Category Archives: Meeting reflections

Meeting of Sept 8 – Secure Ballots and the Propositions

Election Prep Meeting
Tuesday, September 8, on ZOOM…

Secure Ballots and the Propositions…

PDB’s meeting of September 8 was all about preparedness for the upcoming election and our ability to vote and have our votes counted!

    • When will mail-in ballots be available?
    • Will ballots be delivered in time and be counted?
    • How do I make sure my ballot is counted?
    • How secure will the vote count be?
    • When will we know results?
    • What about Propositions on the November 3 ballot?
    • Should PDB endorse any of the Propositions?

In addition to the BIG election concern – GET BIDEN/HARRIS INTO THE WHITE HOUSE – there are lots of questions about the how the voting will take place, will mail-in ballot procedures ensure access to ballots by voters and timely delivery for the count, and is the process secure and accurate?

John Gardner, Solano County Assistant Registrar of Voters, brought us up to date on County and local efforts to help ensure all voters can vote.  Mr. Gardner is also active at the national level and with other states and will share how these issues are faring in other important areas that are vital to voter turnout and vote count on November 3.

There are also 12 statewide Propositions on the November 3 ballot.  And in Benicia we have legally non-binding Local Measure D which seeks the opinion of Benicia voters regarding the number of retail cannabis businesses in the city.

We discussed the 12 statewide Propositions on the November 3 ballot and local Measure D.  For some of the Propositions the PDB Steering Committee included a consideration for endorsement by members.  (Note that our vote on state propositions is only advisory: local Democratic clubs must follow the positions taken by our State Democratic Party when it comes to state propositions.)

Voting by members was held online again.

We hope that our discussions helped clear up many questions about your ballot, how to ensure its accuracy to be accepted, and determine which of the propositions seeking your vote are important for you and the Benicia community.

Meeting of August 11, 2020 – Local Candidate Forum

Endorsement Meeting
Tuesday, August 11
7:00pm on ZOOM…

Council and Mayoral Candidates

PDB’s August 11 General Membership meeting was a discussion with candidates running for Benicia Mayor and City Council. We  decided we no longer needed a second endorsement meeting (previously scheduled for Aug. 20) and so combined the meetings into one on Aug. 11.

All Democratic candidates running for Benicia Mayor and City Council were invited. Incumbent Councilmember Tom Campbell declined our invitation to attend without explanation. Vice-Mayor Christina Strawbridge, who is running for Mayor, also declined to attend citing “previous experiences with the group.”

As a result, we had plenty of time to hear from the Democratic candidates running for Benicia Council and Mayor who graciously accepted our invitation to discuss their campaigns and vision for Benicia with members of the Benicia community:

  • Candidate for Mayor: Councilmember Steve Young
  • Candidates for Council: Trevor Macenski and Terry Scott

Several members shared questions with us they would like the candidates to answer.  Here are the prepared questions that we asked each candidate.  And here is a video recording of the August 11 Forum.

Ralph Dennis
PDB Chair


Endorsement meeting on August 11…
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Progressive Dems of Benicia will meet on Zoom. 
Members and friends will receive Zoom login instructions by email.  If you are not currently on our member or interested parties email list and want to attend, you can either Become A Member,  OR,

if you are just interested and want to attend, go to our Contact Us page to ask for Zoom instructions by email.

The ballot and voting procedures…
For eligible members voting, the ballot will be posted with instructions on the PDB web site following completion of the Aug. 11 meeting. The voting period will be open until August 18, 5:00 pm PT.  You will submit your ballot via the online form.  We will verify members’ status. Results of the votes in each race will be published on Aug. 19.

Meeting of July 14, 2020 – Police Reform Issues in Benicia with Chief Upson

Tuesday, July 14, 7:00pm
…on ZOOM…

Once again, in order to continue maintaining social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, Progressive Dems of Benicia met on Zoom.

Discussion on police reform issues with Benicia Police Chief Erik Upson

Benicia Police Department reforms was the main topic at our July membership meeting.

In the wake of demonstrations and protests over racial injustice and police brutality, including the recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and too many other black and brown members of our society, in June Police Chief Erik Upson announced steps “the Benicia Police Department is taking for a better future.”

Chief Upson has stated:  “I’m very proud of the culture we have built in this department and the humanistic approach we take that focuses on the community. I know there is more we can do, and I look forward to making changes that will strengthen our relationship with those we serve.”

Chief Upson joined us to discuss what has been done and what the department is doing to ensure any aspects of racism in the Department are addressed and measures are in place to eliminate and prevent it in the future. For example, in response to Governor Newsom’s order, Benicia police are removing use of the carotid choke control from its policy. Chief Upson has also created a “Use of Force Policy Review” web page which clarifies current Benicia police policy. And, the Benicia Police  Policy Manual is now posted for public review (checking in at 756 pages!).

While these actions are important, questions remain, and Chief Upson addressed many of our questions in his discussion.

Benicia Tree Foundation

Also on the program was Alison Fleck, President of the Benicia Tree Foundation. Ms. Fleck discussed Caltrans’ recent removal of trees along the Hwy 780 corridor, and the Foundation’s plans to pursue actions to force Caltrans to replace the removed trees with new ones. Recently, City Council passed a Resolution supporting the Foundation’s intent to have new trees planted along Hwy 780.  Ms. Fleck to suggested ways in which PDB can support the Foundation’s efforts toward Caltrans.