Saturday, December 27, 2008

Cafe Montclair

While I’m not one for doing restaurant reviews, the lovely Mrs. C insisted that I should blog about this one as it’s been consistently one of our favorites and we believe in supporting good, local establishments whenever possible. This one certainly deserves to be on everyone’s list of dining treats.

With our daughter home for the holidays from NYU, we decided to have a nice dinner out before starting on the rounds of visits from family and friends. With the demise of Brasserie Astuce, our new favorite place to go for French food is Café Montclair. Located on Central near Kingsley in Montclair (while outside our Pomona boundaries, still close enough to be “home”) this restaurant is in a building that was previously the Plum Tree restaurant and was once, I believe, a Millies. According to the ads which run in the Daily Bulletin, the chef was previously with the Mission Inn in Riverside.

For this occasion, we decided to forgo our usual Calamari (never a disappointment) and start with their homemade potato chips with blu cheese sauce. All I can say is “fabulous.” The chips were what one would expect from made-on-the premises chips (I’m thinking Buffalo Inn), but the sauce was superlative. It was a light white sauce that wasn’t overpowering as one might expect with blu cheese.

For our entrée, the kid and I had the Osso Bucco special, a lamb shank served over mashed potatoes. Deb had the New York steak with a gorgonzola sauce. We all had the white bean soup. Again, the food was everything one might expect. And the wine list is admirable. We can also recommend their meat loaf (yes, but it’s worth it), the beef tips stroganoff, as well as their pasta dishes.

But the main reason to go to Café Montclair is more than the food. The owner is always there to greet you and to make sure everything is going well. And the hostess is someone who we’ve known for some time and has always been a delight. Pia is one of the family that owned and operated DiCenso’s on Foothill in Upland for many years. When the kid was very young (too young to have any memories of it) we used to go there and Pia, her mother, and sister one time took her into the kitchen to show her how pasta was made. While she doesn’t remember it, it must have made an impression on her because she loves to work in the kitchen to this day. DiCenso’s moved and the new location never quite had the wonderful ambiance that the Foothill location had, but at least it had Pia. Pia is now at Montclair and is as effervescent as ever. Like the owner, she checks on you from time to time and makes sure that everything is just right. The waitress is a lovely woman with a lilting French accent, who is likewise delightful. And we can’t ignore the young, again French accented, young man who is the busboy. He is also very attentive to your every need. I’m guessing that, with the exception of Pia, that this is all a family run operation and it has that really good kind of “family” vibe.

All-in-all, this is a place where you shouldn’t be disappointed.

Monday, December 22, 2008

get your farmers here! steaming hot and fresh from the fields!

Every time I read the phrase "farmers market" I want to ask how much farmers are going for these days. I realize that the end times are upon us and the apostrophe is doomed; even in newspapers, you pretty much only see it where it doesn't belong and rarely where it does.

But when Metro Pomona posted about efforts to start up a Saturday evening farmers('s) market at Thomas Plaza, I was so excited I forgot to contemplate the purchase of agricultural technicians.

They still have to get an event permit from the city (aside to the DPOA: if y'all need community support, just say the word and we'll rally the troops), but with any luck the first FM-PM will be January 10th. And I'll be there.

[Yes, I realize that "farmers market" is the standard spelling. But I don't have to like it.]

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Trying To Deny My Inner German...

When David Allen mentioned a German joint in nearby Upland, I knew I wouldn't be able to resist for long. I've dragged poor Meg to any number of German restaurants, from the elegant, hipsterish Suppenkuche and the comfy Schnitzel Haus (conveniently located next to the X-rated bakery) in the Bay Area, to the uber-kitchy Red Lion Inn and gone-but-not-much-lamented Lowenbrau Keller in Los Angeles. I was dyin' to check out the Upland German Deli.

As David suggested, it was a little tough to find. Google Maps managed to point me at the wrong side of the street, which complicated matters a bit -- it's on the north side of Foothill, back in a little tiny strip mall, impossible to see from the street. Argh.

It's mostly a deli, as the name suggests, chock full of everything German. There were a few dozen German magazines and a German-language California newspaper (who knew!?), and a zillion different German products, most of them unfamiliar to us. I guess I've led a sheltered life, but who knew you could get ketchup and mayonnaise together in a squeeze tube?

