Category Archives: Take Action

Benicia Final Forum – Candidates to discuss negative campaigning on Saturday, Oct. 31, 10am

By Roger Straw, October 25, 2020

Send your questions to the candidates now!

Important for readers of the Benicia Independent: The deadline to submit your questions to candidates on the Valero PAC’s attempt to buy our Mayor’s seat and other “hit pieces” is close of business (5pm) on Thursday, October 29.  Send by email to Benicia’s City Attorney Benjamin Stock, at bstock@ci.benicia.ca.us.

City of Benicia announcement on Nextdoor, October 24, 2020
City of Benicia Communications
Office of Economic Development, Teri Davena

Candidates’ Forum Scheduled for Saturday, October 31, 10 a.m.

Candidates for the Benicia City Council will have the opportunity to participate in a Candidates’ Forum on Saturday, October 31 at 10 a.m.

All candidates running for Council Member and Mayor in the November 3 election have been invited to attend.

The forum, sponsored by the City of Benicia Open Government Commission, will be broadcasted live on Zoom and on local government Channel 27.

At the forum, voters will have an opportunity to hear candidates discuss any ‘hit pieces’ distributed before the election.

Members of the public are encouraged to send questions relating to ‘hit pieces’ for candidates to answer at the forum to the City Attorney Benjamin Stock, at bstock@ci.benicia.ca.us by close of business on Thursday, October 29.

Please note that the candidates’ forum may be canceled by unanimous decision of the candidates.

CALL TO ACTION: Attend Benicia City Council on Tuesday, July 17!

An email from Kathy Kerridge, Benicia
[Editor: For meeting agenda and materials, see Benicia City Council to vote whether to reconsider vote on ISO.  For much more, see our Benicia ISO page.  If you can’t attend, note below for info on where to write. – RS]

Support a Benicia Industrial Safety Ordinance on 7/17

Kathy Kerridge, Benicia

Come support an Industrial Safety Ordinance at Benicia City Council on July 17 at 7:00 p.m.  This is a chance for the City Council to have staff review a proposed ordinance and move forward with making sure that Benicia has a seat at the table when it comes to safety.

An Industrial Safety Ordinance (ISO) would ensure that Benicia has a network of air monitors, and a robust emergency response plan. Benicia is the only refinery town in the Bay Area without an ISO.

The Council will be reconsidering their decision to kick the can down the road.  Councilmembers Schwartzman, Hughes and Campbell voted at the last hearing to postpone this important decision until after the November election, while Patterson and Young wanted to move forward now.   This is a chance for them to get it right.

If you can’t come, please email (see below).

Kathy Kerridge


WHERE TO WRITE…

EMAIL THE CITY:
Mayor Elizabeth Patterson (epatterson@ci.benicia.ca.us)
Vice Mayor Steve Young (syoung@ci.benicia.ca.us)
Tom Campbell (tcampbell@ci.benicia.ca.us
Mark Hughes (Mark.Hughes@ci.benicia.ca.us)
Alan Schwartzman (aschwartzman@ci.benicia.ca.us)
City Manager Lorie Tinfow (ltinfow@ci.benicia.ca.us)
City Attorney Heather McLaughlin (Heather.McLaughlin@ci.benicia.ca.us)
Fire Chief Josh Chadwick (JChadwick@ci.benicia.ca.us)
Police Chief Erik Upson (EUpson@ci.benicia.ca.us)

MAIL / PHONE / OFFICES:
Mail to or visit City Hall: 250 East L Street, Benicia, CA 94510
Phone numbers are listed on the City’s CONTACT PAGE

SEND YOUR THOUGHTS TO THE NEWS MEDIA:

  • Benicia Herald, 820 First St, Benicia, CA 94510, or by email to the editor at beniciaherald@gmail.com
  • Vallejo Times-Herald, P.O. Box 3188, Vallejo, CA 94590, Fax: 643-0128, or by email to Editor Jack Bungart at opinion@timesheraldonline.com.
  • Benicia Independent – send to Roger at rogrmail at this URL.

