Benicia residents gather in City Park, hold up signs on sidewalks to protest Valero meddling in local elections
By Roger Straw, November 4, 2022
Media coverage of this quickly planned protest was excellent. Even better is the video summary by local videographer Constance Beutel. I’ll post links to them all below.
Personal comment: as a longtime Benicia watchdog activist, I am impressed with the new leadership arising in town. They organized this rally in no time, with a turnout of around 75 and better media coverage than any event I can remember over the last 15 years! Kudos!
Video Coverage by Constance Beutel
Valero makes late entry into Benicia City Council race
Vallejo Sun, by Scott Morris, Nov 03, 2022
Texas-based oil manufacturer Valero is making a last-minute push to re-elect incumbent councilmembers Christina Strawbridge and Lionel Largaespada.
BENICIA – Texas-based oil manufacturer Valero is making a last-minute push to re-elect incumbent councilmembers Christina Strawbridge and Lionel Largaespada to the Benicia City Council, spending thousands of dollars on mailers and social media ads.
According to expenditure reports filed with the city of Benicia on Wednesday, Valero had spent $89,507.71 supporting the two candidates as of Monday. That included $38,096.43 with Los Alamos-based Trusted Messenger Marketing on mailers and social media ads. That firm spent $10,000 on Facebook ads. Valero also spent $35,000 with Columbus, Ohio, polling firm EMC Research Inc.
Benicians protest Valero’s campaign tactics
The Benicia Herald, November 4, 2022[BenIndy Editor: Sorry the Benicia Herald doesn’t publish online. The editor, Galen Kusic, had a great page 1 story, photocopy available here.]
Vallejo Times-Herald: Benicia residents protest Valero’s role in local elections
Residents fed-up with the energy corporation’s slanted advertising campaigns, calling them deceitful, shameful, and confusing.
[Also carried by East Bay Times and SiliconValley.com]
It’s the small town versus big business fighting over the voice of local democracy.
Concerned Benicians gathered at City Park on Wednesday afternoon to protest the Valero corporations’ role in local city council and mayoral elections. […continued…]
Residents Rally Against ‘Deceptive Campaigning’ By Valero In Nov. 8 Election
SFGate, by Katy St. Clair Bay City News Foundation, Nov. 2, 2022
Dozens gathered at Benicia’s town center on Wednesday evening to decry what they are calling “malicious” campaigning by the owners of the town’s refinery, Valero, which they say is trying to influence Tuesday’s election.
Carrying signs that read “Valero: Big Bucks Run Amok” and “Stop Polluting Our Elections,” residents rallied in support of two council candidates not backed by Valero, Terry Scott and Kari Birdseye. They also cried foul about big oil money in small-town races.
“We are not paid lobbyists!” said local refinery pollution watchdog Cathy Bennett at the rally. “We’re not even public figures. We are your neighbors… We know this community. We are this community! A corporate giant in Texas does not know this community!” […continued…]