Friday, July 30, 2010

Solano County has earned a National Association of Counties (NACo) "Achievement Award" for its Partnership for Early Access for Kids (PEAK) initiative.

Innovative PEAK initiative earns national award

Solano County has earned a National Association of Counties (NACo) "Achievement Award" for its Partnership for Early Access for Kids (PEAK) initiative.  One of 11 California Counties recognized by this national organization, Solano's unique and innovative PEAK initiative was honored for its collaborative structure, leveraging of funds and replicability.

PEAK is a jointly-funded project of First 5 Solano and Solano County Health and Social Services (H&SS) Mental Health Division.  H&SS utilized Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) planning and implementation funds to partner with First 5 Solano on a comprehensive continuum of early mental/developmental health services for children aged 0-5. 

“First 5 Solano and Solano County H&SS Mental Health Division have become statewide leaders for young children’s mental and developmental health services with the successful implementation of PEAK,” said Debbee Gossell, First 5 Solano Children and Families Commission Chair.  “PEAK leverages the best quality services at the most efficient cost for the highest return on investment.” 

The project grew out of a year-long, countywide collaborative development of the “Solano Early Developmental Health Strategic Plan” in 2007, developed by partners across the spectrum of mental and developmental health services - pediatricians and hospitals, state early childhood developmental services, and parents, as well as non-profit, education, special education, mental health, child welfare and public health services providers. 

“We are excited that the PEAK program has received national recognition,” said Glenda Lingenfelter, interim Deputy Director of Health & Social Services, Mental Health Division. “The collaboration among the agencies that provide services for young children is a model for others in Solano and across the state.”

PEAK is partially funded by the Mental Health Services Act, which was passed in 2004 to provide additional funding for county mental health services, including dedicated funds for prevention and early intervention. A community planning process identified very young children as a population in need and, in 2009, Solano County Mental Health partnered with First 5 Solano to fund prevention and early intervention services for children ages 0-5.

PEAK features parent and provider education and support, outreach, early identification, screening, assessment and treatment.  PEAK partners are First 5 Solano and H&SS Mental Health Division, Children’s Nurturing Project, EMQ FamiliesFirst, Child Start Inc., Youth and Family Services, Solano Family and Children’s Services, North Bay Regional Center, Dixon Family Services, Solano County Office of Education/Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) and Child Haven.

Posted: Aug. 30, 2010

Cal-Maritime's Sailing Team Honored as Best in the Country

Cal-Maritime's Sailing Team Honored as Best in the Country

Cal-Maritime's Sailing Team
(L-R) Sailing Director Charlie Arms Cartee, President William Eisenhardt, Kyle Vanderspek, Tom Steele, Cole Davis, John Gray, Assembly Member Noreen Evans, Tom Bartee (my Solano County field representative), Thor Proulx, Matthew Van Rensselear, Sebastien Laleau, Evan Wanamaker, sailing team coach Jesse Cartee
On April 30, a joint legislative resolution was presented to the California Maritime Academy (Cal-Maritime) sailing team known as the "Keelhaulers," honoring them for winning the 2009 Kennedy Cup. The resolution was issued by me, along with my friend and colleague, Assemblywoman Noreen Evans.
The victory secured their place as the top collegiate sailors in the country. This accomplishment brings pride to the local community and state and recognizes the sailors, coaching staff and those associated with the team for their dedication, skill and effort.
Team members traveled to Annapolis, Md., where they competed against eight other teams, including the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and Cornell University. Other competitors were St. Mary's College of Maryland, the University of Rhode Island, the Maine Maritime Academy, the United States Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point and the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. The competition took place over three days and the Keelhaulers fought winds ranging from zero to over 20 knots to achieve five first place finishes in the nine-race series, earning sufficient points to win the famed Kennedy Cup.
As the Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association Big Boat National Champions, the Cal-Maritime sailing team earned the right to represent the U.S. this October at the 2010 Student Yachting World Cup Regatta in France.
Cal-Maritime is a unique and specialized campus of the California State University that offers students bachelor's degrees in international business and logistics; facilities engineering technology; global studies and maritime affairs; marine engineering technology; marine transportation; and mechanical engineering. Cal Maritime is one of only seven degree-granting maritime academies in the United States and the only one on the West Coast. For more information on Cal Maritime, click here.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Solano County has $151M in stimulus funding, but how much help will it be?

