KEYWORDS:“air quality” “diesel” “particulate” “pollution”
SYNOPSIS: As part of the data mining project, our official of focus was John J. Benoit from District 4 in the Inland Empire. We specifically focused on newspaper articles having to do with air quality, diesel, particulate, and pollution in which John J. Benoit was mentioned or made a statement about those particular issues. Upon performing the search in the archive logistics search engine, more than a few pages in files were developed that contained Benoit’s name, but only nine articles contained information pertaining to the health and environmental issues mentioned above. Supervisor Benoit remains mostly silent in regards to these issues and only addresses them with brief statements. So after compiling all the information in the excel spreadsheet, several findings became apparent, all of which highlighted John J. Benoit as an official who does not do much to improve the pollution situation in his area, but nevertheless appears to make minimal efforts to bring about small changes, if any, or statements for his own interests.
The articles that were found in the search engine containing information pertaining to John J. Benoit and the health and environmental issues ranged from August 2004 to July 2007, all of which were part of the Riverside Press Enterprise. In very few articles District 4 official, John J. Benoit, appears to try to promote an environmentally aware image by making some remarks about environmental issues that affect the human health. For example, in the article called, “State-provided Cars: Half of Inland Delegation Favors Hybrids, Key Rings talk for Lawmakers, Balancing Green Concerns, Rugged Districts,” official Benoit proudly shares the fact that he drives a hybrid vehicle because its more environmentally friendly: “It’s environmentally the right way to go with the hybrid component…It’s a great vehicle and does just as advertised.” This is one of the few statements in which Supervisor Benoit seems to express sincere concerns for the environment, but there is no evidence of him taking citywide action to improve the air quality.
Furthermore, in an article called, “Highway ‘Mayday’ Bill Rejected, Traffic: Assemblyman John Benoit thinks the pollution and economic harm deserve attention,” it becomes apparent that Benoit’s intentions are very different from improving the air quality conditions. His main focus is on improving the economy and transportation conditions in his District, and this is seen in his intent to pass his bill: “Benoit’s bill AB 2492, would require Caltrans to come up with a faster process for building freeway lanes. It could also result in the removal of some environmental review of such projects because the governor can suspend such regulations if they appear to be slowing the state’s recovery from an emergency.” This clearly states that his bill would actually prevent some environmental reviews for his freeway lane project. The article further states: “Benoit, R-Palm Desert, contends that traffic qualifies as an emergency because of the air pollution generated by cars inching along congested roadways.” It seems as though Supervisor Benoit only makes 2-4 sentence remarks about the air pollution so that his transportation bill is supported. Finally, another article mentions, “Assemblyman John J. Benoit, R-Bermuda Dunes, said he thinks the threat of global warming is overblown. But the state definitely needs more water storage, he said.” With these types of attributions it is evident that John J. Benoit does not care very much for the air quality in his District and only mentions this issue as a concern with the congestion in the freeway. So ultimately, his only concern is the addition of freeway lanes.
John J. Benoit does not have much to say about the air pollution in his city, and his silence confirms his indifferent stance over the issue. He would rather focus on freeway lanes so that people can get to work on time, but the health concern that particulates and diesel fuel causes every individual is of little or no importance to him. The majority of the population in the Inland Empire consists of Latinos and their health is not a priority. Instead, his priority is, increasing the amount of lanes so that the warehouse trucks can have more areas to drive through, so that people out of his region can get through the freeway faster, etc. Benoit only seems to be looking out for the interests of the rich warehouse owners and for the people that are better off than the Latinos living in his area. Further investigations on this official should be towards his transportation plans because that is where his main focuses are (evident through the articles read so far).
Total number of articles in which Benoit is represented at least once as an attributed source: 50+
Time span: 08/15/04 to 07/10/07
RESEARCHERS: Selene Roman & Gerardo Fuentes
SPREADSHEET: Benoit Set #1
KEYWORDS: “redevelopment” “developer” “real estate development” “growth”
SYNOPSIS: Riverside County Supervisor John J. Benoit has served the county since November 2009. Prior to his appointment he served as a county assemblyman (R- Bermuda Dunes), and many of his attributed quotes in the Empire Logistics archive come this time period, where he seems to have been instrumental in speaking out about budget issues plaguing the county, especially those related to the courts and hospitals. Our search string included the terms “growth,” “redevelopment,” and “real estate development.” A search for development turned up nine attributed quotes and paraphrases. Very few of these discussed the need for budget cutbacks, in fact, they seemed to be centered around community projects such as youth centers, the need for sustainable water resources, and upgrading hospitals. Real estate development turned up no results, which was in keeping with the earlier trend of being focused on state and community projects as opposed to the more limited real estate search string. Searching for “growth” illuminated that the county is struggling with a bogged down court system. Benoit is outspoken about the need to appoint hundreds on new judges to keep up with what he called “double digit population growth” in Richard K De Atley’s Press Enterprise article entitled “Crush of cases hobbling courts.”
Some research on Benoit’s personal website yielded some information on other local projects he has been involved in developing. These include several community centers, a housing complex for migrant workers, an aviation education center, an animal shelter, a library, and a sheriff station.
Total number of articles in which official is represented at least once as an attributed source: 54
Time span between first and last attributed statement by your official: (10-27-04 to 5-12-2011)
RESEARCHERS: Mercedes Rodriguez &Melanie Boyd
SPREADSHEET: Benoit Set #2