Nursing grudge, Ontario votes to oppose Chino’s Measure H

Catherine Borne, wearing a “No on H: Protect Chino” shirt, speaks to the Ontario City Council on Tuesday as her similarly clad husband, Barry, listens. Ontario voted 5-0 to oppose the Chino ballot measure.
Catherine Borne, wearing a “No on H: Protect Chino” shirt, speaks to the Ontario City Council on Tuesday as her similarly clad husband, Barry, listens. Ontario voted 5-0 to oppose the Chino ballot measure. Photo by David Allen

Following my usual practice, I checked the Chino and Ontario council agendas Tuesday to see which meeting held more interest. Chino seemed to have the edge going in because the council would be talking about how to fill a vacant seat.

But then Ontario’s agenda turned out to have this item: “Consideration of a resolution opposing Measure H in the city of Chino.”

Ontario and Chino, on the same agenda? Talk about a two-fer.

So at 6:30 p.m., I was in my seat in the Ontario council chambers, ready for anything, which is a good attitude to take when faced with the Ontario City Council.

To get you up to speed, Measure H is a special election July 11 to rezone 30 acres. Under the current zoning, 30 homes could be built, one per acre. The vote would allow 180 homes, an average of six per acre. Chino council members put H on the ballot on a 4-1 vote; the mayor opposed.

The project’s eastern boundary is Benson Avenue, which is half in Chino, half in Ontario. Several Ontario neighbors protested in front of Chino’s council and have since lobbied Ontario to take a position. Thus, Tuesday’s hearing.

Ontario has been supportive of the neighborhood, resident Judy Briggs reminded council members, by keeping the zoning semi-rural and allowing the keeping of animals. But that effort would unravel if Chino bulks up along its border, she said. Catherine and Barry Borne also stated their opposition.

Matt Evans, whose father-in-law, Ron Brewer, owns the land in question, took the lectern last.

“This all feels eerily familiar,” Evans said. (He’d told me he thought he’d attended his last public hearing on his project, not reckoning on another city holding one.)

Evans called it a Chino land-use matter outside Ontario’s jurisdiction, asking if this was a precedent Ontario wanted to set. “I don’t think it’s appropriate at all for Ontario to be influencing a Chino special election,” Evans said.

Like hedgehogs, Ontario’s council bristled.

Mayor Paul Leon brought up an issue from last year, when a developer was proposing a compost facility in Ontario, near Chino’s new water treatment plant, and Chino Councilman Tom Haughey, with two officials in tow, showed up to an Ontario council meeting to state their objections.


“Is it out of our jurisdiction? Yeah,” Leon said. “But we had an issue where a development in our city affected Chino. And we had Chino council members sitting here. They left their meeting to come to our meeting,” he marveled. “I didn’t leave our meeting to go to Chino’s meeting.”

Councilman Alan Wapner backed him up. “The precedent was set when the Chino City Council came into our community and tried to tell us what we should do,” Wapner said.

If only Haughey had been at Tuesday’s meeting. Leon and Wapner could have drawn a succession of lines on the carpet and dared him to cross them.

In the end, the vote was 5-0 to oppose Measure H. Ontario is more united about Chino than Chino is.

This vote came at 7:15. Wait, could I make Chino’s meeting too?

Obeying all traffic laws, I entered the Chino council chamber at 7:30. I hadn’t missed much, only a light moment when a doctor told Chino Mayor Eunice Ulloa he’d met her when he was a child.

Any vote was read off as “four yes, one vacant,” because longtime Councilman Glenn Duncan had resigned May 24. Yes, he finally submitted a letter of resignation, eight days after his last council meeting, saying his departure was effective June 4.

The council had two options: a special election in November to fill the seat through 2020 or an appointment to serve through November 2018.

Not surprisingly, the $100,000 cost for an election was deemed too high by council members. Value of picking a council member themselves? Priceless.

Applications are available on the city’s website and are due June 21. Applicants must live in District 1, the northwest area of the city. Interviews will take place July 12, with a decision expected July 18.

As the meeting broke up, I asked Haughey about the Ontario decision. He was surprised his appearance in Ontario last year had been deemed so offensive, saying he’d just stated the city’s position. (Ontario ultimately rejected the proposal anyway.)

Haughey said he wasn’t offended by the Measure H stance since the project is on Ontario’s border.

“More power to them,” Councilman Gary George said.

Ulloa, whom you’ll recall was the lone no vote on H, had not heard the outcome of Ontario’s meeting. She asked me and I told her.

She whispered “yes!” while pumping both fists.

“I mean, that’s very interesting,” the mayor said, adopting a bland demeanor. She smiled. “Good for them taking a position.”

On vacation

My position is that I’m taking a break to visit the Midwest, catch a Cardinals game and luxuriate in a green landscape. Meet you back here June 21.

David Allen (usually) writes Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. Contact or 909-483-9339, visit, like davidallencolumnist on Facebook and follow @davidallen909 on Twitter.

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David Allen

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