Benicia needs an Industrial Safety Ordinance


An ISO will create a better informed community – Our children deserve clean air and a safe place to grow up

By Ralph Dennis, 12/26/17 beniciaheraldonline.com/letters-iso-and-cannabis/ 
(For more information, see http://beniciaindependent.com/iso/)

A lot has been said and written over the past several weeks on bringing an industrial safety ordinance (ISO) to the city of Benicia. Or, perhaps we should think of it as a community safety ordinance, which is what a Benicia ISO would also represent. As a resident of Benicia, I continue to believe that enacting such an ordinance, modeled after the Contra Costa County and city of Richmond ordinances, will provide more information to the City of Benicia and therefore to the community. Information is necessary and valuable because it “informs” us, in this case, about environmental risks and exposure to toxins, safety and risk management plans to reduce and prevent accidents, and industrial operations that impact the community. Information from the audits and reports produced by the impacted industries would be submitted to the City of Benicia (and therefore to the community). All this ISO compliance activity, including community access and input, should help foster more interaction and cooperation between industries and the City as they strive to ensure a protected community. Who knows? The Benicia ISO could even provide the process through which community-wide monitoring finally becomes a reality – perhaps bringing out of mothballs and placing into operation the previously purchased monitoring equipment languishing in sheds since 2008 or so.

There are those who oppose an ISO for Benicia. Their arguments seem to come down to the following: it would be duplicative, cost us money, maybe raise taxes, or it is just unnecessary regulation. To the first point, it is true that a Benicia ISO will include existing CA EPA/CA OSHA requirements; but that’s good, meaning nothing extra there for affected industries to worry about. But, in addition, Benicia’s ISO should also include reporting requirements comparable to what the city of Richmond and Contra Costa County officials receive through their respective ISOs. That’s important, because the city of Benicia (and therefore the community) doesn’t receive much of anything now, at least directly, regarding CA EPA/CA OSHA compliance. Secondly, as to raising taxes or costing us consumers more money from our pocket, costs for implementation and compliance related to the Benicia ISO should be collected in the form of fees on the impacted industries, similar to the city of Richmond and Contra Costa County ISOs. Yes, the industries could choose to pass those costs on to consumers, but even so, the Benicia community in exchange receives information that we don’t currently have about risks and exposures, or only receive on a limited and insufficient basis.

Finally, those opposed wonder whether an ISO is just unnecessary. However, Benicia is the only jurisdiction in the East Bay with a refinery that does not have a local safety ordinance. Benicia is the only city in Solano County that is home to a refinery, and currently our county has no plans to develop an ISO. An ISO is working well in the city of Richmond, and the ISO in Contra Costa County is considered the best safety ordinance in the country. Benicia deserves a seat at the table with Valero and other industries subject to CAL EPA/CA OSHA compliance requirements. A Benicia ISO will provide that seat and give the Benicia community a voice in the preventing and/or minimizing the effects of incidents like the near-catastrophic May 5 Valero emergency shutdown and major flaring incident. And, next time, when such an incident or even worse one occurs, with an ISO in place the community will have real-time information available to answer questions that could not be answered on May 5th or in the days, weeks, and months that followed.

I urge all Benicians to support the continuing efforts to bring a draft ISO to City Council for consideration and ultimate enactment of a Benicia ISO.

Ralph E. Dennis,
Benicia

Women’s March 2018

Repost from Women’s March 2018

Women’s March 2018 – San Francisco #HearOurVote

Women’s March Bay Area- San Francisco

Saturday, January 20, 2018 from 11:30 AM to 3:30 PM (PST)

San Francisco, CA

On January 20, 2018, Women’s March San Francisco will unite along with multiple other cities in California (and other states) to reaffirm our commitment to building a positive and just future for all, and to celebrate the spirit of resistance efforts over the past year. This rally is designed to engage and empower all people to support women’s rights, human rights, civil rights, disability rights, LGBTQIA rights, workers rights, immigrant rights, reproductive, social and environmental justice. Our feminism must be intersectional and we must continue to organize as such.

We want to encourage participation in 2018 midterm elections and encourage people to Organize Locally, Register to Vote, Vote, Women Run For Office (especially WOC), and Elect Progressive Women & Allies.

HEAR OUR VOTE! First we Marched and Now we Run!!!

Donate: https://womensmarchbayarea.org/donate The WMBA is in the process of applying for 501(c)(3) status, and so there can be no certainty that donations will be tax deductible by donors.

Our Official ​Merchandising: https://www.zazzle.com/womensmarchbayarea

Volunteer: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSd5Osop1qkdzn698fSitTVPyKSi2HJPEqXqlMhwSmHXlaqJDQ/viewform

Facebook Invite, RSVP and Share please: https://www.facebook.com/events/1942264432450715/ 

Further details about the San Francisco event will be posted shortly. The timing is subject to change.
Additional information will be found at www.womensmarchbayarea.org.

