Mayor's Message

January 8, 2021

Thank you Vallejo, for selecting me as your new Mayor. This first message to my community is the first of many to come!

All Council members are aware of the problems our community faces, the needs of our fellow residents and businesses, the financial limitations of our City, and the lack of staff we currently have. What the Council needs now are new solutions that will work for our community. These solutions must be achievable; otherwise, they are just dreams and desires, not obtainable goals. Together, Council and the Vallejo community can measure our successes over time with the accomplishment of milestones.

To enable your Council to do the work needed, the Council needs to be fresh when the action calendar is presented. As Mayor, I will ask the public and the Council to address issues, but not personalities. Otherwise, as a City we run the risk of duplicating what recently occurred in our nation's capital. We need to be better than that. We ARE better than that.

The Council's annual goal-setting time is approaching. It has been suggested that we consider a different format for that session. The format that has been suggested is to include the community by having each Council member appoint four to five members of the public who would actively participate in creating feasible goals with Council. It only makes sense that the candidates selected would be a fair cross-section of our uniquely diverse community, allowing all voices to be heard. The final selection of candidates would still be up to the Council.

For now, I ask that you consider that approach and other ideas that will create a more inclusive process for our community members when it comes to Council's goal-setting session. Myself and your other City Council members would appreciate your thoughts on this new suggestion. You can email me directly with those suggestions at

As Will Rogers, America's cowboy philosopher, observed, "Show me a man or woman who cannot change his or her mind, and I will show you a person who can never change the world.".

How about it Vallejoans? Are we ready to change our City for the better? Let's do this, together!

Your Mayor, Robert McConnell

Archived Messages

Mayor's Message - December 17, 2020

Dear Vallejo,

I hope this week you feel rested and rejuvenated after the Thanksgiving holiday. While this holiday was very different from years past, I am thankful that Ramona and I found a special way to share some old traditions with our family. We cooked a turkey, and I made some of my famous gravy that has been a long-time favorite of my children. We packaged up servings for each of their families and left care packages on our porch for them. Even though we were unable to spend the day together physically, it was still a joy to share this new and unique moment with our family.

Today it's important that I acknowledge World AIDS Day. December 1 is World AIDS Day, adopted in recognition and support of people living with HIV and honoring those who have lost their lives. The theme of this year's observance is “Ending the HIV/AIDS Epidemic: Resilience and Impact”. It's hard to believe that the first documented case of HIV was nearly 40 years ago, and while modern medical science has made tremendous accomplishments in helping people to live with the disease, medical doctors, scientists, researchers, and advocates are still fighting the good fight to find a cure. Today I was delighted to see a group in front of City Hall recognizing this very special day. I want to thank Mario Saucedo, his partner Calvin Ellington D’Ville as well as the members of the Solano Aids Coalition for their dedicated effort in acknowledging World Aids Day for the past 18 years and continuing their educational programs. I hope you enjoy some of the photos we captured of this wonderful show of support and love.

Although the event was contained and small due to Covid19, the message was well said. Speakers also commented about our current pandemic. I know I speak about it all the time but the concerns are real. Infections, hospitalizations and sadly deaths have increased dramatically in Solano County with Vallejo having the greatest numbers of infection. We may see a total shutdown of our way of life if the virus continues its spread.

I am also concerned about the flu season. Coupled with Covid 19, we may experience a difficult winter.

I ask that all of us do the right thing, wear the mask, socially distance, wash frequently and stay indoors if possible. Together we can beat this. 

Until next week, Vallejo,

Your Mayor, Bob Sampayan

Mayor's Message - November 23, 2020

Hello Vallejo,

This week, I have been asked quite a few times about the status of the Nimitz Group and Southern Lands Company (SLC) regarding development on Mare Island. In this week's message, I would like to take a moment to dispel some rumors circulating in our community.

First and foremost, both Nimitz and SLC are working together. Nimitz is the primary owner of Mare Island and has hired SLC as the master developer. SLC is a separate entity, and they are not a partner of the Nimitz Group. SLC manages the project and is actively manning and running the development.

Southern Land Company has opened a regional office on Mare Island, which allows the company to hire the talent needed to expand its operations. With the immediate focus of staffing the Mare Island redevelopment team, the company launched its West Coast hiring efforts with the appointment of Thomas D'Alesandro as President of West Coast operations.

D'Alesandro specializes in the visioning, planning, development, and marketing of large-scale master-planned communities in urban and suburban areas. He will manage all development efforts for Mare Island. Since he arrived in April of this year, he has been involved in an in-depth analysis of the "what and how" needed for Mare Island to be successful. D'Alesandro will report back to the City and our community once the analysis is complete. We expect that much of his research on attracting new businesses to Mare Island will be relevant and valuable to all of Vallejo.

