Thursday, December 31, 2009

When frozen yogurt gets controversial

On Monday, I wrote something in my Empoprise-BI business blog about Yogurtime in Upland. In the course of writing this post, I discovered a story I had missed in 2009 - a story in which frozen yogurt became controversial.

(OK, the Billy Paul sketch on SNL had a controversial mixing of ice cream flavors, but this is different.)

Back in March, it turns out that Yogurtime had to cancel a high school fundraiser due to "threatening phone calls" - specifically, threats that people wouldn't shop at Yogurtime any more if they hosted the Upland High Gay-Straight Alliance.

Of course, the story resulted in "threatening letters" - basically, ones that said that the people wouldn't shop at Yogurtime any more because they cancelled the fundraiser.

Lots of threats here.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

ESRI Developer Summit is approaching

I saw a LinkedIn update from an ESRI contact who was preparing for the ESRI Developer Summit.

A little bit about me and ESRI - since I'm involved in the public safety arena, I've been following ESRI for some time. The fact that they're based right here in the Inland Empire, and that fact that my former employers Printrak and Motorola did business with ESRI (I assume that Motorola still does business with ESRI today), only serves to increase my interest in ESRI's goings-on. Frankly, during my time in AFIS product management, I would have liked to have incorporated geomapping into AFIS as an aid in crime-solving, but absent a lack of customer interest in using this, and paying for this, I never really pursued the idea.

If you haven't heard of ESRI, they're a Redlands-based company that provides geographic information system (GIS) software that can be incorporated into other applications (such as Motorola's computer aided dispatch application).

So what is GIS?

A geographic information system (GIS) integrates hardware, software, and data for capturing, managing, analyzing, and displaying all forms of geographically referenced information.

GIS allows us to view, understand, question, interpret, and visualize data in many ways that reveal relationships, patterns, and trends in the form of maps, globes, reports, and charts.

A GIS helps you answer questions and solve problems by looking at your data in a way that is quickly understood and easily shared.

GIS technology can be integrated into any enterprise information system framework.


That "integrated" part is where developers come in. As noted above, ESRI's software can be incorporated into other applications, and to assist developers in doing this, ESRI provides several services, including the aforementioned ESRI Developer Summit. The summit will take place in Palm Springs (one mountain pass away from Redlands) on March 22-25, 2010. A high-level agenda has been posted, and a Twitter account (@esridevsummit) and Facebook page (esridevsummit) have been created.

And if you need to figure out how to get there, I'm sure ESRI will provide you with a map.

P.S. They have an on-site cafe with Starbucks.

Monday, December 28, 2009

(empo-tymshft) Sometimes business is a zero sum game

In our economic and business environment, we are wired to believe that everything is always increasing. Population is always increasing. Wages are always increasing. Revenue is always increasing. And if things aren't increasing, something is wrong.

Hence the note of alarm from the Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce, as recorded by David Allen:

[T]he Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce is alarmed enough by the number of closings in Chino and Chino Hills to appeal to the public.

"Because of the influx of new restaurants in the south Chino and Chino Hills area, many of the longer established restaurants all around Chino Valley are struggling to keep the doors open," writes the chamber's Jean Christy.


To which I respond, DUH! If a town has one restaurant, and a second restaurant opens, then the only way that both restaurants will prosper is if new business can be lured in from the existing population. And during a recession, that probably ain't gonna happen.

But if the number of businesses remain the same, why is the Chamber so concerned? Hints can be found in Allen's article:

Chino lost Black Angus and On the Border, both at the Spectrum, and Dickey's BBQ. (The latter especially bothered Christy because it participated in the chamber's annual Taste of the Chino Valley.)

"If that is not bad enough," Christy writes, "an icon in the Chino Valley for 15 to 20 years -- Marie Callender's in Chino Town Square -- MAY be closing effective Jan. 3." She says Callender's participates in Taste of the Chino Valley and the Dairy Festival and also contributes to other community events.


So you see why the Chamber is concerned - the businesses that are closing are the ones that happened to support the Chamber. Apparently the newly-arrived businesses aren't embedded in the community enough to support the Chamber yet - and THAT'S why Christy's concerned.

And isn't it interesting to notice that something that's been around for "15 to 20 years" suddenly becomes a revered icon? I have lived in Upland or Ontario for over a quarter century, and when I first arrived here, I had a friend who performed at a restaurant in downtown Chino. Or close enough - it was on Central Avenue, just south of Riverside. A few years later, I bet that restaurant lost business when that usurping chain restaurant Marie Callender's opened outside of downtown, threatening the established local business community. And now Marie Callender's itself is a victim of the same problem - new businesses moving in and attracting people away from the old ones.

