Saturday, January 21, 2017

Bank executive takes over as Solano EDC chairwoman

FAIRFIELD — Solano Economic Development Corporation CEO Sandy Person joked at the group’s annual luncheon this week about “power and money” being a concept women truly understand.

Shortly after that, Louise A. Walker, president and chief executive officer of First Northern Community Bancorp and First Northern Bank, was introduced as the new chairwoman of the Solano County organization.

Walker, a Dixon resident, has held her current position since Jan. 1, 2011, and has been with First Northern since 1979.

Walker will help lead the economic development organization into the implementation stage of the branding and marketing program, Moving Solano Forward, with a Feb. 15 announcement that Person said will “knock the socks” off everyone, but offered no details at Thursday’s luncheon.

“We’re unveiling the final presentation of Moving Solano Forward,” Person said Friday, specifically noting a marketing video about which she is particularly proud.

“Part of this process is how do we position ourselves, what are our assets, in the global market,” Person said.

“We are really trying to send a message that it’s business first (in Solano County),” Walker said in a phone interview Friday.

“I think it is really focused on job growth in the county. It is really focused on retaining existing business and attracting new ones,” Walker said.

It will take even stronger private-public collaboration for Moving Solano Forward to reach its goals, Walker said.

Moving Solano Forward has been a two-year, two-phase effort funded by a $453,000 Economic Adjustment Grant through the U.S. Department of Defense, with the Solano Economic Development Corporation as the primary agency, although Person describes it as a public-private collaboration.
“There were a lot of things that impressed me, and, yes, there were some things that surprised me,” Person said.

Person, however, disagrees with Supervisor Jim Spering’s recent statement that the marketing program and branding cannot include “Solano” because of what he describes as negative impressions attached to the name.

Person said Spering is knowledgeable about regional matters, but said, “we’re not losing Solano. I respectfully disagree with Supervisor Spering.”

Person said she believes the work to retain and expand existing business while recruiting new industry to the county is not about overcoming any kind of negative impressions.

“I think we have to overcome a lack of awareness,” she said.

In addition to Walker taking over as chairwoman of the group, which has about 100 private-sector members plus representatives from public agencies, several new directors were seated. The full list was not immediately available.

Walker replaces Steve Huddleston, who is vice president of public affairs for NorthBay Healthcare.

Reach Todd R. Hansen at 427-6932 or

Friday, January 20, 2017

Air Force general shares AMC’s needs with Solano leaders

By Ian Thompson From page A1 | January 20, 2017
FAIRFIELD — The Air Force faces challenging times to retain and keep talented airmen, expand a shrunken service to meet unrelenting world challenges and stay ahead of foreign militaries who are challenging American military dominance.

That was what Gen. Carlton D. Everhart II, Air Mobility Command commander, told the 34th annual meeting of the Solano Economic Development Corporation on Thursday.
Everhart began his talk with the latest example of Air Mobility Command’s global reach – the KC-135 air tanker support that made a Wednesday night strike on two Islamic State group camps in Libya possible.

Air Mobility Command tankers refueled the B-2 bombers that flew a 34-hour round trip from Whitman Air Force Base, Missouri, to hammer the terrorist camps.

Everhart used it as an example of Air Mobility Command’s capability to support American commitments around the world to “take the fight to foreign soil to make sure every war is an away game.”

He went on to point out other examples that ranged from Travis’ recent role in running an airfield crucial to the retaking of Mosul in Iraq and supporting NATO exercises to humanitarian missions.

Everhart said he was proud of relationship the community surrounding Travis had with the base.

“One of the most important aspects of our partnership is working together to do the right thing for our airmen, our communities and our national defense,” Everhart said.
Everhart said his own foremost challenge is tackling the problem of retaining and recruiting talented airmen in a growing economy.

He said Air Mobility Command faces a growing shortage of pilots, maintainers, cyber systems operators and aerial medical evacuation personnel. He stressed that more needs to be done to get young talent to consider the military on graduation.

