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Jurupa Valley Councilmembers should take a stand and say no to Pilot Flying J

By Mariana Juarez

Politicians keep making false promises to reduce traffic congestion, improve our air quality, and bring safety to Mira Loma, but keep falling short with each given opportunity.

On October 24, these officials were given the chance to show they represent their constituents’ best interests. However, despite dozens of Jurupa Valley community members voicing their fear of worsening respiratory health and frustration with increased traffic congestion, the Jurupa Valley Planning Commission went against community members and voted to approve the Pilot Flying J Travel Center–an 11-acre truck stop.

The City of Jurupa Valley has consistently blamed Riverside County for the poor planning decisions that poisoned the community of Mira Loma Village with mega warehouses, traffic and air pollution. The city was incorporated to have “local control over planning and zoning issues”, yet our elected officials are choosing to contribute even further to our daily nightmare of smog, noise, and street congestion.

For my husband and many others, the hundreds of trucks that currently travel by our home in Mira Loma Village have detrimental impacts on lungs. Mario has never smoked in his life. Yet, he’s been diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF)–a lung disease that results in the drying up of the lungs. The suffering has been immense for my husband; a double lung transplant, plus a dosage of 66 pills daily for respiratory alleviation has taken its toll. The proud homeowner of 30 years is no longer able to sit outside and enjoy the simplicity of the sun and wind. Those things are now hazards for him.

And while we suffer, it’s evident that city leaders continue to neglect the health and safety of our community. They refuse to acknowledge the adverse effects of diesel particulate pollution on sensitive communities like mine, and are quick to brush off the glaring problems the truck stop brings of worsened air quality and traffic that can’t be mitigated. Officials throw out ineffective solutions to stop truck idling and refuse to comment on implementing a restricted truck route–further proving the city’s neglect for our children, health, and livelihoods.

The Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice is supporting Mira Loma Village with its appeal of the truck stop decision. Our city council representatives now have the opportunity to also take a stand for community health and vote NO on the Flying J Travel Center on December 20. The life of my husband depends on it.

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