By Mark Gutglueck
County officials are angling toward allowing two well-connected developers working in tandem to construct a large truck terminal in Bloomington without completing an environmental impact report.
The project is to come before the county planning commission for a recommendation next Thursday, July 22, after which it is to go before the county board of supervisors for approval, perhaps as early as next month. It is widely anticipated that in accordance with the evaluation of the project by the county’s land use services division, the county planning commission will recommend that the board of supervisors give the project go-ahead.
To do that, however, the board of supervisors will need to grant the two project proponents, David Wiener and Scott Beard, a zone change on the property, as the current land use designation there is inconsistent with the project they are proposing.
The board of supervisors appears poised to go along with granting the zone change and a conditional use permit that will need to accompany it.
The project proponents stand in good stead with the board of supervisors. Wiener ranks among the top ten most generous donors to politicians in San Bernardino County over the last 30 years and Beard falls within the top 20.
A firestorm of protest is brewing among local residents objecting to the project, a replication of the sentiment that manifested toward another trucking-related project in Bloomington approved by the board of supervisors in April which likewise was not subject to an environmental impact report. The similarities between the earlier approved project and the current one, taken together with the consideration that the proponents of both undertakings are deep-pocketed businessmen infamous for applying political grease – money in the form of hefty donations to the campaign accounts of the elected officials who have ultimate authority over the projects – has given most knowledgeable observers of the circumstances the impression that the truck terminal project is a done deal.
With the prospect that the voices of the largely impoverished residents of the Bloomington community who do not have the wherewithal to buy political influence will be drowned out by the monetary megaphones in the possession of Wiener and Beard, Bloomington residents find themselves in the position of looking to either the Colton Joint Unified School District or environmental groups for assistance in stopping the project. The school district filed a lawsuit against the county over its April approval of a truck stop to be built in Bloomington by Chandi Enterprises, challenging that undertaking on environmental grounds, and the Sierra Club or other environmentally-focused activists potentially could take legal action to prevent the project being previewed in front of the county planning commission next week from proceeding if the board of supervisors subsequently approves the project, the associated zone change and mitigated negative declaration accompanying it.
Wiener and Beard are proposing the development of a truck terminal facility in Bloomington on 8.94 acres at 10746 Cedar Avenue. Though the project is thought to be the eventual headquarters/regional office/operating yard for a trucking company, neither the project proponents nor the county land use services division has acknowledged that explicitly, and the trucking company has not been identified. The facility would provide storage for trailers during delivery off-seasons and/or between deliveries. The facility would run seven days a week and 24 hours a day, with an average of more than 700 truck trips into or out of the terminal daily.
According to a document filed with the San Bernardino County Land Use Services Department, “Storage typically ranges from a couple of days to months and these types of sites are typically at a maximum of 80 percent occupancy. The project site is an 8.94-acre existing vacant parcel described as Assessor’s Parcel No. 0257-031-12; it is located on the west side of Cedar Avenue, between Slover Avenue and Santa Ana Avenue. The proposed project requires the approval of a conditional use permit and zone change to change the existing zoning from general commercial (CG) to service commercial. Access into the site would be via a 50-foot wide driveway at a new signalized intersection on Cedar Avenue. Secure access to the facility would then be via rolling gates at the guard shack. The facility would include 275 parking spaces in total: 260 spaces each of 89 at 12’ by 55’, 14 standard car spaces, and 1 handicap accessible space. The proposed project includes a 2,400 square-foot building for office use and storage, an approximate 250 square-foot guard shack, and a 4,800 square-foot maintenance shop with four repair bays. The proposed project is planned to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and requires less than 10 office and maintenance employees and one full-time employee on-site at all times. The proposed project includes 330,035 square-feet of impervious surface and 59,327 square-feet of pervious surface. A stormwater retention basin would be constructed in the southernmost portion of the project site. Two 8-foot block walls are proposed, one along the northern boundary and the other along the southern boundary of the project site.”
