Events Overtaking Warren

For the fourth time in less than three months, Fontana Mayor Acquanetta Warren has sustained a solid blow that threatens to lessen or even annul her once preeminent position among the region’s local political leaders.
Having staked her reputation as the champion of warehouse construction in the Inland Empire by welcoming, since she became mayor in 2010, virtually every proposal to construct logistics facilities and distribution centers anywhere in the 43.07-square mile, 214, 307-population city she leads, Warren this month saw the tables turn drastically against her with the revelation that of the 168 warehouses in Fontana, 83 of them, or more than 49 percent, are out of compliance with the South Coast Air Quality Management District’s Rule 2305, also known as its Warehouse Indirect Source Rule.
Rule 2305 pertains to excessive nitrogen oxide and diesel particulate matter emissions from those warehouses.
Throughout her tenure as mayor, Warren has insisted that warehouse construction represents an economic and social boon to Fontana, in that the building of warehouses constitutes easy “economic advancement” for the community, which allows those with capital to acquire or tie up property and quickly convert the land into logistics facilities consisting of tilt-up buildings, thereby generating fast money and investment in the local economy. She has been so aggressive in accommodating warehouses that she has become known by those who both oppose and favor warehouse development as “Warehouse Warren.” Continue reading

Senator Dianne Feinstein 1933-2023

Senator Dianne Feinstein, California’s senior representative in the nation’s upper legislative house, has died. She was 90.
A Democrat, she was the oldest member of the Senate and, having been elected in 1992, the longest serving woman to ever serve in the chamber. Her 31 years in office also made her the longest-serving senator from California in the state’s 173-year history.
Born in San Francisco in 1933 and a 1955 Stanford graduate, Dianne Emiel Goldman Berman Feinstein’s rise as a political leader took place in the city of her birth. She was first elected to the San Francisco City Council in 1969. San Francisco is a consolidated city-county, the only such entity in California, with the city limits of San Francisco coterminous with the San Francisco County border. Its mayor is also the county’s chief executive, and the city council doubles as the county board of supervisors. Continue reading

Converting Mobilehome Parks To High Density Residential Subdivisions Seen As Mann’s Latest Yucaipa Pro-Development Ploy

The recent focus by Yucaipa municipal officials on revamping the city’s standards and protocols relating to the conversion of the city’s existing mobilehome parks into different land uses is being interpreted in many quarters of the city as part of City Manager Chris Mann’s strategy to facilitate development in the city at a pace than has historically been the case.
In particular, among residents of the city’s 41 mobilehome parks, there is concern that City Hall is clearing the way for the development industry to, in essence, shutter a significant number of the city’s trailer parks and transform those properties into residential subdivisions.
In 2016, city officials adjusted the Yucaipa General Plan and its specified policy with regard to maintaining existing mobile home parks or converting them to some other use, while putting in place a third mobilehome park overlay district. Concomitantly, the city cataloged seven of the city’s threadbare mobile home parks as antiquated, thereby offering to facilitate the reuse of the properties for other purposes.
At the Yucaipa Planning Commission meeting on September 6, the commission took up an item “proposing amendments to streamline the review process initially developed as part of Ordinance 344 [passed by the city council in 2016]… establishing mobilehome park conversion standards to comply with the city’s housing element.” Continue reading