This parallels the situation in my city of Ontario, in which patrons of Albertson's and other established stores are decrying the entry of Wal-Mart - never mind the fact that Albertson's and the other stores already lured people away from downtown Ontario.

The only way that you'll get old and new businesses to survive is to have a bunch more people migrate to the area. But of course, that would involve APARTMENTS - and we certainly can't have that.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Can you hear me - uh, never mind...

AT&T's wireless network has been in the news over the last few months, and not in a good way, between aggressive commercials from Verizon and complaints from customers.

But in our local area, there's a bit of good news on the AT&T front.

AT&T announced last week the activation of a new 3G cell site near the intersection of 15th Street and Campus Avenue in Upland.

Writer Sandra Emerson also noted some statistics from an AT&T news release:

AT&T plans to add more than 200 cell sites in California this year and upgrade nearly 320 more sites to 3G. From 2006 to 2008...AT&T's total capital investment in its California wireless and wireline network was nearly $7.9 billion.

I'm not sure of the comparable cell site count and investment figures for competing wireless carriers.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Create template. Implement. Repeat. We are the Chaffeys.

Now since I live in Ontario, I obviously realize that the Chaffey brothers planned a very broad avenue - in this case, Euclid Avenue - as part of their plan for Ontario.

And since I've done a little bit of research, I also realize that the Chaffeys did the same thing when they left Ontario and established a settlement at Mildura, Australia. The road is now known as Sturt Highway.

But when David Allen posted a picture of Etiwanda circa 1882, I was struck by the fact that the Chaffeys did the same thing in Etiwanda. Presumably the street in question is Etiwanda Avenue.

So, my question - if you were to go to the bottom of the Salton Sea, would you find a wide boulevard running down the middle?

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Cleared!

Target, Montclair.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Upland kids, make five bucks!

Sandra Emerson announced that Upland dentist Sean Lee is doing his part in the fight against tooth decay by buying Halloween candy from kids. Lee's office is paying $1 per pound, but before kids try to canvass the entire city and make a million, please note that Lee is paying a maximum of $5 per kid.

I can't find anything about this on Lee's website, but Emerson has further details.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Intentional flooding

Vernon south of Arrow, Montclair.

We noticed the water at Moreno on Friday.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Seven things I'll miss about the IE while at Oracle OpenWorld

Today is the Saturday before Oracle OpenWorld 2009. For many people it's an extremely busy day, especially if you're flying to San Francisco from a foreign country. But for me the Saturday before OpenWorld is usually a semi-lazy sort of day. My laundry's done, my suitcase is packed, but my computer (obviously) isn't, and I still have to review my cheat sheets, pick up dog poop, and take care of some other things before I go.

Twenty-four hours from now I anticipate that I'll be on a BART, heading toward my hotel in the Union Square area, and then heading down to the Moscone Center for Oracle PartnerNetwork events. And for the next five days, I will be in an urban area, an area very different from my suburban Ontario home.

Now I'll grant that staying in a Union Square hotel is not exactly the same as permanently living in the Union Square area - I won't have any need to search for a Safeway, for example - but it's different enough to merit a comparison between the way that I live for up to 51 weeks out of the year, and the way that I live for one week in San Francisco. And since I live in outer suburbia, not Manhattan, the differences are fairly striking.

So here are seven things that I'm going to miss over the next week:

  1. Driving in my car. People obviously drive in San Francisco, but I don't know how they do it. I am very happy to live in an area where I don't have to parallel park all that often, and I usually don't have to pay to park my car somewhere. And, most importantly, I don't have to deal with narrow streets, one-way streets, or tons of traffic. Sure I have traffic down here, but at least it's all going in the same direction.

  2. Family. In all my years of travel, I can only think of one time that my family has traveled with me on business. My family happens to love San Francisco, but when they think of "San Francisco" they don't think of the Union Square/Moscone Center area; their thoughts are a little farther north. And even if their schedules permitted them to come with me this time, they'd hardly see me anyway, so what's the point?

  3. "Normal" food. Now again, this doesn't affect people who actually LIVE in San Francisco, but it certainly affects people who are traveling. In most cases, travelers are dining out at restaurants, eating at a hotel buffet, or having some other type of catered food (e.g. the box lunches that are served at Oracle OpenWorld). Now it's good food, don't get me wrong, but it's out of the ordinary for your body, and eventually your body tells you to just buy a loaf of bread or a bag of carrots or something and eat like you normally eat at home.

