Meeting of January 14, 2020 – BHS youth on climate change / possible Benicia election changes

Tuesday, January 14, 2020, 7pm
Casa de Vilarrasa Community Room,
383 East I St. (corner of East 4th)

PDB’s first meeting of 2020 began with a talk by Benicia High School student Emma Goularte, editor in chief of the BHS newspaper The PAW.  Emma presented the results of a recent student poll on what students think about climate change issues.

We were the first to hear the results of the survey.  Our Q&A with Emma was full of good ideas for follow-up and support.

Next, we focused on an upcoming discussion by City Council on how to elect City Council members, at-large v. district elections.

Currently, council members are elected at-large, meaning all eligible voters can vote for any candidate for Council on the ballot. On January 21, City Council will discuss and consider whether to elect council members by districts, which would mean voters in each defined district would vote only for candidates running for that district Council seat. Several cities in the Bay Area and California have already made this change, as well as many School Districts (including BUSD).

First, Julia Hahn explained what the issue is, why it’s an issue now, and how other communities in CA are implementing the changes. She has worked with Vacaville and Vallejo on addressing these issues and shared some of her experiences. Then Benicia attorney Terry Mollica followed with a discussion of Benicia’s characteristics, and shared his observations on how Benicia should address the issue.

Again, Q&A was smart, energetic and focused.  All were encouraged to attend the January 21 City Council meeting for more on this important issue.