Sunday, December 16, 2012

Council Swearing in Monday

Monday's city council meeting promises to be short, with the only agendized item the certification of the election and the swearing in of the elected/reelected councilmembers and mayor. There will also be a reception for the new council in the plaza outside the council chambers.

There will surely be thank you speeches for the outgoing members and welcome speeches for the new members.

Festivities start at 6:00 pm (earlier than the normal 6:45 council start times). The public is, as always, invited to attend. This will be a good opportunity to get to the know the council.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Old city council continuing to sit for one more meeting?

Update - the item failed on a 3-3 vote. Carrizosa, Rodriguez, and Rothman voted to deny the plan amendment, Soto, Lantz, and Escobar voted against the denial. 

So it appears from the agenda posting. Since the County has not yet certified the election (scheduled for December 4), that would mean that the existing city council, with the defeated members of District 1 and District 6, would continue to sit in office on December 3.

As Monica Rodriguez of the Daily Bulletin expects that the City Council will make a decision on the equipment dealer issue, rather than punting the item to the new council in two weeks, this item will be taken up near the end of Monday's meeting. These are items 16 and 17. While I do appreciate the resident who submitted my blog post for the record (see the second to last page on Item 16), it will be better if residents show up and make their opinions known at the public hearing, beginning some time after 6:45 p.m. tonight at Pomona City Hall. Certainly other cities are watching - if the Planning Commission decision gets overturned, you can bet other cities will be picking up the phone to King Equipment and encouraging them to reuse their closed auto dealerships, and other businesses will get calls for other cities soliciting them to move to communities which are friendlier to business than Pomona.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Pomona Christmas Parade 2012

There's only a little more than a week until the Downtown Pomona Christmas Parade and Holiday at the Plaza, on Saturday Dec. 8 at 10:00 am. This year's parade looks to be the biggest ever with nearly 120 entrants walking and riding the 2-mile route from Second and Gibbs to Park Ave. then south to 7th Street.

This year's theme for the parade is A Golden Christmas and will feature as grand marshall, Olympic gold medalist in skeet shooting, Kimberly “Kim” Rhode. Rhode. ACal Poly Pomona alumnus, she is the first American in history to win medals in five consecutive Olympic Games in an individual sport. As the United States’ first Gold medal winner at the London Games this past summer, she matched the world record by hitting 99 out of the 100 clays.

Also featured in this year's parade will be the Parade's "Community Heroes," retired Pomona Police detective Danny Kono and Detective Jennifer Turpin who were the lead officers who broke the Ethan Esparza murder case; Donna Dolgovin, founder of Helping Hands Caring Hearts ministry; and Tommy Manning, a community activist who helped subdue a violent airline passenger on a flight from Chicago to Long Beach.

Participating in the parade will be children's groups, service clubs, car clubs, equestrian units as well as military and high school marching bands.

The parade begins at 10 a.m at East Second and Gibbs Streets. The parade will travel west on Second Street and cross Garey Avenue before heading south on Park Avenue. The procession will turn east on Seventh Street and end in front of the Pomona Civic Center Plaza.

Following the parade, festivities will continue at the plaza with the annual Holiday at the Plaza. Holiday at the Plaza is a fun community event for children and adults of all ages. You'll be able to visit Santa and his elves; enjoy food, entertainment, crafts, local information vendors, and more. Various organizations will have booths where you can purchase last minute Christmas gifts or participate in a fun activity. Additionally there will be snow and fun activities for the family.

Hope to see you all there.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Pomona not business friendly? Starts at the top

At the November 19 City Council meeting was a surreal scene. Not the folks trying to relitigate the election, but for what the Pomona City Council, especially allegedly pro-business members, are doing to drive away business.

What was nominally a routine item to process an addition of allowable uses in a commercial zone turned into an almost hour-long digression after Freddie Rodriguez mouthed some objections to push back the issue to the future. King Equipment is a vendor of scissor lifts, forklifts, and golf carts. They have outgrown their Ontario location and thought that the former Rancho Valley Chevrolet building and site would be a good location for them, such that the building is already built and can accommodate their needs. The Planning Commission certainly thought so, voting 7-0 to approve both the zone amendment and the conditional use permit. According to the applicant's representative, King Equipment could generate over $10 million annually in sales to Pomona, and an additional $10 million in leases. This is over six figures of sales tax revenue per year that the City is abandoning.

He did not verbalize what those objections were, although Cristina Carrizosa expressed some uncertainty about a construction dealer coexisting with a Target (and a future home improvement store, which has not been signed yet, that may be more compatible with the type of equipment sold). But these items were discussed at the Planning Commission level, and were presumably resolved. Certainly no one objected to it at that stage, hence the 7-0 vote. Rodriguez wanted to push the issue to the end of January, something that Paula Lantz objected to strongly, and others piled on. Therefore, this matter was postponed only two weeks - while not as damaging as two months, still enough to add uncertainty.

Also, City staff failed to notify the applicant that an appeal to the conditional use permit approval was filed. The City Clerk made an excuse that the appeal was filed too late, and would have been sent to the applicant on Tuesday, and Community Development Director Mark Lazaretto also stated that normal procedures would have been followed, which did not entail giving the applicant a courtesy contact on the appeal - indeed, Planning Manager Brad Johnson informed the applicant that the zone amendment item was routine and did not warn the applicant of any problems.

Incidentally Freddie Rodriguez campaigned against red tape for Pomona businesses. Yet by not clearly articulating what exactly the issue was at the meeting, there is no way for the future business owner to address it. It took another council member to state her objections to the project, which while reasonable should have been made earlier in the process. So King Equipment may end up going to Chino or Chino Hills (which also have vacant auto dealerships and lower sales taxes than Pomona to boot), leaving the Rancho Valley Chevrolet empty and moving sales tax revenue to another city. Also, overturning a 7-0 Planning Commission decision sets a horrible precedent to businesses, who will not spend thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours preparing plans and elevations, and paying fees for a project that will not happen.

With the new City Council members Debra Martin and John Nolte being sworn in two weeks, this will be one of their first decisions - to determine whether Pomona will continue to attract business, or show, as with the transfer station decision and other choices, that Pomona wants to be too perfect, when being perfect leads to bankruptcy.