The project site is undeveloped vacant land. North of the site, according to the county land use services division, the property there is zoned for general commercial and single-family residential uses but contains no commercial concerns at this time, with the sole developments there being single-family homes, some of which are located right up on the project site property line. South of the project site, according to the county, the property is zoned general commercial and multiple residential, and the land is currently occupied by commercial and institutional concerns. Across the street to the east, the county maintains, the property is zoned multiple residential, and it is occupied by a mobile home park. West of the property the zoning is multiple residential, the county says, and that land is vacant, and is encumbered by an undeveloped flood control easement. The Colton Joint Unified School District quibbles with the county’s characterization of the surrounding properties.
Except in relatively rare circumstances where a determination is made early on in the approval process that a project will have no environmental impact, in California development projects are subject to the California Environmental Quality Act, which requires that the impacts that a project upon completion will have on the property on which it is located and those surrounding it must be evaluated. The decision-making panel for the agency with land use authority where a project is to be constructed, under the California Environmental Quality Act and its provisions, must make an environmental certification of the project. There are several levels of environmental certification that can take place. Generally speaking, the more intensive the project, the greater the need for a more elaborate mode of certification.
A full scale environmental impact report is the most intensive form of environmental certification, involving a study of the project site, the project proposal, the potential and actual impacts the project will have on the site and surrounding area in terms of all conceivable issues, including land use, water use, air quality, potential contamination, noise, traffic, and biological and cultural resources. An environmental impact report specifies in detail what measures can, will and must be carried out to offset those impacts.
A mitigated negative declaration is the least intensive form of environmental certification for a project. A far less exacting size-up of the impacts of a project than an environmental impact report, a mitigated negative declaration consists of the panel entrusted with a community’s ultimate land use authority, in this case the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors, considering an initial study of the project completed by county staff and thereafter issuing a declaration that all adverse environmental impacts from the project will be mitigated, or offset, by the conditions of approval of the project imposed upon the developer.
In this case, according to Anthony DeLuca, a senior planner in the county department of land use services who is processing the project application, “Although the proposed project could have a significant effect on the environment, there shall not be a significant effect in this case because revisions in the project have been made by or agreed to by the project proponent. A mitigated negative declaration shall be prepared,” DeLuca said, as the form of the project’s environmental certification.
Similarly, in April, the board of supervisors voted unanimously to give Chandi Enterprises go-ahead on its proposal to construct a truck stop to be located at 10951 Cedar Avenue, at the southeast corner of Cedar and Santa Ana Avenue, just under a quarter of a mile down the street from the Wiener/Beard project. That project site was previously zoned for low density residential use, with the minimum density to be no greater than a single unit per acre, with agricultural uses permitted on the property. The project approval entailed giving Chandi a zoning amendment altering the residential land use to commercial. That project is to entail a convenience store, two fast food outlets and a gas station, as well as forty big-rig truck spots, seven diesel bays, above-ground fuel tanks and truck scales. Though the project proposal originally called for a large restaurant as its centerpiece, that element of the project has been forsaken.
The proposed Chandi project was immediately adjacent to 28 acres owned by the Colton Joint Unified School District, which the district is looking at as a future school site. Additionally, the truck stop upon completion would be a quarter of a mile away from Crestmore Elementary School, a quarter of a mile away from Walter Zimmerman Elementary School and a half of a mile away from Slover Mountain High School.
At the April board of supervisors meeting at which the project was approved, droves of Bloomington residents turned out to enunciate their opposition to the project. Their protests were augmented by the input of Colton Joint Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Frank Miranda, who told the board members about his concern that the truck stop project was incompatible with the surrounding uses, in particular the nearby schools and the school yet to be built on the adjoining property.
Subsequent to the approval of the Chandi project, the Colton Joint Unified School District sued the county for granting permission for the truck stop to proceed to completion and operation. That suit cited numerous violations of the California Environmental Quality Act, including the use of an inadequate mitigated negative declaration to provide environmental certification of the project.
As was the case with the Chandi truck stop, a substantial segment of the Bloomington populace is militating against the Wiener/Beard truck terminal. Again, however, those residents find themselves at a distinct disadvantage because of their economic standing vis-a-vis the project proponents.