To our delight, they had not only sandwiches, but also some dinner specials. Meg had Kassler (smoked pork) and I had cabbage roll; both came with a side of speatzle (funky German egg noodles) and a complementary dessert. It was hearty and comfortable, if not amazing; nobody there is trying to make it a fine dining experience, and that's just fine by me -- it's a deli. I particularly enjoyed Meg's sauerkraut, although I'm not sure it's really supposed to be nearly so sweet.

The service was authentically German, with a very reserved kind of friendliness -- "I like you okay, but don't expect me to crack a smile." I enjoyed the little dining room, with blue-and-white checked tablecloths, a kind of faux brick wallpaper and some hangings on the wall, although, again, it really isn't trying to be anything it isn't. I couldn't ask for more.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Sacramental performance art

I'm dredging this up from the comments on the "Council Meeting Update" post, because a couple of folks have mentioned to me that they don't read comments regularly.

One "Anonymous" writes:
Thursday 12-18-08 7:40 pm...
Was anyone other than me listening to KFI radio at this time (Hosts: Kennedy & Suits).... when they got to talking about Norma Torres AND played exerpts of her "performance" today at the budget vote session in Sacramento????

The Hosts wanted to know WHATTHEHECKGIVESINPOMONA for sending this MORON to Sacramento! They described her as 'unstable' and hysterical and then played the tape.... Yep! She was crying and putting on a true meltdown performance... saying that in Pomona, senior citizens are eating DOGFOOD and she had to sign this tax increase to put cops on the street, knowing it would 'take food out of the mouths of babies and take them out of school'.... incoherent... weepy, but in the middle of it, the radio station had to 'bleep' a big 'GODDAMN' she put in there... she was telling her story about being a 911 dispatcher on the graveyard shift. The radio hosts suggested she go back to that job (then backtracked, saying she is obviously unstable and you would not want to be talking to a nut if you were phoning in an emergency. It was hilarious BUT made Pomona look really stupid, low class and full of incompetents! They asked about how people make voting decisions in Pomona !!!!
Did anyone else catch this segment !!!??????

Now, if you've ever observed a legislative session (in D.C., in Sac, wherever), you know that representative democracy is a performance genre unlike any other (paging Robert Byrd, please totter over to the white courtesy telephone), so I hesitate to judge anyone by their stage antics at the microphone. And after the way that KFI covered the Condit-Mountain View let's-play-Injuns foofaraw, I take everything they say with a grain of salt.

On the other hand, I would not be shocked and appalled if Norma did not represent Pomona to its full advantage.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Officer-involved shooting in Garfield Park

The LA County Sheriff's department is investigating an officer-involved shooting that occurred along the western edge of Garfield Park some time early this morning (my neighbor tells me he heard the shots sometime between 1:00 to 2:00 AM). Evidently no officers were injured and the LA County Sheriff is doing the investigation, suggesting the officer(s) needed to use force.

I spoke with a Pomona PD officer on the scene who told me a press release would be made available sometime this afternoon (I'm not sure where to look for press releases; any ideas?). In the meantime, I called the sheriff's department; not surprisingly, they're not yet able to disclose any information.

So first a guy is shot in the butt, then my neighbor's house gets broken into, and now this. I've lived here for four years and have never felt anything less than safe and secure. I'm feeling on edge now.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Council meeting update

  • No decision was made on the new District 5 council person, other than that it will be an appointment rather than an election. Three of the candidates showed up, including the presumed top two contenders, planning commissioner Tim Saunders and former community life commissioner Les Hedges. There were five other candidates that didn't show up. Rather than proceeding with interviews that evening, a special meeting ill be held on Friday at 7 p.m. Incidentally, the last appointed councilman was defeated at the next election (Steven Banales), so appointment is no guarantee of reelection. Each candidate will have three minutes to make a personal statement and a few minutes to answer questions from the council.
  • Also punted to the Friday night meeting is the question of who will represent Pomona on various regional boards and commissions, including the powerful San Gabriel Valley COG and the ACE Board.
  • And let me just take a minute to note Mayor Rothman's lackadaisical style. Several times the City Attorney had to call order and shush the audience, with little or no acknowledgment by the Mayor of how odd this appears. You have the power, it's time to start using it.

