of us is impossible,” he noted. 

“We now have a qualified Finance Director to create a path forward based on hard data.  Having access to accurate revenue reports, expenditure forecasts and financial statements will provide Council with the tools needed for successful future planning; an area of my expertise.

Efficiency equals results. We must ask ourselves, is there a better way to do things today without kicking it down the road and facing them tomorrow?”

Terry goes on to add, “During my time as Chair of the Arts & Culture Commission, there has been an expansion of public art alliances including the celebrated Neptune’s Daughter Sculpture, Tula Sister City Mural, signal box art and decorated benches and murals throughout the City. In addition, the ACC formed an alliance with the Benicia Unified School District for student art murals and helped sponsor a number of cultural events. These are things I’m very proud to have been involved with.”

Mr. Scott retired in 2013 from Hasbro, Inc. in Rhode Island, as Senior Vice President, Global Head of Creative Services where he managed a global group of more than 700 employees with a total annual operating budget of $1.7 billion. Prior to Hasbro, he operated Scott Advertising, Inc. in Cleveland, Ohio. Scott Advertising was named by Advertising Age as one of the top 100 boutique agencies in the United States. 

Terry has been a business consultant to several national and international clients. He’s written papers for the National Endowment for the Arts and the US Economic Development Administration on such topics as, ‘The Future of Museums’ and ‘The Impact of the Silver Tsunami and the Millennial Migration’. Terry Scott also serves on several national boards including Oakland’s ‘International Toy Museum in Development’. 

“In 2020, I ran for City Council and lost by 126 votes. I believed then, and still believe now, that my message to the community was strong then and even stronger for this run in 2022. As your city council member, I will listen to concerns and examine issues from a fair and pragmatic point of view. Voters can expect practicality and transparency in my decision making process. I’m asking for the most precious item you have in our democracy—your vote.” 

Married for 47 years to wife Randi, a forensic archeologist and member of the Incident Management Team for Solano County Search and Rescue.  They have three sons, one granddaughter.

He earned a B.S. Degree from Kent State University and completed the Executives Studies program at Dartmouth College–Tuck School of Business.

For more information, visit terryscottforbenicia2022.org

Carrie Rehak: On Being More Fully Alive with Kari Birdseye

Heartbreaking times, in need of wholeness and healing

By Carrie Rehak, Benicia resident, June 1, 2022

Carrie Rehak, Benicia CA

Locally and globally, we are living in deeply troubling and heartbreaking times, so in need of wholeness and healing. As the late U.S. Nobel Prize- and Pulitzer Prize-winning author and educator Toni Morrison reminds us, externalizing what is inside can also be a way to be in service of the world. She writes: “This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.” Among many other values, the arts can help to open us to wonder and awe, to imagine what is not yet, to make us more ourselves, as individuals and as a community. They can help us be more human and more humane. Hence, as a local artist I am deeply grateful for the generous and courageous service of City Council candidate Kari Birdseye. Birdseye is running again for Benicia City Council after the Valero Energy Corp. and their allies spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to influence our city’s election when Birdseye ran in 2018, as chronicled by KQED and other reputable media outlets.

Perhaps you recall the push polls, designed to spread false information about a candidate: “Did you know that Candidate Birdseye wants to shut down the refinery? Did you know that Birdseye is bad for Benicia, bad for business?” Or how IP addresses in the City of Benicia were fed false online advertisements, making the same claim with unflattering pictures of Birdseye. Such ads even ran on the Benicia High School library computers, where Birdseye’s own children first viewed them. In addition to the smear campaign, the Valero PAC spent big money on mailers promoting their endorsed candidates, Largaespada and Strawbridge. We also may recall that, two years later, the PAC unsuccessfully spent $250,000 trying to oppose the election of Mayor Young. Once again, the refinery is pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars, over six times what a local candidate is permitted to spend, into its “Working Families for a Strong Benicia” PAC.

Kari Birdseye, candidate for Benicia City Council

Like the prophets and visionaries, who throughout time have realigned us with our moral arc, Birdseye speaks truth to power. She will hold polluting industry in Benicia accountable and not negotiate in a back room at the community’s expense. She will not have to explain why Valero, who just made record profits off the rising price of gasoline, is spending so much money once again to try to buy City Council seats. She will not take corporate money.

What Birdseye will do is fight for the health and safety of every Benician.

Birdseye will run a clean campaign as she envisions a future for Benicia, for us and for generations to come that, in addition to economic growth and the diversification of our tax base, will also help to ensure access to such necessities as clean air and clean water. As a community, we must hold the Valero PAC accountable, which includes reporting to the City and on social media any strange polling calls that make untrue claims about any candidate as well as reading the fine print on any campaign information we receive in the mail or online. If it is paid for by “Working Families for a Strong Benicia,” it is paid for by big oil executives in Texas or the powerful building trade unions in Sacramento.