Another question that has come up has been the status of North Mare Island. Geotechnical studies show challenges with the soil in that part of the Island. In its present condition, it is not suitable for development just yet. Efforts are currently underway to address these challenges. Such efforts could take as much as several years to accomplish.

I've also been asked about Dave Phinney's status with Nimitz Group. Dave is one of three partners with the Nimitz Group and is the visionary for the group. He and his partners, Sebastian Lane, and Gaylon Lawrence, Jr., are active in the day to day operations. Dave and his partners closely follow the progress of the new team and regularly provide support, insights, and advice. Additionally, Dave's vast network of connections has brought Mare Island to the attention of several exciting prospective tenants.

Southern Land is currently researching and negotiating with retail, lodging, housing, and recreational ventures planned to be strategically placed on the Island. Plan details will be announced this coming year as the Southern Land team is still in the vetting and negotiation phase with the different entities.

Please remember that these types of projects do not happen overnight. Each project must be carefully analyzed for its potential not only for the company but, more importantly, for the Vallejo community. I am hopeful that some of them will come to fruition very soon, but we have to be patient. Buildout and completion of such a large development program, which is composed of hundreds of individual projects, can take as long as 20 years. It must be done correctly to be successful.

Recently, a post on social media cited what they believed to be the failing of both Southern Land Company and the Nimitz Group. Nimitz Group reviewed the post and an additional email provided by the same poster. The Nimitz Group responded to the social media post and email by issuing a letter on November 10, 2020. The letter stated, "We want to assure you that all the claims made by” the poster “about The Nimitz Group in their statements made on November 8 are false and without merit".

Lastly, in speaking with SLC and Nimitz, it was agreed that there needs to be more communication with our residents. That said, Mr. D'Alesandro has decided and is committed to building an interactive webpage for the community that will highlight the latest news about what is being planned for Mare Island. It will also include a calendar showing records and documents associated with past events and a schedule of upcoming events, along with previews of individual projects as they advance in planning and design. Tom and his senior leadership team will be posting new information at least once a month. They will also hold regularly scheduled meetings in the community with residents, businesses, and other stakeholders.

A lot is going on on the Island. All of the businesses on the Island are in full swing. Employment is surging, and many of the businesses are expanding as I write this! This is an exciting time for Mare Island and our community. I'm proud of the Nimitz Group, Southern Land Company, City staff, City Manager Greg Nyhoff, and the economic development team for their many accomplishments. Together, there is a brighter future ahead.

Your Mayor,
Bob Sampayan

Mayor's Message - November 9, 2020

Hello Vallejo,
This has been quite an interesting year with so many changes, but unfortunately, one thing that hasn't changed is the existence of Covid-19 in our world. From the lives it has claimed to the blows to our local economies, none of it has been easy. As we head into winter, I want to remind everyone that we need to do our part to keep ourselves and our loved ones healthy, especially as we head into the holidays where families tend to gather together. Holidays this year are going to look very different from what they have in the past; we are going to have to do things slightly modified from years prior. In my next letter to the community, I will share some creative and safe ways that I will celebrate the holidays with my own family. Hopefully, this will spark some creativity in you being able to find ways to be apart safely but still be together during this special time of year.
Covid-19 is a tricky disease. We still don't know everything about Covid-19, but we know a bit about protecting ourselves from infectious diseases. The CDC is still recommending the people practice the following habits:
When possible, avoid large gatherings. In Solano County, many of our cases have been correlated to gatherings where many people in attendance did not live in the same household.
Wash your hands regularly. We should be doing this anyway, but it's a simple step in protecting yourselves against the spread of disease. 20-seconds of hand-scrubbing under warm water with soap should do the trick!
Wear a mask. I know many people are over wearing masks. I see maskless folks all over town now, but that doesn't mean the virus is gone. We must continue to do our part in protecting others by wearing that mask.
Lastly, it's important that you get your flu shot. Solano County had its first case of a co-infection of the flu and Coronavirus last month. Having the flu or any other illness weakens our immune system and puts us at a greater risk for contracting other diseases, even the Coronavirus. Whether you have health insurance or not, there are options out there for you to get the flu shot at low- or no-cost clinics. You can find that information here -
I am worried that if we continue on this upwards trend of more and more cases, we may see restrictions put back into place, so let's work together to make sure that doesn't happen.
Until next week, Vallejo, Your Mayor, Bob Sampayan

