Monday, June 20, 2016

Solano EDC breakfast highlights link between public safety and economic vitality


Solano EDC breakfast highlights link between public safety and economic vitality


By Dom Pruett, DPruett@TheReporter.Com, @dompruett on Twitter

Posted: 06/17/16, 5:52 PM PDT | Updated: 2 days ago

Local Law Enforcement Officers, Government Elected Officials, and various other community stakeholders joined representatives from the Solano Economic Development Corporation (EDC) Friday morning over breakfast at the Hilton Garden Inn in Fairfield to discuss the correlation between public safety and economic vitality.

“Solano County is known as a large village, and we need to work together,” Solano EDC President Sandy Person explained. “We can always do better; this needs to be our top priority.”

Police Foundation President Jim Bueermann gave the opening presentation in which he addressed ways to improve current policing amidst a growing state of distrust and animosity among some citizens toward law enforcement officers.

Buerrmann discussed the sweeping proposal that would require all officers to wear a body camera while on duty, as well as virtual reality training — installed to let officers gain a different perspective on police interaction.

“I’m an old white guy, so I don’t know what it’s like to be a 20-year-old African American,” Bueerrman said, which returned some sporadic laughter from the audience. “Police others the way you would want to be policed.”

Though Bueerrmann later admitted he didn’t believe his message resonated with many of the officers there in person, he was clear and uncompromising in conveying his belief that departments across the country need a change in culture.

“We’re not going to advance policing in this country if we continue the way we have,” he said.

To Bueerrmann, a change in culture will only come from officers acquiring a better understanding of how to police minorities and the mentally ill.

“Whether you like to admit it or not, you are social workers,” he told the law enforcement officers.

Lastly, Bueerrmann mentioned the connection between education and crime. “How many educated and successful people do you know who have been arrested?”

His three major points: prevention, intervention and suppression revealed that only through social change will communities become strengthened, and in turn, alter the current perception of police.

Vacaville Police Chief John Carli, who was in attendance, agreed with Buerrmann’s message.

“Policing in the community is not about arresting people,” he said. “Education is the driving force. It makes kids more successful.”

Carli explained, “It’s planting the seed for the tree you may never sit under.”

California Director of the Council for a Strong America Barrie Becker followed Bueerrmann and expanded on the significance of education’s role in reducing crime.

“Education leads to less crime,” Becker said while presenting slides with statistics to back her claims. Becker added that when law enforcement officers, business leaders, and retired senior military personnel are among some of the many who have already joined her in fighting crime through investment in children.

Becker discussed in particular the obstacles children from low-income and dysfunctional families face, and added that a quick survey on any prison’s inmate population would reveal that the vast majority read at an elementary school level. In theory, the more children flourish in school, the less likely they will end up behind bars.

“It’s a huge indicator,” Buerrmann remarked about education following the event.

However, it takes everyone to make it possible.

“Police and schools can’t do it on their own,” he said.

Program: Youth development critical for community safety, well-being

Program: Youth development critical for community safety, well-being
By Todd R. Hansen From page A3 | June 18, 2016

FAIRFIELD — No one uttered the words “economic development” or “economic vitality” at an Solano Economic Development Corporation breakfast event Friday publicized about the connection between having safe communities and both of those things.

What was discussed is how investing in society’s youth – and investing early – helps to curb crime and many of the other problems that drain economic resources, and helps develop the kind of workforce businesses will need.

Barrie Becker, California director of the Council for a Strong America and special projects director for Fight Crime: Invest in Kids California, said that research shows when high school graduation rates rise by 10 percent, murders and aggravated assaults go down by 20 percent.

In Solano County, that would mean five fewer murders and 222 fewer assaults, Becker said.

Becker also noted that nine out of 10 juveniles who are in detention centers had been suspended or expelled from school at some point, and that one-third of all dropouts leave school by the ninth grade.

