California Forever Accused of Dishonest Tactics in Signature Gathering Campaign

The billionaire backers behind the California Forever Project continue to make waves in Solano County. After a rocky start, the group has been trying to woo residents with economic incentives. But as the latest controversy shows, it’s easier to make foes than friends.

The latest allegation is that signature gatherers for the project’s ballot initiative have been lying to members of the public in order to get them to sign. Some of those residents spoke to the Daily Beast about their experiences. One woman said she was told the petition was for “better roads” and had nothing to do with California Forever. When that resident posted about her experience on Facebook, she was met with a flood of comments from residents who had been through something similar.

Another resident who spoke to the Beast said signature gatherers told her the petition in favor of the ballot measure was an effort to stop the California Forever project. Other residents said the petition was sold as a way to stop “smash-and-grab robberies” in the county.

The project’s backers want to rezone 17,500 acres of agricultural land into a residential area that could hold up to 160,000 residential units. In order to do that, they’ll need the green light from voters. To get a measure on the ballot, they need 13,062 valid signatures.

For now, the reports of dishonest petition gathering are anecdotal. Neither the Secretary of State nor the Solano County Registrar of Voters have received formal complaints. Regardless, the allegations are leaving a sour taste in the mouths of voters, who will get the final say.