According to the 2020 U.S. Census, there are 25,482 residents in Bloomington. Available demographic and financial information simultaneously paints Bloomington residents, as a whole, as among the most impoverished and the least well-educated and sophisticated of San Bernardino County’s 2.2 million residents. Roughly 81 percent of Bloomington’s population is Hispanic or Latino, with 14.1 percent non-Hispanic Caucasian, 2.7 percent African American, 1.2 percent Native American, and 1.4 percent Asian. The median household income in Bloomington was $34,106 in 2018 and the median family income was $35,936. Single men living there had a median income of $30,680 versus $20,606 for single woman. About 19.8 percent of families and 25.3 percent of the population fall below the poverty line. Over 20 percent of the population is not fluent in English.
Meanwhile, Wiener and Beard are well fixed financially. Like Nachhattar Singh Chandi, the principal behind Chandi Enterprises who made immense political contributions to four of the five members of the board of supervisors to obtain their cooperation in approving the Chandi truck stop proposal, Wiener and Beard have engaged in providing hefty contributions to the political war chests of the five current supervisors.
The Sentinel was able to track and fully document $112,350 provided by Wiener and Beard and their related enterprises and associates to supervisors Curt Hagman, Janice Rutherford, Dawn Rowe, Paul Cook and Joe Baca, Jr. going back for slightly over a decade. That figure is likely less than the actual amount, as there are gaps in the reporting of the amounts of money reposited into the supervisors’ various accounts, most notably Hagman’s.
Hagman has received $16,350 from Wiener, either directly or from his son Michael Wiener, the Wiener Family Revocable Trust or what is referred to as the Survivor’s Trust Under The Wiener Family Revocable Trust. Hagman has also received $1,000 from Scott Beard Enterprises, LLC and another $1,000 from the Gerald Beard Realty, which Scott Beard controls.
Since she has been supervisor, Rutherford has received $54,400 from Wiener, his son Michael Wiener, the Wiener Family Revocable Trust and the Survivor’s Trust Under The Wiener Family Revocable Trust. It is unknown how much money Rutherford received from Wiener and the individuals and entities associated with him while she was a member of the city council in Fontana prior to election to the board in 2010. For nearly four decades, Wiener has been a major contributor to elected officials in Fontana. Rutherford has also received $2,500 from Scott Beard.
Supervisor Dawn Rowe’s political fund has been endowed with $9,400 from David Wiener and $9,400 from Michael Wiener, for a total of $18,800. She has also received a $1,000 political contribution from Scott Beard.
David Wiener has provided Supervisor Cook’s electioneering fund with $2,500.
Supervisor Baca’s political war chest was the recipient of $4,700 from Bonnie Beard, Scott Beard’s wife, and another $4,700 from Scott Beard Enterprises, LLC, a total of $9,400.
Of note is that Baca, whose Fifth Supervisorial District includes Bloomington, did not receive any money from Wiener or his associated entities. Baca was elected to the supervisor’s post in the 2020 election. That race had been a match between Baca, then a Rialto city councilman, and Jesse Armendarez, then a Fontana city councilman. Wiener has been active as a developer in Fontana since 1980, when with Herb Lundin, he developed the Vineyard Valley Shopping Center at the southeast corner of Sierra Avenue and Valley Boulevard. He has proven over the last four decades to be, with Reggie King, the Ten Ninety Corporation and Phil Cothran, Sr., the major patron of Fontana’s politicians. When the 2020 race for Fifth District county supervisor evolved into a head-to-head battle between Baca and Armendarez, Wiener by default sided with Armendarez, as he personally provided Armendarez with $7,200 during the 2020 election season and his son, Michael, gave Armendarez $4,700.
In the aftermath of the race, as Armendarez had been struggling to retire a substantial debt he accumulated in that failed run, Wiener three months ago, in April, swooped in to give Armendarez another $4,700. Beard, the previous month, in March 2021, gave Armendarez $1,000 to erase a portion of the failed candidate’s 2020 electoral campaign arrearage.
