Thursday, December 5, 2013

December Happenings

December is a big month for things going on in Pomona. Here are a few of them you might want to check out.


10:00 am Pomona Christmas Parade celebrates Pomona's 125th Birthday. The parade starts at 2nd and Gibbs, goes west on Second to Park then north to 8th. It's supposed to be cold so bundle up and enjoy the over 120 entrants and over 3,000 individuals who will be participating in this year's edition.

10:00 am - 3:00 pm Holiday at the Plaza continues the tradition of a citywide holiday celebration with live entertainment, booths, games, and SNOW. This is another fun free event for the whole family. You can always make sure you're near the snow and the sounds of kids laughter while the politicians are speaking.

5:00 pm Pomona Heritage Annual Holiday Progressive Dinner. Members and friends of Pomona Heritage (and you're a friend, aren't you?) are invited to enjoy a three course dinner at various locations around the city. Appetizers in a mid-century modern home out of the Jetsons, lunch at a historic women's club building, now a museum, and desserts at a regal Spanish nestled in the hills. And the cost is that you bring a side-dish. For more information contact


11:30 am Pomona Chamber of Commerce Annual Holiday Luncheon will be held at Avalon at Fairplex. This holiday tradition is always a fun event with a nice meal, live entertainment, the opportunity to win a specially decorated Christmas tree with prizes on the limbs, and mingling with some of the nicest people that our city has to offer. Price is $45 per person.


5:30-9:30 pm DPOA Holiday Mixer sees the downtown Pomona community coming together for good cheer. A great chance to mingle with the artists, business people, and friends of the downtown arts, antique, and entertainment communities. They will also be collecting unwrapped toys for Pomona's children. RSVP

6:30 pm Opera Opening Night will feature a lavish holiday dinner by chef Don Sanders and a concert featuring singers from Pomona's own Repertory Opera Company. Not an evening to miss! Price is $20 with advance reservations, $25 at the door.  Reservations close Friday please.  Call with any questions - (909) 230-4949



3:00 pm A Dickens Holiday Seance. Dickens was an important member of the famous Ghost Club founded in 1862. The medium, Professor Gallivan, is a member of that same society, which has been dedicated to the study of ghosts, séances, psychical phenomena and things that go bump in the night. He is a member of the exclusive worldwide Psychic Entertainers Association, a performing member of the Magic Castle, and has performed many Victorian séances.  He also presents historically accurate phrenology readings and lectures at the Riverside Dickens Festival and other organizations. The event will be held in the scary basement of the Pomona Library. Professor Gallivan warns that There will be no admittance after doors are closed at 3:33 pm.  Please arrive at 3:00 for refreshments. This event will not be appropriate for young children. Price is $15 with funds going to support the library. You can purchase tickets online at: Seating is limited.

I'm sure that I've missed some very good and popular events. Please feel free to add your events in the comments area below. Hope to see you all at one or more of these.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Opera Night - Tuesday, November 12

Our chef Don Sanders finalized the delicious menu for our festivities:

  • Baked Ham with Cranberry Sauce
  • Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
  • Cranberry Pecan Green Salad
  • Sunshine Gelatin Salad
  • Carrot Cake
  • Rolls and Butter
  • Coffee and Tea

So far singers set to sing a wonderful array of songs - Raul Matas, Coril Prochnow, Steve Moritsugu, Debbie Dey, LizBeth Lucca, Armando Castillo, Neal Dougherty, Aumna Iqbal and Shawn Taylor.  We will have selections from everything from Aida to Cabaret to Trovatore to The Mikado.  Robert Sage at the piano.

Not an evening to miss! $20 with advance reservations, $25 at the door.  Reservations close Friday please.  Call with any questions - (909) 230-4949

Friday, October 18, 2013

LA Opera Announces......
come to Pomona!

The Festival celebrating composer Benjamin Britten's 100th year includes Repertory Opera Company - Pomona's Opera Company - and this week's production of Albert Herring.

Saturday, October 19 at 2 pm
Wednesday, October 23 at 7:30 pm
Saturday, Octobert 26 at 2 pm.

