Birdseye gets nod from Progressive Dems of Benicia
Times-Herald staff report, 08/15/18, 4:55 PM PDT
BENICIA >> The Progressive Democrats of Benicia have endorsed Kari Birdseye in her bid for a seat on the Benicia City Council.
The group’s membership voted on the endorsement during a membership meeting Tuesday night.
Birdseye is current chair of the city’s Planning Commission.
Fellow candidate and former Councilwoman Christina Strawbridge failed to secure the endorsement of the Progressive Democrats, group officials said.
Strawbridge, who served on the council from 2011 to 2016, is also a member of the Progressive Democrats of Benicia.
Two seats are open on the Benicia City Council this fall. Incumbents Mark Hughes and Alan Schwartzman are leaving the council after their terms end this year. Current Economic Development Board Chair Lionel Largaespada is also a candidate for a council seat.
Members further endorsed Dana Dean for the Solano County Board of Education Trustee Area 3. Dean was the only person to pull and submit candidacy paperwork prior to the Aug. 10 deadline. Thus, her contest was removed from the ballot and she was automatically re-elected to a new four-year term.
Public Comment – Council deliberation on whether to reconsider ISO vote of 19 June 2018
By Ralph Dennis, Benicia, June 17, 2018
Good evening. My name is Ralph Dennis, I’m a resident of Benicia with my wife Vicki. I am also one of the members of the ISO Working Group, and also chair of the Progressive Democrats of Benicia. The Progressive Democrats have been supporters of a Benicia ISO from the beginning of the working group. At its June meeting, PDB members voted unanimously in support of the draft Benicia ISO ordinance presented to Council on June 19.
Thank you for the opportunity to speak tonight.
I ask that you vote tonight to reconsider your June 19 vote concerning an Industrial Safety Ordinance for Benicia.
If the desire is, in fact, to finally do something about determining what is in Benicia’s air, and to provide the City better communication with those businesses affecting Benicia’s air and safety – and that IS what I ultimately heard from the Council’s 3 votes that prevailed on June 19 …
Then, there is nothing to be gained by waiting until November.
Fence line monitoring, once installed, will tell us virtually nothing about what’s in the air. According to Eric Stephenson, who runs the Air District’s monitoring programs, fence line monitors are “designed for ground level monitoring” and “not for emissions that are lofted”. Meaning air borne emissions, i.e., what’s in the air.
So, Valero’s fence line monitoring program is limited at what it will do. Benicia needs a comprehensive, community wide monitoring program, which an ISO would provide and do it much sooner. And, the sooner we get an ISO up and running the quicker the City and community can tap into Air District resources for community monitoring efforts, something else Mr. Stephenson said is possible.
The Air District’s AB617 community monitoring program may include Benicia but not until 2024 at the earliest, based on its recently announced schedule.
And, related Air District efforts toward community monitoring are yet to be clarified and probably depend upon individual community initiative to kick start.
As to Better communications/Is CUPA sufficient?
Last week I saw two Public notices published in the Benicia Herald by the Solano Co Environmental Health Division – CUPA – for Risk Management Plans submitted by two Benicia businesses – Praxair and the City of Benicia Water Treatment Plan.
These plans reviewed by CUPA are required by state regulations for businesses which handle and use hazardous materials, and are now available for review by the public – for 45 days, and counting.
CUPA told me it plans no public meetings. And, when asked, seemed surprised at the question. Also, no copies of Plans for review on-line, or in public libraries like Contra Costa Co officials have done – we need to go to Fairfield to see the Plans.
I don’t know if anyone in the City was notified by these businesses when their Plans were being prepared or when the Plans were filed. Presumably, you saw the Water Treatment Plant’s plan. But, neither existing state regulations, nor CUPA, provided any means for review or comment – until after the fact, plans already filed and reviewed.
Is publication in a local, soon to be 3 days a week paper with limited circulation to be the extent of communication with the Benicia community? With the City?
On plans that affect the community’s air and safety?
A Benicia ISO would make the City and community partners with businesses in the development of these Plans – not a bystander, at best. And, not depend upon CUPA for communication.
I also asked CUPA whether a Risk Management Plan had been submitted by Valero:
Filed in December 2017, but is still under review by CUPA staff.
And, I don’t know if anyone at Valero gave the City a heads up last December that the Risk Management Plan was ready to be filed. Or, asked whether the City wanted to take a look at the Plan before it was filed.
You know, as a courtesy, or even in an effort to improve communication.
But, in any event, CUPA said its Public Notice will be published once review is done. Then, we the public get to see it – including the City of Benicia and its community…for a 45-day period…to provide comments…on a Plan already reviewed and, seemingly, ready for approval. Don’t expect any public meetings from CUPA, and better make sure your subscription is up to date with the newspaper.
For the sake of the community, please vote tonight to reconsider your June 19 3-2 vote, so we can get on with the business of considering an ISO for Benicia.
BENICIA >> The Progressive Democrats of Benicia have announced their endorsements for the June 5 primary. The organization presented its research on each issue and candidate to the steering committee and then the committee took a final vote on who or what to endorse.
P.D.B. supports the following candidates: U.S. Senate, Kevin de Leon; U.S. Congress District 5, Mike Thompson; Governor, Delaine Eastin; Lieutenant Governor, Eleni Kounalakis; State Assembly District 14, Tim Grayson; Attorney General, Dave Jones; Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Thurmond; State Controller, Betty Yee; Insurance Commissioner, Ricardo Lara; Secretary of State, Alex Padilla; State Treasurer, Fiona Ma; and Solano County Superior Court Judge, Steve Gizzi.
As for measures and propositions, here is where they stand:
Proposition 68 — Support
Parks, Environment, and Water Bond: Authorizes bonds for funding parks, natural resource protection, climate adaptation, water quality and supply, and flood protection.
“The committee finds this to be in alignment with the organization’s policies regarding the environment.”
Proposition 69 — Support
Transportation Taxes and Fees Lockbox and Appropriations Limit Exemption Amendment: Requires that certain revenues generated by a 2017 transportation funding law be used only for transportation purposes and generally prohibits legislature from diverting funds to other purposes.
“This measure protects any diversion of transportation revenues for other purposes. There’s an estimated $16.1 million per year for local street and road maintenance, and $6 million per year for the state.”
Proposition 70 — Oppose
Vote Requirement to Use Cap-And-Trade Revenue Amendment: Requires a legislative supermajority vote to approve the use of the cap-and-trade reserve fund. It is a legislative constitutional amendment.
“This proposition … would seriously jeopardize future progress on pollution reduction and climate change mitigation.”
Proposition 71 — Support
Effective Date of Ballot Measures Amendment: Sets up an effective date for ballot measures. Legislative constitutional amendment. Provides that a ballot measure approved by a majority of voters shall take effect five days after the Secretary of State certifies the results of the election.
Proposition 72 — Support
Rainwater Capture Systems Excluded from Property Tax Assessments Amendment: Rainwater capture systems would not be counted as new construction after Jan. 1, 2019.
“The potential for this proposition to encourage rainwater capture systems to reduce potable water consumption can ease some of the severe water consumption issues cities face.”
Regional Measure 3 — Oppose
Bay Area Traffic Relief Plan: Building major roadway and public transit improvements via an increase in bridge tolls on all Bay Area toll bridges except the Golden Gate. “Residents of Solano County would shoulder the burden of paying this toll without any future relief of a public transit solution. More benefits will go to larger urban areas, and not equal benefits to Solano County.”