“Help me reach out to these young people,” Everhart asked the room of local community leaders. “I could use that talent. We need your help to highlight the opportunities available through military service.”

Another challenge has been the shrinkage of Air Mobility Command despite what Everhart described as unrelenting demands.

“Five years ago, AMC flew about 1,200 sorties every day,” Everhart said. “Today, we fly about half that number, not because of demand, but because we no longer have that capacity.”

In that time, 10 squadrons were shut down, the service’s C-5 fleet has been cut from 112 aircraft to 52 and the refueling fleet has dropped from 600 aircraft to 455.

This was mainly because of the federal Budget Control Act and sequestration.
“You all felt the impact here when 1,500 civilian airmen were furloughed for 22 days in 2013, and flying hours were cut by 18 percent,” Everhart said.

Ongoing budget problems have eroded the service’s ability to plan effectively and Everhart warned that such budget challenges could eventually threaten mobility programs such as the KC-46 program.

Everhart said the Air Force is the smallest it’s been in its history.

“We are not only smaller, but we’ve also struggled to modernize and outpace out adversaries when it comes to capabilities,” Everhart said.

Moving to another challenge, he said the stunning success of aerial dominance in Desert Storm in 1991 prompted other major powers to take note and spend the next two decades working out countermeasures using advancing technology.

“Today, middle powers possess the resources, technology and know-how to challenge control of the air, and our military has struggled to keep pace,” Everhart said.

He said it’s one of the reasons that the Air Force has invested in advanced airframes such as the F-22, the F-35 and the B-21.

Air Mobility Command is also working to upgrade and improve its own fleet to make it more flexible, durable and far-reaching – for example the KC-46, which Travis is now slated to get, and the C-5M.

“However, these airframes do not possess the capability to operate in high-threat denied environments,” Everhart said of the C-5M and KC-46. “So we have plenty of work ahead to guarantee rapid global access to our military.”

Everhart said one had only to look west to the South China Sea “where we’ve seen a buildup of the kinds of technology I’m talking about.”

Despite the challenges, Everhart closed his talk on an optimistic note.

“Make no doubt about it, despite all challenges, we are the world’s greatest air, space and cyber force,” he said.

The talk before members of the Solano Economic Development Corporation was just one of Everhart’s stops here.

Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, met Tuesday with Everhart at Travis Air Force Base to talk about the KC-46A air refueling tanker that’s scheduled to come to the Fairfield base.

“General Everhart and I had a good conversation on the next steps to ensure a smooth transition,” Garamendi said in a press release. “Solano County is lucky to have so many leaders in military and civilian life focused on Travis’ continued success.”

Travis is slated to get 24 KC-46A aircraft. A routine environmental review will be completed by the summer of 2018, with the first of the KC-46s scheduled to arrive in 2020.

Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or Follow him on Twitter at

SF Fed executive delivers positive economic forecast

By Todd R. Hansen From page A1 | January 20, 2017

FAIRFIELD — The top executive of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco told a gathering of business and government leaders Thursday that the economy is healthy and the Fed’s monetary policy focus has changed from short-term recovery to long-term growth and stability.

“It’s more about getting the economy on a consistent pattern,” said John Williams, guiding his left hand as if following an upward trend on a chart.

He said he expects the gross national product to increase by about 2 percent in 2017, and because of the changing demographics of the labor force, he also expects productivity growth to maintain a slower pace than historical levels.

Williams was one of two keynote speakers at the 34th annual Solano Economic Development Corporation luncheon meeting at the Hilton Garden Inn in Fairfield. The other speaker was Gen. Carlton D. Everhart II, commander of Air Mobility Command out of Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. The 60th Air Mobility Wing at Travis Air Force Base is under his authority.

The four-star general also touched on economic matters, noting the estimated $1.6 billion annual impact Travis Air Force Base has on the regional economy and the $15 billion economy his command generates globally.

Williams talked at length about the national labor force, noting that is one of the critical pieces in the Fed’s annual goals.

