Benicia to Protest Valero Election Meddling This Wednesday 5pm

By email, October 31, 2022

Protest Rally against Valero’s Pollution of Benicia’s Elections!

What: Rally in protest of Valero’s meddling in local elections (please bring a sign)
Where:  Near SW corner of 1st Street and Military Way, Benicia, below park gazebo
When: Wednesday, Nov. 2, at 5 pm

Benicians have had enough of the huge, Texas-based Valero Energy Corporation meddling in our small city’s elections.

A protest is planned for Wednesday, Nov. 2 at 5pm, below the park gazebo near the southwest corner of 1st Street and Military Way in Benicia.

This is the third election cycle in which Valero has dedicated up to $200,000, in a city of only 28,000, to elect its preferred city council and mayoral candidates. It has sent misleading and untruthful ads to residents, and used scare tactics on social media.

This years’ tactics involve Valero’s funded PAC sending misleading mailers which can confuse Benicians about this year’s city council election. One deceptive mailer places photos of Mayor Steve Young and Vice Mayor Tom Campbell next to those of Valero’s chosen candidates, Lionel Largaespada and Christina Strawbridge, clearly implying support from the two officials. In fact, Young and Campbell have both endorsed Kari Birdseye and Terry Scott for city council, not the Valero-backed candidates.

Mayor Young has decried Valero’s mailer.

Another Valero PAC mailer stresses public safety, despite the company’s actions threatening harm to our city. For 15 years, its Benicia-based refinery secretly released massive levels of toxins into the city’s air; we only learned of this in 2022. From 2012 through 2016, it unsuccessfully fought to bring potential deadly “oil bomb” trains – the kind that exploded and killed 47 people in one Quebec town – through Benicia, which one of their candidates, Lionel Largaesapda supported.

In 2018 and 2020, Valero-funded PACs launched smear campaigns against candidates they opposed. They employed fear tactics, photo manipulation, untruths, and push polls, and, like this year, buried Valero’s funding in the small print of its publications.

Very recently, it changed the PAC’s name, perhaps to mislead Benicians into thinking its participation had ended.

This all raises many questions: What does Valero want from the candidates it supports? Why dedicate $600,000 to campaign spending in just four years here? Why be so misleading?

Concerned Citizens of Benicia

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