Tag Archives: benicia

1000 Friends Protecting Historic Benicia files Opening Brief in bid to preserve Arsenal Park

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Press Release, 1000 Friends Protecting Historic Benicia, February 29, 2024

1000 Friends Protecting Historic Benicia filed our Opening Brief this week to protect the nationally important history of Jefferson Ridge Officers Row in Benicia Historic Arsenal.

You will see that the proponents of two housing developments are attempting to build 138 units of housing in buildings so huge and so close to the historic houses that in some places they could stand higher than the historic buildings.  They would put dozens of parked vehicles across the streets, would destroy the views to and from the historic area, and so would destroy the history and structure of this most important Benicia place.

This historic area is a gem that would be coveted by any other city, for its tourist attraction, its economic benefits, and its unique historic status.  Logically that history should be strongly protected by Benicia’s city government.   But as you will see, it appears the City failed to take actions that could better inform the public, better inform city decisions, and thus could better protect these sites.  We allege that the city attempted short-cuts, ignoring city ordinances and state laws, including its refusal to prepare an Environmental Impact Report.

Officers Row has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places, confirming its historic value for the citizens of all the states, not just for Benicia, and not just for California.  That National Register status will almost certainly be withdrawn if these projects proceed.  Please help spread the word about this threat and join the 1000 Friends in their event celebrating the connection of Abraham Lincoln to Benicia Arsenal, scheduled for April 19th.  Watch for our publicity.

And please remember that if the history of Benicia Arsenal is lost, we have made Benicia a less worthy place for the entire nation and for all our nation’s descendants, not just for Benicia.   And while housing laws and priorities can and do frequently change, and while housing can be built in dozens of places in the city, if the historic Officers Row is lost to these two projects, that historic Benicia site cannot ever be recovered. Once its gone, its gone forever.

Stand up for responsible government and for protection of our unique historic site!  Join and Support 1000 Friends Protecting Historic Benicia!

Join the Campaign!

…to find a way to “Preserve – Not Destroy” the Benicia Arsenal…

Visit the Website to Stay Informed and Donate


See earlier posts about 1000 Friends PHB on BenIndy:

Historic Design Competition Opens Tonight, 6pm at Benicia Library – Entries On Display Nov. 16-18

From 1000 Friends Protecting Historic Benicia:

1000 Friends Protecting Historic Benicia is sponsoring a design competition. The vision and ideas of students and community members submitted to the competition will be on view – two classes from Benicia High School are submitting nine concepts.  One other entry has been submitted at press time, which was before the deadline of November 15th.

Please join us this Thursday, November 16th for a short presentation by 1000 Friends and Benicia High School entries process discussed by Mr. Kaiser. Opening night program to begin at 6pm.

WHERE:  Benicia Public Library Dona Benicia Room, 150 East L Street

WHO:  Anyone can come to the Library and vote for the design that you think meets the criteria derived from the adopted Conservation Plan and the Secretary of Interior Standards.

WHEN:  Opening night program begins at 6pm November 16. Concepts will be on display November 16, 18 and 19th

CONTACT:  Elizabeth Patterson; info@1000friendphb.org

Competition Prize – Painting of Lower Arsenal by Linda Grebmeier.

This painting was graciously donated by the artist to support the 1000 friends Design Competition and to raise awareness of the Historic Arsenal and new development that threatens the future historic status of the Jefferson Ridge.

The painting depicts the Lower Arsenal area near the waterfront looking towards Jefferson Ridge. This scene is characterized by development occurring during the WWI and WWII era.

About Linda Grebmeier Linda Grebmeier lived and worked in studio space in the Benicia Arsenal for over 20 years. Linda was raised in California, completed her MA degree at Central Washington University, studied with Cynthia Krieble and George Stillman.

Linda cites the complexity of the Benicia industrial waterfront as a challenge that inspired her painting of urban landscapes. The Arsenal, Cargo Ships and Industrial Prints series evolved from time spent in the Arsenal studio space surrounded by transport vehicles and bridges. Linda also painted a series based on the Yuba Site inspired by the famed 1850s Yuba factory in the Benicia Arsenal which is now demolished.

For more information, see Linda’s website: https://paintsong.com/

Looking west across Jefferson Ridge today.
A visual simulation of the approved development.


Join the campaign!

…to find a way to “Preserve – Not Destroy” the Benicia Arsenal…
Stay Informed and Donate – (501)©(3)  1000FriendsPHB.org

See earlier on BenIndy:

ALERT – Dangerous LA MIGRA game Friday

Talk to any Benicia high schoolers you know!

