By Mark Gutglueck
In a long-delayed visitation of political retribution, Grand Terrace Mayor Darcy McNaboe was voted out of office on Tuesday.
McNaboe was returned to regular civilian status as a result of what was a relatively narrow loss. In her head-to-head contest against Councilman Bill Hussey, she polled 1,052 or 48.66 percent of the 2,195 votes that had been tallied as of 4 p.m. today, November 11, while Hussey had claimed 1,127 or 51.34 percent.
History will record that McNaboe, who was first elected to the city council in November 2010 to fill a two-year vacancy and then reelected to the council in 2012 before she was elected mayor in 2014 and reelected mayor in 2018, was bounced from office by the voters on November 8, 2022. In actuality, however, the politically fateful day for McNaboe was July 12, 2017, on which she, as the Grand Terrace representative to the San Bernardino Association of Governments, the joint powers authority that serves as San Bernardino County’s transportation agency, voted with the majority of her colleagues on that panel in support of the I-10 Toll Lane Project.That vote lay dormant for more than five years but earlier this week raised its head to haunt her.
For months on end commuters on the I-10 Freeway between Montclair and Ontario have dealt with the inconvenience and hazard of bridge augmentation and construction and the paradoxical narrowing of the freeway as efforts to widen it are ongoing.
The work is extensive; upon completion the existing four lanes in both directions will be increased by two more eastbound lanes and two westbound lanes, transforming the freeway in that span from a modern eight lane interstate to a 12-lane superhighway.
While many motorists are delighted to learn that the freeway at that point is to be widened by half again its current breadth, the construction along the freeway, involving lane closures and temporary narrowing of the entire thoroughfare, is bothersome, indeed irritating. Those regular travelers along the I-10 queried by the Sentinel generally reflect a stoic and understanding resignation at having to deal with a situation in which they have no choice. In their initial reaction to the questions put to them about their recent experience in transiting the 10 Freeway from the county line in Montclair through Ontario, Upland and to Rancho Cucamonga, the majority say they are putting up with the hassle because they anticipate being patient will, in time and upon the completion of the project, make the freeway safer and more travelable. Upon being told that the new lanes will not be in place until 2024, most expressed dismay at having to endure the current situation for another two years.
That sentiment is mild, however, in comparison to the reaction most have upon being informed that the construction work they are encountering on a daily basis is taking place to make way for toll lanes being added to the freeway and that to use them will cost them money.
The San Bernardino Association of Governments, known by its acronym SANBAG, changed its title to the San Bernardino County Transportation Agency around the time of the vote to proceed with the 1-10 Toll Lane Project. Now known by the acronym SBCTA, it is headed by a 29-member governing board, consisting of a council member or mayor from each of San Bernardino County’s 22 cities and two incorporated towns and all five members of the county board of supervisors.
A small group of citizens who were paying attention to the action that SBCTA takes was on hand on July 12, 2017, when the SBCTA/SANBAG governing board, led by then-Chairman Alan Wapner, a city councilman representing Ontario, guided the board through a discussion and action to approve the toll lane project. Several of the citizens present spoke in opposition to the toll lane option for improving the freeway, some quite vociferously, some of whom grew argumentative, some of whom pleaded with the board. Their entreaties were in vain.
Ontario Councilman Alan Wapner, Apple Valley Councilman Curt Emick, Colton Councilman Frank Navarro, Fontana Mayor Acquanetta Warren, Grand Terrace Mayor Darcy McNaboe, Highland Councilman Larry McCallon, Montclair Mayor Paul Eaton, Ontario Councilman Alan Wapner, Needles Mayor Edward Paget, Rancho Cucamonga Mayor Lloyd Dennis Michael, Redlands Councilman Jon Harrison, San Bernardino Mayor Carey Davis, Upland Mayor Debbie Stone, Yucaipa Councilman David Avila, Yucca Valley Councilman Rick Denison, First District County Supervisor Robert Lovingood and Third District County Supervisor James Ramos voted to approve the toll lane project. Both Chino Mayor Eunice Ulloa and Fifth District Supervisor Josie Gonzales voted against it.
Adelanto Mayor Rich Kerr, Barstow Mayor Julie McIntyre, Big Bear Lake Mayor Bill Jahn, Chino Hills Councilman Ed Graham, Hesperia Councilman Bill Holland, Loma Linda Mayor Rhodes Rigsby, Rialto Mayor Deborah Robertson, Twentynine Palms Councilman Joel Klink, Victorville Councilman Jim Kennedy, San Bernardino County Second District Supervisor Janice Rutherford and San Bernardino County Fourth District Supervisor Curt Hagman were not present.
Of those that supported the project, Wapner, who was reelected this week; Navarro, who was reelected this week; McCallon; Michael; Avila, who will be leaving office next month; and Denison remain in office.
Like virtually all of the 16 officeholders who supported the project, McNaboe escaped for five years being held to answer for the vote. She nearly avoided accountability this election cycle, as well, since the toll lanes are not in place yet and will not be visible for another 15 to 18 months. What tripped her up was that there has been some attention drawn to the pending completion of the project. As importantly, Hussey learned of the issue this summer. In addition, Grand Terrace is the county’s smallest city geographically and third smallest in terms of population. The ease with which information is spread among the city’s 13,372 residents and 7,869 registered voters within its 3.5-square mile confines redounded to McNaboe’s detriment.
By Mark Gutglueck