Benicia Mayor race: 2 more $Valero mailers smearing Steve Young

By Roger Straw, October 20, 2020
I have chosen NOT to display Valero’s most recent nasty mailers.  I won’t give them the time, space and bully pulpit here.  Read on for description and analysis…

There are two sides to the latest Valero PAC mailers: nasty slams on Young and Diavatis, and big name sweet promos for their candidate.

$Valero’s push to win the Benicia Mayor’s seat continues unabated, despite the requests by all candidates that they cease and desist.

The claim against Diavatis is instructive.  The Valero PAC claims to have paid for a poll that shows Diavatis can’t win.  When was the last time that ANY candidate in Benicia was able to afford polling?  Small towns don’t do polling.  But big oil money does.

Valero’s independent expenditure committee (PAC) has set aside around $250,000 for our little Mayor’s race, and spent over $70,000 as of October 9.  (Additional contribution of $25,000 now – see update here.)

The U.S. Supremes ruled that the Valero PAC is a person, and can spend as much as it likes on an election.  But here in Benicia, we have a fair campaign ordinance that limits REAL people who run for office to expenditures of no more than $34,200 per candidate.

The total spending of the three candidates for Mayor amount to 3 x $34,200 or $102,600.  Stack that total up against Valero’s $250,000, and you might think the playing field is a little slanted?  And recall that one of the REAL person campaigns will be Valero’s chosen candidate, so it’s actually $250,000 plus their candidate’s $34,200, for a grand total of over $284,000.  Plunk down that kind of money against any one or two candidates, and see what happens.

That wouldn’t be fair even if Valero played nice.

I have chosen NOT to scan and post Valero’s most recent mailers.  I won’t give them the time, space and bully pulpit here.  Suffice to say the ads are all on file with me.  (Oh, and… the Benicia fair campaign ordinance requires that Valero submit photocopies of their ads, like they did in 2018 when they smeared candidate Kari Birdseye.  Why have we NOT seen photocopies in any of their 6 submitted 496 Independent Expenditure forms?)

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