In Solano County, the suspension and expulsion rate is 7.3 percent of all students, according statistics provided by Becker. The county’s dropout rate has gone down in recent years and is actually better than the state average.

At the same time, research shows that 63 percent of future jobs in the United States will require some education beyond high school. In other words, communities need to find a way not only to keep students in high school, but beyond.

One way that is having success, and something Solano County schools are implementing is to have work-connected academies at the high schools. Participating students appear to be more engaged, the research shows, and the skills employers need are being taught.

Becker said her organization lobbies for resources as the state and federal levels by using evidence- and research-based information to stop children from being victims. Some of the most effective tools are preschool and after-school programs.

She also noted a statement from an educator who had helped turn a troubled high school around by saying “it is better to have a caring adult than a computer for every child.”

Becker’s presentation followed one by Jim Bueermann, president of the Police Foundation, who within his examination about the need to change how community policing is implemented, said the fundamental truth connected to virtually all crime is family stability.

Vallejo police Chief Andrew Bidou and former Fairfield chief Walt Tibbet are executive fellows with the organization.

If children are raised in a house with drug and alcohol issues, it is more likely they will have drug and alcohol problems. If they are raised in an abusive house, there is a greater likelihood they will be abusers.

And where those problems exist, Bueermann said, so does crime. He presented a series of overlays that show the connection of law enforcement calls for social issues and where crimes are committed or criminals are arrested.

Bueermann said youth development is critical for stemming crime.

“This tells us where we have to put our resources. We do not have to put them everywhere,” Bueermann said.

The former police chief of Redlands also noted the need for police agencies to change how they relate to the public, and change their policing tactics.

“There is a disconnect with how police perceive themselves, and how the people they protect perceive them,” Bueermann said.

Technology will be a driving force in this evolution, noting that body and other surveillance cameras are essential, and that it will not be long before drones become a central part of policing tactics.

He said the use of virtual reality so officers can get a personal sense of what it is like to be a person with a mental illness, such schizophrenia, who then encounters an officer, is important. It can even help officers understand how minorities view their encounters with police.

Bueermann, who is white, emphasized that he will never know what it is like to be a young black man, but he can better understand how that young man perceives the police.

“It allows you to become somebody else,” he said. “It may change how you interact with people.”

Bueermann also noted the days of just throwing people in jail are over, and that prevention and intervention are essential elements. He said police officers must be better equipped to deal with people with mental illness, the homeless and others for whom prison may not be the best solution.

If nothing else, he said, escalating costs of incarceration are going to force change.
Bueermann said to succeed, change must be embraced, not fought. He included a quote about change by Nelson Mandela to emphasize the point.

“It always seems impossible until it is done,” Mandela said.

Reach Todd R. Hansen at 427-6932 or thansen@dailyrepublic.net.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Area chiefs add voices to national policing efforts

Fairfield

Area chiefs add voices to national policing efforts

By From page A1 | June 12, 2016
FAIRFIELD — The Vallejo police chief and a former Fairfield chief have added their voices and experience to a national group looking at the future of law enforcement.

Vallejo chief Andrew Bidou and Walter Tibbet, the former police chief in Fairfield, are executive fellows with the Police Foundation, a private, nonprofit organization formed in 1970 through a grant by the Ford Foundation.

“Our mission is the advancement of policing through innovation and science,” said Jim Bueermann, president of the foundation and a 33-year veteran of law enforcement, including 13 as chief in Redlands. He became president of the foundation in September 2012, about a year after he had retired.

Bueermann, who is scheduled to speak at an Economic Development Corporation event Friday in Fairfield, said the fellows at the foundation are advisers who provide a bridge between the research and science and the practical world of applying that work by law enforcement agencies.

Tibbet was approached in 2014 about joining the group because of his youth outreach efforts, and specifically successes he had on school campuses.

“The foundation found out about (the Public Safety Academy) and contacted me and we talked about that and the executive fellowship program,” said Tibbet, who spent five years as the Fairfield chief and four as the chief in Alameda. His career extended 43 years, the majority of which was in San Jose.

