Bobbi Chavarria, a former mayoral candidate, said Fontana has oppressed the community by implementing DUI/driver’s license checkpoints that target the Hispanic population, has done little to combat blight, and continues to appoint leaders with the same mentality, thus preventing equal representation.
The Occupy Wall Street movement has spread to several cities across the nation, and on Oct. 12, about 35 Inland Empire residents held their first general assembly to briefly “occupy” the City of Fontana in front of City Hall.
Organized by “everybody” and for “everybody,” the assembly brought together concerned residents, mostly young college students who expressed their frustration with the system that they claimed “oppresses” them and takes away their “chance to succeed.”
“We want democracy to work. We want representation. We want basic human rights. The Inland Empire needs to be occupied and especially Fontana, because we believe our leaders are protecting the (top) 1 percent of the population,” said Tommy Purvis, a local activist.
Erik Jimenez, a Rancho Cucamonga resident and FedEx employee, said that the system has created a high unemployment rate in the region that affects graduating students and the community as a whole. Jimenez agreed that Fontana needs to be occupied in order to produce solutions to the poverty which is afflicting the community.
The unemployment rate in the Inland Empire (San Bernardino and Riverside counties) is 14 percent, and the San Bernardino has been ranked the most poverty-stricken large city in the state with a 34.6 percent poverty rate.