By Bob Livesay
Special to the Herald
I would like to talk about the mayor’s favorite subject: clean air. Gov. Jerry Brown just opened the door for a very big opportunity in Benicia. It is all about revenue to the city of Benicia, which is badly needed. Gov. Brown just signed a new initiative to commit to a goal of 5 million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2030. How does that affect the city of Benicia? Very simply put, the Seeno property. It is about time that the mayor shows her leadership skills and tells the developers that Benicia is open for business.
I read the recent E-Alert from the mayor concerning cannabis. She agreed that “the best leaders serve something greater than themselves.” She has been in public service for over 35 years and says “I have led the fight for clean air for us in Benicia.” That I do not doubt. The mayor states “So yes, clean air is important, and my voice is clear on that.” Again, I do not doubt that, but now is the time to show your leadership skills and do something about this opportunity. If you are the leader as you say, then I do believe you can lead the rest of the council to move on this opportunity. Will it be easy? No, but this opportunity is right there for the taking.
That Seeno property could house a one-stop dealership for all hybrids and electric vehicles under one roof and own the Bay Area for those vehicles. Add to that a commercial center, light Industrial Park also solar for electricity and my very favorite a 350 mini Del Webb-type of housing also with solar and all the water saving devices included, no school needed.
Until the city makes it clear that we are open for business and shows a willingness to look at all proposals, nothing will happen. The mayor now has an opportunity to enhance her legacy and show her leadership skills. It’s time to put those other issues, such as ISO, on hold. This city is in a financial crisis, and this is the No. 1 task of the mayor-led council. Fix this issue. The opportunity is there. Just think of the sales tax on those automobiles coupled with commercial, light Industrial Park and housing If the mayor has the skills, she can get this going. You could very easily hire an outside group to take this on, but only on a fee/commission-based structure. After all, we do sell real estate in this town on a fee/commission closed sale basis.
Mayor Patterson, if this does not get your attention, just what will? This is not an easy task, but it can be and must be done. Time is running out. Sell your vision of this project and use leadership skills to get the attention of the City Council. I do believe you would then get the full attention of the Planning Commission. After all, you appointed most of the people on the current Planning Commission. Start to use your influence, that is not a bad thing. Regardless of what has happened in the past and what the council/mayor think of the Seeno property owners, we will never know what can happen unless we take the steps to find out. Without pursuing an answer, no results will happen. Take action now. I envision that type of development on the Seeno property as an image-changing project with a look to the future. Time for action and not words. The city of Benicia has an opportunity to be the first with an all-in-one electric vehicle lock in the Bay area.
I will end this with a challenge to you Mayor Patterson: Get this done. The Owl will be watching.
Bob Livesay is a Benicia resident.