Tree lighting and City Council meeting tonight

Monday 12/15

Lighting ceremony at Civic Center Plaza tonight scheduled for 5-7:30PM.

City Council Meeting:
This agenda is packed. Capital improvement projects and money is being unappropriated, appropriated, shifted, etc...; Redevelopment Agency conflict of interest and prevailing wage issues; CalHome Grant funds for owner-occupied mobile homes; CUP for alcohol at 342 S. Thomas Street; establishment of a city of Pomona Marketing Partnership Policy?; Safe Routes to School project (I'll do a separate post about this one......really cool!); and many other agenda items.

The agenda mentions an ad hoc committee tasked to review corridor improvement projects (Garey ave, Mission Blvd, SR71 sound walls). Anyone have any idea who was on this committee and the scope of these projects?

If you have some time tonight, take in the tree lighting and then attend the Council meeting. It will be Rothman's first as Mayor and Soto's first as a Council member.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Paper creatures, performance art, a new bar: oh my!

A rockin' Second Saturday, indeed. Our favorite exhibit of the night: Dee Cole's fantastic paper mache creatures at the dA. Also at the dA, a jazz band of young musicians and a performance piece that included the ritualistic burning of a devilish totem, followed by a polite appearance of the Pomona Police Department (what? no permit for devil burning? you'll need to clear the street...everyone back inside).

A meander around the block led us to the much anticipated Acerogami -- this is the new bar and lounge nestled between the Glass House and the record store on Second St. between Thomas and Main. Rob Fisher, production manager/consultant, tells us the bar's name means "folded metal;" the interior design -- not to mention the exterior architectural details -- make clear the relevance of the name. A white russian and a manhattan cost us $17, sans tip. The drinks were tasty and well-mixed. Swanky set up, void of those annoying corporate logos (no glaring neon Budweiser signs in sight). Rob tells us all the interior elements -- from the bar stools to the bathroom stall doors -- were hand-crafted for the site. Definitely worth a look.

Next up on the block: Aladdin Jrs, coming soon to the corner of 2nd and Main (former home of Lela's).

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Music for City Council Blues

If you need a break from the City Council:

Friday 12/12
Palomares Park Senior Center at 499 E. Arrow Hwy, Pomona
7:30 PM - Pomona Concert Band's Annual Christmas Concert
They will also be collecting unwrapped gifts for needy children.

Friday 12/12 @ 8PM
Saturday 12/13 @ 3:30 and 8PM
Sunday 12/13 @ 3:30PM

Pomona First Baptist Church presents:
the "Pomona First Baptist Choir, Orchestra, and choirs of all ages usher in the majesty of the seasons with carols, music, and Christmas splendor."
This free event is worth seeing if you have the time.

Los Angeles Philharmonic in Pomona
Thursday 12/18
Pomona First Baptist Church
601 N. Garey Ave., Pomona, CA 91767
Ample church parking available
Los Angeles Philharmonic will be visiting Pomona as part
of their neighborhood concert series.

Anyone know where to buy tickets?

We've had a volley of posts in the last couple of days, so please scroll down if you haven't stopped here recently.

Watt A Wonderful World It Might Be

I had posted this as a comment on the original "Watt, Me Worry" post but Meg felt that it deserved a post of its own so people can better respond to it.

As those who were at dba Wednesday night already know, I ended up not attending the Planning Commission meeting. At the mixer earlier, in talking with many of the chamber and downtown business types I learned that Watt didn't care if they got an extension at all. They weren't even going to show up (so why should I--bad idea? perhaps). I understand that they will go through the process all over again.

We really need to keep an eye on this so that any NEW plans for the area don't undo what was agreed to in the past. I have grave worries. Of course, one of the things they won't have to worry about is getting a demolition permit to tear down two blocks of buildings dating from the 1880s to 1920s. That one's been taken care of already. And Pomona gets vacant lots for at least the next couple of years.

I was told that they are planning an Iron Fence for around the 200 block "hole in the ground." that will include panels upon which local artists can paint murals (an idea that came out of the downtown business owners association (DPOA--better known to most of us as "Metro Pomona"). So Mickey Gallivan was right! We'll see years of vacant lots in exchange for destroying our history.

