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California Forever says new Solano city plan has enough signatures for November ballot. Here's what's next.

Bid for new Solano County city inches closer to November ballot
Bid for new Solano County city inches closer to November ballot 02:55

FAIRFIELD — California Forever, the billionaire group that wants to build a new city in Solano County, announced on Tuesday that they have collected and submitted enough signatures to put the plan before voters.

The proposed new city would start with an initial 50,000 population and could grow to 400,000. Supporters and opponents remain fiercely divided.

"The question becomes how badly we beat them," Solano County resident and cityhood opponent Duane Cromm said. "We're going to beat them."

California Forever CEO Jan Sramek said the group is confident the plan will win come November.

The Solano County land purchase and development plan is funded by Bay Area billionaire investors Laureen Powell Jobs, Michael Moritz, Netscape founder Marc Andreessen, and LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman.

The group, formerly known as Flannery and Associates, sweetened the land deal with promises to award $400 million toward downpayment assistance for new homeowners, the creation of 15,000 good-paying jobs, and erecting the biggest solar farm in the west.

Solano County Congressmember John Garamendi is adamant in his opposition.

"We are talking about Silicon Valley billionaires that are trying to create some 'pie in the sky' Disneyland Main Street," Garamendi said. 

California Forever is asking voters to change the county slow growth ordinance and re-zone 17,000 acres of rural agricultural land to help solve California's housing shortage.

"We think that what we are proposing is by far the most credible approach to addressing this challenge," Sramek said. "And I don't see any credible ideas from our opponents."

Opponents want Solano's slow growth model to stay.

"You can't just say we want to magically wave a wand and have a brand new city and solve the Bay Area's problems," Cromm said. 

The Solano County Registrar of Voters now needs to validate the signatures turned in. California Forever needed to collect 13,000 signatures. They turned in 20,000.

Tim Flanagan with the Registrar of Voters said they will spend the next 1-3 months counting and reviewing the signatures. The proposed city development needs 50 percent plus one to pass.

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