He said realistically, the country has reached its maximum employment level, with an unemployment rate of about 4.7 percent. He also said that because of the number of retiring baby boomers in an aging society, and the lower birth rate, the country needs to create only about 80,000 new jobs each month instead of the 150,000 in the recent past.

The other critical piece in the Fed’s goals is price stability. Williams said that is why interest rates have been raised twice in recent months, and that he fully expects inflation to be maintained at what he described as a healthy 2 percent. The price of oil, which have increased in recent months, is a big part of that equation.

He said he wants to see a Goldilocks economy, “not too hot and not too cold.”

Williams said the greatest threats to and uncertainties about the economy remain the usual suspects of economic pressures from Europe, Asia and shifting oil prices, and said the challenges will have far less to do with a new administration and Congress.

“We always have uncertainties when making monetary policy,” Williams said.

The shift to a stiffer regulatory posture in the finance sectors will help in that regard, he said.

Asked what the effect of income inequality might have on the economy, Williams did point out risks if that gap continues to grow. He noted the negative impact it can have on consumer spending. More importantly, he suggested, is the effect it has on the morale of those who can no longer achieve the American dream.

“What we know is for people to live the American dream, it is much harder if you start three steps back,” Williams said.

From his perspective, he said it is critical to invest in education to give the next generations a step up – and that starts before kindergarten and continues through K-12.

“And that makes me worry about the investments we are making in the youth today,” Williams said.

Reach Todd R. Hansen at 427-6932 or

San Francisco Fed: GDP growth 1.5%-1.7% in 2017

FAIRFIELD — “The U.S. economy is healthy and the financial system of the U.S. is much more resilient today than it was prior to the Great Recession that hit bottom in 2008,” said John C. Williams, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco at a Solano County economic conference today.

He was the keynote speaker before more than 200 county business leaders and public officials at Solano Economic Development Corporation’s 34th annual meeting. Fed monetary policy has two key goals — to maximize employment and achieve price stability to avoid inflation, Williams said. The ideal situation would be to maintain an unemployment rate between 4.75 percent and 5 percent — since full employment is not practical with some people between jobs, students who are not working, etc. Today’s 4.7 percent rate has achieved the first goal with some 140 million people employed in the workforce.

He said in 2009 the unemployment rate nationally was 10 percent. Back then, the unemployment rate in in the Solano area was 12.5 percent. “Since then we’ve added 15.5 million jobs, and the local unemployment rate in this county is down to 5 percent,” he said.

Williams noted that the U.S. added 180,000 jobs a month on average during 2016, but that the new norm for job creation moving forward will probably be in the 80,000 jobs per month range.

He observed that national gross domestic product growth in 2016 was about 2 percent and sees this rate remaining about the same, or perhaps a little lower, in 2017. Williams believes average GDP growth could be between 1.5 percent and 1.75 percent this year and into 2018.

“There are a lot of uncertainties when it comes to setting the Federal Reserve System’s central bank U.S. funds base rate, currently at 0.75 percent after two increases,” he said. The last increase occurred in December.

According to Williams, to achieve the price-stability objective involves balancing future upside and downside uncertainties when setting monetary policy.

“Inflation has been a big issue with the goal of keeping it between 1.75 percent and 2 percent year over year — which we have done,” he said.

While more incremental increases are anticipated over the next year or so, he believes it is time to move toward a long-term, neutral monetary policy that will not stall a recovery but rather continue to expand the economy as long as possible.

However, he cautioned that when an economic recovery lasts for a long time, market forces can lead to a downturn. For example, oil and housing prices are rising dramatically again. While history shows that the U.S. has had a recession about once every four years, the current recovery is one of the longest on record, with almost seven years of slow economic growth. One variable fueling the rebound is the gradual nature of the ongoing turnaround.

At the same time, Williams said there is a huge difference between today’s economy and factors that led to the 2007–2009 “great recession.”

“Banks are now required to keep higher reserves, and have more liquidity,” he said. “There is also a greater understanding of the interrelationships between the various segments that comprise the financial infrastructure of our country.”

