10:05 PM PST on Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Press-Enterprise

Dozens of community volunteers took to the sun-drenched streets of the Jurupa Valley on Saturday morning, preaching the gospel of incorporation.

The goal over the next four weeks is to knock on the doors of 4,000 likely voters to get them to support cityhood for the Jurupa Valley in the March 8 special election, said Rachel Lopez, community organizer for the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice.

Volunteers also will be knocking on doors on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to noon and 3 to 6 p.m.

“This is our community,” Lopez said. “Through cityhood, we’ll have a local vote on local issues.”

The group is a Glen Avon-based activist organization that has worked on environmental and safety issues for more than 30 years.

It also built Glen Avon Heritage Park on Mission Boulevard, where Saturday’s event kicked off at 8:15 a.m. with doughnuts, coffee, music and a rally.

Although she did not attend Saturday’s event, Penny Newman, the group’s founder and executive director, released a statement saying it was critical that everyone vote on cityhood.

“As an unincorporated area, we’ve had little voice in the decisions affecting us,” Newman said. “We need to incorporate so that we have the legal status to challenge projects affecting our area.”

The Jurupa Valley is composed of the communities of Mira Loma, Glen Avon, Pedley, Sunnyslope, Rubidoux, Belltown, Jurupa Hills and Indian Hills. It has a population of 85,000-plus residents.

There are an estimated 31,000 registered voters who are eligible to vote in the March 8 special election. If the incorporation question — Measure A on the ballot — receives a simple majority, the Jurupa Valley will become Riverside County’s 28th city.

Volunteers on Saturday told residents that cityhood for the Jurupa Valley would mean more control over local issues.

Voters also will be asked to vote for five City Council members who would serve if cityhood is approved.

At 9:45 a.m. Saturday, volunteers in groups of two or three fanned out through the communities armed with precinct maps, lists of the names, addresses and telephone number of registered voters and information pamphlets.

Lopez headed to Sky Country, an equestrian community in Mira Loma, with team members Lorena Jimenez and college student Abby Volkmann.

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