Saturday, May 30, 2009

Monday Council Meeting

Monday's council meeting will be very critical on a series of issues that will dramatically affect the future of our city.

First up will be the re-certification of the Downtown Pomona Owner's Association (DPOA). The DPOA is a special assessment district that funds, through assessment of property owners, increased services for the downtown area beyond those that the city normally provides. Other such assessment districts in the city include the landscaping district in Phillips Ranch, as an example, which provides extra landscaping for the hillsides and streetscapes of the Phillips Ranch area that are paid for by the property owners in that area.

For the DPOA, the mission is a little different. They are tasked with providing a clean, safe downtown AND to promote our downtown as a destination for our citizens and for those in our surrounding communities. DPOA also goes by the name "Metro Pomona." It is the DPOA that coordinates such activities as the 2nd & 4th Saturday Art Walks, the farmers' market at the art walks and the farmers' market on Wednesdays in the Antique Row area. They also sponsor and support many other activities that focus attention on the businesses and opportunities in our downtown. They also pay for two police officers dedicated to patrolling downtown to keep us safe when we visit there, and cleaning of the streets and sidewalks so our experiences are pleasant when we visit.

It has been suggested that the city can't afford its participation in such an enterprise at this time. Because the city is a major property owner within the assessement district, they are assessed the same as any other property owner. It has been suggested that pressure be put on the council to vote against renewal of the district as a cost-saving function. However, the reality of the situation is that most of the city-owned property is either redevelopment agency and vehicle parking district. Funds from these two entities cannot, by law, be transferred to the general fund and must be used solely for activities related to the properties that they own, such as the DPOA. In addition, the DPOA takes part of the responsibility for maintenance of sidewalks and adds two police officers that the city does not have to pay for from general funds. So the city definitely gains value from any money paid toward DPOA activities.

If you believe that we need to have a DPOA and actively support our downtown, please show your support with a letter to your councilperson or by coming to Monday's meeting and speaking in support of the DPOA. Let's not let short-sightedness rule

Also on the Agenda for Monday is the city's budget. This is particularly difficult as the city is looking to make significant cuts to city staff, police, and services to children and seniors.

On the chopping block will be:
  • 20 Police officers / positions, including 5 police investigators
  • 5 Police report takers, whose work will go to patrol officers
  • 2 Police crime prevention officers (I guess we don't prevent crime, we just respond to it)
  • Reduced patrol overtime to the tune of $100,000 (so fewer officers working fewer hours)
  • Reduced homicide weekend standby to the tune of $7,000
  • Reduction of funding for unexpected repairs to police facilities, $25,000
  • Outsourcing of Park Security
  • Elimination of one engine company for 7 months, $819,000
Housing and Planning
  • Outsource Building and Safety Department
  • Eliminate 1 Planner and 1 Planning Assistant
  • Outsource street sweeping including a reduction in the number of days/streets
Public Works
  • Outsource Parks Division, eliminate 19 positions
  • Eliminate downtown and weekend graffiti removal position
  • Eliminate 3 Engineering/Construction positions
  • Eliminate 3 Equipment Division positions
  • Eliminate tree trimming positions resulting in fewer street trees being trimmed, planted, removed
  • Reduce median maintenance resulting in mowing, trimming, watering, fertilizing, weed control, etc.
Community Services
  • Eliminate 5 Parks coordinators and recreation coordinators/supervisors
  • Eliminate Admin. Assistant in Youth and Family Services program
  • Eliminate Veteran's Park Rentals Coordinator
  • Eliminate Concessions program at Veterans Park
  • Eliminate 4 Parks/facilities custodians
  • Eliminate Senior Trips and Tours Program
  • Eliminate funding for Cultural Arts Commission
  • Eliminate funding for Pomona Concert Band
  • Reduce facilities maintenance by $15,000
  • Eliminate funding for Youth Advisory Committee
  • Close Library on Mondays
  • Eliminate 2 Library Assistants
  • Reduce Operations budget by $14,000
  • Reduce library book and materials and related personnel, $32,600
Total reductions by category:
  • Planning & Housing $130,670
  • Public Works $636,030
  • Library $83,055
  • Community Service: Level 1 $341,855 | Level 2 $751,505
  • Police: Level 1 $341,225 | Level 2 $448,740 | Level 3 468,770
All of this information comes from the Staff Report, which is part of the information online. Read the full report to see other areas of cuts and staff's assessment of the impacts of the cuts. I admittedly didn't include everything as this post is already too long.