Putting the om in P-om-ona

I’m writing with a request, an invitation, and an announcement. Here goes…

The Request: I’m on the lookout for a place in Pomona to offer kids yoga. Ideally, some kind business or gallery owner would welcome little yogis once per week for some om-a-liscious play time. At a minimum, we would need a spacious floor and…well…that’s about it. Any ideas?

The Invitation: Free kids yoga classes on Thursday, December 18 from 4:00 – 5:00 PM and Sunday, January 4 from 1:00 – 2:00 PM. Kids ages 6 and older are invited to attend; parents welcomed to stay and play. The sessions will take place at the Om Sweet Om Pilates & Yoga Studio (204 N. Yale, Claremont). The room can accommodate only 15 participants; reserve your spot by e-mailing me (just click on my screen name, Pride in Garfield Park).

The Announcement: Beginning January 8, 2009, I will offer a weekly kids yoga class at Om Sweet Om (204 N. Yale, Claremont). The class, which will meet Thursdays from 4:00 – 5:00 PM, will be open to kiddos age 6 and older. Cost: $10/child ($6 per class additional for parent participants).

Perhaps there are other yoga teachers in Pomona who would be interested in offering an adult yoga class?
How great would it be if we could get something going in one of the spaces downtown? I’d love to hear your ideas for how we can make this happen.

The Next Step?

Although I wasn't a Rothman supporter, I was approaching the post-election days with some optimism that he could see the bigger picture. A new leadership could offer a new direction or perspective that would help in leading the city out of this decades long morass the city finds itself in. Unfortunately, after this drama, I'm afraid of the possibility that at least four on the Council see the Pomona problems very differently from me. Perhaps, some misconduct on the part of the Chief could justify his dismissal, but if that was true, couldn't Linda Lowry have secured his resignation rather than tossing him out the door? Would the Chief have defiantly resisted giving his resignation or to slowly transfer power to a successor if he had been given that option? Maybe I totally overestimate the Chief's character.

Based on the previous comments that I read, I'm not nearly as forgiving as some of you regarding the actions of Linda Lowry. I'll reference the Spike Lee movie title "Do the Right Thing". Is this the 'right thing' for her to do? If this decision transpired at a meeting that didn't include the entire Council, shouldn't she have suggested that all the voices be heard? Let's think for a moment about the message this sends to the rest of the city employees. Piss off a Council member and risk losing your job. This city is her ship and I'm completely lost as to what direction she is taking it and like most of you, I have my house and family at stake.

A Few Thoughts About Recall

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the funny thing about recalls is that the person in 2nd place can actually be the winner. In the last mayoral election, the majority voted against Rothman, but he still won. If we take those election results and apply them to a recall, George Hunter would be the next Mayor. As I understand it, Rothman must have a majority of the voters cast ballots against a recall to stay as mayor. Even if 49% of voters support him, the 51% who vote for the recall will remove him from office and the next mayor will be one of the candidates listed on the ballot which can't include Rothman. Hypothetically, the next mayor could get less than the 49% of voters who support Rothman remaining as mayor and still win the election to be mayor. If I'm right, don't we have a beautiful system.

If Chief Romero wants to make a lasting change in this city, being willing to support a recall effort may be the best way to do it. Sending notice to those in public office to focus on the real issues and rallying the public voice that 'yes' we do need to participate in the politics of our city may be the monumental gesture that broadcasts to both the public and private world that Pomona is ready to turn itself around. If we allow pettiness and cronyism to define the "new" Pomona who are we to complain. It won't be easy and it might be a little ugly, but an individual who has given decades of his life for this city deserves to see that we also want it to change.

Just Ed's (always optimistic) two cents.

not just another wednesday night in pomona

As threatened, I made it down to the mixer at the Cal Poly Downtown Center. I mostly gossiped with the few people I knew there, although I did get a chance to say hello to Paula Lantz. I was thirsty and the refreshments were blocked by a wall of suits, so I wandered down the block to dba256 just in time to miss all the speechifying (which didn't start till at least 6:30).