First Christian Church of Pomona
1751 N. Park Ave.
Pomona, CA  91768

You can purchase tickets online or at the door.
(909) 230-4949

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Voices from the Camps--HSPV, Saturday, October 19

As part of the Together We Read programs from the Library, Historical Society of the Pomona Valley will be presenting a program titled, Voices From The Camps, at a dinner on Saturday, October 19 at 6:00 pm.

After a wine/beer reception, and a Sushi dinner, guests will be entertained by the Repertory Opera Company (Pomona's own Opera company), who will perform two scenes from Madame Butterfly. Then they will be presented with a special "reader's theater" performance of first person accounts from those who were interred in "America's Concentration Camps," during World War II.

The dinner and program is a fundraiser for the Historical Society and the price for dinner and performances is $30 per person.

We hope to see everyone there.


The next Saturday, October 26, there will be a performance by The Kishin Daiko drummers. This performance will be held on the lawn outside Pilgrim Church (Garey Ave, just north of Holt).

For a complete schedule of the Together We Read programs, visit:!/month/2013/10.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Pomona deadlocks on trash station, blows away $1 million

Much like David Allen I've been away from the Pomona City Council for a while, hopeful that a new group of people might be able to get along better. Unfortunately, that has not been the case, with the recent deadlock of the trash station franchise agreement.

What bothers me is the "sore loserness" of the opponents to the transfer station - equivalent to what is going on in Washington. By withholding the franchise agreement, all James Sambrano and his plaintiffs are doing is increasing Pomona's legal bill. Sambrano, incidentally, actually settled with the transfer station operators to drop his environmental lawsuit with prejudice, or else the court would have imposed penalties for his frivolous lawsuit. David Perez, who owns the transfer station's operator, did promise the city a $1 million minimum franchise fee, money that is needed to help the city rebuild its reserves, which are currently $8.1 million.

As for those who claim that the members who voted for the transfer station have been bought off, that is not supported by the facts. I have posted the campaign statements for Pomona city councilmembers here for some time. The only person Valley Vista gave to in large quantities was Elliott Rothman, and he recuses himself on the trash station as required. 

Overall, trash station theater is starting to get old. It's time to move on.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Community Hero!!

Pomona Police & the Pomona Community Mourns the Loss of Bloodhound “Willow”

The Pomona Police Department regrets to inform you that their senior police bloodhound, Willow, died early this morning, Sept. 12, 2013 while being treated for gastric torsion.

Just after midnight this morning, Officer Joe Hernandez rushed Willow to the Animal Hospital where she was diagnosed with severe gastric torsion, and found to be in need of immediate surgery. Once the surgery began, the gravity of Willow’s condition was revealed and Willow passed soon thereafter.

The Pomona Police Department and all of its members are saddened by Willow’s passing. Willow was an outstanding member of the department and has been referred to as a Hero on several occasions for her countless finds.  There is not a police or sheriff’s department around Pomona that has not called upon Willow to help with finding either a dangerous suspect or a missing person. She is not just a Hero of Pomona, but a Hero of the entire Inland Empire. Most recently, Willow even took on the role of a “training officer” as she was assisting Officer Hernandez in training our junior police bloodhound “Jax.” Soon the Pomona Police Department will prepare a news story that highlights Willow’s career and many accomplishments.

Michael Olivieri, Captain
Operations Division, Canine Unit Commander

This notice was copied from the DPOA's web site. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Join us Sept. 5 at the Library!

Come join supporters of the Library as we commemorate the increased hours of our library from the current 20 hrs/4 days/week to the expanded 29 hrs/5 days/week.

While this is still far short of what our community needs, it's a step in the right direction and we want to acknowledge the small increase in service over the past year. However, we will still be running the library with an all-part-time staff and no leadership specific to the library.

Currently, Deputy City Manager Mark Gluba is in charge of the library so his time is split between the library, his role as community information officer, and multiple other duties as a deputy city manager. Muriel Spill is doing yeoman's work as  a part-time library manager, but scheduling employees, dealing with city issues and the other myriad duties she has to do overwhelm the 20 hrs/wk that she works. Thus the library is operating, but still lacks real leadership and vision.

Please come out and visit the library on Sept. 5, listen to what the different library support organizations are doing to work together to bring the library to what the city of Pomona needs and deserves.

