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Stephen Golub: Important endorsements and qualifications

Benicia officials and others who’ve worked with them the most back Kari and Terry over their opponents

By Stephen Golub, October 27, 2022

Stephen Golub, Benicia CA

If you were trying to find a good baby-sitter, doctor, financial advisor, contractor or employee, you’d value the advice of folks who’ve worked with these persons. You wouldn’t hire someone whom such folks wouldn’t endorse.

That’s why we should elect Terry Scott and Kari Birdseye to the Benicia City Council. The Benicia officials and others who’ve worked with them the most back Kari and Terry over their opponents.

Kari Birdseye and Terry Scott are the only two Benicia City Council candidates who have been endorsed by: Mayor Steve Young, Vice Mayor Tom Campbell, Former Mayor Elizabeth Patterson, Solano County Supervisor Monica Brown (who represents Benicia) and, last but not least, the Democrat Party.

Terry Scott and Kari Birdseye are the only candidates that the Democratic Party has endorsed for the Benicia City Council.

These many endorsements mean even more because they come from folks with different perspectives. But they’re united in endorsing Terry and Kari.

They’re also united in not backing Kari’s and Terry’s opponents, two of whom sit on the Council. Please consider what it means that our two mayors and vice mayor have all worked with those two opponents for years. They know who’ll do the best job for Benicia.

Mayor Young, Vice Mayor Campbell and former Mayor Patterson have all declined to support those opponents. They are backing Birdseye and Scott instead.

There’s much more to recommend Kari and Terry. They’ve both received loads of other endorsements. And they have many more qualifications for City Council.

Terry Scott has owned many small businesses. He knows the challenge that Benicia’s many shop, restaurant and other small business owners and employees face. But he’s also been a Senior Vice President for the Hasbro toy and game company, managing a 700-member staff and a $1.7 billion budget. He’s well-equipped to understand and analyze city finances.

As Benicia Community Foundation Executive Director and Benicia Arts and Culture Commission Chairperson, Terry has done a great deal for the city’s economy, services and quality of life. He’s been a leader in creating all sorts of fun and recreational initiatives for the city’s kids and the rest of us.

Kari Birdseye chairs the Benicia Planning Commission, where she’s done a tremendous job seeking solutions for our city’s economic, housing and environmental challenges. As Matthew Turner Elementary School PTA President, she led a team that raised $100,000 annually for the school. She’s shone as an Emmy Award-winning producer and as the developer of award-winning economic and environmental programs, including being honored by the Governor. She’s been active in many other efforts that protect and improve our town.

Kari helped lead the successful fight to block the Texas-based Valero Energy Corporation’s “Crude-by-Rail” plan to bring through Benicia potential “oil bomb trains” – the kind that exploded and killed 47 people in another small city and that have derailed and frequently caught fire in at least 20 other places.

As parents, both Kari and Terry know how important it is that our City Council look out for Benicia’s kids. As a retiree, I can vouch for their dedication to the city’s retirees and elderly.

Our community is lucky to have two candidates so committed to making and keeping our Beautiful Benicia so special, by improving our roads, keeping our water bills under control, protecting our environment, helping local businesses to thrive and keeping our community safe and secure.

I started this letter likening our choice in this election to finding a good baby-sitter, doctor, financial advisor, contractor or employee. That’s what being City Council members is about, and more. We want people who’ll care and be supremely competent in looking out for Benicia’s kids, health, finances, businesses and entire community. Terry and Kari are best suited to wear these many hats.

I could go on, but don’t take my word for it.

Instead, take the word of Mayor Young, Vice Mayor Campbell, Former Mayor Patterson, the Democratic Party and so many others: Please vote for Kari Birdseye and Terry Scott for City Council.

Stephen Golub
Benicia, CA

More letters, news & links about Kari here on the BenIndy

And best of all – Kari’s website!

Richard Flynn: Kari Birdseye will represent the interests of the people

Independence from interested corporations is an important check and balance on power.

By Richard Flynn, October 26, 2022

Richard Flynn, Benicia CA

This election, I’m supporting Kari Birdseye for City Council. Like other folks have mentioned, I too have found the connections of some other candidates to Valero troubling. I believe they are all decent people and I know the city’s relationship with the company is complex, but I feel more confident that Ms. Birdseye will represent the interests of the people. And I feel she has already demonstrated this as Chair of our Planning Commission.

The fact that the company is spending money to influence our election tells me that they believe the other candidates will better represent their interests. Personally I think independence from such interested corporations is an important check and balance on power, since few of us as individual voters have a spare $200,000 to help our vote.

Having spent decades working on environmental cleanup projects all over California and in states like New Jersey, Colorado, the US Virgin Islands and Canada, my view is that while we have it pretty good here in Benicia, we need to work to keep it that way. I believe a vote for Kari is a step in the right direction.

Richard Flynn
Benicia, CA

More letters, news & links about Kari here on the BenIndy

And best of all – Kari’s website!

Ralph Dennis: Support for Benicia Seniors and Clean Air and Water

Birdseye for City Council

By Ralph Dennis, October 23, 2022

Ralph Dennis, Benicia CA

I support Kari Birdseye for City Council and urge all Benicia voters to do so as well. Kari has the knowledge and experience to help lead Benicia and our City Council as our community faces many difficult issues ahead.

One of Kari’s greatest strengths is her willingness to seek input from others. She has demonstrated this important trait while volunteering in the community over many years and especially as a member of Benicia’s Planning Commission which she has chaired the past 7 years. Most importantly, she seeks this input to learn while forming her opinions on issues, not to validate her own thoughts or respond only after the community asks to be heard – a trait lacking in the incumbent candidates running for re-election.

As Planning Commissioner since 2015, Kari has demonstrated careful consideration of the projects and issues that have come before the Commission, which has prepared her well to serve as a Councilmember. Her skills were especially evident during discussions on the proposed Crude by Rail Project and currently in addressing Benicia’s compliance with its state-mandated Housing Element report.

I am especially supportive of two of Kari’s campaign priorities –

    • creating a Benicia Senior Citizens Commission
    • and Clean Air and Clean Water for Benicia.

During a Candidate’s Forum at Rancho Benicia, Kari suggested a Senior Commission to address Seniors’ concerns and “could include representatives from Rancho Benicia, Senior Center, Carquinez Village, Casa de Vilarrasa, and others,” and a Councilmember as advocate from Council.

Kari also pledges to expand air monitoring in Benicia to be more effective and placed strategically to fill loopholes in the existing local air monitor program. Fines that Valero will be paying for 17 years-worth of failure to report emissions would fund the additional monitoring.

I urge all Benicia voters to elect Kari Birdseye for Benicia City Council.

Ralph Dennis
Benicia, CA

More letters, news & links about Kari here on the BenIndy

And best of all – Kari’s website!

KQED: In Benicia’s City Council Race, the Valero Refinery is on People’s Minds

Now, Benicia doesn’t get a ton of media attention…

Smokestacks and machinery are visible at Valero’s Benicia Refinery, in February 2022. The Bay area plant processes crude oil. (Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

KQED News, by Alan Montecillo and Maria Esquinca, Oct 19, 2022

The politics of fossil fuels in Benicia’s City Council race

Benicia is home to an oil refinery operated by Valero, which employs hundreds of people and contributes tax revenue totaling an estimated 20% of the city’s general budget.

The company has also played a very active role in local elections. Valero’s political action committee spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in 2018 and 2020.

Now, with this year’s city council race underway — and residents frustrated over recent controversies at the refinery — Valero’s role in Benicia looms large once again.

GuestScott Morris, reporter for the Vallejo Sun