Pride in Garfield Park apparently arrived just as I was leaving, so she heard all the palaver. There was no formal protest about Chief Romero's firing, but PiGP reports that one brave soul did shout out from the crowd, "What about Chief Romero?"

When I walked into dba256, it was dead empty, which was a welcome change -- the last few times I've been there, it has been completely bumping. So it was nice to have a chance to chat with Ron (owner and impresario) and not to have to be patient about getting my wee dram. Shortly after I arrived, one of my neighbors walked in, and then PiGP, and then John & Deb Clifford (and I leave it to John to report about the Planning Commission meeting), and then Pomona Joe, and then Calwatch. Yes, it was old home week.

There was much nattering about various theories and conjectures, which I won't repeat for fear of spreading false information, but you can gather the tenor of our discussion by checking out Calwatch's lengthy comment on the "Chief Romero FIRED!" post below.

All in all a fun evening -- we should have another one soon.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

calling the po-po

While our attention is riveted to the goings-on in the Police Dept., I though I'd point something out that came across the neighborhood-watch telegraph:

Namely, if you do not give a specific address when calling the police, the location does not get logged for the purpose of cumulative statistics. The result is that Lincoln Park supposedly had between three and seven police calls for the third quarter of 2008, despite the fact that residents made dozens of calls (two by me, in fact). That's right: If you report suspicious activity/burglary/felonious leaf-blowing on the 100 block of Primrose Path, the location will not get logged -- you must give a specific house number.

This is utter codswallop, but it hardly seems like a chief-firing offense.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Chief Joe Romero FIRED!!!

I have it from very reliable sources that an emergency meeting of the city council was called this morning to discuss a personnel matter. At that meeting Police Chief Joe Romero was fired. Since it takes 4 votes for such an action, and since newly elected councilperson Danielle Soto has not been sworn in yet, it appears that the votes to fire came from Mayor Rothman (who I'm sure is still smarting after being charged, and cleared, of DUI) and the three council persons who have objected to police checkpoints and other issues. As of this point I don't know if councilperson Paula Lantz was even part of that meeting as I earlier noted that she wasn't sworn in until this afternoon.

I personally want to thank Chief Romero for reaching out to the community. I find this to be a terrible loss for our city. We can only guess as to the "reasons" for the firing that created the need for a special meeting just before the holidays.

Watt, Me Worry?--UPDATED

photo by Richard E. Nunez

It's coming up again, maybe? The Pomona Planning Commission is now down to 3 members (according to the agenda--although I know that Paula Lantz's commissioner was just appointed, so why is he off if Paula's new term hasn't even started?) Tim Saunders (who has expressed a desire to be appointed councilperson from the 5th District), Arturo Jimenez, and Andrew Santa Cruz. UPDATE: Evidently, Paula Lantz's commissioner needs to be sworn in again and couldn't be until Paula was sworn in. I spoke with her this evening and she was sworn in this afternoon and Ed Starr (her Planning Commissioner), should be sworn in prior to the meeting and will be able to participate. I'm not sure how quorums work with only three members on a panel that should have 7 members). In the past, the quorum was based either on the number of current members OR the number of members that are supposed to be on the panel. I'm not really sure where that was left off. At one point you could have a quorum with three, but you needed four votes to pass anything. I'm sure that the city attorneys will be busy working on that one.

And all this just in time to take on the issue of the extension of the CUP (Conditional Use Permit) for the Watt Project on West Second St. You can read the agenda on the city's web site. I know I'll be there (if the meeting actually takes place) to let them know that something needs to be done about the vacant lots (and hole in the ground) and that we need to not allow changes to occur to the originally approved plan without scrutiny by the commission and the community (as was done with the Mission Promenade project). NO "VALUE ENGINEERING!!!"

Also on the agenda is the approval of a CUP for a major expansion of Cocoa Palms restaurant (the one on the hill on Fairplex Drive), and a meeting hall on Park Ave (next to the Pomona Fish Market) for the Black Knightz Motorcycle Club, among others.