Solano County has $151M in funding, but how much help will it be?

By Melissa Murphy / The Reporter

Posted: 07/29/2010 01:01:54 AM PDT

Solano County has its hands on a significant chunk of change, reaching into multimillion-dollar range -- the federal government's answer to economic stimulus.

Since the enactment of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was passed in February last year, Solano County has received $151,276,711.

California received $41.7 billion during the same time frame, while the United States as a whole received more than $355.8 billion.

"There are years of work put into making sure we're able to compete for that money," said Solano County Supervisor Mike Reagan.

Solano County's total includes the amount cities were allotted in federal stimulus money. The money is divided between specific categories such as transportation, education, agriculture, health and human services, and veteran affairs.

As a whole, Solano County received $34.6 million for transportation alone.

The city of Vacaville received more than $4 million of that money for its transportation needs, which includes $2.2 million for 30 passenger transit buses to replace aging diesel fleet transit buses with new buses that run on compressed natural gas and another $115,330 in federal transit formula grants to purchase electronic fare boxes for fixed route bus fleet vehicles.

"In the tight economy, it's difficult to do any upgrade of anything," said Vacaville Mayor Len Augustine. "It's nice as you get the money, but if you think about it, it's only filling in where other money was taken away."

He said that Vacaville has benefited from the stimulus money is several areas, but looking at the big picture the state has taken away thousands of jobs, which haven't been created again with the stimulus promises.

"Sure they provide the money, but where is that money coming from?"
Augustine said.

The Solano County superintendent of schools department received more than
$11 million in stimulus money, including $8.5 million allocated by the state to provide special education and related services to children with disabilities.

Although Solano County, with a population of 407,515, has been able to snag millions of dollars from the government, surrounding counties are faring much better because of their size. Yolo received $219.6 million, Contra Costa received $342 million and Sacramento County received $17 billion.

Still, Reagan believes that the stimulus money only goes so far and doesn't do what the federal government wanted.

"It's not doing anything to stimulate the economy," he said, adding that the money borrowed from taxpayers doesn't have long-term solutions. "There is an underlying problem in that it does nothing to stimulate the economy of the private sector."

Reagan explained that the painful reality is that the stimulus money has been heavily used to keep things going and to postpone layoffs.

"But that's exactly what will happen when the money goes away," he said.
"Those cuts will still have to be made."

Travis Air Force Base receives funding for modernizing facilities

Published by The Reporter

Posted: 07/29/2010 01:01:50 AM PDT

Travis Air Force Base will receive $387,000 for the construction of new Base Civil Engineer maintenance and supply facilities under a resolution approved Wednesday by the House Armed Services Committee.

Congressman John Garamendi, D-Solano, a member of the committee, and Congressman George Miller, D-Solano, chair of the Democratic Policy Committee, announced the funding approval in a press release Wednesday. The funding comes following passage of H.R. 5822, the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.

The new Base Civil Engineer maintenance and supply facilities will allow 270 Travis Air Force Base personnel to accomplish their work in a more secure and efficient manner, the congressmen said. With leaky roofs, cracked foundations and degraded exteriors and parking surfaces, these facilities are presently not energy efficient and do not meet modern facility or seismic codes, they added.

"This is a great step forward for Travis employees. These funds will start the process of modernizing Travis' facilities to improve efficiency and safety while creating jobs," Miller said.

"Solano County's largest employer has too many buildings in need of modernization. This funding will put area residents back to work, reduce Travis' burden on the energy grid, and make sure our brave men and women in uniform have the facilities they need to do their jobs," Garamendi said.

