Benicia resident Mark Christian: Benicia’s given us a lot. Give a bit back by voting ‘Yes!’ on A, B, & C

Image by DALL-E.

By Mark Christian, February 25, 2024

I’m writing in today to show my support for Measures A, B, and C, which are on the March 5 Primary ballot. All three of these measures are focused on laying the groundwork for Benicia’s continued growth and well-being:

  • Measure A will slightly increase the hotel tax, bringing in an extra $250,000 a year without costing us residents a dime. These proceeds can help improve city services that benefit everyone in town.


  • Measure B proposes a sales tax increase, but the impact on our wallets will be tiny: about $10 a month, or less than a Netflix subscription. In exchange, we’ll get better emergency services, get to keep all of our parks open, and improve library services.


  • Measure C is near and dear to my heart because it focuses on our schools: it will allow the school district to issue $122 million in municipal bonds so we can upgrade our educational facilities, making them safer and better equipped to get our kids ready for the future. That means better technology, safer buildings, and improved learning environments for every student in town. (I don’t know about you, but I would prefer my kids not to be sitting in a musty old classroom that was already old when their parents were sitting in it.) Whether you have kids in the district or not, investing in education today will pay dividends for generations to come.

Voting yes on these measures is voting yes for a better Benicia. It’s about protecting and improving our city’s infrastructure, safety services, and education. Together, these three measures will keep Benicia the great place to live, learn, and grow that always has been.

Benicia’s given us a lot; it’s time we gave it a bit back.


Mark Christian
Benicia resident

Benicia resident Pat Toth-Smith: Why I think Monica Brown deserves another four years as Solano County supervisor

Solano County Supervisor for District 2 incumbent Monica Brown, center, shakes hands with Congressman John Garamendi in 2016. | Robinson Kunt z/ Daily Republic.

By Pat Toth-Smith, February 25, 2024

During the pandemic, Monica Brown served as supervisor for Solano County’s District 2, which includes Benicia, Glen Cove and parts of southern Vallejo.  District 2’s proximity to the SF Bay Area counties of Contra Costa, Napa, and Alameda for employment, recreation, etc., put us at a bigger risk in 2020, when Covid first started – before we had vaccines, Covid anti-viral medications and a full understanding of how it was spread.  For this reason, after mask mandates were initiated in these other Bay Area counties, Monica worked hard to try to get mandatory mask mandates for Solano County. Unfortunately, a lack of support on the board of supervisors meant Monica’s proposal was not taken up at their meetings.

Nevertheless, Monica helped the Solano County Democratic Central Committee’s Covid Subcommittee provide education and support to Solano residents and supported efforts to get mask mandates passed in Vallejo and Benicia. Both cities passed mandatory mask mandates before the statewide mandate went into effect. Lives were probably saved as a result.

Monica also provided valuable educational information about Covid-19, the new vaccines and where to find Covid testing and vaccine injection sites in her regular newsletter and emails that were posted and sent out to her constituents.  She made herself very accessible and was a voice of reason, providing the information people needed.

As a county supervisor for the past seven years, Monica has a track record and experience that benefits all members of Solano County.  She has helped get funding for seniors and families in need, and she supports measures for mental health and homelessness. She started the “Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operation” in Solano County, so chefs can prepare and serve food cooked in their homes to consumers. She was there for us Benicians when we opposed the “Crude by Rail” Proposal that could have led to dangerous environmental and civilian hazards.

In Vallejo, Monica supported residents opposed to the toxic Orcem cement plant, and all Solano County residents who opposed the increase in expensive bridge tolls. Monica Brown will be there supporting us citizens when the next dangerous proposals come our way in the future. I urge you to support Monica Brown for the next four years.

Pat Toth-Smith
Benicia Resident

Cleanup operations paused at Bay Area refinery after flaring, odor

Valero’s Benicia Refinery.  | File photo.

SF Chronicle, by Danielle Echeverria, February 24, 2024

Cleanup operations paused Saturday night after a work on a mechanical problem at Benicia’s Valero Refinery that caused flaring and emitted an odor in the area, the city announced.

The source of the odor was a refined hydrocarbon that was being moved between two tanks at the refinery, the city’s Fire Department said.

Della Olm, the public information officer for the Fire Department, explained that a unit at the refinery malfunctioned Friday night and had to be shut off, prompting the flaring. Refinery crews were moving the product to a functioning unit Saturday, emitting the odor, she said.

Any additional flaring Saturday was associated with the same issue, she said.

Pacific Gas and Electric Co., Benicia Fire and Valero’s own Fire Department were at the scene and investigating, she said.

“The odor has dissipated significantly in most parts of Benicia,” the city posted in an update early Saturday afternoon.

Cleanup operations paused Saturday night and will restart again Sunday morning, the city posted in an update at 7:40 p.m. Saturday.

“Intermittent flaring will continue for an undetermined period of time,” the city announced. “We will continue to monitor air quality throughout the night.”

Benicia Fire was testing air quality using portable air monitors at multiple points in the city. The department recommended that people remain indoors and close doors and windows if the odor was strong in their area.

Warren Pederson contributed to this report. 

Other reporting on this recent refinery incident:

Vallejo resident Paula Bauer: I support Supervisor Monica Brown

District 2 Supervisor Monica Brown (Incumbent). | Robinson Kuntz  / Daily Republic.

By Paula Bauer, February 22, 2024

There have been some unflattering letters and social media posts lately about Supervisor Monica Brown.  I supported Supervisor Brown in 2016, and was her treasurer in 2020.  She won both times, and I just voted for her again in 2024.
Has she made some mistakes?  Yes.  She is human.  She has made mistakes.  But she also shows up and supports the causes I support. She stands with science and supported masks and vaccinations when that was not a popular position in Solano County.  She fought for and got us the home kitchen ordinance that has allowed meal prep in private homes for public consumption.  She has fought for eight years but I don’t think has yet won fire suppression regs.  I also think she understands the issues that Solano County will face with California Forever/Flannery Associates.  We cannot afford to have a rookie trying to ramp up to speed when these issues come before the board. Let’s elect someone who already knows the terrain.
While I’m asking you to support Monica on the board of supes, I’m also asking you to vote for Monica, Kathy Kerridge, Pat Toth-Smith, and me for the central committee.  And I’m asking for all of the same reasons: we support science, LGBTQ rights, women’s health, voting rights, and everything else Big D Democratic.  None of us have been on the central committee as long as Monica, but we are all on it now, and probably against our smarter instincts, are asking you to put us there for four more years.  We ask for and would appreciate your votes.
Thank you.
Paula Bauer
Solano County, District 2 (Vallejo)

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