Friday, July 31, 2009
I'll let the assembled company decide whether there's a takeaway point and if so, what it is. I'm mainly posting it because I was amused.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
Our NW captain came over after this evening's meeting for a glass of wine and a debriefing. It sounds like it was an exciting one, that's for sure!
According to her, there was a very animated fellow there when she arrived, chatting with folks and introducing himself around. He seemed to be getting more animated -- heading toward the edges of the comfort zone -- as things went on. In addition to our beloved block captains and so forth, a police detective and two uniformed officers were also in attendance, and were introduced.
At one point, the agitated fellow asked another neighbor of ours, "Have you got any papers or a pipe?" Our rather-shocked neighbor replied that this was a Neighborhood Watch meeting. (I imagine the "for pete's sake!!!" was silent, but perhaps not.) The agitated fellow replied as if he already knew that, saying, "Yes, that's how they do it here."
Note to self: If that's how they do it at our NW meetings, I definitely need to start going, if only for entertainment value!
He got increasingly agitated, pacing around and so forth, and finally pulled his cellphone and drug paraphernalia out of his pockets and put them on the table -- and commenced pacing around again.
At that point, various people drew the detective's attention to the drug paraphernalia, and he in turn drew the uniformed officers' attention to the agitated fellow. The result was a gen-yoo-ine, Starsky-and-Hutch style take-down.
Lincoln Park doesn't need extra excitement this week, but it's always feast or famine, I guess. I'm currently taking nominations for which community member should play the part of Huggy Bear.
I know the pikkie is from Adam-12, not Starsky & Hutch, but they were uniformed officers, after all. And that hunky Kent McCord was an early crush of mine, whereas I always thought that both Paul Michael Glaser and David Soul were kinda sleazy.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
I had this email forwarded to me that originally came from Councilwoman Paula Lantz and I'm sure it's probably the most up-to-date info at the moment. (portions of the email that were not relevant have been edited out).
There was a homicide in the 500 block of McKinley. I don’t know the address. The victim was sitting on his front porch and was shot several times. I don’t know if it was a drive-by, or something up-close-and-personal. Like you [referring to the person who sent me the email], I heard the shots about 11 p.m. then the sirens and helicopter. At last report there were no suspects in custody, but it was considered gang related.
I was by this morning, thinking there would still be yellow tape somewhere, but there wasn’t. If occupants of that home appear to be “bangers,” that is also something to mention at Monday’s meeting. I have alerted our new CSO, Carlos Hernandez, that there will be lots of questions about last night. I just don’t know what they will be able to share at that point. If you want to put this on the e-hotline, you are welcome to.
I hope that the reference to e-hotline also gives me permission to put the information up here as well.
The meeting referenced is a Neighborhood Watch Block Captain's meeting which will be held Monday evening . If anyone has more information about this, please feel free to comment below.
Friday, July 24, 2009
The item had to do with the City of Pomona selling to the City of West Hollywood, some of its Prop A Transportation funds. Pomona, who needs general funds money more than it needs transportation projects (presumably) is selling the Prop A funds for $.55 on the dollar (interestingly my own research shows that both West Covina and Ranch Palos Verdes sold Prop A money to West Hollywood and got $.77 on the dollar, I wonder what they're doing with all the Prop A money they're buying on the cheap?). Stepping up to speak on the issue was Pomona resident Hank Fung.
Mr. Fung has spoken on many issues over the course of the time that I've been attending council meetings and while I don't always agree with his point of view, he always makes compelling, well researched and thought-out arguments. For this particular issue, he asked that the council look at these funds in a different way in the future. He had his research and pointed out that Prop B funds can be used for a wide variety of projects beyond bus service. They can be used for special transportation such as taking seniors or students on field trips, they can be used to supplement the school district's transportation programs, they can be used to build and maintain bus shelters at the bus stops within the city, they can be use (and here's the good one) for parking structures at transportation centers, such as downtown near the downtown Pomona train depot. He noted that other cities have used their funds in this manner, using the additional parking for rail users during the day and for other uses during the evenings (Fox, Glass House, Restaurants, Art Galleries/Museums, etc.).
