In her letter to the editor in the Benicia Herald on September 23, 2022, my friend Patty Gavin quoted me writing to Christina Strawbridge “Thanks for your commitment to the arts…”. Unfortunately, she inadvertently implies that I am supporting Christina in the upcoming elections. To be clear I am strongly supporting Kari Birdseye and Terry Scott for City Council. So strongly in fact that my wife and I have spent hundreds of hours working with a talented group of people organizing scores of local artists to create colorful, creative, one-of-a-kind campaign yard signs for Kari and Terry. Watch for them around town and on social media.
Kari has kept a steady hand on the rudder as Chair of our Planning Commission, doing her homework, making careful decisions, guiding us through difficult times. Terry has shown boundless energy as Chair of our Arts and Culture Commission, working to open up the Majestic Theater, bringing Shakespeare in the Park, facilitating concerts by the Golden Gate Symphony with their Benicia Chorus, working to fund all our local arts nonprofits, and bringing a flowering of public art to town, crowned by the stunning “Neptune’s Daughter” sculpture gazing out from our waterfront. Kari and Terry will bring new energy and new ideas that our Council clearly needs.
I personally like both Christina Strawbridge and Lionel Largaespada. However, Lionel is still a Republican who leans toward short-term thinking, and Christina has been weak on crucial issues. Both have been compromised by our elephant in the room, Valero.
I do NOT want to live in a “company town”. Lionel works for a company that does business with Valero. Christina is married to a man with powerful connections to pro-Valero Unions. She has been working behind the scenes to obtain funding from Valero for a multi-use soccer field. Though Christina and Lionel publicly deny any connection to Valero, I find it troubling that Valero spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to support them in past elections, and to discredit Kari Birdseye and Mayor Steve Young. What does Valero know that we don’t?
I know that whoever wins our two City Council seats will be decent people who care about Benicia, but I don’t want them beholden to big oil. I want them to be focused on keeping Benicia safe, clean, culturally engaging, economically vibrant and independent.
BENICIA – Retired corporate executive Terry Scott believes maintaining the status quo has harmed the city of Benicia so he is seeking election to the Benicia City Council to bring about what he calls much needed change.
“What has changed in the past four years? The last decade? The way I see it, we have the same problems, being addressed by the same ineffective solutions,” Scott told the Vallejo Sun. “I am running to bring a new leadership perspective and vision to meet the challenges of change ahead of our historic community.”
Scott, who has never held political office, has owned several small businesses and served more than 20 years as senior vice president and global head of brand creative services for toy maker Hasbro, Inc.
Scott said his top goal, if elected, would be to “ensure public safety resources are effectively funded and utilized.” An additional goal would be bringing forward thinking financial management to the city’s budget, and Scott said his final goal focuses on providing “engaging and transparent representation for all Benicians and helping bridge divisions in our community by providing common-sense and effective leadership.”
“Let’s face it, our roads are horrible and don’t reflect the pride Benicians have for our community. City streets have been under-maintained for a decade or more,” Scott said. “The city has a responsibility to maintain the quality of life for its residents and safe roads for transportation is imperative.”
Scott also said that properly maintained roadways “insure homeowner’s property values,” and that the “city must do its part to maintain the value of our homes and neighborhoods.”
Scott said that he understands the “distrust” from the community over whether Measure R revenues will go toward road issues as expected.
“That’s why if elected, I pledge to work with the City Council and City Attorney to establish a lawful method to protect and distribute those funds as intended,” he added.
Scott said he supports the renewal of Measure K to extend the duration of an Urban Growth Boundary, which is expected to sunset on Dec. 31, 2023. Benicia voters first approved the 20-year plan in November 2003 to prevent urban sprawl and preserve agricultural land and open space in the city. Measure K would extend the Urban Growth Boundary until Dec. 31, 2043.
“I do not want to see any development, otherwise known as ‘urban creep’ encroaching on our identified urban growth boundary (UGB),” he said. “Passing Measure K will serve to control growth in our UGB preserving the separation of communities, and it protects agriculture and wildlife from being displaced as a result of the aggressive development we’ve witnessed in neighboring towns.”
Scott said he had several plans if elected, including creating a joint economic purchasing pact with neighboring communities “for greater purchasing power for major investments like raw water, vehicles, water treatment chemicals, asphalt and other large purchases that are common purchases to each city.”
He further said that if elected he would work to declare First Street an economic development zone to promote the retail, restaurants, and other businesses along the corridor.
