Friday, April 30, 2010

Pomona Bakery Rises like bread dough

If you haven't seen the Metro Pomona blog (and why haven't you?). On Wednesday, April 28, they announced that the Pomona Bakery was returning:

Oh Boy! They're Back! (almost)

Good news folks. The Pomona Baking Company will reopen June 1 under new ownership. Pete and Kim Anerio will pick up where the Baking Company left off. Same menu, same quality, but more of it. They have plans to expand to a deli operation as well, so fresh sandwiches and other goodies will be available. There is a grand opening planned, but the date is not certain. When we find out, we'll let you know.

Let's give Pete and Kim a big welcome to the neighborhood.

Monday Council Meeting

Well it's time again for our city's leaders to meet and decide the big issues facing Pomona. Or at least it's time to give David Allen something to write about.

The items on this week's agenda include:

  • Closed session discussion of a pending lawsuit, Coalition for Environmental Justice in Pomona vs. City of Pomona
  • Closed session labor negotiations with city employees, police managers, and police officers as well as unrepresented employees.
  • Recognition of outgoing commissioners
Consent agenda items:
  • A couple of proclamations for Municipal Clerk's Week and National Public Works week as the city figures out how to cut employees and outsource (sorry couldn't help the editorial comments).
  • Notice of intent to hold a public hearing on giving out contracts for our solid waste disposal in the city to Athens, Burrtec, Mission Recycling, Valley Vista, and Waste Management (some of the largest contributors to local candidates)
  •  Application for a gang prevention and intervention grant
  • Unappropriation of $365,500 from Neighborhood Stabilization funds to go to a contract to build a Garfield neighborhood center for $285,500.
  • John Mendoza's 2% utility tax increase proposal
  • Appointment of Hector Diaz to the Vehicle Parking District
  • Legislative Advocacy subcommittee recommendations
Old Business:
  • Adoption of action plan for CBDG (Community Development Block Grant) funds
  • Demolition of 1885 small Victorian structure at 942 West Holt (deemed historic by the Historic Preservation Commission) overturning the findings of the HPC
  • Discussion of composition and appointment of Charter Review Commission
New Business
  • Fundings: $300 for Pomona Valley Christian Ministry for their homeless feeding program, $600 for security at St. Madeleine's Church Fiesta, $250 for sponsorship for Chamber of Commerce's Police Awards Ceremony (as the council studies whether or not to replace them--There goes that editorializing again)
Public Hearing
  • First St. Waste Transfer Station
The meeting will be adjourned in memory of Carolyn Kirkpatrick, longtime resident, former Pomona Heritage president and friend of Pomona.

And the Survey Says . . .

Last night we got a call at the Clifford home from someone asking our opinions. Yes, we were surveyed. So what were the important issues? Was it what movies we like? What laundry detergent we use? While we've had those in the past, this one was about things going on in the city of Pomona. The interviewer didn't identify who had commissioned the survey, but they had our information, who we were, where we lived, etc. (Is it time to get paranoid?)

The main issue that they wanted to know about was what we thought of saving $5 million by bringing in the LA County Sheriff's Department. They asked the same question in four different ways (a common technique when you're trying to influence the outcome of the survey). So now the idea is floated that the Sheriffs will save us $5 million, a full month before the "study" is done. WOW, that was fast!! This was obviously a campaigning effort on someone's part to try and get backing for the "proposal" of the Sheriff's.

So what other questions did they ask. Hmmm. With three council seats up for re-election (and none in the district where we live) they asked what we thought of councilmember Carrizosa, and how we through Mayor Rothman was doing (and he's NOT up for re-election until 2012). They also asked which proposal for the waste transfer station that we preferred. As well as some generic questions such as "What do you think is Pomona's biggest problem?"

Have any of you out there gotten this call? What did you think of the survey?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


In response to the most recent post, Anon, reflecting on Monday night's Council meeting, pointed out, "Unfortunately, there was nothing constructive added to the pool of idea's to plug the 8? 10? 15? million dollar gap."