Mayor's Message - November 4, 2020

Hello Vallejo,
I hope all of you are doing well and are practicing the guidelines for staying safe during the pandemic. I can’t emphasize how important it is for us to stay vigilant so we don’t get moved back into the State’s more restrictive “purple” status again.
I’d like to share with you my thoughts regarding the Councils’ approval of the Police Auditor and Police Commission for the Vallejo Police Department.
These approvals are the first steps in the reform our community has been demanding and deserves. I have made it abundantly clear that the Auditor will answer directly to the Mayor and the City Council as well as the City Manager, and that there will be a collaboration between them. It is of the utmost importance that the Auditor has complete independence to analyze and recommend changes needed to bring VPD into 21st century policing.
The focus of the Police Commission is to work with the community and auditor to listen to complaints and concerns from our residents. This commission will be composed of a diverse group of Vallejo residents. The number of commissioners is yet to be determined.
The goal of bringing about effective change will be realized by opening a meaningful and honest dialog between the community and the City. The City Manager, Police Chief, Council and I are committed to this change, a change for the betterment of VPD, but most importantly, a change that will benefit our community; One that will set the City and the VPD on a path to regain the trust that has been lost in our community.
Lastly, national, state and local elections are done for 2020. Now, we have to be patient and wait for the official results to come out. Regardless of how the vote returns, it’s the will of the people that make up our democracy. I ask that we respect the vote.

Your Mayor, Bob Sampayan

Mayor's Message - October 26, 2020

Hello Vallejo,

I am thrilled to share some more great news with you this week about something exciting happening in Vallejo!

Even amid a pandemic, business is booming on Mare Island! Yesterday I had the opportunity to visit the Mare Island Dry Dock and take a tour with MIDD's Executive Vice President, Christina Snyder. The Dry Dock is currently home to five ships, but before I get to the ships' details, let's discuss why this is amazing for Vallejo. MIDD is currently employing 198 employees, and of those 198, 118 are Vallejo residents! When local economies have dipped due to the pandemic, Vallejo shows signs of a resurgence to a more robust economy.

Now for the ships' details! The USS Emory S. Land came to the Dry Docks earlier this summer and will be at the MIDD through January 2021. The ship is being completely repainted and has some electrical and mechanical work to be done while visiting the island. The entire project is worth $45 Million.

In addition to the USS Emory S. Land, MIDD is also hosting an oiler vessel, a research ship, a Catamaran, and a Coast Guard Ice Breaker ship. While all the ships are visiting MIDD to have some electrical and mechanical work done, the Coast Guard Ice Breaker is having the entire engine replaced. To complete this engine replacement, crews have to cut through three of the ship's decks to access the engine and lift it out of the boat. This is no small job!

In the next six to eight months, two more ships are expected to arrive at the MIDD. As of today, MIDD has received 14 ships since COVID-19 began, and thankfully there is no end in sight to this type of work coming to Vallejo.

Lastly, I would be remiss not to mention that Factory OS on the island has also seen a steady incline in their production. This is all a great sign for Vallejo's future!

Until next week, Vallejo,
Your Mayor, Bob Sampayan

Mayor's Message - October 19, 2020

Dear Vallejoans,
Have you been on Highway 37 recently and noticed that something was different as you drive by the wetlands? If you have, you know where I am going with this week's message!
 Earlier this week, our team of homeless outreach and engagement professionals teamed up with Vallejo Together, Public Works staff and others to begin the clean-up of the homeless encampment on the wetlands off of Highway 37 at the Wilson and Sacramento exit. During the clean-up, several tons of refuse was collected and disposed of from the site. I am also pleased to report that the homeless residents living in the wetlands played a massive part in helping our team to clean-up this site.
Residents at the encampment were also notified that notices would be posted in early November, advising them when they need to vacate the property, so the wetlands' planned restoration can begin. Our Homeless Services CORE team will work closely with each resident to relocate them into transitional housing and make sure that they are connected with the services many of them desperately need. The move-out is planned to take place over the course of three days in November. Residents wishing to remain outdoors will be offered a safe place to camp, and the site is still to be determined.
In addition to the planned Navigation Center, the City is also planning to purchase a property to operate as transitional housing for our homeless residents. The City will use Project Home Key funds awarded by the state to acquire those properties, opening up approximately 104 rooms to house our homeless.
The County Consortium, along with Vallejo Together and City of Vallejo Staff, meet weekly, collaborating on a strategic plan to make our residents' move and shift into transitional housing as seamless as possible.
At next Tuesday's City Council Meeting, we will be discussing some of these items pertaining to the transitional housing and I invite you to listen in. You can find the City Council meeting information at
It will be a wonderful sight to have our wetlands restored to their natural beauty as well as see our residents move into housing where their needs can be met. It's a win-win for everyone!
Until next week, Vallejo, You Mayor, Bob Sampayan