The academy is a program at the Fairfield-Suisun School District for students who have career interests in law enforcement or other emergency services. It was part of Tibbet’s youth outreach efforts.

He calls those efforts a fundamental part of community policing.

“The issues of we find today with all the crime and violence can all be traced back to the failure with youth, to the number of kids who are falling through the cracks,” Tibbet said.


While he deals with a variety of topics from around the country as part of the foundation, youth outreach remains a big part of what his experience brings to the table.

Bidou is a 27-year law enforcement veteran who has been the chief of the Vallejo Police Department for nearly two years. He learned about the foundation’s work and applied for a position.

Among the efforts Bidou has been involved in is one of the biggest facing law enforcement across the country: community trust and the disconnect with police forces.

An 8-minute YouTube video, posted on the Vallejo police website as well as the Police Foundation site, discusses what Bidou and his staff have done to try to reconnect with city residents.

The video describes the problems the Police Department was facing and the steps they are taking to try to reconnect with the residents – everything from having a greater presence at community events, hosting open houses and using its cadet program to recruit officers out of the Vallejo area.

“One of the best things that has come out of (being part of the foundation) is we participate in monthly issues on things that impact law enforcement,” Bidou said.

“It keeps me contemporary, current and I hope to apply what I learn (locally),” the chief said.
Bueermann said he personally selects all fellows at the foundation, which includes the executive fellows comprised of former or current police chiefs, sheriffs and other top staffers.

There is also a group of line officers, with the highest rank among them being lieutenant.

Additionally, there are the international fellows and the research fellows, Bueermann said.

The foundation looks at everything from tactical strategies to organizational models and investigating critical response incidents such as the 2013 Christopher Dorner case, in which the former Los Angeles police officer hunted down and killed four people, including two police officers and the daughter of a former police captain.

The highly publicized manhunt, which included Dorner’s manifesto of his intent and the information he sent to CNN before starting his killing spree, also including police officers firing at unrelated
people after their vehicles were mistaken for the Dorner’s truck.

The foundation was contracted to look at the case, review how the police departments responded, and the ultimate effect. Bueermann said the report is expected to be released in the near future.

However, one of the primary focuses of the foundation is to use research and science to improve policing. He said while the foundation involves agencies as large as New York City police and as small as a rural sheriff’s office, the research is applicable.

“It looks different when it is applied in a city or rural environment . . . but conceptually it is the same,” Bueermann said.

As an example is the “broken window” theory, which basically started in New York. A window at a warehouse was broken out. It was obviously not a high police priority, but the window did not get fixed, either. Then another window was broken and eventually, Bueermann contends, the area was viewed as being unimportant and became a home to larger crimes.

“The idea is if you allow the little things to go unabated, they become bigger things,” Bueermann said.

Reach Todd R. Hansen at 427-6932 or thansen@dailyrepublic.net.

More information

  • The Solano Economic Development Corporation is hosting a breakfast Friday featuring Jim Bueermann, president of the Police Foundation, and Barrie Becker, California director of the Council for a Strong America and special projects director for Fight Crime: Invest in Kids California.
  • The theme of the event is Safe Communities = Economic Vitality.
  • Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. The program starts at 8 a.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn Fairfield, 2200 Gateway Court.
  • To sign up or for more information, contact Pat Uhrich at 864-1855 or at pat@solanoedc.org.

Solano EDC breakfast to discuss public safety

By Reporter Staff
The next breakfast of the Solano Economic Development Corporation will cover public safety and feature two nationally known speakers.

The breakfast is Friday at the Hilton Garden Inn, 2200 Gateway Court in Fairfield.

The morning begins at 7:30 a.m. with registration and networking, followed by breakfast and the program from 8 to 9 a.m.

