Category Archives: Vallejo CA

Menacing threat to Vallejo (and Benicia): Greenland’s rapidly shrinking ‘zombie ice’

Brendan Riley’s Solano Chronicles: Vallejo’s shoreline threatened by zombie ice

Flooding around the old Times-Herald and News-Chronicle building in 1967 on what’s now Curtola Parkway could occur again there and elsewhere in Vallejo without safeguards against predicted sea rise. (Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum files)

Vallejo Times-Herald, Sept 11, 2022

Efforts to extend the shorelines of Vallejo and now-closed Mare Island Naval Shipyard, just across the Napa River, transformed bay and river waters into thousands of acres of low-lying land. But those efforts that spanned more than a century are threatened by “zombie ice” and other effects of global warming.

A new study, published Aug. 29 in the journal Nature Climate Change, describes part of Greenland’s rapidly shrinking ice sheet as zombie ice because it’s doomed to melt. The study says that by 2100 the melting ice sheet, no longer being replenished by glaciers getting less snow, will raise global sea levels a minimum of 10 inches and possibly as much as 2 ½ feet.

The sea rise from the Greenland ice sheet would be in addition to other Arctic and Antarctic ice melting due to global warming. Other documents, including a National Academy of Sciences report and a current State Sea-Level Rise Action Plan, warn that ice melt from all sources could cause two or more feet of sea rise on the West Coast as early as 2050 and five to six feet of rise by 2100.

Vallejo was part of a 2018 sea-rise study by a group called Resilient by Design. The study included an interactive risk-zone map on the Internet at sealevel.climatecentral.org/maps that shows the impact of rising levels. That easy-to-use link is available to anyone interested in seeing how our area would be impacted by varying amounts of sea rise.

The Resilient by Design link indicates that a foot of sea rise, without new levees, seawalls or other barriers, would flood a large strip of Vallejo’s Riverfront Park, along Wilson Avenue north of Tennessee Street. On Mare Island, part of its southwest tip would be underwater. Flooding also would occur on marshy land to the north, adjacent to State Route 37 and Dutchman Slough; and on SR37 near Black Point, several miles west of Vallejo.

Without protective barriers, a five-foot rise in the tideline would cause temporary or permanent flooding on most of SR37 (Sears Point Road) between Vallejo and Novato to the west. Much of the Mare Island fill land would be affected, including parts of Nimitz Avenue in the shipyard’s historic core.

In Vallejo, a long stretch of Mare Island Way and part of Curtola Parkway could flood. That would affect the municipal marina, Vallejo Yacht Club, a former State Farm Insurance building proposed as a new Police Department, the Ferry Building, Independence Park and the city boat launch area. Many locations to the south also could flood, including the city’s sewage treatment plant, Kiewit Pacific and the old Sperry Mill site.

Those projected flood zones would affect most, if not all, of the Vallejo and Mare Island shorelines that were expanded starting in the 1850s. Old navigation charts show the Navy, which opened its first West Coast shipyard in 1854, quickly filled in a strip of marshland along the river and constructed a seawall or quay where ships could tie up.

Expansion of Mare Island continued for decades, resulting in the shipyard increasing from less than 1,000 acres to its estimated 5,600 acres today. The new land was formed all the way around the island mainly by dredged mud from Mare Island Strait, the renamed stretch of the Napa River between the island and Vallejo, and by fill that was imported or obtained by digging into original higher ground on the island. Some of the new land is designated as marsh or tideland, but at least half of the new acreage has streets and roads and was used for all types of Navy shipyard activity.

On the Vallejo side, expansion into the Mare Island Strait added nearly 500 acres along the waterfront. The projects included one in the early 1900s that filled in a wide section of river that once separated Vallejo from South Vallejo.

The new land was formed by establishing a barrier that ran straight from the city boat ramp area almost to Lemon Street in South Vallejo. Mud dredged from the river on the west side of the barrier, or bulwark, was then pumped into what once had been navigable water and tideland on the other side.

The dredge-and-fill process that began on a large scale in 1913 took several years, creating more land and more direct road links between the two communities. Present-day Sonoma Boulevard between Curtola Parkway and Lemon Street would not exist without this project. The same goes for the sewage plant, Kiewit and many other businesses.

