Thursday, October 29, 2009

Candidate Choices

Am I the only one who finds it a little amusing that the slate of candidates for the PUSD Board of Education is more impressive than the typical City Council election? I counted at least 3 doctorates.

Can we just boot the Council and give the School Board both positions?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

the exorcists: vote for any three

The following arrived in the mail the other day -- maybe you got one too. On the front is an eagle the size of my fist, with giant letters proclaiming VOTER INFORMATION GUIDE in the same font as the official sample ballots. In smaller print, it instructs me to take it to my polling place and use it while voting.

I was suspicious from the start, and confirming my suspicions was the work of 15 seconds on the web: It's a flat-out advertising organ that pays no attention to political stance or even coherence of opinion (I found an example on the web where the two opponents in a race had both paid and were both endorsed).

I dislike advertising that pretends to be something it's not (property-tax adjustment scams, ads that are meant to look like certified mail, and so forth); they're deleterious to a well-ordered society. If a county CFO can fall prey to a Nigerian bank scam, how many poor sods are going to believe these ads' claims and take them as gospel?

As I read the so-called Voter Information Guide, I was all set to be critical of the candidates who paid this dude money (he's some scam artist out of Sherman Oaks, apparently). But then I came to the VOTE, VOTE, VOTE paragraph. Go on, read it carefully. Let me help you.

What I'd like to know is, How does exorcize one's right to vote? The only way I can think of offhand is to commit a felony. Is that really what these candidates want us to do?

Spelling remains perhaps the most reliable means of spam detection (when was the last time you got spam email that was written perfectly? That's right: never). But if I were a school board candidate -- a school board candidate -- I would hesitate to place paid advertising on a slate mailer with spelling mistakes. Some random blogger might think that I had approved the copy beforehand. And if spelling is a reliable means of spam detection, what other forms of imposture can it detect?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

hunting and gathering around town

Why you should shop at Stater Brothers and not Vons:
1. The large bottle of Grey Poupon is THREE DOLLARS CHEAPER. Unfortunately, I discovered that in the bad way, not the good way.
2. If you buy two bags of Doritos (I learned from the woman ahead of me in line), the cashier will say, "Are you sure you don't want to get a third bag? It's buy-two-get-one-free, you know." I've never seen that at Vons.

I stopped by the PBC to pick up a loaf of bread on my way home from errand-running this morning. I've never been there on a saturday (usually I'm a 7am-on-weekdays girl), but the place was thronged. I had to wait outside for 10 minutes. Dan & Jess report that business is booming, in large part due to the Western U folks. Who doesn't love a tale of local business success that doesn't begin with negotiation through a car window?

Friday, October 23, 2009

One LA Forum with School Board Candidates

I attended last night's PUSD Board Candidates Accountability Session, hosted by One LA. All ten candidates attended (yes, da Sons made an appearance).

One LA accountability sessions are really pretty fascinating. In addition to giving candidates opportunities to speak briefly (about 60 seconds) on specific issues, they ask the candidates to respond yes or no to key questions about these issues.

What key issues served as the focus for last night's session?

1. Reduction in force and layoff issues
2. Adult education
3. Parent/volunteer policy
4. Algebra Project
5. Willingness to meet in early January with One LA if you're elected

The questions asked about each issue were lengthy, and my pen didn't move that fast. But, my understanding of the gist of the questions is as follows:

1. Do you think we should try to prevent job loss and, when inevitable, do you think we should find humane ways of letting people know they are being laid off?
2. Do you think we should preserve funding for adult education programs?
3. Do you think we should modify the district's volunteer policy to make it easier for parents and community members to become involved in schools?
4. Do you endorse innovative educational programs?
5. If you're elected, to you commit to meeting with leaders from One LA in early January?

(Can any readers provide more specificity on these questions?)

When individuals actually provided a yes or no answer, all said yes they support to work for improvement on the listed issues. By my count, there were two times during the night where candidates failed to respond to the yes/no issue (unless you count, "Yes, I'd like to address these issues openly" -- that response seemed dodgy to me).

Listening to the one-minute responses gave me a good sense of candidates' quality of thought and insight on the issues. Given I knew absolutely nothing about any of these candidates' positions or qualificiations prior to the session, I was thrilled to leave the meeting with a much better sense of who seems ready for an elected position and who I am willing to support. I won't provide a blow-by-blow of reactions to each candidate, but I will say:

Big thumbs up for Hank Mollet. His careful thinking about the issues is obviously informed by years in the classroom. He came across as well-spoken, balanced, and in the race for admirable reasons. If I could vote for just one candidate, it would be him.

I believe there is another opportunity to meet the candiates next Tuesday. Does anyone know the time and place?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

New Cafe in Town

After getting my lovely lady locks highlighted and trimmed by Cherie Savoie at her downtown Pomona salon, I meandered over to Saffron, downtown Pomona's newest eatery.

Located at 141 W. Fourth Street, Saffron offers an always-changing menu of soups, sandwiches, and baked goodies. I chased my tasty turkey, bacon, and chedder panini with a chocolate chip cookie bar. Both were delicious.

