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Published on March 25, 2024
Billionaire-Backed 'California Forever' Clashes With Local Groups Over New City Plan in Solano CountySource: California Forever

Tensions are rising around the "California Forever" development plan as its billionaire backers clash with local opposition. The group pushing to build a new city in Solano County accused detractors Friday of distributing "misinformation" about their signature gathering process—a key step towards getting the initiative on the November 2024 ballot. In a statement obtained by East Bay Times, California Forever stated that the petition signers are not actually voting for or against the measure but are merely ushering an opportunity for a public vote.

Signature gatherers have been described by California Forever as seasoned professionals, armed with "fact sheets" detailing job guarantees and protections for Travis Air Force Base, among other promises. The company's campaign manager, Matthew Rodriguez, was quoted saying, "A small but vocal group of opponents are attempting to create confusion and prevent Solano County voters from deciding what future they want for themselves and their child." He encouraged people to delve into the details and approach the petition with an open mind, as reported by the official California Forever press release.

On the flip side, Solano Together, a group opposing the development, remains staunchly critical. Their spokesperson, Daniella Aides, labeled the developers' promises as "empty," particularly highlighting that the proposed 10 guarantees, which include items such as downpayment assistance and job guarantees, are not legally enforceable. Aides emphasized, according to the East Bay Times, "In the title and summary, county counsel made abundantly clear what voters will be voting for in November—a change to the General Plan to allow for a new city on nearly 18,000 acres of agricultural land."

Each signature sheet purportedly presents the title and summary of the project, as provided by the Solano County Registrar of Voters office, directly above the space where voters sign. In the midst of this escalating debate, Solano County residents are left to determine the veracity of the competing claims and weigh the potential impact of a new city shaping their region's future. Rodriguez remarked in a Cali Forever press release, "They will not succeed. We encourage everyone considering whether or not to sign our petition to read the fine print, ask questions, and keep an open mind — and let the voters decide."