The council listened intently and it seems that they had not considered such uses for these funds. One wonders why someone of Mr. Fung's knowledge and interest hasn't been tapped to server on a commission or board. I don't know if he has an interest, but he certainly seems to understand issues and come up with solutions. If he has been approached, I'm just sorry that he hasn't felt that he could serve. If he hasn't been approached, shame on our city.
I wish to personally thank Mr. Fung for helping our city. So maybe next year, instead of getting $.55 on the dollar, we'll be able to get some real value for our community instead of exporting it somewhere else.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
A big shout out to Tibbi and the many folks who helped out with the Brew Hope fundraiser last night. I'd call it an amazing success, at least in terms of attendance; at one point, I was having flashbacks to my disco days, it was that crowded (and loud and hot -- but like going to a club, I didn't want to be anywhere else on earth).
Much fun was had by all, from what I could tell. There was a silent auction as well as a noisy auction (the latter was much more entertaining); lovely food from various providers, personal and professional; a slideshow that captured the pathos of the fire and post-fire efforts; and many great conversations washed down with adult beverages suitable for a summer evening. The stars were out in force, and I'm happy to report that Tibbi and the Mayor did not come to blows, as hinted at on Tibbi's blog.
I got to hear more about the homeowner's dissatisfaction with the fire department's response to the fiery inferno and with the city's response to their dissatisfaction. Greater openness and transparency are touchstones for any city, but I'd definitely encourage our leaders to allow the issue to be explored fully rather than hoping it will blow over.
PS: As I finish this up, what should arrive in my mailbox but "News Over the Garden Gate," Dawn's e-newsletter for the Garden. Weebles wobble, but they don't fall down!
PPS: I heard reports that Juan Cabrera's video of the fire had been removed, but I just checked and it's back from wherever it went. Note that it's on MySpace, not YouTube...
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
I usually go to Rowland Heights to get a good tootsie rub, but I was in the mood for something closer to home. Google suggested Serenity at 11756 Central Ave #C in Chino (909-628-8848). They are open from 10AM - 10PM, walk-ins welcome.
Admittedly, we were a little worried about the location. Many of the massage places on Central, especially between Mission and the 60, seem downright sketchy. So, we all agreed we would do an about-face if anyone gave the "I'm sketched out" signal. Fortunately, such signals were far from warranted.
Big thumbs up to Serenity. The facility is clean and calm, the staff friendly and responsive. The prices are reasonable (a bit higher than Rowland Heights, but I was happy to spend the extra dollars for the tranquility of the space and interactions).
I got the 60 minute foot reflexology service. It included a scalp massage. But, unlike the place I've gone to Rowland Heights, it did not include any shoulder or back massage. Nevertheless, I felt "floaty" after the service.
Stew and John got the Foot Reflexology + Therapy Chair service. I'm told the therapy chair addition "cemented the total body experience." I'll get it next time.
If you're a fan of foot rubs, check them out. If you've never tried a foot rub, check them out. A $20 or $25 massage in a relaxing environment with air conditioning is a great way to escape the heat. Here's the menu of services for your reference:
1. Foot Reflexology: $15 for 45 minutes or $20 for 60 minutes; or $150 for a 10 count package of the 60 minute service.
2. Therapy Chair (upper body massage): $15 for 20 minutes or $25 for 30 minutes; or $200 for a 10 count package of the 30 minute service.
3. Body Acupressure: $15 for 20 minutes, $30 for 40 minutes, $40 for 60 minutes; or $330 for a 10 count package of the 60 minute service.
4. Foot Reflexology (40 minutes) + Therapy Chair (20 minutes): $25; or $200 for a 10 count package of the 6o minute service.
5. Foot Reflexology (40 minutes) + Body Acupressure (20 minutes): $25; or $200 for a 10 count package of the 60 minute service.
6. Body Oil Tuina: $50 for 60 minutes [I *think* this is a full body massage, but I don't know.]
7. Acupuncture by appointment only.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
The New Dimensions school on 640 S. Garey would like to relocate to an office building on 436 W. Fourth St. The school covers k-8, with an enrollment of 55 students. CUP
The restaurant is located at 1515 East Holt and initiated a request to sell alcohol and wine back in March of 2008. The owners failed to satisfy all the conditions in the original CUP and are back for round 2. The story is actually a little more complicated/convoluted, so read away if it tickles your fancy. CUP modification I'll confess my ignorance and admit that I really don't understand why code enforcement doesn't handle some of the identified conditions. If anyone can add to the tale, please do.
