Three candidates are seeking the District 4 seat in the Fontana City Council election on Nov. 6.
The candidates are:
• John B. Roberts, the incumbent Fontana City Council member
• Glenda A. Barillas, business development director
• Patricia A. Gonzalez, businesswoman/nurse/educator
This is the first year that the City of Fontana has implemented a district election system for choosing City Council members instead of an at-large system. As a result, only voters who reside within the boundaries of District 4 (in southern Fontana) may vote in the District 4 election.
The Fontana Herald News sent questionnaires to all of the above candidates, asking them to provide information about their qualifications, as well as their three top priorities if they were to be elected. Their responses are printed below (not all of the candidates returned the questionnaires):
----- GLENDA BARILLAS
• Occupation: Director of business development
• Political experience: This will be my first time running for office. I have been politically active in the Inland Empire for three years. I first got involved organizing my community and across county and state lines for a national campaign in the summer of 2015. I've volunteered for several different local campaigns since.
• Family information: I have yet to marry or have children, although I have had family in Fontana for almost 30 years and want to start my own family here.
• Educational background: I attended California State University of Los Angeles for a time after first graduating high school, and have recently gone back to school at Chaffey to pursue degrees in both public policy and business.
• Endorsed by these groups: Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO of San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, Committee on Political Education (COPE); Chicano Latino Caucus of San Bernardino County; Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters; United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 1167; California Young Democrats; CYD Women's Caucus; San Bernardino County Democratic Central Committee; San Bernardino County Young Democrats; Fontana Democratic Club; Catalina's List, Progressive PAC. I have also been endorsed by Congressman Pete Aguilar; State Sen. Connie M. Leyva; Assemblymember Eloise Gomez-Reyes; San Bernardino County Supervisor, Third District James Ramos; Fontana City Councilmembers Jesse Sandoval, and Michael Tahan; and FUSD Board Members Mary Sandoval and Jason O'Brien.
Community involvement: Once I understood that all politics are local, I delved more deeply into the City Council meetings, even speaking up during public comments about some of the issues facing our communities. I joined several local organizations and was elected as an Executive Board member to each. I have continued organizing around local issues such as the over-abundance of warehouse development along the Interstate 10 corridor, the redistricting process that Fontana went through last year, and air quality issues -- since our region has the worst air quality in the entire United States.
• Top three priorities:
-- If elected, one of my first priorities will be to champion Responsible, Smart, and Sustainable Development. This means looking at proposed building projects from all angles to determine the real impact that they will have on surrounding communities, and the city as a whole, not just now but long-term. To help achieve this, I will take the feedback that I have heard from the community and apply it when voting on re-zoning decisions within the city, or approving projects and policy. Over the last decade, we’ve seen an abundance of warehouses encroaching on our schools and homes in District 4 and there are plans to build more. It will be my job to advocate on behalf of the people that live in my district as those votes come up to ensure that everything is done with their best interests at heart. The city is currently in the process of updating our General Plan, which was last voted on in October of 2003. This sets Fontana’s physical development blueprint for the next 10-20 years, so I will be paying close attention to this particular policy which will be up for a vote shortly after this election.
-- The General Plan segues into another priority of mine: Economic Development. The goal is to increase opportunities for good-paying jobs and support small business creation. When we look at the city, and in particular my District, we lack spaces for professional jobs. We have little to no office buildings, and seems to only be catering to larger scale companies. Small businesses are what fuel our middle class and to shut them out of parts of our city is absurd. I plan to work closely with the City Manager, fellow Council members, Chamber of Commerce and our Planning Commission to see that small businesses have the opportunity to thrive throughout the city. This includes looking at the way we’ve planned commercial zoning (office buildings, retail shops and restaurants -- which could bring more local jobs) in the General Plan for District 4, and allocating resources to building up my District.
My final priority for my first year as the representative for District 4 is to Increase Transparency at City Hall, and Bring the City to the Community. I would accomplish this by holding community meetings within my District, setting an example that could be implemented in the other Districts. The purpose would be to meet the community where they are to let everyone know, as their Councilmember, what is going on in the city and to promote the type of meaningful discussions that have been missing for too long. This would also be a place for members of the community to voice their concerns or opinions on what is happening in their neighborhoods. In this way, we can create accountability and bring back a true sense of community.
----- JOHN B. ROBERTS
• Occupation: City Councilman; retired fire chief
• Political experience: Fontana City Council Member 1992-2018
• Family information: Married, four children, nine grandchildren
• Educational background: Chaffey College Fire Academy 1972
• Endorsed by these groups:
-- Fontana Police Officer Association
-- San Bernardino County Firefighters Association
-- Sheriff’s Employee’s Benefit Association
-- International Association of Firefighters Local 935
-- Teamsters Local 1932
-- FOP - Fraternal Order of Police
-- CCLEA - California Coalition of Law Enforcement Associations
-- SCALE - Southern California Alliance of Law Enforcement
• Community involvement:
-- Inland Empire Utilities Agency Policy Committee member and past Chairman
-- Omnitrans Board of Directors, past Chairman
-- Fontana Housing Authority, Past Chairman
-- San Bernardino County Flood Control (Alternate)
-- Fontana Redevelopment Agency, past Chairman
-- Fontana Fire Protection District, President
-- Water of Life Church
-- San Bernardino County Fire Department (Division Chief)
• Top three priorities:
1) Continue to work with our local fire and police department to ensure the safety of our community to keep Fontana prospering. We are one of the 20 safest cities in the nation and we must continue along that path.
2) Ensure the well being and quality of life to Fontana residents, by implementing programs that allow for the community to be directly engaged with local matters.
3) Continuing to strive for more infrastructure and entertainment by obtaining funds through grants.