In this way, it appears that Wiener and Beard are not really counting upon nor do they need Baca’s support in getting the truck terminal project approved.
Baca’s support or opposition to the project could be, and certainly in some other context would be, crucial. San Bernardino County is divided into five supervisorial districts, which have been described as fiefdoms ruled over by each district’s supervisor. Historically with little exception, with regard to development projects, the balance of the board of supervisors goes along the wishes of the supervisor in whose district a particular development project is proposed. Under this tradition, Baca’s vote on the project would be followed by his colleagues. Two questions attend this circumstance, however. The first is whether Baca is willing to stand up to the deep-pocketed Wiener and deep-pocketed Beard and oppose their project. The second relates to whether, even if Baca rises in opposition to the project, his colleagues will follow suit.
After the April vote, when he supported the approval of Chandi truck stop and was seen as being more loyal to a fabulously generous donor than he was to the people in the district he represents, Baca took a shellacking from both the residents of Bloomington and environmentalists. As a Latino Democrat, Baca is at one with the overriding demographics in the Fifth District. Of the Fifth District’s 203,174 registered voters, fully 102,919, or 50.7 percent, are Democrats. Republicans, who account for 38,106 of the district’s voters, or 18.8 percent, lag far behind. Indeed the Republicans in the district are outnumbered by the 47,738, or 23.5 percent of the voters who claim no party affiliation. Though the Republicans possess more political muscle in the Fifth Supervisorial District than the 7,143 voters or 3.5 percent affiliated with the American Independent Party, the 1,997 or roughly one percent in the Peace and Freedom Party, the 1,732 or 0.9 percent in the Libertarian Party, the 633 or 0.3 percent in the Green Party or the 2,906 or 1.4 percent of voters in a variety of even more obscure political parties, the Democrats appear to have a commanding lead in Baca’s supervisorial jurisdiction overall, which includes the eastern portion of Fontana, all of Rialto, all of Bloomington, all of Colton, Muscoy and the western half of San Bernardino. Roughly 59 percent of Baca’s constituents are Hispanic.
Conventional wisdom holds that the Democrats are the party of social welfare and caring for the impoverished and working classes while the Republicans are the party of corporate welfare and promoting and protecting the entrepreneurial class. With Baca having sided with the multimillionaire Chandi over the heavily Hispanic population of Bloomington more than three months ago, a telling question is whether he is now prepared once more to support a project that will subject the residents of Bloomington to large numbers of semi-trucks, diesel exhaust, heavy-machine operations, the presence of materials and chemicals such as solvents, lubricants, asbestos and diesel fuel representing health hazards and potential water table contamination. While that operation will provide a substantial profit to its proponents, in this case two extremely wealthy white men who are seeking to exploit Baca’s constituents because of their lack of sophistication and financial wherewithal, Baca may not want to sustain the damage accommodating them will do to his reputation and standing among those who voted him into office.
Nevertheless, even if Baca is willing to take a stand against the project, the positive relationship that has developed among Wiener, Beard, Hagman, Rutherford, Rowe and Cook means there is practically no chance that the project, based upon the staff report/initial study and its likely endorsement by the planning commission next week, will be rejected by the board of supervisors when it comes up for consideration in August or September.
There is virtually no prospect that a Bloomington resident – or collection of residents – will throw together the money to hire a lawyer to legally challenge the county with regard to the project.
Some Bloomington residents are looking to the school district to mount such a challenge, or failing that, for an environmental group to carry that burden.
Some Bloomington residents have been heartened by a letter that was sent by the district.
That letter, dated June 17 and signed by District Superintendent Dr. Frank Miranda, asserts, “The project description does not adequately disclose the operations of the proposed project.”