There are a couple other Saffrons in the area (San Dimas and Riverside). I don't yet see the Pomona location, which opened just last week, listed on the website, but this is definitely the same company.

Let's show them a little Pomona hospitality!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

get schooled on schools

I don't know if anyone else caught the post on the Daily Bulletin's Pomona Now blog about the school-board candidate forum, but I was rather unimpressed. Not by the post (although if those were the two most interesting questions to cover...), but by what the candidates said. Were any of our loyal readers there to report more fully?

One item I was unimpressed by was the presence of all the candidates except the Sons (Robert Torres and Jason Rothman). I'd be delighted to have my suspicions about nepotism disproved, but the only way to do that is to come out to these events and demonstrate content and convictions.

I was also unimpressed by the answers to the question about education in "the arts, social studies, geography, or economics." Several candidates seemed to be saying that in these tough economic times (cue the violin), parents will have to take care of that. Great -- so the educated keep getting more educated, and the less educated slide further down the hill.

The best answer, though, was DOCTOR Roberta Perlman's, in which she lumped the sciences in with the arts in terms of seemingly-peripheral subjects. Nancy Matarrita had the best defense of arts education, saying that the arts help keep kids in school (presumably by giving kids another venue in which to excel).

All these half-baked opinions of mine are based only on the DB article, but there is another candidates forum coming up on thursday, sponsored by One LA. It's at the First Christian Church on Artesia (off of Garey, by the hospital) at 7pm.

Reading over the info (sent to me by our own Pomona Joe), I see that it is explicitly not a debate; candidates will only have one minute to respond to each question. Instead, One LA envisions the forum as a way "to let them know our values and ask them to commit to working with us on them."

If any candidates are reading this (yeah, Meg, don't flatter yourself), I encourage them to use that minute to say something that will really give us a sense of who they are, not just to reiterate how much they care and how important our schools are. I assume that every single candidate shares those convictions. Show me how you differ from the others, and you'll probably get my vote.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Public transit in Pomona to be gutted come February

According to the below staff report on the Foothill Transit Executive Board agenda, Foothill Transit is slashing service on almost every single bus that comes into Pomona. Only the 286, 482, 492, and 493 are unscathed.

Foothill Cuts
Lines in Pomona to be slashed in February 2010 due to a budget crisis are the following:
  • Silver Streak - reduce service to 20 minutes in the off peak hours (from 15 minutes today) and 30 minutes on weekends (from 20 minutes today). Note that originally, service was supposed to be expanded because of revenue received from the Federal government as a result of converting the I-10 carpool lane west of the 605 into a high occupancy/toll lane.
  • Line 855 (Holt, San Antonio, San Bernardino) - eliminate service along Radcliffe Avenue.
  • Line 699 (Fairplex Park and Ride service) - eliminate three late morning trips (currently, the last trip leaves Fairplex at 8:28 a.m., while traffic on the 10 remains heavy until well past 9 a.m. most mornings) and eliminate one early afternoon trip (the first trip currently leaving Downtown at 2:00 p.m.)
  • Line 480 (Valley, Humane, Mission, East End, Holt, Indian Hill) - cut service in half during middays, evenings, and weekends to every 60 minutes. (Just three years ago, prior to the implementation of the Silver Streak, service operated every 15 minutes seven days a week along these streets.)
  • Line 291 (Garey, Foothill) - reduce service from every 20 minutes middays to every 30 minutes.
  • Line 195 (Holt, Reservoir, Philadelphia/Rio Rancho, Phillips Ranch) - eliminate ALL buses on middays and weekends. This eliminates all transit service to Phillips Ranch, the Reservoir industrial corridor, and the Wal-Mart and Winco outside of a few trips during peak hours.
  • Line 187 (Foothill) - eliminate five trips in the early morning (the first bus leaves Montclair at 5 a.m. and Pasadena at 4:40 a.m., passing through Pomona at 5:16 and 6:24 respectively, with service every half hour).
No public hearing appears to be scheduled for these cuts (while there were two public meetings scheduled, one in Pomona, to cancel lightly used Line 189, which comes nowhere near Pomona). While all transit agencies are taking it on the chin, the cuts should be distributed more equitably among communities, especially considering the highly transit-dependent nature of Pomona.

The Silver Streak, unfortunately, continues to operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, despite higher fares and low ridership. Unlike in West Covina, where the Silver Streak makes five stops, the Silver Streak only makes one stop in Pomona. When I take the Silver Streak late at night, I routinely see half a dozen to a dozen people walk unknown distances to get home, since the 480 no longer operates at that hour, or the transfer wait is too long. Although the route is supposed to be an express route, that doesn't stop West Covina from having more stops. At the very least, a stop at Holt Avenue and a stop near the 10 freeway would provide access to greater numbers of people, and enhance ridership. Better yet, rather than running duplicative service, run the Silver Streak weekdays only and divert the remaining service to Line 480 so that Mission Boulevard can at least have a bus every half hour.

Incidentally, Paula Lantz is on Foothill Transit's board. What does she feel about all of these cuts to Pomona's service? Shouldn't the pain be spread around the different communities, which also have low ridership services, rather than removing transit service to areas far away from remaining service?