Show up on the evening of December 3 and urge the City Council to not schedule a public hearing for the conditional use permit appeal and approve the zone amendment to allow construction equipment dealers as the same as auto dealers, still subject to individual site-specific conditions. Support Pomona tax revenue and oppose last minute surprises sprung by politicians. More details as the meeting gets closer.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Pomona city council and water board races wrapup

Some thoughts as I look at the numbers:

  • Good work for John Nolte, completely dominating the field. While I understood the depth of some of the community's anger over the trash station, I was surprised that it seemed to spread beyond the immediate vicinity of the station, or just in the South Pomona area. In the Roosevelt Elementary School and Kellogg Park areas, Nolte won by over a two to one margin. 
  • Where was the Soto machine? You could see that the Torres family still had a good base of supporters and volunteers, based on the strong showing of Robert Torres. But Danielle Soto's weak showing may put the nail in the coffin for this political family. How were the slate mailers in District 1? Did Soto purchase the slates in that district? 
  • Debra Martin's victory over a crowded field is a victory for the grassroots. It is good to see that someone from the "peanut gallery" was able to win a seat on the city council. Steven Atchley, with his tendency to pontificate from the dais, now no longer has a platform to share his views. Some of them may be correct, but often the tone seemed patronizing and dismissive. Let's hope that Martin can cut down on the talk and make decisions, instead of spending ten minutes on some tangent.
  • Paula Lantz rode Lincoln Park and absentee ballots for the win. Juan Carlos Juarez did not campaign in Lincoln Park substantially, and it showed with a 2:1 spread of the votes in the precinct, and most of the absentee votes. Meanwhile Juarez did quite well on the sections of the district between Holt and Kingsley, east of San Antonio. Although Juarez is only down by 90 votes, given the strong absentee ballot showing, unless he can get the late absentees to break for him he is not going to win. This is where the opposition to the trash station really helped Juarez. Any council member from District 4 needs to pay close attention to this area, which has historically experienced a lot of crime and quality of life issues.
  • Will "Fred" Lantz quit running again for water board? While John W. "Fred" Lantz bought up all the slate mailers and had a good ballot statement, he still lost to the incumbent, John Mendoza. Mendoza's key precincts were in north Pomona and the same precincts that Juarez carried. Whether it's incumbency, a Hispanic last name, or just good old fashioned door knocking, Mendoza has proven that he is not just a gadfly but can win re-election. Now it will be up to Fred Lantz to determine if he wants to try again for 2016, and risk being labeled a perennial candidate. Meanwhile Jerry Perez, despite being supported by other water board members, finished a distant third. He campaigned on the Golden State Water Company rate increase issue, despite the fact that Pomona has city-owned water. That will be an awkward conversation back at the water board in December.  
  • Congratulations to Fred Lantz for winning the water board seat on late absentees and provisionals. Demerits to John Mendoza for failing to show up to Board meetings the day after election. At least finish your term, like Danielle Soto did.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Pomona mayoral race wrapup

Here's my takeaway on the mayor's race.

  • Rothman rules Phillips Ranch. Despite living in the Westmont area, Mayor Elliott Rothman cleaned up in District 5, which includes Westmont and Phillips Ranch. He gained over 60% of the vote in District 5, which is the highest turnout district in the city, and 52% in District 6 (north Pomona), the second highest turnout district in the city. While Councilman Freddie Rodriguez won his own District 2 (southwest Pomona) it was only by a 42% share. With District 2 being the lowest turnout district in the city, it didn't help in his insurgent campaign.
  • Will all this "Moochie" talk stop if he gets a majority? Once all of the absentee and provisional ballots are counted, it is likely that Rothman will get a majority of the votes in the mayor's race. Yes, the Mayor can have a "Mayor Quimby"-esque feel to his style. He seems lackadaisical, meetings start late, breaks run long, and as David Allen has noted in the past, he likes to dodge long meetings and squirm his way out of taking positions. The family picture of him in a Hawaiian shirt may seem cheesy. But the charges of corruption haven't stuck. (Why are secretaries from JC Penney and bank tellers giving him $1,000 contributions?) The story about the DA investigation of his contributors fizzled when no one made it a campaign issue. The talks of the instant recall when he got elected fizzled out. Despite losing money from the Kinde Durkee fiasco he was able to pull it off with a home-spun campaign of flyers and magnets. Tomas Ursua's camp did more aggressive door to door canvassing, and so did Freddie Rodriguez, but Rothman's base is where the voters are, and it shows. 
  • Less visible union involvement. Other than the shadowy "Citizens for Local Government Accountability" supporting incumbents with their single flyer mailing, there were considerably fewer independent expenditures dropped in my mailbox this cycle for the mayor's race. Maybe they know where to target (more when I do my council wrap up) but I did not receive anything from the unions on this race. Maybe they thought that unseating an incumbent was too difficult, or that the incumbent had it covered and they could focus their attention on other issues, like Proposition 32.
  • Tomas Ursua can't do math. Could it have hurt his campaign? Tomas Ursua, to use another Simpsons analogy, came in as the Lyle Lanley promising to balance the budget without new taxes by "realigning and restructuring services", and by hiring local youth to "patrol their neighborhoods" (a giant liability risk for the city if I've ever seen one). The problem is that, short of outsourcing the police department and the library (which residents have vehemently rejected), there is not enough money there. Pensions have been earned and any attempt at taking earned pensions away would result in a lawsuit. Pomona's pay is already below average and many middle managers refuse to take the promotions that would get them showing up to the City Council every Monday night. Promising the moon didn't help. In addition, despite having an urban planning background, Ursua pushed for more single family homes in Pomona, when the trend is going towards mixed-use development of the type that Rothman has been pushing for downtown. 
  • Freddie Rodriguez had a realistic vision, but he was unable to articulate substantive differences between the mayor. Looking back at my Twitter notes he had innovative, realistic ideas like partnering up with other cities for service delivery, expanding neighborhood watch, and streamlining business regulations and red tape. However, the mailers stayed positive, which is nice, but failed to make much of an impression in my mind to contrast with the status quo.
  • Game ball goes to Elliott Rothman: For (probably) winning a majority of the votes in the election, and for correctly predicting at the mayoral debate that every Pomona measure would fail. May you be more energetic in your second term.

Pomona election measures wrapup

Did you know that the results by community and by district are out on the County's web site? (Click on "votes cast by community".) These numbers do not include late absentee and provisional ballots, but do include all absentees verified prior to election day, as well as all regularly voted ballots.

Some thoughts:

  • Measure T would have resulted in North Pomona and Phillips Ranch electing councilmembers for the center city and South Pomona. Despite District 5 having over 20% less population than the other districts, District 5 has the second highest number of votes cast out of all of the six council districts. District 6, in north Pomona, has the highest voter population in the area, although this may have been boosted by competitive local races. Measure T received a majority in District 1, yet how would west Pomona feel about Phillips Ranch picking their council person? It is easy to see how passage of this would have led immediately to legal action for violation of the Voting Rights Act.
  • Charter reform too complicated? The Charter Reform Commission's changes failed to register with voters. There was a substantial dropoff in votes recorded for this measure, compared to the other measures. For some reason, Phillips Ranch voters (District 5) rejected Measure U in greater numbers than the rest of the city.
  • Hotel tax increase fails narrowly: Although unlikely, it could still pass once all absentee and provisional ballots are counted. District 4 (east Pomona) passed the measure while all other districts rejected it in similar percentages. The property transfer tax failed more substantially.
  • Why does Phillips Ranch hate the library? In District 5, Measure X failed by a 51-49 margin. Only District 2 (southwest Pomona), where the library is actually located, passed it by the sufficient 2/3 margin. District 6 in North Pomona also notably had reduced levels of support for the library, with a 59/41 split. When you consider that District 5 and 6 comprised 20% and 24% of the citywide vote, respectively, while District 2 only had 12% of the citywide vote, the measure was doomed to failure if people in the outer areas of Pomona don't feel connected to the City. District 5 and 6 are generally more affluent than the rest of Pomona, and for those who need to use a library, the libraries in Diamond Bar, La Verne, and Claremont are closer to them than Pomona's. County libraries don't have the historic breadth of Pomona's, but they are much better at stocking new and popular material than the Pomona library.