The letter made an issue of the current zoning on the site where the project is to be built. Furthermore, according to the letter, the environmental certification the county is contemplating for the project is not based upon enough data or an adequate analysis of the data that should be considered. “The initial study is silent on the unique characteristics of the Bloomington community, including its population characteristics and the disproportionate, longstanding pollution burdens borne by residents,” the letter reads. “The air quality analysis needs to address cumulative air quality impacts to sensitive receptors. Low-income communities and communities of color often bear a disproportionate burden of pollution and associated health risks when compared to their more affluent neighbors. The initial study does not adequately identify project-related toxic air contaminant emissions in context with the existing and planned sources in the Bloomington community. Residents proximate to the site already experience elevated levels of diesel particulate matter associated with proximity to the Colton Railroad Yard, the freeway and warehousing/industrial sources. The proposed project incrementally increases health risks associated with a net increase of 572 truck trips. However, the initial study fails to consider the potential impacts associated with an increase of toxic air contaminants. At a minimum, the air quality analysis needs to evaluate the potential toxic air contaminant emissions generated by the proposed project. The initial study is deficient in this regard as no such analysis has been done.”
The letter dwells on the project’s potential for increasing the generation of greenhouse gases, making the point that neither the initial study, nor the project proposal nor the conditions of approval impose any means of reducing such emissions. Greenhouse gasses are those such as carbon dioxide and chlorofluorocarbons, which create a “greenhouse” effect, that is, causing the atmosphere to increase in temperature through the constant absorption of infrared radiation.
According to the letter, the documentation prepared by the county for the board of supervisors’ consideration of the project is inadequate in describing what means will be used to prevent the project from having a deleterious impact on local groundwater. “The project description needs to describe the maintenance activities that would occur onsite; how hazardous materials used in maintenance would be maintained; and steps taken to address leakage and spills from vehicles, including from parked vehicles and trailers. The project needs to explain the best management practices to ensure that polluted stormwater would not leave the site.”
Furthermore, according to the letter, “The proposed project would allow tractors and trailers to be stored for long periods of time. Runoff pollutants from this practice would include drips of oil, grease, antifreeze, hydraulic fluids and cleansing agents amongst others. Vehicles also contribute to polluted runoff by carrying solids from urban roadways, construction sites, farms and dirt roads. The proposed project would also include service bays where vehicles can be washed and/or vehicle maintenance can be performed.” That runoff will then be infiltrated into the site’s underlying aquifer, the letter states.
According to the letter, the project upon completion will further impact traffic safety, pedestrian safety and school children in the immediate vicinity. The letter notes that the “district operates schools on roadways that lead to the project site, such as Jurupa Avenue and Slover Avenue. The proposed project’s increase in 716 actual vehicle trips poses a safety risk to students, employees and Colton Joint Unified School District families, especially during pick up and drop off times. The district is concerned about the increase of truck traffic adjacent to district schools and its impact to the safety of pedestrians and students.”
The letter states that the accumulative impact of so many transportation and truck-related and semi-truck-involved businesses is having a deleterious impact on the safety, well-being and quality of life of Bloomington’s residents.
In its documentation for the project, the county is underestimating the amount of truck traffic that will be generated from the project and the accompanying polluting emissions from that truck traffic, according to the letter. Furthermore, the letter states, the emissions from having 572 trucks idling on the premises at various times during the day are not accounted for in the county’s documentation relating to the project.
Whether the county will heed the district’s expression of concerns or work toward addressing the issues raised in the letter before the planning commission makes its recommendation and before the board of supervisors takes up the question is a standing question at the moment.
A letter sent to Baca on June 16, from the Bloomington Municipal Advisory Committee that was signed by that body’s chairwoman, Dianne Mendez-Cantu, made note that “The Bloomington Municipal Advisory Committee voted unanimously on June 2nd, 2021, to oppose the proposed Cedar Avenue Truck Terminal and send this letter of opposition to your office. We are asking you to support the Bloomington Municipal Advisory Committee (MAC) and oppose this project. We are also asking that you use your authority to stop this project from moving forward, or at the very least require that County Land Use Services demand the developer prepare an environmental impact report. This project has now been unanimously rejected by the MAC on two separate occasions, the first-time being August 2020 after a presentation to the MAC by the developer. As previously mentioned at our MAC meetings, this proposed 261 diesel truck facility located on prime commercially-zoned property brings no revenue or jobs to our community, only negative impacts. The initial traffic study shows this project will generate at least as many, if not more, truck trips than warehouses which have been required to do environmental impact reports.”
