“…everyone is very jumpy about this election and not to have information in a timely manner is problematic.” – Constance Beutel
By Roger Straw, September 30, 2020
People are voting already, but many are doing so without the aid of the official California Voter Information Guide that details state races and propositions. The guide is mailed to voters before every election, and reportedly went out in “early September.”
Constance Beutel alerted me this afternoon. She had been watching for her Voter Guide, checked around, and found others here in Benicia in the same situation.
Beutel phoned the offices of our County Supervisor Monica Brown, State Senator Dodd, and State Assembly Representative Tim Grayson and found out that some if not all staff there had also not received their Voter Guide! All said they would look into it.
With permission, here is Beutel’s letter to Tim Grayson staffer Jana Modena:
From: CONSTANCE BEUTEL
Sent: Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, 01:56:16 PM PDT
Subject: No Official Voter Information Guide
I’ve just spoken with Tom Bartee letting him know that I have not received the official California Voter Information Guide. I am not the only one in Benicia in this situation. I do have my official ballot.
I called my County Supervisor’s office and learned that the Sec of State sends this guide out so I then called the Sec of State’s office and waited about 20 minutes to speak to the elections division. I was then told that the guides were mailed in early September and a guide would be mailed to me within the next 5 to 10 days. I asked if this would also apply to all of Benicia. The woman who was answering the phone said, “no.”
Mr. Bartee indicated that he had not received his guide either.
As we all know, everyone is very jumpy about this election and not to have information in a timely manner is problematic!
Please let the Assemblyman know of this problem and expedite a solution.
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.
Tim Grayson is Benicia’s Representative in the California State Assembly. First elected in 2016 and re-elected in 2018, he has begun campaigning for a final term in 2020. The primary election is set for March 3, and Tim is well on his way to a huge advantage, having raised over $285,000 in the first half of 2019.
An August 14 report in the Vallejo Times-Herald detailed Grayson’s 2019 campaign contributors , including that he “received donations from several petroleum and energy resources businesses, including Valero Services, Inc. ($2,000)….”
Valero wasn’t alone. The following Big Oil & Energy companies were generous to Tim this year:
OIL OR GAS COMPANY
Chevron Corporation and its Subsidiaries/Affiliates
Valero Services, Inc.
Tesoro Companies, Inc.
Signal Hill Petroleum, Inc.
Seneca Resources Company, LLC
Phillips 66 Company, LLC
PBF Holding Company, LLC
Macpherson Oil Company
E & B Natural Resources Management Corporation
California Independent Petroleum Association PAC (Note: Vallejo Times-Herald reported only $2,500, but there were 2 additional non-monetary donations, totaling $4,650)
It is interesting to compare Grayson’s war chest with that of Benicia’s State Senator, Bill Dodd. According to the California Secretary of State, Dodd has taken ZERO DOLLARS from the oil & energy industry in 2019. Here’s Dodd’s downloadable excel spreadsheet.
Both of Benicia’s representatives have already taken in huge amounts for their re-election in 2020: Grayson over $285,000 and Dodd over $330,000. Both have received contributions from a wide variety of corporate and organizational interest groups, including many political action committees (PACs).
It is a fair question to ask, how will our representatives in Sacramento thank their big donors?