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Billionaires offer guarantees that are unenforceable

CalMatters went into some depth about the Sili Valley billionaires' proposed pipe dream to develop 17.5K acres of Solano County's open space as a utopian community with homes for up to 400,000 residents. In short, the billionaires' proposed initiative for the November 2024 ballot is confusing in many ways. California Forever's initiative seems filled with familiar development happy talk that promises the moon. For starters, the initiative is complicated; it is almost 100 pages long. Among the uncertainties - who will build and run the schools, how will highways and rail lines be funded and operated, what does the project means for the 7 existing cities in Solano County, is there enough water for the project without harming existing agriculture, and are the "guarantees" even realistic? It remains to be seen whether the initiative - which would almost double Solano County's population - will be approved and, if so, whether it can fulfill its promises.

One thing is certain, though. The billionaires are not planning for the new community to have a municipal government. They are willing to set up a special district to oversee the basic infrastructure. But there won't be a Mayor or a City Council to represent the 400,000 residents. The added municipal workload will severely constrain the County's ability to do its areawide jobs and will unfairly deny the local residents a voice in their local affairs. Being 3 times bigger than California's largest unincorporated urbanized community (East Los Angeles), we can reasonably expect the new community will have a law enforcement challenge. The County Sheriff and the California Highway Patrol are already underresourced; how will they handle the extra work? Frankly, we would like to see new cities formed for the 5M Californians who already live in unincorporated communities before 400,000 more disenfranchised Californians are added to the mix.

Aerial view of a green landscape with a winding stream, rolling hills, and wind turbines in the background.
Will Solano County's open space and ag lands be replaced by a new urbanism dream for up to 400,000 people?
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