Category Archives: Benicia Measure B

Benicia favors increasing hotel, sales taxes; school bond measure also verges on passage, by Tony Hicks for Bay City News, March 6, 2024

Three Benicia-area measures on the Solano County ballot in Tuesday’s election were winning, according to preliminary results as of early Wednesday morning.

The city of Benicia’s Measure A, which would raise the transient occupancy tax from 9 percent to 13 percent for a period of 12 years, was passing by a wide margin — 5,114 yes votes to 1,449 no votes, with all eight precincts reporting.

The proposal would generate an additional $250,000 per year, according to an analysis from City Attorney Benjamin Stock.

Another Benicia proposal, Measure B, was also passing by a healthy margin, 4,782 yes votes to 1,811 no votes. Measure B would impose a three-quarter-cent sales tax for 12 years, which would generate an estimated $5.4 million annually.

Both Measures A and B need a simple majority to pass.

The Benicia Unified School District’s Measure C was winning, with 3,998 yes votes to 2,554 no votes. The 61 percent approval was above the 55 percent needed to pass. A yes vote supported authorizing the district to issue up to $122 million in bonds, requiring a levy of approximately $60 per $100,000 in assessed value.

Please vote, Benicia – especially if you are in my 18-39 age group

A portrait of Nathalie Christian
Nathalie Christian

By Nathalie Christian, BenIndy Co-Editor, on the eve of the March 5, 2024 Primary Election

Dear friends,

I don’t share my own thoughts here often, preferring to highlight others’. However, it’s crucial now.

TL;DR: Please vote

This is my plea to vote, sent to all of my fellow Benicia residents but most especially my peers aged 18-39. (I turn 39 this year. Ergh.)

This is an age group that I know is very interested in avoiding the threatened cuts and service reductions should Measures A and B failcuts in all areas of the city, including Parks, Library, Public Works, Public Safety, and more. 

This is an age group that I know is also very interested in maintaining the Boards and Commissions that could be eliminated if those measures fail, as well as the grants that the City provides to the Arts, Culture and essential, community-serving nonprofits. (So vote YES on Measures A and B.)

This is an age group that I know is very interested in improving our school infrastructure for the young families many of us have, as Measure C would do without – bonus!! – raising taxes. (So vote YES on Measure C.)

Yet, shockingly,  only 367 in our age group in Benicia have voted by mail as of February 29, according to City Manager Mario Giuliani’s recent message to the City.

Despite busy lives, voting is essential, and you can still do it in person.

Election Day is tomorrow.

I’m stealing this next part straight from the City Manager’s recent message to the City.

Election Day is tomorrow – what’s your plan to vote? 

Are you wondering where to go to vote in Benicia? Check out the Benicia poll place map or look up your polling location by address. Polling locations are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on election day, March 5. (Source.)

OK, I’m back.

Our generational cohort could be a political force to reckon with, but we need to own it

While many in our age group are disillusioned with politics (same), our collective voice at the ballot box is the one of the rare ways we can influence genuine change. Not voting – even in primaries – mutes our own voices while dampening our collective voice.

Gen Z, now 18-27 and 40.8 million strong, including 8.3 million new voters since 2022, is ready to shine.  As a bloc, your votes will be the ones to drive change, addressing critical issues like systemic racism, environmental and climate sustainability, equitable access to education and healthcare, meaningful careers, and more. Don’t you want a say in all of that? Would you really rather leave what your future will look like to Boomers, Gen Xers, and (worst of all) millennials like me?

Millennials in the 27-39 camp, well. I know you’re all stressed and tired and overworked. Same. But you have to vote or you forfeit your right to complain, and we all know that’s just too much for a millennial to bear. (Kidding. I love my generation and am leaning into one of our favorite activities, self-deprecation, to cope with having to engage in one of our least favorite activities, asking for help.)

Don’t throw away your vote

There are those in this beautiful town those who abstain from voting as a form of protest, insisting that it saves them from complicity in systemic issues. Or they choose not to vote to register their frustration with a two-party system led by candidates that – even to me, the voting cheerleader – are deeply flawed.

I used to respond diplomatically to such claims, but not anymore. This line of reasoning is a painfully self-defeating conceit that must require cognitive gymnastics worthy of Simone Biles, a Gen Z icon. Do better.

Listen. Politics in America is not a zero-sum game. There is always a worse candidate, a worse result. One that will harm more people – especially people of color, the queer community, women, and children. A non-voter’s complicity in the systems they dislike vastly exceeds a voter’s. As taxpayers, their inaction only doubles their complicity.

Not voting is as good as laying out the red carpet for the systems, candidates, and policies we know have to change.

You don’t have to fill out the whole ballot

Guess what! If all my reasoning up there still failed to move you, you don’t have to vote in any contests you don’t wish to vote in.

You can support Benicia’s health and future by voting YES on MEASURE A, B, and C and leaving the rest of the ballot blank.

Please, if you haven’t mailed your vote, go to the polls tomorrow. You can bring your mail ballot to any polling station or vote in person.

Your participation matters.

“BISHO, Revenue Measures and Cabaldon: Three Steps We Can Take on March 5 for a Safer, Healthier, Better Benicia”

[Note from BenIndy: What luck! A second installment from Benicia Herald columnist (and author, blogger, and Benicia resident) Stephen Golub, just in time for Election Day and the March 5 Benicia City Council Meeting.]

Photo by Phil Scroggs on Unsplash.
Benicia resident and author Stephen Golub.