Last night's city council meeting saw a huge turnout of support for the PBID (Property Based Improvement District) which is the ability of the downtown area to tax itself, which also meant that there would be a continuation of the DPOA (Downtown Pomona Owners' Association--the spending arm of the self-imposed tax).
Because it is a self imposed tax, the property owners need to vote (by amount of property owned) on whether to continue the tax. The results were over 77% in favor. [correction: Metro Pomona reports that it was 72% to 28%--sorry for the inaccuracy] This included the votes by the city who are also a major property owner downtown. Congratulations to the DPOA on their extension.
OTHER COUNCIL NEWS
UPDATE ON METRO LINK STATION
There was a presentation on plans by Metrolink to upgrade the North Pomona Station. The plans call for extending the platform from 14ft. wide to 22 ft. wide and extending the length from 500 ft. to 700 ft (enough to accommodate 8-car trains). In addition they will more than double the parking and improve the gating and safety at the main entrace to the station's parking lot.
Metrolink is also planning on building a new Control Center across Garey, as well as a storage and maintenance facility in an available warehouse next to the new Control Center.
As a regular train rider, I'm pleased that we will be getting needed upgrades to the North Pomona Station.
During Public Participation, the Van Allens and Larry Henry gave very impressive talks concerning the destruction of their homes. They were generous in their thanks of everyone who has shown them support and all of the assistance they've received from a wide range of individuals, organizations, businesses, and city government. Larry Henry was particularly eloquent in his praise of Pomona PD. However, he was less than generous with the LA County Fire Department's handling of the situation. He criticized them for not staging in the 1st Baptist parking lot adjacent to the rear of their property where he felt they could have gotten a handle on the fire. He also reported that fire officials would not enter the house to save his animals, nor would they go back down the side of the house (not yet engulfed) to release a dog from a kennel (a Pomona PD Officer was also asked and did it).
At the end of public comment, Councilmember Rodriguez (disclaimer, councilmember Rodriguez is an Emergency Medical Technician for LA County Fire) [Mea Culpa: Anon set me straight that councilmember Rodriguez does not work for LA County Fire. He works for AMR which works closely with LA County Fire in many communities throughout So Cal.] after extolling the work of the LA County Fire Departnment, asked the Fire Chief to answer these concerns. Evidently there was a 50 page report which was presented to the council, although the families had not seen it. It is a public document so I expect that we will have a chance to see it as well.
Basically, there was a recap of how the fire progressed, from a shed fire on Park, to a tree, to an apartment on Gordon, to a grass fire on Gordon on property adjoining the Henrys' to the Garden and Henrys' properties. The Chief explained that in the high wind conditions that they felt that it would be unsafe to drive equipment down the driveways to get to the rears of the property and that they decided that with the high winds and intensity of the fire that they would create a "line" at Garey. He expressed sadness at the lose of the homes and felt that everything that could be done was done to both stop the fire and ensure the safety of the firefighters and public.
The Appointment of Robert Torres to the downtown Vehicle Parking district was item 9 on the consent agenda. I decided to put in a speakers card, but to speak ONLY if the item was pulled by either a coucilperson or other member of the public for discussion. My thinking was that if no councilmember pulled the item, then they were all in favor and I was not going to be the only one who would speak (a sign of ultimate cowardice?). I then noted that assemblywoman Torres was in the audience. Since the didn't address any other issues, I assume that she was there to support her son.
While I didn't know if the item would be pulled, I was rehearsing in my head what my comments would be. I had decided that my opening would be: "I'm not here tonight to dash the hopes of a mother for her son, nor to discourage a young person who wishes to enter public service, but I have some questions concerning this appointment." However, since it would have been me against the world, I didn't have to make my address.
