Why Fontana's mayor met with President Trump

By Jim Steinberg, The Sun

Fontana Mayor Acquanetta Warren at the request of the Trump Administration took a recent trip to Washington.

Warren was one of 10 mayors, eight governors and nearly a dozen county officials and tribal leaders from throughout the country to attend an Infrastructure Summit on June 8 at the White House

“I don’t know how I was chosen,” Warren said Thursday, “but I was the only one from California” to attend. During the discussion about the nation’s infrastructure needs Warren was seated immediately on President Donald Trump’s right.

While on the trip, Warren and City Manager Ken Hunt, who accompanied her on the trip, also participated in a workshop with Vice President Mike Pence, where, Warren said, they were able to talk about specifics and present suggestions. There was also a 45 minute meeting with Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao where Warren said she discussed the Inland Empire’s role as a logistics hub for the whole country.

“At my (January) State of the City address, when I talked about taking Fontana national, I didn’t dream it would happen this fast,” Warren said.

She plans to continue her discussion with Chao and other Cabinet members as well as reach out to regional partners and seek assistance in addressing the Inland Empire’s needs at the national level.

“Our ability to work as a region will give us the attention that we need,” Warren said.

Among the points Warren said she, Hunt, and others stressed to Chao was the need for streamlining the federal permitting process.

“All federal level permitting is well intentioned but it creates unnecessary costs and delays,” Warren said. “We will all benefit if the permitting process is streamlined.”

In addition to being Fontana’s mayor, Warren has been active in the National League of Cities and was formerly deputy director of public works for the city of Upland.

“Whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, when your mayor shows up at the White House and sits to the right of the president, that’s pretty impressive,” said Fontana City Councilman John Roberts.

Roberts said he believes the trip significantly furthered the delivery of the message, that the Inland Empire, and Fontana, play a major role in goods movement across the country.

“I think the federal government will step up (with funding) for needed infrastructure,” Roberts said.

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