Responsible, sustainable & smart development - not just warehouses
If elected, one of my priorities will be to champion Responsible, Smart, and Sustainable Development. This means looking at proposed building projects from all angles to determine the real impact that it will have on surrounding communities, and the city as a whole, not just now but long-term. How will these projects affect the area 5, 10, even 20 years from now? It is time for more Fontana Council Members to play an increasingly more active role. To help achieve this, I will take the feedback that I have heard from the community and apply it when voting on re-zoning decisions within the city, or approving projects and policy. Over the last decade, we’ve seen an abundance of warehouses encroaching on our schools and homes in District 4 and there are plans to build more. It will be my job to advocate on behalf of the people that live in my district as those votes come up to ensure that everything is done with their best interests at heart. The city is currently in the process of updating our General Plan, which was last voted on in October of 2003. This sets Fontana’s physical development blueprint for the next 10-20 years, so I will be paying close attention to this particular policy which will be up for a vote shortly after this election.
Economic development: increase opportunities for good paying jobs and small-business support
The General Plan segues into another priority of mine: Economic Development. The goal is to increase opportunities for good-paying jobs and support small business creation. When we look at the city, and in particular my District, we lack spaces for professional jobs. We have little to no office buildings, and seem to only be catering to larger scale companies. Small businesses are what fuel our middle class, and to shut them out of parts of our city is absurd. I plan to work closely with the City Manager, fellow Council members, Chamber of Commerce and our Planning Commission to see that small businesses have the opportunity to thrive throughout the city. This includes looking at the way we’ve planned commercial zoning (office buildings, retail shops and restaurants--which could bring more local jobs) in the General Plan for District 4, and allocating resources to building up my District. We need to create hubs with shops and restaurants, revitalizing the commercial areas that we do have. Many of the people of my district find themselves shopping in Ontario Mills or Victoria Gardens, where we lose sales tax that could come back into our city to help it grow. That our Downtown hardly exists is another travesty. It should be the heart of the city, a place where families can go in the evenings or weekends. Advocating for the areas of the city that need this type of development, like our District, would be part of my job on the Council.
Increase transparency at City Hall and bring City Hall to the community
My third priority, as the representative for District 4, is to Increase Transparency at City Hall, and Bring the City to the Community. Civic engagement is very important to me and I would promote this by holding Community Meetings within my District, setting an example that could be implemented in the other Districts. The purpose would be to meet the community where they are: To let everyone know, as their Councilmember, what is going on in the City and to promote the type of meaningful discussions that have been missing for too long. This would also be a place for members of the community to voice their concerns or opinions on what is happening in their neighborhoods. In this way, we can create accountability and bring back a true sense of community. The prefect example of why this is needed is the fact that so few of our community members know of the newly created voting district. The decision was made over a year ago--a process that everyone should have been able to participate in through the five public hearings held for the community--and still thousands of people do not know. This was an opportunity to literally shape our representation within the city and not enough outreach was done. Many residents received a flyer in the mail about the 4th of July celebration, yet many community members, lead by myself and a few other community organizers, had to fight hard just to have materials posted in public places around the city and have digital notifications translated to Spanish in a city that is almost 70% Hispanic. The people of this city deserve better than the bare minimum of effort that it continues to receive.
Develop a long-term vision that benefits everyone in the city
All of the previous priorities tie into the fourth: To Develop a Long-term Vision that Benefits Everyone. It seems that many of the decisions being made by a majority of the current council are short-sighted. In terms of jobs for my district, the current answer is the warehousing. This concerns me, and many of the people of District 4, because many of the “logistics centers” use temp agencies to supply their workforce. This forces many to live with out job security, decent wages that can pay a mortgage or rent while supporting a family, or benefits such as healthcare--assuming any of our locals get hired at all. Going door to door in my District, I have heard many instances of people applying for work at various warehouses, attending job fair after job fair, and not getting called back. If the biggest selling point on having warehouses is the jobs they bring, but many of our community aren’t getting those jobs, then who do they actually benefit? When we push our youth to go to college and get their degree, what are they coming home to? Only jobs in logistics? When they now have student loans to pay? Given how many of our residents (over 45%*) have longer commutes than the national average of 25 minutes, we can see that we are not meeting job demands within the city. We can do better. If we first recognize the problems we face, then we can work towards solutions. My vision is one that sets up all generations for success, working to keep aging seniors in their homes, create housing opportunities for first-time home buyers that are ready to grow their families, and for future generations of children to have something to come home to. I have the support of current school board members because I feel that it is important to have a holistic view of Fontana and how we can help our communities. Students don’t stop being students when they walk off of a campus any more than they cease to be residents of their city when they step on a campus.
Together, we can keep Fontana Moving Forward toward a brighten, stronger, and more inclusive future.