Vote for Elizabeth and Steve!
By Marilyn Bardet reprinted here from the Benicia Herald
November 1, 2016
If you havent already voted, I hope youll join me on November 8th to
help re-elect Elizabeth Patterson for mayor.
Im especially appreciative of Elizabeths ethical, open approach to
governance and her tireless efforts to champion the Benicia General Plans
forward-looking vision for community sustainability.
I know that Elizabeth is motivated to serve from a deeply rooted, life-long
conviction thats been proven true: that acting on whats possible to
do, each one of us can make a difference to create a more livable, thriving,
healthy community and environment. Proof: the publics eager participation
in creating the Climate Action Plan adopted under her mayorship.
As mayor, Elizabeth has squarely faced development proposals. Discussing the
Crude-by-Rail Project and those formerly posed by Seeno, she has reminded us how
such challenges illumine, by contrast, our shared values for sustainability and the
interconnectedness of economic, social and environmental goals that must play into
any responsible development decision.
Concerned about climate change, Elizabeth will continue to ensure that the General
Plans goals and policies and the recommendations of our Climate Action Plan
– each expressive of community ideals and values – will guide planning to help us
adapt and reduce our carbon footprint.
Regarding Elizabeths lasting contributions to our city, I can say that I
know Elizabeths leadership style very well. In 1995, Elizabeth was tasked
as a professional planner to guide and facilitate meetings of a 17-member
council-appointed “General Plan Oversight Committee” (GPOC), on which I served,
to draft from scratch a brand new general plan, the one we have today. For over
three years under her direction, following a consensus approach for arriving at
agreement, the committee carved and poured over details, line by line, for
accurate wording. Tiring as it could be, every decision involved a wide spectrum
of community and business interests and very often competing opinions that had to
be reckoned. By Elizabeths able guidance – one of serious, often
contentious give-and-take collaboration – GPOC successfully produced a
praiseworthy document, adopted in 1999, as our citys living constitution.
(Really? a refinery town with sustainability as its planning goal? Astonishing at
that time!) It was Elizabeths calm, fair and objective approach that
created trust and brought a very diverse group together, so that by the end each
of us had “skin in the game” and could have reason and pride invested in the
plans highest aims.
From those early days, Elizabeth has kept our faith that open, collaborative
engagement by government with the public is not only possible, but remains the
healthiest way to enact democracy for the betterment of all.
In a time of shrinking resources, Elizabeth doesnt waffle in her sense of
moral responsibility. Whether advocating for safe, attractive streets with bike
lanes, or for a green, clean-tech development of the Seeno property to diversify
our local economy, she doesnt sit back, but expresses enthusiasm for such
initiatives, bringing the latest research and evidence to bear on decision-making.
Its very rare to have the kind of leadership Elizabeth provides. After
over 20 years in reviewing controversial development proposals and environmental
cleanups, I know what that privilege is worth. Whenever we devolve into pettiness,
I believe we must keep Elizabeths inspiration for contributing to the public
good. For all these reasons, I hope youll join me in my support of her
In concluding, Im also casting my vote for Steve Young for council. As a
planning commissioner, Steve has clearly demonstrated his commitment to
principled development in his questioning of crude-by-rail. From his years of
professional experience with city governments, he will lend new energy and
insight to council with a fresh voice.
Heres to the next four years with high hopes for Benicia! Please vote for
Elizabeth and Steve!