Jim Bueermann is the president of the Police Foundation, a national, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting innovation and improvement in policing through its research, technical assistance, training, professional services, and communication programs.

Barrie Becker serves at the California Director of the Council for a Strong America and as Special Projects Director for Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, California. She has been with the organization since 2003. Prior to joining CSA, Barrie served as executive director of Legal Community Against
Violence.

Together they will bring knowledge, insight and experiences to address the issue of crime and public safety. This is a great opportunity to listen to leaders in the field discussing ideas that can be used in Solano County.

To attend, $27 for Solano EDC members and $37 for non-members.

To register, call 864-185 or email pat@solanoedc.org.

Make checks payable to Solano EDC, 360 Campus Lane, Suite 102, Fairfield, CA 94534.

Notify the Solano EDC of cancellations, no shows will be billed.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Vallejo City Council authorizes negotiations with car manufacturer

Vallejo City Council authorizes negotiations with car manufacturer

Electric car company Faraday Future’s plan to open a manufacturing plant in Vallejo has picked up a boost from the city council.

Councilmembers unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday night authorizing a six-month exclusive negotiating agreement with FF LLC, a special-purpose entity, established by Faraday Future, for the express purpose of purchasing 157 acres of land on the north side of Mare Island.

The company intends to open a second production facility, house business and administrative offices, and offer a pick-up location for customers on Mare Island.

“We love the location,” said Dag Reckhorn, vice president of Global Manufacturing for Faraday Future. “We want to bring to the city of Vallejo, quality long-term jobs to the community.”

The company will create hundreds of million investment dollars for the city, Reckhorn added.

Kathleen Diohep, the city’s economic development manager, said the site can become a “catalyst investment” for Vallejo, drawing in more businesses.

“Jobs are one of our highest priorities for this site,” Diohep said.

She added that the city doesn’t have the resources to invest in infrastructure for the site.

None of the councilmembers asked any questions or offered any responses during the meeting. They swiftly approved the resolution after about 20 individuals addressed the council.

Several speakers expressed cautious optimism for the proposed project, while others expressed concern about the logistics of how the facility will transport items to and from Mare Island.

During the upcoming negotiations, Faraday Future and the city will refine the project concept to address the scale of buildings, number of jobs created and timing of construction, according to a city staff report. The negotiation period also includes two 90-day extensions.

Both the city and Faraday Future confirmed the site would require significant work to prepare it for use.

“Faraday Future recognizes that the site requires backbone infrastructure, demolition of existing buildings, and other site work to address the geotechnical conditions that are estimated to exceed $50 million,” city officials said in a staff report.

If a final agreement is reached, the city is expected to hand over the site to the company “as is,” due to the amount of work needed to rehab the site, according to the same staff report.

The company will supply a $200,000 fee to the city, along with paying for Vallejo’s legal and consultant fees associated with the project. That fee is expected to be at least $372,000, staff said.

The city council is expected to consider a disposition and development agreement in November of this year.

The company’s 3-million-square-foot, $1 billion North Las Vegas manufacturing facility is projected to start producing vehicles in a couple of years.

Contact John Glidden at 707-553-6832.

Travis, local leaders sign partnership agreement

Travis, local leaders sign partnership agreement

By From page A4 | June 03, 2016 
 
TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE — Travis Air Force Base and the leaders of the Solano County communities surrounding the base have signed an agreement that establishes a Travis Community Partnership Leadership Committee, according to base’s Public Affairs Office.

The purpose of the memorandum of understanding is to promote better partnerships and more collaboration between Travis, Solano County and its local municipalities.

The agreement provides a framework to identify requirements among the partners and to develop collaborative solutions. The coordinated efforts are intended to enhance Travis’ ability to conduct its future missions while supporting the region’s economic vitality and quality of life.

Mayors from Fairfield, Vacaville, Suisun City, Dixon, Vallejo and Benicia signed the agreement May 26, along with the chairwoman of the Solano County Board of Supervisors and a representative from the Solano Economic Development Corp.