POST TO SOCIAL MEDIA (some require membership):

Call to Action: Air District as apologist for Big Oil, Phillips 66

Letter to the editor by Larnie Fox, Benicia
August 15, 2017

Phillips 66 Marine Terminal Permit Revision

Larnie Fox, Benicia CA

Last night I attended a Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) presentation on Phillips 66’s plan to expand their marine terminal. It was sponsored by Solano County Supervisor, Monica Brown, and held in Benicia’s City Hall. Five or six BAAQMD staff members were present, as were many members of the community and members of community organizations. Monica Brown deserves our thanks for bringing this issue to light.

The BAAQMD made a short and somewhat vague presentation. It is now soliciting public input before preparing an environmental impact report. The project would allow Phillips 66 to double the amount of tankers coming through the Bay to their refinery in Rodeo, (4½ miles upwind of us in Benicia), but they couldn’t say what kind of crude the tankers would be carrying.

In the ensuing Q & A, it became clear to everyone present that the company plans to bring in crude from the Canadian tar sands – the BAAQMD staff members did not deny this. It also became apparent that taxpayers would bear much of the cost of any fires or spills.

Not all crude oils are alike. Tar sands crude is dirty, heavy, and corrosive. Because of its density, it will sink to the bottom of the Bay (and kill everything there) if it is spilled, making an effective cleanup nearly impossible. In order to ship it, it needs to be mixed with benzene and other volatile carcinogens prone to explosions and fires. It is dirty – releasing more toxins and carcinogens when processed than ordinary crude. It is considered a “sour” crude, which means it has a high sulfur content. This makes it more likely to corrode tanks, pipes, and oil tankers – leading to leaks and explosions.

I was very disappointed to see that BAAQMD staff were acting as apologists for big oil in our City Hall. Their mission is to protect our air, not to protect the profits of Phillips 66.

Most of the oil refined here will be shipped to Asia. The cost in terms of the environment and our health is not worth it. California now produces one-third of its electric power from wind and solar. Electric cars are becoming affordable; many homes have solar panels on them where they can charge their new electric cars. As we enter the age of clean fuels, we are free to move away from fossil fuels, and their associated environmental catastrophes.

I don’t aspire to be an activist. I am a working artist, and I would much rather be in my studio. Perhaps you don’t aspire to be an activist either, but what Phillips 66 is proposing is an unacceptable threat to all downwind of it and will contribute to climate change and environmental degradation. It requires a concerted effort to stop it, now.

What to do:

Contact the BAAQMD before August 28 with your views on the Phillips 66 project. The email they provided for this purpose is <P66MarineTerminalPermitRevision@baaqmd.gov>.

Contact your elected officials, local, state and national, and urge them to ask the BAAQMD to deny the project.  [Editor: Find Your Elected Officials]

Post information about the project on social media and write letters to editors.


Editor: More info here:

‘Raging Grannies’ arrested after oil train protest

Repost from KREM2, Spokane WA

‘Raging Grannies’ arrested after oil train protest

By Bre Clark, September 02, 2016 9:36 AM. PDT

SPOKANE, Wash. – Three grandmothers were charged for obstructing a train on Wednesday. The three are known as the “Raging Grannies.” They blocked BNSF train tracks in protest because they want Spokane to stop oil and coal trains from going through downtown.

The grandmothers said they tried to talk to city officials about fossil fuels and fracking but when that did not work, they decided to protest.

“Even one person can stop a train it’s very easy to stop a train,” Raging Grannie Deena Romoff said.

Romoff and the other two “Raging Grannies” wrote letters and tried to get the Spokane City Council to stop oil and coal trains from going through downtown but the measure failed.

“People are getting frustrated that our government is not doing anything, that the world isn’t doing anything,” she said.

Romoff and several others decided to take matters into their own hands.

“When you have one city along the track that says ‘you can’t come through here,’ what happens? It stops,” she said.

BNSF railway officials said the protest group stopped 11 trains, one was fully loaded with coal.

“Even for that short period of time it gives us that much more time on this planet in my looking at it,” Romoff said.

The “Grannies” said their time behind the bars will not be in vain. They said they are joining forces with other environmental protests across the country and will go out every day if they have to.

“You don’t have to get arrested,” Romoff said. “You can be out there. If you believe in having a life for your children and your grandchildren”

BNSF said this in a statement in regards to ordinance to stop oil train operations:

“There are a number of better options to promote safety, including collaboration with industry and federal regulators to further enhance safety. We stand ready to work with federal, state, and local leaders to continue to improve safety while maintaining the efficient flow of commerce to and from Spokane.”