Sponsored Links The Solano EDC annual meeting also featured at presentation by four-star Gen. Carlton D. Everhart II, commander of the Air Mobility Command that includes Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield. He recapped the mission of this command and the contribution made by the local base, its 24,000 uniformed personnel and dependents, to the regional economy.

Sandy Person, president of the Solano EDC, provided an overview of economic development highlights leading to a total gross regional product of $19.65 billion. Here are the economic contributions from just the top five Solano County industry sectors: Food and beverage ($0.81 billion), biotech and biomed ($1.28 billion), logistics ($1.47 billion), Travis AFB ($1.69 billion) and advanced materials ($2.23 billion).

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

KC-10 out, KC-46A tanker in at Travis Air Force Base

By Melissa Murphy, The Reporter, Vacaville

Posted: 01/12/17, 6:49 PM PST | Updated: 4 days ago


Thursday marked an “exciting” time at Travis Air Force Base.

Air Force officials announced they selected Travis Air Force Base and Joint Base McGuire Dix Lakehurst, New Jersey as the preferred locations for the next two active-duty-led KC-46A Pegasus bases.

Around lunch time Base personnel were notified that Travis is one of two preferred sites for the KC-46A Pegasus.

“We’re definitely excited,” said Tonya Racasner, a Travis Air Force Base public affairs representative. “There are still steps we need to go through, but we’re excited. It’s clear this would not have happened without the support of the community.”

“The U.S. Air Force’s selection of Travis Air Force Base as a Preferred Alternative to operate the KC-46A is great news for our installation and we are excited for this enhanced refueling capability that will allow us to continue to ‘Rapidly Project American power anytime...anywhere,’” said Col. John Klein, Jr., 60th Air Mobility Wing commander. “The decision is a testament to the unprecedented support from our community who understands Travis’ critical role in enabling worldwide military operations. Looking forward, there is more work ahead and Travis is grateful for the new responsibility,”

Congressman John Garamendi, D-Solano, who represents Travis Air Force Base in the House of Representatives, congratulated Travis and the communities of Solano County on being named a Preferred Site for basing the KC-46A tanker mission.

“The Air Force made the right decision, and I couldn’t be happier,” Garamendi said. “Travis Air Force Base is the gateway to the Pacific. Its community support, infrastructure, personnel and geographic location make it the ideal choice to base the KC-46A tanker. I thank Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James for conducting a thorough and transparent strategic basing process.

“This decision demonstrates the Air Force’s commitment to Travis as a base that will continue to play a crucial role in our national defense for many decades to come. The future of Travis today is more secure than ever.”

Garamendi who is in Washington D.C. explained over the phone that besides a necessary environmental report the KC-46As coming to Travis is “essentially a done deal” and will replace the KC-10 extender.

He added that other environmental reports have been completed that didn’t prevent Travis from being selected so he doesn’t believe anything will be different with the next one.


He added that a lot of work went into making sure Washington D.C. knew Travis was the “very best option for the West Coast.”

Garamendi said besides Travis’ location, it’s a great facility with the right infrastructure in place. The community support also played a part, he said.

“They’ve been hospitable and enthusiastic about Travis,” the congressman added.

It’s been a long road since the federal government made moves years ago to eliminate the KC-10 without guaranteeing Travis would receive a replacement fleet, Garamendi recalled.

He said it was the community including cities and Solano County that banded together and fought for the KC-10 to stay until a replacement was figured out.

Reached by phone Thursday, Sandy Person, chair of the Travis Community Consortium, said the organization is “thrilled” and was surprised to find out sooner than they expected.

“We’ve worked hard to support Travis as the premiere military installation that it is,” said Person, who also is the president of the Solano Economic Development Corporation. “This decision is forward thinking to meet the future defense needs of our nation.”

“Our community is proud of the Air Force personnel at Travis, and we work hard to make Solano County feel like home,” said Person in a prepared statement. “We look forward to welcoming the new Air Force families associated with the new KC-46A wing and will continue to work with installation leadership to ensure their needs are provided.”