Having said that. I still question this appointment. I see no qualifications stated on his application which make this a good choice. AND, because he is the son of an assemblyperson and former mayor/councilperson, he should have come under even more scrutiny than anyone else, it comes with the territory. I don't feel qualified for such a position even though I have more education, more life experience, and spend a lot of time downtown. So is it unreasonable to ask what this person's qualifications are? If he is truly qualified and can add something to the commission, I'd be the first to be all for him. But we're not given even a glimpse. Councilman Rodriquez did not pull the item to espouse the man's credentials (something that might have pleased his mother in the audience) so we, the public, don't know anything about him except what he put on his application, that he has knowledge of how city government works and a desire to "provide a safe environment for the citizenry of Pomona." (I'm not sure how you do that on a parking commission, but good luck.)
If you have any questions on other items discussed at the council meeting, please leave comments and I'll try to answer. Now it's off to try and make a living.
Monday, July 20, 2009
Item A: Proclaiming Aug. 4 as "National Night Out"
Item 1: SIGMAnet contract to update the city's IT system. approx. $87,000
Item 2: Contract with LA County Fair for police services. approx. $400,000
Item 3: agreement with PUSD to split the cost of the two Community Services School officers approx. $240,000
Item 4: Contract to perform lead hazard control training and certification services (funded from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act 2009)
Item 5: Reject hotel bids (related to Item 4)
Item 6: appeal of planning commission denial of liquor sales at 7-eleven on Towne
Item 7: Invest policy (sorry, I need to read more)
Item 8: Exchange Prop A Funds (this one is interesting)
Item 9: Norma Torres' son appointment to Vehicle Parking District
Item 10: Ad hoc subcommittee to investigate outsourcing (Does the staff think it would take too much time to get the whole Council up to steam?)
Item 11: Council's slush fund is throwing $500 to Pop Warner football
Item 12: Renewal of PBID (this item may be moved to the beginning of the meeting)
Item 13: CUP consideration for Angelo's bar and pizzeria (staff wants more time)
Item 14: Confirmation of Landscaping and lighting district ( I need to spend more time looking over this one)
If you like the current direction of Metro Pomona, they could really use your support on the renewal of the PBID. Emails are always an option and don't limit yourself to just your district representative. We can always donate campaign dollars to the council races in the other districts.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Fire Sale At The Garden
Sunday, July 19
From 12:30 to ???
Help with the cleanup efforts at The Garden and get great bargains on plants. You don't have to work except to buy lots of plants. Clearing the plants will help Dawn and Fred to begin to rebuild.
Don't miss out. See you there!
I had never actually met Pam, so it was great to put a face to the name. I also got to meet Eliot and Jason Rothman, who looked like an ordinary suburban father and son. Which is what you'd expect, except that my only image for the mayor was the photo that hangs in city hall, so I was expecting a suit, not a guy in a polo shirt and baseball cap. Silly me.
Councilman Tim Saunders brought a sno-cone machine, and I gotta say, I've never had a better sno-cone. He kept encouraging his helper to put more syrup on our sno-cones. Other folks had brought hot dogs, sub sandwiches, and all kinds of things. Really, you've never seen such a community turnout; there must have been 75 people working between the two houses.
The principal and teachers of Golden Springs Elementary were there in force -- one of Pam's little girls (grandaughter?) goes to the school. When Pam was talking about everybody's help, she started to get choked up, but I was already a couple of chokes ahead of her. Pomona, you amaze me!
Work will be going on every day, so come on down when you can. Someone is sure to put you to work and thank you for coming. It's a great way to get some exercise (no need to go to the gym today), meet your neighbors (and city officials!), and polish your halo, so don't be shy! If you see me (look for a Campbell's Soup Kid in a floppy hat), say hey.
I called the U-HAUL on Garey to ask if they could donate some supplies to the effort. The response? "Nope, we're too busy." The lack of community spirit stood in stark contrast to the outpouring of kindness over at the site.
At any rate, if you've got some boxes -- especially smaller sizes for the heavy items like dishes -- please drop them by.
Good luck kid! The VPD looks like a lot of work.
Here's the application.
Friday, July 17, 2009
For all you beer-lovers and fire-haters, Tibbi (and others) is throwing a Burn-Out Benefit down at dba256 on Wednesday evening. All the details are available on his blog. I'm planning on being there (yeah, I know, Tibbi, I always say that for your beer nights!).
PiGP and I will be at the burn-razing tomorrow morning -- hope to see some of y'all there!