Scott also said he wanted to contribute in thawing the icy relationship between the city and Valero Benicia Refinery, which he said began with Benicia Mayor Steve Young.
“They are an integral part of our community, providing a significant income to the general fund as well as valuable donations to schools and non-profit organizations,” Scott said of the refinery. “Unfortunately, that doesn’t negate the fact that their presence also comes at a cost to our health and wellbeing.”
He noted the news from January that the Bay Area Air Quality Management District sought a legally binding order against Valero to correct “significant excess emissions violations” that had been going on for 16 years before they were discovered in 2019, resulting in more than 8,000 tons of excess emissions that were not previously reported.
“We deserve more transparency, more monitoring, more cooperation — they must act with us for the common good,” Scott said. “Valero claims to be Benicia’s ‘Good Neighbor.’ Good neighbors look out for one another. Our partnership with Valero has been challenging over the years, but it doesn’t have to stay that way.”
Scott also identified the need to work with state and federal officials on water conservation projects, and ensure Valero pays its fair share when it comes to water.
“Valero currently uses 60% of the raw water, however residents pay the majority of the raw water bill,” he said. “Valero should partner in underwriting the real cost of water. Negotiate with Valero to pay a fairer, larger share of the raw water that they use from $1 million to $3 million. Use the additional funds to support infrastructure improvements.”
Scott said the city needs affordable housing.
“I would love for my children to live in Benicia, but unfortunately they can’t afford it. It’s just too expensive,” he said. “Benicia teachers, nurses, small business owners and workers should be able to live and raise their children here. Housing that is attainable for them should be a goal of the City Council, with open space remaining the very last tier considered.”
Scott has extensive involvement in the Benicia community, serving as the former executive director of the Benicia Community Foundation, and serves on the Benicia Arts and Culture Commission, and Benicia Public Art Committee.
Scott joins what is shaping up to be a four-way race as both council incumbents Lionel Largaespada and Christina Strawbridge seek re-election. Planning Commissioner Kari Birdseye is also seeking election to the five-person council. Unlike district-elections in the city of Vallejo, the top two candidates in Benicia will be elected to the council.
Scott argues that the city is in need of “bold and overdue change.”
“I can make a difference in the way the City of Benicia operates, interfaces with the community and forecasts its future position,” he said. “A seat on the City Council will allow me to help change the way we solve current issues by planning for tomorrow.”
Those seeking more information about Scott’s campaign can visit his campaign website.
BENICIA — Local philanthropist, retired business executive and futurist, Terry Scott, filed his nomination packet with Benicia City Clerk Lisa Wolfe on Friday morning, solidifying his official bid for Benicia City Council.
“It’s time for a change,” said Mr. Scott. “I’ve lived in Benicia for five election cycles. As residents and voters, we’ve listened, we voted and then we waited. Have we seen the results we were all promised?
As your next Benicia City Council representative, I’ll look for new solutions that build a better future, not just patch problems of the present,” he added.
Mr. Scott went on to say, “My nomination papers include a wide range of community leaders that have helped build the unique fabric of Benicia and represent a wide range of political views.
“I’m the only candidate to have three of the five sitting council members represented on my nomination forms, including Mayor Young, Vice Mayor Campbell and Councilmember Trevor Macenski.
“I’m proud to say that the following signatories have both nominated me, and endorsed my campaign. Thank you to Mayor Steve Young, Vice Mayor Tom Campbell, Benicia Unified School District (BUSD) Trustee President Sheri Zada, current BUSD Trustees Mark Maselli and Dr. Gethsemane Moss, former Benicia Mayors Jerry Hayes and Elizabeth Patterson, and former Councilmember Pepe Arteaga and County Supervisor Monica Brown for your ongoing enthusiasm and support,” he added.
Terry Scott has served as Chair of the Benicia Arts and Culture Commission and the Benicia Public Art Committee, and is a founding member and former Executive Director of the Benicia Community Foundation. Mr. Scott has maintained a consistent level of community service, helping form and fund several philanthropic and local civic groups.
“My vision for Benicia is to be a financially secure, economically vibrant community while at the same time preserving our friendly, small-town atmosphere. Benicia is a special place, rich with history.” Mr. Scott added.
“I’m passionate about contributing to a city government that delivers quality public safety, clean air and water and stable infrastructure including safe roads.
“It’s essential to champion our First St. by supporting our entertainment, restaurants, art galleries and small businesses, deal with parking and look for ways to improve the growth of our Industrial Park.
