for Mayor of Benicia
Archived News and Views
06/28/2020- Anti Cannabis Defeat
05/05/2020- Why I Post on Social Media
03/14/2020- More on Road Repairs
03/10/2020- JOIN ME - Keep Benicia Clean!
02/18/2020- City Council poised to double road funding
02/17/2020- Times-Herald - Steve Young announces run for Benicia mayor
02/17/2020- PRESS RELEASE - I am running for Mayor of Benicia!
02/15/2020- Steve for Mayor - CHECK!
Steve's Thoughts and Campaign News
Anti Cannabis Defeat06/28/2020
The dwindling population of anti-cannabis crusaders in our town suffered another defeat at Tuesday's meeting of our City Council to hear an appeal of the Planning Commsission's 5-0 decision to permit our first cannabis dispensary at 160 East N Street. As expected, the council locked up at 2-2, and the appeal failed. Tom Campbell had to recuse since he lives less than 400 feet away.
Why I Post on Social Media05/05/2020
In 2017, I attended a League of California Cities conference for newly elected officials. One of the livelier sessions was about social media. Every panelist provided the same advice: stay far away from sites like NextDoor and Benicia Happenings. Only bad things happen to elected officials who dared to engage online with their constituents, they said. In fact, most politicians avoid social media like the plague.
I see it differently. To me, these sites are where people are engaging in civic issues. I believe there is no greater thing to strive for as an elected official than transparency. Opening the operations of the City through these posts allows people to better understand the issues surrounding them. And Benicians are smart enough that, given enough information, they will hopefully better understand the difficult decisions the Council must make. So I post not only information that can be useful to residents affected by Covid-19, but also on more specific City topics of interest to the community.
There is obviously a risk in doing so. Criticism comes much more often than praise, and you have to have a thick skin to talk about things that are not going to be universally accepted. I have published about all of the most difficult issues: street maintenance and repairs, water rates, pensions and district elections, to name only a few. Since I am the only Council member writing about these subjects, I have taken most of the heat from people who don’t like our decisions. Nevertheless, I see a big part of my job as a Council member to reach out to the public on issues of common concern.
The way I see it, all candidates should let people know where they stand on important issues rather than just running slick advertising campaigns around election time. And, in my experience, even when we disagree on policy, I always come away with a deeper and better understanding of the citizen’s needs and desires. And, hopefully, people come away with a better idea of who I am and where I stand on the issues.
More on Road Repairs03/14/2020
Many people have rightfully felt upset that their streets are not included on the list for street repairs for 2020 and 2021. There is no question that our roads, including the ones left off that have been listed by many of you on social media, are very bad. However, some of the frustration has been directed at Public Works staff. We have an excellent Public Works department, capably headed by William Tarbox. Ill feelings should not be directed at City staff for just doing their job.
Public Works has supplied additional information about how these funding recommendations are made.
Money for road repairs comes from a variety of sources (e.g.Federal, State, Gas Tax, Measure C etc.} Federal and some State funds are distributed through the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC). To access those funds, cities must utilize a Pavement Management Program and assign each street in the city a Pavement Condition Index (PCI). Staff relies on the PCI along with other factors like potential impact to residents and coordination with other road or utility projects in making the recommendations.
One of the reasons I like this approach is that it is apolitical, and should not be subject to requests by Council members for preference to be given to certain streets.
The City also uses StreetSaver, software developed by MTC, to provide a number of analytical measures of street conditions. This software helps assign a PCI number to every street in the City. In 2018, city streets were given an overall PCI of 56 on a scale of 100, down from 63 a decade ago. The City uses a variety of street treatments from total reconstruction of our worst streets to slurry seals and microsurfacing of streets in better condition. If we spent all of our money rebuilding our worst streets, the lack of maintenance on decent or good streets would soon see them deteriorate at a much faster rate. Rebuilding roads is 10 to 40 times more expensive than maintaining them. Taking this approach is the fiscally prudent way to address these problems.
We will be spending about $2 million on micro surfacing “good” streets in summer 2020; in summer 2021 we will be reconstructing bad roads, with a PCI between 8 and 18, at a cost of around $4 million. If you are interested in knowing what your PCI rating is, I have the list. Stay informed on Benicia's Public Works website. And see the 2018 Pavement Condition Index MAP here.
Nikki Basch Davis
Thanks for your donation!!
Steve Young for Mayor
Raise the Money is a secure online fundraising platform that allows political candidates, churches, non-profits, and social causes to accept and manage their online contributions. RTM accepts all major credit cards including Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover. Supporters may also donate with their online checking account. RTM offers recurring contributions so supporters can choose to contribute at regular intervals.