Friday, February 29, 2008

Around Pomona 2/29-3/6

Saturday 3/1:

Tuesday 3/4:
  • Pomona Public Library has Story Time 10:15AM for children 2-5 years old.
  • Homework Assistance Center @ Pomona Public Library. Cal Poly Students will be on hand to offer help to elementary students in grades 3 to 6 with their homework. Hours: Tuesday & Thursday: 4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. Wed: 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. For more info, contact Charlene Wyatt from Americorps Promise Fellow Center for Community Service Learning - Cal Poly Pomona @ (909) 869-3129

Wednesday 3/5:
  • Historic Preservation Commission meets @ 6:30PM in City Council Chambers. Here is a map with the items on the agenda
  • Farmer's Market in Metro Pomona (4-8PM) @ Garey and 2nd Street.
  • dba256 is offering a Wednesday Wine Tasting Event Syrah Vs. Shiraz 6-9pm
  • Pomona Public Library offers Grandparents & Books
    3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Grandparents read aloud to children of all ages
Thursday 3/6:
  • Police Community Engagement Meeting @ PUSD Village @ Indian Hill 1460 East Holt Ave., Ste #14 From 4:30 to 6:30 PM
  • Pomona School District's Community Meeting @Garey High School 6:30-8PM Student Achievement, Educational Programs, District Facilities, School Safety and Security will be discussed. Please RVSP: 909-397-4800, ext. 3758

If I missed anything, even if it's not in this city, please comment.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

fits in a suitcase

Apparently you can take it with you -- earthquakes, I mean. Last night at 12:57am, I awoke to feel that oh-so-familiar swaying. I didn't feel the P-wave, but I imagine that's what woke me up. Awww... a little touch of CA in the UK!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Pomona Paints

The Daily Bulletin has a nice photo gallery from the Darfur tent painting which took place in Metro Pomona on Sunday Feb. 24th . I love the term Metro Pomona (it also plugs the website According to the DB, the art event was the brainchild of Cherie Savoie, owner of Savoie Hair salon in ..........Metro Pomona, of course.

Thanks also to Monica Rodriguez for reporting on the event.

Image from Sally Egan. Check out her photos at

Monday, February 25, 2008


Due to a number of councilmembers not being able to attend tonight's meeting, the meeting has been Cancelled for lack of a quorum.

Thanks to councilmember Paula Lantz for letting me know so I could let you know.

I just checked the city's official web site, and of course, there's no mention of the meeting being cancelled either on the main page or on the page with the agenda.

double trouble

I get an email notification every time someone posts a comment here, and lately I've noticed a lot of comments showing up twice. Before I complain to Blogger, I want to make sure this isn't happening by accident -- doubleclicking when a single click'll do ya, etc. Also, I can't tell whether it's happening with all comments or just some. Any data points folks want to add, about things working either wrong or right?

Sunday, February 24, 2008


Today's DB says that Nell Soto, despite her long absence from Sacramento, has pulled the paperwork to run for reelection.

Who'm I gonna vote for if it's between Nell and Norma?

Friday, February 22, 2008

In The Community (2/23- 2/28)

It appears John and I had a similar thought (that's a little scary). ;-)

Upcoming Events:
Saturday (23rd):
Sunday (24th):
  • A group of Pomona artists @ 2PM will be painting a tent destined for a family in Darfur. If it rains, the tent can be found at dA Center for the Arts, 252-D S. Main St, otherwise you can see it in front of the Cal Poly Pomona Downtown Center ( 300 block W 2nd street).
  • Tour of California finishes in Pasadena.
Monday (25th):
  • Planning Commission/Council Meeting (see John's post below)
Tuesday (26th):
Wednesday (27th):
Thursday (28th):
  • PUSD Community Meeting 6:30-8:00 PM at Pomona High School. To be discussed: Student Achievement, Educational Programs, District Facilities, School Safety and Security

Special Meeting on Monday

There will be a special joint Planning Commission / Council meeting on Monday, Feb. 25 at 7:00 pm. It is being held at the Ganesha Park community center. This is the remaining items from the meeting that was held at Ganesha on Feb. 11.

I have posted additional information on the Pomona Heritage Web Site.
If you have any interest in the Mills Act (tax breaks for historic homes), Fences in the historic districts, or alternative window materials in historic districts, please come to this meeting and let the council know how you feel.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

2 Meetings

There were two important meetings last night.

