Thompson town hall went great
Those of us present at last Wednesday’s Town Hall Meeting with Congressman Mike Thompson witnessed an encouraging display of civic engagement. The grassroots event was sponsored by Carquinez Patriotic Resistance (CPR) and Benicia Indivisible for Justice, just two of the many community action groups growing in popularity and impact. Approximately 200 citizens of all ages attended the Town Hall staged in the Benicia High School gymnasium, a venue that encouraged student participation. In addition, over 25 nonprofit civic action and advocacy groups exhibited at tables that were busy engaging people throughout the evening.
Benicia Vice Mayor Steve Young welcomed everyone including other elected officials and special guests. Moderator Danelle Morton set an orderly and courteous tone for the evening. Congressman Thompson presented 10 minutes of introductory remarks prior to opening up to questions on three pre-selected topics: education, immigration and the environment. Fifteen minute question and answer segments for each topic followed. Social studies students asked the first questions in each segment. Congressman Thompson extended the time periods allotted to answer as many questions as possible. The exchanges were free-flowing, courteous and informative. Mayor Elizabeth Patterson, delayed in her return from business in Sacramento, provided a gracious close and thank you.
We are fortunate to have Mike Thompson as our representative in Congress. He is an accessible, experienced and knowledgeable legislator who clearly enjoys engaging with constituents.
Many thanks to Mike Thompson and his staff, organizers of the town hall, Benicia High School, Benicia Police Department and the many individuals and groups who made it a vibrant, worthwhile event. Thanks as well to the coverage by station KTVU.
I appreciate the community spirit of our town’s residents and feel privileged to meet interesting, engaged people every day. Please take the opportunity to attend a Town Hall or two. It is a worthwhile endeavor.
Benicia Indivisible for Justice
Wasting time on demolition permit debate
The City Council, led by Mayor Patterson, is at it again. By that, I mean wasting public time on an issue that should be dead. She says she does not want a legal battle but is doing little to avoid it. Amports, I assume, will continue to proceed with an appeal. The mayor wants co-operation but insists on having it her way. This is a very bad judgment decision by the mayor. She did get her way, but at what consequence to this very fine fragile financial strapped city Is there historical value to the buildings in question? I think that is true but not now. The opportunity to save those buildings is 20 years too late. The best solution is to grant the permit for demolition. If that does not happen, then what Is the city going to accept ownership and take responsibility for the restoration? I think not. Maybe get foundations to contribute to the cost of restoration could be a solution. In the meantime, the council/mayor is wrapped up in an issue they do not seem to have the answer for.
Their next big challenge is the cannabis issue. The mayor is facing a big decision. She has said she does not like smoke of any kind. That is fine, but will it determine her vote on cannabis? If she sticks to her comment on smoke, she is in danger of turning against her voting block. Will she be a hypocrite and vote yes on some form of cannabis manufacturing, distribution and sales? That will be a very interesting vote.
In the meantime, nothing is being done to solve the revenue needs of the city. Upping fees to the same amount as our neighbor cities is not the answer. The city of Benicia is a very independent, self-sustaining city and the residents like it that way. All city departments are dependent on the city budget in almost all cases._Yes, they all can try for grant money which all have strings attached to them. That still does not answer the big issue, which is revenue. Without a sound economic development plan, this city faces some very important decisions. How will the council/mayor handle all this? At present, they are doing nothing. Cut city staff, cut services, delay much needed infrastructure, take the Measure C money, reduce 20 percent emergency fund? We should all be watching how all this plays out. This is your city, and the direction it is being pulled is not good.
The 2018 election is going to be a big one. The candidate with the “Save the City” campaign will win, not the sanctuary city, far left-leaning socialist progressive ideals candidate. I do hope the residents realize where this city is going. It is your city. Time to take a stand.
The “Owl” will be watching.
Bob “The Owl” Livesay,