Good point. So, fine minds of Pomona, what brainstorms can we offer? Let's hear all the ideas; big and small. Heck, we just might stumble on something.

Monday, April 19, 2010

watching the meter click over

Well, aren't we a popular blog! The pageload statistics are through the roof, and the unique visitors are much more numerous than usual too. The really interesting factoid is where those visits are coming from. The statistics don't reveal the location of most homes and offices (Verizon, SBC, and other big service providers), but governmental organizations are clearly labeled. And I am quite amused to notice that we're getting more hits from neighboring city halls than from our own. Plus a huuuuuuge number of visits from the LAC Sheriff's Dept. Anyone care to interpret the data for us?

In his last post -- which I was very happy to see indeed, because I *heart* his level of expertise and good judgment -- Calwatch points out that we're only talking about a free Phase I study here, and even the Phase II study might not be that costly.

But I'll go ahead and plant my flag: It's a waste of time and effort (and ergo other people's money) to do even a Phase I study, because outsourcing is unacceptable, as long as we have the current PD.

The issue for me is community policing, something that supposedly is the most effective strategy, and which our PD has made some serious progress with over the last few years. I even understand that our crime rate is down in a statistically-significant way. If we outsource law enforcement, our police officers go from people building a career in a single city, working with the folks in that city, to building a career in a county-wide system and moving from location to location as staffing and personal needs dictate.

I want law enforcement officials who spend their careers learning the 23 square miles of our fair city like the backs of their hands, not ones who work in a system that covers 4000 square miles. That's community policing for you.

Moreover, someone whose career is based in a city system is much more likely to live in that city. I don't know what percentage of our police officers live in the city, but I can guarandamntee that it's more than the percentage of LAC sheriffs, were we to outsource. That adds extra force to my opposition to outsourcing public safety, because I'm pretty sure that at least some of our citizens would be out of a job with the handover.

Even a Phase I study is a pointless waste of time in my book. And have you ever been on a committee in the final stages of decision-making when someone raises a beginning-stage issue? Half the room (or more) turns to him, figuratively or literally, and growls, "The time to raise that concern was at the beginning of the process, jerkwad!!!"

I will not be that jerkwad; I'm saying it now, and I'll keep saying it. I want the issue dealt with NOW, not at Phase II or at the ballot box. If this is their belief, I want to hear city council tell us to our faces that possible financial savings is more important than a functioning community.

See y'all at council tonight!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

On a Much Lighter Note

So, I teach one day a week in Downtown LA on Fridays. Since my last class ends at about 6:00 pm, I usually stop and have some dinner so I'm not caught in the worst of the "getaway" traffic on the 10 freeway.

This past Friday at about 7:30 pm, as I was driving north on Olive, there were suddenly some cones blocking off the left lane (one way street). I moved one lane to the right and was stopped two cars back from the crosswalk. I then saw, in the crosswalk, a guy dragging another guy backwards looking toward the curb to the left . . . What the heck . . . so I looked toward where he was looking and saw a man and woman pointing guns at these guys . . . uh oh . . . then I glanced up to see a boom mic. Oh! The couple with the guns were Gary Sinise and Melina Kanakarides.

In case you didn't know, CSI: NY is filmed right here in LA. I've seen NY cabs and buses on a number of occasion cruising the downtown streets.

Oh, ain't it grand to be in LA.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Let's not throw out the baby with the bathwater

And now for a counter viewpoint on the police contracting issue...

It's great that everyone is in support of our local police. Pomona PD does do more with less than any other police department east of the 605 freeway (El Monte PD, which laid off officers in 2009 following the decimation of their auto center, may be the closest situation to Pomona).

But, let's look at what is actually being proposed in Monday's staff report.

LASD representatives will prepare, free of charge, a Phase I law enforcement services evaluation for basic and additive services. However, should the Council pursue contracting with LASD for law enforcement services, a complete Phase ll Evaluation outlining a turn key transitional process would be required. Potential costs of a Phase I evaluation would be identified based upon information analyzed within Phase I. Additionally, payment for any costs associated with a Phase II evaluation may be deferred until the City either discards the contract option, or until it can be incorporated as a part of negotiations to engage Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department as the law enforcement agency for the City of Pomona.

