LETTER SERIES: Pat Toth-Smith – Vote for the Environment (Sierra Club endorsements)

[Editor: Benicians are expressing themselves in letters to the editor of our local print newspaper, the Benicia Herald. But the Herald doesn’t publish letters in its online editions – and many Benician’s don’t subscribe. We are posting certain letters here for wider distribution. – RS]

A Vote for the Environment, Sierra Club endorses Elizabeth Patterson for Mayor, Steve Young & Tom Campbell for City Council

By Pat Toth-Smith
October 16, 2016

The election is upon us and it’s been a complete disappointment where global climate change is concerned. After having signed three petitions to have a question about climate change specifically put to the presidential and vice presidential candidates during their debates, it sadly did not happen. To my disappointment in researching the candidates’ positions on climate change I discovered that Donald Trump doesn’t believe in the science of climate change and went so far as to say, “that it is a hoax put out by the Chinese Government”, in one of his tweets. Mike Pence, as I understand, won’t accept climate change as real. I feel it is important if you’re a believer in the science of climate change and want to move the United States to a clean energy future, to be aware of which candidates are most committed to that.

Thankfully, the Sierra Club has completed a list of environmental endorsements, which I want to share, starting with our local city government election.

The Sierra Club endorses:

• Benicia Mayor Elizabeth Patterson,
• Benicia City Council Steve Young and Tom Campbell
• District 2 Supervisor Mike Ioakimedes
• Assembly District 14 Mae Torlakson
• Fairfield City Council Pam Bertani
• Vallejo Mayor Bob Sampayan
• Vallejo City Council Liat Metzenheimer
• President Hillary Clinton
• Senator Kamala Harris
• Congressman Mike Thompson

The state propositions that the Sierra club endorses are as follows:

• Prop 56, cigarette tax: YES
• Prop 58, multilingual education: YES
• Prop 59, oppose Citizens United: YES
• Prop 67, plastic bag ban: YES

As a Benicia resident, I’ve had the unique opportunity of seeing Mayor Elizabeth Patterson in action. She was tireless in her effort to keep the public informed about the Valero Crude By Rail permit process as it progressed, whereas her opponent, publically attacked her for it. She is also a big proponent of the Community Sustainability Commission which promoted Marin Clean Energy (MCE) and gave a grant to study any risk to our city. My family and I are grateful because we now pay to power our home with 100% renewable energy from MCE. MCE also gave a check for over $100,000 to the city this year for net energy from the city’s solar panels.

During my three year process of participating to stop the Valero crude by rail project, I was able to observe Planning Commissioner Steve Young’s outstanding commitment to doing his due diligence in researching all aspects for the permit request. He did a very thorough job of questioning all concerned and it made me content in his abilities to protect Benicia from all future dangerous projects. I am also grateful to Mayor Patterson and council member Campbell for publicly stating their rejection of this dangerous project the day the city council was supposed to vote on it. In my estimation, they were putting our community’s safety first, regardless of the Surface Transportation Boards ruling.

Pat Toth-Smith
Sierra Club link:
Local Sierra Club Chapter link: https://www.facebook.com/SierraClubRedwoodChapter/