Repost from the Benicia Herald
[NOTE: The Progressive Democrats of Benicia have not yet endorsed any candidate for Benicia City Council. Posting of this article does not constitute endorsement.]
BENICIA >> Former council member Christina Strawbridge might have lost her bid for re-election last time, but she said she knew one thing immediately — she was going to run again.
“I wasn’t finished,” Strawbridge said.
So now she’s thrown her proverbial hat in the ring again and will be on the ballot again in November.
“I’m still very involved with the community,” she said. “I’m really looking at the future of Benicia and the next generation and how we can make Benicia better for them.”
Strawbridge hopes that what she calls her “common sense” approach to city government will be the key that puts her back in city chambers.
She sees the city’s budget as the most pressing issue facing local government, especially how to remain a full-service city in the wake of possible cuts. Strawbridge said that the city needs to find new revenue sources.
As a business owner and former member of the Economic Development Board, Strawbridge said she sees the Industrial Park as a Benicia priority. It must be as attractive as possible to new businesses and be up-to-date with wifi access, among other things.
Strawbridge said she has been engaged with the council’s activity since she left, especially regarding water rate issues and the decision to allow legalized cannabis in town.
She’s coming from an interesting perspective, because she was one of the councilmembers that approved the water rate hikes.
“I felt strongly about it at the time, but things have changed since then,” she said.
Had she been on the council this year, Strawbridge said she would have voted to delay the increases due to the jump in bills due to more accurate meter readings. The fact that the staff that recommended the rate increases have all been replaced, as well as the easing of water conservation rules.
At the very least, she said, the rate increases should not begin in July, when more water is used.
As for marijuana, Strawbridge said that she voted for legalization in the state and approves it for adult use. However, she was a vocal opponent about allowing dispensaries and other businesses on First Street.
“As a business owner who has been involved in the downtown for 30 years, I thought it was sending out the wrong signal,” she said. “This is a location where families gather.”
The decision to allow cannabis business elsewhere in the town felt “rushed” to her, she said.
“Why were we in such a big hurry? It would have been more prudent to wait and see how other communities were embracing this,” she said.
Asked what she was most proud of during her time as a council member, Strawbridge pointed to her decision in the crude-by-rail case which would have brought crude oil into Benicia by train. It was ultimately voted down unanimously by the council due to safety issues, but Strawbridge initially voted to allow the Transportation Board to rule on it before she made her final decision. To her, it was important to get all the facts and as much information as possible, she said.
“It divided the town and there was a lot of pressure out there about making this decision,” she said. “As a council member, you need to be able to listen to the constituents and be objective, listen to what the constituents are saying and do your own research, too.”
Strawbridge owns Christina S Fashion Destination on First Street and has served on the Economic Development Board from 2006 to 2011 where she served as chair and led the Tourism Program, and City Council from 2011 to 2016. Currently she is treasurer for the Benicia Old Town Theatre Group, a board member of Benicia Main Street and a member of its design committee, and a board member for the Benicia Parks Association and a representative on the Solano State Parks Committee.
She is being endorsed by State Senator Bill Dodd, Assembly member Timothy Grayson, and Supervisor Erin Hannigan.