At Least 13 Deaths In Mountains During Blizzard Of ’23

At least 13 people living in the San Bernardino Mountain Communities died during what is now referred to as the Blizzard of ‘23, an extreme weather event that lasted from February 22 until March 10, during which both the San Bernardino Mountains and San Bernardino National Forest/San Gorgonio Wilderness to the east and the San Gabriel and Angeles National Forest to the west were blanketed in snow drifts reaching or exceeding ten feet in depth.
While many of those who died were infirm or elderly, in most if not all of those 13 cases, the extreme cold, exposure and isolation which came about because of the weather were contributory causes to those deaths.
The 13 acknowledged deaths may not be the only fatalities that came about as a consequence of the severe winter storm. That quantification was made in the 2023 Mountain Storm Response Summary & After-Action Review completed by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department which was released earlier this month. In that report, the sheriff’s department states that the 13 deaths “in the San Bernardino Mountain Communities of Wrightwood, Big Bear, and the Twin Peaks” were reported during what the department called its “operational period,” which is roughly defined as falling between February 23, the day after the storm commenced and at which point the department began responding in earnest to the conditions, and March 16, at which point the county’s emergency operations center set up by the sheriff’s department and the county’s incident management team on February 28 was shut down. As such, it is possible other deaths occurred in the mountain communities during the storm that were not discovered or reported until after March 16. Continue reading

Chromium Standard Revamping Flummoxes 29 Palms H2O District

The Twentynine Palms Water District is beset with the challenge of having to treat the locally-derived water supply it is completely dependent upon for supply its domestic and commercial customers.
At issue is anticipated action by the State of California that will reduce the amount of hexavalent chromium permitted in drinking water from the current 50 parts per billion to 10 parts per billion.
Hexavalent chromium, also known as chromium-6 or chromium VI, is a form of the metal chromium. Chromium is a naturally occurring element found in rocks, animals, plants, soil, and volcanic dust and gases. It comes in several different forms, including trivalent chromium and hexavalent chromium. Trivalent chromium is often referred to as chromium (III) and is proposed to be an essential nutrient for the body. Hexavalent chromium, while existing in nature, in most cases is produced by industrial processes.
Hexavalent chromium is used in textile dyes, leather tanning, pigments in dyes, including textile dyes, paints, primers, surface coatings, chromate conversion coatings, inks and plastics, wood preservation and anticorrosive products. It is used in the process of chromic acid electroplating. It can be derived through high-temperature industrial processes such as welding involving stainless steel or chromium, during which other forms of chromium are converted to a hexavalent state. Continue reading

Upland To Dispose Of Half Acre Near Downtown

Over the objections of some city residents, the Upland City Council this week cleared the way to divest itself of a half-acre near its downtown district.
At least three anomalies attended the action, however, which include the city having maximized the density of the development to take place on the land, failing to specify precisely why it chose the purchaser it did over a competing offer, and failing to disclose the financial terms of the sale, i.e., the selling price of the property.
The property in question, identified as Assessor’s Parcel Number 1046-433-25, consists of 0.49 acres located at the southwest corner of Washington Boulevard and 6th Avenue. The staff report relating to the proposed sale makes no mention of how the city was previously making use of the property or how it came into the city’s possession.
On August 10, 2020, the city adopted a resolution declaring the property surplus. The staff report states, “[T]he City no longer needs the property for its own purposes.”
In accordance with the Surplus Land Act, in August 2020 the city transmitted notices of availability for the property to all parties it was required by law to notify, including the state Department of Housing and Community Development. The city received two letters of interest for the property during the waiting period required by law, but neither potential purchaser submitted a fully completed project proposal nor was willing to pay fair market value for the property, which, according to the city, rendered those proposals inconsistent with the requirements of the Surplus Land Act.
With the statutory window on its original notice of availability having elapsed, the city on January 6, 2022 issued a request for proposals to identify other interested purchasers, resulting in two responses. One of those was from Crestwood Communities to develop six single-family attached row homes on the property. Another came in from Gibson Construction to develop an 8-unit apartment complex. Without offering the rationale for having rejected Crestwood Communities’ offer, the staff report states, “The city selected Gibson Construction’s proposal, and has now negotiated a substantially final purchase and sale agreement.”
The city did not include a copy of the purchase and sale agreement in the packet of information released in conjunction with the agenda for Monday night’s meeting and nowhere in the report is there a disclosure of the purchase price offered by Gibson nor a disclosure of Crestwood’s offer.
In placing the item on the agenda for Monday night’s meeting, city officials included the resolution of the intention to sell the property on the consent calendar, a litany of matters considered to be noncontroversial which are voted upon with a single vote, with the separate actions not distinguished from one another.
An Upland resident and a co-founder of People For Upland Parks, Natasha Walton, addressed the city council ahead of that vote, stating, “I ask that you tonight seriously consider preserving as much of the remaining city-owned land as possible to become park land. In particular, please do not sell the public land being discussed under Item 10 B tonight. This parcel, which is approximately .4 acres south of Washington Boulevard and West of Sixth Avenue, could be developed into a public park, using money from the city’s park development fund and/or funding that may soon be available. The parcel discussed under Item 10 B is located in an area in southeast Upland where recently approved and newly-planned housing developments will be requiring more open spaces for recreation. Having a dedicated city park on a parcel adjacent to the Pacific Electric Trail would not only be a wonderful addition near the Upland historical district but would also allow a large portion of the walking and cycling community easy access to another city park. Once our public land is gone, it is gone. As we increase the housing density on privately owned lands, we must be able to provide for more open spaces on our public lands. If we let our public lands disappear, our city will not be able to provide new parks and preserve the quality of life that Upland residents should be able to enjoy.”
Despite Walton’s entreaty, the council unanimously voted to approve the consent calendar.
-Mark Gutglueck

