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