The letter expressed a veiled pessimism as to the community’s ability to stop Wiener and Beard’s designs on the property.
“Even with the unanimous opposition of the MAC and others in our community, this project has continued to move forward,” the letter stated.
In a response dated July 14 to the Bloomington Municipal Advisory Committee’s June 2 letter, Supervisor Joe Baca, Jr. interpreted the project as being less of a truck terminal and more or a passive storage facility. The tone of Baca’s letter gave the impression he was leaning in support of the Wiener/Beard project.
“The proposed project is designed for trailer storage,” Baca wrote. “With multiple logistics warehouses in the area, there is a need for off-site trailer storage. Additionally, independent truck drivers might find use of a storage lot for their empty trailers. The project is essentially a fenced and landscaped secure parking lot for trailer storage, with a shop for minor trailer repairs. This would be a legal place for trailer parking, located on Cedar Avenue, which is a truck route with direct access to the freeway. There will be more complete information and exhibits in the planning commission staff report, so the supervisors will have all the details before it is scheduled for review by the board.”
Baca continued, “At this point it would not be advisable for a board member to get involved prior to review by the planning commission. The process established allows for the public to be engaged at multiple steps and multiple entities, both the planning commission and the board of supervisors, to hear proposals, concerns and interests from various parties to make an educated and informed decision regarding whether the project and its uses make sense for the property in question.”
Both Wiener and Beard have demonstrated themselves in the past to be shrewd and ruthless operators in pursuing various types of projects, often involving governmental officials in questionable or illegal activity.
One case in point is Wiener’s involvement in the Trust 45 scheme in Fontana in 1986. At that time, Wiener’s former partner, Herb Lundin, had obtained from the Catellus Corporation, the real estate arm of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway and the Southern Pacific Railroad a six-month option to purchase at 30 cents a square foot over 200 acres of property located immediately south of the 10 Freeway and east of Sierra Avenue. Lundin then approached the City of Fontana about developing an auto mall on the property.
In his initial discussion with then-Fontana City Manager Jack Ratelle, Lundin found encouragement. Ratelle asked Lundin to provide him with further detail about the proposal including his financing arrangements and other particulars. Ratelle indicated that if things checked out, the city would look forward to facilitating the project because of the potential revenue stream it would produce from sales tax on big ticket items such as cars, trucks and the first modern SUVs which were then coming into vogue.
Ratelle together with Wiener, then-Fontana Development/Redevelopment Director Neil Stone and financier Jerry Valencia went to the Mitsubishi Bank in Los Angeles where they formed Trust 45, the name for which was said to be the average of Ratelle’s Wiener’s, Stone’s and Valencia’s ages.
Over the next several months, Ratelle and Stone, as Fontana’s city manager and development director, strung Lundin along, keeping him tantalizingly close to being able to proceed toward the next stage of the effort which was to include putting together a formal application for the development of the auto mall, yet continuously asking for him to produce further evidence of his bona fides and wherewithal to perform. As Lundin’s option with Catellus was approaching its termination date, Trust 45 approached Catellus and obtained an option on the property at 35 cents a square foot for the next six months. With Lundin’s option on the property elapsed, he was knocked out of contention for undertaking the auto mall.
In 1987, the secret deal Ratelle, Wiener, Stone and Valencia had worked out to develop the auto mall themselves was exposed publicly, and the auto mall concept along the 10 Freeway in Fontana was dropped altogether.
Scott Beard is the scion of George Beard, a successful real estate agent who worked in Rialto, San Bernardino, Redlands and their environs in the 1960s and 1970s. As a young man, Scott Beard took over his father’s real estate empire and parlayed that into greater wealth. Young Beard created a number of corporate entities and LLCs he did lucrative deals through, many of which involved governmental entities.