Solano County Supervisor John Vasquez said the decision continues Travis’ reputation of being the “gateway to the Pacific.”

“It means a lot to the surety of the base staying here,” he said and noted that Travis contributes more than $1 billion each year to the local economy. “We’re thrilled.”

The KC-46A, according to the Air Force website, will provide improved capability, including boom and drogue refueling on the same sortie, worldwide navigation and communication, airlift capability on the entire main deck floor, receiver air refueling, improved force protection and survivability and multi-point air refueling capability.

On its website, the Air Force explained that 24 KC-46A aircraft will replace the legacy aircraft currently at each of those bases.

“Joint Base McGuire Dix Lakehurst and Travis AFB were chosen as the next two active-duty-led KC-46A bases because they meet all operational mission requirements at the best value for the Air Force and the American taxpayer and support our tanker recapitalization strategy,” said Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James. “It is absolutely essential that we continue investing in the next generation of tanker aircraft so we have the aircraft necessary to maintain the nation’s global reach for years to come.”

Additionally, Fairchild AFB, Washington, and Grand Forks AFB, North Dakota, will be considered as reasonable alternatives during the environmental impact analysis process which is required before a final basing decision is made.

At this time, the Air Force said it’s planning to divest the legacy tankers after growing the tanker fleet to meet its 479 tanker requirement. The timeline is dependent on the KC-46A delivery schedule, but it is not anticipated to reach sufficient KC-46A fleet size and begin legacy divestment at the first location until 2019.

“The KC-46 will afford combatant commanders extended refueling capabilities, improved global reach, and enable timely joint-service response to humanitarian crises and contingency operations around the world,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein in a press release. “In fact in the fight against (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant), the Air Force and joint and coalition partners depend on gas from our tankers. In 2016, the coalition flew over 13,600 tanker sorties, fueling aircraft nearly 80,000 times, delivering about 800-million pounds of fuel.”

Altus AFB, Oklahoma; McConnell AFB, Kansas; Pease Air National Guard Station, New Hampshire; and Seymour Johnson AFB, North Carolina; have already been selected as future KC-46 basing locations. The first KC-46As are expected to begin arriving at McConnell and Altus AFBs in fall of 2017.

According to James, a routine environmental review will be completed by the summer of 2018, with delivery of the aircraft scheduled to begin in 2020. The KC-10 Extender mission will continue until that time.