While many of us are familiar with Birdseye’s contributions to Benicia through her service in such roles as Chair of Benicia Planning Commission (since 2017), I personally resonate with Birdseye’s qualities and qualifications as a patron of the arts. More importantly, she values the role that beauty, creativity, truth-telling, and meaning-making play in our day-to-day lives, including the aesthetic of Benicia’s historic downtown. Music is also one of the arts that Birdseye supports. Not only is she married to a professional musician but she also attends many live music events, often in support of local musicians and music venues. In other words, Birdseye understands that we are not only here to survive but to thrive. So it is in hope that I support Kari Birdeye as a City Council candidate: that as a community we may respond to current challenges constructively and creatively, and that together we may be more connected, more vibrant, more engaged, and more whole — that is, more fully alive.

Carrie Rehak, Benicia Resident

Kari Birdseye For Benicia City Council 2022
https://karibirdseyeforbenicia.com

Kari Birdseye to announce 2022 run for Benicia City Council – Rally this Sunday!

Kari Birdseye Campaign Kickoff Rally
This Sunday May 22, 2 pm, Benicia City Park

Festive Gathering at the Gazebo to Announce Run for Benicia City Council

Benicia Planning Commission chairperson Kari Birdseye will run for City Council in November’s election, and strong support for our friend is already building.

Benicia enthusiasts have organized a Kickoff Rally around the Gazebo in City Park for this Sunday, May 22 starting at 2pm.  The Rally will feature music, banners, a short but impressive lineup of speakers and opportunities to volunteer and donate.  It will be a great time to mingle with like-minded friends.

More information and volunteer possibilities can be found at karibirdseyeforbenicia.com.

Many BenIndy readers will be turning out for Kari and offering to help organize a strong campaign.  You are invited to join in this Sunday, 2-4pm at the Gazebo.  See you there!

Kari Birdseye For Benicia City Council 2022
https://karibirdseyeforbenicia.com

Benicia’s mayor calls out Valero’s big war chest ahead of election

The Vallejo Sun, By John Glidden, Feb 15, 2022

The Valero Benicia refinery

BENICIA – Mayor Steve Young says he’s displeased that Valero Benicia Refinery is poised once again to spend a large sum of money during the upcoming city council election.

The refinery dumped $200,000 into its Working Families for a Strong Benicia PAC last December, giving the PAC more than $232,000 ahead of the November 2022 election, according to campaign forms submitted to the Benicia City Clerk’s Office.

Benicia Mayor Steve Young.
Benicia Mayor Steve Young

Typically, a Benicia council candidate can expect to receive more than $20,000 in contributions over the span of an election or about 10% of what Valero has available.

The move has revitalized conversation in town between environmentalists seeking more regulations, the company, and local unions that are concerned that city officials want to shut down the plant.

Valero couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.

Young — who said he issued his statement over the weekend only as a Benicia resident and not as mayor — admitted that what Valero was doing was legal but argued “it is wrong-and extremely harmful to our community.”

“There is only one purpose in making such a huge expenditure nine months before the election: to scare off any potential City Council candidate who would consider running without first getting Valero’s stamp of approval,” Young’s statement read. “What candidate is willing to go up against that kind of war chest?”

Valero opened its PAC ahead of the 2018 city council elections, ultimately backing Lionel Largaespada and Christina Strawbridge. Both were elected. The PAC publicly opposed Benicia Planning Commissioner Kari Birdseye. Two years later, the PAC once again backed Strawbridge, this time as she made a mayoral bid, while opposing Young. Despite the PAC spending $250,000 during that election, Young was elected.

Young and Birdseye served on the planning commission together when the body rejected the company’s crude-by-rail proposal in early 2016. The Benicia City Council went on to reject the project later that year.

Young wrote that Valero should have a say in the election but “they should also play by the same rules that apply to everyone else under our campaign finance regulations.”

Young said the city’s campaign laws allow a candidate to spend no more than $35,000 on a campaign. He argued Valero should be held to the same rule.

“But Valero’s size and wealth gives them the belief that they can pick and choose who should be our elected representatives,” Young added.

Young said that to stop Valero every council candidate should reject support it receives from the company.

“In addition, voters should demand that any candidate take a public and ongoing stand that Valero should not support their campaign in any way,” Young added. “I call on all prospective candidates in the November election to make this pledge. If no candidate is willing to be supported by this PAC, where will they spend all of their money?”

Young’s statement comes as the Valero refinery has been receiving some negative attention.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District announced in January that it was seeking a legally binding order against the refinery to correct “significant excess emissions violations.” The district alleges that Valero didn’t report that more than 8,000 tons of excess emissions came from the plant over a 16-year period.

Last November, a contractor was found dead hanging from a scaffolding ladder by his safety harness over a piece of refinery equipment.

Valero is the largest employer in Benicia, employing more than 400 people. The plant processed 165,000 barrels of oil each day, according to its website.

Campaign records show that from July 1 through Dec. 31, 2021, the PAC spent more than $5,000 with Sacramento-based Nielsen Merksamer Parrinello Gross & Leonli LLP for campaign services.

Young, who has opened a 2024 re-election campaign, reported raising no contributions and only spending $29 during the second half of 2021. The campaign reported having about $900.

Meanwhile, both Largaespada and Strawbridge, who are up for re-election this November, reported no activity during the same period.