  4. Quiet. Your situation may be different, but when I go to bed tonight, I won't have partiers walking up and down my street at all hours, I won't have delivery trucks stopping by next door at 3:am, and I'll have precious few sirens. Now if I lived in San Francisco permanently I'd get used to such things - heck, I lived next to a freeway for over six years and barely even noticed it - but it's enough to confuse you in the short term.

  5. Radio stations that I know. Frankly, I enjoy being in other cities and listening to their radio stations, and I even look forward to the end of daylight saving time because that allows me to pick up a San Francisco station (KCBS 740) on my commute home in Orange and San Bernardino counties. But while I'll hear some new stuff, I won't be hearing my usual stuff. I don't know when the traffic reports will come on (not that I care about traffic in San Francisco), I'm not sure where/if I'll hear Dan Patrick and Petros & Money, and there won't be any Handel on the News.

  6. In-N-Out Burger. Actually, there is one In-N-Out Burger in San Francisco, but I won't be anywhere near it.

  7. Last, but not least, vertical space. It goes without saying that things are more crowded in the city on the horizontal plane, but when you think about it they're also crowded in the vertical direction. I live in a single story house, and all of the buildings within 1/4 mile of me are also single story houses. When you look up, you only see sky - and a few telephone poles. Contrast this to my arrival on Market Street, in which I will climb up stairs to emerge from the BART station, walk several blocks between multi-story buildings, take an elevator to my room, take the elevator back down, again walk several blocks between multi-story buildings, then traverse the many vertical levels of the Moscone Center to get registered and get to my OPN events.
While these issues, as well as the firehose of information that will be streaming at me during Oracle OpenWorld, can be invigorating, they can also be discombobulating, so I anticipate that there will be some happiness when I arrive back home on Thursday night, driving a car by single story buildings with few delivery trucks in sight.

Picture source; reprinted by special arrangement with the photographer)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Steven's Hope Events

Over a month ago (has it been that long?), I blogged about Steven's Hope. If you missed that post, here's an excerpt from something Sandra Emerson wrote:

Steven's Hope For Children is an Upland based non-profit organization that provides temporary hospital adjacent housing and other services to families with sick children.

Well, there are several Steven's Hope-related fundraisers coming up.

Upland Now notes that there will be a car wash this Saturday at Upland Memorial Park from 9am to 3pm, accompanied by a car and motorcycle show, a pie-eating contest, and other events. On the other side of town, a 10K run from Life Bible Fellowship to Foothill and back again will start at 7:30.

But wait! There's more in Montclair on October 14. Go here to find a link to a coupon to print out. If you bring the coupon between 4pm and 9pm, Islands will donate 20% of your bill to Steven's Hope.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

If the atheists won't get you, the capitalists will

My hometown of Ontario, California has been the host of a series of Nativity scenes up and down Euclid Avenue. Most are Christian, but in recent years there have been additional scenes for Baha'i and other faiths. Some atheists (particularly Patrick Greene) and some non-Christians (particularly the Anti-Defamation League) haven't been happy with the display, but the display has continued through the years.

Since the city can't fund the Nativity displays, the $10,000 in funding has to come from somewhere, and for 2009, they're seeking sponsors to fund the displays to the tune of $1,000 per display. Fittingly enough, this is for the 50th anniversary, or the "golden" anniversary, of the displays.

There are no online details of how the sponsorships will be recognized - and I was unsuccessful in finding a website for the Ontario Chamber of Commerce - but this could be either very good or very bad, depending upon how it is implemented.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I didn't know William Randolph Hearst lived in Corona

I just saw something in Housing Kaboom that completely floored me.

Now there are probably very valid real estate schools of thought that dictate that you should not overbuild your house relative to your neighbors. To a point, I don't really care about very valid real estate schools of thought. If I ever find myself in the position to build my own house from scratch, I'm going to build what I like, regardless of whether it's twice the value or half the value of the neighbors or whatever.

But on the other hand, I might have a problem selling it later when I get tired of it.

Now Corona is a nice city, and I'm sure that there are very nice houses in the city. But you don't think of Corona as the place where a house would be listed for $10,995,000.

No, that's not a typo. That's not $1,995,000...that's $10,995,000.