1,400 Warehouses In Southern California Under AQMD Pollutants Control Noncompliance Review

The South Coast Air Quality Management District is seeking to confirm preliminary findings that 1,400 warehouses in Southern California, including hundreds in San Bernardino County, have not conformed with the air pollution standards established for the logistics industry in this region.
On September 20, the South Coast AQMD heralded its effort to ensure warehouses within its jurisdiction into compliance with its Warehouse Indirect Source Rule, also referred to as Rule 2305.
Rule 2305, passed by South Coast Air Quality Management District’s governing board in May 2021, requires the reduction of nitrogen oxide and particulate matter emissions produced by light- and heavy-duty trucks and tractor-trailers traveling to and from warehouses. It applies to warehouses with at least 100,000 square feet of indoor floor space in a single building. Under the Warehouse Indirect Source Rule, warehouses/distribution centers must directly reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) and diesel particulate matter emissions (PM) or otherwise facilitate emission and exposure reduction of those pollutants in nearby communities.
According to the South Coast AQMD, “About 55 percent of warehouses that are required to provide information reports on the actions they took in the first year have yet to do so. Overall, there are 2,000 warehouses currently subject to the rule, with 1,400 of those currently out of compliance. Violators of air quality rules can face civil penalties of up to $11,710 per day of noncompliance based on a strict liability standard. Continue reading

Salinas City Manager, To Whom SB Extended Job Offer As Top Administrator, Withdraws Application

Salinas City Manager Steve Carrigan, who was chosen by the five-member majority of the San Bernardino’s eight elected leaders to serve as the county seat’s next city manager in August and had signaled his acceptance of that job offer, unilaterally withdrew his application for the position yesterday.
“Earlier this morning, I contacted the recruiter and removed my name from consideration for the position of San Bernardino City Manager,” Carrigan wrote in a memo to the Salinas municipal staff on September 28. “Over the past few weeks I have had time to think about what’s important to me from a personal and a professional standpoint and I have decided that Salinas is the best place for me.”
Since December 2022, when former San Bernardino City Manager Robert Field recognized that his remaining in that position was no longer tenable following the election of Helen Tran as mayor the previous month and tendered his resignation, the city has been seeking a replacement. In January, former San Bernardino City Manager Charles McNeely, who held the post from 2009 until 2012, agreed to guide the city in an interim capacity until a replacement manager is found. McNeely, who is retired, under the rules of the California Public Employees Retirement System is permitted to work for a public agency in California no more than 960 hours per fiscal year running July 1 through June 30. He has been on the job, full time continuously for practically nine full months at this point. Since the onset of the 2023-24 Fiscal Year on July 1, he has worked roughly 520 hours, such that he is on a pace to be forced to leave as San Bernardino’s city manager on or about December 15. Continue reading