This is another of those areas where if you disagree with the cuts, please write your councilperson or address the council at Monday's meeting. The council has some tough choices and they need to know what we citizens are willing to let go and what we feel we truly need.

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Sweet Smell of Victory

Pomona came up victorious in a couple of recent court decisions.

Robert Dahms vs Downtown Pomona Property et al
Hernandez vs the City of Pomona

I'm not a daily subscriber, so give me a heads-up when the DB runs the story.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


June 1st is the deadline for submitting nominations to the Home Beautification Contest.

Homes will be judged on the following criteria:
 Overall appearance and “curb appeal” of the property
 Landscaping and the use of decorative plantings
 On-going upkeep of landscaping and maintenance of the home’s exterior
 Overall neatness and superior upkeep
 Property should be visibly compliant with building, safety, or code (what fun is that)

What do I get if I can answer 'no' to ALL of these criteria?


And the winner gets...................

First place winners and honorable mention recipients will receive a lawn sign
recognizing them as winners. In addition, the award winners will be featured on the
City’s website at . Publicity for the winners will also extend to
local newspapers with a press release.

And most importantly, you'll receive the "I'm an overachiever in Pomona" award.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

where's my bobbecue chicken?

Long ago, in a galaxy far far away known as Appalachia (pronounced 'apple-atcha', thankyouverymuch), the phone rang at 2am in my first apartment after moving out on my own. I struggled up from the abyss of sleep, and answered groggily. On the other end, an irate woman screamed into the phone, "WHEAH'S MAH BOBBECUE CHICKEN?!? I ODAH'ED THAT BOBBECUE CHICKEN A OWAH AGO!!!"

I hung up on her without saying anything (it was all I could think of at 2am), but that line has stuck with me in the mumblety-nine years since.

I was reminded of it last night, when we decided to try out Red Hill Bobbecue Barbecue out in Rancho Cucamonga. We've driven past it at various times -- most notably on the way to Vince's (for which I have a very spongy soft spot), and we've always meant to try it. K. was working from home, so, hey, why not?

Now I know why not: It's just not very good. Well, the meat is good -- very well smoked. But the sauce, which they ladle over your food by the pint, is awful stuff: sticky, sweet, and artificially thickened.

K. decided to get the Carnivore Carnival, or whatever they called the sampler. It consisted of meat, meat, and more meat (specifically: pork ribs, beef ribs, brisket, chicken, ham, and two hot links) shoveled into a large styrofoam box and then drowned in sauce.

I got the rib tips, which received the same treatment. Both of our styrofoam boxes were bulging so dangerously that they were (only barely) held shut with toothpick. K.'s weighed about four pounds; mine was only three.

For sides, I got the cole slaw and the mac&cheese, because they were out of collards (my favorite!). The cole slaw was fine, the mac&cheese was mediocre. Both were pretty soupy. K. said the potato salad was pretty good, but I didn't get a verdict on his baked beans.

We ended up taking the rest of our dinners home. K. will be nibbling on his for the next week, whereas I'll be feeding cats with mine. Voiceover has quite a sweet tooth, and he loved the combination of sugar and smoke and beef. I'll give him some bits as a treat and put the rest out for the neighborhood felines (most of whom live outside and eat nothing but kibble). The couple (of ribs, not cats) I tossed onto the driveway were gone in minutes.

I have left strict instructions with the cats, however, that if they're looking for bobbecue chicken, don't. call. me.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

business notes from all over

Like Peaches, I went AWOL for a bit there, but I'm back home and firmly leashed to the internet so I can't go far.

I have, however, done a little local commerce, and I'm here to report back.

K. just got back from a week-long business trip, and I'm getting over the creeping crud, so we decided to eat out on saturday night. But where is one to go on commencement weekend, when thousands of families attack Claremont and environs? We thought Pho Ha, on Indian Hill, would be safe, but it was the most crowded I've ever seen it. And indeed, there was a graduation table -- smug-looking 22-year-old, a couple of stroppy siblings, proud mom and pop, and Grandma waving a chopstick in each hand and saying loudly "How am I supposed to eat my noodles with these things?!?"