Thursday, July 16, 2009
"Operation Light Exchange is an energy efficiency program that allows residential customers of Southern California Edison to exchange inefficient halogen and incandescent light fixtures for new, Energy Star labeled lamps. SCE customers may bring up to 10 lamps for exchange. To participate, please make sure you have your California driver’s license showing a residential ZIP code in SCE's service territory or a residential SCE bill. Operation Light Exchange also accepts used CFL bulbs for recycling (no fluorescent tubes). The event will take place on July 18 and 19 between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. at Montclair Plaza. For more information, please visit www.scelampexchange.com"
Michael Woo, former councilman and mayoral candidate, named dean of Cal Poly Pomona’s College of Environmental DesignMichael Woo, currently a member of the Los Angeles City Planning Commission and adjunct professor at the University of Southern California’s School of Policy, Planning and Development, has an accepted an offer to lead Cal Poly Pomona’s College of Environmental Design. His appointment begins July 30.
Since joining the planning commission in 2005, Woo has been a leader on land use and transportation issues, initiated a moratorium on new billboards and opened a review of health effects of breathing polluted air in residential developments near freeways. He also helped draft the city’s “Do Real Planning” principles adopted in 2006, which advocate more affordable housing and jobs near mass transit, improving the city’s aesthetics, reducing “visual blight” and improving walkability.
Woo received his master’s degree in city planning from the University of California, Berkeley. He completed his undergraduate studies in politics and urban studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Pam's blog confirms the rumor: work party at the Henrys' place on saturday and sunday. I'll be there, and it sounds like PiGP will be too. Hope to see y'all there -- it would be a shame for Dawn & Fred to get the benefit of all our help-the-neighbors energy. But we wouldn't let that happen!
I must say, I've been really floored by the way the community has jumped in to help. It's like a barn-raising in Oklahoma (or is it Seven Brides for Seven Brothers?), except that it's a burn-razing.
On a completely different note, am I the only one who thinks there's something extremely fishy about the fact that the local teachers organization, Associated Pomona Teachers, has endorsed candidates for the school board even though the filing period hasn't even opened yet? And that's to say nothing of the fact that the lucky endorsees are Hank Mollet, Roberta Pearlman-Hensen, and Jason Rothman.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
"Many thanks are in order for the great efforts put forth today to help Dawn and Fred put their nursery back together. We accomplished alot and everyone should be proud of the contributions they've made to building community within Pomona. Dawn and Fred are truly beside themselves with appreciation for all the offerings made thus far! However, there is much work left to do so please stop by the Garden whenever you can over the next week at least to check in on what projects might need an extra hand.
Tomorrow a handful of us will be dealing with the debris pile that was the storage garage. There is some considerable degree of toxins within this pile so those who are helping will be using all precautions possible to reduce the chance of contamination (skin, respiratory, and eyes). I have an extra asbestos grade respirator for anyone who would like to lend a hand with the work early am tomorrow so please contact me if you are free and willing to help with this. If you are interested you should bring a long sleeve shirt, wear work pants and good sturdy shoes. A hat is recommended as well as the heat of the day catches up to you quick. Since we will be stirring the pile early in the morning we feel it would be best if any other volunteers could come by no earlier than 10 am in order to let particulate settle and be wiped off of chairs and work tables.
Again thanks a million for all efforts put forth and please continue with your generosity however you can.
I just got back from a couple of hours working at Dawn's. I took photos, which I'll update this post with once I've got them downloaded.
Before, I reported that Dawn was upbeat, but that doesn't do her justice. She is the same cheery Dawn that we all know and love. She had a plan to put into action, but it was as if she was just organizing a spring cleaning.
The garden is not a total loss. In fact, "up and running by next week" actually seems feasible. A lot of plants died, but a lot lived, too -- some of them completely untouched, by the look of them. A number of plants look quite happy but had their pots melted off of them.
Lee and the gang from the Regen Coop were there when I arrived, as well as an older gentlemen I never got to introduce myself to. They cleared rubble in the back while Dawn put me to work watering the living. Ren was also there, but Dawn wouldn't let him take a picture of her ;-)
I had to leave after a couple of hours to come home, shower, and get to work, but a whole host of folks had arrived by then, including a troop/troupe of kids and moms from Lincoln Elementary, where Dawn volunteers.