There will be cake and lemonade for attendings. Bring the kids and enjoy the return of at least 1 more day of service to our struggling library.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Pomona’s ROC troupe brings back its popular ‘Manly Men of Opera’

The Manly Men of Opera

Who: Pomona-based Repertory Opera Co.
Where: First Christian Church, 1751 N. Park Ave., Pomona
When: 5 p.m. Sunday
Tickets: $30 each, $240 for table of 8
Information: 909-230-4949,
Once in awhile something new and exciting happens in a classic art form making people look at the familiar with fresh eyes or, in this case, fresh ears.
Two years ago Pomona-based Repertory Opera Company, ROC, did just that when it unveiled “The Manly Men of Opera,” featuring more than 14 baritones and basses in a celebration of the low, rich, resonant male voice.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Election Tuesday, July 23

Tomorrow, July 23, is the date set for the special election to fill the seat vacated when Norma Torres was elected to the state Senate.

The election has been somewhat heated, especially AGAINST former Republican (who reregistered as Independent for this election) mayor of Ontario, Paul Leon. Pomona is well represented in the race with councilman Freddie Rodriguez, school board member Jason Rothman, former councilperson Danielle Soto, and former aid to Nell Soto and Joe Baca Manuel Saucedo. In addition, perenniel candidate from Ontario, Paul Vincent Avila is on the ballot along with Democrats Doris Louise Wallace, and Tom Haughey, along with Republican Dorothy Pineda.

If no candidate receives over 50% of the vote (which in this 9-person election is highly likely), a runoff will be held with the top two vote getters (regardless of party) facing off.

The polls will be open from 7 am to 8 pm. If you need to find your polling place, visit

Monday, July 8, 2013

Fundraiser for Fifth Season of Opera in Pomona

Anybody within the sound of my voice (which is quite a range) or my computer (possibly bigger) knows that Repertory Opera Company has received a LA County Arts Commission grant for $5,800 for each of the next two seasons (the dA Center for the Arts has also received a grant award, way to go Pomona).  But we must raise a matching $5,800 to get that money.  So to raise money for the fifth season in Pomona (wow!), the company's Musical Director, instead of accompanying the singers and being the orchestra, is going to play solo.  Since he is an international competition-winning concert pianist, it will be guaranteed stunning. And I will be singing as well. Lady MacBeth anyone?  So come out to support this local asset, to mock me, or (yeah, you guessed it) just send a check, so we can kick off the season and grab LA County's money.  The only opera companies this year to get the grant were LA Opera, Long Beach Opera and Pomona's Own, Repertory Opera Company.

Nothin' but love for Pomona,


Repertory Opera Company
Business Address
168 West Willow Ave., #112
Pomona, CA  91768

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Thinking about Trash in Pomona

Thinking about having  much of the county's trash coming through my city has made me rethink my own disposal habits. How can I reduce and reuse? No more sparkling water in small bottles for me. What about green waste? I was shocked to learn recently that the green bin waste went into the landfill, as reported in the Daily Bulletin? Time to think about a bigger compost pile, or maybe a small scale community compost. And yes, let's reglue the cat scratching post rather than chuck it and buy another.

There is a Zero Waste movement in California, see here, here, and here. Wouldn't it be great if Pomona joined that trend? Becoming known as environmentally friendly (for real) would certainly complement the city's potential reputation as a place of music, learning, and art.

As Valley Vista Services gears up to build their 1500 ton-per-day trash station, I continue to be amazed that city council saw fit to approve it.  I also have to ask why is it so big? The current station only handles 150 tons per day. Certainly it is problematic because it is open air and it is so close to one school. But the proposed station is ten times bigger.

Most cities report their disposal statistics see here, but Pomona does not appear to do so. Still Glendale, which is a bigger city than Pomona only produces 135 255 tons per year; so why is the Pomona trash transfer station permitted to handle around 500 000 tons per year? Valley Vista says it will take Pomona only trash, but clearly that cannot be the case.

Maybe city council will rethink the idea of making Pomona a city of trash and instead pass a resolution to become Zero Waste by 2025.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Sunday, June 23, 2013

TODAY--Sunday June 23!!