    How was the campaign in Phillips Ranch? How was the campaign in general? While my Pomona residence received door knockers and canvassers for some of the mayoral candidates and John Mendoza, there did not appear to be any mailers or canvassers for the library tax. The campaign seemed to be yard signs (who don't vote), articles in the newspaper, and neighbors talking to each other, which works great in areas which support the library. Although there was no organized opposition, there was the sentiment out of many people that libraries are a non essential service and that Pomona could mooch off other cities' libraries. How did the pro-library tax people counter that perception? For those in Phillips Ranch, did you see people talking about the library tax? 
Later we'll look at the mayor's race and individual council races by precinct. You can review the citywide results by district here.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

a fresh voice

Anonymous posted this as a comment under a 2008 post, which means that few people will see it.  So I'm taking the liberty (sorry, Anon!) of reposting as a post of its own.  -- meg

Hey guys, I'm a newb to the Pomona blogs but glad they exist! Thanks for caring about our town. I actually bought Nell Soto's old house on Orange Grove and Huntington in district 1 (and since then had numerous knocks on the door with some interesting stories).

I had no idea when I bought the place 3 years ago that Pomona had such neglected areas, or that there was such corruption in our elected officials. Since moving in I've experienced auto theft, drug deals on my block, and a general lack of neighborly behavior. That being said, I want to help facilitate some change in this town and have no idea how. I call the graffiti hotline and ask Pomona pd to come by when homeless are going through my trashcans or soliciting off the White ave off ramp but that's not much. What would you suggest?

Monday, November 5, 2012

sad news

Many if not most of M-M-M-My Pomona's readers know Ms. Lois, beloved children's librarian at the Pomona Public Library (don't forget to vote!) and storyteller extraordinaire.

Alas, Ms. Lois's mother passed away on Saturday morning.  She would have been 93 in February.  If you spent much time talking to Ms. Lois, you knew her mom, who must have been as big a character and as warmhearted as Lois herself, and you probably also heard stories about her mom's twin brother back in Nebraska.  If I remember correctly (Lois, correct me if I'm wrong), Mom had been living with Lois for some years now, and I can only imagine that it was a cozy, cheerful household.

Lois needs as many hugs as she can get right now; imagine losing your mother and roommate all at once, to say nothing of career chaos earlier in the year.  Please hold Lois in the light (as the Quakers say), and if you see her around town, give her two hugs -- one for yourself, and one for me.

Me, I'm raising a glass in snowy New York, in memory of Lois's mother and the stories Lois would tell about her over a glass of red wine at dba256.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Isabelle Allende--Live

The City of Pomona Public Library, Western University of Health Sciences and its community partners would like to invite you to a very special event on Thursday, November 1, 2012.  Authors Isabel Allende and Sandra Curtis will kick off our 6th consecutive celebration of reading, "Together We Read” with a discussion about the legendary masked swordsman Zorro at the Western University of Health Sciences.

The program begins with a reception at 6:00 p.m. featuring music by the City of Pomona Youth Orchestra, followed by and interview and question and answer session with the authors at 7:00 p.m. in Western U’s HEC Lecture Hall I, 701 E. Second St., Pomona, CA.  David Kipen, former NEA Director of Literature and owner of the bookstore/lending Library Libros Schmibros will be the moderator for this event.

Chilean-American author Isabel Allende wrote the 2005 novel "Zorro," revealing the history behind the legendary masked man Diego de la Vega who overcame adversity to seek justice for the less fortunate. This thrilling tale travels between early California and 18th century Spain.  Her books have been translated into more than 30 languages and have sold more than 57 million copies.

Sandra Curtis, author of “Zorro Unmasked: The Official History”, traces the history of Zorro from the first story by Johnston McCulley in 1919 to more recent portrayals in film and print.

Please join us on November 1st for what promises to be a swashbuckling evening! 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Measure U: Conflicts of interest, Youth and Family Master Plan, Absentees, Vacancies

Changes to Conflicts of Interest

This one was actually mistated in the Daily Bulletin's editorial of endorsement. The DB stated that it would change the amount that a person or business could contribute to a candidate from $500 to $1000. It was actually from $250 to $500 to bring our charter into synchronization with what state election law allows. It also changed the conflict of interest to go from a councilperson not being able to vote on an item if a contributor of $1,000 during their 4 year term of office, to one-year from the time such contributions were made.

Inclusion of Youth and Family Master Plan

The language of the ordinance that created the Youth and Family Master Plan has been added to the charter. The commission felt that this vital function should not be left to the council to decide if it should continue or be disbanded, but that it should be included in the charter which would require a vote of the citizens to make changes to.

 Council Absentees

In the current charter a councilmember may be absent up to thirty consecutive days. This will not change. The charter then goes on to say that the with content of a majority or a quorum of the council, this can be extended to 60 days. Then it says that with a consent of the majority of a quorum, that any member may be absent for a longer duration. The change suggested is that absences be for 30 days and must be renewed every 30 days. Under the current charter, an excused absence can be made for any extended period of time without review. This was last used with the illness of former Mayor Eddie Cortez, who was absent for many months. The commission felt that an absence means that an area of the city's voice is not heard and that the citizens need to be represented so for the council to determine that an area of the city can go unrepresented for an extended period of time should certainly at least be reviewed on a periodic basis, giving the citizen's a chance to weigh in on their representation.

Filling of Council Vacancies

The current charter, in discussion of the filling of council vacancies, discusses the appointment of a "qualified" person. The Charter Review Commission added language which states that a qualified person shall be defined as an individual who resides in the district and makes an application outlining their qualification. It also adds that a Councilmember who resigned from the council shall not be considered to fill their own vacancy.

If time permits, there will be one more in this series on the changes to the way that the Charter Commission is formed and its operation.

Whether you agree or disagree with any parts of the proposed charter amendment, please consider that it is one whole. We will either have a new charter which brings our city's prime law into the 21st century, or continue with a Charter that is out dated and in some areas out of compliance with California law.

Which ever way you choose, VOTE on November 6.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Measure U Instant Runoff Voting / Council Duties


Instant Runoff Voting

The video above explains how instant runoff voting works. During the charter process, it was noted that many times in Pomona, seats are won by individuals who are only able to garner as few as 20+% of the vote, meaning that nearly 80% of the electorate may have voted against the winner. The way that this was resolved in the past was with a runoff system where the top two vote getters would face a runoff election to determine the winner. However, due to low voter turnout in runoff elections and the high cost of having a second election, we looked at other possible means of creating a fair way to choose our elected officials that would ensure that the person with the most support was the one elected.

