Category Archives: Meeting reflections

Meeting Reflections – January 10, 2023, Birdseye, Scott, and ADEM election

JANUARY 10, 2023
New Councilmembers Birdseye and Scott and all about the ADEM election

Our first meeting of the year was held on Tuesday, January 10 via zoom.


We started the New Year by hearing from our newly elected city council representatives, Kari Birdseye and Terry Scott. Both gave an ambitious and detailed account of their goals for the City of Benicia in coming years. Members also took the opportunity to ask questions.

PDB member Susannah Delano gave a clear explanation of the California ADEM elections and helped members understand the importance of this election of our party delegates for our Assembly District 11. Mail-in ballots have been sent, and in-person voting will happen on Sunday, January 22.

  • Bonnie Hamilton on a Sustainability Challenge for Benicia, in-person at the Benicia Library Jan 26, 7pm, with the book All We Can Save, available at Bookstore Benicia. See also
  • Alan Zada on the District 5 Benicia School Board special election on April 11 at a cost of $60K to $80K. Only District 5 residents can vote. District 5 is purple on this map.
  • Terry Mollica on the Housing and Safety Element, which will The Housing Element will come before the Planning Commission on Thursday January 12th and the City Council on January 24th. More information on the City of Benicia website.
  • Mayor Young talked about the Brown Act and why we can’t have all 3 PDB members who are on the City Council present at our meetings at the same time. Complicated – here’s a link to the Brown Act as it appears on the City of Benicia website. Mayor Young also talked about the upcoming Council meeting, mentioning that downtown parking will be discussed.
Message from PDB Chair  – Your Membership in PDB

Thanks to dues and donations from our amazing membership, PDB supported our endorsed candidates in 2022 both financially and by creating a community bulwark to stand against wealthy, out-of-town business interests—and we saw this fight all the way through to victory! We also use these funds to compensate speakers, pay for utilities like Zoom, and keep the wheels of progress turning in Benicia as we work together for environmental, racial, and social justice.  Sooooo……..

For only $20, you can reactivate your membership by clicking this link to pay your annual dues. While you’re there, please consider making an additional donation to help fund PDB’s future activities. Not only will your generosity help us keep our forward momentum, it will also give you a voice in the club, allowing you to vote on important matters and help us execute essential club business.

Yes – Renew my Membership!

ANOTHER IMPORTANT way for you to help in 2023 –

As PDB continues to grow and create change, we are increasingly in need of active, committed volunteers who can help us in 2023 so our progressive momentum extends to the 2024 election. While Kari Birdseye is a very welcome presence on Benicia City Council, her absence from our Steering Committee will be deeply felt. Note also that Steering Committee Member Terry Mollica is taking a sabbatical.

With two members now gone from our Steering Committee, we really need you to step up and help out by joining our Steering Committee. Responsibilities are minimal, you don’t have to be any sort of political expert to pitch in, and we’re very friendly and supportive. If you’re interested, please reach out to us and we can go over exactly what’s involved and how you can fit in!

See you on January 10!


Meeting Reflections – November 15, 2022 – Election results and where from here

NOVEMBER 15, 2022

Our normally scheduled Second Tuesday meeting would have fallen on election day this month, so we postponed our PDB meeting for a week, until the Third Tuesday, November 15.

After a year of jam-packed and informative meetings, we planned for this post-election time together to simply reflect on and discuss the outcome of the elections and where we want to go from here in 2023.

Support for Georgia Senate candidate Raphael Warnock

After the treasurer’s report and several announcements (see below), our Steering Committee presented a recommendation to contribute to the extremely important campaign of Georgia Senate candidate Rev. Raphael Warnock.  After discussion, it was moved and seconded to donate $500 to the Warnock campaign. The motion was overwhelmingly approved by Zoom poll.

PROGRAM: Election Results and Where from Here…

Our secretary “zoomed” us into breakout groups to chat about our experiences and learnings during the months leading up to last week’s local, state and national elections.  Members were also asked to suggest topics for future meetings, to address the need to find a new club Secretary as of January 2023 and to find new members for our Steering Committee.

