At an event set aside to celebrate progress and mark promise, Fontana’s annual State of the City luncheon was held at the Jesse Turner Center last week where Fontana Mayor Acquanetta Warren spoke about the city’s accomplishments and highlighted her vision for its future.
Warren was elected the city’s first female and first Black mayor in 2010 and was re-elected in 2014. What is also intriguing about Warren is that she is also a Republican—before being elected Mayor of Fontana, Warren was the first African American woman to serve as Vice-Chair of the Inland Empire’s Republican Party.
As a Republican, it was not surprising that part of Warren’s political agenda, as it is for many politicians, included a focus on business and development. As Fontana’s Mayor, Warren has maintained her position on both and shared her belief that it brings good-paying jobs to Fontana.
During the State of the City luncheon, Warren talked about improvements in the city’s demographics—including household incomes; discussed the potential for this year’s doubling of permits over last year’s for new home building; highlighted the increased interests on the part of major hotel and restaurant chains who are considering business development in the area; and, discussed the council-approved warehouse projects slated for the city.
Other news shared by Warren during her presentation included notice of coming announcements related to new automobile dealerships planned for the area and the $6.8 million-dollar Miller Amphitheater scheduled for completion in the city’s downtown area next year.
While those in attendance applauded Warren’s progress as well as her plans; outside the Jesse Turner Center, a small group gathered to protest planned warehouse development they believed has the potential to increase traffic congestion, further pollute the environment and spoil scenic vistas. The demonstration was purportedly led by members of the Sierra Club who are opposed to any developments that could potentially, negatively impact on the environment.
In addition to the demonstration, for the second time in Warren’s tenure as Mayor of Fontana detractors have also launched a recall campaign.
The nonprofit, nonpartisan collaborative Ballotpedia, noted recall supporters claimed they launched the recall effort because of Warren’s promotion of residential and commercial developments after allegedly receiving political contributions of at least $100,000 from developers; and for supporting subsidies to neighboring cities through a police helicopter program. Karen Coleman, who spoke on behalf of the organization leading the recall effort— Inland Empire First Political Action Committee, told The Sun newspaper that the mayor's projects had, "downgraded quality of life, decreased neighborhood safety, overcrowded schools, increased traffic and increased air pollution.”
The Voice/Black Voice News will continue to follow this story.