Instant Runoff Voting, with has successfully used in many US cities and around the world (see for more information), is a method which allows a runoff election at the same time as the main election by "ranking" your votes, as explained in the video. The charter amendment calls for such a system once LA County Registrar of Voters has capabilities to conduct such elections. As of now, the county does not have such a capability nor are they planning at present to add such capability. However, if the city should decided to run its own elections in the past, this would also kick in as the method of election.

This will ensure that we don't have the kind of elections that we have had in the past.

Council Duties

The Charter has had a section (406 under the current charter) that laid out the duties of the Mayor but there was previously no such section that laid out the duties of the council. The commission decided to rectify that by creating such a section so that council members were clear about their duties to the electorate. This includes the line Conduct business in a manner to benefit the entire City of Pomona, not strictly individual districts, areas or constituencies. This was an attempt to codify that council members, while elected to represent a district, are responsible for the well being of the entire city. It also calls for them to manage their discretionary budgets in such a manner, to report to the citizens on issues of importance to the city, to report on organizations and commissions to which the councilperson is a member, to set city goals at least once a year, and to communicate with their commissioners and board members at least once a year.

While many of these are things that the councilmembers already do, this codifies these activities and will allow future charter review commissions a place to work on improvements as they are identified.

Next Time: Changes to conflicts of interest section, Inclusion of Youth and Family Master Plan, Council absentees, Filling of commission vacancies

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Measure U: Police Commission and City Council Boundries

One of the most controversial items in the Charter Review Commission's charter reform measure is the Police Commission.

The idea for the formation of a Police Commission was part of the charter proposals from early on. A subcommittee was formed and worked diligently to draft a full-blown proposed Police Commission. It was to be modeled after a similar commission in Berkeley. Scores of citizens showed up to voice the need for such a commission at several commission meetings and letters of support for such a move were received by the commission as well. This was one of the most debated of the items that eventually made it into the charter amendment that you will be voting on November 6.

While the original idea was to fully create a Police Commission, it became clear that the devil would be in the details and it would take much more time than what the commission had (the commission had to complete their work within the one year time period). So it was decided to just add three words to Section 802 of the charter. If passed it will read (new words in italics) "The Council shall by ordinance create a Planning Commission, a Police Commission, and any other necessary board or commission, with appropriate guidelines.

This means that it will be up to the city council to create a Police Commission and to set the duties and powers of that commission.

WHY? One of the other things that was constantly being pushed from the city was that a Police Commission such as the one in Berkeley was just too expensive and that there were no funds to create it. By doing it the way that we did, the city can determine how much, if any, funds are to be allocated. It has been noted that we already have a Community Life Commission. The way that the charter amendment is worded, it would be a simple matter to change the name of the Community Life Commission to the Police Commission and then determine if there are any changes to be made to the duties of the commission (all within the purview of the city council). This could be done with no additional costs unless the council determined that they were needed.

City Council District Borders

While we didn't forsee what happened this year, where the council could not come to agreement on equalizing the districts, we did note that there was very little guidance for the criteria that the council should use for determining how to redistrict. We added 5 criteria which including community identity, compactness and continuity, recognition of natural and man-made features, administrative units, and population growth.

These items bring it within similar criteria used for state redistricting.

Next Time: Instant Runoff Voting/Ranked Voting and Addition of Council job description

Friday, October 19, 2012

Library Fundraiser

Dinner will be Served. “Don’t Be Cruel” and miss your chance to Save Our Pomona Public Library!  RSVP  to with the number of tickets you would like to reserve. You can mail a check to the address below or bring a check with you to the event. If you are unable to attend, we welcome your donation in any amount.

Make checks payable to:
Save Our Pomona Public Library
PO Box 2701
Pomona, CA 91769

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Let Your Voice Be Heard on the Future of the Library

Library Services – On Line Survey October 15th through the 19th
Help create the Pomona Public Library of the Future – We’d Like to Hear From You!
Last week, throughout Pomona, the City conducted nine (9) Community Conversations about the Library and its services. This week the City is gathering additional information about library services through an on-line survey. We would like to hear from you. Please help the City determine the most important Library services over the next two (2) to (5) five years by taking the following on-line survey.
English Survey for people to vote for top 5 library services -
Services de la Biblioteca – Encuesta En-Linea 15 de Octubre hasta el 19
Ayuda a crear el futuro de la biblioteca publica de Pomona – Queremos escuchar de ti!
La semana pasada, por toda la cidudad de Pomona, se conducieron nueve (9) conversaciones sobre la biblioteca y sus servicios. Esta semana la cuidad juntara información adicional sobre los servicios de la biblioteca por una encuesta en-linea. Por favor ayudenos a determinar los servicios mas importantes para los próximos dos (2) a cinco (5) aňos tomando la encuesta en-linea.
Spanish Survey for people to vote for top 5 library services

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Over Two Hundred High School Students go to Local Don Giovanni

Through a Community Education grant received from the NEA, the Pomona Cultural Arts Commission presented a great day in the arts for some of Pomona's art and music students.  The morning included a demonstration by Rebecca Niederlander,  visual artist, at the Andi Campognone Projects gallery; a tour of artist lofts, Bunny Gunner and the dA Art Gallery.  After a lunch break the students were bussed to Repertory Opera Company's special educational presentation of Don Giovanni. The opera was modified to be one hour long and included English dialogue to make the story more accessible.

There is one chance on Saturday, October 20 at 2 pm for everyone to see this fun, whirlwind show.  The one hour length, English dialogue, and local venue, along with outstanding performances of Mozart’s brilliant music, make this the perfect musical afternoon.  Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for students and children.  The performance is at First Christian Church, 1751 N. Park Ave., Pomona, CA  91768.  For tickets or more information go to or call (909) 230-4949.

In April the Community Education grant will continue as students, working with Rebecca Niederlander, will create set pieces for a ROC production of Magic Flute.  Other high school students will sing in the production.

Click here to see more pictures of last Thursday's performance.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Mayoral and council forums

On October 17 at 6 p.m., the Pomona Chamber of Commerce will hold a city council forum, followed by a mayor's race forum at 8 p.m. The forum will be at the Western University of Health Sciences auditorium.

Also received this message from James La Borde:
 I am a Block Captain for the Unity in Community Neighborhood Watch group.  We have arranged for all 6 of the District 6 candidates to be at our meeting on Tuesday, October 23, 2012 for a Meet & Greet.  We would like to extend an invitation to all residents of District 6 to join us at this event as we feel it is important for all of the residents to know who they are voting for.  

The meeting will be Tuesday, October 23, 2012 at the First Christian Church, 1251 N Park Ave at 6:30 PM.

Post any other city council or mayor's race events in the comments below and we'll add them to the list once we confirm them.

