Justin Ebrahemi

Justin Ebrahemi

Bringing Solano Together: How Solano County’s Community is Rallying For Their Home

The people from Solano County showed up for their community to share food and a vision for the region they call home at the Bringing Solano Together Coalition launch event, on February 4. Not even the atmospheric river storm impacting most of the Bay Area deterred over 250 people—and many more engaging online on the livestream—from packing the room at the Nelson Center in Suisun City.

Watch the livestream below:

 

An Alternative Vision

This grassroots community rally celebrated the official launch of Solano Together: A group of concerned residents, leaders, and organizations who came together to envision a better future for Solano County, focusing development into existing cities, and strengthening our agricultural industry. Greenbelt Alliance is proud to be part of the coalition and to help protect Solano’s natural and working lands while supporting development and investment in Solano’s seven cities.A powerful line-up of elected officials and local residents—representing diverse voices throughout the County—denounced the vague and deceptive language of California Forever’s ballot initiative, the drain that the development will cause on much needed public resources for existing cities, the crushing threat to the livelihood of farmers, and the importance of an alternative community-driven and inclusive vision for the County’s future.

As our amazing emcee, Alice Wilson-Fried introduced speakers who represented various communities and interests. An energized audience listened to impassioned speeches by Mayor Pro-Tem of Suisun City, Princess Washington, Vallejo City Councilmember Charles Palmares, Congressman John Garamendi, Congressman Mike Thompson, Solano Farm Bureau President Will Brazelton, local youth advocate, Aiden Mayhood, and longtime Fairfield resident, Maria Cisneros.

While Solano Together proposes a positive, educational, and inclusive dialogue about what the community wants to see in the region, the featured speakers took the opportunity to educate and inform people on the potential harmful impacts of the sprawl development proposed by Flannery Associates, called California Forever.

Check out more pictures on our Flickr Album:
Solano Together Coalition Launch Event: Photo Selects

Highlights from the speakers:

“Picture, if you will, Solano County stripped of its open spaces, devoid of its precious agricultural lands. What would remain of our beloved County without its marshlands and delicate delta ecosystems? Our very identity is intertwined with these natural landscapes, and their preservation is non-negotiable.’”—Princess Washington, Mayor Pro-Tem of Suisun City & Chair of the Sierra Club of Solano County

“Farmland is not just a commodity. It is a finite resource that sustains our local economy, provides jobs, and ensures food security. There is something fundamentally wrong with our society if our farmers have to fight for the land they steward.”—Will Brazelton, Solano Farm Bureau

“You build communities where the people are. You build cities where the economy is. California Forever has neither. I’ll say this to the developers and investors who are paying attention. Build in Solano County cities. Build in Suisun City. Build in Rio Vista. Build in Fairfield and build in Vallejo. —Charles Palmares, Vallejo Councilmember

“It’s telling when one of the most vocal opponents of California Forever is a young person, a member of a generation set to reap the supposed benefits of the project. (…) Young people like me will watch as the cost of living skyrockets if California Forever is approved. Ultimately, young people like me will bear the true costs and burdens of the project.” —Aiden Mayhood, Rio Vista resident

“Why did they choose Solano County? Is it because they saw a low income community of Black and Brown residents? Because they think we’re the path of least resistance? That’s a colonialist mentality.”—Maria Cisneros, Fairfield resident

“This initiative is shockingly light on real details. Should the initiative qualify for a November Ballot, our community will be asked to provide an up or a down on the project. We’d be asked to make this choice without the basic facts needed to make an informed decision. That should make everyone concerned.”—Mitch Mashburn, Chair of the Solano County Supervisors

“The citizens of Solano County will not stand for what is proposed. Flannery Associates have set about putting a dagger in the heart of Travis Air Force Base. We cannot let that happen. This plan is a disaster for this entire region.” —John Garamendi, Congressman

“No one who got on this stage has anything to gain from this. But we all believe in the planning process and the need for orderly and safe growth. And all of us have been misled by (Flannery Associates) who want to take over our County. Trust is something you can’t buy, with money or false promises.”—Mike Thompson, Congressman

Community Spirit

Bringing Solano Together’s community spirit could be felt throughout the room. From the homemade pies, bread, and lamb meatballs to the jazzy tunes of Bob Jacobs Trio, and agrarian folk songs played by Jim Bartz, the region’s special camaraderie was highlighted throughout the event. It is this same neighborly spirit that is foundational to the Solano Together coalition, and that will continue to lead the fight for an alternative and sustainable vision for the region. Thank you to our speakers for sharing diverse perspectives and their lived experiences, concerns, and visions for the future of our home.

Thank you as well to our coalition organizational partners, including the California Native Plant Society, Solano Orderly Growth Committee, Sierra Club, Community Alliance with Family Farmers, Solano County Farm Bureau, Napa-Solano Audubon (NSAS), and the Center for Biological Diversity.

We also want to thank our fellow coalition members and volunteers who made this event a success! If you’d like to get involved and receive coalition updates, visit solanotogether.org.

 

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