Returning to the plenary session, we engaged in a great free-ranging discussion on our election learnings and observations, etc.. Here are a few notes from that discussion:

2022 Benicia Election – Some Lessons Learned:

    • Start planning and campaigning earlier! (As in NOW!)
    • We won the mail-in vote.
    • Better marketing for average people (for instance, Birdseye tv ads were helpful).
    • Terry Scott did a great job of visiting lots of homes.
    • Clever flyers are key.
    • Signs were scattered – maybe too few and far between.
    • Letters to the editor in print and online were helpful (even though the Benicia Herald has only 1200 or so subscribers).
    • Campaigns took advantage of residents’ long memories of Valero PAC’s massive spending and dirty tricks in 2018/20. (A group that was totally separate from candidates’ campaigns had a website and sent out 5,000 postcards. PDB endorsed and arranged without any campaign knowledge to send out 4,000 postcards, many to multiple-voter residences.)
    • Forums were ok, but could be improved – maybe could be more debate-like.
    • Do more at Farmers Market next time.
PDB – Where  From Here:
    • Program suggestions: ISO, GHG reduction, North Study Area (Seeno property)…
    • Member diversity – need to look into ways we can reach out more, become more relevant to and attract participation of more racially diverse members and youthful members.
    • Shorter meetings?

Participants were encouraged to write down notes from their breakout rooms and contact us.

    • A member shared results of our Meeting Poll. Using a form on our website, members indicated whether and how we should return to in-person meetings. Results indicate that we will continue monthly zoom meetings for now, but maybe starting next Spring, will hold quarterly in-person meetings.
        • Zoom only – 4 in favor
        • In-Person only – 6 in favor
        • Combination, continue zoom except for in-person on a quarterly basis – 25 in favor
    • A member shared good information about letter-writing for the Warnock campaign via VoteForward,
    • A member shared information about his “marketing” project for a more general audience than current PDB outreach, the podcast Benicia Voice, available on Apple and Spotify – and encouraged everyone to listen and subscribe to it.

Meeting Reflections – October 11, Lori Wilson & State Ballot Props

OCTOBER 11, 2022, 7:00 PM

Read summary reflections below.
Watch the Zoom recording here

Candidate for Assembly Lori Wilson

Our program this month featured Lori Wilson, our District 11 California Assembly Member, who is running for re-election. Ms. Wilson talked about issues facing the District and State.  (See recorded video for intro at minute 2:50 and Assemblywoman Wilson at 4:00.)

State Ballot Propositions

We also heard speakers and discussed the following important State ballot propositions:

  • Proposition 1: The Proposition is a legislatively proposed amendment to the California Constitution to prohibit the State from denying or interfering with an individual’s reproductive freedom in their most intimate decisions, which includes their fundamental right to choose to have an abortion and their fundamental right to choose or refuse contraceptives. Gina Fisher, Speakers Bureau Director of the Yes on Prop. 1, shared the campaign’s perspective on the proposition. (See recorded video at minute 32:00)
  • Proposition 28: The Proposition proposes to provide additional funding for arts and music education in all K-12 public schools by annually allocating from state General Fund an amount equaling 1% of required state and local funding for public schools and a greater allocation to schools serving economically disadvantaged areas. Danielle Bunch of Create CA spoke about why her group supports the proposition. (See recorded video at minute  49:21)
  • Proposition 30: Proposition 30 is the increasingly controversial proposition that proposes to fund programs to reduce greenhouse gasses by imposing taxes on Californian with personal incomes exceeding $2 million. Max Baumhefner, an attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Counsel, and a member of the coalition supporting the Yes on 30 campaign, will speak about the need for the proposition. (See recorded video at minute 1:08:08)

Local Candidates Birdseye and Scott

We heard from our two endorsed candidates for Benicia City Council, who shared recent campaign efforts and the need for volunteers in these final weeks before the Nov 8 election. See the recorded video – Terry Scott spoke at minute 1:24:54 and Kari Birdseye spoke at minute  1:27:04.

Valero/Labor PAC Update and discussion

Mayor Steve Young offered comments about the Valero/Labor PAC’s apparent lack of involvement this year (so far) in supporting or opposing candidates for Benicia City Council. The PAC is sitting on a war chest of over $220,000, and PDB members have not received any mailers from the PAC as yet.  The PAC has yet to file a campaign finance report with the City of Benicia, which would indicate that they have not exceeded $1,000 for or against any given candidate.


  • A member promoted the October 12, 2022 local Candidate Forum, sponsored by the League of Women Voters Solano and the American Association of University Women. [Later: recording of the Forum is now available at ]
  • This member also shared information about Benicia Voice Podcast, available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts at  Recent Benicia Voice topics have included Clean and Fair Elections in Benicia and interviews with all five candidates for Benicia City Council.
  • A member shared information about a SafeQuest Solano fundraiser, Art From the Heart, on October 24.  SafeQuest Solano organizes domestic violence and sexual assault response programs.
  • This member also encouraged members to consider serving on the PDB Steering Committee. PDB is also looking for someone to serve as our next club Secretary.
  • A member concluded with a reminder for all members to vote, and to remind all family members and friends to vote.
  • NEXT MEETING: November 15, 2022 at 7 PM.