This annual event is always a great time for all. To get to the Phillips Mansion see map below (click to enlarge):

Thursday, June 13, 2013

What is Cinco de Mayo?
@ Palomares Adobe Sunday!!

 Cinco de Mayo:  Made in California Play performance

The Historical Society of Pomona Valley and the Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture at UCLA present a special encore performance of our highly popular play, with special guests Global Motion World Dance Company, Flor de Mayo Folklorico, a mini Cinco de Mayo exhibition, a theatrical production, a presentation by author and professor Dr. David Hayes-Bautista, and MC Comedian Ernie G.

Pomona, CA – June 16, 2013 
El Cinco de Mayo:  Made in California performance

Adobe de Palomares

491 E. Arrow Highway, Pomona CA, 91767
Sunday, June 16, 2013 5:00PM - 8:00PM
5:00PM-6:00PM Cinco de Mayo
Teatro Presentation
6:00PM-8:00PM Children’s workshops on Californio history
Special Californio history exhibit
Free and open to the public.

The Cinco de Mayo, as it is known in California, is not a Mexican holiday.  In fact, in Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is scarcely noticed.  El Cinco de Mayo is an American Civil War commemoration, created by Latinos living in California as a public statement about where Latinos stood on the key issues of the Civil War:

  • Latinos supported freedom, and opposed slavery.
  • Latinos supported racial equality, and opposed white supremacy.
  • Latinos supported democracy, and opposed elitist forms of government. 

Why do we in the United States celebrate the victory of an obscure battle that took place in Mexico 150 years ago? Cinco de Mayo is not celebrated as a national holiday in Mexico because it was created and first celebrated by Latinos living in California. Learning that the Mexican army in Puebla had defeated invading French troops on May 5, 1862, Latinos in California were overjoyed that freedom and democracy had won a victory over forces of slavery and oligarchy. Latinos all over the state rejoiced and celebrated with fireworks, patriotic songs, and impromptu speeches.

Dr. David Hayes-Bautista’s book El Cinco de Mayo: An American Tradition details the real history behind this American Civil War holiday and how it originated. Dr. Hayes-Bautista has stated, “Cinco de Mayo is important to California because it was invented here.” He goes on to say, “It provides a collective identity for all Latinos, whether they were born here in California or immigrated from Mexico, Central America, or South America. It binds them together in an identity.”

Dr. David Hayes-Bautista is Professor of Medicine and Director of the Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture at the School of Medicine at UCLA. He graduated from U.C. Berkeley and completed his MA and PhD in Medical Sociology at the University of California Medical Center, San Francisco. Dr. Hayes-Bautista’s research focuses on the dynamics and processes of the health of the Latino population using both quantitative data sets and qualitative observations. The Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture combines these research interests with teaching of medical students, residents, and practicing providers to manage the care of a Latino patient base effectively, efficiently, and economically. His publications have appeared in Family Medicine, American Journal of Public Health, Family Practice, Medical Care, and Salud Pública de México

Ernie G is one of the hottest, multi-talented, young Latino entertainers in the country today. His comedy has been seen by millions of TV viewers on shows, such as Comedy Central’s “Make Me Laugh,” B.E.T.’s “Comic View,” Ed McMahon’s “Next Big Star,” & Sí TV’s “Funny is Funny!” He is one of the original stars of Galavisión’s hit comedy show “Qué Locos!” hosted by George Lopez, - appearing six times, along with two appearances on “The Best of Qué Locos!” He has appeared on HBO Latino’s “Habla Again,” MUN2’s “Loco Comedy Jam,” as well as Sí TV’s “Latino Laugh Festival!” and their hip new show, “Inside Joke!” Currently, you can catch him on MTV Tr3s’ “Los Super Icons” and you might also remember him as the “Angry Angelino” from the Channel 13 News in Los Angeles!

