Wednesday, January 25, 2012

CicLAvia could come to Pomona

The Pomona Director of Public Works is inviting all "stakeholders" to join in a discussion next Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. regarding an "open streets" event, or ciclovia. The Los Angeles version is called CicLAvia. CicLAvias are great opportunities to bring communities together through eliminating car traffic for six to eight hours, while encouraging active transportation. The concept began in Bogata, Colombia, in 1976.

I've been to the Los Angeles event twice and it is a great event. The Pomona one would be on a smaller scale, as the Los Angeles event attracts people region-wide, up to 100,000 of them at once. My primary concern with the Los Angeles event is the fact that some bicyclists treat it as a raceway and not an opportunity for all human-powered uses, including skateboarders, pedestrians, and just people hanging out on the street, to use the additional space created. In other words, it's a linear park, not a bicycle freeway.

It is also great to see that leadership has changed in Pomona from the retrograde days of just six years ago, when City leaders flushed a million dollar bike lane down the drain due to neighborhood opposition and political opportunism. AB 32 and SB 375 have forced Californians to be more cognizant of greenhouse gas emissions, and include greenhouse gas reductions in planning and land use decisions. An attempt to suspend AB 32 failed miserably in 2010 so it is clear that planning for greenhouse gases will only grow in the future, and one of the most effective ways to reduce carbon emissions, increase public health, and reduce dependence on foreign oil is to provide environments where people can use active transportation for daily tasks. Even today Pomona just has one bike lane, on Hamilton Boulevard, while many of the streets in South Pomona and Phillips Ranch are excessively wide and could be restriped easily to add a bike lane.

The stakeholder meeting is on Tuesday, January 31st, at 6 pm at the Cal Poly Downtown Center. The consultant will have maps of proposed closed streets and other information for consideration.

Please RSVP to Maura Montellano at 909-620-2262 or via email at

Monday, January 23, 2012

Human Trafficing Film at Fox

I received an email from Nathan Neighbor of Mosaic Community who have an art gallery on Thomas Street and conduct weekly Church services at the Pomona Fox Theater on Sundays. I think that this may be of interest to some of you. Here's Nathan's message:

My name is Nathan Neighbour, and I work with the Mosaic community that meets in the Fox Theater each Sunday.  Next Sunday, January 29th at 2pm we are hosting a community awareness event at The Fox around the issue of human trafficking, a huge problem in the Pomona Valley.  Thousands of girls as young as age 12 are bought and sold in the sex trade industry right here in our city.  

 We will be screening a film called FLESH: Bought & Sold in the US and will have a panel of film makers and community leaders joining us (including the mayor and chief of police).  The Fox has graciously partnered with us to make this event happen and get the word out to the community.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

right here in river city!

I can't believe I had to learn it from a Claremont friend, but apparently there's a Pomona pride (lower-case P, because I don't think it's the Prop. 8 kind of Pride) event this weekend -- including a performance by Flavor Flav. Take me back to my youth, Calgon!

Of course, looking at the poster, the misspelling of "amateur" jumps right out at me. Oh, Pomona, why must you always match every step forward with half a step back? Do we want the rest of the West Inland Empire thinking we can't spell? No we do not!

Do any of our fine readers know anything about Diamonds Love Foundation, the co-sponsor of the event?

I learned about this via Twitter. I'm wondering, how many Pomoniacs are on Twitter? I follow @pomonafeed and @tweetpomona (which mainly seems to tweet Pasadena)... Anybody else out there I should follow? [For what it's worth, I'm @mmwwah, but I don't tweet much about local matters, either SoCal or NorCal.]

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Redistricting takes center stage

In the span of 16 hours, key decisions will be made that will impact the lives of Pomona residents for the next ten years. This is about redistricting - the decennial redrawing of lines to ensure equitable distribution of population after each census. Redistricting impacts the representation that residents have, and on a greater scale determines whether communities of interest are kept together or are broken apart, and whether the rights of minorities are maintained or regressed. Poorly drawn districts can result in some areas being considered less than others and receiving fewer resources and attention from the elected official, or could invite extensive and costly litigation as attorneys for protected groups challenge the new lines.

At 5:30 pm on Tuesday, the Pomona City Council will meet to discuss council redistricting. The city staff has opted to handle it themselves, and not go into an outside consultant. Staff and the City Attorney have gamely identified 24 possible areas for moving populations and tried to shift them around to reduce deviation as much as possible. With the Phillips Ranch area, District 5 having the least population and North Pomona, District 6, with the greatest population, any district move would have a domino effect on the whole city. Unfortunately, due to poor scanning of the staff report, it is unclear where all these chess pieces will end up. Nevertheless areas near the boundaries of districts, such as Val Verde, Westmont, and Downtown Pomona could be at risk of moving to another district.