Fairfield's Army Reserve Center also will receive $26 million for needed improvements and services for Army Reserve units.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Solano EDC's 21st Annual Golf Classic will be held on Monday, August 9, 2010 at Green Valley Country Club in Fairfield

Solano EDC's 21st Annual Golf Classic
will be held on
Monday, August 9, 2010 at
Green Valley Country Club in Fairfield

For more information contact:
Pat Uhrich

Fairfield Recovery Zone project first in state to win stimulus funding approval

Fairfield project first in state to win stimulus funding approval
Daily Republic staff
July 27th, 2010

A Fairfield project that will add more than 100 jobs to the community is the
first to navigate a complex state financing labyrinth in a program designed
to boost the economy.

The city announced today that it has closed its bond financing for the
Frank-Lin Distillers Products Ltd. construction project. The company is
building a blending and bottling facility on Huntington Drive that will
ultimately employ about 160 people.

Frank-Lin produces a variety of spirits and wines, which will be brought in
by rail car, then blended, bottled and shipped out by truck.

The company will relocate its headquarters to Fairfield from San Jose as
part of the project.

"Frank-Lin chose to locate in Fairfield because we have an abundant supply
of top-quality water and a state-of-the-art sewer system which are critical
to the manufacturing process," Curt Johnston, economic development division
manager for Fairfield, said in a prepared release. "The city's
transportation access, value-priced land and pre-approved business parks
with shovel-ready sites are additional factors that make the city an
attractive location."

The Fairfield City Council voted in March to back Frank-Lin's bid to land
low-interest financing made available by the federal government's economic
recovery programs.

The city worked through the California Enterprise Development Authority to
issue a $22 million tax-exempt Recovery Zone Facility Bond. Proceeds of this
bond were used to finance the construction of the $34 million,
288,000-square-foot building on 15 acres in the Tolenas Industrial Park,
according to the release.

The 23-acre parcel Frank-Lin purchased represents one of a few remaining
spots for large industrial projects left in the area, Johnston said in
March. The city owns 43 acres along Cordelia Road that is being made ready
for development and will be sold.

Frank-Lin was the first completed Recovery Zone Facility Bond project in
California to go through the state reallocation process, according to the

The Recovery Zone Facility Bonds are made available under the American
Recovery and Reinvestment Act, signed into law in February 2009 in response
to the economic crisis. Fairfield was allocated $1.4 million in Recovery
Zone Facility Bonds. The California Enterprise Development Authority applied
on behalf of Frank-Lin for an additional $20 million, which was awarded to
the business from the California Debt Limit Allocation Committee.

Additional tax-exempt bonds in the amount of approximately $2 million have
been issued through the Statewide Community Infrastructure Program to
finance impact fees and public improvements, according to the release.

"We believe our new Fairfield facility to be logistically ideal for our
operations," Vincent R. Maestri, president and CEO of Frank-Lin, said in the
release. "The geographic location provides immediate access to rail and
interstate transportation, close proximity to our major materials suppliers,
and a substantial skilled work force. In addition, we could not be more
pleased with the manner in which our project has been received by the city
of Fairfield."

Construction is scheduled to be complete by the end of September.

Ford, Mercedes dealerships coming to Fairfield

Ford, Mercedes dealerships coming to Fairfield


By Ian Thompson and Kathleen L'Ecluse | DAILY REPUBLIC | July 27, 2010 18:28

10/OldFordDealership1%20copy.jpgThe closed Ford dealership at Abernathy Road and Auto Mall Parkway. Photo by Mike Greener

FAIRFIELD - The Fairfield Ford dealership will reopen with new owners Oct. 1 and a new Mercedes dealership will open in June 2011, bringing up to 200 new jobs to Solano County, the co-owner of the new businesses said Tuesday. . .

Price Simms has already filed the paperwork to build a new Mercedes-Benz dealership in the Fairfield Auto Plaza. Work is set to start later this summer, with an opening date scheduled for June 2011. The dealership will initially hire about 50 people, although that's expected to grow to about 100.

The Ford dealership is slated to start hiring new workers Sept. 1 -- 100 in all -- and to open Oct. 1. For more information about jobs, visit

Simms is particularly gratified to be able to fill the service needs of current Ford owners who were 'orphaned' when the Fairfield Ford dealership closed two years ago.

