Check out “California Forever’s biggest PR problem may be its CEO”

[From BenIndy: Follow the link to see journalist Gil Duran’s take on the motivations and methods of a certain Jan Sramek, CEO of California Forever. Sramek’s dismissiveness (bordering on contempt) toward local opposition to California Forever’s East Solano Plan has included labeling them (us?) as a homogeneous group of “70-year-old Sierra Club types,” but his contempt for Solano voters apparently doesn’t stop there, according to Duran. We’ve included a few opening paragraphs of Duran’s piece to entice you to dive into his full post (there is no paywall), and we also encourage you to consider subscribing to Duran’s blog. This exploration of how Sramek’s comments and actions are deepening the wedge between his epic vision and the Solano County’s lived experience and unique reality is only one of many areas of focus for his blog, The Nerd Reich (formerly Parallel Mirror). The BenIndy is not affiliated with Duran.]

California Forever’s biggest PR problem may be its CEO

The Nerd Reich, by Gil Duran, June 12, 2024

The point: California Forever CEO Jan Sramek has a talent for saying disastrous things. It’s a gift to the residents of Solano County, who are resisting his effort to build a billionaire-funded tech city in their midst.

The Backstory: You know it’s bad when a CEO lands a glossy profile in a major publication and then pretends it never happened. Such was the fate of a Business Insider piece focused on California CEO Jan Sramek.

The May 5 story was headlined “Big Tech’s Urban Hero: Here’s why Silicon Valley is betting on a Goldman prodigy to build a glorious city of the future.”

At a glance, it seemed like a win. The headline glowingly depicted Sramek as a visionary on a mission to shape the future. The story did feature criticism from California Forever’s opponents, but that’s normal. Overall, it framed Sramek in flattering terms.

A big victory, right? Not exactly.

Neither California Forever nor Sramek acknowledged the story after it published. No triumphant tweets, no boastful LinkedIn or Facebook posts. As far as California Forever is concerned, the Business Insider story never happened.

Insulting Solano County voters

The reason why is clear: Sramek totally blew it. He allowed his contempt for his opponents to get the best of him. When asked by a reporter to describe California Forever’s opposition, Sramek lashed out at Solano voters:

“The people who have been opposed to it —” Sramek pauses, trying to choose his words carefully. “When you look at them,” he says, “they all look the same.”

So who’s that? Your basic white boomer NIMBY?

“Yeah, I mean, you said it,” Sramek says. “I’ll just say it’s not a particularly diverse coalition in any measure. It’s generally a 70-year-old Sierra Club type. The only thing they care about is the open space behind their house.”

And just like that, Sramek committed several grave political errors in the span of four sentences.


(Clicking the link will redirect you to The Nerd Reich’s blog post. There is no paywall but if you like what you see you could consider supporting excellence in journalism with a paid subscription.)

MORE . . .

>> Get involved… Solano Together is another local organization opposing California Forever. Between now and November, you can get a yard sign from Solano Together and send Solano Together a much needed donation.

>> Read more… BenIndy coverage of the billionaire land grab, California Forever / East Solano Plan.