Time for a change?
I feel compelled to write this letter about the water rates and outrageous maintenance charges the city of Benicia charges the homeowners who live in Benicia. In the 27 years that my wife and I have lived here, we have been subjected to pay the all-time rates this city has imposed on the people who live here.
Some people think the new water meters are causing the problem. I just talked to a lady last week, and she was madder than hell, complaining about the $400 water bill. Several months ago, I attended a City Council meeting that lasted until 1:30 in the morning. Everyone was complaining about their high water bill. The city councilmembers are going to find themselves out of a job when it comes time for their terms to end,
The city staff needs to start cutting jobs, elminating consultants altogether in order to reduce all those unnecessary high water bills. The fact that a few months ago, the Council Chambers had over 100 people should send a strong emssage to all the city councilmembers that the people who live in Benicia are all fed up with how the city is being run.
Several years ago in the city of Pacifica, the people who lived there were unhappy with the councilmembers, so they recalled every one of them and voted in new councilmembers. We the people are sending you, Benicia’s councilmembers, a message that if you all continue to run our city so that we can’t even afford the water bill, then we will have no other choice but to remove all of you. These are greatly changing times, and government employees and policies are always subject to change.
Benicians should vote on cannabis issue
Benicians; Choose one:
a) Benicia: Charming, vital, historic waterfront community, sanctuary for artists, mariners and canines of every ilk. Exemplary K -12 educational system.
b) Benicia: Regional center for the cultivation, manufacture, testing, distribution and retail sales of DEA Schedule 1 Controlled Substances.
If you chose “a,” you have some work to do.
The City Council is poised to replace parts of the Benicia Municipal Code with new regulations facilitating the production and distribution of cannabis in the town we call home. The delayed First Reading of the Cannabis Ordinance is scheduled for the Council meeting on Dec. 5.
Beyond mere retail sales of cannabis, the ordinance in its current iteration provides for all of the phases of cannabis production and marketing indicated above, plus microbusinesses and delivery operations. Cannabis cultivation facilities may be as large as 22,000 square feet per property, the city counting on at least 40,000 square feet of canopy space to meet its budget expectations. Residential cultivation (this means your neighbor) may include uncovered backyard or side yard plants 10 feet from the property line, and the paragraph requiring odor control has been eliminated from the prior draft, although the plants “produce a strong odor…. which can be detectable far beyond property boundaries if grown outdoors….” The council has requested to eliminate the cannabis retail buffer zone around City Park and the First Street Green completely. The proposed school buffer zone is only 600 feet.
The Council moves toward approving this ordinance like a runaway train, despite expressions of deep concern over the potential consequences by many concerned citizens, including the BUSD Governing Board, representing nearly 5,000 students and over 200 teachers, who cite “documented, grave concerns about the health and well-being of our youth.”
For innumerable reasons, this is a bad plan for Benicia. The latest negative revelation came as the state of California published regulations last week that will allow a given entity unlimited licenses and acreage to farm marijuana, favoring cash-flush mega-growers. The executive director of the California Growers Association predicts “There will be an abundant supply of dirt-cheap cannabis in the state and there is a real possibility that this market could go through a bubble burst collapse.” This new reality likely invalidates the financial predictions made earlier this year for the Council by HdL Companies, removing the last existing incentive to go forward with the ordinance.
I believe that most Benicia voters would oppose the current ordinance in an open election. I also believe that, as regards to this issue, the Council majority no longer cares what I (or you) believe.
If true, we need bodies. The mayor and Council might get the message if we can put a few hundred peaceful people together in City Park and the Council Chambers. Any existing networks out there interested?
1) Extend the Benicia Cannabusiness moratorium 17-1 indefinitely.
2) Initiative – City Council Ballot referral 2018 to assess the true will of the voting public on this topic.
James Egan, MD;