Dawn clearly has a strategic game plan, and I'm sure she'll have something for you to do if you show up! Try to bring gloves, though, and a sunhat. Dawn will dowse you with sunscreen whether you want her to or not.
PS: Ophelia the chicken will greet you upon your arrival, although she's much more freaked out than Dawn is.
Monday, July 13, 2009
If you haven't already, check out the article on Dawn & Fred in Pomona Now.
Optimism and determination like that are traits to aspire to -- and I have started aspiring. (I was also sooo relieved to hear that all the cats and dogs survived! Since we got our own Ciceronian orator, I've become a complete mushball. And furball, but a lint-roller can fix that.)
The pikkie is of a walnut tree, in tribute to Dawn & Fred's Amazing Surviving Walnut Tree. Come see it tomorrow (tuesday) between 8:15 and 6pm, and wear your work clothes!
So I just talked with Dawn and Fred and you should all know that they are handling their losses with great grace and are eagerly looking forward to rebuilding the nursery first and then everything else. Anyone who knows these two would not be surprised by this and I feel it speaks greatly to their abilities to draw friends from such diverse circles.
We are going to be meeting tomorrow (Tuesday) at 8:15 for a big workparty cleanup. The day is to be split between 2 shifts, 8:15-1 and 3 to 7 so basically there will be people there all day. Come by for one or come for both. There’ll be a siesta and break for food between the two and this will be potluck style so please bring a dish, your own plates and silverware. Also, there will be need for more hands in the coming weeks with both small and large projects as they come up so keep this in mind.
Things to Bring:
gloves, demolition, and cleaning-up tools (shovels, rakes, hand pruners, hand trowels, rope, tarps, wheel barrels etc.) water, sunscreen, a good hat and a dish to contribute to lunch.
We’ll be moving debris, adding a tarp or shade-sheets to her old metal-framed shade-house, consolidating plants together which are salvageable, repotting plants and generally cleaning up from the fire. The next door neighbors with the yarn shop (Pam) got burned up pretty bad too and will be in need of help also. As well, if you can think of others nearby who would value coming out to help, of course any willing hand is welcome.
Many of you know Dawn and have come to the nursery there for gardening supplies for Regen. Dawn has also been a big supporter of food-not-lawns, the Pomona Historical Society, the Tri-city gardens, and done much to establish a large garden at the nearby elementary school. This is a great way for us to help her to get her place back on its feet and build community here in Pomona.
Thanks everyone and I look forward to working with many of you tomorrow.
For those of you who were unaware, Pam Henry has maintained a blog about Pomona for some time now. She, along with her neighbors, Dawn and Fred Van Allen, lost their homes in the fire on Saturday.
Rather than my passing on information on how Pam's doing, I'll let her tell you in her own words. She's posted two items since the fire and you can read them at the Oh, Pomona blog at (http://pomonaprattle.blogspot.com/).
Drop by and let Pam and Larry know that you're thinking of them, as well as getting information from the most reliable source.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Eurydice, and all you folks who get this one way or another,
I know this is a bit long, but I wanted to update you all as best I could.
Danielle Soto (Council Member for District 1, where all this took place), and I got there around 11:30. We were at a conference in San Diego this weekend, along with Council Members Rodriguez and Saunders. We walked and talked and tried to absorb the enormity of it all. Danielle and Cindy went to Stater's for ice, water and some other essentials as folks continued to pour in from the neighborhood, from family, church friends, customers that had heard about it on TV and via the “grape vine.” I was the chauffer. Several folks were there helping to board up the Henry’s place, as there may be some things salvageable. It was definitely a community effort!
