LIFESTYLE

Silicon Valley-backed voter plan for new California city qualifies for November ballot

Jun 11, 2024, 5:12 PM

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A Silicon Valley-backed initiative to build a green city for up to 400,000 people in the San Francisco Bay Area has qualified for the Nov. 5 ballot, elections officials said Tuesday.

Solano County’s registrar of voters said in a statement that the office verified a sufficient sampling of signatures. California Forever, the company behind the campaign, submitted well over the 13,000 valid signatures required to qualify.

The registrar is scheduled to present the results of the count to the county Board of Supervisors in two weeks, at which point the board can order an impact assessment report.

Voters will be asked to allow urban development on 27 square miles (70 square kilometers) of land between Travis Air Force Base and the Sacramento River Delta city of Rio Vista currently zoned for agriculture. The land-use change is necessary to build the homes, jobs and walkable downtown proposed by Jan Sramek, a former Goldman Sachs trader who heads up California Forever.

Sramek, who has the backing of wealthy investors such as philanthropist Laurene Powell Jobs and venture capitalist Marc Andreessen, disclosed that the campaign spent $2 million in the first quarter of 2024.

He expects the amount spent to be higher in the second quarter, he told The Associated Press in an interview before the ballot initiative was certified.

Opposition includes conservation groups and some local and federal officials who say the plan is a speculative money grab rooted in secrecy. Sramek outraged locals by covertly purchasing more than $800 million in farmland and even suing farmers who refused to sell.

The Solano Land Trust, which protects open lands, said last week that such large-scale development “will have a detrimental impact on Solano County’s water resources, air quality, traffic, farmland, and natural environment.”

Sramek expects to have 50,000 residents in the new city within the next decade. The proposal includes an initial $400 million to help residents buy homes in the community, as well as an initial guarantee of 15,000 local jobs paying a salary of at least $88,000 a year.

Companies that specialize in aerospace and defense manufacturing and indoor vertical farming are among those expressing interest should voters approve the project, California Forever previously announced. It also plans on constructing a regional sports complex.

Lifestyle

Associated Press

You don’t think corn dogs are haute cuisine? These chefs, using alligator sausage, beg to differ.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Stefani De Palma, an award-winning chef and head of the a team vying to represent the Americas in a French culinary competition in January, knew she wanted her team’s work to feature flavors of her native California. The challenge at the Bocuse d’Or Americas competition this week in New Orleans was […]

20 hours ago

Associated Press

High school president writes notes thanking fellow seniors — 180 of them

Emily Post would be proud. A high school class president in Massachusetts who gave a commencement speech wanted to recognize all of his fellow graduates. So he wrote them personal thank-you notes presented at the ceremony — 180 to be exact. “I wish I could’ve acknowledged you all, but there was simply not enough time,” […]

2 days ago

Associated Press

New York considers regulating what children see in social media feeds

New York lawmakers on Tuesday said they were finalizing legislation that would allow parents to block their children from getting social media posts curated by a platform’s algorithm, a move to rein in feeds that critics argue keep young users glued to their screens. Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul and Attorney General Letitia James have been […]

10 days ago

Associated Press

New Orleans plans to spiff up as host of next year’s Super Bowl

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — New Orleans hosts its 11th Super Bowl next year and the preparations involve showcasing the city’s heralded architecture, music, food and celebratory culture while addressing its myriad challenges, including crime, pockets of homelessness and an antiquated drainage system. Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry joined Mayor LaToya Cantrell and a host of other […]

10 days ago

Associated Press

Stolen classic car restored by Make-A-Wish Foundation is recovered in Michigan

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A classic car restored with help from the Make-A-Wish Foundation was recovered Tuesday, two weeks after it was stolen with a flat tire from the side of a Michigan highway, authorities said. Police got a tip and discovered the 1968 Ford Galaxie in a yard in Vevay Township, the Ingham County […]

10 days ago

Associated Press

New York City is building more public toilets and launching an online locator so you can find them

NEW YORK (AP) — New York City is not only getting more public toilets, but making them easier to locate using your smartphone. Mayor Eric Adams announced Monday a plan to build 46 new restrooms and renovate 36 existing ones located in city parks, adding to the city’s roughly 1,000 such facilities over the next […]

11 days ago

Silicon Valley-backed voter plan for new California city qualifies for November ballot