BY KIM BELLARD
When I first read the reports about some Silicon Valley billionaires wanting to start a new city, I figured, oh, it’s just a bunch of rich white guys wanting to take their toys and go to a new, better home. After all, they’ve seen what’s been happening to downtown San Francisco (or Portland, or Chicago – pick your preferred city).
Cities these days may be an what one expert calls an “urban doom loop” – struggling to recover after having been hollowed out by the pandemic. These so-called elites probably figured it’s easier to build something new rather than to try to fix what already exists. And, you know, they may be right.
Now that I think about it, the same may be true of our healthcare system.
The group, fronted by a mysterious entity called Flannery Associates, has been busy buying up land outside San Francisco for the past five years, spending a reported $1b for some 57,000 acres in Solano County. The proximity of its purchases to Travis Air Force Base had already raised concerns. Believed to be behind the group are a number of well known tech names, including LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman; former Sequoia Capital partner Michael Moritz; venture capitalists Marc Andreessen and Chris Dixon; Stripe co-founders Patrick Collison and John Collison; Laurene Powell Jobs, Steve Jobs widow.
It doesn’t help that earlier this year Flannery sued dozens of local landowners for colluding to drive up prices, or that they’ve been so secretive. John Garamendi, one of the area’s Congressmen, said: “Flannery Associates has developed a very bad reputation in Solano County through their total secrecy and mistreatment of generational family farmers.”Continue reading…