A graduate of Loyola Marymount University with his B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Chicano Studies, Ernie has developed his own unique form of Comedy he calls “Latino Edutainment Educating and Entertaining with a Latino Flavor!” and has performed for many of the country’s top organizations and corporations, including Disney, Pepsi-Co, General Mills, U.S. Armed Forces, National Council de la Raza, Latin American Educational Foundation and the Hispanic College Fund. He was honored by the City of Los Angeles with the 1st-ever Mario Moreno “Cantínflas” Award for “...representing the Latino community with the same humor and distinction as the legendary Mario Moreno Cantínflasand who, like Cantínflas, utilizes his power to help those most in need.

Ernie performs his rip-roaring, high-energy comedy as Host and Producer of “Ernie G’s Comedy Fiesta!”- a National Comedy Tour featuring the country’s top Latino comedians performing in venues, colleges and universities throughout the nation. He was the Key Note Speaker at UCLA’s 32nd Annual RAZA Graduation, and continues to spread his message of Empowerment & Transformation through Laughter as the National Spokesperson for the Hispanic College Fund and Inspirational Comedian nationwide! For more information, or to order his first Comedy CD entitled, “Mama’s Boy!” please visit:      

Adobe de Palomares, Historical Society of Pomona Valley

What is the Palomares Adobe's historical significance?

Adobe de Palomares was the 13 room home of Don Ygnacio Palomares and his wife, Dona Concepcion Lopez de Palomares. The Palomares and Vejar families owned the Rancho San Jose, which covered eastern Los Angeles county, some 150 years ago. The land now covers many cities of the Pomona Valley of Southern California, including Pomona, LaVerne, San Dimas, Diamond Bar, Azusa, Covina, Walnut, Glendora, and Claremont

A Gold Rush Home: The home was started as the new home of a successful Mexican rancher. Its construction phase was from 1850 to 1854. This was the period of the great California gold rush, that was accompanied by California statehood . The house represents the meeting of two cultures: Mexican-era adobe construction combined with American influenced technology, seen in the use of milled roofing and flooring.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Freddie Rodriguez builds momentum, but signs show otherwise

First, I hope that no one tried to vote for a Democratic endorsement today... as this was a closed vote (although open to the public to view). You had to be one of the 72 individuals enumerated in the Democratic Party's bylaws (Article VIII, Section (3)(e)(1) to be specific) in order to have a vote - so I stand corrected.

With that said, it was not a surprise that Freddie Rodriguez gets the endorsement. Considering that the Torres slate won handily in the Assembly Democratic Caucus in January (disclaimer: I was part of that vote), had members of her slate win nomination to the County Central Committee, and controls a certain number of seats by virtue of being an elected official, the only question was whether he would surpass the 60% threshold, and Rodriguez did with 70% of the vote.

Rodriguez has the backing of the Democratic establishment in Sacramento and likely will be a middle of the road, reliable vote for Democratic leadership in the State Assembly that will not lead to embarrassing headlines, politically or personally. To his credit, he is the only candidate who has come up with a list of issues on his website. The Torres family has opened a lot of doors for Rodriguez - Robert Torres serves as press spokesman, his lead fundraiser is Torres's, and having a mentor in the State Legislature will help ease the transition greatly. Having the phrase "Endorsed by the Democratic Party" and a picture of Torrres and Rodriguez together on a mailer will open doors to a lot of residents who may not know much about the candidates.

But looking at the surrounding environment, it is interesting to note that out of the people Rodriguez served with - fellow City Councilmembers - none have endorsed Rodriguez. Three have endorsed Manuel Saucedo. Two have endorsed Jason Rothman, although it would be questionable if the dad didn't endorse the son.  And Paula Lantz is a former Republican so her endorsement doesn't mean that much. (Most recently her registration was changed to Decline To State, as Pomona's Republican heritage faded away.) Rodriguez's endorsement speech was unusually targeted at comparing himself to "opponents" who, among other things, voted to reduce fire services - a clear reference to Soto. But don't count Soto out since she obtained the endorsement of Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, the only statewide elected official to weigh in on this race, along with Congresswoman McLeod and San Bernardino County Supervisor Josie Gonzales. (I still count Haughey out, because he still doesn't have a working website.)