Without all the fill, you could anchor a boat at the present-day location of Anchor Self Storage on Sonoma Boulevard. The river reached what’s now Curtola Parkway on the north, and spread as far east as Fifth Street, where it turned into a marshy connection to Lake Dalwigk. On the south side, the railroad tracks that cross Fifth Street near Solano Avenue once ran along the water’s edge to the old Sperry Mill area.

More acreage was added to Vallejo’s shoreline in the 1940s near the Mare Island causeway, and in the 1960s as part of a massive redevelopment project that resulted in Vallejo’s entire Lower Georgia Street business district being bulldozed. Many longtime Vallejoans can remember walking out on a pier over tideland to board ferries that ran to Mare Island. That tideland is now the seawall area where people can park cars, take a ferryboat to San Francisco, have a drink or dine out, or go for a stroll.

Before redevelopment, the original Vallejo Yacht Club building stood in the same location as the current building – but on pilings over tideland. Much of the fill dirt for this waterfront extension came from Vallejo’s historic York Street Hill – the site of California’s Capitol in 1852 and 1853. The hill was scraped flat and trucked to the nearby riverfront.

In addition to the shoreline work, nearly 500 acres of usable land were formed by levees and fill in a marshy area where Larwin Plaza, now Vallejo Plaza, was built in 1960, along Sonoma Boulevard on the north side of Vallejo. White Slough, which flows into the Napa River, is on the edge of this shopping center. Traces of the marsh once extended nearly to Tennessee Street, several blocks to the south.


Brendan Riley — Vallejo and other Solano County communities are treasure troves of early-day California history. My Solano Chronicles column, running every other Sunday, highlights various aspects of that history. If you have local stories or photos to share, message me on Facebook.

Solano County reverses position: staff and visitors will have to mask up in Vallejo libraries

By Roger Straw, September 15, 2021

In 4-1 decision, Solano County Board of Supervisors recognize primacy of Vallejo indoors mask mandate

Just yesterday, I highlighted Times-Herald reporter Richard Freedman’s story, “Vallejo libraries immune from mask mandates.”

The news then was that Solano County’s lack of strong leadership on masking indoors would prevail over Vallejo’s mandate because the libraries in Vallejo are run by the County.

I invited everyone in Vallejo to come to Benicia libraries, which are not run by Solano County.

But later yesterday morning, our Solano County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to respect local mandates in facilities run by the County.  (The Board would not recognize the importance of masking indoors in the rest of the county – they failed to even bring that issue to a vote.)  But as of today, if you visit or work in any of Vallejo’s Solano offices, including the Superior Court building and the libraries, you are obligated to follow Vallejo’s mask mandate.

>> Download details of the Vallejo Mask Mandate

Residents can feel a bit better about entering County buildings in Vallejo now, but you may want to stay away from County facilities in Fairfield and Vacaville.  And I want you to know that you’re STILL welcome here in Benicia, where ALL public indoors facilities require masks for workers and visitors alike.

Solano Board of Supervisors backs Bela on masks and vaccinations, but gives nod to Benicia and Vallejo mandates

[BenIndy Editor: Note that the Board never even addressed Supervisor Brown’s request for a countywide indoors mask mandate like we established here in Benicia and Vallejo.  Benicia and Vallejo are clearly on our own here in Solano County.  Concerned up-county residents should consider shopping and doing business down here in Benicia/Vallejo.  And Solano employees might want to start looking for a new job!  – R.S.]

Divided board won’t mandate vaccines for Solano employees

Solano County Supervisor Erin Hannigan speaks while debating mandated vaccines and masks for Solano County employees during a Board of Supervisors meeting at the Government Center in Fairfield, Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021. (Aaron Rosenblatt/Daily Republic)
County workers must adhere to mask policies in communities where they work

Fairfield Daily Republic, By Todd R. Hansen, September 15, 2021

FAIRFIELD — Solano County employees will not be required to get Covid-19 vaccinations, but will have to honor mask requirements in city jurisdictions that have them.

Benicia and Vallejo temporarily require everyone – vaccinated or not – to wear a mask in indoor public places. The state has the same mandate for individuals who are not vaccinated.

Masks are required in all medical facilities, and in schools.