As you know, I'm a big fan of the Corner Butcher Shop, in the Marshalls shopping center across from Target. The other day the special on the chalkboard was a "Kitchen Nightmares Burger." Turns out that Ricky, my regular counter guy, was the head chef at Lela's, to whom Gordon Ramsay gave such a ration of grief on the tv show. I didn't try the burger; Ricky's a great guy, but I'm taking Ramsay's word on the lamb-and-chocolate combination.

I was getting my specs tightened up at Pigale Optical yesterday when a very elderly man came in, followed closely by a woman and her daughter.
Mom: "Excuse me, sir, were you just at the California Bank & Trust?"
Man: "Yesssss..."
Mom: "Well, you left your card in the machine. The man behind you took it in to the counter."
Man: "You followed me all the way here to tell me that? Thank you!"
Daughter: "You walk really fast for such an old man!"
Mom: "Honey! Hush!"
Daughter: "But you said so yourself!"
I'm sure there's a lesson in that for everyone.

The pikkie was the first hit for a search on "Pomona LaVerne Claremont." Doesn't have much to do with anything, but who's going to turn their nose up at bonbons?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Peaches went AWOL

A member of the Pomona blogosphere lost a feline family member.

Check Pomona's Art Colonists for more information.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Just another day in POMONA

After you're all dirty from cleaning up Pomona, what could be more exciting than heading on over to the Cal Poly Pomona Farm store for the Tractor and Car Show.

Tractor rides
Petting Zoo
Oldies and Hot Rod Tunes

Got a cool car, you can enter it and receive a free t-shirt ($35 to enter).

Word on the street is that they'll have a fully-restored vintage steam tractor! I know Meg and K won't miss this event. And couldn't we all just picture David Allen wearing a straw hat and riding a tractor. OK, well how about Mayor Rothman.

Where else in Southern California, could you pick up the city's trash and pull weeds in the morning, pet some animals and ride a tractor in the early afternoon, and then in the evening, get all gussied up to hobnob with aspiring artists.


Thursday, May 7, 2009

The 'H' word for April

For April's map, I've tossed in vehicular-related deaths to give it a little more color. Sorry, my LA County vehicle info is a bit lacking, since I haven't found easy access to the coroner's info and the newspapers don't really cover death by vehicle too often.

Here's some food for thought when you're assessing risk:

Year Vehicle Homicide
2007 3557 2258
2006 3793 2483
2005 3822 2503
2004 3701 2394
2003 3726 2402
2002 3650 2392
2001 3517 2201
2000 3331 2074
1999 3144 2006
1998 3075 2170

By my count, Pomona has experienced 6 homicides in 2009, with guns being the weapon of choice. As for April, the single homicide was a shooting that occurred during a crowded party. I believe suspects have been arrested or identified in 4 of the 6 shootings.

And how does this year compare to last year:
  1. by the start of May 2008, Pomona had reached 5 and we eventually hit an unofficial 20. Of the 20, 9 people were killed in the last 3 months of the year.
  2. Over the last ten years, we've averaged 21 homicides a year.
April Homicide map
Jan-March Homicide map

Friday, May 1, 2009

Romeo and Juliet @ Cal Poly

Here's a cut and paste from a Cal Poly press release:

"The timeless tale of star-crossed lovers will be told at Cal Poly Pomona’s main stage theatre in a production of “Romeo and Juliet.”

Shakespeare’s classic work will be presented May 8, 9, 14, 15 and 16 at 8 p.m. in Building 25. There will be matinee performances on May 12 and 13 at 10 a.m., and May 17 at 2 p.m.

The department will put on a full-fledged production, with student actors donned in traditional Renaissance costumes on a stage filled with Elizabethan scenery and props.

Many of the students are fully versed in Shakespearean language, having performed at the university’s Southern California Shakespeare Festival, a professional repertory theatre company dedicated to nurturing artists and enriching the diverse community of the Inland Empire.

“We have strong actors who can tell this universal story of hate and love,” said Linda Bisesti, director and associate professor of theatre, who has appeared in multiple film and television roles.

Tickets are $15 for general admission and $10 for students, faculty and staff.

For more information, contact the Theatre Box Office at (909) 869-3800. "