By Nestor and Sunny Renteria
(Editor’s note: This letter was addressed to members of the Fontana City Council and Fontana Planning Commission.)
Today as I sit here and write this letter, I cannot express how saddened I am that living in Fontana has become our worst nightmare.
We have lived here for 15 years, and we are raising three boys, all who attend schools within the FUSD system.
When we moved to South Fontana, all of the empty farmland was zoned as residential. We were very happy that the empty farmland would eventually become a well established family community, just like our community here at Montelago.
Since the 2015 SWIP project approval, never did we imagine that project being pushed further and further toward our community, surrounding schools, and other homes.
We have seen how fast buildings are going up, and for every building that goes up, numerous amount of residents call in, email, and complain their dislike and dispute the need to keep surrounding us by warehouses. Despite such complaints from the residents, the buildings keep going up, homes continue to be demolished, and South Fontana residents are up to their heads saturated with warehouses.
You all talk about bringing balance to the city and provide jobs. How is this balance for the residents that live here and have to drive into what went from a community to now a warehouse hub?! These warehouses offer nothing to us, nothing but a physical nuisance and disruption of our lives.
Warehouses have brought an increase in traffic and pollution to our side of Fontana. We are constantly being awakened at all hours of the night by diesel trucks zooming through our area, rattling our homes, and waking our families.
The amount of trucks making illegal turns physically into our community, the disregard by diesel trucks to not follow signage that states no trucks over 5,000 pounds, the idling of diesel trucks, all of this because of warehouses being built so close to our homes.
How does this meet safety standards through the California Air Quality Act?
According to the American Lung Association 2020, the Inland Empire’s Air quality is rated absurdly unsafe air due to increased diesel emissions brought about by the increased traffic from diesel trucks traveling to warehouses. Numerous trips day and night, with continuous exposure to constant pollution emitted from these diesel trucks, is placing all of us at risk. This is devastating to the lives of our community, our health, and a major contributor to the physical development of our children.
This community has made an effort to raise awareness to those elected that are here to serve our city.The mayor and the City Council have been very well aware that we are protesting and do not want more warehouses by our homes. We are the primary victims of environmental harm, and we have a right to voice our concerns and a right for our concerns to be heard.
Diesel combustion is a source of atmospheric soot, and from this continuous exposure in the air, we face health issues such as cancer, heart and lung damage, and impaired cognitive function. Diesel particulate is poison, a poison in which we are surrounded by day and night and no one seems to care!
This is not balance, this is simply a violation and disregard for the citizens that live around this and seek better from their elected officials. With homes being surrounded by warehouses, we have nothing left. This is not a family community any more, it has become a nightmare for many of us, and for many of us there is no way out. Our only way out of all of this would have been for the mayor and the City Council to have ceased continued construction of further warehouses in our area.
What is increasingly more bothersome is the fact that there are three busy high schools around all of this and a future proposed park. What will this do to our children? How or who decided that building warehouses around schools and parks was an ideal situation and would benefit those around these infrastructures?
It is clear that the voice of the residents in regard to oppositions to further continue warehouses to be approved in our area is being ignored, much less just being swept under the rug.
Mayor, City Council, and City Planning, it is your duty as elected officials to listen to your constituents and really pay attention to what we are saying. The statements are valid, the data provided is not out of malice, but of true legitimate concerns for our health and wellbeing.
If you all state that you try your best to improve things around Fontana for its residents, please consider our opinions and requests.
Our opposition to Master case No. 20-023 is serious! It will directly be behind our homes, and this is environmental racism to the residents living in the Montelago community and surrounding homes.
We need to strive for greatness so that we are able to thrive in our community, and we believe this will make us powerless and predispose us to an unforeseen crisis that only the residents that live by warehouses can understand. We hate the warehouses, we do not want any more warehouses, and we ask you to listen to your constituents.
In 2022, when the next batch of elections is up for grabs, your residents will remember all of this. Please also remember, when you decide to approve another warehouse, diesel exhaust has been classified as a human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. We are fighting for our lungs and the air which we breathe!
(Nestor and Sunny Renteria are Fontana residents.)