Measure U -- Mayor Election change

Under the current charter, the mayor is elected for a four-year term during the same election where we choose councilmembers for districts 1, 4, & 6. Because of this, any councilperson who wishes to run for mayor from those three districts must decide either to run for mayor or reelection to their council seat. However, councilmembers from districts 2, 3, and 5 can choose to run for mayor without having to give up their council seats.

Due to this perceived inequity, the Charter Review Commission looked at how to even the playing field. One option would have been to restrict council members from running for mayor, that is a councilmember would have to resign their seat to enter the mayorial race. This option was determined to not be legal and so was dismissed. The second option was to move the mayor's race off of the same cycle as the council races. One-half of the council is elected in each even numbered year. By moving the mayorial election to an even numbered year, no councilmember would ever lose their council seat in order to run for mayor.

Because the current charter is in effect until after the election, this would mean either waiting until the 2016 election to elect a one-time three-year term mayor, OR, adding a provision for the off-year elections to begin in 2017. This was the option that the commission decided to adopt. Should Measure U pass, whoever is elected mayor in 2012 will serve an additional year (or a 5 year term). Legally, the council must declare the mayor seat vacant after the 2016 election and then make an appointment. It is the desire of the commission that the council at that time shall appoint the sitting mayor for that additional term, although it was not able to be specified in the proposed charter amendment.


Police Commission and City Council Boundries

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Looking at Measure U--Charter Amendments

This year there are many items for Pomona Voters to consider. There are three new local tax measures (including Measure X to provide funding to save our library), an initiative to make voting on councilmembers and mayor city-wide, and Measure U, the Charter Amendments referendum.

A little background on Measure U.

Measure U is the result of a year-long process that is part of the last time major amendments were made to the city's charter. At that time, those who created the current version of our charter, decided that it would be a good idea to revisit the charter every 10 years to update it and make it more of a "living" document, responsive to the times in which we are living.

In May of 2010 (5 months later than it should have) the city council formed, per the charter, a special commission made up of 15 members, 2 appointed by each councilmember and 3 by the mayor, to review and make amendments to the charter. Under the charter, the council was obligated to put onto the next general election ballot anything that came out of the commission. The result is Measure U on the November ballot.

First, who were these commissioners and what did they bring to the table?

 The 15 members of the commission were a diverse group of men, women, anglo, latino, African-American, and Native Americans from all areas of the city. There were conservatives, liberals, moderates and all stripes of citizens. Many on the commission were then serving, or had previously served on most of the city's commissions including Planning, Cultural Arts, Parks & Rec, and Library Commission. Most had a deep understanding of their communities and the overall needs of the city.

In a series of posts I will endeavor to go over all of the changes that this amendment will provide in a new charter. But as background I'd like to first discuss one of the things that I most often hear as a complaint, "why did you group all of this into one ballot measure?" While I, and others on the commission would have preferred to have split this into multiple ballot measures, we were constantly bombarded by the city with the argument that each measure is costly and the city cannot afford it at this time. We heard that argument on a lot of the issues that we tackled and some good ideas were left behind as "too costly." It was the decision of the commission to group everything into a single item as a cost saving measure, no other motives were involved.

Over the next few days I will endeavor to go over the individual issues that are included in the measure. They include:

  • Change of voting for mayor
  • Police Commission
  • Changes to Charter Review Process
  • Instant Runoff Voting/Ranked Voting
  • Addition of Council job description
  • Changes to conflicts of interest section
  • Issues relating to changes in district boundaries
  • Inclusion of Youth and Family Master Plan
  • Council absentees
  • Filling of commission vacancies

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Together We Read--Opening Event

The Pomona Public Library's Together We Read program is urging all Pomonan's (and those in Diamond Bar and Claremont as well) to read Isabelle Allende's Zorro. Events surrounding the reading of the book, which will include a live interview with Ms. Allende on November 1 (more info to come or go to the library's web site). Events are scheduled for the rest of October and through the middle of November.

On  Sunday, the Historical Society of the Pomona Valley will hold a kick-off event at the Palomares Adobe. A Deep Pit Barbeque (both beef and pork) will be accompanied by all the fixings as guests will dine in the atmosphere that Don Diego Vega and Ignacio Palomares might have enjoyed during the days of that cunning outlaw, Zorro. Come relive those days with us. There will be tours of the Adobe, a demonstration of the weaponry from the Zorro era, and, after dusk, a screening of the 1920 Douglas Fairbanks version of The Mark of Zorro.

Tickets available at the Ebell Museum, DPOA Offices, and Frantz Cleaners, or you can call the Historical Society for more information (909) 623-2198.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Library Task Force Meeting Monday 10/8

On Monday, October 8 at 6:00 pm there will be a meeting of the Save the Pomona Library Task Force in the Special Collections room of the library at the city plaza. The task force was formed in the face of the proposed closure of the library last June. Since then they've spreadheaded a proposed $38 parcel tax and worked to get it approved by the city council for the November ballot. They've also had fundraising events and rallys in support of the library.

In addition, the task force recommended the reformation of the defunct Pomona Public Library Foundation to work toward future fundraising for the library, and that organization is now meeting and settings goals, along with raising funds. From the task force, an Advocacy committee has been created to work on the voter approval of Measure X, the parcel tax for the library and has created and distributed those green lawn signs you see all over town and are conducting phone banks and precinct walking campaigns for the measure.

Unfortunately, most of the work of the task force has taken place during the day when many people couldn't attend meetings. This week's meeting will be held at a more "worker friendly" hour to try and bring those of you who are interested up to date with what's happening.

The Agenda for Monday's meeting is:

October 8, 2012
6 pm    Library-Special Collections
 1. Foundation Update
 2. Friends of the Library Update
 3. Website Update
 4. Media Update
 5. Future meeting dates and times
 6. Advocacy Update   
       7. Elvis Party Fundraiser Update

For more information on the task force and Save Our Pomona Public Library, please visit our web site at:

Friday, October 5, 2012

Library Visioning Meetings

Click on image to view larger

Next week the California State Librarian will be conducting a library visioning process centered around the future of the Pomona Public Library. The process is to determine what the community needs and expects from their library. It is hoped that this process will allow the library to function, in the future, in a manner that is best suited for the way the community uses the library.

This process is being funded by the state so no city funds are being used.

The process only works if the citizens show up and express what they think of the library. Please, I encourage you to attend one of these meetings if at all possible. For more info go to the city's web site and scroll about half way down the page.

AND, be sure to vote YES on X on November 6

Friday, September 28, 2012

Rothman donor allegedly launders contributions, can you find any others?

With the news in the paper about a campaign contributor to Mayor Elliott Rothman allegedly laundering contributions through multiple individuals, many of whom appeared to have no nexus to Pomona, it may be time to discover who else is funding our City Council candidates.

I received this information from a request to the City Clerk a few months ago and have been sitting on this for a while, but haven't gotten the chance look at the documents in detail. So I'm letting you, the readers, look at the files and determine what you find. On my scribd page, I've posted the campaign contribution logs for every incumbent council member over the last four years. (I'll be requesting the logs up to July soon.)

