Sustainable Solano Update

On April 21 a group of us met with representatives from Sustainable Solano to continue talks for the refurbishment of the Johnson Garden. We spoke of some changes to make in the garden in order to have more food growth, and to bring in pollinators to help the environment. This includes a new irrigation drip system, planting 2-3 more fruit trees, and vine growing fruit & veggies that can fill the fence line. The next steps will include a design made by the professional landscaper on the SS staff. Once we have approved the design he will get to work.

Part of this project originally had our congregation and the community volunteering to install the new plants. Unfortunately during this time of crisis, that is no longer an option. So the SS landscaper will be performing the work. Down the line, maybe in a few months, there will be opportunities for us to help and to get the community involved as well. For now, we will try to document all of the happenings as best as we can in order to keep our community involved.

We will keep you posted as we get more information!

Common Ground Update

In reaction to the crisis we are all in, on Thursday April 23rd, Common Ground held a Countywide Conversation Zoom conference. With over 50 participants, we heard stories - stories that impact our families, our friends, and our communities. There were several people on the line from across the county who have not attended a Common Ground meeting before. From the League of Women Voters to Solano Volunteers, it ran the full spectrum of organizations. We hope that out of this we will find more allies and people to work with us on the ground working with and/or connecting services and resources in our city & county. So far we’ve got a Food Distribution Team, a Renter Issues Team, and a Spanish-Speaking Team. And we’re working on getting a COAD (Communities Organizing Action in Disasters) for Solano County up and running.

We also discussed Support for Solano County Emergency Renter Protection Ordinance. The ordinance has 3 main objectives: no late fees for missed rent payments, a 12 month grace period for renters to pay back what they owe, and a hotline for tenants and landlords who have questions regarding all the changes. On Tuesday April 28 the County will be voting and we ask that you call and/or email your County Supervisors and ask them to vote YES on the Ordinance.

Worship Planning Retreat

On Saturday, May 9, from 10:00-12:00, we will have our next Worship Planning Retreat, which will be an opportunity for anyone—and everyone—to come together to help envision and chart a course for our worship services over the next 3 months. We will read scripture together and brainstorm themes, songs, poems, prayers, and ways we might structure our worship time. Everyone is welcome! So, bring yourselves and any ideas you have. We will share a refreshing and life-giving time together, while doing the work of the church. We look forward to seeing you there!

Common Ground - How We Respond

In an excerpt from the book “How To Be A Stoic” - a Vietnam war survivor, James Stockdale, organized his fellow prisoners inside a prison camp after being captured, creating and enforcing a code of conduct to regulate their behavior. He had this to say in an interview about who did not make it out of the camp:

“Oh, that's easy, the optimists. Oh, they were the ones that said, 'We're going to be out by Christmas.' and Christmas would come, and Christmas would go. Then they'd say, 'We're going to be out by Easter.' and Easter would come, and Easter would go. And then Thanksgiving, and then it would be Christmas again.  And they dies of a broken heart.... This is a very important lesson.  You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end – which you can never afford to lose – with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”

Common Ground, along with the rest of the world is trying to figure out how to respond to the crisis at hand. What can we do to help in the moment and in the months after this crisis is over?  We could just rest on optimism and trust that the powers that be will do their work, and that the crisis will in fact be over on Easter... Or we can be realistic and realize that not only will this crisis continue, the repercussions will be disastrous without protections for the common good.

So what is Common Ground doing right now:

There are any not significant new protections for renters due to COVID-19. The Federal government has only prohibited eviction in a very small set of circumstances; after the federal government purchases a home at a foreclosure auction. The Governor's initial March 4th emergency declaration prohibits property owners from increasing rent over 10% what was charged before March 4. The Governor's March 17 order did not prohibit evictions; it merely allowed local jurisdictions to pass their own ordinances that would only stop landlords from evicting tenants whose income has been directly reduced by COVID-19. So far, Vallejo, Benicia, and Suisun City have enacted such ordinances. Other jurisdictions have prohibited evictions for any cause during the current outbreak. Please encourage tenants who have been laid off or had their hours reduced to apply for unemployment insurance immediately. Common Ground will be working with the city to expand the time limits/provisions for eviction moratoriums and discussing enhancing tenant protections, including no late payment fees, allowing renters to break their lease, and allowing late payments to not ding the tenants’ records.

We are also working with both the North Bay Regional and the Napa County Community Organizations Active in Disasters (COAD) – to form a COAD for Solano County. We will be collecting resources and info of who can help in areas that are critical in times of disaster. The COAD will be formed with representatives from each area, i.e. healthcare, construction, housing, utilities, animal care, communications, volunteers, etc. Napa County ( has a great COAD that we are speaking with to get the process started here.

Now is the time to organize and confront these items head on, the consequences of not doing so are unthinkable.