Tag 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 https://www.allwecansave.earth/
  • 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! http://progressivedemocratsofbenicia.org/pay-dues-donate/

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, https://votefwd.org/.
    • A member shared information about his “marketing” project for a more general audience than current PDB outreach, the podcast Benicia Voice, https://anchor.fm/beniciavoice/ available on Apple and Spotify – and encouraged everyone to listen and subscribe to it.

Meeting Reflections – September 13, Local Ballot Measures

SEPTEMBER 13, 2022

Read summary reflections below.
Watch the Zoom recording here.  >Passcode: ^9#YCAHJ

Local Ballot Measure K

After inhouse business and announcements, our meeting focused once again on the upcoming fall election.  We heard first about Benicia ballot measure K.

Bob Berman, Benicia

Bob Berman with the Solano County Orderly Growth Committee spoke about the history of Measure K and why it is back on the ballot.

A yes vote on the ballot measure will extend the duration of our Urban Growth Boundary Measure:

    • Continues existing protection – preventing urban sprawl
    • Preserving agricultural land and open space
    • Extension until December 31, 2043

“The language of the renewal measure is exactly the same as the current measure except for the expiration date. But remember: two previous City Councils have determined that specific renewable energy projects not requiring public services (one a wind turbine project and one a solar project) were consistent with the language of Measure K.”

Check out Bob’s introduction, comments and our conversation with him on the meeting recording. You can fast forward to 00:17:19.

For further study: Ballot Measure K, an Impartial Analysis, and the argument in favor can be found on the Solano County Registrar of Voters website.

Local Ballot Measure R

Erik Upson, Benicia City Manager

Erik Upson, our Benicia City Manager, gave us some insight into the Benicia budget and why Measure R was put on the ballot.

Check out Erik’s introduction, comments and our conversation with him on the meeting recording – you can fast forward to 00:37:05.

Erik clarified first that his position is such that he is not speaking to advocate for or against the measure, but only to provide information, understanding and context.

He explained that our small city is a “full service” city – we have our own police, fire, water and wastewater services, library, parks and recreation department,  a marina and a federally recognized dam and reservoir, a refinery, a deep water port, two State parks, a historic district, etc.  “It’s monumentally challenging for a city our size with 211 employees.”

Our greatest challenges include retaining and attracting staff, and the issue of deferred maintenance.  Measure R is directed at resources that will assist in both. Once we have spent money to improve the roads it will be cheaper in the future to maintain them. More money spent now on improvements means less money spent in the future.

Measure R would adopt a transaction & use tax:

    • Adding 0.75% tax on retail sales price
    • Increases retail sales tax to 9.125%
    • Current retail sales tax is 8.375%
      • 7.25% – State
      • 0.125% – Solano County
      • 1% City of Benicia

For further study: The official Ballot Measure R, an Impartial Analysis, and arguments for and against can be found on the Solano County Registrar of Voters website.

Voting whether to endorse Measure K and Measure R – YES ON BOTH!

Following the presentations, members in good standing voted to endorse Measure K and Measure R.

Tonight’s Action Items

Kathy Kerridge highlighted tonight’s action items.  All are encouraged to make a quick phone call to our legislators about “Joe Manchin’s dirty side deal.”  For links, phone numbers and a script, scroll down to page 4, September action at https://docs.google.com/document/d/1HQ2_r5aOZ255jl277ODmcr1vfZ2GPwoU/edit . https://docs.google.com/document/d/1HQ2_r5aOZ255jl277ODmcr1vfZ2GPwoU/edit


  • Benicia Mayor Steve Young – At Council on September 20, we will hear a report on citizens’ water conservation. We were asked to conserve 20% a couple months ago.  We will also hear from Equity and Diversity Manager Dr. Maliika Chambers, to update us on her work and the work that the Committee United for Racial Equity (CURE) has been doing.  We will also consider three requests: one from Councilmember Strawbridge on soccer fields, another from Vice Mayor Campbell on a pride sidewalk, and another from Councilmember Largaespada on vacant First Street properties.
  • Maggie Kolk (for Bart Sullivan, not present) –
  • Lisa Reinertson – Kari Birdseye & Terry Scott Artist Sign Auction. Many artists from the Benicia community have painted campaign signs for our candidates Kari Birdseye and Terry Scott.  Deadline for bids is tomorrow night, 8PM sharp, August 14th. (NOTICE: AUCTION EXTENDED TO 8PM ON THURS. AUG 15.) All proceeds go to the campaigns. https://www.runmyauction.com/kariterry.php
  • Maggie Kolk – Solano Pride Fundraiser, Saturday Oct 1, 6-10PM, at the Dan Foley Cultural Center, 1499 North Camino Alto, Vallejo.  eventbrite.com/e/roaring-20s-casino-night-tickets-405424785447 or facebook.com/events/455389029827571/
  • Terry Scott– Election day is only 56 days away! My campaign for City Council is looking for volunteers.  Email me at  [email protected] or go to the website https://www.terryscottforbenicia2022.org/.
  • Terry Mollica (for Kari Birdseye) – Ballots will go out in the mail on October 10, so we have less than a month before voting will start! It’s crunch time now, lots of ways to contribute as volunteers for Kari in big ways and little ways. Kari’s website is https://karibirdseyeforbenicia.com/ Go to the How Can I Help page.
  • Kathy Kerridge – Please consider becoming a member of our Steering Committee.  We will be losing Maggie, our secretary at year’s end, and it would be great to have a few more people to participate.  If interested, and for any questions, email me [email protected].