But listen to what you get for that price:

Beds: 6
Baths: 10
Sq. Ft.: 14,873
$/Sq. Ft.: $739
Lot Size: 3.9 Acres


And that's just the numeric facts. Then you get into the textual information:


Bedroom Information

* 2 Master Bedrooms
* Dressing Room/Area
* Main Floor Bedroom
* Master Bedroom Balcony
* Master Bedroom Retreat
* Master Suite
* Sitting Room/Area
* Walk-In Closet

Fireplace Information

* Has Fireplace
* See Through
* Uses Both Gas & Wood
* In Family Room
* In Library
* In Master Bedroom
* In Master Bedroom Retreat
* Other Location

Disability Access Information

* Elevator


But wait! There's more...much more. The funniest part was toward the bottom:

Nearby Similar Listings

No similar listings could be found.


But since a picture is worth a thousand words, let me share one of the pictures associated with the listing.



No, that's not the Hearst Castle. That's the home on 1111 Casper Circle.


View Larger Map

More pictures at the listing and at Housing Kaboom.

A case of someone NOT spinning his wheels

A union organizing effort at March Air Reserve Base led to a firing, but a judge has ordered that the firing be rescinded, according to the Press Enterprise.

One of the accusations against Raul "Rudy" Trejo was as follows:

Trejo was accused of spinning the wheels of a government vehicle so violently it sprayed gravel and dust on a co-worker who was ambivalent about the union, and of using foul language during that incident and at other times.

However, not only could Trejo be identified as the person who did this, but an International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers organizer also noted something else:

Joe Young, an organizer who works out of the union's Rancho Cucamonga office, said in an interview...that because Trejo would have been driving a munitions truck, any incident involving the vehicle would have been witnessed by Military Police. No such witnesses were produced.

It should be noted that Trejo was not an employee of the military itself, but an employee of Satellite Services, out of Marquette, Michigan.

Why non-military personnel are driving munitions trucks is a whole other matter entirely.

Monday, October 5, 2009

FTC disclosure, the local edition


FTC DISCLOSURE: Earlier this evening I received compensation from Starbucks in excess of two dollars. Specifically, I received a free tall coffee, and also received one dollar off of a purchase of those new VIA instant coffee thingies. It is quite likely that the receipt of such riches from Starbucks has positively affected my opinion of the company.

My previous FTC disclosure in the Empoprise-BI business blog can be found here. And my subsequent FTC disclosure in the Empoprise-MU music blog can be found here.

(Picture source, license)

Swearing-in for new police chief in Pomona

Monica Rodriguez notes that new Pomona Police Chief Dave Keetle, who has been acting Chief for several months, will be sworn in on Monday the 5th at 7:00 pm. Council members will listen to Keetle swear at City Hall, 505 South Garey.


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Saturday, October 3, 2009

Beat THAT price, Wal Mart (Stater Brothers prescriptions)

I've previously discussed how Wal Mart's low prescription pricing has had beneficial effects throughout the industry, as competitors have matched the prices. (Kind of like how union wages help wages of non-union workers. But I digress.)

Well, Stater Brothers has some new pricing that even Wal Mart will find it hard to match - although it may try. From the Press Enterprise:

San Bernardino-headquartered Stater Bros. Markets on Wednesday rolled out a new program offering a free 14-day supply of certain generic antibiotics, including refills, for those presenting valid prescriptions at its 28 stores with Super Rx pharmacies.

The idea is not new to Staters:

Stater is the first Southern California supermarket chain to offer the free drugs, though companies with primarily Eastern U.S. stores -- including Meijer, Giant Eagle and Publix -- recently started similar programs.

Brown said Stater and the other supermarket chains are part of a prescription drug purchasing cooperative, which lets the grocers pool their buying power to get lower prices from manufacturers.


Not that the manufacturers are offering the drugs for free.

The covered prescriptions, by the way, are amoxicillin, ampicillin, ciprofloxacin, doxycycline, erythromycin, penicillin, tetracycline and trimeth/sulfa.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

More airport news

Airport issues rage on at Ontario airport, while San Bernardino airport works on...um...getting off the ground. The Press Enterprise has covered both stories.

Ontario:

For the first time since 1988, a decade before two multi million-dollar terminals were built , fewer than 5 million travelers are expected to use Ontario International Airport,according to a forecast from the airport.

Now that is a stunner. I moved here in 1983, and back in 1988 the airport pretty much consisted of a single terminal at the end of Vineyard Avenue. This was back when "boarding the plane" meant taking a walk outside on the runway and climbing the steps. So what the figures are saying is that we could close Terminal 2 and Terminal 4, move everything to the old terminal, and still get along fine. Don't hold your breath for the construction of Terminal 3 any time soon.

