Chino city council candidates at the Oct. 12 candidates forum addressed road improvements and COVID's impact on businesses as the top issues at the forum sponsored by the Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce.
Candidates were interviewed in two groups: one for the at-large position of mayor and a combined group for candidates of Districts 1 and 4.
Incumbent Eunice Ulloa has been involved with the Chino City Council since 1984 and has served for 16 years as mayor.
Her top three issues were fiscal stability, encouraging businesses to reopen and public safety.
Her opponent, Christopher Hutchinson, was absent. On Wednesday he told the Champion that he owns construction companies in Orange County and had an unexpected work emergency.
The mayor said Chino’s General Fund is approximately $91 million this year, with reserves of about $45 million and anticipated reserves of $42 million at year’s end. She said the city’s seven percent COVID infection rate is low and “we need to get back to living.”
“Destroying the whole community is just crazy,” Mrs. Ulloa said. “My position is open up, but be safe.”
The mayor said the city is tough on crime and she wants criminals to know to “stay out of Chino."
When asked if the General Plan was a living document, the mayor replied “Yes, the citizens have a say.”
She also said that zoning needs to be adhered to.
Regarding what the city is doing about large vacant shopping centers in north Chino, the mayor said, “I hope the public understands we cannot go in and put money into them because they are privately owned.”
Mrs. Ulloa said street improvements were in process to improve traffic in the Preserve.
Districts 1 and 4
Preserve traffic issues were addressed by District 4 candidates Karen Comstock, Erskine Dunson and Brandy Jones.
Anthony Honore, also running in District 4, was absent.
Mr. Honore said he missed the forum because he was not feeling well. District 4 encompasses the entire west side of Chino from the 60 Freeway at Walnut Avenue to the Preserve area south of Pine Avenue.
Tom Haughey represented the district from 2016-20. He chose not to seek reelection after five terms on the city council.
Mr. Dunson said he feels the residents’ concerns have been ignored by city leaders and a development plan is needed.
As a Preserve resident, he said he was “disgusted and outraged” when roads flooded with sludge from the dairies.
Ms. Jones, who lives in the Preserve area, named road improvements as her top issue, along with bringing in more shopping venues and needed services to the area.
Ms. Comstock, who retired last year as Chino police chief, said she is familiar with all parts of the city, including the infrastructure and development in south Chino. She said smart technology can be used to address traffic issues.
Incumbent Paul Rodriguez, representing District 1 in the north end of Chino, said the top three issues are COVID, infrastructure for Wi-Fi and road improvements.
Mr. Rodriguez was first appointed to the city council in 2017 and the following year was elected to District 1.
He said he is in a study group for feasibility on broadband access with representatives of San Bernardino County, the school board, Chamber of Commerce and the computer technology company Oracle.
Mr. Rodriguez said his campaign signs had been removed and the Chino Police are investigating it as a criminal act. Christopher Flores, who is challenging Mr. Rodriguez in District 1, said land use and the impact of COVID on small businesses were the top issues. Mr. Flores said he has been canvassing in his district for more than two months and the area south of Riverside Drive and north of Schaefer Avenue because it “doesn’t get a lot of love.”
Mr. Flores said if elected he would bring in new ideas and will follow the city council in taking a prudent approach to finances. The forum can be viewed on YouTube. Search City of Chino Candidate Forum 2020.