First is the previously mentioned meeting to discuss the possible closure of Monroe Street at Orange Grove. This meeting was held with the city public works department at the Ebell Museum and saw approximately 20 residents of the 2-block long Monroe Street in attendance.

The city showed three possible alternatives for consideration. The problem on Monroe is that it is a short street that does not go directly through the neighborhood. It goes a block and curves back onto McKinley Avenue and is used as a high-speed short cut for a lot of folks, many of whom also run the stop sight at Bradford.

The first alternative was to create a "traffic diversion" at the intersection of Monroe and Bradford. This would force any car, coming from any direction, to make a right turn when they came to that corner. My own take on this was that it would probably stop the cut-through traffic, but would also cause difficulty for those who were trying to get around in the neighborhood.

The second alternative was to close Monroe to traffic coming off of Orange Grove traveling east, but allow traffic to exit the neighborhood when travelling west onto Orange Grove. This would certainly stop the cut-through traffic, as most of it is coming off of Orange Grove, not going onto Orange Grove, which is difficult to make turns onto at that point.

The third alternative was to completely close off Monroe and create Lincoln Park's only cul-de-sac. This would completely eliminate traffic in the 100 block of Monroe, except for residents.

The residents offered other alternatives such as enhanced signage with flashing lights, or creating an "island" at the very wide entrance to Monroe from Orange Grove to slow traffic down as it enters the neighborhood.

This now goes for further study with the input from the residents and city staff has promised another meeting to further discuss these issues, expanding the notification to other surrounding streets that might be impacted.

The other meeting of the night was a special study session of the Pomona Historic Preservation Commission. This meeting, which was not very well noticed (Pomona Heritage received information on it in Tuesday's mail), was called to discuss three items, 1) Possible changes to the Mills Act, 2) Fencing in the historic districts, and 3) Alternative materials for windows in the historic districts.

Mills Act.
The Mills Act allows citizens in historic buildings to have their property taxes recalculated so that they might have significant savings, up to 40%, to apply toward preservation and maintenance of the historic nature of the property. This is used by many cities to encourage residents to keep their properties in good shape and conform to historic standards. The citizen enters into a contract with the city that they will do certain things with their tax savings which are put directly into the structure. Pomona's version of the Mills Act was so onerous that to qualify you had to spend 10 years worth of savings within the first five years, making it a financial burden rather than a saving, and projects were very restricted. The city is looking to bring Pomona's Mills Act to be more like other cities who have successfully used it as a tool for preservation of their historic neighborhoods.

Fencing. With the city adopting the "picket fence" program and updating fence codes citywide, there is a move to amend to the historic ordinance to ensure that fencing within the historic districts is not out of character with the historic nature of the districts. It would, like the rest of the city, restrict the use of chain link and "garbage materials," as well as suggesting that more modern materials such as vinyl would be out of place in the historic setting.

Windows. This is a major issue for the city council. The historic ordinance says that repairs to historic buildings should use similar materials to the original. However, the current "fad" is for vinyl windows which are not similar in any way to the materials on our historic homes. Use of such materials would take structures from contributing status to non-contributing status under state and federal historic guidelines. The problem is that all over the city, people are putting in new windows without getting permits. In non-historic areas, when this is caught, the homeowner has only to pull a permit retroactively and they're done, but in historic districts, because of the requirements for maintaining the historic integrity of the buildings, thy need to come into conformance with the rules of the ordinance. So a large number of these cases, where unpermitted work was done, come before the commission and ultimately before the city council. Residents moan and cry about the cost of coming into compliance and it is a bad situation all 'round. So, the city council asked if alternative materials could be considered. However, it is Pomona Heritage's stance that the ordinance and the Secretary of the Interior's guidelines are clear and that alternative materials would have a significant effect on the historic character of the districts.

All of these issues will now be discussed at a special City Council workshop scheduled for next Monday, Feb. 25. I certainly hope that those interested will attend and add their voices to the debate (on either side fo the issues).

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Who stole the press releases?

Lost: 48 City of Pomona Press Releases from city website.
Reward: Civic Pride? Job with the city's IT department?
Description of perpetrator: Appears to be an inside job. Last seen running to Claremont, holding the press release titled "Pomona named Tree City, USA".

For more info, please click the following: "I could swear I put them right here"

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Say "Cheeeeez"

The recent snafu of the Pomona PD made it all the way to the LA Times. In case you boycott the Times, the Daily Bulletin and the SGV Tribune, the body of a 23 year old Covina woman was discovered in an abandoned van illegally parked at the Pomona Civic Center. Even more bizarre, it was reported that the driver parked the van in a space reserved for the Pomona police. Rather than laying out all of the details, lets just say the Pomona PD handed over the van to the family without fully checking out the interior. You can probably guess what the family found under a blanket and some clothes in the back of the van.

I'm not here to harp on the police (hopefully, our mayor will take a similar high road). Instead I sit wondering why the Civic Center and its immediate surroundings aren't blanketed with security cameras. Or are they? In a city where the residents have littered the streets with speed humps to provide 24/7 relief from speeders, why not strategically-place security cameras to offer 24/7 police presence. If there was ever a city that needed to do more with less, it's M-M-M-My Pomona.

This photo (c. 1969) was taken from the Pomona Public Library Digital Collections and in no part is related to the ongoing criminal investigation. However, it does illustrate the evidentiary value in an opportune photo.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

"You Gotta Be Cruel To Be Kind," my foot

In case you don't read Foothill Cities Blog or Curbed LA, Pomona flunked its Clean Air Exam -- the only city in Southern California to get a dunce cap.

Turns out that the invigilator, the American Lung Association, isn't grading us on particulate matter, or heavy metals, or anything like that, but the city's anti-smoking efforts. I guess the ALA only cares about tar and nicotine, not sulfur dioxide or airborne cadmium.

Too often, smoking is a class issue. I don't know enough about the revenue sources of other LA County municipalities, but I note that Baldwin Park -- which I think of as a "working" class city (lord, I hate that term -- like the middle class doesn't work?) -- got an A on the test.

Nonetheless, I just don't see a big campaign to get our citizens to quit smoking as a good use of our very limited city resources, and that goes double for passing (and, more importantly, enforcing) a law preventing people from having a smoke in their usual venues.

Our Fair City has a lot of down-on-their-luck denizens. They know as well as anyone that they shouldn't smoke; they know it's killing them (and that cigs are expensive). Spending city dollars to keep them from smoking seems just plain mean.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

General Plan Meeting

Well, last night was the special joint planning/council workshop session on planning issues, including an update on the general plan. As noted in the agenda in my previous post, there were several issues that were actually being presented.

The meeting was a little over half an hour late because the council had a closed session meeting (at City Hall, which meant they had to drive to Ganesha Park afterward) to discuss the city manager situation (nothing to report). By the time the meeting began the room was full with standing room only. It appears that the mayor sent out 5,000 letters inviting the community to this meeting. Interestingly, no one from Lincoln Park that I've talked to received any of these invitations. I asked a staff member about them and he said that he understood that they all went to Phillips Ranch and Ganesha Hills (although I found out that a lot of them were received in the Yorba area as well. Hmmmm, Districts 5 & 6. Norma's old district (now Stephen Atcheley's) and Elliott Rothman's district. So people in districts 1, 2, 3, & 4 (or most of the city) are less interested in public safety than those North of the 10 or South of the 60. Seems like a whole lot of city who might have benefited from notification. I guess the message is that Councilmembers Hunter, Lantz, Carrizosa, and Rodriguez aren't as important (my I'm awfully catty for one who posts under their own name).

It appears that they were chosen because of the first issue, neighborhood safety (which was actually about group homes and sexual predators/Jessica's Law). This was especially evident when the majority of them left after the first item was discussed. Even the mayor had more important things to do as she left after item 4 was presented (the general plan) but before public comment. So much for wanting to LEARN and get public input (the purpose of a study session) . But then with the extremely small crowd that was still there at 9:00 pm I guess she figured that staff would fill her in if anything important happened.

Enough of the politics, onto the issues.:

The first two items discussed were, as noted, regarding neighborhood safety. The city attorney is finally looking at extreme measures to control the exceedingly large number of sober living and parolee homes in the city. It was noted that Pomona has a larger number of these, as a percentage of population, than any of our neighboring cities. I must say that I was impressed with the hard-line that the city attorney's office is looking at in regards to what they can legally do. They displayed a map (which they've promised would be posted on the city web site) which showed the areas where sexual predators would be restricted from living. Almost the entire map was restricted as they had overlapping areas where children might gather such as schools, parks, daycare centers, fast food places with "kiddie playgounds," bus stops, etc.

There was a lot of public comment on these two issues (they separated sexual predators from others). Most of it was, of course, in favor of the highest level of restriction on these types of homes possible.

The next issue up was Downtown liquor licenses. The report discussed the problem with "grandfathered" licensees. Newer licenses have to go through a CUP (Conditional Use Permit) process which sets up restrictions on the business. However, licenses that were given without CUPs or with lax CUPs can't be forced to comply with newer regulations. Things like security cameras, security plans, etc. are normal for newer projects. As an example, the Fox Theater, in order to get its license had to submit a security plan to the Police Department and is required to adhere to that plan or risk losing their license. Older liquor stores in the area, particularly, don't have any such CUP protections for the community. A method for controlling these older licensees was implemented in Oakland and the city attorney is drafting an ordinance for Pomona based on the Oakland model.

There was a lot of discussion between the planning commission and the council on where trouble spots are (especially along Holt--not as much downtown) and the kinds of things that they'd like to see enforced. The planning commission is on record as making a lot of CUP requirements for new licenses which go all the way to insisting on upkeep of building AND landscaping as well as security cameras and other requirements.

Finally, the staff gave a report on the General Plan. Basically, they've met with all of the councilmembers individually and asked them for input on what they felt that they wanted for development in their districts. Staff has come up with a modified map which will serve as a starting point for general plan discussion. Gone are the "corridors" which the council had so reviled last June. As Councilman Hunter noted, unfortunately, this looks more like a map of the past and not a map of where we want to go" (quote paraphrased). The council appeared to have good ideas, but staff tended to want to "play it safe," so things really didn't look that much changed.

There were only two speakers on this issue from the public (which represented about 1/4 of the remaining audience). I spoke to the fact that last June the council had reacted badly to the increases in density which were based on projected population growth. I suggested that the council might want to revise the growth figures so that we weren't adding additional population without corresponding infrastructure. As Planning Commissioner Arturo Jimenez pointed out, there have been a lot of apartments and condos built in south Pomona without a single new policeman, fireman, or repairs to roads.

The other speaker was John Mendoza who basically asked that the council think about the citizens and not create a future slum.

The staff promised to update the map with the information that the had received and will be bringing it back for more discussion in the next few months. Planning Commissioner Tim Saunders noted such a meeting needed to be held when the public could participate as he knew of several people had left who wanted to give input on the general plan.

Commissioner Saunders had also suggested that the rest of the agenda be postponed as the public had left and it was getting late (about 9:30 pm). Vice Mayor Hunter agreed to postpone the rest of the items.

It was a long night with most of the audience who was in attendance early, leaving very confused as to what was going on.

Also, in answer to Hank Fung's comment on my previous post: Yes, the problems seem to revolve around a toxic planning department. However I am somewhat impressed with Interim Community Development Director Mark Lazaretto and hope that he and Planning Manager Brad Johnson can turn things around. This Appeared to be a good start. But we will need to be vigilant as it's likely that this general plan will end up lasting 30 or more years as well.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

General Plan to Go Before Council Monday

There will be a special joint meeting of the City Council and the Planning commission tomorrow, Monday, Feb. 11 at Ganesha Park Community Center, 1575 N. White Avenue, to discuss the city's general plan update. The actual agenda is:


Public participation will be allowed for each of these items with a 3 minute time limit.

This is a second attempt to come up with a plan. The last time that the council met on this the former city management was unable to please any of the council with their proposal. It will be interesting to see what they come up with this time.

Of special interest to those of us in the historic preservation community are the revising of the Historic Preservation program, Downtown Signage program, and Design Review process, although all the issues are significant to all citizens of Pomona.

I think it would be great if we saw a large number of interested folks come out for this. This is the document that will be governing Pomona's development for at least the next 10-15 years.

Will we get what we saw last time with high density housing along all of our major corridors, and be told that Pomona has a surplus of commercial development? Or will there be a better sense that Pomona is a city that cannot support growth at an increased rate and needs to get itself together before building for a population growth that it can't support with the current infrastucture?

I should be posting a report on the meeting on Tuesday.

the return of the Writ of Assistance?

This morning's DB fills us in on the results of friday's DUI checkpoint: 106 vehicles seized, 19 suspended-license violations, and 111 vehicle code violations in all. No mention whatsoever of actual drunks arrested; after we were pulled over one night on utterly cocked-up grounds (supposedly 50 in a 40 zone, which was not the case), I have to wonder. You'd think that if they had gotten a number of dangerous drunkards off the roads, they would have boasted about it plenty.

Our getting pulled over that night has changed my view of these things somewhat. It was clear from the moment the CHiP walked up to the car that he intended to arrest K., and only when K. agreed to take the "optional" breathalyzer test (0.00, thank you very much) did the guy ease off. I'm proud to report that K. only took the breathalyzer test after hemming and hawing out loud for awhile about so-called optional searches and the general erosion of our privacy rights (K. wants me to point out that the coppers were polite through it all, including during his rousing speech).

As far as I can tell, these ridiculous DUI checkpoints are another example of the problem. I have deep suspicions that random searches are far more about "Let's see if you've broken a law!" than about "Hey, you're too drunk to drive." If it's all about catching drunks, why does the checkpoint run from 4pm to 11pm? I'd bet anything there's a greater average blood-alcohol level after 11pm.

Note, BTW, that these things are run by the CHP, not the PPD. The latter are more interested in serving and protecting than in searching and seizing.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

ed's brilliant map

For further conversation, here's the map that Ed mentioned in the comments of the last post, tracking 2008 murders. Look at us, surrounded by an ocean of blue flags! Let's build a wall to keep those undesirables out.

View Larger Map

notes from a broad

I haven't forgotten you, chaps. After an incredibly fancy business dinner, begun with a gong -- I kid you not -- and ended with a 1972 cognac, I arise this morning, like every morning, to read the Daily Bulletin online.

And I must say, it's a sad day for us when a month without homicides is front-page material in the papers.

Is it my imagination, or does Norma Torres sound positively disappointed? She seems to be muttering under her breath, "Dang, there goes the only grounds I have for giving Joe the heave-ho."

Friday, February 1, 2008

2 Events For Pomonans

First off, thanks to Meg for allowing me to post on this blog. I hope that it turns out to have been a good decision on her part.

The month of February will see two events for those interested in history, preservation, and living in Pomona.

First on tap is the Annual Meeting of the Historical Society of Pomona Valley, which will be held on Sunday, February 10. Always an interesting evening, this year will have the appropriate theme of Love In Pomona. Speakers will share their experiences of finding love in Pomona, or of places in Pomona that they love or that inspire love. In addition, there will be a silent auction of romantic items, a display of antique valentines and costumes, and the opportunity to have a romantic picture taken in a Victorian setting.

The evening kicks off at 6:00 pm at the Ebell Museum of Pomona History, with a wine reception and an opportunity to visit the museum and bid on silent auction items. Dinner will be served at 6:00 pm, with the program "love of People Places, and Things in Pomona" beginning at 7:30. Thsi will be followed by the Installation of officers at 8:00 pm and the announcement of Silent Auction winners at 8:30 pm.

The cost of the event is $25 for adults, and $20 for Children 10 and under. This is always a great, family friendly evening, and helps to support the Historical Society.

Pomona Heritage Installation Dinner

Pomona Heritage will hold their installation dinner the following Sunday, Feb. 17, at El Molcajete restaurant (formerly Osunas at Holt and Palomares). This event will be a sit-down dinner and will include a talk by Mickey Gallivan, President of Historical Society of Pomona valley and author of Images of America: Early Pomona.

No host cocktails begin at 5:30 pm with dinner at 6:30 and our special speaker at 7:30pm. There will also be a silent auction with many items of interest to those interested in Pomona history.

In addition to these two meetings, there will also be a meeting of the Monroe St. neighbors who will be getting a presentation by the city regarding their petition to close off Monroe at Orange Grove/Garey. The neighborhood petition notes that Monroe has become a shortcut for speeding into the neighborhood and that there are serious safety issues, especially with cars making left turns at that intersection. The meeting will begin at 7:00 pm at the Ebell Museum of Pomona History on Wednesday, February 13. The Monroe neighbors thank Mickey Gallivan and the Historical Society for allowing us to use their facility for this meeting.