Category Archives: Sierra Club

CORRECTION – Here’s how to attend California Forever’s Benicia Town Hall DEC. 14, 5-7pm

[Note from BenIndy: Apologies for the first post of this event, which had the wrong month in the header as well as the headline. DECEMBER 14 is the date of the town hall meeting. It’s unclear, but entry to California Forever’s December 14th town hall meeting may require a mobile ticket secured through EventBrite; you can sign up through EventBrite by clicking this link. You can also email California Forever questions in advance of the meeting. Please plan to attend this incredibly important town hall meeting. It’s essential that Benicians pack the room to demand that the many outstanding questions (and complaints) that have already accrued around this perceived incursion of tech elites apparently seeking to build a libertarian utopia in Solano County are finally answered – to our complete satisfaction. We are owed this much.]

Message from California Forever:

Join us Dec. 14 at 5 pm in Benicia for a town hall meeting as we share big picture ideas and respond to community questions and feedback.

Date and time

Thursday, December 14 · 5 – 7pm PST

Location

Charles P. Stone Hall and Spenger Memorial Garden at Benicia Historical Museum, 2060 Camel Road Benicia, CA 94510

About this event

California Forever: Benicia Town Hall

California Forever was created to bring back the California Dream. We want to do that by building a new community, solar farms, and a greenbelt of agriculture and habitat in eastern Solano County. Doing so would bring thousands of good paying jobs, new paths to middle-class home ownership in safe, walkable neighborhoods, new sources of clean energy, and stronger county tax base to fund essential services for every resident of Solano County.

Since announcing California Forever, we have remained focused on listening to and learning from people representing all walks of life in Solano County.

Our first town halls will share our vision for the project and solicit community feedback to help shape our ideas. Then after we have released our plans for the new community in early January 2024, CA Forever will convene another series of town halls where we will explain and answer questions about our proposal.

We hope to meet you in person at these events soon.

Questions must be submitted in advance to contact@californiaforever.com with the subject line “Benicia Town Hall Question”

Here’s how to attend California Forever’s Benicia Town Hall Dec. 14, 5-7pm

[Note from BenIndy: It’s unclear, but entry to California Forever’s November 14th town hall meeting may require a mobile ticket secured through EventBrite; you can sign up through EventBrite by clicking this link. You can also email California Forever questions in advance of the meeting. Please plan to attend this incredibly important town hall meeting. It’s essential that Benicians pack the room to demand that the many outstanding questions (and complaints) that have already accrued around this perceived incursion of tech elites apparently seeking to build a libertarian utopia in Solano County are finally answered – to our complete satisfaction. We are owed this much.]

Message from California Forever:

Join us Dec. 14 at 5 pm in Benicia for a town hall meeting as we share big picture ideas and respond to community questions and feedback.

Date and time

Thursday, December 14 · 5 – 7pm PST

Location

Charles P. Stone Hall and Spenger Memorial Garden at Benicia Historical Museum, 2060 Camel Road Benicia, CA 94510

About this event

California Forever: Benicia Town Hall

California Forever was created to bring back the California Dream. We want to do that by building a new community, solar farms, and a greenbelt of agriculture and habitat in eastern Solano County. Doing so would bring thousands of good paying jobs, new paths to middle-class home ownership in safe, walkable neighborhoods, new sources of clean energy, and stronger county tax base to fund essential services for every resident of Solano County.

Since announcing California Forever, we have remained focused on listening to and learning from people representing all walks of life in Solano County.

Our first town halls will share our vision for the project and solicit community feedback to help shape our ideas. Then after we have released our plans for the new community in early January 2024, CA Forever will convene another series of town halls where we will explain and answer questions about our proposal.

We hope to meet you in person at these events soon.

Questions must be submitted in advance to contact@californiaforever.com with the subject line “Benicia Town Hall Question”

Solano County environmentalist groups announce new coalition against California Forever project

California Forever proposes to build a new city in eastern Solano. | Image from californiaforever.com.

The Solano Together coalition will consist of a partnership between the Solano County Orderly Growth Committee, the Greenbelt Alliance and the Sierra Club.

ABC10, by Khrys Shahin, November 28, 2023

SOLANO COUNTY, Calif. — The Sierra Club, a Solano County environmentalist group, is the latest to publicly oppose the proposed California Forever city and announced a new coalition they’re calling “Solano Together.”

Members of various Solano County groups spoke Tuesday morning to announce the new change and encourage support from the public against the project.

“Solano County is home to a robust and delicate ecosystem, carefully crafted with all of our stakeholders in mind,” said Princess Washington, Sierra Club chair and Suisun City councilmember. “The Sierra Club of Solano County will oppose any project that is detrimental toward Travis Air Force Base.”

The Solano Together coalition will consist of a partnership between the Solano County Orderly Growth Committee, the Greenbelt Alliance and the Sierra Club.

