Disregard for community
Although I am disappointed in the turnout of Benicia City Council’s second cannabis vote in December, I am far more disappointed in the fact that three of our councilmembers clearly have little regard for the members of the community they are to represent. They have their own agenda and no interest in the opinions and desires of their fellow Benicians who feel strongly on an issue.
The sheer number of people, including many community leaders and people with medical expertise, who cared enough to come out to both meetings against the ordinance should have been a clear indicator to all the council members how they should’ve voted– the whole two-vote thing and the delayed vote exhausted other citizens who do care from actually making it out to every single meeting. I have not been to any other meetings since moving here because I have not felt as strongly on other issues but from the remarks made, it is clear that the meetings don’t usually get that large a turnout which in and of itself is highly significant.
In a recent email sent out by the mayor, she stated that she received a lot of correspondence about the issue and that most of the correspondence she received was opposed to it in our city and gave an example of one such letter. Unfortunately, she ignored the many many people she heard from. Clearly, she had her mind made up before anything came to a vote and in fact, the “research” that she conducted was probably only to look for reasons to support her already made up mind more than helping her to make it. * Another huge disappointment was her demeanor throughout this process. Her public responses regarding the issue were defensive, condescending and almost antagonistic at points. Rather than recognizing and admitting that this is huge national issue, showing compassion for both sides of the argument with legitimate concerns on both sides of the opinion, she chose the lower ground to make sure everyone saw her as “right” and the others as “wrong.” All the major national newspapers would not continue to run articles and keep watch on what is happening in this industry if it wasn’t a “big deal,” as the mayor keeps trying to convince us. This kind of attitude is what divides a community, not bring it together. She lacks the leadership ability to bring all citizens of Benicia together.
None of this about her may bother you if you’re on the pro-cannabis side of the argument, but the next time you’re not on her side, you will find yourself very frustrated with her close-minded elitist attitude. I will certainly be looking to vote for someone unlike her in these ways to be her successor. She has a different understanding of what it means to be an elected representative in local government than many of us do.
I have lived in Benicia for four years, and our family has enjoyed volunteering and participating in our schools, sports leagues and other community organizations. When we moved here from out of state, we looked at a number of cities in and around Solano, Napa and Sonoma counties. We researched them online and visited them as well as talked to various people who lived in each of the cities we considered. In the end, we came here because we liked the community identity. It best fit with our family identity. Thus we are very disappointed to see that the leaders of this community want to turn it into something that we specifically were trying to avoid by coming here.
Sadly, I think Mayor Patterson, Steve Young and Alan Schwartzman’s direction for Benicia is going to leave many in this city with a bitter taste in their mouth.
A high price
Many people are wondering why Elizabeth Patterson and many City Councilmembers are in favor of the selling of marijuana in Benicia. I feel compelled to address this subject of marijuana since I’ve tried it and also rejected it because it makes me unhappy. I would rather be in full control of my senses. These are greatly changing times, and government policies are subject to change. There is no question that because it is now legal to purchase marijuana that a lot of new problems are going to be subjected to many cities in our country. Many comments are observed from the general public.
I really think our mayor and a few of our councilmembers are in favor of selling marijuana because tax money will be coming to Benicia, and our city does need money since they seem to spend it faster than they get it. For me personally, I’m disappointed in our mayor and some of our councilmembers because they favor the selling of marijuana in the city of Benicia. We should be thinking about our children, how it will endanger their lives. It’s just a matter of time since marijuana will be all over Benicia that our kids will be curious to try it. I think our city elected officials know that, but making more money for the city seems to be important to most of them. You would think Mayor Patterson should be a particular good example of what’s better for our kids.
I hope in the future that the people who vote will be more selective of who they put in office to guide us in the right direction. To the 64 percent of the people in Benicia who favor marijuana, as well as the mayor and some of the council, you seem more concerned about money than the safety of your children. There’s a high price to pay to get high.