Friday, October 16, 2009

25th Annual Pomona Home Tour

The geriatric home lovers are throwing their 25th annual home tour this Sunday. The tour includes 5 homes, the Ebell museum, and an inside look at the Pomona Fox theatre.

The tour runs from 11AM-5PM. Day of tour tickets can be purchased for $25 at the Ebell Club starting at 10AM. Tickets can also be purchased for a limited time on the Pomona Heritage website and if you do it quickly, you can buy them for $20.

The proceeds from the Home Tour fund the annual Restoration Workshop and the Pomona Heritage grant program. Check the Pomona Heritage website for information on these two programs and don't forget to click on the 'Home Tour' link for a smidgen of detail on the Home Tour and the "BUY NOW" button.

I couldn't find a convenient exterior Fox photo to pilfer, so just remember that the Fox IS on the Tour.

PiGP in tha house!

The LA Times informs me that there was a huge prostitution sting on Holt last night, resulting in the arrest of 30 guys and dolls.

Surely it's no coincidence that our own Pride in Garfield Park was just complaining of this on the NW blog. Chalk one up to the power of blogging!

toro! toro! toro!

I've heard that once upon a time -- perhaps back in the orange-grove era -- Nogi Sushi was really good, but ever since we've lived in the West Inland Empire, Nogi has been wretched.

Thus I was delighted to see that Nogi is Nomore, replaced by another sushi-ya called Hayato. Last night, after a long day, I dragged K. out to give it a try.

And the decision is: Hayato FTW!

I spent a big chunk of my 20s in Japan, and I'm a terrible snob when it comes to Japanese food. I want my washoku to taste properly Japanese, not inflected with Korean or Chinese flavor profiles (or Italian or Ethiopian...).

But I'm happy to report that Hayato made me happy. Everything was great, and very Nihon-teki.

K. could eat sushi every night for the rest of his life, but while I could eat Japanese food forever, sushi is a once-in-a-while treat for me. So he ordered the sushi deluxe platter (moriawase), I had the oyako donburi (a big delicious mess of rice, onion, parent, and child -- er, chicken and egg), and we split an order of gyoza.

Sushi: Generous with the nigiri, excellent fish quality, well cut (and that's a big deal to Japanese sushiphiles). K. said the rice wasn't quite up to his standards, but perhaps it wasn't sweet enough for him (he prefers everything to be very sweet, except for me).

Gyoza: Homemade in formation, homestyle in filling. These tasted like the gyoza made at the gyoza parties my friends used to throw.

Oyakodon: Very tasty, generous portion.

Last and most of all, miso soup. You know the old song "Billy Boy," with its line, "Can she bake a cherry pie, Billy Boy, Billy Boy"? Well, misoshiru is the measuring stick of a cook in Japan. This misoshiru was better than anything I've had within 10 miles of the house, although you can get better in Little Tokyo. It had plenty of wakame (seaweed) in it -- very homestyle -- but the tofu was diced up in a brunois, just like in restaurants.

Overall, Hayato has a very Japanese feel, and the itamaesan and the servers were Japanese, speaking Japanese among themselves in what I think was a Northern accent.

Like the governator, I'll be back.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Events this week

Here's a rundown:

10/14 Pomona Public Library Big Read event
"Make your own Buck"
4-5PM children 3+ learn to make a puppet

10/14 Joint Study Session of the Planning Commission and City Council
Pomona Today: Economic and Place-Related Issues and Opportunities
Westmont Park Community Center 6PM

10/14 Farmer's Market in Metro Pomona

10/15 The Great California Shake Out at 10:15AM
The largest earthquake drill ever.

10/15 Pomona Public Library Big Read event **"Call of the Wild" Bingo**
Prizes and "Call of the Wild" themed items will be given away

10/15 Pomona Big Read Event at the Ebell Club
Sue Hodson will lecture on the life of Jack London.
7PM Lecture starts, reception to follow
Thanks to Ren for posting

10/15 Meet the Candidates
Willie White Park Focus Group is hosting a forum to meet the School Board candidates
3065 Battram Street
Thanks to Pride for posting

Pomona Public Library hosts "Adventures in dog sledding" with Adventure Quest, Inc. Iditarod Sled Dog demonstration
Saturday Oct. 17 in front of library 1-3PM

More Big Read events

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Me, go clubbing? Not in years. But according to the Daily Bulletin, the city and Angelo's Pizzeria have worked out a deal, and one that seems to preserve its after(pizza)hours club business.

Looking over the terms of the deal, I can't immediately tell what the compromises are. It looks like it will still be a bumpin' place after 8pm (when they will be required to start carding).

Half of me is grumpy about it. I'm still sore about the time K. and I decided (finally) to try Angelo's, but when we got there (at about 8pm on a friday night) it was a complete zoo and was even very-slightly-menacing.

But the other half of me tells that half, "Oh STFU, old lady. Just because you aren't going to dress up like a hoochy-mama and go do the booty clap at a dance club doesn't mean that other people don't have a right. Stop trying to turn Pomona into Claremont."

Rude as Other Half is, I think she's right. I'll just sit home watching Masterpiece Theatre and drinking gin out of a teacup.