Travis lands KC-46A Pegasus to replace KC-10s

Travis lands KC-46A Pegasus to replace KC-10s

By Ian Thompson From page A1 | January 13, 2017
FAIRFIELD — Travis Air Force Base was one of two installations named by Air Force officials Thursday as the preferred locations for the next two active-duty homes for the KC-46A Pegasus air tanker.
Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey was the other base named by the Secretary of the Air Force’s office Thursday afternoon.
Each base is expected to get 24 KC-46s some time in 2020. The KC-46A aircraft will replace the air tankers currently at each of those bases, according to the Air Force announcement.
Col. John Klein, 60th Air Mobility Wing commander, called decision “great news for our installation.”
“We are excited for this enhanced refueling capability that will allow us to continue to ‘rapidly project American power any time . . . anywhere,’ ” Klein said in a prepared statement.
Klein called the decision “a testament to the unprecedented support from our community who understands Travis’ critical role in enabling worldwide military operations.”
Local leaders also responded positively to the announcement, which comes after years of work to secure the new air tanker for the Fairfield base.
“It is just great, and it is great news for Travis, the Air Force, Fairfield and all of Solano County,” Fairfield Mayor Harry Price said.
Price praised the lobbying efforts at all levels from recent Travis Community Consortium trips to Washington, D.C., to efforts by Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, who Price described as a tireless supporter of the Fairfield base.
Garamendi said he could not be happier with the decision. He said Travis’ community support, infrastructure, personnel and geographic location “make it the ideal choice to base the KC-46A tanker.” Garamendi said that the history of local community support for Travis has been “extremely important” in the Air Force’s decision.
“They have a reputation as being the most supportive,” Garamendi said of the local community.
A joint statement by Garamendi and California U.S. Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, both Democrats, applauded the decision to base the new KC-46A Pegasus refueling tanker at Travis.
“Today’s announcement shows the Air Force recognizes the base’s strategic importance and is committed to making long-term investments so Travis Air Force Base continues to play a critical role in protecting our nation,” the statement said.
Garamendi said that bringing KC-46s to Travis is part of an ongoing effort to ensure that Travis gets the most advanced technology and modern infrastructure possible.
“This decision demonstrates the Air Force’s commitment to Travis as a base that will continue to play a crucial role in our national defense for many decades to come,” Garamendi said. “The future of Travis today is more secure than ever.”
Travis Community Consortium Chairwoman Sandy Person called the announcement “fantastic news.”
“Solano County worked hard so that Travis would be well-positioned to receive this vital new mission capability,” Person said.
Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James said in the initial announcement Thursday that Travis was chosen as one of the next two bases for the KC-46 because it “met all operational mission requirements at the best value for the Air Force and the American taxpayer and support our tanker recapitalization strategy.”
“It is absolutely essential that we continue investing in the next generation of tanker aircraft so we have the aircraft necessary to maintain the nation’s global reach for years to come,” James said in the announcement.
Fairchild Air Force Base and Grand Forks Air Force Base will be considered as alternatives during the environmental impact analysis process, which is required before a final basing decision is made, according to the Air Force. Travis and McGuire will undergo that process this year. The environmental review is expected to wrap up in early 2018.
Garamendi said it was highly unlikely that there would be anything that would pose a problem to the KC-46s’ deployment at Travis, especially with all that has been done to protect the base and continually improve its infrastructure.
Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma; McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas; Pease Air National Guard Station, New Hampshire; and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, have already been selected as future KC-46 basing locations.
The first KC-46As are expected to begin arriving at McConnell and Altus this fall.
The Air Force doesn’t plan to start retiring its older air tankers until the tanker fleet reaches the service’s 479 tanker requirement. When that happens depends on the KC-46s’ delivery schedule.
Travis and McGuire are currently home to the KC-10 Extender. Travis itself has 24 KC-10 aircraft.
The Air Force said the KC-46 will give the American military extended refueling capabilities, improved global reach and enable timely joint-service response to humanitarian crises and contingency operations around the world.
“In fact in the fight against ISIL, the Air Force and Joint and Coalition partners depend on gas from our tankers,” Air Force Chief of Staff David Golden said in the announcement. “In 2016, the Coalition flew over 13,600 tanker sorties, fueling aircraft nearly 80,000 times, delivering about 800 million pounds of fuel.”
ISIL stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. It is another name for the Islamic State group that’s operating in large swaths of Syria and Iraq, and a portion of Libya.
Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or Follow him on Twitter at

Friday, October 21, 2016

Articles on Solano EDC October 20 Dan Walters breakfast

Political attestant says Capitol makeup is election’s harvest

By Todd R. Hansen From page A3 | October 21, 2016

FAIRFIELD — Dan Walters, the dean of political writers in Sacramento, said the Bay Delta tunnels are dead, redevelopment is alive and the lasting effect of the Nov. 8 election will be how many “BDs” survive the voters.

Walters said the so-called “Mod Squad,” or business-friendly moderate Democrats, have changed the political dynamic of how things get done at the Capitol.

“But they only have power if they have a balance of power between the Democrats and the Republicans,” said Walters, a widely syndicated columnist for The Sacramento Bee who was the speaker at the Solano Economic Development Corporation’s breakfast on Thursday morning.

That political balance, he said, is at stake during the election.

Walters said the ageless struggle of the business interests trying to beat back the annual agenda of the big-four liberal interests – labor unions, environmentalists, trial lawyers and consumer advocates – took a dramatic change when those employer groups changed their election strategy.

Instead of trying to put up conservative Republicans in a losing effort to regain legislative control, they began to support more moderate “business Democrats.”