Rio Vista’s mayor was not able to attend, but will still sign the agreement at a future date.
Some initiatives that have come from this partnership include the Emergency Responder Urban Training Site that recently opened and the Vacaville City Council’s approval to offer resident rates for military members and their families, regardless of their residence. This included discounts to community swimming pools, youth and adult sports recreation and all other recreational programs offered by the city.

Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or ithompson@dailyrepublic.net. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ithompsondr.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Napa Smith Brewery on tap to open in Vallejo by fall

Napa Smith Brewery on tap to open in Vallejo by fall


Workers installing tons of rebar in the old Sears service center building on Yolano Avenue to hold several 64,000 pound tanks for Napa Smith Brewery, which is creating a brewery/taproom/tour destination in Vallejo.
Workers installing tons of rebar in the old Sears service center building on Yolano Avenue to hold several 64,000 pound tanks for Napa Smith Brewery, which is creating a brewery/taproom/tour destination in Vallejo. Dennis Brinson — contributed photo

Vallejo business and property owner Dennis Brinson says Vallejo’s fortunes are changing.
And he is fairly bubbling with news of the proof.

Case in point — the city will soon have a new Napa Smith Brewery, on Yolano Avenue where the old Sears service center once was, likely by the end of summer, he said.

“This beer is served in the White House. It’s a top brand at Disney World — this is a huge top brand,” the Vallejo native said. “They’re going to be ramping up production worldwide. ‘Brewed and bottled in Vallejo, CA.’ will be on all the bottles.”

The Vallejo Planning Commission in February approved the application for Napa Smith Brewery and tap room to operate out of the existing 36,000-square-foot building at 101 Yolano Ave. City staff said the operation will include 10 full-time, and six part-time employees.

“I heard they wanted to relocate from where they are now, in Napa, on Highway 29, for a new brewery, and there’s no better place for water supply and treatment capacity than Vallejo,” Brinson said. “I approached them with that — I contacted their headquarters in Memphis, Tenn. — and officials came out and on a handshake, we decided to start a relationship.”

That was a couple of years ago, Brinson said.

“All the due diligence, the vetting, the planning and regulations — and there’s a lot of it — had to be worked through,” he said. “But, the city has been a great support in helping achieve this.”

Founded in 2008, Napa Smith, whose parent firm is R.S. Lipman Co., makes “great food-friendly beer,” according to winecountrybeer.com.

“Napa Smith also knows wine well, since it operates a winery, too,” the site says. “It understands the distinct roles and strengths of wine and beer when it comes to complementing food. And that’s what Napa Smith is all about, producing distinctive artisan beers that pair so well with the great foods of the region (or anywhere).”

The new winery will include a tap room with food, and daily guided tours, said Brinson, who is carrying on a family tradition of bringing business and employment to Vallejo that started with his grandfather, who came to town in the early part of the last century and opened a market at Sonoma Boulevard and Georgia Street.

That is also where Brinson’s grandfather in 1934 built the structure that for years housed the largest Sears store on the West Coast, he said.

Brinson is also largely responsible for bringing the city’s second Grocery Outlet to downtown, eliminating what for decades had been an official “food desert.”
“The Grocery Outlet was great for downtown and this (Napa Smith Brewery) will be great for the city,” he said.

Recognizing that Vallejo’s schools need improving to make the city more attractive to large employers, Brinson said this and many other problems will fix themselves as more companies come and bring more jobs.

Vallejo has or soon will have nearly everything most large firms need in terms of location, transportation and other infrastructure, and it’s just a matter of helping the reality begin changing perceptions — inside and outside the city, he said.

The brewery, construction of which is already well under way, is only part of what’s on the horizon, he said.

“They’re putting a huge investment in the city,” Brinson said. “We really have the wind at our back.
It’s a new day for Vallejo.”

Contact Rachel Raskin-Zrihen at (707) 553-6824.