We coulda been contenders…

Every time I think the Solano County Board of Supervisors has finally stepped out of the primordial ooze of the Suisun Marsh and somehow managed to slog into the 21st century, they stagger back into a collective lethargy and turn a win-win situation into flat beer.

Take last month for example. Supervisors rolled out of their hammocks at the old county dormitory bright and early one morning, trotted over to the county courthouse and decided that it was time for S’lano County to have a public relations officer to, er, relate to the public. They needed an answer man, a hard-charging character who knew the score and wouldn’t pull punches about one of the most misunderstood counties on the West Coast.

They needed a guy – or gal – who could effortlessly pronounce “Suisun” and “Budweiser.”

But then they got all fuzzy-headed and decided to table the idea until at least June when they’d be able to review their 2002 budget.

Yeah, that’s taking the bull by the horns…

This quaint, rural beer-brewing county has been crying for a good public relations manager for decades, but the county’s droopy-eyed leaders have repeatedly failed to grasp the importance of putting S’lano (pronounced “S’lah-nah”) County in the spotlight.

C’mon – wake up and smell the slough. The time has come to let the rest of California know that we’re here and we’re more than a rest stop on the way to Red Bluff.

One need only listen to Bay Area broadcast outlets to realize just how poorly this county is understood by the rest of the region. Traffic reporters frequently confuse the city of Dixon with far away Dixon Landing. If something of interest occurs in Vacaville, you can bet at least one San Francisco radio or TV ace will identify the location as Victorville.

As for Vacaville itself, it’s not really perceived as being within Solano County. Outsiders see it as an entity unto itself that lives on only in fond memories – you know, the place where the Nut Tree used to be. The place Charlie Manson used to live. The place where the Wooz was…

Vallejo, on the other hand, is that hard-to-find community kind of north of Richmond where they used to have submarines and dolphins. Nobody really knows why…

One good public relations officer could have turned all that around. People would know that Solano County isn’t spelled “S-o-n-o-m-a.” They’d marvel at our sugar beet production, line up to visit the Nut Tree Airport manager’s high tech command post and buy Budweiser ball caps from the Anheuser-Busch brewery in Fairfield.

With a little discretionary cash, the county’s public relations office could manufacture and distribute tasteful “S’lano County – Loud & Proud!” lapel pins, publish county movie maps revealing where such Hollywood hits as “Howard the Duck” and “Witchboard” were filmed and generally show visitors where to have a good time without wrecking their cars.

Alas, we could have been contenders. We could have been bigger and brighter than Modoc County. We could have had much, much more – but somebody fell asleep.

Don’t let it happen again. When June rolls around, remind the S’lano County Board of Supervisors that we needed a public relations office yesterday. Call, write or bang a couple of garbage can lids together until they get the message. You’ll be glad you did…

Originally published April 8, 2001


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