Overall, this is a race which will be decided by a few thousand votes, if not less. With a registration of 177,000 and an estimated turnout of below 10% - if the senate special election was any indication - the nine candidates are chasing after 17,000 votes. If you voted in the last election, and your phone number is on the voter file, it may be a good time to avoid the phone and the door this summer.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Assembly District 52 - Candidates and Endorsements

First, a brief note. Did you know that if you are a registered Democrat, you have a say in who gets the endorsement of your party? Fill out the form here and snail mail or scan and email it to the address shown. This is part of the little known caucus system that doles out endorsements, since primaries were made into a "top two" system by a recent California ballot proposition. Or attend the caucus on Sunday at 3 pm, at the Ontario teachers union offices - this will be the best opportunity to meet all viable candidates. If I attend I'll make sure to tweet my thoughts and impressions, and maybe even vote on a candidate for my personal endorsement. (Disclaimer - I am a registered Democrat who has no idea who to pick at this point.)

Now onto the final list of candidates (if you missed my preliminary look, click here) and my capsule impressions of them.

Paul Vincent Avila
Ontario City Councilmember, former school board member, perennial candidate - has interesting ideas but has a tendency to speak off the cuff. Endorsed Paul Leon in the State Senate election, which caused grumblings from some Democrats that wanted to kick him out of the party (he is running as a Democrat). No website or social media presence.

Tom Haughey
Chino councilman. Runs an insurance agency. No other information available. Chino elects their councilmembers at large. Web site does not work, which is not a good sign.

Freddie Rodriguez
Pomona councilman, southwest Pomona district. Paramedic by training. Endorsed by Norma Torres and a bunch of other Latino Democrats. Touts business friendliness which may not actually be the case. Fundraising a possible concern - not very much for his mayor's race.

Jason Rothman
Pomona school board member and instructor at Cal Poly Pomona. Well liked by students. Endorsed by Faculty Association, California Teachers Association next? (Was endorsed by Pomona teacher's union in school board election.) Liberal/progressive - former Green Party member.

Manuel Saucedo
Engineer by training, former district director for Norma Torres. Worked to help high school kids enter university, and legislative staffer dating back to the Nell Soto days. Endorsed by Joe Baca, three Pomona councilmembers (the most out of any candidate), and supported by former Senator and champion of immigrant rights Gil Cedillo. Nothing on the web site about any issues he might focus on or support - even vaguely.

Danielle Soto
Former Pomona councilwoman. Currently public affairs specialist at the South Coast Air Quality Management District, and has a legislative interest in environmental issues. Granddaughter of Nell Soto. Endorsed by Senator Gloria Negrete McLeod. Lost council election by 2:1, possibly due to trash station issue. But, at least had the decency to finish her term.

Doris Wallace
Union organizer. Not much known about her - I don't even know if this is the same person that ran in a Rancho Cucamonga district over a decade ago

Dorothy Pineda
Business owner. The only Republican on the ballot, which might be good for at least a few percentage points on its own, but has no Internet presence.

Paul Leon
Mayor of Ontario. Website doesn't work. The Facebook works, although the campaign seems to like to tease its viewers like the local TV news. The Senate website works though, which gives you insight in his issues. Thinks that going "decline to state" may help get more voters, because he is not tarred with the scarlet "R" next to his name, but has pledged that his values remain the same, which are "Christian Conservative".

It may be helpful, from a pure positioning perspective, to rank the candidates from left to right, or from "progressive" to "conservative". After talking to various individuals and doing some research, you generally could rank the candidates in the following order from left to right: Rothman, Soto, Rodriguez, Saucedo, Leon - with Avila on an orthogonal compass to this and not enough information on Haughey, Wallace, or Pineda (and neither of those three likely to make the runoff).

The problem with Sacramento lobbyists analyzing the ground game here is that they often get it wrong. Rudy Favila and Kenny Coble never qualified; while her grandma might have called her "Dani" no one I know calls Danielle Soto that, professionally or personally; and there are nine candidates, not ten, and two on the list did not qualify (Paul Vincent Avila was the person omitted.)

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Handicapping Assembly District 52

After two low turnout special elections, it's time for another special election (or two) for the State Assemblymember who will represent Pomona.