San Bernardino:

Looking to lure passenger carriers to a nearly completed passenger terminal, San Bernardino International Airport officials this week approved a long-discussed package of incentives, worth more than $2.5 million for each airline it can draw.

And where could San Bernardino airport potentially get airlines? From Ontario, of course, where airlines are already pulling out because of Ontario airport's high rates. Heck, if someone's gonna pay you to move your facilities 23.5 miles, why not do it?


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Monday, September 28, 2009

From A to K, new IE shopping experiences

Despite the recession, some businesses are expanding, with new stores opening in the Inland Empire over the next few days.

One store has already opened - a new Apple Store. While I don't mind driving to Rancho Cucamonga for Apple stuff, I'm certainly that a commute to Victoria Gardens would be long if you lived in, say, Temecula. Well, the Press-Enterprise notes that a new Apple Store is opening in Temecula at 40820 Winchester Road.


View Larger Map

The other store opening that I heard of is closer to my Ontario home. You may recall that when Mervyn's went under, Kohl's bought up a bunch of their old locations. Well, one of those locations was in south Upland, and Upland Now notes that the new Kohl's, located at 233 S. Mountain, will open on Wednesday.


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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sturt Highway in Mildura, and why Johnny's Australia is more advanced than Josh's America

A lot of you, especially those of you who live in Upland, California, know that Mildura, Australia was founded by the Chaffey brothers - the same brothers that founded Ontario, California.

And you've probably heard that there are similarities between Ontario (and Upland) and Mildura, including the fact that Mildura is supposed to have a long, wide, tree-lined street.

Well, thanks to Google Street View, someone like me who has never been to Australia can still see Sturt Highway.


View Larger Map



Now the sharp-eyed among you will notice one goof that the Chaffey brothers apparently made - someone must have looked at the plans backwards, because the people in Mildura are driving on the wrong side of the street.

A New South Wales government site (the border is not too far away from Mildura) tells about the history of the Chaffeys and Mildura. It appears that the Chaffeys' success in Mildura was short-lived:

The creation of Mildura was primarily the result of the enthusiasm of the politician Arthur Deakin and the Canadian proselytiser for irrigation, George Chaffey. Chaffey came to Australia in 1886 after he and his family had founded Ontario on diverted water. He bought Mildura station, eaten out by rabbits and eaten up by drought, because in its garden, under the wind-pump, grapevines still flourished: later in 1886 an agreement between the Victorian government and George and William B Chaffey granted 100,000 hectares around Mildura to establish an irrigation settlement, initially on 20,000 hectares, using Murray water.

Mildura municipality was a corporate reality in 1890: there were already four suburbs, a port, a shipyard. The first dried fruits of the irrigation scheme were sold in 1891. But the bank crashes of 1893 and conflict between the Chaffeys and the Irrigation Trust led to dramatic failure and the dismantling of the Chaffey empire in 1896-7: George went off to irrigate the Colorado desert instead.


But not all was lost. If I ever do make the trip to Mildura, I may be able to stay at the Best Western Chaffey International Motor Inn.

So who or what was the "Sturt" for which Sturt Highway was named? According to Wikipedia, the Sturt Highway actually spans three states, so the Chaffeys probably didn't have a part in naming it. The highway was named after Charles Sturt (1795-1869).

Not sure if the rest of the highway is tree-lined, though.

Oh, and by the way...there is one other thing named after the Chaffeys...a toilet. This information is courtesy the National Continence Management Strategy. I've REALLY got to ask Johnny Worthington about THAT one.



Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The stimulus is local in Fontana

When you give people money, they're going to spend it. And Fontana is getting money from the Federal Government. Here's what city manager Ken Hunt is saying:

The City of Fontana has received about $6 million from the federal government for the purpose of buying, fixing up, and reselling bank owned properties within our community. The conditions for the expenditure of these monies include a stipulation that the money can only be used to purchase and renovate bank-owned properties. Each property must be purchased at a discount of at least 15% below market, and must be resold to qualified, low-income property owners.

But truth to tell, dedicated funds aren't really dedicated. The fact that the Feds are giving Fontana $6 million to buy up property means that Fontana itself doesn't have to raise $6 million for this purpose, and can therefore spend its own $6 million on whatever it wants. Water fountains or kite flying days or something.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Testing photoblogging; .@foursquare is working!

If you are reading this, then photoblogging is working from my re-imaged phone. If you're reading it twice, then cross-posting works also.