Tell me what you find in the comments. If I see anything I'll post it here as well. This is an open thread.

Monday, September 24, 2012

10 Reasons to Vote for the Pomona Public Library Even if You Don't Use It

On November 6, City of Pomona voters will decide the fate of the Pomona Public Library. Ballot Measure X proposes a $38/year parcel tax designed to keep the Pomona Public Library open. The funds are restricted to the library and can only be collected if the city keeps the library open at 38 hours a week.

Without the parcel tax, it is likely that Pomona's only library, founded in 1887, will be closed. City Council threatened to close the library this year to balance the budget after a $1 million dollar shortfall. But the citizens stepped in and fought back. With the parcel tax, $1.5 million would be generated annually for the library. This kind of funding would allow: full-time librarians to be rehired; hours and programming to be expanded from the reduced 20 hours; computer capabilities to be upgraded and expanded; special collections to be preserved; and book, news, and magazines to be kept up to date and expanded.
Here are 10 reasons to vote yes on Measure X.

1. Libraries Build Democracy:  To quote Walter Cronkite,  “Whatever the cost of our libraries, the price is cheap compared to that of an ignorant nation.” Democracies thrive on accessible information. The City of Pomona will be a better place if we develop strong, informed, civic engagement on a municipal level.

2. Libraries Fight Crime: Books, programming, and study space can keep kids (and adults) out of trouble and help them to develop creative and productive imaginations. Also, books are better than drugs (and the library is the best place to get hooked on books!).

3. Libraries are Good for Business: Businesses and home owners are attracted to a city that has a strong library.

4. Libraries Transform Lives: Testimony after testimony tells of children and adults who educate themselves at libraries and follow their dreams.

5. Librarians Help with Research: Ever been overwhelmed by an online search? Ever wish someone could help you sort it out, or provide more reliable and trusted sources? Ask a librarian. It's such a relief to get the help you need.

6. Libraries are Good for Families: Families benefit from storytime, summer programming, after school programs, homework assistance, books on parenting, kids books, and so on.

7. Libraries Foster Employment: People use the library's computer equipment to search and apply for employment opportunities.

8. A National and State Treasure: The Pomona Public Library has renowned special collections that  preserve Californian and American history and literature. People from all over California and the U.S. use these collections. It is a tribute to the city that it is known for its library.

9. The Pomona Public Library Builds Bridges: Pomona is a wonderfully diverse city. The library is a free and accessible space where people from all different demographics can meet, interact, share knowledge, learn languages, study, read, and talk together, whether formally or informally. 

10. Funding the Library is a Way of Giving Back: Maybe you can buy all the books you need (although you still might want to browse them without buying them). But maybe you couldn't always afford books. Or maybe you live on a tight budget, but believe in sharing. If you want a way to give back to the community, voting yes on Measure X is one small and simple way to do so. Only $38/year will preserve what we already have and continue to make the city of Pomona a better place. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Trash station theater continues

Although no one seems to have tipped me off to the press conference (and why hold a press conference outside of a closed City Hall?) it looks like someone decided to file a lawsuit. I had predicted this some time ago but it does appear that the transfer station will be heard in a court of law. If someone can send me a copy of the case number and what was filed I would appreciate it.

For the IESC, the original organizers of the anti trash station movement, they get demerits from opponents for failing to persist after the project was opposed. "United Voices of Pomona" appear to be a newly constructed group with no web presence as of yet - it is unclear who the plaintiffs are or how many exist. As one person wrote on their Facebook page,
Hey IESC, didnt see you standing with the community at today's press conference. Were you too busy hanging out with the owners of this transfer station? Let me remind you that the community DOESN'T want this and we will make sure YOU and this transfer station go down. 

Of course, the many Pomonans without jobs or would like to see city services increased without taxing the population would disagree.

It also bleeds over into the 2012 elections, with the issue of the transfer station, the library, and possible tax increases for fire looming. The City Clerk has helpfully posted public contact information for all candidates.

For District 1, attorney John Nolte joins former Disneyland superintendent Jojo Doniza and Rubio Gonzalez against incumbent Danielle Soto. District 4 has transfer station supporter Candace Berry and labor organizer Juan Carlos Garcia Juarez against Paula Lantz, while District 6 may have the longest list of candidates, many of whom will be strong. Running against incumbent Steve Atchley are photographer Debra Martin, art dealer Ron Vander Molen, businesswoman Eunice Russell, Assemblywoman Norma Torres's son Robert Torres, and Mario Ramos. For Mayor running against incumbent Elliott Rothman are councilman Freddie Rodriguez and businessman Tomas Ursua.

Still no Ginna Escobar recall.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Save Our Pomona Public Library

Two events coming up out of the Library Task Force.

August 14th Fundraising Event

On August 14, 2012, if you print and present this flyer at the Elephant Bar Restaurant in Montclair, 20% of your lunch or dinner check will be donated to the Friends of Pomona Public Library.

Elephant Bar Restaurant
4949 S. Plaza Ln.
Montclair, CA 91763

Save Our Library Rally: 8.15.2012

Save Our Library Rally
Aug. 15, 2012 4-5:30pm
Speakers: Friends of the Pomona Public Library &
Special Performance by Ballet Folklorico

Meet on the steps of the Library
625 South Garey Avenue
Pomona, CA 91766

Join us in support of our Pomona Public Library!
Please download the Rally Flyer and help us get the word out!

For the latest information on the efforts to save the library, visit the Save Our Pomona Public Library at

The library task force continues to meet on Mondays at 10:00 am in the library's conference room. ANYONE can attend.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Groundhog day and other council meeting notes

Some notes from tonight's council meeting (which dragged on past 1 am tonight, which it hasn't for a while):

