California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said Tuesday that he was not given a heads-up about the new city tech billionaires are trying to build near San Francisco.
“I was told about five minutes before my phone lit up that there was an article about to post, and I was immediately intrigued,” Newsom said at a forum hosted by Politico. “They said, ‘you’ll be more intrigued after you see it.’”
Newsom is curious, he said, and will meet with a representative of the development soon.
California Forever is the parent company of Flannery Associates, the company behind the project. Some of its investors include LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, Laurene Powell Jobs and venture capitalist Marc Andreesen. According to the California Forever website, Flannery has bought more than 50,000 acres in Solano County, which is nestled between San Francisco and Sacramento and close to the Travis Air Force Base.
“To date, our company has been quiet about our activities,” the group wrote on the website. “This has, understandably, created interest, concern, and speculation.”
The website details a vision for the area: walkable communities, local jobs, reducing homelessness, improvements to schools and public safety and investments in infrastructure. In the days since the New York Times reported the development, the project has received mixed reviews.
With the secretive purchasing of the land, some members of the public suspected the project was an attempt by a foreign government to acquire land near the air force base. Newsom said it was interesting how quickly the “China track” was brought up and is a “point of consideration and caution for all of us.”
At Politico’s forum, Newsom said the investors may have hurt their own credibility.
“I’ll be candid with you. They started a little behind in my book because of the fact that they let so much intrigue and so many questions, so there’s a lot more doubt now and a lot less trust,” he said Tuesday.
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