So, if you're going to be downtown for the Chamber of Commerce Mixer for the new mayor, new council, and new assemblywoman, (hosted by the Pomona Chamber of Commerce, Cal Poly Downtown Center, Pomona Fairplex, Western University of Health Sciences, Pomona Valley Hospital, and Arteco Partners--5:00-7:00 pm at the Cal-Poly Downtown Center) why not stop by the council chambers for what could be an interesting Planning Commission meeting. And if you're at the Mixer, be sure to make suggestions as to future commissioners to the corresponding councilmembers.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Rothman Mayor of Upland

OK, so I'm sitting on Sunday, reading the Saturday DB (I was busy with the Pomona Heritage Christmas Dinner all day Saturday), and to what do my wondering eyes should appear? But an item in the "rail" (the first column on page 1) as shown at the left that made me wonder if there were visions of sugarplums dancing in my head. With the kicker head of UPLAND, I might have passed it over, but I was shocked to learn that Upland was considering appointing a new councilperson for district 5, and that Elliott Rothman had been elected mayor of Upland. Had the election all been just an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of underdone potato?

But no, when I got to page 10 to read the story, Monica Rodriguez had all the facts right, and the story was about our own Pomona election.

So much for the efficiencies of the DB combining staff with the San Bernardino Sun. Evidently copy editors and proofreaders in the far east have no idea which city is which and can't write a teaser with the correct information, even though one would assume that they were looking at Monica's article as reference. I know that mistakes happen (anyone who's read the Pomona Heritage newsletter knows that I make my share), but a newspaper is supposed to have quality control in place. That's why editors and proofreaders are so vital to a news organization.

'H' word for October and November

Shame on me! Faced with three homicides in October, I foolishly figured I'd game the system by combining the October and November homicide numbers. Hey, 3 murders over two months isn't that bad, right! Well, if you've read the Daily Bulletin lately, you'll realize the DB's beloved Pomona homicide summaries are running again, so my little ploy didn't work so well.

And although I'm not overly susperstitious, with two murders already in December I'll finally post the October/November maps. Here they are! I'm done with them! Please put the guns away! PLEASE! PLEASE! PLEASE!

Oct/Nov Homicide map

So far in December: 2 in Pomona, 1 in Rialto, 1 in San Gabriel, 1 in El Monte. I didn't see the homicide in Rialto mentioned in the Saturday or Sunday DB. Did I miss it?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

our house is a very very very fine house

You may know Eurydice Turk as a local realtor, but she is also a neighbor and community activist. She writes:

At our last NW meeting, we discussed whether the city’s Webwatch program is still up and running. Over the next month, the Community Life Commission will be looking at opportunities that create community. It would be very helpful if I could pull some ideas from my district and take them back to our next meeting. I am specifically interested in ideas that will bring us together and don’t cost a lot of money… initial ideas are beautification projects, community gardens, emergency preparedness plans (by district), litter removal projects… let’s ride the creative wave that is coming our way. Remember – YES WE CAN!

She is the CLC rep for Lincoln Park, but I imagine she would be happy to pass ideas on for other neighborhoods as well. You can write directly to her with ideas at

For my part, there are all sorts of things I'd love to get involved with -- community gardens, the HPC, etc. -- but until my job stops requiring 70 hours and a pint of blood per week, it ain't gonna happen. As the kids say, le sigh.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

votes for money

Sorry to have been AWOL, folks -- first I was just too damned busy, and then I was just too damned sick. I'm still sick, but I am fed up with lying on the couch and whimpering, so I've willed my carcass to come to life.

What was it that Gandhi said about Western civilization -- he thought it would be a good idea? I feel the same way about a humane society: What a great thought! Let's give it a try!

Courtesy of my neighbor, I bring you an opportunity to vote for our own Inland Valley Humane Society in some contest for $10k, an amount I'm sure they could use. Yeah, it's a random popularity contest, but on the other hand, it's $10k -- and if you've been down to the IVHS (on Mission, down by Aerospace Ghost-Town), you'll know they could really use the bucks. So go throw 'em a bone if the spirit moves you. You don't even hafta give 'em a valid email address.

I feel pretty grateful to them for our own Cranky Bighead of a cat, Voiceover. Thanks to him, K and I aren't the most eccentric creatures -- or worst singers -- on the block.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Foothill Cities blog is BACK!!!

Just to let those who haven't seen it yet that The Foothill Cities blog is back in operation.