  • It looks like it will be Groundhog Day for trash station theater, as some members of the community are continuing to be upset about the decision, but can't find the money or the legal position to hire attorneys to make the CEQA challenges necessary to actually derail the project. Instead, they will continue to rally outside the meeting and at public comment. Over two dozen people spoke on this issue. It didn't help matters that a Cristina Carrizosa-requested report on the next steps for the transfer station was made right before adjournment at 1 a.m. Since as I explained before, the decision cannot be referended since it is a granting of a conditional use permit within existing structures, the city attorney explained that the only time this would come back would be the development agreement for the transfer fees, or if the applicant somehow violated the conditional use permit. And any attempt to extract a large amount of money that would essentially render the project unprofitable would result in legal action by the trash station proponents.
  • Carrizosa mentioned that there were 8,000 signatures against the trash station, but unfortunately those aren't voters. To really make a difference you have to defeat the incumbent candidates that voted for the trash station. Unfortunately this means narrowing down the field and concentrating your efforts on one person, since there are no runoff elections. Or, you could try a recall - and Ginna Escobar is a prime target. On a police fees issue (more later) she was smug towards Carrizosa. She has been shown not to pay attention when the public is speaking, and from this member of the audience, seems not to care much about the public and is often unprepared. Even if signature gatherers can't come up with the approximate 2,500 signatures necessary to recall her, the trash station opponents should at least gather the 30 signatures necessary to file an intent to recall, and serve it on her during a council meeting. I'd love to look at the expression on her face when that happens. (Here's a sample form from Fullerton.
  • Steve Atchley is a loquacious guy. Being a professor does that to you, but he is sounding strident and dismissive of the legitimate concerns people have about outsourcing, the transfer station, and other issues. I recognize he doesn't want the city to go bankrupt. We need the money saved from outsourcing, and we need the money from the trash station. But he could calm down a little and try not to be so argumentative from the dais. (It may not matter, since when there are five or six candidates in the race, the incumbent title, access to slate mailers, and a strong base will get you back in office easily.)
  • We spent an hour filleting the Public Works Director on the park service outsourcing - although much of that was well deserved as he seemed unprepared for the challenging questions and the protest made by a losing contractor. We spent thirty minutes on a public hearing for police fees, with the staff report on the fees sprung on the public on a Thursday evening after a month of delay - and more micromanagement from the dais about the fee structure. Questions are fine, although supposedly one of the strategic plan goals was for questions to be asked of the department head via email (especially if it is something that is evident from the report). But more preparation needs to be done to give council members and the public time to digest reports, so that maybe some of these questions could be preemptively addressed.
  • Which leads to the billboard issue. A billboard company paid to place a ballot measure on the ballot, which was turned down by two of the five council members present, thus causing it to fail since four votes were needed. Carrizosa and Freddie Rodriguez definitely have cause to be skeptical about this issue, especially about the timing of this, as a competing billboard company made legal arguments about the lack of notice. Carrizosa was right in bringing up the fact that approving a ballot measure, and it passing, could lead billboard companies to believe that billboard approval was ministerial in nature, not discretionary, and lead to lawsuits - much like the Universal Waste lawsuit on the First Street trash station. The ballot initiative also would have allowed the city to permit digital billboards, which can cause light pollution for large distances if not regulated properly. If the billboard companies wanted to put it on the ballot, they should have just hired signature gatherers instead of this sneaky process.
  • Library tax was put on the ballot with a $38 per year fee, no sunset, and minimum 38 hours of service. Although I think it's enough money to keep the doors open for 38 hours, I do agree with Danielle Soto, the City Attorney and City Manager that the minimum time severely restricts future flexibility. Fortunately, it appears that the special tax on its own will keep the doors open of the library for 38 hours, although there may be no reference service, no book purchases, and no new equipment should the general fund situation not improve.
  • I'll have more on conditional use permits and liquor stores in a separate post, but I do find it extremely disturbing that the community development director would recommend not to set a public hearing on a 4-3 decision, appealed by a fellow council member. There really needs to be a policy such that these appeals automatically go on the agenda should it not be a supermajority vote. This would discourage those applicants who were turned down unanimously from appealing, while avoiding the waste of time of the double hearings - one vote to determine whether or not to hold a hearing, and another to actually hear the issue. 
  • Election filing closes on August 10. Will some of the challengers get out the way, or will they choose to split the vote? Fortunately the City Council is going on break for a month, but we can look forward to last minute political jockeying in September.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Council Meeting Tonight

Since I can't be at the meeting tonight, I have prepared written arguments on three of the items on the agenda and sent them to the council. The items that I discuss below are: 13: The approval of a lease of automated checkout equipment from the LA County Library at the rate of $1 a year; 17: a resolution by the city stating that despite the relaxing of the Brown Act rules by the state as a cost-saving measure, the city will continue to conform to ALL requirements of the original act; and 20: The placing on the ballot of a $38 per land parcel special library tax.

If you can make the meeting this evening, PLEASE go. However, it looks like it will be a long one that may stretch late into the evening.

Honorable Mayor and Councilmembers, 

Unfortunately, I’m unable to attend this evening’s council meeting. However, I would like to weigh in on the following items: 

Item 13: I’m very much in favor of accepting the County Library’s generous lease of equipment for our library. 

Item 17: I am very pleased that the city is taking this step to ensure the continued adherence to all the provisions of the Brown Act. I had heard some concern in the community that the relaxing of these rules might lead to items getting “snuck” onto agendas both for the closed session meetings and the open meetings. It is important that the public have at the very least the protections currently afforded by the Brown Act. 

Item 20: As I stated at last Monday’s meeting, the idea of a parcel tax to help in the funding of the library is needed! I strongly urge the council to place on the ballot this item. However, we are presented with four options. 
      First, whether or not to have a non-supplanting of library funding clause. The idea that came out of the library board of trustees was that they did not want to see the special library tax as completely eliminating the funding from the city. The city has funded the library for over 100 years and they wanted to see that funding continue. The idea of a special library tax was NOT to become the sole funding for the library, but to take SOME of the burden off of the city’s general fund. This is a common requirement in tax measures to ensure funding isn’t shifted. The funding level that the new tax would raise would NOT be adequate to maintain our library at a reasonable level. So I urge you to include some language that would protect library funding into the future. If you don’t like the 38 hour level of service, then make it a guarantee of 30 hours. That would be 6 hours a day for 5 days a week. Or even make it this year’s funding level. But please include a level of funding that will ensure that the library will be operable for the citizens in the future. 

     Secondly, the idea of a “sunset” to the parcel tax. With the attitude of staff’s recommendation that the city can’t contribute any more to the library than what would come with a new tax, do we really think that in 7 or 10 years that the situation will be any different? If the tax were to suddenly go away, where would the additional general fund funds come from? Police? Fire? Street Maintenance? Parks? The library is not a fixed length project. It should and will continue into the far future, so “sunsetting” the tax would only mean that at the end of the current tax, we’d be back asking the voters to again impose a special tax. Voters hate it when you do that. I really believe that this is the problem with the way that the schools present tax measures. I can’t tell you the number of people who complain, “every year they’re back asking for more.” Often it’s not really MORE, it’s asking to reapprove the same things we’ve already expressed as a priority. The Library Board discussed this issue at length and with only one negative vote decided not to put such a clause into their request. Please do not “sunset” our library funding. 

     Thank you so very much for allowing me to express my opinions on these important matters. 

John L. Clifford

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Pomona Heritage Old Home Restoration Workshop

You've probably seen the yard signs around town. This is Pomona Heritage's annual FREE workshop where you can learn the things that every owner of a vintage home needs to know about a variety of subjects, including how to deal with the city. And they even provide lunch.

This year, as an added bonus, they will be conducting a tour of the treasures of the Pomona Public Library's Special Collections. This area is due to close for the next year under the new working budget and this may be your last chance to see these important historic items for some time to come. The tour will commence AFTER the workshop.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Council Meeting Tonight

A special meeting has been called for tonight. This is the fourth meeting in July. The council usually takes August off but with everything that has been going on there is a lot of business to be taken care of.

I also heard a little bit ago on the radio that there will be a group at tonight's meeting protesting a police shooting in the city, so should be another wild time.

