Fairfield Mayor Catherine Moy is taking action against this secretive venture. In collaboration with U.S. Rep. John Garamendi and members of the Solano County Board of Supervisors, Moy aims to develop a defense strategy against the investors who have spent over $800 million to acquire 55,000 acres of land for their alternative to San Francisco. Moy’s determination is fueled by past experiences, including the thwarting of a similar 1984 project known as Manzanita.
Moy has engaged with the grassroots organization that successfully halted the 1984 plan and has also reached out to numerous concerned constituents. Their apprehensions stem from the recent proposal put forth by a company called Flannery Associates, backed by billionaires like Reid Hoffman and Laurene Jobs.
Flannery Associates’ actions during their secretive land acquisition phase have been widely criticized. The company’s behavior has led to a united stance against their plans within Solano County, even before the project’s specifics have been fully disclosed. Moy highlighted that Flannery’s actions have brought various stakeholders together – citizens, environmentalists, builders, and politicians – in an effort to oppose the project.
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Although Rep. Garamendi was unavailable for comment regarding the upcoming meeting with Moy, he has expressed skepticism about the feasibility of Flannery’s project, describing it as unrealistic.
Mayor Moy’s awareness of Flannery Associates began four years ago when she was a city council member. She was alerted by a farmer who perceived a problem arising from large land purchases. Initially, Moy didn’t see it as an issue until she realized the extent of Flannery’s land acquisitions. The company’s incorporation in Delaware allowed investors to remain anonymous, which complicated Moy’s efforts to contact key figures.
The New York Times eventually revealed the investors behind Flannery Associates, with Jan Sramek being portrayed as the driving force. Mayor Moy’s attempts to reach out to Sramek went unanswered. As details emerged, it became clear that Flannery’s approach was fraught with errors and controversial tactics. Stories circulated about inflated offers to farmers, accompanied by increased bids if initial offers were declined. Legal action was taken against some farmers, alleging illegal price-fixing discussions, creating a climate of fear.
The emotional connection many farmers had to their land, cultivated over generations, was overlooked by Flannery representatives. These farmers cherished their land and regarded it as more than a financial asset. The disrespectful approach by Flannery representatives, who believed money could easily sway sentiment, sparked outrage and resentment.
Mayor Moy’s frustration deepened when she learned that one of the investors, Marc Andreessen, opposed affordable housing initiatives in his community. Determined to assert Solano County’s autonomy, Moy is resolute in proving that these billionaire investors cannot impose their will unchecked. She underlined the community’s sophistication and determination to challenge any attempt to manipulate the region.
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Flannery Associates declined to comment on the matter when approached.
In conclusion, the backlash against the tech billionaires’ plan to construct a new city in rural California has galvanized various stakeholders and community members against the project. Mayor Moy’s proactive efforts, together with local representatives, demonstrate the resolve to safeguard the region’s interests and values against the influence of wealthy investors.