VMT dropped their appeal of the Planning Commission permit denial on May 24, 2019, and Orcem has publicly said goodbye.
David won – Goliath is dead.
The ‘why’ we won is a serious tale for any city threatened by a pollution-creating industry in residential areas – but the first and strongest reason we won was that people stood up and said “No! Cement mills don’t belong on the waterfront yards away from schools, homes, and businesses.”
You offered your support early in this process and that support created, along with 60+ organizations and hundreds of local citizens, a wall of strength in numbers and gifts of talent, time, and money. The expertise Fresh Air Vallejo volunteers supplied to this fight in PR and Media, on Environmental Justice, CEQA, accurate air-flow models, and the proof that the lease for the land itself did not have a clear title provided concerned citizens and the city the undeniable foundation to win a victory.
Highlights from this fight were the ‘No vote’ from the planning commission in March 2017, the letter of opposition from the Vallejo Chamber of Commerce, early Sierra Club support, the volunteer-developed Times Herald ads and billboard showing huge public support for ‘NO Cement’, the state commission landmark designation of Sperry Mill and the 52-page letter outlining the areas of the VMT/Orcem’s FDEIR that ‘defied logic’ from the CA Attorney General in November 2018.
Goliath had a big purse and brought their ‘A’ game. This fight was life-and-death with all the pain that brings. The shadow government was exposed. Friends gave up and moved out of Vallejo. Hardships were daily dealings. The mayor speaks of the toll this has taken on Vallejo.
Battles like this are costly.
Neighbors won this. Volunteers who gave what they could when they could won this. Tireless, determined, unpaid leaders who traded in most of their personal time to work on FAV’s mission won this. Courageous organizations won this. You won this.
Vallejo’s waterfront and southern neighborhoods now have a hopeful future because the 65-year cement lease has been turned away.
Now is the time to celebrate a healthy future! As we celebrate, we are also planning our next work, which is to confirm the zoning will conform to the new general plan (no heavy industry on the waterfront) and to establish an Environmental Justice Policy in Vallejo to guide all future planning decisions. That way, Goliath is stopped at the gate.
Together we can be truly proud of the healthy legacy we are building for future generations! Fresh Air Vallejo is ALL of us. It’s time for the next stage to solidify our vision of a beautiful waterfront city. Want to help? Let us know!
Fresh Air Vallejo