Aided by the election change that sends the top two vote-getters from the primary to the general election, rather than the top Democrat and the top Republican, it allowed moderate Democrats to challenge more liberal party members for the same seat.

In fact, Walters said he would not be surprised if Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom faced another Democrat for the governor’s office in the 2018 general election.

“It allows the business community to play in Democratic politics,” Walters said.

He pointed to state Sen. Steve Glazer as an example in Contra Costa County and “we might see another one here with Mr. (Bill) Dodd.”

Assemblyman Dodd, a former Republican turned Democrat, is seeking the 3rd Senate District seat. He is challenged by former Democratic Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada, who admits she sits more to the left on the political spectrum than Dodd.

Dodd, who attended the breakfast event, said afterward that he is, in fact, one of the BDs, but prefers to view himself as an independent.

“I think it is a pretty high-level analysis of what is going on,” Dodd said of Walters’ presentation, “but I think most of the people who I represent are more moderate.”

The problem the business community has this year is there is no pressing reason for Republicans to go to the polls and vote.

“There is nothing on the ballot to make Republicans turn out,” said Walters, who noted that the presidential election traditionally brings more voters out, but largely more Democrats.

He said Republicans know Hillary Clinton is going to carry the state, and with no singular ballot measure to motivate them, the election could see the Democrats gaining more seats in the state Assembly and the Senate.

That would lessen the strength of the business Democrats who need Republicans to help carry their agenda.

“It will be a high turnout election, but it will be skewed even more toward Democrats,” Walters said.

He also suggested that if Democrats regain control of the U.S. Senate, Sen. Dianne Feinstein may retire, though she has said she plans to run again in 2018.

Asked about Gov. Jerry Brown’s two-tunnel plan for the California Delta, Walters said the proposal seems to have very difficult environmental, legal and financial impediments and is likely dead.

“Part of the reason is the drought,” Walters said. “You would think it would make it more likely, but in fact, it has made is less likely.”

He spoke of the efforts of Southern California water interests to develop more surface storage as well as San Diego constructing a desalination plant, so the need for a more reliable water source is not as great. Those urban interests are not willing to spend the money for the twin-tunnels project while so many other interests – including the environment and farming – get such a large part of the benefits.

“I think even the governor has backed off of it. He does not talk about it much anymore,” Walters said.

Asked about whether California will bring back redevelopment when Brown leaves office, Walters said: “Redevelopment is back. Didn’t you notice?”

Walters spoke of several pieces of legislation that have enabled specific municipalities to do what redevelopment allowed, but without the shift of school funding.

Reach Todd R. Hansen at 427-6932 or


Backroom power story sets event’s tone

By Todd R. Hansen From page A3 | October 21, 2016

FAIRFIELD — Solano County Supervisor Erin Hannigan felt a surge of pride Thursday as longtime political columnist Dan Walters set the tone of his presentation with a story about her father.

“You never really see a bill. What you see is a concept that floats around the Capitol looking for a home,” Walters said as he began to recount a story from 30-plus years ago.

It was a story about how the Sunset Scavenger firm wanted to build a landfill in the American River canyon, but needed legislative help to get past the environmental hurdles.

Willie Brown, who had worked as an attorney for the company in some capacity, agreed to find someone who would author the bill. That is when Tom Hannigan was introduced to the narrative.

“He was kind of a no-nonsense kind of guy,” Walters said of Hannigan, a Vietnam veteran and a veteran of the political wars as well.

“He went up to Willie Brown one day and said, ‘Willie, knock it off, this is my district,’ ” Walters said. “And that was all there was to that.”

Erin Hannigan said she has heard a lot of stories about her father, but never that particular one, and was happy Walters included it in his presentation.

Thomas M. Hannigan, a former mayor of Fairfield and former Solano County supervisor, served in the state Assembly from 1978-96, and was majority leader from 1985-95. He served as director of the state Department of Water Resources from 1999-2003.

Reach Todd R. Hansen at 427-6932 or