We've learned that the Record Gazette, who had a reporter at the Beaumont city council meeting in which the warehouse plan was questioned by the AQMD (Air Quality Management District), didn't feel the warehouse story warranted a report.
We've learned the Press Enterprise, while late to the discussion, has decided this story is too important to ignore. Here are links to their articles. Please read them.
The Press Enterprise articles were well done and very informative. I want to thank Danile Danelski and Craig Schultz for providing us with information of which I was unaware. I want to encourage them, and the Press Enterprise editors, to continue this investigative reporting. It helps to keep our elected officials in check.
We've known for some time now if we want to get prompt accurate reporting that we can rely first on the Banning-Beaumont Patch. I think this issue has awaken more Beaumont citizens to this fact.
We've learned, from the Press Enterprise articles, that our city allowed a warehouse developer to hire an outside consultant to amend a 20 year old environmental analysis. It is this analysis that
"found that only 4 percent of the vehicles visiting the distribution center would be diesel trucks; the district (AQMD) estimates 40 percent."
The city estimated pollution from smog-forming nitrogen oxides would be about 100 pounds a day; the air district contends a more realistic figure is 2,500 pounds a day.
It is also this report that the Mayor was relying on when he told us that residential cars for the housing development for which the property is currently is zoned,would generate less pollutants than the trucks that would service the proposed 5 warehouses.
A few more things we've learned...
We've learned that our Director of Planning - Ernest Eggers; our planning department; our Planning Commisioners; our City Manager - Alan Kapanicas; our Mayor - Roger Berg; and the rest of our council members were all comfortable relying on a 20 year old study (with an amendment paid for by the property owner asking for the questionable zoning change) to make decisions that would irreversibly change the landscape of our community and risk the health of our families.
Now we are hearing from Councilman DeForge on the city's Facebook page that if we want information we should just ask a direct question instead of "...complaining on the Patch." This is coming from someone who has been front and center in council meetings witnessing how citizens who ask direct questions are treated by our mayor, his fellow council members and city administrators.
Mayor Berg is determined these warehouses will be built. Just because the city council was caught not doing the due diligence they were elected to do, don't consider this issue dead. The city still needs to find a way to fund the debt they claim they don't have. And, the developer has invested too much to walk away just because of a small delay. I am confident there will be another EIR (Environmental Impact Report) which will be used to justify the warehouses.
We need to still be vocal and let the city council know the direction we want them to take, We need to make sure they understand our families are too important for us to allow them to rely on faulty, out of date studies. Please make every effort to attend as many future board meetings as you are able. You don't have to get up and speak but your support will give others the confidence to speak out for you.