This is the site of my first Foursquare check-in, by the way.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The ripple effect of airport issues



As I've previously noted the Riverside Press-Enterprise has provided extensive coverage of some of the financial issues facing Ontario Airport (the official name has "LA" in it, but I'm ornery - just ask Rita Moreno of Arte). Now if an anchor business such as an airport has a decline in business, then you can expect that certain surrounding businesses would also be affected. And this is the case, according to the aforementioned Riverside Press-Enterprise:

The owner of the 299-room Marriott Ontario Airport hotel has stopped making payments on the $26 million mortgage and will give the hotel back to lenders.

Executives with Sunstone Hotel Investors, the hotel's owner, said in a conference call Wednesday afternoon that the hotel's value had fallen about 36 percent to $16.7 million, making it worth far less than the loan.


Yes, you know that this can happen to residential properties, but it obviously can happen to commercial properties also. And revenue isn't good either:

The Marriott Ontario Airport earned profits of $447,000 in the first quarter of 2008 and $274,000 in the second quarter, but lost $23,000 and $55,000 in the third and fourth quarters respectively.

We'll see how long it takes the airport to get out of the doldrums, and if the lenders - or whoever they sell the hotel to - can make some money off the deal.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The West End Animal Shelter and theanimalrescuesite.com

Liset Marquez of Ontario Now published an email that she received from the West End Animal Shelter. Here are excerpts:

The Animal Rescue Site started a contest awarding $100,000 in grants to eligible Petfinder.com member rescue organizations to help animals. The grand prize is a $20,000 grant, and there are many other prizes!

Basically, if you go to http://www.theanimalrescuesite.com/clickToGive/home.faces?siteId=3 and vote for the West End Animal Shelter, they will be in the running to win a $20,000 grant. Read the entire letter here.

And here is a page (via petfinder.com) that contains more information about the Shelter:

West End Shelter for Animals is a private, registered, non-profit organization. We are a no-kill pet placement and adoption center located in Ontario, California. We receive no government funding; our revenues come strictly from fees for services, donations, fundraising efforts, and our low-cost vaccination clinic. The shelter was established in 1954 as the local humane society, and in 1994 was converted to the present no-kill alternative facility. Visitors are always welcome!

The shelter is at 1010 E Mission in Ontario.


View Larger Map

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The albatross around Fleetwood Enterprises



You would have thought that as the assets of Fleetwood Enterprises go through liquidation, the Fleetwood Enterprises story would be pretty much over.

It's not:

At least four class action suits have been prepared against former executives of Riverside-based Fleetwood Enterprises alleging violations of the Securities Exchange Act by issuing false and misleading statements about the company's financial condition between Dec. 6, 2007 and March 10, 2009.

Now to succeed in a lawsuit, you need to show an intent to deceive. And that's just what one set of lawyers claims happened:

In its 38 page filing made Sept. 1, Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins LLP pointed to statements made in press releases by Elden Smith since Dec. 6 that it alleges painted a rosier picture of Fleetwood's condition.

More details can be found in the firm's press release:

COUGHLIN STOIA GELLER RUDMAN & ROBBINS LLP FILES CLASS ACTION SUIT AGAINST FORMER EXECUTIVES OF FLEETWOOD ENTERPRISES, INC.

New York – September 1, 2009 – Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins LLP (“Coughlin Stoia”) (http://www.csgrr.com/cases/fleetwood/) today announced that a class action has been commenced in the United States District Court for the Central District of California on behalf of purchasers of the common stock of Fleetwood Enterprises, Inc. (“Fleetwood” or the “Company”) (NYSE:FLE) between December 6, 2007 and March 10, 2009, inclusive (the “Class Period”), seeking to pursue remedies under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”). Fleetwood is not named in this action as a defendant because it and its core operating subsidiaries filed for bankruptcy protection in March 2009.

If you wish to serve as lead plaintiff, you must move the Court no later than 60 days from today. If you wish to discuss this action or have any questions concerning this notice or your rights or interests, please contact plaintiff’s counsel, Samuel H. Rudman or David A. Rosenfeld of Coughlin Stoia at 800/449-4900 or 619/231-1058, or via e-mail at djr@csgrr.com. If you are a member of this Class, you can view a copy of the complaint as filed or join this class action online at http://www.csgrr.com/cases/fleetwood/. Any member of the putative class may move the Court to serve as lead plaintiff through counsel of their choice, or may choose to do nothing and remain an absent class member.