I've never seen so many people oppose to basic information necessary for making sound decisions in my experience with government. Sure, there are vested interests for contracting, but there are interests everywhere. When reviewing the comparable numbers from other contract cities (page 10) it does appear that there could be savings achieved through contracting. What I would look for is something to bind the Sheriff's Department into an accurate Phase I estimate, such that the Phase II estimate doesn't incur additional costs on the city. In other words, the Phase I estimate should be as conservative.

Of course there are cons to contracting - loss of local control, liability without accountability, reduction in community identity. But the Sheriff's Department is a professional organization, and provides a wealth of resources. The recent merger of the Los Angeles County Safety Police has increased the Sheriff's headcount. Mutual aid is provided based on agreements which can be cancelled at any time, while the Sheriff's Department can draw upon their resources internally, without going through other agency's chain of commands. It is the responsibility of the City Council to evaluate the options available for public safety - contracting with LASD, creating a Joint Powers Authority with surrounding cities (like Tri-Cities Mental Health), or continuing with the existing police department structure. While it is the responsibility of all of us to make sure that the study and report is as fair and accurate as possible, it does not mean that all options shouldn't be on the table.

In any event, as it is a charter provision, voters will be asked to vote on it anyway in November 2010. If you are strongly in support of the Pomona PD, make sure you save some energy for that fight.

Message From Pomona PD Officer's Assoc

Dear Neighbor,

The Pomona City Council is attempting to go behind our backs and shut down the Pomona Police Department. On April 1st the City Council unexpectedly proposed eliminating our local police force and bringing in the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department - even after telling the police department that no such plans were in the works.

Thankfully, when faced with an overwhelming crowd, the City Council chose to postpone their vote on the matter until April 19th.

Pomona’s Police Department is vital to the safety of our families and our businesses
. We need our own police force -- not a sheriff’s department responsible for unincorporated areas, other contract cities, courthouses, and county jail facilities.

Before the next meeting this coming Monday, April 19th, please let the Pomona City Council and City Manager know that you won’t be blindsided by their dirty tricks.

Call City Hall at (909) 620-2311, or if busy call (909) 620-2042.
Please also email your City Council Members below.

Mayor Elliot Rothman:
City Manager Linda Lowry:
Councilwoman Danielle Soto:
Councilman Freddie Rodriguez:
Councilwoman Cristina Carrizosa:
Councilwoman Paula Lantz:
Councilman Tim Saunders:
Councilman Stephen Atchley:

Show your support for the Pomona Police Department and attend a rally prior to the City Council meeting on Monday, April 19th, 6:30 PM at the Pomona City Council Chambers (at City Hall). Call your own Pomona Police Officers' Association at (909) 392-8982 for more information and to make sure we keep you informed on this critical situation.

Your own Pomona Police thank you for your interest and support!

Paid for by the Pomona Police Officers’ Association
2822 Metropolitan Place
Pomona, CA 91767-1854

Join the fight to protect Pomona’s Police Department today!
Email for more information.

I assume that the PAID FOR line was on a printed version of this notice. I received it as an email from several sources. John Clifford

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The "H" word for 2009

I originally wrote this back in January, but it was relegated to the draft folder. Now with the discussion of dumping the city's police force for the LAC sheriff, I figured it was timely to flick the dust off.

If you happen to occasionally engage in some P-town gossip at the water cooler (assuming you're still employed), feel free to spread the news that 2009 marked only the third time since 1985 that Pomona's homicide total was seventeen or less. The 2009 count is unofficial, but wow, congrats to the Pomona PD, the city administration, and most importantly the residents of Pomona.

I took a bit of a hiatus on the map building during the second half of the year, but fortunately our trusted friends working at the San Gabriel Vally Tribune aren't too good at geography and have included Pomona and Claremont in their SGV homicide map.

Well, I apparently took so long the SGV map is no more, so if you're a picture person, the LA Times may be your only choice.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Pomona and the internet?