The March in San Francisco will be one of many worldwide events honoring the movement that brought out 5 million marchers on January 21, 2017, in what is considered the largest single-day demonstration in U.S. history.

Join us on January 20th to march and rally in Civic Center San Francisco! More information on the day to come as we get closer to the event.

UNITY PRINCIPLES:
http://womensmarchca.com/unity/

WHO IS INVITED?
Everyone who believes in a positive and just future. Who stand together for human rights, civil liberties and social justice for all.

WHEN:

Januray 20, 2018 – 12 PM Rally, 2 PM March

WHERE:
Civic Center, San Francisco

Rally at Civic Center – asking people to arrie by 11:30 AM and then line up to March down Market St at 2 PM to Embarcadero Center (end of event).

IS THE RALLY AND MARCH ACCESSIBLE TO PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES?
Yes. We are making every effort to ensure accessibility.

IS THE RALLY AND MARCH KID FRIENDLY?
Yes. We encourage everyone who shares the same values to attend.

HOW CAN I HELP:
Please donate to help cover cost of the Jan 20 events (rally & march and actions) for Women’s March Bay Area – San Francisco and San Jose:https://womensmarchbayarea.org/donate

HOW TO GET CONNECTED AND GET INFORMED:
The Women’s March Bay Area (SF & SJ) is committed to creating transformative intersectional social change. We recognize that there is no true peace, freedom, or inclusion without equity for all. To find out more about visit www.womensmarchbayarea.org

Have questions about Women’s March 2018 – San Francisco #HearOurVote? Contact Women’s March Bay Area- San Francisco

CA Attorney General Candidate Dave Jones Addresses Progressive Democratic Group

By Craig Snider, December 1, 2017 (Also ran in The Benicia Herald)

Current Insurance Commissioner Shares Priorities  

California 2018 Attorney General Candidate, Dave Jones, spoke at the November meeting of the Progressive Democrats of Benicia Club last Monday, with 35 people attending.   

When asked why he is running for California Attorney General, Jones said he’s been preparing for the job his whole professional life. So, when former Attorney General Kamala Harris announced she was running for Senator, Jones launched his campaign.  

Dave Jones was elected State Insurance Commissioner in 2010 and was reelected to that office in 2014 where he still serves. As Insurance Commissioner, Jones leads the Department of Insurance which works closely with state and federal prosecutors across the state to investigate and prosecute fraud and other insurance related crimes.

Jones discussed his three priorities if elected: 1. Resisting federal government efforts to undermine affordable health care, LGBT rights and Immigrant rights. 2. Promoting criminal justice reform including more transparency and accountability in policing and better integration of ex-offenders back into the community. 3. Consumer protection.

Jones noted that he is one of the only candidates who has pledged not to take campaign contributions from the Oil and Gas Industry, the Insurance Industry, Charter School PACs or Walmart.  He is the only candidate in support of SB 562 – The Healthy California Act – to provide comprehensive universal single-payer health care coverage and a health care cost control system for all Californians.

Asked whether he would defend the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) against those who would weaken it, Jones stated that California is in great need of additional housing, and that he would support making housing development easier to permit. He does, however, support environmental concerns in California.

As Insurance Commissioner, Jones leads the Department of Insurance which works closely with state and federal prosecutors across the state to investigate and prosecute fraud and other insurance related crimes. California has the largest insurance market in the United States where insurers collect over $289 billion in premiums a year. He has saved consumers over $2.6 billion in premiums by regulating insurance rates, issuing important consumer protection regulations and winning numerous court cases against the insurance industry.

California has the largest insurance market in the United States where insurers collect over $289 billion in premiums a year. He has saved consumers over $2.6 billion in premiums by regulating insurance rates, issuing important consumer protection regulations and winning numerous court cases against the insurance industry.

In addition to leadership of the Department of Insurance, his qualifications include serving in the Clinton administration for three years as a special assistant to United States Attorney General Janet Reno, representing California‘s 9th assembly district (Elk Grove/Lodi) 2004 through 2011, where he chaired three Assembly Committees including Judiciary, Health, and Budget Subcommittee on Health and Human Services.  Among legislative accomplishments he highlights sweeping protections for seniors and dependent adults facing abuse (Assembly Bill 1363 of 2006) and preventing HMOs and health insurers from charging men and women different rates for the same health insurance policies (Assembly Bill 119 of 2009).

Jones served over five years on the Sacramento City Council where he put into practice proven anti-crime and law enforcement strategies at the community level.

A primary goal of the Benicia Progressive Democrats is to learn which candidates for public office are most likely to secure, maintain and protect equity and justice for all people.  The club plans to support and/or endorse those candidates in the 2018 elections. To that end, the club features guest speakers at their monthly meetings to learn where candidates stand on issues.  

The next meeting of the  Progressive Democrats of Benicia Club will be January 9th at the Benicia Library, Dona Benicia Room, 7:00 p.m., where the featured speaker will be Gayle Mclaughlin, 2018 candidate for Lieutenant Governor.

Equity & Justice for All