The complaint charges certain of Fleetwood’s former executives with violations of the Exchange Act. Fleetwood, together with its subsidiaries, produces and distributes manufactured housing primarily in the United States and Canada.

The complaint alleges that, throughout the Class Period, defendants made numerous positive statements regarding the Company's financial condition, business and prospects. The complaint further alleges that these statements were materially false and misleading because defendants failed to disclose the following adverse facts, among others: (i) that demand for Fleetwood’s manufactured houses and the big homes-on-wheels was rapidly declining, and was adversely affecting the Company’s liquidity; (ii) that the Company’s RV Group sales, especially in its travel trailer division, were declining because of softening consumer demand due to high gasoline prices and the credit crisis; (iii) that the Company’s financial condition was declining precipitously such that the Company was nearing insolvency and would have to file for bankruptcy protection; and (iv) based on the foregoing, defendants had no reasonable basis for their positive statements regarding the Company’s ability to control its deteriorating financial condition.

On March 10, 2009, Fleetwood issued a press release announcing that it had “filed voluntary Chapter 11 petitions for itself and certain operating subsidiaries in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California.” The Company also announced that it was closing its travel trailer division. As a direct result of information disclosed at the end of the Class Period, the price of Fleetwood common stock fell precipitously, falling to $0.0103 per share on March 10, 2009.

Plaintiff seeks to recover damages on behalf of all purchasers of Fleetwood common stock during the Class Period (the “Class”). The plaintiff is represented by Coughlin Stoia, which has expertise in prosecuting investor class actions and extensive experience in actions involving financial fraud.

Coughlin Stoia, a 190-lawyer firm with offices in San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Boca Raton, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Atlanta, is active in major litigations pending in federal and state courts throughout the United States and has taken a leading role in many important actions on behalf of defrauded investors, consumers, and companies, as well as victims of human rights violations. The Coughlin Stoia Web site (http://www.csgrr.com) has more information about the firm. Contact: Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins LLP Samuel H. Rudman, 800-449-4900 David A. Rosenfeld djr@csgrr.com

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Inside Ontario Family Fire Day on October 3

OK, that's not its real name. The real name is the Ontario Fire Expo. Details here:

The Ontario Fire Department will be holding their annual expo on Oct. 3. The free event helps the department kickoff National Fire Prevention Week.

And it sounds like they'll have some cool stuff - no explosions, but close.

The expo will include live demonstrations of firefighters in action such as combating a structure fire or vehicle fire. It will also include demonstrations from the specialty teams, who work on the bomb squad and hazardous materials.

OK, maybe there will be an explosion after all. And they have water hoses too.

The event is at Ontario Fire Station 3, 1408 E. Francis Street.

And no, I don't have any pictures of Ontario, California fire stations. And neither does Flickr. But this fire station in Canada looks pretty nice.


Inside Upland Family Fun Day on September 19



Sandra Emerson wrote about the upcoming Inside Upland Family Fun Day on September 19. According to Emerson, the event

will be from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday September 19 in Memorial Park, 1100 E. Foothill Blvd. in Upland.

A complete news release can be found here.

The City of Upland will be holding its 6th Annual "Inside Upland Family Fun Day". This community event spotlights businesses and organizations in the City of Upland. This year’s event will include information, discussions, and demonstrations on Disaster Preparedness; Animal experts to make sure your pets are ready in the event of a disaster; Lifestream Blood/Bone Marrow Drive; Information booths from our city’s businesses, organizations, and schools; HOPE Pet Adoptions; Blood pressure screening and Teddy Bear Clinic by SACH; Entertainment by Moultrie Academy and performance and demos by many of our own Upland Recreation’s class instructors and participants; Donate Life Signatures Across America Funny Car on display, and food vendors.

Kids: There will be a Kid's Wet Zone sponsored by Assemblyman Bill Emmerson. Come join the fun with a waterslide, and fun games to get you wet and cool you off! $2.00 per person for an all day pass.

For more information, contact (909) 931-4281.

When: Saturday, September 19, 2009

Time: 12:00-4:00 pm

Location: Memorial Park


P.S. When I have time, I like to search Flickr for Creative Commons commercial licensed pictures to adorn my blog posts. When I searched for something to include in this blog post, the picture that caught my eye was one taken by...me. The picture above originally appeared in this blog on November 8, 2008. I feel, like, circular. And yes, Kohl's is a couple of miles from the park, but it's still a good picture.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Old Town Upland, a wicked beastly little place, ha ha

On Tuesday evening I ended up watching an infomercial for a Carol Burnett DVD collection that featured appearances by Steve Martin and Alan Alda. In other words, brand spanking new material.

