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Carrie Rehak: On Being More Fully Alive with Kari Birdseye

Heartbreaking times, in need of wholeness and healing

By Carrie Rehak, Benicia resident, June 1, 2022

Carrie Rehak, Benicia CA

Locally and globally, we are living in deeply troubling and heartbreaking times, so in need of wholeness and healing. As the late U.S. Nobel Prize- and Pulitzer Prize-winning author and educator Toni Morrison reminds us, externalizing what is inside can also be a way to be in service of the world. She writes: “This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.” Among many other values, the arts can help to open us to wonder and awe, to imagine what is not yet, to make us more ourselves, as individuals and as a community. They can help us be more human and more humane. Hence, as a local artist I am deeply grateful for the generous and courageous service of City Council candidate Kari Birdseye. Birdseye is running again for Benicia City Council after the Valero Energy Corp. and their allies spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to influence our city’s election when Birdseye ran in 2018, as chronicled by KQED and other reputable media outlets.

Perhaps you recall the push polls, designed to spread false information about a candidate: “Did you know that Candidate Birdseye wants to shut down the refinery? Did you know that Birdseye is bad for Benicia, bad for business?” Or how IP addresses in the City of Benicia were fed false online advertisements, making the same claim with unflattering pictures of Birdseye. Such ads even ran on the Benicia High School library computers, where Birdseye’s own children first viewed them. In addition to the smear campaign, the Valero PAC spent big money on mailers promoting their endorsed candidates, Largaespada and Strawbridge. We also may recall that, two years later, the PAC unsuccessfully spent $250,000 trying to oppose the election of Mayor Young. Once again, the refinery is pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars, over six times what a local candidate is permitted to spend, into its “Working Families for a Strong Benicia” PAC.

Kari Birdseye, candidate for Benicia City Council

Like the prophets and visionaries, who throughout time have realigned us with our moral arc, Birdseye speaks truth to power. She will hold polluting industry in Benicia accountable and not negotiate in a back room at the community’s expense. She will not have to explain why Valero, who just made record profits off the rising price of gasoline, is spending so much money once again to try to buy City Council seats. She will not take corporate money.

What Birdseye will do is fight for the health and safety of every Benician.

Birdseye will run a clean campaign as she envisions a future for Benicia, for us and for generations to come that, in addition to economic growth and the diversification of our tax base, will also help to ensure access to such necessities as clean air and clean water. As a community, we must hold the Valero PAC accountable, which includes reporting to the City and on social media any strange polling calls that make untrue claims about any candidate as well as reading the fine print on any campaign information we receive in the mail or online. If it is paid for by “Working Families for a Strong Benicia,” it is paid for by big oil executives in Texas or the powerful building trade unions in Sacramento.

While many of us are familiar with Birdseye’s contributions to Benicia through her service in such roles as Chair of Benicia Planning Commission (since 2017), I personally resonate with Birdseye’s qualities and qualifications as a patron of the arts. More importantly, she values the role that beauty, creativity, truth-telling, and meaning-making play in our day-to-day lives, including the aesthetic of Benicia’s historic downtown. Music is also one of the arts that Birdseye supports. Not only is she married to a professional musician but she also attends many live music events, often in support of local musicians and music venues. In other words, Birdseye understands that we are not only here to survive but to thrive. So it is in hope that I support Kari Birdeye as a City Council candidate: that as a community we may respond to current challenges constructively and creatively, and that together we may be more connected, more vibrant, more engaged, and more whole — that is, more fully alive.

Carrie Rehak
Benicia Resident

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

And best of all – Kari’s website!

Kari Birdseye For Benicia City Council 2022

June Mejias: Kari Birdseye for City Council

Kari Birdseye for Benicia City Council

By June Mejias, Benicia resident, May 22, 2022

Kari and June

A seat on a city council is an important job within one’s community! In thinking of such responsibility, key descriptive words come to mind for me: “commitment, compassion, relevance, dedication, awareness, knowledge, compatibility, direct approach, honesty and experience”. Kari Birdseye has all of those qualities!

Kari serves as Chair of the Benicia Planning Commission where she has held that position for five years out of her seven-year association with this vital City office. Prior to that, Kari worked for the Benicia Human Services Board for three years. She has also worked tirelessly in many volunteer activities while raising her two children.

She also currently works with the environmental organization NRDC, (Natural Resources Defense Council) and keeps reporters up-to-date on issues concerning our very important planet Earth, which includes people, plants, animals and the natural systems on which all life depends!

Before settling in Benicia, Kari worked for CNN for 11 years. While there, she served as a producer and was part of a team that won an Emmy for covering the Centennial Park bombing at the 1996 Olympics!

I know Kari to always be the person who will listen to everyone and regard their personal experience. Her motto is “respect and civility above all else!” As a parent and a person devoted to our environment, she will work tirelessly for the highest quality of life for Benicians!

Kari Birdseye will bring authenticity to her role as our next Benicia City Council Member!!

Join me in electing Kari!

June Mejias,
Benicia Resident

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

And best of all – Kari’s website!

Kari Birdseye For Benicia City Council 2022

Kari Birdseye to announce 2022 run for Benicia City Council – Rally this Sunday!

Kari Birdseye Campaign Kickoff Rally
This Sunday May 22, 2 pm, Benicia City Park

Festive Gathering at the Gazebo to Announce Run for Benicia City Council

Benicia Planning Commission chairperson Kari Birdseye will run for City Council in November’s election, and strong support for our friend is already building.

Benicia enthusiasts have organized a Kickoff Rally around the Gazebo in City Park for this Sunday, May 22 starting at 2pm.  The Rally will feature music, banners, a short but impressive lineup of speakers and opportunities to volunteer and donate.  It will be a great time to mingle with like-minded friends.

More information and volunteer possibilities can be found at

Many BenIndy readers will be turning out for Kari and offering to help organize a strong campaign.  You are invited to join in this Sunday, 2-4pm at the Gazebo.  See you there!

Kari Birdseye For Benicia City Council 2022