Dear Residents of Benicia,
Political efforts led by Mayor Patterson and Vice Mayor Steve Young to promote their chosen candidate Kari Birdseye have been rejected by the FPPC (Fair Political Practices Commission). In quickly responding to the complaint filed by the City Council against Valero, the FPPC concluded that the City provided insufficient evidence to support their complaint that a violation of the Political Reform Act had occurred. The FPPC has informed the City that they will not pursue any enforcement action against Valero.
To be clear, contrary to Vice Mayor Young’s accusation, the state’s top political regulators dismissed any claims that Valero conducted a push poll.
The FPPC decision is not a surprise to Valero. It only highlights the greater concern that the Mayor and Vice Mayor consistently and inappropriately use their City Council leadership positions and our city resources to advance their agenda against our company. This latest effort is to elect their hand-picked candidate Kari Birdseye.
City attention and resources, specifically our tax dollars, are being used to support and promote their candidate while other, more pressing City issues go unresolved. The goal of these political antics is to provide the Mayor with a secure majority vote for a single-minded agenda to negatively impact our refinery. This is just the latest example of the Mayor using bully tactics against our company in her quest to shut down our business.
Kari Birdseye, communications director for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and former staff for the extreme activist organization, EarthJustice, commented to KQED "I don't want Valero to shut down
Which begs the question: When does Birdseye want the refinery to shut down?
This statement is consistent with a troubling pattern that includes Mayor Patterson’s and Vice Mayor Young’s signatures on a letter calling for the end of our industry in California. Their collective target is clear – our refinery, our supportive businesses, and our employees.
Benicia faces many important issues like increased water and sewer rates, crumbling roads and ballooning pensions costs that need immediate attention from our elected officials. We need councilmembers who will provide balance, fairness and broad perspective to our council to ensure that Benicia’s future is strong and secure. Valero wants to continue to be a reliable partner in solving these problems. That is why we join businesses, labor, firefighters, police and teachers in supporting Lionel Largaespada and Christina Strawbridge for City Council.
Don Wilson is the Vice President and General Manager for the Valero Benicia Refinery.
The above letter has also been submitted to the Vallejo Times Herald.