We must be prepared to face the challenge of change and find ways to thrive. Benicia is a multi-generational community. Whether you choose to live here in retirement, raise a family or start one, we have a shared value to experience the quality of life unique to our amazing town.”
Mr. Scott earned a B.S. Degree from Kent State University and attended the Executive Studies Program at Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College.
Terry Scott concluded with, “I’m asking for your trust and your vote on November 8th.”
PEOPLE OVER POLITICS – Facing the Challenge of Change
BENICIA — Terry Scott, a long time Benicia resident, seasoned businessman, futurist and philanthropist has announced he is running for Benicia City Council.
“I am running because I believe the role of City Council is to make the hard decisions now in order to maintain our quality of life tomorrow,” he said
“The next four years will be full of important opportunities for our city—as well as present many complex challenges. I will bring to the Council proven business leadership and the ability to build bridges through transparency, strategy, collaboration, and a commonsense view leading to practical solutions”, he added.
Mr. Scott has served as Chair of the Arts and Culture Commission, Public Art Committee, a founding member and former Executive Director of the Benicia Community Foundation as well as helped form several philanthropic and local civic groups.
“Benicia is a strong community. It requires strong leadership, one with vision,” he said.
Mr. Scott added, “My vision for Benicia is to be an economically vibrant community while at the same time preserving its friendly, small-town atmosphere. Benicia is a special place, rich with history. I’m passionate about maintaining a community that embraces all people with all perspectives, supports local art and provides a safe home for its residents with clean air and water.”
“We must be prepared to face the challenge of change and find ways to thrive. Benicia is a multi generational community. Whether you chose to live here in retirement, to raise your family or start one, we are all hungry to experience the quality of life unique to our amazing town. That change requires us to look at the needs and wants of current and future residents.
“I am running because I believe the role of City Council is to make hard decisions now to maintain our quality of life fortomorrow.”
“Through my extensive work and service to our community, I’ve built a reputation for finding solutions, putting in the work and getting things done. The key to all things in our community,” he continued, “is understanding what is our financial and economic condition.”
“Without a thorough understanding of our financial health, how is strategic planning possible? How do we improve our roads? How can we maintain our facilities, control water rates, and maintain the quality of life we expect in Benicia? Without fiscal management, making the hard choices that are ahead of us is impossible,” he noted.
“We now have a qualified Finance Director to create a path forward based on hard data. Having access to accurate revenue reports, expenditure forecasts and financial statements will provide Council with the tools needed for successful future planning; an area of my expertise.
Efficiency equals results. We must ask ourselves, is there a better way to do things today without kicking it down the road and facing them tomorrow?”
Terry goes on to add, “During my time as Chair of the Arts & Culture Commission, there has been an expansion of public art alliances including the celebrated Neptune’s Daughter Sculpture, Tula Sister City Mural, signal box art and decorated benches and murals throughout the City. In addition, the ACC formed an alliance with the Benicia Unified School District for student art murals and helped sponsor a number of cultural events. These are things I’m very proud to have been involved with.”
Mr. Scott retired in 2013 from Hasbro, Inc. in Rhode Island, as Senior Vice President, Global Head of Creative Services where he managed a global group of more than 700 employees with a total annual operating budget of $1.7 billion. Prior to Hasbro, he operated Scott Advertising, Inc. in Cleveland, Ohio. Scott Advertising was named by Advertising Age as one of the top 100 boutique agencies in the United States.
Terry has been a business consultant to several national and international clients. He’s written papers for the National Endowment for the Arts and the US Economic Development Administration on such topics as, ‘The Future of Museums’ and ‘The Impact of the Silver Tsunami and the Millennial Migration’. Terry Scott also serves on several national boards including Oakland’s ‘International Toy Museum in Development’.
“In 2020, I ran for City Council and lost by 126 votes. I believed then, and still believe now, that my message to the community was strong then and even stronger for this run in 2022. As your city council member, I will listen to concerns and examine issues from a fair and pragmatic point of view. Voters can expect practicality and transparency in my decision making process. I’m asking for the most precious item you have in our democracy—your vote.”
Married for 47 years to wife Randi, a forensic archeologist and member of the Incident Management Team for Solano County Search and Rescue. They have three sons, one granddaughter.
He earned a B.S. Degree from Kent State University and completed the Executives Studies program at Dartmouth College–Tuck School of Business.