The mysterious people who have been purchasing huge tracts of rural land at inflated prices in Solano County for the past five years and what they are up to have finally been revealed!
They are Silicon Valley multi-million and billionaires operating under the corporation called Flannery Associates, a subsidiary of California Forever. They want to build a huge new town in southeastern Solano County on land that has been farmed for generations.
The opinion poll they launched August 21 laid out plans for a walkable “utopia” in these rolling hills that are often golden from crops of wheat and barley. (see below)
The Solano County Orderly Growth Committee opposes this “new town”, already dubbed Jerk City by San Francisco Chronicle cartoonist Jack Ohman. (see below)
· This new town violates Solano County’s Orderly Growth policy, which forbids converting agricultural and open space lands to residential use without a vote of the people. The Solano County Orderly Growth Committee has been fighting to keep Solano’s agricultural heritage since 1984 when another new town was proposed. What they are proposing would be “leapfrog” development at its worst.
· Operations at Travis Air Force Base could be impeded, leading to closing the Base. Travis must be able to carry out its transport and training functions without encroachment from wind turbines, solar or anything else. It must also have easy access for supplies to the South Gate, accessed from Highway 12. Right now, it is critical to the Ukraine War.
· Water is a scarce resource and getting scarcer with climate change. Salt-water intrusion into the Sacramento River is already severe. Fishing and agriculture are already impacted. The smelt that were the usual food for salmon have all but disappeared. Flannery tried to buy up water rights from our local water agency and, fortunately, our policymakers said no. Flannery’s survey conjured the image of a million new olive and oak trees being planted there, a huge potential additional draw on the river – in an area known for dryland farming for a reason. It is shocking to read in their poll that this project will “help keep the Delta and the Bay healthy and resilient against climate change.” This is salesmanship, not science.
· Flannery says they will bring a plan to the voters in Solano County for approval next year in the form of a “citizens’” initiative. This initiative would have to overturn Solano County’s General Plan. Under an initiative, they could concoct the development anyway they want without public input. We think this is crazy.
· We object to the despicable way they have treated our local farmers, throwing some off land they have leased for generations and suing them for $500M when they refused to sell. Do you expect Flannery to work with the community in good faith?
We expect various public agencies, elected officials, concerned citizen groups and individuals who are concerned about Jerk City to work together to maintain these farmlands for crop production. If you would like to be involved, please click "Contact Us" at the bottom of our Home page.
10/12/2023 "Flannery Doesn’t Care About Us, Just The Money"
You have likely received a fancy brochure from Flannery pretending to care about your opinions. The do not care about us. They care about how much money they can make by destroying our farmlands. If you need to respond, please tell them NO, Solano County is for us, not for you and your money-grubbing investors.
I was the Solano County supervisor for many of you for eight years in the 1980s. In all my years in Solano County I have never seen anything as audacious as what is being proposed by Flannery. The idea of rich Silicon Valley techies buying our farmland and trying to convince us that they know best is preposterous.
Their brochure shows life in Italy. If they want to live in Italy, they should move there and leave us alone.
Jan Hewitt, Fairfield
Ms. Hewitt was a Solano County Supervisor in the 1980s
10/29/2023 "We’ve Been Bar-Coded!"
The present Flannery (alias, California Forever) mail piece wants us to turn in a survey with our name on it and a bar code. I guess they really are interested in us. Like Big Brother. Well, I don’t want to be tracked and I hope you don’t either.
Their slick mailer and website have graphics that appear to be generated by Chat GPT. Otherwise, how to explain the little girl on a bike missing a foot? Or the boy on the sidewalk whose scooter is missing a wheel and more? Or the tree-dotted Mediterranean landscape on land known for dryland farming?
Following this train of thought, maybe their proposed new town will also have one surveillance camera on the streets for every four people and widespread use of facial recognition software like the Chinese do.
I plan to tell Jan Sramek – Don’t sprawl on our farmland! If you really want to help, like Mayor Moy has said, invest in Fairfield (and Solano’s other communities)!
