COUNCIL HEARINGS: List of 77 speakers – articulate, informed opposition to Valero Crude By Rail

By Roger Straw, April 8, 2016

Council Hearings this week: 77 informed, articulate and often passionate speakers critical of of Valero Crude By Rail

pubcommentOPENThis past week, the Benicia City Council heard public testimony for and against Valero’s Crude By Rail proposal – mostly against.  Video of these comments can be found on the City’s website.

On the two dates combined, Council heard 77 highly critical comments calling for outright rejection of Valero’s proposal or at the very least a much revised and recirculated environmental report. Only 16 speakers favored Valero’s proposal.

On Monday, April 4, Council heard from 52 speakers.  41 were highly critical or completely opposed to Valero’s proposal, and only 11 spoke in favor.  Of the 11 in favor, most either work for or provide services for Valero.

Here is a listing of the 41 who spoke in opposition on April 4, followed by a listing of 36 such speakers on April 6:

MONDAY, APRIL 4  (41 who spoke in opposition)

  • 8 elected and appointed officials from beyond Benicia
    • 1 State of California elected official: Alex Pater, representing Benicia’s State Senator Lois Wolk
    • 4 from uprail communities
      • Don Saylor, Yolo County Supervisor and Sacramento Area Council of Governments past Board chair
      • Matt Jones, Yolo Solano Air District, representing 7 air districts: Butte, Feather, Placer, Sacramento, Shasta, and Yolo-Solano
      • Eric Lee, City of Davis planner
      • Laurie Lipman, representing Ellen Cochrane, Sacramento Unified School District Board
    • 3 from the East Bay
      • Linda Maio, Berkeley Vice Mayor
      • Jesse Arreguín, Berkeley City Councilmember
      • Alejandro Soto-Vigil, representing Berkeley City Councilmember Kriss Worthington
  • 18 residents from uprail communities of Sacramento, Davis and Dixon:
    • Chris Brown, Chris Brown Consulting, Sacramento, representing 30 who rode the bus from uprail communities tonight
    • Maura Metz, Davis
    • Jean Jackman, Davis
    • Maria Cornejo-Gutierrez, Dixon
    • Laurie Lipman, 350 Sacramento
    • JoEllen Arnold, Sacramento
    • Jan Rein, Sacramento
    • Rob Lain, Sacramento
    • Estevan Hernandez, South Sacramento
    • Kathleen Williams-Fossdahl, Davis
    • Jaime Gonzales, Sacramento, Board of Directors, California Student Sustainability Coalition
    • Carol Warren, Dixon, slides of her neighborhood along the tracks
    • Don Mooney, Davis, Environmental attorney
    • Samantha McCarthy, Davis, lives very near the tracks
    • Frances Burke, Davis, lives very near the tracks
    • Elizabeth Lasensky, Davis, powerpoint: From Davis to Benicia: Our Lives Are on the Line”
    • Lynne Nittler, Davis. Notes.  Powerpoint: Oil by Rail Safety in California Report by the state’s Interagency Rail Safety Working Group
    • Rodney Robinson, Davis
  •  3 residents from other communities:
    • Bill Pinkham, Richmond
    • Steven Hallett, Vallejo
    • Deborah Tallin, Lafayette
  • 12 residents of Benicia
    • Marilyn Bardet, Benicians for a Safe & Healthy Community
    • Petition Roll - copies of originals (600px)
      Demonstration roll of local petitions collected by Benicians for a Safe and Healthy Community

      Andrés Soto, Benicians for a Safe & Healthy Community (While Mr. Soto spoke, members of BSHC unfurled a demonstration “scroll” of original hand-signed petitions that stretched 4 times the length of the aisle in Council Chambers (see FACEBOOK video). As he concluded speaking, Mr. Soto submitted for the public record BSHC’s list of 4,081 signatures of opponents of the project.)

    • Madeline Koster
    • Teresa Ritz
    • Carol Thompson
    • Bart Sullivan
    • Rick Stierwalts
    • David Jenkins, Benicia Industrial Park business owner
    • Kathy Kerridge, Benicia Community Sustainability Commission member
    • June Mejias
    • Pat Toth-Smith
    • Kat Black, Chairperson, Benicians for a Safe and Healthy Community

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 6  (36 who spoke in opposition)

On Wednesday, April 6, Council heard from 41 speakers. 36 were highly critical or completely opposed to Valero’s proposal, and only 5 spoke in favor. Of the 5 in favor, most either work for or supply services for Valero.

Here is a listing of the 36 who spoke in opposition on April 6:

  • 7 experts, attorneys and organizers
    • Valerie Love, Clean Energy Campaigner, Center for Biological Diversity
    • Elly Benson, Attorney, Sierra Club
    • Ethan Buckner, Extreme Oil Campaigner, STAND (formerly ForestEthics)
    • Greg Karras, Senior Scientist, Communities for a Better Environment
    • Roger Lin, Attorney, Communities for a Better Environment
    • Diane Bailey, Executive Director, Menlo Spark (formerly Senior Scientist, Natural Resources Defense Council)
    • Rachael Koss, Attorney, Adams Broadwell Joseph & Cardozo, representing Safe Fuel and Energy Resources California (SAFER)
  • 1 Benicia city official
  • 6 Benicia business  owners, including 3 from Benicia’s Industrial Park, 2 from the Arsenal District and 1 from downtown
    • Giovanna Sensi-Isolani, owner of Fiber-Frolics, downtown Benicia
    • Jack Ruszel, owner, Ruszel Woodworks, Benicia Industrial Park (adjacent to the tracks, no access if blocked in emergency)
    • Hadieh Elias, owner, principal and professional engineer, ESE Consulting Engineers, Inc., in Benicia’s Arsenal District
    • Amir Firouz, principal and structural enginner, ESE Consulting Engineers, Inc., in Benicia’s Arsenal District
    • Ed Ruszel, Ruszel Woodworks, Benicia Industrial Park (adjacent to the tracks, no access if blocked in emergency)
    • Jennifer Kalika Stanger, M.D., family physician in Vallejo, lifetime Benicia resident
  • 22 residents, including 20 from Benicia and 2 from other communities. (Note that 7 of the above listed April 6 speakers are also from Benicia, making a total of 29 Benicians.)
    • Allan Miller, Davis
    • Nancy Finley, Benicia
    • Constance Beutel, Benicia
    • Dona Rose, Benicia
    • Shiela Clyatt, Benicia
    • Larnie Fox, Benicia
    • Eric Ferry, El Sobrante
    • Charles Coleman, Benicia
    • Judi Sullivan, Benicia
    • Dan Smith, Benicia
    • Michelle Rowe-Shields, Benicia
    • Phyllis Ingerson, Benicia
    • Roger Straw, Benicia, The Benicia Independent
    • Jan Cox-Golovich, Benicia
    • Barbara Pillsbury, Benicia
    • Jenette Wolf, Benicia
    • Tom Ruszel, Benicia
    • Rebekah Ramos, Benicia
    • Lisa Reinertson, Benicia
    • Steve Jones, Benicia
    • Craig Snider, Benicia
    • Ruby Wallis, Benicia