Tag Archives: Solano Together

Mayor Steve Young on CA Forever: “They don’t want to necessarily follow the rules”

A road sign is posted near a parcel of land purchased by Flannery Associates near Rio Vista, California. | Josh Edelson / AFP via Getty.

CBS News Sacramento, by Ashley Sharp, June 19, 2024

SOLANO COUNTY — California Forever released a report Tuesday addressing one of the biggest questions surrounding its billionaire-backed push to build a new city on Solano County farmland: where exactly they are getting the water to sustain a community of up to 400,000 people?

Leaders say this initial review found they have secured enough water for the first stage of buildout at 100,000 residents and laid out the company’s plan for how they say they will scale their water usage for when the community grows by four times.

“As a guiding principle over our entire water plan, everything we do, we want it to be protective of other municipalities in Solano and we want to make sure we are not negatively impacting them now or looking into the future,” said Bronson Johnson, head of infrastructure and sustainability for California Forever.

Water plan unpacked

California Forever has promised its proposed new development will not use any water from the Solano Irrigation District or Lake Berryessa, which supplies the county’s water.

So where is it coming from?

Solano Together Action Alert: On June 25, Voice Your California Forever Concerns – In Person, By Phone, or By Email

From Solano Together message, sent June 18, 2024

Next Tuesday, June 25, at 2 p.m., the Solano County Board of Supervisors will convene to discuss California Forever’s East Solano Plan. 

Our coalition will show up strong and we urge you to do the same and voice your concerns and opposition to the California Forever/East Solano Plan. Here is how you can do it.

Show up for an in-person comment:

  • The meeting will take place at the Solano County Administration Center (675 Texas Street in Fairfield) at 2 p.m.
  • Arrive early: we recommend arriving as early as noon to save your seat. We anticipate a big turnout and the space has limited capacity.
  • Bring water, food, and snacks for the line.
  • More than anything, we hope the County Supervisors will call for the study of the impacts of this initiative.
  • Remarks will probably be limited to 1 minute. Please keep it to the point and be respectful.

Submit your online comment:

If you can’t attend the meeting in person, send your comments online. Click here to access the upcoming agenda (not available yet). [BenIndy: Once this information becomes available we will update this post to include it. We’ll also repost this message in its entirety, with any other updates as they become available.]

According to the Board of Supervisors website: If you wish to address any item listed on the Agenda in advance of the meeting, please submit comments in writing to the Clerk of the Board by U.S. Mail or by email. Written comments should be received no later than 5:00 P.M. on the Monday prior to the Board meeting to ensure distribution in advance of the meeting. The email address for the Clerk is: clerk@solanocounty.com. Copies of comments received will be provided to the Board and will become a part of the official record but will not be read aloud at the meeting. 

Feel free to use our resources, such as the FAQ, for your talking points.

Call in:

To submit comments verbally from your phone, you may dial into the meeting using the teleconference instructions released in the agenda for the meeting (found here when posted).

Why It’s Important

Last week, the Solano County Registrar of Voters verified that the East Solano Plan had enough signatures to move forward.

At this Board of Supervisors meeting, the Board can adopt the Initiative, order a 30-day study, or put the Initiative on the ballot. We expect the Board to order a study. If so, at the July 23 Board meeting, the County will release its findings and put the Initiative on the ballot.

This means the “East Solano Homes, Jobs, and Clean Energy Initiative” would go before voters for authorization to modify the land use designation of 17,500 acres of agricultural land in eastern Solano County to a “New Community” designation that would allow for the development of up to 400,000 new residents and up to 90 million square feet of non-residential development.

Solano Together is a group of concerned residents, leaders, and organizations who united to form a coalition that envisions a better future for Solano County, focusing development into existing cities and strengthening our agricultural industry.

We strongly oppose this harmful development proposal and urge you to vote NO on the ballot in November.

Here are a few things we will share with the Board of Supervisors at the upcoming meeting:

  • Threats to Travis Airforce Base
  • Increased traffic, commute gridlock
  • Negative impact on water and food production resources
  • Less investment in existing cities
  • No binding guarantees until a development agreement

Read more about each item on our FAQs and Resources pages.


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.

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.

CONTINUE READING>>

(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.

California Forever’s Bid to Build a New City Qualifies for November Ballot

[BenIndy: Here we go!]

A California Forever billboard stands along I-80 in Vacaville on April 2, 2024. | Beth LaBerge / KQED.

NPR, by Adhiti Bandlamudi, June 11, 2024

The campaign to build a city from scratch in Solano County submitted enough valid signatures to qualify for the November ballot, election officials said Tuesday.

The Solano County Registrar of Voters spent a month reviewing over 20,000 signatures turned in by California Forever, the billionaire-backed company behind the ballot initiative. The measure needed 14,369 signatures from registered Solano County voters to qualify. On Tuesday, the Registrar of Voters certified the signatures.

The measure now heads to the Solano County Board of Supervisors, which will vote at the end of June on whether to immediately adopt the initiative, place it on the November ballot or first request a report assessing the impacts the project would have on the county.

Supervisor Mitch Mashburn has already announced his intention to request the report and said the board “will do everything we can to provide the facts needed to make an informed decision.” That report will be published 30 days after it is requested — likely appearing before the board in late July.

“We’re feeling great. We’ve had an incredibly exciting six weeks now that we submitted the signatures; we’ve had the opportunity to start delivering on all of [our] initiatives,” California Forever CEO Jan Sramek told KQED. “This is just the beginning. There’s more coming this summer.”

California Forever has made myriad promises tied to its ambitious plan in eastern Solano County, including adding 15,000 new jobs to the county, delivering community benefits packages and offering down payment assistance programs for first-time homebuyers. In recent months, the company has begun to announce how it plans to make good on those promises.

Most recently, the company said it would offer a $140,000 grant program to fund technical courses in IT support and data analytics to prepare residents for the jobs it promises will come once the initiative is approved. It also announced it would build a “Solano Sports Complex” with spaces for baseball, softball, football, basketball, soccer, volleyball, tennis, gymnastics, swimming and other sports.

“The sports complex fills a need that we have in Solano County that every child deserves to play at a state-of-the-art facility,” Michael Fortney, California Forever’s director of partnerships, told KQED. “People will be traveling from all over the state and nationally to come to Solano County to compete here, they’ll be staying in our hotels, they’ll be shopping in our shops, they’ll be eating in our restaurants, and that will create a real economic boom for Solano County.”

The sports complex will be built only if the ballot initiative passes, but the money for the technical training grant program — along with $500,000 that the company has already doled out to local nonprofits — would be handed out before the initiative comes before voters.

Still, many are not convinced about the project and its lofty promises.

Last week, the Solano Land Trust, a conservation agency, officially came out against the project and urged voters to “vote no on a November ballot measure that would allow the development of the East Solano Plan.”

“After careful consideration, we reached the informed conclusion that a development of this magnitude will have a detrimental impact on Solano County’s water resources, air quality, traffic, farmland and natural environment,” Nicole Braddock, executive director of the organization, said in a statement. “The plan runs counter to Solano Land Trust’s mission of preserving land and water for current and future generations in Solano County.”

Solano Together, a grassroots organization opposed to the East Solano Plan, has started printing and handing out yard signs saying “No to California Forever” to those opposed to the plan. Other organizations, including Sustainable Solano, have also publicly opposed the project, citing concerns about a strain on water resources and traffic the new development might bring.

“I think it’s really easy to say no,” Sramek said on Tuesday, blaming the opposition on “special interest groups.” “What we are hearing from voters is this is the most credible plan that they’ve ever seen to make life better for working families in Solano County.”


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.

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