Marilyn Farley, Fairfield
Ms. Farley was a Fairfield City Council member in the 1990s
10/29/2023 "Where Should Windfall From Flannery Land Purchase Go?"
Flannery Associat4es, the folks wanting to build a “new city” in Solano County, sent out a survey asking Solano County residents to rate the importance of “different things the new community could create,” including good paying jobs, homes designed for “multi-generational living,” infrastructure improvements and more tax revenues.
These are some benefits resulting from the gradual growth of existing cities. As many jobs are created from new construction in Fairfield as in a new city. As to generational living, state law strongly encourages attached dwelling units (“granny flats”) on new homes and their addition to existing homes. New development in existing cities creates the same level of property tax revenues as in a new city.
The survey ignores the costs of a new city. To the extent one would result in growth in the county in addition to that projected for the cities, it will compete with existing cities for some key resources, especially water and traffic capacity on Highway 12 and I-80. To the extent a new city takes growth that would otherwise go to existing cities it would reduce the value of land in and around the existing urban areas.
Flannery would be the real beneficiary of a new city. It spent an average of about $14,500/acre for its Solano County land. The same land, if approved for urban uses, is easily worth 10 times that much. So the question is: should that windfall go to real Solano County landowners or some out of town billionaires?
Robert Lando, Fairfield
Mr. Lando was a land-use attorney in the 1990s
11/12/2023 "California Forever is a public relations case study in what a developer shouldn’t do."
First, hide the details about Flannery investors, their country of origin and purpose.
Force Congress to have the FBI investigate them.
Sue some landowners for collusion in sales prices when it was apparent what others were paying.
End run the county and cities’ general plans by ballot initiate.
Scuttle protection of agricultural zoned land and principle of planned growth within existing cities.
Promise affordable housing, high paying jobs, and walkable communities when the high cost of infrastructure would make that impossible.
Put more traffic onto two-lane Highway 12 and funnel it through Interstate 80.
Build solar panels and wind turbines where the county is already cautioning that development be consistent with Travis Air Force Base air safety.
Claim you are protecting Travis AFB while making its Highway 12 south gate logistic delivery more vulnerable to congestion and delay.
Claim you will protect the aquifer by making other water arrangements including desalination, but not saying how it will be transported and from where.
Don’t ask any survey questions about concerns over the project.
Try to make up with congressional, state, and local officials after you’ve alienated them.
Bud Ross, Fairfield
Mr. Ross is a retired Air Force colonel, long active in civic affairs
California Forever Town Hall gutted by audience: https://www.timesheraldonline.com/2023/11/30/california-forever-gutted-at-first-solano-town-hall/
Front-page article from the Vacaville Reporter, "Sierra Club Opposes..." https://www.thereporter.com/2023/11/28/sierra-club-announce-opposition-to-california-forever/?utm_email=D4C404FB94DB7512144FB45D4B&g2i_eui=OR%2f5XtnyqT0NhJFt3iDWG6BzgRvWAmUZ&g2i_source=newsletter&lctg=D4C404FB94DB7512144FB45D4B&active=yesD&utm_source=listrak&utm_medium=email&utm_term=https%3a%2f
Front page article from the Fairfield Daily Republic "Solano Together": https://www.dailyrepublic.com/news/solano-county/new-solano-together-coalition-forms-to-fight-flannery-project/article_3454a1c2-8e30-11ee-a8c3-2bf7d6147c0d.html
Benicia Independent, "New Coalition Against...," https://beniciaindependent.com/
Greenbelt Alliance, "Protect Solano County from Sprawl Development," https://www.greenbelt.org/blog/protectsolano/
Napa-Solano Audubon Society, “Why NSAS Opposes the Proposed Solano County Flannery Development Project”
Solano County Water Agency, Consultant report concerning how the California Forever development might affect the Solano County Habitat Conservation Plan, by LSA, Associates, Inc., 10/31/2023,
Files coming soon.
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