The Ubiquitous They – Mayor Elizabeth Patterson

Elizabeth Patterson will finish her first term as Mayor this year.

How long have you lived in Benicia? Since 1983.  It was half way between San Francisco and Sacramento and I had a newly minted Masters in Urban and Regional planning and I wasn’t too sure where I would wind up working.  I thought if I was half way between, and in the Bay Area, that I would have a better chance of getting a job. The second reason was that I was concerned about the schools where we were living. My children were just starting school and I wanted to make sure that they had a really first rate education.  I had a good friend who lived here, got some good feedback from him, and never looked back. I’m glad I made that decision.

What compelled you to run for Mayor and take on this post?  I’ve always been interested in politics, and I’ve been particularly interested in managing land use and building a community through economic development, creating jobs, and also dealing with the environment.  I was frustrated that a lot of the insight I had, having worked for government, and being a planner that I wasn’t able to see the progress that I thought was necessary.  I thought with my skills, as Mayor, things would happen. So, that’s exactly what I did. I set myself tasks and a list of things to get done, and so far, so good.

What have you checked off your list so far?  One of the things was to provide for open government; transparency; my open meeting-open door policy; making it easier for people to reach city hall and to be able to communicate.   Another item was to have more diverse commissioners, board members, and committee members.  By doing that we have opened up the flood-gates. We get lots of applications now, because people feel they have a chance, that if they apply they might actually get appointed (to a commission). We have a lot of talent in the community and we have been able to tap into that. I would say we have some of the best commissions and the hardest working commissions that anybody could find in the county, if not the state. The two other things at the top of the list were to get a Sustainability Commission and to have an Arts Commission.

What’s been your biggest surprise since you’ve been in office? The ceremonial aspects of the office.  I’m really good as a policy wonk. I’m really good at getting things done, making things happen. I knew there was some ceremony aspect to the job, because I read up on that, and I watched other mayors. But I didn’t realize the time commitment involved. I’ve grown into it. It’s not something I was really comfortable with and I learned to really value and treasure it.

What’s the thing that you want to be remembered for as Mayor of Benicia?  That we worked together as a community and we moved forward together as a community. I think I stand for that more than anything else. I work really, really hard to get consensus, and sometimes that takes us longer. But in the end we have a durable decision and we are moving together.

You can read more about what Mayor Elizabeth Patterson is up to on her blog.

