Recently the City of Perris is betting big on the logistics industry. We’re seeing explosive growth of the warehouses and trucking in Perris, with warehouses being approved and going up quickly, and trucking traffic increasing throughout our city along every route from major arteries to smaller residential streets. As Councilmembers in the City of Perris, we are deeply invested in making sure that our community has the opportunity to thrive for generations to come.
Troublingly, the growth of the logistics industry in our region does not add up to healthy economic growth for our city. In fact, these jobs in trucking and storage offer unsecure futures and even poverty-level paths for our residents. Logistics industry jobs are often offered as contract work for several months at a time. This kind of employment in the industry is temporary, leaving employees working for low hourly wages, and often living without benefits or the opportunity to be promoted and move up in the industry.
In short, we’ve been encouraging short term growth in an industry that does not offer what our families need for the long term: thriving careers. The pitfall is that we’re offering up more and more of our business and even commercial and residential space to this industry. If we keep going on this path, we’ll grow into a one-industry community with few prospects to diversify our economic base.
On top of the economic problems we’re seeing for workers, the growth of the logistics industry is impacting the quality of life in our residential neighborhoods. Families living in previously quiet neighborhoods are finding themselves living across the street from newly built fulfillment centers that see heavy truck traffic. The increased traffic disrupts the attractive quality of life in these neighborhoods, and even worse, makes them less healthy spaces to live in.
The increased truck traffic contributes to a problem we’ve battled in the Inland Empire for decades: poor air quality. According to the American Lung Association, the Inland Empire is home to some of the most polluted air in the country. That means millions of residents are at greater risk for lung cancer, asthma attacks, heart attacks, and premature deaths. In Riverside County alone, over 270,000 residents have asthma and each year we see over 100 days of unhealthy air – the highest number in the nation as a whole. Sadly, children are often the ones who suffer the most from poor air quality.
We need to build a better future for the City of Perris. Let’s find economic opportunities that don’t put the health of our families and environment at risk. Let’s build economic resiliency and a healthy community into our plan.
The good news is that we can shift our focus and expand our portfolio of economic opportunities in Perris and the Inland Empire. UC Riverside is making huge strides in the medical industry as well as green technology. The renewable energy industry is growing rapidly in California to meet our state’s new renewable energy goals. Solar is slated to offer more new jobs than the oil industry by the end of 2016. This is an industry with strong job growth that we can help bring to the region.
We need all hands on board for the work ahead of us. Our regional leaders can help build the long-term vision and accompanying opportunities we need for sustainable growth in our region. Let’s grow jobs that contribute to the long term well-being of our community’s economy and will help our children grow up breathing clean air and living robust lives. Our community deserves high quality jobs and a healthy environment.
City of Perris Councilmembers Tonya Burke and David Rabb