The development is 'a reflection on the first-rate persistent work by city staff,' Fairfield Mayor Harry Price said.

'The Mercedes dealership has been a long time in coming,' he said.

'The immediate benefit is that new jobs will come to Fairfield,' Price said.
'It is a major economic boost that is much appreciated, and reflects the work and planning that the city has done.'

Reach Ian Thompson at Reach Kathleen L'Ecluse at

Monday, July 26, 2010

Sacramento ranks 47th for export production

Brookings: Sacramento ranks 47th for export production

Sacramento Business Journal - by Kelly Johnson Staff writer

The Sacramento metro area ranks 48th in export jobs and 47th in total exports in a study that compares the nation’s 100 largest metro areas for production of U.S. exports.
The four-county region ranked 94th for export share of gross metropolitan product, with 6.3 percent.
The findings come from a study by the Brookings Institution, which examined the location of production of U.S. exports, particularly the nation’s 100 largest metro areas, between 2003 and 2008. The report was released Monday.
Sacramento produces $6.3 billion worth of exports a year, the Brookings report said. Some 6.3 percent of what the region produces was exported in 2008, supporting 43,235 jobs, the study found. Sacramento’s recent export growth was about average, increasing by 8.6 percent.
The region’s largest export industry is computer and electronic product manufacturing, the study said.
Topping the list for the largest amount of exports produced in 2008 was the New York/northern New Jersey/Long Island region with $85.16 billion in exports. Next was Los Angeles/Long Beach/Santa Ana with $78.54 billion. San Francisco/Oakland/Fremont came in sixth with $30.9 billion. Silicon Valley was 11th, with $22.79 billion.
A Sacramento international trade consultant who has read the report said in an e-mail that he has “serious qualms about the methodology used in the Brookings study to apportion exports among the nation’s 100 largest metro areas.”
“In the case of the Sacramento-Arden Arcade-Roseville MSA, that methodology would tend to overstate the value of locally produced exports, likely by a significant margin,” said Jock O’Connell, international trade and economics adviser for Beacon Economics.
The study “provides a rather distorted map of the state’s economic geography,” he said.
“Brookings apportions exports based on where value is said to have been added. The problem is that considerable value can be added in a manufacturing process at locations remote from where actual manufacturing occurs,” he said.
“Intel’s facility in Folsom is a classic example,” O’Connell continued. “Although its mission is pre-eminently (research and development), it is defined for statistical collection purposes as a manufacturing establishment. Allocating a portion of the nation’s exports of computer and electronic products to the Sacramento area solely because Intel’s Folsom facility adds value to Intel’s operations is seriously misleading. From a goods movement perspective, Intel Folsom has the profile of a community college campus.”
“This situation is commonly replicated throughout California, where high value-adding R&D facilities are routinely situated in high-cost areas that are often some distance from the generally lower-cost areas where goods are typically produced,” he said.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Sen. Wolk seems to go rogue

Sen. Wolk seems to go rogue

| | July 17, 2010 22:41

At a recent Solano Economic Development Corp. monthly breakfast state Sen.
Lois Wolk was the featured speaker and her topic was the Delta water package and companion state water bond. She brought with her some good news.

Polls show the $11.1 billion water bond headed for a crushing defeat in November. This is why its legislative sponsors are scrambling to remove it from the ballot. Wolk prefers the voters send it to a watery grave and defeat it this November.

That was her official message. However, the story behind the news is one of a liberal state senator going rogue.

Several months ago, after battling her own party leadership as chairwoman of the Delta water committee, she was removed. The committee was assigned the task of finding a way to divert more Delta water to a thirsty Southern California.

In her absence, the committee, under new leadership, committed two egregious blunders. First, they loaded the bond with pork projects to buy votes and second, they decided to use a general obligation bond, further crippling our state economy, instead of a revenue bond, which would be repaid by only those benefiting from the project.

As Wolk chronicled the many fatal flaws, I sensed I was listening to a new voice. It had the appeal of a common sense conservative railing against government waste and pork barrel politicking. It was refreshing.

