On Wednesday, April 17, a coalition of community organizations generated a town hall meeting to introduce public input to the development process of the proposed San Bernardino International Airport Air Cargo Logistics Center.
“Over 300 people showed up to the town hall meeting and community members witnessed how many individuals actually care about the community. We were just disappointed that none of the invited elected officials showed up,” said Ben Reynoso, ICUC/SBGN community organizer.
The coalition of community organizations included Inland Congregations United for Change (ICUC), SBGN (San Bernardino Generation Now), Teamsters 1932, The Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice (CCAEJ), IC4IJ, SEIU2015, Warehouse Workers Resource Center (WWRC), The Central Labor Council (CLC), Sierra Club (My Gen Campaign) and the Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice (IC4IJ).
At the meeting attendees were engaged and voiced concerns regarding the project.
“San Bernardino International Airport is helping a developer, Hillwood Enterprises, build a new air cargo logistics facility on airport property, bringing an estimated 1,500 – 4000 new jobs to the region and adding 26 flights to the local airspace,” said Mario Vasquez, communications coordinator – Teamsters Local 1932.
“Unfortunately, the Airport Authority (SBIAA) did not engage with community members throughout the development process in any meaningful way, and there is concern over potential environmental impacts and poor job quality,” continued Vasquez.
At the town hall meeting, many shared that they felt San Bernardino’s proposed “rebirth” is not very promising.
“San Bernardino residents are not feeling the rebirth because the mostly warehousing jobs that Hillwood has brought to San Bernardino typically do not pay enough for workers to support a family,” Reynoso said.
“People who still worry how they’re going to pay their out-of-town landlord every month, and people who can’t afford decent healthcare or consistent healthy meals for their families don’t patronize local businesses and stimulate the local economy. Hillwood has brought us jobs but it has not replaced the economic engine that Norton was,” continued Reynoso.
Many attendees believe the forthcoming Eastgate Air Cargo Logistics Center (which will be located on the north side of the runway) tenant/operator will be Amazon, whom already operates its fulfillment center at the airport.
Another factor that caused concern at the meeting was the potential environmental impacts the project may have.
“This project also comes with possible environmental impacts. This project will be bringing in 15,000 to 22,000 more diesel trucks into the city. Also, there is currently no flight ordinances in the city; and within the next five years they’re expecting 25 to 35 more flights per day,” Reynoso said. “I encourage all of you to join our fight for good jobs and healthy communities at SBAirportCommunities.org,” concluded Reynoso.