Chad Adelido March 11, 2011 at 07:12 PM
I find it humerous when folks who are compelled to use vaguely derrogatory terms like "enviro agenda" follow them up with equally contrived statements like "I'm a nice guy" and "you would like me". Personally, I tend to dislike people who try to manipulate others with this kind of diatribe.
Robert Livesay March 11, 2011 at 07:24 PM
I am glad I made you laugh. Enviro is not a derrogatory term it is an identity. By the way I am a nice guy, is there anything wrong with being a nice guy. Do I have to fit your agenda to be a nice guy? It appears you do not like someone like me, you just said it. I will not say I dislike someone like you. I will only say I disagree with your agenda and I believe that is what you do not like. Agenda driven folks do not like folks that disagree with them Does that fit you? Now I guess "agenda" is a derrogatory ter. Get with the program. Bob "Mr. Nice Guy" Livesay
Chad Adelido March 11, 2011 at 09:13 PM
Your response is as expected - you've resorted to catty lip service and contrived language like "agenda" and "get with the program". You'd do your argument a better service by leaving this kind of editorial talk out of the mix. In the writing world there's something called 'author intrusion' - it's when the writer's true voice becomes apparent to his audience, making it no longer for the reader to suspend disbelief in the fictional world the writer has created. That's the effect your style of communication has on this reader.
Robert Livesay March 11, 2011 at 10:36 PM
Chad; just remember it is a comment section. It is not an editorial section. I can do editorials very easly. Would you just stop beating around the bush and come out and say it. You do not like my political believes or calling people out. If you had the courage maybe you could make some sence. No you just think you can look down on folks as not being as inteligent maybe as you are not. Lighten up, you know get with the program. I do expect some juvenile responce from you, it just shows your lack of expierence. Bob Livesay
Chad Adelido March 12, 2011 at 06:59 AM
Bob, quite frankly I could care less about your politics - whether you are a teabagger or a tree hugger is of no consequence to me. Although I suspect the former more likely to be the case due to your utterly predictable, baseless and petty responses. Unlike Mr. Gunter, you don't seem to be able to formulate a relevant, rational response to ideas that don't jibe with your politics. You're like the proverbial schoolyard bully that resorts to childish name calling and weak attempts at character assassination whenever his tactics are called into question. I'd tell you to grow up, but then I'd just be following your misguided lead. And besides, it clearly has taken you decades to get your hackles up to where they are. So rather than say "grow up," I'll suggest you lighten up instead.
Robert Livesay March 12, 2011 at 04:38 PM
Chad; you care about my politics . You just said so. This is an example of your not going along with anyone elses feelings. All that counts is your feelings. If someone does not agree with you, y ou resort to name calling, identify people as you think they are and play very child like games. It is very easy to tell you are an uptight person with no where to go. I have grown more in the last few days than you have your entire like of foolish, misguided ideals. I do not mind, you must live with them. So show s0me honor and stop the child like behavior. No one likes a cry baby. Bob Livesay
Robert Livesay March 12, 2011 at 05:23 PM
Chad; I have enjoyed the back and forth the last few days. But I do believe it is time to move on. I do respect your side as I hope you respect my side. I hope there no hard feelings. I am sure there will be other issues to go back and forth with in the future. As I said no hard feelings on my side. Bob Livesay
Chad Adelido March 12, 2011 at 05:29 PM
Now I understand your tactics - to take the valid points of those who challenge your position and then recycle them back into your tired old argument as if they were your own ideas. Sad.
Robert Livesay March 12, 2011 at 05:50 PM
Chad; You should have read the next comment. Maybe you would not have said what you said. As I said before no hard feelings. I sure hope you can say the same. Bob Livesay
Chad Adelido March 12, 2011 at 06:21 PM
Robert Livesay March 17, 2011 at 06:24 PM
T. Gunther; I now know who you are a follower of. They are featured Forum writers on the Forum page of the Hearld. This in it self says a lot about you and your political beliefs. That sure is ok with me. But please be mindful of the other side, we are not always wrong, in fact more RIGHT than wrong. I would check your own spelling and sentence structure first before being critical of someone else. Maybe we have a way of saying things in a very readable way, yes there could be some mis-spelled words, sentence structure issues. Is that the end of the world. SLATE MATE BOB LIVESAY
T. Gunter March 17, 2011 at 08:28 PM
Hello Bob, I hope everything is going well. Can you provide me with some further information. I'd like to know who these writers are that I'm following. Is Richard Dawkins writing for a local forum now? Because I have to admit, I do like his stuff. Have a great St. Patrick's Day (Don't you be forgetting the Guinness), T.
Robert Livesay March 17, 2011 at 08:50 PM
Well T I am having a wonderful day. I do not drink Guinness. But I can drink my share and many others of beer. The reason I said what I said was because of a comment you made on Robert Shelby's blog. It was not at all flattering about me. I do not mind negative comments on my views. If it gets personal, I will have an issue. If you were not commenting on me I am sorry for what I said. Please tell me if you were taking about me or possible someone else. Bob Livesay
T. Gunter March 18, 2011 at 12:38 AM
Yes Bob, that was my comment. I apologize if you took offense to it. As you have pointed out , I do not know you. As such, don't take it as a personal attack, but rather as my general opinion that individuals that offer their ideals so prolifically on public forums, as well as other places, should do so by citing references to support their arguments, as well as proof read or spell check their comments before hitting enter. That has been my point from my very first entry here. I would hold that to people regardless of what side of the fence they are standing on. Believe me when I say that people that I highly respect would loose credibility in my mind if they were to start pulling arguments out of their rear, and using poor grammar and spelling. In fairness to others that are reading these comments and who might not know what we are talking about, I would suggest including a link to Mr. Shelby's blog. However, I will leave that up to your discretion . Again, I apologize for any hard feelings. T
Robert Livesay March 18, 2011 at 05:54 AM
