Tag Archives: Valero PAC

Valero’s pet labor union kicks in $25,000 to help buy the Benicia Mayor’s seat

By Roger Straw, October 20, 2020

Labor finally gets around to contributing to this year’s Valero war chest- total now nearing $300,000

Reporting on forms required by Benicia ordinance, the Valero PAC that is attempting to buy the Benicia Mayor race detailed a new contribution of $25,000 on  October 15.

The new money comes from an independent expenditure committee (PAC) formed by the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, forgers & Helpers Local 549.  It is interesting that this ultra-conservative labor group has been convinced to jump in with Valero, which is a non-union corporation.  It’s not the first time – this PAC contributed heavily to Valero’s 2018 smear campaign against Kari Birdseye.

I wonder how many of the Sacramento-based Brotherhood PAC’s decision-makers live in Benicia or even work at Valero?  I’d guess the decision was made by a small group of highly-paid executives who have rarely if ever set foot in Benicia.

Cumulative Valero PAC contributions to date: over $273,000.  (COMPARE: All candidates running for Benicia mayor and Council who pledge to run fair campaigns may not spend over $34,200 on their own campaigns.)

Cumulative Valero PAC spending to date: $70,844.  (AGAIN COMPARE: All candidates running for Benicia mayor and Council who pledge to run fair campaigns may not spend over $34,200 on their own campaigns.)

I am tracking DETAILS of the Valero PAC’s 2020 campaign disclosure reports combined in a single Excel spreadsheet.  The sheet contains 2 tabs:

    • VALERO PAC Form460 CpgnDisclosr” is a record of Valero’s SUMMARY reports, showing 2020 income, expenses and cash balance.
    • Forms 465 & 496 IndExp” is a more interesting 2nd tab, showing in detail the Valero PAC’s individual expenditures.

REFERENCE: Valero PAC Financial Disclosures – City of Benicia website

Source: from the City of Benicia website, 2020 Campaign Finance Reports

Benicia Mayor race: 2 more $Valero mailers smearing Steve Young

By Roger Straw, October 20, 2020
I have chosen NOT to display Valero’s most recent nasty mailers.  I won’t give them the time, space and bully pulpit here.  Read on for description and analysis…

There are two sides to the latest Valero PAC mailers: nasty slams on Young and Diavatis, and big name sweet promos for their candidate.

$Valero’s push to win the Benicia Mayor’s seat continues unabated, despite the requests by all candidates that they cease and desist.

The claim against Diavatis is instructive.  The Valero PAC claims to have paid for a poll that shows Diavatis can’t win.  When was the last time that ANY candidate in Benicia was able to afford polling?  Small towns don’t do polling.  But big oil money does.

Valero’s independent expenditure committee (PAC) has set aside around $250,000 for our little Mayor’s race, and spent over $70,000 as of October 9.  (Additional contribution of $25,000 now – see update here.)

The U.S. Supremes ruled that the Valero PAC is a person, and can spend as much as it likes on an election.  But here in Benicia, we have a fair campaign ordinance that limits REAL people who run for office to expenditures of no more than $34,200 per candidate.

The total spending of the three candidates for Mayor amount to 3 x $34,200 or $102,600.  Stack that total up against Valero’s $250,000, and you might think the playing field is a little slanted?  And recall that one of the REAL person campaigns will be Valero’s chosen candidate, so it’s actually $250,000 plus their candidate’s $34,200, for a grand total of over $284,000.  Plunk down that kind of money against any one or two candidates, and see what happens.

That wouldn’t be fair even if Valero played nice.

I have chosen NOT to scan and post Valero’s most recent mailers.  I won’t give them the time, space and bully pulpit here.  Suffice to say the ads are all on file with me.  (Oh, and… the Benicia fair campaign ordinance requires that Valero submit photocopies of their ads, like they did in 2018 when they smeared candidate Kari Birdseye.  Why have we NOT seen photocopies in any of their 6 submitted 496 Independent Expenditure forms?)

See also:

Benicia Mayor candidate Steve Young: Finding common ground with Valero when they want me to lose SO badly

By Roger Straw, October  19, 2020
The Benicia Herald, Sunday, October 18, p. A5

Candidate for Benicia Mayor Steve Young took out a half-page ad in Sunday’s print edition of the Benicia Herald, laying out steps Valero could take to be a “better neighbor to Benicia.”


Candidate Young continues,

I appreciate the value Valero brings to Benicia and their generosity to assist the community.  But appreciating the good they do and being critical of their negative politics are not mutually exclusive.  It’s not either or.  We can and should do both.

The strain between Valero and the City is often attributed to their contentions relationships with specific candidates and elected officials.  I just don’t see it that way.  I think the blame rests on their response (or lack thereof) to a concerned community and the lengths they have gone to disrupt elections that have historically been fair & friendly.  We need a Mayor with the necessary experience to find a common ground that will enable Valero to become a “”Better Neighbor” to Benicia.  Where do we start?

Young then lays out 3 bullet points for a better relationship with Valero:


    • Increase transparency & improve communication including immediate community alerts for any incident impacting resident health, safety or environment, followed by regular updates and instructions on how to respond.
    • Air quality monitoring systems that work in conjunction with public alerts in accordance with official City policy & procedure.
    • Cease all negative campaigning practices and allow Benicia voters to elect candidates in accordance with City’s Election Code.  Keep elections fair and stop the spread of false or misleading attack ads.

Young then addresses outside election influence and Benicia’s future if Valero continues its negative campaign tactics:


If Valero’s PAC succeeds, we can expect these same destructive tactics in every Benicia election going forward.  It’s time we take a stand and let them know, “Enough is enough!”   You can start by electing me as your next Mayor.  I have the right qualifications and the temperament to repair the discord between the City and Valero, and help heal the divide felt within our community.  I’m ready to get to work!

Young concludes with a statement about big outside money and an invitation for Valero to choose a better course:


I encourage Valero to seize this opportunity and choose to be better.  Restore the peace in our politics, reset your relationship with the community, and work with the City as equal parties, both deserving mutual trust, respect and transparency.  Vote for me, STEVE YOUNG, either on, or before November 3rd.  If elected Mayor of Benicia, I pledge to do whatever it takes to achieve these common goals.

See also:

Paul Adler of Benicia Valero: captured on video refusing to refrain from negative election interference

By Roger Straw, October 14, 2020

Youtube video thanks to Dr. Constance Beutel, Benicia.

At a September 19, 2019 public presentation by Valero in Benicia, Paul Adler, Valero Benicia’s Director of Government Affairs and Community Relations, declined to respond to a question regarding interfering in local Benicia elections.

Benicia resident Andrés Soto was in the audience, and posed a question during Q&A.  Recalling Valero’s malicious attacks in Benicia’s 2018 election, Mr. Soto posed a question: “You say you want to be a ‘good neighbor.’  Will you pledge not to conduct a similar negative campaign in the local elections in 2020, and let Benicians make their own decisions?”

Watch the 2-minute video for Mr. Adler’s refusal to make the pledge.  And see Valero & Friends Attempt to Buy our 2020 Election for Valero’s massive effort to buy the Mayor’s seat in 2020 – including misleading and demeaning, negative ads against candidate Steve Young.