[BenIndy Contributor Nathalie Christian – On Wednesday, March 29, the Benicia Unified School District (BUSD) issued a district-wide warning that the annual occurrence of the racist, violent “game” Benicia High School students call “La Migra” is anticipated to occur this Friday, March 31. For more than 20 years, the La Migra “game” has inflicted deep emotional and often physical harm on Benicia’s vulnerable youth, especially our youth of color. La Migra also claims countless hours of our police department’s time, tying up emergency resources and costing Benicia thousands in overtime wages and related spending. Despite all of this, too many in Benicia consider La Migra a harmless tradition. Although the game occurs off campus and is no way organized or condoned by BUSD, the district is right to call for an immediate end to this event and to warn the community of the imminent danger. – N.C.]
Last year at this time – KTVU FOX 2 San Francisco

Let’s Stop ‘La Migra,’ A Dangerous Game of Chase – March 31, 2023

Posted by Benicia Unified School District 
March 29, 2023

Dear Benicia Community,

We want to bring your awareness to an unsanctioned and dangerous activity that Benicia teens have participated in over the last twenty years, which is an underground, and unwelcomed event in our community. It is a chase-and-capture game referenced as  “La Migra”. This activity happens in the Spring, usually on a Friday evening in late March or in April. We have information that suggests this game may take place on Friday, March 31, 2023.

While this activity is not in any way organized or condoned by the schools, Benicia Unified School District, or the City of Benicia, there is an urgent need to provide our community with information and ask for your partnership in putting an end to this event once and for all. We want to provide awareness about this event and see it stopped for two important reasons:  the inappropriate, racist, and offensive nature of the game and the  incredible safety concerns for our students and innocent bystanders.

“La Migra” is slang for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and is the name used for this controversial game based on ICE agents deporting undocumented immigrants. The event involves older students chasing younger students through the city, trying to catch them, and then possibly transporting or holding the student against their will. The event begins at one location, typically a park in town, with the younger students attempting to get to a second designated location without being caught by an older student. A student that is captured is sometimes dropped off in an unknown location. There are reports of extremely unsafe situations in the course of this event, including unsafe driving, students dressed in all black with masks running through backyards and private property, speeding, physical contact causing injury, unsafe physical detainment, and students being left without the ability to contact someone to pick them up. It is important to stop this activity immediately to keep students from being injured or harmed.

In addition to the physical safety concerns, Benicia Unified School District strongly advocates for respect for all individuals, regardless of race, place of origin, sexual orientation, or disability. A game such as “La Migra” causes harm, both physical and emotional, to members of our community.

We urge every family to discuss this event, use this as an opportunity for education and understanding, and help us put an end to this game in our community.  In a city that has been nominated as a Be Kind city, continuing “La Migra” is counter-productive to this goal.


Sunday, March 12th –  Benicia Arsenal: A Cautionary Tale

Protect Historic Benicia!

Panel Presentation, 2:00 to 3:00 pm:

  • Gary Widman – former: 1st Lt., Benicia Arsenal, 1958-59; Prof of Environ. Law, UC Hastings; General Counsel, Council on Environmental Quality, Executive Office of the President; Gen. Counsel, Calif Dept.of Parks and Recreation & Office of Historic Preservation; Director, Office of Staff Attorneys, US Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.
  • Gregory Tilles – Professor Emeritus of History, Diablo Valley College
  • Steven Goetz – Benicia Arsenal Park Task Force

The panel will highlight the 162-year life of the Arsenal that shaped Benicia. Our Civil War-era military installation is a unique geographic and architectural gem of the Western United States, and a state and national-registered historic district. Development plans approved by the city pursuant to SB 35 are inconsistent with thirty years of City planning policies and decades of historic preservation efforts by hundreds of citizens to preserve and enhance the Benicia Arsenal.

Our lawsuit filed in November 2022, challenges city approval of two SB 35 multifamily complexes in the Historic Arsenal District listed on the National Register. The district is inclusive of the structures and grounds. The projects approved fail to comply with Secretary of Interior standards for development affecting historic structures and place. We are certain that court review will show wrecking a unique, historic district is not legal or right. Seeing and understanding the historical and cultural resources are critical for the court to understand why SB35 is wrongly used in this case and a flawed piece of legislation.

Tours – Docent-led

  • Historic Jefferson Street walks – 3:15 and 4:00 pm
  • Home tours: two non-commissioned officer homes – 3:15 to 4:30 pm

Docent-led tours of the Clocktower Fortress, the adjacent Officers’ Row, and historic homes on Jefferson Street will give you a window into Benicia’s history and life at a U.S. Army base more than 150 years ago. Gathering for recreation and spectacular views of the Carquinez Strait from Jefferson Ridge was part of the Army’s original design. We are called to protect this special place.

Related attractions at the Arsenal:

Benicia Historical Museum is open 1:00 to 4:00 pm
($3 for adults, $2 for children, free for active military with identification)
Arts Benicia – Exhibits at the Commanding Officer’s Quarters are open until 5:00 pm

Join the campaign!

…to find a way to “Preserve – Not Destroy” the Benicia Arsenal…
Stay Informed and Donate – (501)©(3)  1000FriendsPHB.org

See earlier on BenIndy: