Thursday, October 30, 2008

H word for September (+ a little extra)

I'll interrupt this gastronomic melancholy to remind us that we live in Pomona.

I've been adding to the September homicide map to visually compare Pomona Valley with the rest of LA County. Special thanks to the homicide map of the LA Times for providing the additional info. A different perspective can be illuminating.

October's map will be in a couple of days.

Pondok Salero, RIP

I'm so behind at work, I got up at 4:30 this morning to try to get caught up. It didn't work, but I'm better off now than I was.

The only place to get coffee at 5:30 in the morning when you're out of milk at home is $tarbuck$. While there, I noticed that our lone Indonesian restaurant -- possibly the only one in the Inland Empire -- is now one sad pondok, torn up inside and for lease.

It's a pity. Never in a million years would I have guessed that the O-Lime next door (a Pinkberry plagiarist) would outlast it.

There's a lesson for us here. On let's-eat-out nights, make sure and patronize the offbeat, the unusual, the wackadoodle (as long as they're good, which PS was). Belly up to the table so they don't go belly up!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Little Excitement in La Verne

Okay, no excitement in La Verne. But I made you keep reading, didn't I?

A colleague tells me that there is a fabulous, hidden-away Indian restaurant in La Verne, although she doesn't know where it is or what the name is. If you do, pleeeeease post it here -- we're dying to know! Because we never did find it.

My first step was a Google search, and as it turned out, that was my last step as well, because I got distracted by the City of La Verne Dining Guide. That's right: The city has an online guide to all the restaurants in the city. It downloads a .pdf, just FYI, and it includes phone numbers, hours, and sometimes URLs.

Reading it over, my eye was caught by Angel's Place, on D Street in downtown La Verne. I've seen Angel's Place before, but I hadn't realized it was a Greek restaurant. So last night we abandoned our quest for Indian and promptly decided to pledge Greek.

Angel's is a fairly low-key diner-style place. The service was prompt and friendly, and while our waitress didn't call us "hon," give her another 20 years and she will. K. had the pastitsio, and I had the "Athenian spaghetti," which our waitress said was "to die for."

Both dishes came with a small Greek salad, pita, and some hummus. The salad was fine, although the dressing used balsamic vinegar (very un-Greek -- I would have far preferred a lemon juice-based vinaigrette). The pita was really good: It's Greek style, meaning it's yeasted, so it has some flavor and lift. The hummus was way too blended, but it tasted perfectly fine.

K's pastitsio tasted good. I'm not a huge fan of the stuff, but it tasted on par with other pastitsios I've tried. My Athenian spaghetti was a basic bolognese with Greek leanings, topped with parmesan and feta. It was nothing fancy, but it was comfort-food spaghetti, the type that reminds you of childhood.[1]

In both cases, we got the largest servings you ever saw in your life. The pastitio was the length, breadth, and height of a brick, I kid you not, and I got about a quart of spaghetti. Considering that both dishes cost about $10 and that we're getting at least one more meal out of them, I'd call that a good deal -- and we could all use a good deal these days.

K was torn between the exotic foreign beer (Mythos) and his natural inclination toward dark beers. When the waitress asked how he liked his Mythos, he said cheerfully, "Pretty good for a yellow beer!" I had a glass of the cabernet (all their wines -- not counting retsina -- are from Salmon Creek Winery), and it was just fine.

All in all, we really liked the place. My one complaint is that they're using commercial-grade chopped feta that tastes very cow-y, not good Greek (or even Bulgarian) stuff. But we'll be back. They're open for breakfast seven days a week, and I feel sure we'll be trying it soon.

[1] Actually, I'm old enough that spaghetti wasn't something we got at home. All of our mothers cooked meat and two veg; spaghetti was something we ordered in restaurants or got on fridays at school. Even there, spaghetti was an anomaly; our lunch ladies made real home-cooked meat and veg (and the most amazing yeast rolls!) every morning, which we could smell from our classrooms. Every third or fourth friday, however, they would make spaghetti, and the classrooms would be buzzing with anticipation as the aroma of oregano and ground beef floated over the transoms.

Friday, October 24, 2008

A Little Excitement on Lincoln

In the interests of prompt, rather than accurate, news: it looks like a garage (or other outbuilding) on the south side of the 500 block of Lincoln burned this afternoon. Around 3:50PM I heard a loud thump; when I went outside to look around, I could see black smoke boiling up into the sky from a couple blocks away.

According to the police officer who evacuating people from their houses across the alley, an electrical line fell into someone's back yard and started a fire. I could see the fallen wire easily, although cause and effect aren't always clear.

It seems like the fire department was on it pretty quickly -- I saw at least five fire engines along with plenty of police as well. Hopefully there was limited damage (better a garage than a house!).

The police quite wisely kept all of us lookie-lous off of the actual block on Lincoln with all of the excitement, so I had to go back to work writing software. I'm probably better off leaving the color commentary to David Allen, anyway... :-)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Irish O'Bama

A cousin of mine recently sent this political YouTube link, apparently to influence my vote by appealing to my heritage. Not like it's a real hard sell, but now I understand why my family drinks. It's about 5 minutes long.


A Couple of Events for this Week

Wednesday 10/22
Planning Commission Meeting @ 7PM City Council Chambers:
The gas station building at the corner of White and Orange Grove is being moved down the street to the rental car location. In its place will rise a two story multi-tenant commercial building. Agenda

Big Read Events:
@Pomona Public Library:
  1. 1PM-3PM Librarian led booktalk (attendees receive a free bock)
  2. 4PM-5:30PM Kerry Madden will discuss upcoming biography on Harper Lee and then lead a young adult literary workshop.
@ Washington Community Center from 6-8:30PM will have a showing of "To Kill a Mockingbird".

Thursday 10/23

Big Read Event@ the Pomona Ebell Museum of History. Thanks go to Ren for posting about this one on his blog. Mary Badham (played Scout in the film) will speak about the experience. Reception will follow and include some period garments on display.

Also on Thursday 10/23

2008 Partnership Building Workshop @ Sheraton from 8:30-4:30. Register by 10/15, so if your interested call 909-620-2321 for info and availability.
Red Ribbon Kickoff: Crime Prevention @ the Civic Center starts @ 9AM and runs to 11AM
Pomona PD Open House: 11AM to 1PM for students, 1-8PM for general public.

Friday 10/24

Meet and Greet with Mayoral Candidate George Hunter and Council candidates Fred Van Allen, Danilet Querubin, and Paula Lantz. This event is at a private residence with limited space and parking, so plan accordingly. 359 W. Alvarado St. 7PM-9PM.

Monday, October 20, 2008


To all of those who volunteered, purchased tickets, or opened up their homes for the Pomona Heritage Home Tour, I'm throwing out a huge thank you.

Sunday marked my first glimpse of the historical artifacts at the Ebell Museum of History. It's a little embarrassing to admit that I haven't stopped by earlier in my five years in Pomona. With all that the city and Pomona Valley has lost, my hat is off to the handful of volunteers who really work tirelessly (but I'm sure they're a little tired) to preserve some remnants of the area's past. If anyone is interested, they do accept donations and I doubt they'll turn away a volunteer or two if you're interested in helping out. Pomona Valley Historical Society

Other buildings:
So cool to go beyond sneaking a peak or two from the sidewalk as I walk by. Special thanks to the other owners who let my wife and I explore your buildings.

For those who visited our home, I hope you enjoyed it as much as we enjoyed showing it to you. Pomona has a wonderful history and we appreciated the opportunity to show you a small fraction of it.

Pomona Heritage:
Without a voice for preservation in the community, the onslaught of 'progress' can quickly overwhelm the history that we take for granted. At times that voice may be annoying, it may slow 'progress', and you may think it impinges on a property owner's desire to change their property, but no one should doubt the huge volunteer investment that goes into putting on a city-wide home tour, the proceeds from which will go on to fund additional community efforts such as the Restoration Workshop. And the 6 hours of the tour is dwarfed by the immense time required to plan such a huge endeavor, so a special thank you to Kathleen and all her volunteers.

It was cool to meet Primo Castro and talk to Paula Lantz, but to be honest, it was even cooler to meet Goddess of Pomona and the Pomona's Art Colonists blogger. Wow, I love living in Pomona.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

no signs of the times

K. and I have been trying to find a "No on 8" sign for our yard, as have our neighbors across the street, to no avail. I don't understand why; I don't see many around, so the campaign can't have underestimated demand and run out of them.

In any case, I'm going to repurpose the Pomona Heritage Home Tour sign in our yard -- flip it around and make my own NO ON 8 sign. Driving through the neighborhood, I see that various neighbors have improvised according to their own design sensibilities and strength of feeling. I particularly like the bedsheet hanging from a roofline that reads "vote NO on 8" in five-foot-high letters.

If you're wondering why you should vote no on 8, Tibbi lists his reasons in a recent post on Blurry Memoirs. To those I would add my own grouchiness at the fact that for more than a century (since Oscar Wilde went to Reading Gaol, at least), hetero culture has been criticizing gay people for supposedly being promiscuous... but if they want to settle down in a cozy monogamous relationship, good heavens, they're destroying the fabric of society!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Candidates Answer Preservation Questions

Pomona Heritage has just posted the responses to the candidate questionnaires regarding issues of importance to the historic preservation community on their web site ( The 5 questions were sent to all 8 candidates for Mayor, and the council candidates for District 1 (which includes Wilton Heights Historic District), District 4 (which includes Lincoln Park National Register Historic District), and District 6 (which includes Hacienda Park Historic District).

UPDATE (10/22 -- 7:45 am): We now have responses from: councilman Stephen Atcheley, running for reelection in District 6, Virgilio (JoJo) Pico Doniza, running for District 1 council seat vacated by George Hunter, Primo Castro running for District 4, Carol Schlaepfer running for District 6, councilperson Paula Lantz running for re-election in District 4, and George Hunter running for Mayor. As others are received, they will be added in the order in which they were received.

While we don't expect that you should make your decisions in these important races based on a single issue, it's always good to understand where the candidates stand on the issues that directly affect you.

It is our hope that the discourse about specific issues will help to create an informed electorate. Be sure to vote on November 4!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

weekend update

A bunch of us did indeed gather down at dba256 on thursday, at Tibbi's instigation. He informed me when I arrived that I'd just missed George & Paula themselves, which is a darned shame. But I did get to meet, in addition to Tibbi, Anduhrew, Ed + his less-inflammatory half, and Calwatch. We oughta think about having a monthly gathering down at dba.

One thing that arose from our wide-ranging discussion was that Calwatch has now been added to M-M-M-My Pomona's gallery of rogues as an author (joining K & me, Ed, and the imperturbable John Clifford). Now, y'all treat him nice, at least to start out with.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Big Read

Ok, let's pony up and support the Big Read in Pomona. We don't have the cute, informative signs that have sprouted up all over Claremont (I so prefer the proliferation of red, white, and blue candidate signs anyway), so if you haven't heard us Pomonans (Pomonians?) have been assigned Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird". many of you are reading it, planning on reading it, or have absolutely no intention of reading it?

These are the events for the upcoming week.

Thursday, October 16, 3 – 4 pm (Every Thursday throughout October)
Big Read Storytime & Arts/Crafts
Location: Pomona Public Library Children’s Section, Pomona, CA 91766
Join us for a special storytime that discusses themes drawn from the Big Read text. A craft activity will follow the storytime.

Thursday, October 16, 6:00 - 8:00 pm
Library Adult Booktalk
Location: Pomona Public Library, Pomona, CA 91766
A librarian will lead a booktalk about "To Kill a Mockingbird". Attendees will receive a free copy of the text.

Friday, October 17, 6:00 - 8:30 pm
Film Showing and Discussion: To Kill a Mockingbird
Film Showing and Discussion
Location: Cal Poly Pomona Downtown Center Theatre, 300 W. Second Street, Pomona, CA 91766
A film showing of "To Kill a Mockingbird" will take place, followed by a discussion contrasting the film and the book.

Saturday, October 18, 12:00 - 2:00 pm
Library Spanish Booktalk
Location: Pomona Public Library, Pomona, CA 91766
A librarian will lead a Spanish language booktalk about "To Kill a Mockingbird". Attendees will receive a free Spanish language copy of the text.

Saturday, October 18, 2:00 - 4:00 pm
Library Booktalk
Moderated by Dr. Denisa Chatman-Riley
Location: Pomona Public Library, Pomona, CA 91766
Dr. Denisa Chatman-Riley, whose research interests include African American women writers, will lead a booktalk about "To Kill a Mockingbird". Attendees will receive a free copy of the text.

Any takers? How about for the trivia contest?

Meg and K, how can you pass this up!?

And John, I remember you saying something about trivia. Maybe a PH team.

Geriatric Home Lover Bonanza

For local geriatric home lovers, the next week offers architecture aplenty. Here's a little bungalow, there's a little cottage, or maybe a few Greene and Greene homes might tickle your fancy.

The fun starts with the Claremont Heritage Home Tour this Sunday (10/12).It will feature seven fascinating homes including some of Claremont's most charming cottages and bungalows. The tour will begin at 1201 N Indian Hill Boulevard (corner of N Indian Hill and 12th Street); will include homes on 12th Street and corners of Indian Hill and 12th, all within walking distance. Allow at least two hours to see all homes and visit them in any order.Cost: $20 in advance and members $25 Day of tour

Pasadena Heritage Home Tour is running its 17th Annual Craftsman Weekend from Friday 10/17 to Sunday 10/19. Of local interest is a bus tour on Friday from 9-4PM which will tour the Claremont village area and take a glimpse of the currently being renovated Darling House. This home was the first Greene and Greene commission outside of Pasadena. The brochure makes this bus tour sound interesting, but for those of us who live way out here, $85 is a little steep. The official Home Tour is scheduled for Sunday from 9-4PM and will feature two homes by Sylvanus Marston, some Greene and Greene cottages, and a 100 year old Swiss-Chalet influenced house designed by Roehrig.
Cost: $45 for nonmembers and $40 for members

Pomona Heritage's 24th annual Home Tour is also scheduled for Sunday 10/19. I apologize for not knowing more about the homes, so please comment if you can provide a few tantalizing tidbits about these homes in Pomona. I can tell you that one of the homes is a 3 story 1912 Craftsman with tudor influences. It was designed by Robert Orr, considered one of the most influential ecclesiastical architects of his time. His accomplishments include Pomona YMCA, Pilgrim Congregational Church (Pomona) Crookshank Hall of Zoology (Pomona College), University Christian Church (Seattle), Japanese Christian Church (Los Angeles), Hollywood Christian Church (Los Angeles), First Presbyterian Church (San Diego), Bethel Congregational Church (Ontario), Westminister Presbyterian Church (Seattle), Commercial Street Garage (Los Angeles), and Wilshire Christian Church (Los Angeles).

The tour starts at the Ebell Museum of Pomona History at 585 Holt Ave. and runs from 11AM to 5PM.
Cost: $20 for adults, $18 for students and seniors on day of tour. $18 and $15 if purchased in advance at "The Garden", Ebell Museum, and Frantz Cleaners.

Wow, you can do things cheaper in Pomona!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Smile, you're on Candid Candidate!

I was really sorry to miss the City Council candidates' shindig last night, but I had a planned-months-ago meet-up with a friend in Santa Monica. Did anyone go? Any reports?

In the absence of face-to-face contact, I got online this afternoon (yes, when I should have been getting work done) and read Primo Castro's new improved webpage. There's nothing to disagree with on it, unless you hate children, want more crime, and believe that our tax base should be smaller. And for the record, I don't.

One thing did bother me, though. The "About Primo" section reads:

The line about "the Manager of the Government Documents library" of Michigan State caught my eye for several reasons. For one thing, hey, I worked in Gov Docs when I was in college! And the guy I worked for now works in Gov Docs at Michigan State!

So I took the occasion to email my old boss (we have kept in haphazard touch since then) and ask if he had worked for Primo.

According to my old boss, the answer is no. He worked *with* Primo, he said, but not *for* him -- because Primo wasn't the Manager of the Government Documents library but a student assistant. Student Assistant IV (which is not the lowest in the pecking order), but still a student assistant.

Maybe I'm being oversensitive, but this is really bothering the heck out of me. I don't agree with everything Paula Lantz believes in (wait for my screed about pay phones and the surveillance state), but I have complete faith in her integrity. And up until now, Primo seemed like a straight-up guy too. Now, however, I worry that District 4 could be home to its own Robert Irvine dust-up or, saints preserve us, Xavier Alvarez.

What do y'all think? I worry that a candidate who fudges items on his resumé will fudge all kinds of other items as well, and our fair town doesn't need any of that. Primo's current position is as "Senate Deputy for the California state senate"... should I be doubting that too? (What does the Senate Deputy do, anyway? I couldn't find anything about it on the web.)

I should also add that perhaps there's an explanation that doesn't involve fudging, and if so, I'd be much relieved to hear it.

Here's a larger screenshot of the page, just for context:

Council member arrested for DUI

This story probably deserves its own post, so I cut and pasted from the Anonymous comment on the last post.

Pomona city councilman arrested
By Lori Consalvo on October 8, 2008 10:14 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

POMONA - City councilman Elliott Rothman was arrested for drunken driving Tuesday night, said police officials.

The city has not released any more information on the incident.

Rothman was elected to the City Council in 1996 and re-elected in 2002, and 2006, according to his biography on the city's Web site. He has served as council member for the past 12 years in District Five.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Campaign Mailer Taking More Heat

First, it was a disgruntled George Hunter who took offense at the recently mailed campaign flyer produced by Citizens for a Safer and Greener Pomona. Now Chief Romero has stepped up to refute his implied endorsement of Elliot Rothman for mayor. Not exactly a booming success for the inaugural edition of "Pomona's Better Times".

According to a DB article, Citizens for a Safer and Greener Pomona successfully scrapped a few trees to print at least two versions of our "Hometown Newspaper". Lucky me, I received the pro-Rothman for mayor version, but not being a resident of his district, was apparently passed over for the pro-Atchley paper. Although the article doesn't include emphatic quotes from Atchley or Rothman denouncing the mailer, I'm guessing neither one is too keen on associating his campaign with our new hometown paper. On the bright side, I believe the USPS is having budget problems so this tiny infusion of cash can't hurt.

You know what really irks me? What really drives me crazy? How can you call yourself a "Hometown Newspaper" and still cite 2006 and 2007 FBI crime statistics. Come on, this blog lays out the 2008 homicides on a map. Can we make it any easier than that, and besides, who do you trust more, the FBI or a Pomona blog?! Speaking of which, by my count the month of September was homicide free for Pomona Valley (San Bernardino area and San Gabriel Valley weren't so lucky). The FBI won't tell you that until, let's see, well into 2009.......about the time the next campaign will start.

Candidate Forum Tuesday 10/7 @ 7PM in Council Chambers
Candidates for District 1, 4, and 6 will answer questions.
Sponsored by Pomona Chamber of Commerce (new website..much better)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

adventures at the HPC meeting

Last night we hied us down to the City Council chambers to ask the Historic Preservation Commission to allow us to cut down the chinaberry tree that is strangling, starving, and stunting our fig tree.

We have now made it through the entire process, and I feel very well treated. The city staff was a pleasure to work with; they were polite, helpful, efficient, and most of all, transparent, calling us with updates, clarifications, and further information at every step of the way. If only state and federal dealings could be so smooth. And I'd be saying that even if our application had been turned down.

Because, in the event, we were approved. I worried (okay, I still worry) that we were being given preferential treatment for being involved in Pomona Heritage and for having hired Commissioner Van Allen to consult with us (back before she was a commissioner) about our yard. On the other hand, the HPC bent over backward to help a couple who wanted to replace their metal casement windows with vinyl, despite the applicant's visibly (and audibly) increasing frustration.

The other thing I continue to squirm about is the justification of the tree removal. I had written the application on the basis of the smothered fig tree only (and the instability of the branches), but the city staff noted also that the concrete was cracking and that the tree was interfering with power lines. If any commissioners are reading this, I do not think those justify tree removal! A tree is always going to be more valuable to me than a patch of cement.

The last surprise was that one of the commissioners recused himself on the grounds that he lives too close to us. Commish, stop in and say hey if you're passing by!

Last but not least, I can't help but note that, again, personal illness featured in the other presentation that I saw. I was tempted to make something up for us (chinaberry allergy? barkophobia? passing reference to the time I frostbit my butt in South America?), but I didn't want to make John Clifford shoot coffee through his nose in the back of the auditorium.

Rachel's Challenge

Thursday Oct 2 @ 7PM
Pomona First Baptist Church
Sponsored by Pomona Peer Resources/PUSD

In student assemblies this week, the students at Ganesha, Garey, and Pomona High Schools were presented with Rachel's Challenge. Tonight the public has an opportunity to be part of the program, which is based in part on Rachel's Scott's compassion during life and information contained in her six diaries. For more information on Rachel, who was the first person killed at the Columbine High School shootings in 1999, follow the link at the bottom of the page.

If you have the time, this presentation is a wonderful opportunity to witness the proactive, and at times non-academic, steps taken by Pomona Unified to make a difference in the lives of our city's youth. Please arrive well before 7PM to allow additional time to be seated. The doors will close at 7:15PM.

I've copied the following information from their website.

We're working to reach EVERY STUDENT IN AMERICA with our message!

What is the Message?
Students have the power to make PERMANENT, POSITIVE, CULTURAL CHANGE in their schools and communities by accepting the challenge of Rachel Scott to start a chain reaction of kindness and compassion.

How do we do it?
In 3 words we... MOTIVATE, EDUCATE and ACTIVATE.

Without any politics, religion or profit involved,
We MOTIVATE by grabbing kids hearts in an assembly.
We EDUCATE their heads with training and curriculum.
We help ACTIVATE them to get involved with their hands through exercises and community service.

We accomplish this by using different combinations of programs and materials that are age-appropriate for the specific audience. Curious? If you work with kids and/or are concerned about future generations check us out - who knows, you may just start a chain reaction.

Daily Bulletin Article
Rachel's Challenge website