T; I have no hard feelings. I stand by what I stand for. Who cares about a few spelling errors . The most important thing is say what you feel. Just give me an example where I do not know what I am talking about. Clearly define my statement and ask for an explanation. You will not be able to do it. Only some liberal goofy wordy garbage. My ideals are what they are. Very commom sence statements. If you are so into your goofy wordy B.S. , live with it. I do not have to. If you have an issue understanding my ideals, go back to school and get up to date. You just do not understand what I am all about. It is not a bunch of wordy explanations about nothing. Cut the crap out about spell check. Just tell the readers what your political leanings are. That will answer all your goofy comments. Very clear, LEFT LEANING SOCIALIST. Cut the goofy comments out just tell us. Do you have the ba=== to do that. please give us all a break and stop your comments on people you do not even know. Bob Livesay
T. Gunter March 18, 2011 at 07:41 AM
I'll also say what I want when and how I want. Have you cornered the market on free speech? I'm sorry that my comments have pushed your buttons. Suck it up and deal with it. I knew you would end up using socialist to describe me at some point. Where did you pull that one from? Is that supposed to be an insult or provocation? Do you not like socialists or something? Do you have some irrational fear the the US is going to become a communist state some day? I am as much a socialist as you are a fascist. Why do you think that people need to have specific political leanings? Does everything need to fit into a neat little package for you (typical fascist)? These are all questions I'd like you to answer. I'd also like you to define "enviro" agenda as I requested nearly 50 comments ago. However, if you just plan on getting emotional and wasting words again, don't waste my time.
Robert Livesay March 18, 2011 at 01:57 PM
Well T. Gunter. You fell for it. I set the trap and you took the bait. I knew you would be easy. A few words and they go off their rocker, dead give away. I do believe you understand everything I said. I have enjoyed having a little fun with you. It was a great St. Paddy's day. Bob Livesay
Robert Livesay March 26, 2011 at 09:40 PM
I am sorry T, if all you can do is call people names. Someone identifies you and you can not take it. I know I am a conservative and so does everyone else. You do not have to like what I believe. You want hard facts, tell me why you are not a So0cialist? Bright guy like you should be able to do that. Bob Livesay
JB Davis (Editor) March 27, 2011 at 09:40 PM
Hey T., please send me an email at jbdavis@patch.com.
JB Davis (Editor) March 27, 2011 at 09:44 PM
Bob, You were asked which of the comments made you think T. Gunter is a socialist. It's a question that deserves an answer with specific examples.
Robert Livesay March 27, 2011 at 11:44 PM
JB; If you allow T to call me an idiot I will not respond. If he does not understand what I mean. To bad.. He has made other comments about me on Shelby's blog. I will not waste my time with T. Bob
Carlene Coury March 28, 2011 at 12:16 AM
Wow... can't you all just get along? Is this really intelligent communication or just a lot of venon spewing with the ambiguity of the Internet being used as a fire wall. I say, get them all together in one room and first I bet none of them would show up nd second if they did have the gutz to show up and have a cup of coffee (or something stronger), they'd probably find out they have more in common than they initially thought, gender not withstanding.... what is this gender thing anyway.
JB Davis (Editor) March 28, 2011 at 12:43 AM
The idiot comment is down. Hoping you will answer T's question. Also, I notice you didn't say anything when Jim called T Gunter an arrogant twirp.
Robert Livesay March 28, 2011 at 02:32 PM
JB; How T and Jim interact is there business. None of mine or yours. What I want to know is why are you trying to discredit me.? This is not the first time. I do not believe it is any of your business to comment on what someone says or ask them to answer. That is between those folks. If someone does not know what I mean when making a comment that is there issue. For sure not yours. I would except negative comments from another commenter. I do like the back and forth. But from the editor acting as the monitor. What is this grammar school. Some folks may not like what I say and some of the words I use. If they have been following anything that I have written they would know what I am getting at. It does not take much thinking. Bob Livesay
Gretchen Burgess March 28, 2011 at 03:55 PM
Honestly, both of you! I am requesting from the editor, or anyone at this point, that I be logged out of this Comment trend so that I stop getting email updates. Both T & Bob are behaving more poorly than my 6 year old. If I knew how to do it I would have stopped the email updates quite some time ago and now it's become so silly that I've stopped thinking to myself "One of them will have the sense soon to just walk away." But neither of you have. So if either T and/or Bob know how I might be able to log out of updates once you've started I'd be very grateful to you.
Robert Livesay March 28, 2011 at 04:05 PM
Gretchen I like your comments. I do not take any of this very seriously. But I do love to comment. I did think it was over until a week later T started all over. As far as I am oncerned it was over a long time ago. But I must ask you , where do you think the editor JB Davis fits into all this. He seems to have taken sides. Thanks for your comment Bob Livesay
jimpugh March 28, 2011 at 04:34 PM
JB Davis has been taking a side on all this commentary from the beginning. I am frankly puzzled about his super apparent tendecy to put in his opinion as if he were like any other commentator. I have to say that I am not privy to the rules and regulations put upon Editors by AOL, but I will say this: This comment of his is un like anything I have ever seen from an Editor. I think that Mr. Davis should clarify AOL's position on Editor commentary. His tendecy to take sides in these reasonable auguments is troublesome and absolutely does nothing to clarify or indentify the argument. jimpugh
Ari Soglin March 28, 2011 at 05:16 PM
Gretchen, to stop getting alerts on comment updates to this story – and I can understand why you'd want to ;) – go to your profile page. Click on "Following" in the left-hand navigation. You'll get a page of all the articles you're following. Click "Stop following" on any articles for which you'd like to stop getting email updates.
Steve Bahr March 29, 2011 at 01:01 AM
Mr. Pugh, Did you not suggest you had enough of this two weeks ago? I guess that was another warning? As to what role differentiation an editor on an online forum has versus print media, prints guys would trash the non-civil stuff, which here gets aired un-edited, and then may get pulled. You do not get to threaten or warn in print media. Here the rules are loser and the editor then tries to tone it down. This latitude does require a degree of decorum is a challenge to some.
Carlene Coury March 29, 2011 at 05:14 AM
Jeez, I wish I had this much time on my hands to keep on beating this dead horse. Also, Ari, thanks for the instructions on how to get ot of these ridiclous excuse for an intelligent "Op Ed." BTW, Ari, I'm the gal who guessed the Pizza Pirate photo, and I also contribute to Patch. Now that I see that you are with Patch, I need to email you... I just have a few questions. So, once I get out of this ball of confusion, I'll send you an email. All the best and I hope someone has dropped a few bread crumbs so I can find my way out of here and on to more stimulating banter.


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