Lorena Corona is running for mayor, she said, “because it is time for change. During the last decade, the City of Fontana has been growing out of balance. The warehouse over-development, marginalization of entire neighborhoods, irrational city permit requirements/licensing fees, and perhaps most disturbing of all the city alignment with the current federal administration handicap the future of our children and generations to come. I would like to be an agent of change for Fontana by enacting progressive municipal policies and stimulating and increasing employment opportunities for differently-abled persons and upholding policies to support our veterans.”
Corona said her intent is to “support small local businesses, economic/workforce development, and entrepreneurship, create jobs with liveable wages, stimulate affordable housing and infrastructure development, and promote financial stability and ameliorate current burdens of income inequality.”
Asserting that “For the last two decades, I have been advocating for change and equality at different levels,” Corona said she considers herself qualified to take the reins of the city. “I possess the technical skills, knowledge, and experience to bring change to the City of Fontana. From 2005 to 2007, as a student trustee, I advocated at the state and local level for equitable educational opportunities for the Inland Empire. During this time, I was elected to represent over 23,000 students at Chaffey Community College. From 2012 to 2016, I was elected to the Fontana Unified School District Board of Education. Some of our biggest accomplishments during my time as a board member included adopting the transition of three governing boards, signing one of the largest solar contracts in California, approving, financing, and establishing the first pre-international baccalaureate/dual language immersion elementary school in Fontana, and approving a substantial salary increase for district employees while weathering the struggles of a recovering economy.”
She is distinguised from her opponents for mayor in Fontana, Corona said in that “My commitment lies with the people of Fontana and not with a political party. While I take pride in identifying as a Democrat, I will not compromise the welfare of the community for personal ambition. Unlike my opponents, I am running a grassroots campaign. Family, friends, neighbors, and community members are walking the streets carrying a message of hope. Together, we can make a difference.”
Corona said, “The major issues facing the city of Fontana include the overdevelopment of warehouses/logistic centers and the lack of affordable housing and infrastructure development. The massive warehouse projects entering our city bring air, traffic, and noise pollution to our neighborhoods, accelerate the decay of an already overwhelmed freeway system and perpetuate the cycle of poverty within our communities. The lack of affordable housing units is exacerbating the home insecurity crisis and contributing to the growing number of homeless individuals.”
In assessing how she believes those issues should be redressed, Corona said, “Warehouse overdevelopment should be addressed by etablishing accountability for those who approve the city rezoning, identifying the number of local officials who directly benefit from this rezoning and establishing legal liabilities, and looking at the viability of reverting some of the rezoning.” In addition, she said the City of Fontana “should assess the viability of a community benefits agreement with the current warehouses.”
Continuing, Corona said, “A strategic approach to address the lack of affordable housing would be implementing innovative land use strategies such as the creation of a community land trust aimed to prioritize the use of vacant public land for new affordable housing developments. This would rein in the warehouse overdevelopment while addressing the unmet housing needs of our community. We have to remember, housing is a human right.”
The city can pay for the solutions she suggests, Corona proposed, by “the creation of community benefits agreements, which would provide the initial funding to be invested in the infrastructure and/or the creation of new affordable housing development. We also have to assess the current tax breaks and/or accommodations given by the city to corporations, warehouses, and private businesses to determine the rate of return and viability. Local, state, and federal grants would be an additional source of resources that would allow us to address the unmet needs of our community. We have to understand that the better our community is, the more businesses will thrive.”
She possesses experience relating to government, Corona said. Since 2010 she has been the manager of governmental/external relations and transitional services at Chaffey Community College, in which assignment, she said, she manages “all aspects of governmental and legislative relations, including timely and accurate responses to legislative requests. I conduct research, monitor legislation, and organize advocacy efforts on behalf of the college district at the local, state and federal level.” In this capacity, Corona said she has been called upon to “establish and maintain relationships with elected officials, governmental agencies and community organizations. I have developed and implemented programs to address food and housing insecurity and unmet needs of the student population.”
From 2012 to 2016, she held the elected position of board member with the Fontana Unified School District, Corona pointed out. In that role she voted on the adoption of the district’s budgets which approached and then exceeded $400 million annually. “The district had over 5,600 employees to serve more than 43,000 students in 44 school sites,” she said. “I championed the adoption of the Fontana Unified School District Local Control Accountability Plan.” On the board, Corona pushed “policies to effectively motivate and lead a high performance management team in the areas of instructional services, special education, schools safety, human resources, property management, capital improvements, facilities, communications, and information technology,” she said. “As a board we were instrumental in approving plans to effectively grow the organization and to ensure financial strength and operating efficiency. I personally led ongoing meetings to bridge national, state and regional partnerships.”
While on the school board, Corona participated as a member of the executive committee with the San Bernardino County School Boards Association in San Bernardino, as well as being a member of the California School Boards Association in Sacramento.
In 2005, she served a short stint as an appointed member of the Fontana Parks and Recreation Commision.
At Chaffey College she was the president of the panel of student trustees.
Corona was the chairman of the Fontana Youth Accountability Board from 2002 until 2005 and participated in developing and establishing a tutoring program at the Fontana Police Department to assist at-risk students with their school work. The plan contained an assignment of community service, skill-building classes, counseling and/or restitution.
Corona has lived in Fontana since 1997.
Born in Sacramento to an immigrant Mexican-American family, she returned with her family when she was seven months old to Jalisco, Mexico, where she completed her basic level schooling.
“In 1997, I returned to the United States as a single mother, unable to speak English, unemployed, and afraid,” she said. “Inspired by these obstacles, I enrolled at the San Bernardino Adult School to learn English. In less than a year I transferred to Chaffey Community College to continue my higher education. Within five years, I earned five associate degrees and served as president and student trustee for two terms. From 2005 to 2010, I attended Harvard University, where I earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in management with an emphasis in non-profit organizations.”
Currently unmarried, she has a 21-year-old daughter who is working toward a bachelor of science degree in business administration at the University of La Verne. “I also have the honor of living with my parents who inspire me everyday,” she said.
Corona said in areas beyond the immediate purview of the city she wants “to work to combat climate change, lead battles over refugees, immigration and other federal actions that threaten our diversity, and sponsor LGBTQ equality. I want people to know that I am committed to the welfare of our community. I know what it means to be afraid. I know what uncertainty feels like, to not know where your next meal will come from or how the rent will get paid. I know what it feels like to be discriminated against because of my lack of English. I know what it feels like to be harrassed by law enforcement. But I also know what it feels like to graduate from an Ivy League institution with honors, to be able to provide for my daughter and give her the opportunities I did not have. I know that the American Dream is within our reach. Our city deserves better opportunities and it is up to you and me to come together as a community and make the right choice for Fontana.”