Valero PAC lays out $10,000 for big social media buy, total now at $73K

By Roger Straw, November 1, 2022

Roger Straw, The Benicia Independent

Late today, Benicia City Clerk Lisa Wolfe posted two more campaign finance reports submitted by the Valero PAC.  These reports shed light on the expenditure of an additional $18,698.61 to elect their preferred candidates for Benicia City Council.

$10,000 of this amount is for a massive social media campaign. The PAC has already set up a Facebook page.

The remaining amount, approximately $8,700, is for another misleading mailer.

With this additional outlay, the PAC has spent a total of $73,095.83 just in the last week of October.

Disclosed in these two reports are the actual images – 8 new full color ads, once again including subtly deceptive positioning of photos of Benicia’s Mayor and Vice-Mayor, suggesting that they support Valero’s chosen candidates.  Mayor Young and Vice-Mayor Campbell have not supported Valero’s candidates.  Both have endorsed Kari Birdseye and Terry Scott.

The ads all portray Valero’s chosen two as significant players in a City Council that gets things done.  “Christina Strawbridge, Lionel Largaespada, and City Councilmembers led Benicia through COVID-19.” “Christina Strawbridge, Lionel Largaespada, and City Councilmembers  Support our first responders.”

Valero seems to have learned a lesson in 2020: wait to spend your fortune in the last few weeks, and don’t bash your opposition directly – only by hint and suggestion.

The PAC has now spent over $73,000, twice what any legitimate human resident candidate’s campaign can spend. And that leaves about $160,000 in their war chest. Who knows how much they will pay out in the final week before the November 8 election?

>> And that’s a question with no forthcoming answer. The PAC will not be required to file another report until after the election, covering the period 10/31/22 – 11/8/22. This form will be due in the Benicia City Clerk’s office on 11/11/22.

The following links go to the City of Benicia website, displaying the PAC’s 2 latest reports, including images of their ads:

Note that others in Benicia are keeping an eye on Valero’s meddling in our elections – check out Benicians For Clean Elections at

See also my page of support for candidate Kari Birdseye here on the BenIndy.

Stay tuned. I’ll let you know if/when we learn more.

Roger Straw
The Benicia Independent

Previously on the BenIndy…