Anyone out there have insight into how to access the city of Pomona's website? Did the city forget to pay its bill or have we reached the point that the city's checks are starting to bounce?

It's probably a transient problem and will be working perfectly before I receive any replies, but it's been down for about 8 hours today.

Thanks in advance.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Council to Study Cuts to Public Safety

This post is in response to Anonymous' comment in the previous post.

First off, the headline I chose might be a little misleading. The study is to find ways to cut COSTS for public safety. Agenda item 13 (lucky number?) on Monday's council agenda calls for a study of the costs of the Fire Department AND the potential for getting rid of our local police department and contracting with County Sheriff.

Is this really about looking at Fire? Given that the LA County Firefighters have never seen a decrease AND they are the largest contributors to council candidates, I doubt it. This is about getting rid of the Pomona PD. This is something that has been brewing for a long time. In speaking of the dismantling of Pomona PD and hiring of LA County Sherrif, one Councilperson even told community groups that this was a "Done Deal."

The last time there was a Charter Review and subsequent changes, the citizens determined that such a change has to be confirmed by a vote of the people, not a city council decision.
According to our city charter:
Sec. 706.  City Police Department/Chief of Police.

(b)   Within the departments established, police services as required by law shall be performed by Pomona City Police Department employees. The City may not contract for primary police services with the County of Los Angeles or other police agencies without a vote of the City's electorate. The City may contract for ancillary police-related services without a vote of the electorate. (emphasis added)
Is this the reason that the city council has decided not to appoint a Charter Review Commission and to be COMPLETELY OUT OF COMPLIANCE with the city charter? Are they afraid that a citizen commission would disagree with them? Under the City Charter:

"Article XVII.  Charter Commission

"Sec. 1701.  Charter Commission.
Beginning in January of the year 2010, and in January of every tenth year thereafter, the Council shall appoint a Commission to consider and propose amendments to the existing Charter. No later than twelve (12) months from each inception, the Commission shall submit its proposals to the City Clerk for placement on the ballot at the next scheduled election."
Note that there is NO wiggle room in this section. The Council shall in January 2010 appoint a Commission. However they have not done so and it is NOT on the agenda for April 5. So we're now 4 month late--WHY? According to the definitions in the charter itself"
"Sec. 1501.  Definitions. 
(a)   "Shall" is mandatory and "may" is permissive."
 So the council is not following the law (the charter is the supreme law governing the city).

There is no legitimate reason for this delay.  The council and staff have known for over 10 years that this was coming up. They've had adequate time to comply with the requirements of the LAW.

According to the original opinion of the city attorney. The council could have named itself as the commission. However, since the council already has (and has always had) the right to amend the charter (submitting it to the voters), why would the framers of section 1701 have even have put this as a requirement? I believe that it is clear that the intention of the framers was that this should be a CITIZEN's commission, NOT the city council.

Unfortunately, I will be out of town for this meeting, but will be following it closely. Let's see what the council is trying to do. Will they follow our laws or will they try and pull something over on us?
Disclosure: I have applied to be on the Charter Review Commission so have been following its progress closely.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Some PUSD news

For my blogging return, I thought I'd start with a cut-and-paste from a Pomona Unified email. My condolences to the families and friends.

Greg ShawGeorge PerryPUSD family bids sad and fond farewell to two long-time teachers
A death in the family is always difficult, but two in one weekend is almost unbearable. Staff, students, and parents were stunned to learn of the deaths of two long-time teachers Mar. 27 and 28. Decker Elementary teacher Greg Shaw (left) passed away unexpectedly, and Garey High Athletic Director George Perry (right) and his wife, Clara, died the next day in a car accident. Both men were generously praised for their genuine care and concern for our students and for their colleagues. The memorial service for Mr. Shaw is scheduled for Fri., April 9, at 3:00 p.m., Messiah Lutheran Church, 4861 Liverpool Street, Yorba Linda. The memorial service for George and Clara Perry will take place Sat., May 1, from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., at Mountain Meadows Golf Course, 1875 Fairplex Drive, Pomona.

Please support your local Pomona schools and those individuals who dedicate their lives to the education of our youth.