Although the breakfast was billed as a discussion on the Delta water package and bond measure, the audience was just as interested in the senator's take on solving the state's chronic budget deficit. And when the topic changed from water to the deficit, my 'moment of joy,' hearing a liberal legislator sounding conservative, began to evaporate.

When an audience member asked, what is the solution to our budget problem, Wolk's reply was the all-too-familiar mantra coming out of Sacramento, 'cut spending and raise taxes.' (She actually said enhance revenues, but I knew she meant raise taxes.)

In the spirit of encouraging another road less traveled by the senator and for her to embrace her rogue spirit again, I suggest she embrace the following solutions.

First, cut government spending now and in the future. The truth is, the financial burden of an ever-expanding entitlement society isn't sustainable.
Europe has given us a recent look into the future and it's the full retreat of socialist policies under suffocating debt. The cradle-to-grave government model only works in fairy tales.

Second, instead of raising taxes, put a moratorium on tax increases until you can find a way to reduce them. Pass legislation to give business a reason to invest and stay in California. Unchain the private economy and it will stimulate a tidal wave of job creation.

Reducing unemployment and adding 1 million jobs would do more to balance the state budget than punishing what's left of our productive society with tax increases. The concept of our elected representatives taking more of our money to pay for an ever-growing entitlement class will suffocate any recovery. And it's political suicide.

Go rogue, senator. You wear it well.

Kevin English


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

California: A solar boom in the bust

California: A solar boom in the bust
July 12, 2010 by Todd Woody

I wrote this post for Grist, where it first appeared.

As the Great Recession drags on in California — unemployment rate: 12.4 percent, state government in a state of collapse — the solar boom continues.

The Golden State’s decade-long program to install 3,000 megawatts of photovoltaic arrays on residential and commercial rooftops kicked off in 2007, not too long before the global economic collapse began.

Only three years in, the program — known as the California Solar Initiative — has achieved 42 percent of its 1,750 megawatt target in markets served by the state’s three, big investor-owned utilities, according to a report released Friday by the California Public Utilities Commission. Completed projects account for 20 percent of that 42 percent figure, while another 22 percent are pending installations. (In 2009, the solar program eliminated 180,136 tons of carbon, the equivalent of taking 31,000 cars off the road.)

Demand for solar is accelerating even as the housing market remains in the doldrums. Applications for the solar rebate program hit a high of 134 megawatts in April, and in the first six months of 2010 a total of nearly 300 megawatts’ worth of projects were received.

“The monthly demand for new applications has been well over 1,000 applications per month for the past year,” the report stated.

And Californians’ appetite for solar has grown even as the rebate for new photovoltaic systems has declined, as it is designed to do over the life of the program.

State and federal tax incentives have cut the cost of a solar array roughly in half. And last year’s global glut of photovoltaic modules and the influx of Chinese solar companies into the U.S. market has led to drops in the price of solar panels. (Installation costs still account for about half the price of a solar array.) Overall, the cost of solar systems smaller than 10 kilowatts has dropped by 15 percent between 2007 and 2010 while the price of bigger arrays has fallen 10 percent, according to a report released Friday by the California Public Utilities Commission. (In general, a 10-kilowatt solar array could power a large home or commercial building.)

But one of the biggest factors persuading Californians to go solar appears to be the increasing availability of solar leases. These financial arrangements allow homeowners to have a system installed at little or no upfront cost in exchange for a monthly fee.

Companies such as SolarCity, Sungevity, and SunRun offer solar leases and retain ownership of the rooftop arrays. In 2009, such ownership of solar systems enrolled in the state program jumped 155 percent. Forty percent of the megawatts now generated through the program are owned by leasing companies or other third parties.

Fueling that trend has been the hundreds of millions of dollars that financial giants such as U.S. Bancorp have poured into solar financing funds for SolarCity, Sungevity, and SunRun. So far this year, PG&E Corporation, the parent company of California utility PG&E, has created funds totaling $160 million to finance solar leases for SolarCity and SunRun customers.

County voucher program helps people in need, infuses $2 million into local economy

County voucher program helps people in need, infuses $2 million into local economy

Solano County is looking for several local businesses interested in participating in a voucher program to help low-income families buy $2 million in groceries and back-to-school supplies.