By Stephen Golub, first appearing in the Benicia Herald on March 3, 2024

As demonstrated by the February 24 Valero spill, which put potentially dangerous levels of toxic hydrogen sulfide into our air, we can’t be complacent about protecting the safety and health of Benicia’s kids, older adults, people with medical problems and entire community. Here are three steps we can take on March 5 to keep Benicia beautiful and wonderful.


At the March 5 City Council meeting, a report will be presented on the status of a Council subcommittee’s work to prepare an Industrial Safety Ordinance (ISO). This potential legislation, which every other Bay Area locality which hosts a refinery has, could help prevent Valero violations and accidents that can spark dangerous emissions and explosions.

In the wake of the February 24 accident, and amidst increasing indications that Valero adamantly opposes an ISO (which, again, other Bay Area refineries manage to live with), it’s important to show support for the ordinance and for the diligent, dogged work of Vice Mayor Terry Scott and Councilwoman Kari Birdseye to bring it about.

The meeting starts at 6 pm. Attending and speaking up in person is important. But those who prefer to participate by video can go to and click the Agenda or Zoom links at the top of the page.

An additional, easy way to back an ISO is to go to the website BISHO.ORG and indicate support at the online form there. BISHO stands for Benicia Industrial Safety and Health Ordinance, a desired title of the City’s ISO because it includes the word “safety” to emphasize what’s at stake. The site has been put together by and for the many Benicians seeking to make our town safer and healthier through an ISO.


Along with our votes in the March 5 primary contests (more on that below), that day also represents our chance to cast our ballots to help ensure Benicia’s financial future.

If we vote YES on Measure A, the result will be a slight increase in the tax for hotel guests; residents are unaffected. It will produce up to a few hundred thousand dollars per year for the City.

If we vote YES on Measure B, it will yield millions of dollars in increasing sales tax revenue annually for the City, at the cost of just 75 cents per $100 spent. The proposal is backed by the City Council and by other leading Benicians across the political spectrum.

Coupled with other Council initiatives, including economic development plans that can yield increased revenues down the line and cutting Benicia government jobs and costs that are improving the budget situation right now, Measures A and B will help the City dig out of its current fiscal crisis. Since about half of the City budget goes to our fine police and fire departments, the two measures will go a long way toward protecting our public safety by protecting funding for those vital services – as well as protecting other city services from being gutted.


Democrat Christopher Cabaldon is running to be state senator for California District 3, which includes all of Solano County and many adjoining areas. Endorsed by Benicia Mayor Steve Young, Vice Mayor Terry Scott, former Mayor Elizabeth Patterson, former Council Member Dan Smith and dozens of other officials from across Solano and the region, Cabaldon is by far the best candidate seeking that position.

In a candidates forum I attended, which included fellow Democrats Jackie Elward and Rozanna Verder-Aliga, Cabaldon offered by far the broadest and deepest knowledge of issues affecting Benicia and the other areas he’d represent if elected. Those opponents do not bring nearly the same degree of expertise and experience to bear as Cabaldon does by virtue of his successful 22-year tenure as West Sacramento mayor and his numerous other types of local, state and national service.

One opponent, Verder-Aliga, prompts particular concerns. Most notably, as a member of the Vallejo City Council, in 2017 she led the way in extending consideration of an (ultimately unsuccessful) proposal to build a cement plant and deep-water port in Vallejo, despite widespread community opposition and a nearly unanimous vote against the project by the Vallejo Planning Commission. The development, which would have imported and processed an industrial byproduct with an apt and ugly name, “slag,” could have caused havoc for Vallejo, Benicia and surrounding areas in term of pollution, health risks, heavy industrial truck traffic and a lengthy, dust-spewing construction process.


Please back a safer, healthier, better Benicia by supporting an ISO at the City Council meeting  and at BISHO.ORGand by voting for Measures A and B and for Christopher Cabaldon for state senate.

Benicia resident Mark Christian: Benicia’s given us a lot. Give a bit back by voting ‘Yes!’ on A, B, & C

Image by DALL-E.

By Mark Christian, February 25, 2024

I’m writing in today to show my support for Measures A, B, and C, which are on the March 5 Primary ballot. All three of these measures are focused on laying the groundwork for Benicia’s continued growth and well-being:

  • Measure A will slightly increase the hotel tax, bringing in an extra $250,000 a year without costing us residents a dime. These proceeds can help improve city services that benefit everyone in town.


  • Measure B proposes a sales tax increase, but the impact on our wallets will be tiny: about $10 a month, or less than a Netflix subscription. In exchange, we’ll get better emergency services, get to keep all of our parks open, and improve library services.


  • Measure C is near and dear to my heart because it focuses on our schools: it will allow the school district to issue $122 million in municipal bonds so we can upgrade our educational facilities, making them safer and better equipped to get our kids ready for the future. That means better technology, safer buildings, and improved learning environments for every student in town. (I don’t know about you, but I would prefer my kids not to be sitting in a musty old classroom that was already old when their parents were sitting in it.) Whether you have kids in the district or not, investing in education today will pay dividends for generations to come.

Voting yes on these measures is voting yes for a better Benicia. It’s about protecting and improving our city’s infrastructure, safety services, and education. Together, these three measures will keep Benicia the great place to live, learn, and grow that always has been.

Benicia’s given us a lot; it’s time we gave it a bit back.


Mark Christian
Benicia resident