We then went to the apartment complex where it began, and Muffin is right, you can’t see anything from the street, and to realize that it all started from there is amazing. We actually got there before the tenant whose place was damaged arrived. He had just returned from Havasu, and was looking forward to a shower and some “down” time. Obviously he was stunned, but as we walked through with him he was amazed. There was some water damage in the very front, on some stools and magazines, etc. but everything else was in great shape, unless the fine dust and ash messed things up. They were boarding the place up, so he needed to get his stuff out ASAP. We went to get my truck so he would be able to get it wherever he needed to, and he had also called his Dad and a friend. He was just afraid they wouldn’t get there in time, or that they wouldn’t have enough room. In the 15 minutes it took for us to get back with the truck, his Dad and friend were there, and they were sure that between the three vehicles they could get it all. Since he wasn’t there last night when the Red Cross was there, he hasn’t made contact. He has a place to stay, but his “stuff” is on a family member’s patio. What he could really use is someplace to store his stuff on a temporary basis until he finds out whether his Landlord has another place for him, or will refund the rest of his rent for the month so he can find another place. Phone service was a problem for the area most of the day, and Verizon was at the apartments repairing the damage to their utility lines until about 3. I think all is well now.
I know there have been rumors about a meth lab, and firecrackers, but Firefighters were there for several hours, tearing out some continuingly smoldering areas of the house, and trying to further assess what happened. They really have ruled out both of the above. According to Dawn this evening, they think it was a transformer, back over by the Gordon Street apartment complex. Apparently the transformer sparked, or “blew” or something, and started a storage shed on fire behind a house on Park Ave. The fire climbed an Oak tree to cross the fence to the back upstairs apartment on Gordon. The wind blew the embers across Gordon and some homes to eventually land in the vacant lot behind the Garden. While it had been recently mowed, all the dead grass was still there (formerly 4 or 5 feet high), and it caught the trees at the back of the Henry’s, then the roof of their back house, and so on. Mayor Rothman was there last night, as was Council member Atchley, and Mayor Rothman was there again shortly after noon today, and was obviously moved by this tragedy. Council Members Saunders and Rodriguez were also there this afternoon offering their support.
There have been many calls and emails from people who would like to help. Right now, since neither family has really determined what there long-term plans are (except both are determined to stay!) I think it would be best to hold off on any hard goods donations. When the need has been determined, Sandra Reyes, block captain from Monroe Street has volunteered to host the collection point. Thank you Sandra!
While in Stater’s today, Danielle asked about the possibility of their donating Stater’s Gift Cards, and the manager indicated that if we could get him the appropriate paper work, that was a good possibility. Thank you Danielle!
This morning during services at Pomona First Baptist, Pastor Gunderson announced that anyone wanting to contribute to the N. Gary victims could write checks to the church, writing “fire” on the bottom, and they would be setting up a special account to be split evenly between the two families. Pastor Gunderson was actually at the site by 5:30 last night, and members of the Church have been praying for the families for more than 24 hours now. I was also told that Pastor Bingham from Pilgrim Congregational also asked for prayers for the families during this morning’s service. I met with Pastor Gunderson this afternoon, and later with Dawn, and I think that we have a good plan that will facilitate any of you that may want to contribute money, since the specifics of what is needed is still so unclear. Danielle and I really wanted those contributing to at least have the tax advantages that come with that, and this seems to make that happen. Those who would like to write a check, make it out to: Pomona First Baptist Church. In the bottom left area, write Fire, or Fire Fund. Mail it to 586 N. Main Street, Pomona, CA, 91768, or drop it off at the Main Office, same address. If you would rather do it online, go to www.pfblive.tv and click on “on line giving.” Assuming you don’t have an account, or want one, just go to “give now.” There will be places for you name, etc. but eventually there is a box for the nature of the donation, the choices will be like, general fund, missions, etc, but click “other.” There is a box that drops down for you to specify, and just type Fire, or Fire Fund. Then you choose electronic check or credit card, and proceed as required. A couple of months ago they had PayPal as an option, but I didn’t see it when I tried it myself earlier. All such donations will be tax deductible, as long as you don’t put a specific name on the check or the online designation. “Fire” makes it tax deductible. At the end of the year the church sends a statement to the address you list, itemizing your contributions for tax purposes. Sounds like a win-win to me.
My thanks to all of you for your concerned and caring emails and phone calls. As hard as this is for so many, it is great to see how we all come together for those we care about.
I don't have contact info for Dawn & Fred or Pam (or even names for the other dispossessed), but I'd be happy to post (and update) lists of what they need, if you happen to be in touch with them.