Critics of the staff-driven process say that it is not transparent where these considerations come from, that they have not allowed the community to express their preferences as to what they consider a community of interest is, and that they do not provide racial demographic information to ensure that protected ethnic groups are not adversely impacted by these moves, due to Voting Rights Act considerations (which are referred to in the staff report but subsequently not evaluated with respect to the new district proposal). Many cities with districts choose to go to one of the major providers in California of redistricting services - Matt Rexroad's Meridian Pacific, Paul Mitchell's Redistricting Partners, or Doug Johnson's National Demographics Corporation. Having the experience of doing many cities' redistricting helps greatly in understanding the key legal issues that, if not addressed, could result in extensive and costly litigation.

The next morning (Wednesday) at 8 a.m. the Three Valleys Water Board will discuss redistricting of its water district lines. The Water District has two proposals provided by Redistricting Partners that could radically shift the City-based lines of today into lines that do not match up with any water district lines or City lines. In particular, small portions of North Pomona could be disunited with the rest of the city under the "minimal changes" option, with the primary impact breaking Walnut up from one district into three. In "Option A", Claremont and South Pomona could be united in one district that would be extremely diverse in terms of demographics and water purveyors.

Again, there are issues of transparency as Redistricting Partners was selected without any indication of the selection process or how they were chosen. The public input on this has been minimal, with one resident comment and one comment from an elected official.

Everyone has a different perspective of their community. Some would like to see Downtown Pomona as part of one district, while others feel that as many council members as possible should share an interest in Downtown. Similarly, City lines may not be important for some people, and having South Pomona and Claremont in the same Water Board district may still be in a community of interest, being on the east end of the County line.

If you don't feel that your community is being kept whole, let your voices be heard. You can write to the members of the City Council here, and to the Three Valleys Municipal Water District at You can also speak at the public hearing for the Three Valleys Municipal Water District in Claremont at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, or to the City Council at the Council Chambers during public comment some time after 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Repertory Opera Company

Pomona’s Opera Company

presents Gaetano Donizetti's rousing comedy of disguise and deception: Don Pasquale, A Dramma buffo in three acts sung in Italian with English narration.

Brian Farrell at the piano.

Saturdays at 2 pm - February 4, 11 & 18

Wednesday, February 8 at 7 pm

Tickets are $30 for adults. Children $10.

Student Rush with ID $15 on Feb 4 & 8.

Performances are at First Christian Church, 1751 N. Park Ave, Pomona CA 91768

Continuing to bring quality opera performances to our community.

For more information go to or call (909) 230-4949

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year

As we've left 2011, we now have 2012 to look forward to. This should be an interesting year in our fair city. 

Hopefully the city will move forward on a general plan and the specific plans for the various corridors. How will the elimination of the Redevelopment Agency affect this?

Moving into the new year the Friends of the Pomona Fox has a slate of programs through about May which will be announced as soon as dates are confirmed. The Opera Company has a season set, and the Fox and Glass House are continuing to book quality programs into our thriving downtown.

As always, Pomona Heritage will have its Home Tour in October, and other events as the year progresses and we've always got the downtown 2nd and 4th Saturday events to look forward to.

By May, we should be seeing a flurry of activity leaning toward our civic elections on November 6. Three council districts will be holding elections (the 1st --currently with Danielle Soto representing the area from Garey West to the city line and from the 10 Freeway south to 2nd Street; the 4th--currently with Paula Lantz representing the area from Garey East to the county line and from the 10 freeway south to 2nd Street; and the 6th--currently with Stephen Atcheley representing all of the city north of the 10 freeway; Mayor--currently Elliott Rothman, representing the entire city). Over half of the voting members of the council will be up for election. Sounds like a good time to let our voices be heard regarding what we expect for the next four years.

In addition, there will be at least 2 city items on the ballot with the initiative to restructure how council members are elected in the future, going away from voting limited to districts and expanded to elections for district council members being held on a city-wide basis; and the proposed charter amendments from the Charter Review Commission which completed its work last May. I'm sure there will be a number of posts on both of these issues of vital importance to the city's future.

So with visions of Trash Transfer stations in our past and civic elections in our future, let's hope that we have a good and productive year in Pomona.

Happy New Year!