One example of this was the huge profit turned by SHL Associates, Ltd., which combined the first initials of the first names – Scott, Harry and Lance – of its three principals, Scott Beard, Harry Mays and Lance Goodwin, in its company name. In 1998, both Mays and Hlawek were indicted by a federal grand jury. Mays and Hlawek had previously been San Bernardino County’s highest ranking staff member, each holding the title of county administrative officer, a position in which Hlawek succeeded his mentor Mays in 1994. Their indictments proceeded from bribery charges that related to their acceptance of cash in return for arranging lucrative county contracts for several entities. Ultimately, Hlawek began cooperating with the FBI, telling agents that Mays provided him with a briefcase stuffed with $60,000 in cash during a meeting he had with Mays, Eaves and Beard, as a payoff for securing a $26 million 15-year county lease for a recently vacated K-Mart building in Rialto owned by SHL. That building lease was approved in a controversial 3-2 vote on June 23, 1997, with then-supervisors Jerry Eaves, Jon Mikels and Kathy Davis prevailing. The building was converted for use by the county’s behavioral services department. The deal was promoted by Hlawek, who was then the county’s chief administrative officer. Mays had been instrumental in convincing the board of supervisors to promote Hlawek as his successor when he departed as the county’s top administrator. Eaves was the recipient of scores of thousands of dollars of political donations from Beard. Beard and Goodwin narrowly avoided being indicted by both county and federal prosecutors during the scandal, in some measure it was widely suspected, because of their cooperation with the FBI in fingering corrupt government officials. Eaves was less fortunate, and was charged or indicted on both state and federal counts. Ultimately he was convicted and forced to resign from office.
A Bloomington community leader, Greg Young, who represents Bloomington on the board of the West Valley District, which supplies water to the entirety of Bloomington and significant portions of Rialto and Fontana, told the the Sentinel, “Sadly it would appear that the community of Bloomington is once again being sold out by the people elected to protect us to another ravenous and unscrupulous developer who cares nothing about our disadvantaged community of color. Instead of working with the community to bring quality development that meets the needs of the residents, developers like Scott Beard and a multimillionaire from Beverly Hills, David Wiener, are pushing to change the zoning of one of the last commercial shopping center properties to allow for a trucking terminal in the middle of a residential community. Such a development would be considered an industrial project in any of the surrounding cities but not under the lax land use rules of the county. This project puts a 260-truck terminal right next to people’s homes on a road that is over capacity with truck traffic already. A project such as this would never be allowed to see the light of day in a white affluent community like San Antonio Heights, but in a predominately brown and poor community it is no problem at all. The community worked with the county several years back to establish the Bloomington Community Plan, which the board unanimously adopted. The plan clearly reaffirmed the community’s direction that this property retain commercial shopping center zoning. Why spend close to half a millions dollars of taxpayer funds to develop a community plan if you have no intention of actually enforcing it? Additionally, it would appear that our own supervisor is unwilling or inept at forcing this project back to the drawing board and to be more aligned to the community’s direction. Sadly, the project also includes preliminary plans to discharge runoff that would be considered toxic by Environmental Protection Agency standards in the ground under the project with no pre-treatment, thereby posing a risk to Bloomington’s groundwater, when there is already a history of the soil being unable to block chemical contamination in the area. The community deserves real leaders who have the courage to stand up to greedy wealthy developers who seek to destroy our once pleasant community.”
The Sentinel made numerous phone calls to DeLuca at both his office in the county land use services division and his cell phone and sent him an email, seeking from him a rationale for utilizing a mitigated negative declaration to provide the environmental certification for the project rather than an environmental impact report. He did not respond.
Instead, David Wert, the county’s official spokesman, told the Sentinel, “The staff recommendation on this project has not been completed yet, and it would be inappropriate for county staff to comment publicly on what their recommendation to a deliberative body might be prior to the publishing of the agenda and the public meeting. The staff recommendation will be spelled out in detail in the agenda packet, which will be available publicly at least 72 hours prior to the meeting. However, one thing you should know is that the proposed project is not a truck terminal. It would be trailer storage.”
In the initial study DeLuca prepared for the project, he referenced the project as a “truck terminal.”
By Mark Gutglueck