Here are some of the items on tonight's agenda for those who might want to attend:

  • Consent Agenda Items
    • Accepting a JAG grant for the Police Dept for $76,781
    • Renewing DPOA agreement to hire supplemental police for downtown at $120,000 for the year
    • Agreement with School District (PUSD) to cofund Community School Resource Officer
    • Agreement to lease purchase CNG Trash Trucks over 7 years for $4.1 million.
    • To put on the November ballot a city version of the charter amendment to compete with the Charter Review Commission's charter amendment
    • To put on the November ballot a $61 per parcel tax to go to the Fire Contract (total $3 million/year)
    • To put on the November ballot a $38 per parcel tax to go to the Library to continue library services
  • Changes to job descriptions to allow new library staff to be hired as hourly, non-benefited, part time workers
  • Ordinance allowing for the impounding of cars as nuisance when involved in an arrest for prostitution.
  • Public Benefit funding for:
    • $100 to Latino Art Museum
    • $200 to Fairplex Big Yellow Bus program
    • $75 for Latina Roundtable Meeting at Philadelphia Park
I'm sure that there will be comments to be made tomorrow on several of these issues.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Notice of Election

Since everyone is discussing these in other threads, let's remind everyone that the position of mayor and councilmember from Districts 1 (Soto), 4 (Lantz), and 6 (Atchley) are up for re-election. Voting is first past the post, with no runoff election. While the newspaper will likely publish a list of candidates as August 10 draws closer, discuss your potential candidates, rumors for candidates, etc. here in this open thread.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

One last story

The Pomona Public Library's final story time will be held this coming Tuesday at 12:15 PM.   If you're so inclined, bring a single stem of your favorite flower for your favorite librarian.

Manly Men of Opera

Ten luxurious bass voices will gather under the musical direction of  Brian Farrell to celebrate the unique sound and repertoire of the bass voice.  We will hear fathers, villains, and clowns – men at their most extreme:  from Don Juan to Macbeth to Attila the Hun, from the con man who sells the Elixir of Love to the Song of the Boatmen who pull barges up the Volga River.  There also be popular favorites like “My Funny Valentine” and songs from Oliver and Gilbert and Sullivan. ROC’s basses have gathered to raise their voices and to raise funds in support the mission of Repertory Opera Company – bringing quality performances to music lovers in our neighborhood.

Repertory Opera Company
Manly Men of Opera 2012
A concert of ten bass singers
August 12, 2012 at 5 pm
First Christian Church
1751 N. Park Ave, Pomona CA  91768
Celebrating the glorious resonance of ROC’s bass voices.
Tickets are $25.  Tables are $200.
Buy your tickets at or call (909) 230-4949

can't get a break

Poor Pomona.  First injury, now insult:  Reading this amusing piece in Spin on records (huh? what's a "record"?) you should never ever buy, I spotted Pomona's own Geggy Tah on the list.

You can have Melissa Etheridge and Porno for Pyros, but leave Pomona alone, guys!

how much is that birdie in the window?

In the comments on the next-most-recent post, Anonymous posted a link to a story on Sodahead ("a dynamic discussion community where you can discover, debate, and discuss issues that get you fired up") about Mayor Rothman, including a photo -- by Ren, right? -- of the mayor flipping him the bird.

I'm turning this into a separate topic because I am flat-out appalled.  Those who've met me know that I'm hardly a paragon of propriety, but then again, I'm not the mayor.  (I wanted to write that last clause in all-caps with a thousand exclamation points, but I managed to control myself.)

What disgusts me here isn't just the poor impulse control; again, I'm not one to talk.  But the fact that the mayor feels so confident in his status that he can just flip off a citizen with a camera -- now that speaks volumes.  That suggests a man who doesn't care what the voters think, because the photographer was Ren, for pete's sake -- the Weegee, Bill Cunningham, and Ansel Adams of Pomona, the man whose photos always get seen by the community.  

I can't help but interpret the mayor's insulting gesture as an indication that he thinks his re-election is in the bag.  Let's show him he's wrong.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Huge Step Back and a Little Step Forward

Predictably, the Pomona city council did not follow the overwhelmingly expressed will of the people, and voted in favor of the Valley Vista Transfer Station (with Freddie Rodriguez and Cristina Carrizosa casting dissenting votes). The "mayor" recused himself from the proceedings.

In the presentation of the project, the applicant made a number of concessions to public pressure. He said he would only allow CNG trucks only on the site (except for 50 diesel trucks); that he would reduce the tonnage from 1500 to 1000/day (but with possibilities for future growth); that he would pay for a code enforcer for the area; and that he would fund a green-up project in the industrial area around the site. He did not commit to Pomona-only trash.

Still, even with these concessions, the majority of the speakers spoke against the station. They clearly remained unconvinced that Valley Vista had Pomona's best interests at heart, or that the business would be good for the city. They cited the city's lack of investigation into the project's locale and its effects on the water and soil. They voiced concerns about exponentially increased truck traffic, noise, and pollution. They suggested that cash for trash is not a sustainable approach to waste reduction, because it relies on the production of trash. They noted that Pomona already has the highest rate of NO2 emissions in the state and that project still will generate 3 times the recommended thresholds. They argued that  the city should only take care of its own trash and not become trash central. And they pointed out that the project disproportionally affects working class, people of color communities. They suggested that many more of the council should have recused themselves due to conflict of interest. Their arguments convinced many that the Valley Vista trash-for-cash model is a huge detriment to the city of Pomona and not in the interests of the people.

Proponents argued that allowing the Trash station would encourage businesses to come to Pomona, that all business is more or less equally polluting, and that opening the 9th street station would allow the open air 1st street station to close. The most tragically regressive argument was that the station was necessary because Pomona would economically revive and produce trash, just like back in the good old days of 1000+ tons/day. The argument that Valley Vista would bring money to the city was not mobilized, because it was revealed in the project presentation (thanks to Rodriguez's questioning) that the promised $1 million annual revenue would not cover the $1.5-2 million on repair for the damages to the roads that the project would inflict. 

It was discouraging to watch the council's lack of deliberation. Atchley, who spent much of the meeting reading on his ipad, said immediately that he was in favor of the project. Escobar, who spent much of the meeting texting, had little to say. Carrisoza put a motion on the floor to bring the project to ballot, but it failed without a seconder.  This lack of debate provoked an improptu protest, as a number of angry citizens chanted, marched and spoke out against the lack of  democratic debate.

That moment was the small step forward, which could become a giant step in time. People in this city are angry. People are mobilized. People can make change, even if the council is bought and sold to unsustainable business and corporate models. People can take the city of Pomona back. There are community groups working on sustainability; on anticorporate living; on art; on democratic process; on stopping the erosion of the library; on health; on youth empowerment.  People are saying no to the way that their democratically elected officials treat them. The people of Pomona can make this city a place for people. Let's do it. The government will have to follow...or maybe it will permanently recuse itself.