I was in touch with Dawn & Fred's pastor again just now, and there is great resolve to coordinate efforts to help out the victims. If other folks are in touch with Pam and other victims, let me know. It's inevitable that things gradually slip off a person's radar, but a community of folks eager to help will keep the issue fresh in mind. I suspect that the greatest need will be in a week or a month, as the victims start to rebuild their lives.
In the meantime, I leave you with some visual impressions. First, a crappy photo I took last night at about 11pm. The firefighters seemed to be packing up, or at least standing down, when some embers were visible where the second floor of Dawn & Fred's had been. They immediately shot it with water, at which point a whole shower of sparks and embers proved that the fire was still smoldering away inside. I don't know what time the FD finally left, but I'm sure it was well after midnight.
Also, if you missed the video link that GoP posted on her reanimated blog -- video by Juan Cabrera -- be sure and check it out.
I took a happy picture last night too, and I'm going to post it not only to commemmorate Bunny Gunner's second birthday (although I missed the hirsute young men in historic swimwear, wah!) but also in anticipation of happier times for Dawn, Fred, Pam, et al.:
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Garey is still closed from Alvarado to Pearl with more fire engines than I think I've ever seen in the area outside a major forest fire.
Just got back from the 2nd Saturday Art Walk and the fire was the topic on everyone's lips. Here's what I heard:
The Garden is completely destroyed as are Pam Henry's two homes on the lot next door. It looks like the Victorian to the north of The Garden has only peripheral damage.
Reports are that the fire actually started in a tree a couple blocks away on Park Ave, but then skipped over Gordon Street and, carried by the high winds, caught at The Garden. I'm sure that there will be further updates on this as information comes in.
Thanks to all those who have responded. I spoke with Meg and she definitely wants us to use this blog for anything that will help. Johanna, thanks so much for letting us know that Pam and her family is safe. I know that Dawn and Fred were out of town when all of this occurred.
This just in. There is a fire burning just off Garey Avenue at about Kingsley. A report from a neighbor on Jefferson was that it's the property of Dawn and Fred Van Allen's home, The Garden, and some adjacent structuress. At this point it's completely unknown what's going on.
I was unaware of it from my home but a short drive down Bradford to Jefferson saw a huge plume of black smoke coming from the south and when I got to Jefferson and Garey it looked to be a very large fire, but I couldn't see much from that angle.
Please let us know anyone out there who has information.
Let's all hope for the best for Dawn and Fred, and their neighbor Pam Henry, as well as the buildings adjacent owned by the First Baptist Church.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
This morning's mullet wrapper reports that the LA public online crime map omits 40% of the crimes handled by the PD. I feel sure that such sloppiness -- much less malfeasance -- would never occur here on M-M-M-My Pomona, where our Ed is on the case, keeping us safe and informed.
In other news, what the heck was up with the cop-chopper last night? I swear it was running Spirograph patterns last night overhead as we were entertaining neighbors in the back yard.
Hey, parents, do they still make Spirograph? Has it been dumbed down and/or automated, like Candyland and Chutes & Ladders?
Friday, July 3, 2009
Greetings from Bend, Oregon, where K. and I consumed 20 different beers yesterday and went whitewater rafting.
But that's not why I'm posting.
Now, I know you're all planning to go to 2nd Saturday Art Walk -- you wouldn't miss it for the world -- but this month (that would be July 11) make a special point of stopping by Bunny Gunner to celebrate their second birthday. There will be a summertime-themed art show (featuring people you know and love), a summertime-themed menu, and judging by the poster, young men in retro swimwear.
Come to think of it, while we've been on our roadtrip (the Pacific Northwest Volcano Tour 2009, K. insists), we passed our second birthday in Pomona -- we moved in on June 22, 2007.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
On Sunday, July 12 from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm, The Historical Society of the Pomona Valley presents a Victorian Ice Cream Social fundraiser at the historic Phillips Mansion, 2640 Pomona Boulevard (near Temple). There will be a number of family-friendly activities including ice cream with toppings, face painting, flea circus, hot dogs, vintage photos, croquet, bubbles, goldfish, historic tours (the first floor of the Phillips Mansion will be available for tours for the first time in over a decade), and much more!
Games, activities, and food items just $1.00 each!
Free parking in the dirt lot area behind the mansion. Call (909) 623-2198 for further information. For google-map location, click HERE