If you were one of the almost 90% of people who didn't turn out for the recent elections held in March and May, as a result of the ascension of Gloria Negrete McLeod to be our Congresswoman in Washington, there was a special election held for her State Senate seat. The field included Assemblymember and former Pomona mayor Norma Torres, San Bernardino County Auditor Larry Walker, Ontario Mayor Paul Leon, Ontario City Councilmember Paul Vincent Avila, Pomona Planning Commissioner Kenny Coble, and Rialto school board member Joanne Gilbert. Norma Torres beat Paul Leon 60-40 in the runoff, and was sworn into the State Senate on Monday.

So there is another special election upon the voters of Pomona, Chino, Ontario, to pick Torres's replacement. In a special election musical chairs scenario, turnout is guaranteed to be low. The previous group of special elections hovered around 10% turnout. Permanent absentees, where ballots are mailed to the voter automatically instead of having to be requested by the voter, are a good source of votes, but need follow up so that the ballot is not lost with the daily junk mail. A good ground game and Get Out The Vote effort can pay huge dividends. Focusing on low propensity voters - those who only participate in Presidential elections - generally pays less dividends than focusing on the person that votes in every election, although everybody will get mail and some will get phone calls. With the rise of caller ID and people not putting phone numbers on voter registrations, door to door precinct walking is important - and can be done efficiently in the long days of summer.

There are also differences between counties. Pomona, in Los Angeles County, has a much lower absentee voter rate, primarily because Los Angeles County has never focused on signing people up for permanent vote by mail status. Meanwhile, San Bernardino County, like many other counties, has promoted vote by mail because it allows for the concentration of precincts and allows for votes to be tabulated faster, an important cost savings measure in a county which span tens of thousands of square miles. This can be seen by the huge difference in vote by mail vs. in person between counties. (Incidentally, the average polling place in both counties received less than 100 voters on Election Day - a true test of patience for the precinct worker.) The turnout was also markedly higher in San Bernardino County than Los Angeles County, all due primarily to vote by mail - although LA County caught up in the runoff election since Pomona is Torres's base. Permanent absentees are perfect for campaigns because savvy ones can track the status of the vote - and continually hound the voter who does not return it.

So what are we looking at when we handicap the race?
  • Endorsements - Endorsements are not just names on a flyer, but are signals to low or medium information voters as to who to support. They can also bring volunteers and campaign contributions. Unions, especially, can mobilize a motivated workforce that lives in the surrounding area. Chamber of commerce types can bring in money from big business and a lot of $4,200 contributions. Incumbent elected officials can bring their supporters to knock on doors and give money.
  • Two thirds vote - The Democrats want to keep a two thirds majority in Sacramento. Therefore if this becomes a Republican vs. Democrat race, you will see a lot of money from the Democrats and their allied interests to make sure that no upset happens and that Democrats maintain that majority. This is important because it allows for the Legislature to disregard the Governor and override any vetoes, as well as pass tax increases ("revenue measures") without trying to get Republican support. 
  • Demographics - The demographics of the area make it almost insurmountable for a Republican to win. But they may give it a good shot, and there is also the slight possibility that two quality Republicans or more conservative candidates could finish in the top two, and crowd out the union friendly or liberal candidates. This is what happened in the 31st Congressional District, where despite a Democratic advantage in registration two Republicans went to the runoff since the Democrats dispersed themselves among four equally strong candidates. Also, this seat is heavily Latino, although low turnout elections traditionally skew older and whiter than general elections.
  • Which Democrat - Within the Democratic Party there are those who are more moderate and those who are more liberal. Even though the Democrats may have a two thirds majority business friendlier ones can easily break away and make it impossible for the legislature to override the veto. Incidentally Governor Jerry Brown is considered a fiscal conservative and is being spoken of highly by business interests and Republicans, who look to him as a "goalkeeper" against the over-regulating, over-taxing impulses of the liberals in the Legislature.
  • McLeod vs. Baca - McLeod is the current Congresswoman and Baca is the Congressman she beat. The two factions have a general grudge against each other, which some have called a "blood feud". Although both are considered moderate Democrats, one issue they differ on significantly is guns. Baca was a major supporter of the NRA, while McLeod received money from Michael Bloomberg on the gun issue that may have pushed her over the top. They support opposite groups of people.
  • San Bernardino County - Three out of the five announced candidates are from Pomona, but the majority of the votes are outside the city. They are a blank slate to many voters. This makes them ripe targets for mailers and calls either extolling their virtues, or providing facts about the disappointments of their careers.
  • Pomona - Pomona is a fiscally challenged city with rising crime, low levels of business development, and a library running on fumes. Will this hurt the impressions of candidates whose last elected experience was serving Pomona?
What isn't here are any issues. At this stage most candidates will spew generic statements about creating jobs, preserving the environment, and improving (name portion of government here). At some point the candidates may differentiate themselves but at this stage in the game it is so preliminary.

