Progressive Dems call for Industrial Safety Ordinance, Council votes NO

By Roger Straw

At the Progressive Democrats of Benicia membership meeting of June 18, PDB voted unanimously (with one abstention) to ask Benicia City Council to support the issuance of an Industrial Safety Ordinance (ISO) for the City of Benicia and approve Mayor Patterson’s request to direct City Staff to review a Draft ISO.  The PDB recommendation was that staff report findings back to the City Council no more than 90 days from June 19, 2018.

Acting PDB Chairperson Craig Snider drew up a resolution following our meeting expressing our concerns, and presented it at City Council the following evening, June 19.

After much discussion lasting until 1 AM, the City Council voted 3-2 to reject Mayor Patterson’s request and to wait and watch what Valero and regulatory agencies do based on recent new regional and state air monitoring regulations, and to engage Valero and regulatory agencies in discussions.

Two Council members qualified their rejection of the proposed ISO.  Council members Campbell and Schwartzman stated for the record that if Valero does not install certain Air-District-required “fenceline” air monitors within 6 months, they would vote to impose an industrial safety ordinance.  All five Council members also would like to see “community” air monitors.

Draft minutes detailing Council’s 6/19 decision read as follows:

On motion of Council Member Hughes, seconded by Council Member Schwartzman, Council approved Option #2 in the staff report, directing Staff to monitor Solano County’s implementation of Program Four, directing Staff to meet with Valero and the appropriate regulatory agencies to address the few gaps that exist between Contra Costa County’s ISO and Program #4, including more effective and frequent communications with the City, Valero, and the community, fence line monitors installed within 6 months (while that was going on, the community monitoring could be negotiated), an evacuation plan, and having a report back to the City Council the first meeting in November, on a roll call by the following vote:
Ayes: Campbell, Hughes, Schwartzman
Noes: Young, Patterson

For more, including video segments of the Council meeting, see