Bill Thomas | Special to IE Voice and Black Voice News

On July 23, 2021, California Attorney General Rob Bonta filed suit against the City of Fontana, challenging its approval of the Slover and Oleander Warehouse Project. Regarding the proposed warehouse, behind Albertson’s grocery store, a story pub recently published in the LA Times.

The southern portion of Fontana was described in a court filing by the state attorney general’s office as “the statewide epicenter of warehouse development.”

This particular warehouse would be built along-side Jurupa Hills High School, where the 2,000 students are predominantly Latino and 83% of them qualify for free or reduced-price meals. Two other schools are within two blocks of the proposed development, and trucks would come rumbling by homes to get to the facility. The neighborhood is already more polluted than 98% of the census tracts in the state, according to CalEnviroScreen.

“We’re seeing thousands of trucks per day,” said Faraz Rizvi, an organizer with the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice, a local nonprofit. “You’ll have large queues of trucks that are waiting to get into the warehouse, and they’ll sit and idle…. And because they’re right next to homes, it just spews all of these toxins right into your backyard.”

Every day, an untold number of trucks sit idling, spewing toxins into the air, as they wait to enter warehouses across the inland region. (source: ww2.arb.ca.gov)

The planned warehouse that drew the lawsuit from the attorney general’s office, sits right next to another property alongside Jurupa Hills High School that has also been approved for a massive warehouse. The state attorney says the city is ignoring the cumulative impacts of all the projects when it declares each new one passes environmental muster.

So many trucks rumbled by the windswept lots adjacent to the school on a recent weekday morning, it was difficult to hold a conversation. As weeds and pieces of debris blew around the site, Liz Sena, a 34-year-old mother of two, expressed exasperation that plans were abandoned to build on the site a sit-down restaurant and retail stores. The neighborhood has hardly any such services.

Sena pointed to a large wooden sign announcing the zoning change permitting one of the warehouse projects adjacent to the school. The contact information for the developer lists a Beverly Hills address.

“They come into our community, and they build their developments here,” she said.  “Then they go back to Beverly Hills to enjoy their beautiful clean air.”

The planned warehouse that drew the lawsuit from the attorney general’s office, sits right next to another property alongside Jurupa Hills High School. (source: mapio.net)

Sena said the other residents fighting the warehouse boom have been out-spent and out-gunned for years. They did not expect the attorney general to step into their fight.

“To have the attorney general’s office be involved in this case and file a lawsuit against the city of Fontana is very validating.” Sena said, “It sends a very loud and clear message that what the city is doing is not right.”

The Albertson’s Action Group now has a website so people can now find out information on how to fight the proposed warehouse in our community. Passactiongroup.org

Thanks to Jesse and Lillian Ramos, Whitney Peak Neighbors, for this notice.

Bill Thomas is Block Captain of the Whitney Peak Neighbors Association.

BVN Contributor

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