Announced Candidates:

Scott Lay, a Sacramento "political consultant", has a great web site, Around the Capitol, which has all of the key information on probables and past results for this district. The best free source for "inside baseball" like this is his Nooner newsletter, which occasionally covers this race. A brief summary of each announced candidate follows, with links to web sites, Twitter feeds, and Facebook posts for more information. Some alleged candidates, like Kenny Coble and Paul Leon, have not updated their web sites; when they do make a formal announcement, I'll update this post.

Paul Vincent Avila
Occupation: Retired Counselor/Ontario City Councilmember
Web site: None
Avila is one of the more colorful elected officials in the Inland Empire. But, with big money in this race, he is unlikely to make the next round. He spent no money and got elected to Ontario City Council. That won't work for the Assembly.

Rudy Favila
Occupation: Retired Youth Authority Officer/Former Ontario Councilman
Favila ran for Congress in 2000 and lost. His last elected office was in the 90's as a Ontario City Councilman. Unfortunately, he has been out of the spotlight for too long. Having a web site which is nonfunctional doesn't help.

Freddie Rodriguez
Occupation: Emergency Medical Technician, Pomona Vice Mayor
Endorsement: Senator Norma Torres
Expect plenty of mailers that have Rodriguez and Torres together. Although she may not be popular among many who are involved deeply in local Pomona politics, she has never lost an election and is not disliked by most voters. 
From the April 16, 2013 edition of the Capitol Morning Report:
Democratic fundraising consultant Connie Sanders Emerson reports being hired by Freddie Rodriguez, the Vice Mayor of Pomona and a candidate in AD 52.
For those of you who don't know what this means, a credible consultant doing fundraising can open doors and help raise money. Fundraising will be key - his mayoral race only raised about $14,000, compared to incumbent Mayor Rothman's $56,000.

Jason Rothman
Occupation: College Lecturer, Pomona School Board Member
Rothman is the mayor's son, but has a decent track record of his own at the Pomona School Board. The PUSD is one of the better functioning agencies in Pomona today, with rising test scores, more options for children and parents, and lower dropout rates. Education is always a key issue in elections, and Rothman was endorsed by Associated Pomona Teachers, the local teachers union, which could give him a leg up should he seek the endorsement of the statewide teachers unions. 

Manuel Saucedo
Occupation: (Former) Senior Field Representative/District Coordinator for Assemblymember Norma Torres
Endorsements: (Former) Congressman Joe Baca, Pomona Councilmembers Cristina Carrizosa, Debra Martin, John Nolte, Pitzer professor Jose Calderon
As a district director he knows the district well. He may have the best chance of making a play at the east. The Baca endorsement will be a good signal since Baca's base has historically been Ontario and eastward. If he can bag more endorsements from Chino, Montclair, and Ontario, that would help - he is in the best position to do so. 

Danielle Soto
Occupation: Staff Assistant, South Coast Air Quality Management District/Former Pomona City Councilmember
Endorsement: Congresswoman Gloria Negrete McLeod
The Soto name has a long track record in Pomona Valley politics. However, her thumping in the First District Pomona City Council race is a cause for concern for fundraising. She was attacked on the slumping budget and the transfer station issue, with John Nolte being seen as more in touch with the community than Soto. She is a proven good fundraiser, but that was meaningless in the City Council election. The trash station makes for a good mailer if someone wants to go negative since it is not in her Council district but is close to the center of AD 52. However, I don't see her rising to the top so that anyone would need to go negative on her.

More later as this campaign develops. Feel free to share your thoughts on any of the candidates in the comment box.