The participating businesses must be located in Solano County and offer a 20% discount on the eligible purchases, which will count as a local match to draw down the Federal stimulus dollars.

“This program helps local families in need while infusing much needed dollars into the local economy,” said Christiana Smith, Solano County Health and Social Services deputy director for Employment and Eligibility Services.

During July and August, Employment and Eligibility Services expects to partner with local businesses to provide an estimated 4,500 families $200 in vouchers to purchase emergency food through the Food Stamp and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. An estimated 5,550 school-age children will receive $200 per child in vouchers for school clothing and supplies.

Vendors can apply to participate in one or both of the voucher opportunities made available under the Federal 2010 Non-Recurrent Short-Term Benefits Voucher Program. All vouchers must be redeemed by Aug. 15, 2010, and invoices submitted by Sept. 1, 2010.

Interested vendors should go to and select Bids&RFPs for additional details and requirements. The completed agreement form should be returned by July 19 to Solano County H&SS Contracts Bureau, 275 Beck Ave. MS 5-220, Fairfield, CA 94533.

For more information about the program, contact Jessica Manibusan at (707) 784-8530.

Posted: July 1, 2010

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Wolk: Water bond needs to be defeated, now

By Barry Eberling | DAILY REPUBLIC | June 30, 2010 14:42

ta_water%20copy.jpgA UC Davis researcher fishes for large-mouth bass as part
of a study in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta last year. The delta was the
main topic at the Solano Economic Development Corp. breakfast Wednesday
morning. Photo by Mike Greener

FAIRFIELD - State Sen. Lois Wolk wants the $11 billion state water bond
measure to remain on the November ballot, but only because she believes it
will be defeated.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and leaders in the Legislature are talking of
removing the bond from the ballot until 2012. Wolk sees this as a sign the
bond is in trouble.

'I want to vote on that bond in November because I know it will be defeated
and I want to put an end to it,' Wolk, D-Davis, said Wednesday.

Wolk spoke about Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta issues at the Solano Economic
Development Corp. breakfast at the Hilton Garden Inn.

The Delta includes Solano County near Rio Vista. It provides water to 25
million Californians, contains farmland and valuable habitat and has small
communities. The state is looking for ways to keep the water flowing to
distant cities while at the same time improving an ecosystem that faces many
challenges. The water bill is billed by supporters as part of the solution.

Wolk said the water bond grew from $8 billion to $11 billion within a few
hours in the early morning hours when it was put together. Unlike good wine,
the pork included in the bond measure wouldn't age well if the measure is
delayed until 2012, she said.

Plus, the bond would add to the state's debt, she said. The debt service is
approaching 10 percent of the state's budget and that's money that has first
call on the general fund ahead of education, transportation, health and
social services and other state services, she said.

'We have enough debt in California,' Wolk said. 'It's unconscionable. We
can't afford it.'

The bond doesn't get to the heart of the Delta's problems, Wolk said. The
state is asking the Delta to do too many things, she said.

'To save the Delta, Southern California and the Bay Area need to reduce
their reliance on the Delta,' Wolk said. 'Reducing reliance on the Delta is
the key -- not more water coming out of the Delta, but less.'

California needs to look more at such water sources as recycling,
desalinization and cleaning up the millions of acre-feet of polluted
groundwater in Southern California, Wolk said.

During a question-and-answer period, Solano County Supervisor Mike Reagan
asked when the state will pass a budget.

Wolk said talk of closing the $20 billion gap centers on cuts, more revenue
and borrowing. But Wolk said that revenue increases are unlikely to happen
during an election year, that there will be cuts but not enough and that she
is among those who opposes borrowing.

'I don't see the architecture for doing any of that right now,' Wolk said.

The pressure for the state do something about the budget will come when
money is running out, Wolk said. That won't happen until August, she said.

She would like to see such reforms as having performance measures tied to
spending. Every program needs to be justified, Wolk said. She would address
the budget shortfall through a balance of revenues and cuts, she said.

Reach Barry Eberling at 425-4646, ext. 232, or