Vice Mayor Steve Young: letter from former City Attorney of Santa Rosa

Repost from a Benicia Nextdoor post

City Council Meeting on Air Monitors

By Steve Young, Benicia Vice Mayor, November 21, 2018
Steve Young, Vice Mayor, City of Benicia

It’s not often that the Council receives the kind of letter copied below. It is from Brien Farrell, the former City Attorney of Santa Rosa, who has retired here in town. I thank Mr. Farrell on behalf of my colleagues. After 4 hours of testimony and deliberation on Tuesday, the Council unanimously adopted a motion advancing what I hope is the mutual interest of the City and Valero in providing enhanced air monitoring for the public, as well as better communication between the two parties. We also appreciate the donation to the City Fire Department by Valero of three mobile air monitors.

Brien Farrell 4:34 PM (7 hours ago)
To Mayor, Steve, Mark, Alan, Tom

Mayor Patterson and Councilmembers:

I watched portions of last night’s council meeting on line and I watched the entire discussion surrounding the motion that was adopted.

I have attended hundreds of city council meetings. Your preparation, civility and thoughtful crafting of a compromise was a model of good government.

Our family thanks you. Air quality and economic stability are important to all of us. Our middle son is the special education coordinator at Robert Semple Elementary School. He had to be rushed to the hospital the day of the flare-up in May 2017. He did not know whether he was having a cardiac or pulmonary emergency. He had never experienced anything similar.

Evacuation planning and air quality monitoring are both critical. We strongly support local, state and federal oversight. In my past career as a city attorney, I routinely observed that local government is the most responsive and accountable.

Our son has been cleared to donate his kidney to another Benicia teacher on December 17, 2018, at the UC Davis Hospital. Upon his return to work, we worry that he might be exposed to another major air quality event or cumulative harm. Everyone assures us that his health will be normal after the kidney transplant. We would like all foreseeable risks to be minimized.

Your ongoing efforts to promote maximum transparency and protections that are fair and reasonable are much appreciated. We urge the city to impose local regulations, if it is not possible to reach compromises in six months.

Thank you for your service and dedication.

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