Fairfield Mayor Catherine Moy, Orderly Growth Committee chair Bob Berman and a Montezuma Hills farmer also spoke at the press conference to vocally oppose California Forever. Speakers mentioned the Solano County Orderly Growth Initiative as another reason they’re opposing the proposed new city.

The initiative, passed by voters originally in 1994 and amended in 2008, works to “protect working farms, ranches and watershed areas in Solano County by directing urban growth and development into our cities. ”

Flannery Associates, the investors of the California Forever proposed city, say their project “explicitly adheres” to the initiative by allowing voters to decide what happens.

“(Our project) embodies its very spirit… by asking Solano voters whether they want to turn an area with the least productive and least ecologically valuable soils in all of Solano County into a new economic engine for the county,” said a California Forever spokesperson. “We support the Orderly Growth Initiative and that’s why we’re going directly to voters — allowing them to decide what future they want for themselves and their kids.”

A Montezuma Hills farmer, who was approached by Flannery Associates and rejected their offers to buy her land, says she appreciates the idea of the new coalition and wants to “beat” this project.

“The way that I see a community is sort of an organic, almost a living thing. You don’t just pop a bunch of houses down in the middle of nowhere and expect a community to form,” said Kathleen Threlfall. “You come to a place for many different reasons and a row house is not one of them.”

Washington says the land Flannery Associates owns has been tended to by “generations of farmers who use dryland farming, producing up to 6 million loaves of bread each year” and is grazing land for livestock. Flannery says the land they own has the “worst agricultural soils in Solano County, which is why the area is used for pasture land rather than prime farmland.”

Flannery Associates has told ABC10 their full plan is expected to be released sometime in January, 2024.

Sierra Club calls California Forever’s plans to build new city a ‘clandestine possession’

Windmills line hills behind McCormack Ranch near Rio Vista. The 3,700-acre ranch is fighting the California Forever plan to build a new city in Solano County. | Noah Berger / Special to the Chronicle.

SF Chronicle, by J. K. Dineen, November 28, 2023

In what amounted to a campaign kickoff for the coalition fighting California Forever’s plans for a new city in Solano County, leaders from the Sierra Club and other groups held a rally Tuesday morning announcing their opposition to the project.

At a press conference, Sierra Club Solano Group Chair Princess Washington characterized the project as a “clandestine possession.”

Washington said that the Bay Area had lost 270,000 acres of agricultural land in the last decade, and that the Solano project would jeopardize tens of thousands of acres of additional farmland.

“This is land we cannot get back once it’s developed,” she said.

The rally, which also featured Fairfield Mayor Cat Moy, comes as California Forever gears up for a 2024 ballot initiative that seeks voter approval to develop portions of the 55,000 acres the group has acquired in unincorporated Solano over the last five years. The acreage, nearly twice the size of San Francisco, lies between Fairfield and Rio Vista.

While California Forever has not revealed any concrete plans — the group of billionaires behind the initiative includes LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, Andreessen Horowitz partners Marc Andreessen and Chris Dixon, and Stripe co-founders Patrick and John Collison — the group must seek approval because of Solano County’s “Orderly Growth Initiative,” which requires voter approval for any project built in unincorporated portions of the county. California Forever has started a series of community meetings to build support for the project.

Washington blasted California Forever for ignoring “years of Smart Use planning and the voter approved Orderly Growth Initiative.”

“By ignoring the current voter approved uses of land that Flannery has acquired in order to jack their investment’s economic return is nothing short of a hostile takeover,” Washington said.

A rendering of a scene in the proposed city planned in Solano County, by the group California Forever.

But California Forever CEO Jan Sramek countered that the project “embodies the very spirit” of  the orderly growth initiative, which has been in place for 40 years.

“By giving voters the final say, this project explicitly adheres to the Orderly Growth Initiative by asking Solano voters whether they want to turn an area with the least productive and least ecologically valuable soils in all of Solano County into a new economic engine for the county,” Sramek said. “We support the Orderly Growth Initiative, and that’s why we’re going directly to voters.”

He said the group is proposing to develop “pasture land rather than prime farmland,” and would preserve the open space Suisun Marsh and the Jepson Prairie. He also said the new city would offer a balance of jobs and housing, which would help Solano County residents find work closer to home.

Fairfield Mayor Cat Moy, an outspoken opponent of the project, called it “a threat to Travis Airforce Base,” which is the county’s biggest employer. She said building anywhere near Travis Air Force Base is “a big fat no.”

“They are not talking to my people in Fairfield and Solano County where I grew up,” she said. “We are a right to farm county. That means a lot.”

Moy also criticized the group for buying up the land in secrecy and for years refusing to answer questions about their intentions.

“You have hurt farmers already, you have divided families who have been here for more than a century,” she said. “Enough already.”