Benicia Mayor Steve Young

Benicia Mayor Steve Young was one of 17 individuals who called into the Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday. The county also received more than 100 written correspondences, two-thirds of which opposed the policies. The callers were slightly weighted in the other direction.

Young urged the board to enact its own mask mandate, though that issue was never formally up for consideration.

A county mask mandate for public indoor places was expected to be one of two issues considered by the board, but Supervisor Erin Hannigan, who had raised the mask requirement and the county vaccination mandate, backed off the full mask mandate in favor of requiring that county employees adhere to the rules of other jurisdictions.

The new mandate mostly affects county employees who work at county buildings in Vallejo. The board supported the policy on a 4-1 vote with board Chairman John Vasquez dissenting without comment.

The supervisors voted 2-3, with Vasquez, Supervisor Jim Spering and Supervisor Mitch Mashburn in the majority, to defeat Hannigan’s motion to mandate vaccinations for county employees and contractors. Supervisor Monica Brown supported the action.

“The only way we are going to get out of this pandemic is everyone get vaccinated,” Hannigan said.

Those who argued against the vaccines for county employees, also largely argued against the mask requirement, framing the issues as ones of personal freedoms and choice.

Some took great exception to anyone telling them what they must inject into their bodies. Others were less forceful, and even noted they, too, had been vaccinated, but were in no position to tell others what to do, and strongly believe government should stay out of personal medical decisions.

Corianne Tunstall comments as the Solano County Board of Supervisors debate mandated vaccines and masks for Solano County employees during a Board of Supervisors meeting at the Government Center in Fairfield, Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021. (Aaron Rosenblatt/Daily Republic)

But Corianne Tunstall, a local hairdresser, said those “personal decisions” do not only affect those individuals, as she is frequently exposed to clients who have not been vaccinated, and who refuse to wear masks even though state law requires them to do so.

She told the board she could not afford to get sick and miss work, and felt it was wrong that others could choose to expose her and she could, in turn, expose her family.

Dr. Seth Kaufman is the chief medical officer for NorthBay Healthcare. (Courtesy photo)

Others who supported the policies included Dr. Seth Kaufman, chief medical officer at NorthBay Healthcare. He called the vaccines and masks critical pieces in the fight against Covid-19.

“We are off the charts on the number of patients we are seeing,” Kaufman said. “Our hospitals are full; our clinics are overflowing with Covid patients.”

The public discussion followed a Covid-19 status update by Dr. Bela Matyas, the county public health officer.

Dr. Bela Matyas, Solano County public health officer

He told the board that the county is emerging from the latest Covid surge that started shortly after July 4, and that includes lower number of individuals being hospitalized.

Matyas reiterated his position that a mask policy will be ineffective because the data show transmission is not taking place in public settings, but rather at private social gatherings and at home. He noted that the vast majority of counties that have mask mandates are not seeing their disease rates fall like they should if the policy worked.

However, he also reiterated his position that the best way to defeat Covid-19 is to get vaccinated.

About 64% of the residents 12 or older have been fully vaccinated, while 76% have received at least one shot. That leaves about 135,000 residents who are eligible for vaccines who have not been innoculated, Matyas said.

Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data Friday that indicate people who are unvaccinated who contract Covid-19 are 11 times more likely to die than are those who are vaccinated.

[continued…]

Vallejo (and all Solano County) residents are welcome in Benicia’s library where masks are required

By Roger Straw, September 14, 2021

[UPDATE: County reverses itself – click here…]

Worried about Solano County Library system not requiring masks?  Visit us in Benicia!

Benicia Public Library is locally run and follows Benicia’s indoors mask mandate.

And here’s good news from the Benicia Library websiteVallejo residents are welcome in Benicia’s library.   Solano County, St. Helena, and Dixon cards are valid in Benicia.

Even if you don’t check out a book, it’s a great place to just sit and read a magazine or get on the internet!

Here’s from the Benicia library website about pandemic hours and masks: “The Benicia Public Library has restored regular service hours, and we are excited to welcome you back inside our building. Whether you want to use a computer or plug into our free Wi-Fi, visit an exhibit, borrow materials or just browse our bookcases, we are here for you. Please bring your mask and library card. If you do not have one, they are free.”

The mask requirement applies whether you are vaccinated or not.