Don't believe me? Look who's scheduled to play the Grove Theatre in Upland:

Jo Anne Worley of "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-in" fame will be performing her one woman show, "Keep Laughin'" September 19 and 20 at The Grove Theatre, 276 E 9th St. in downtown Upland.



To be fair, Worley's career didn't end when Rowan and Martin left the airwaves.

Worley is also known by her work as the voice of the wardrobe in "The Beauty And The Beast," "Wicked" in Los Angeles and "Drousy Chaperone" on Broadway.

I was vaguely familiar with the fact that she was in Beauty and the Beast, but I was unfamiliar with her "Wicked" appearance:

Jo Anne Worley played the imposing Madame Morrible, headmistress of Shiz University - the school Galinda and Elphaba attended together. According to the Playbill biography she has an impressive number of acting credits. Unfortunately, Madame Morrible appears to be the one role that doesn’t have at least one dedicated song. I am not sure how Worley sings but I can say she was convincing as the crotchety, old Morrible. In person she was also extremely kind as she helped out all of the fans waiting for autographs.

And among Worley's other credits, she appeared on Dick Clark's $20,000 Pyramid in 1979. Her partner was a young comedian named David Letterman. Enjoy.



P.S. No this isn't an empo-tymshft, but it could have been.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I'm charged up...electricity. Sing in a car, in Korean.



Back in March, I mentioned the Edison International Vehicle Electric Plant in Pomona, California in connection with President Obama's visit. And a Presidential visit brings publicity. Perhaps the Inland Empire will become the electric car capital of the world. Perhaps not. But there is IE news on the electric car front:

A South Korean manufacturer will build battery-powered vehicles at a factory along Interstate 215 near Moreno Valley and create several hundred new jobs, a Riverside County spokesman said Friday.

The company, CT&T United, the American subsidiary of CT&T Korea Ltd., will sign a deal Thursday to take over a vacant recreational vehicle plant....


But this line was a bit amusing:

The identity of the RV firm that is selling the plant to CT&T was withheld at the request of both parties....

Gosh, you wouldn't want people to know the identity of the RV firm. Perhaps the bad publicity might put the RV firm into financial trouble.

But I'd be willing to bet that CT&T will have a pretty festive grand opening. Perhaps they can invite a Fleetwood Mac tribute band to the festivities.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Nine month schools mean only nine months of fundraisers...if you're lucky



Now I like education. My family has been educated. I know teachers.

And I like Christian education.

But there's one thing that disturbed me about the beginning of the school year for Upland Christian Academy. And sadly, it's not unique to the Academy.

They are also holding a fundraiser that day through Rubio's Fresh Mexican Grill from 3 p.m. to closing and Marble Slab Creamery from 12 p.m. to closing. Both stores are in the Terra Vista Town Center, 10798 Foothill Blvd. in Rancho Cucamonga.

It's the first day of school, and the fundraisers have already started!

And all of the schools are doing them, and they're doing them constantly, which means that if you know any kids, or live near any kids, you're gonna be hit up over and over again for money.

Ironically, on Friday I participated in a FriendFeed discussion which examined the pros and cons of requiring schoolchildren to engage in six hours of community service every quarter. Valid points were made both for and against the practice. But what about the pros and cons of requiring schoolchildren to engage in six or more hours of peddling candy or decorations every quarter?

Yes, I know that the schools need money, and that taxpayers are evil, bla bla bla. But is it in our best interests to send our kids out to hawk stuff?

Friday, September 4, 2009

What is Steven's Hope For Children in Upland?

Sandra Emerson ran a piece recently about a boutique grand opening:

A ribbon cutting and open house will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. September 10 at the brand new children's boutique at Steven's Hope For Children, 1014 W. Foothill Blvd. Suite C in Upland.

So what is Steven's Hope?

Steven's Hope For Children is an Upland based non-profit organization that provides temporary hospital adjacent housing and other services to families with sick children.

As you can probably guess, there was a Steven. Here is his story:

In the fifth month of pregnancy, Tony & Sandy Cappelli found out that their expectant son had a fatal heart disease and would not be able to live more than a few hours. Even though they lived about 20 miles from one of the best hospitals in the world treating this type of disease, they were too far away and would have to relocate within minutes of the hospital.

Unfortunately, surgery and transplant were not viable options and in December of 2000, Steven Joseph Cappelli was born and lived for 32 hours.


They began thinking of other families who would face the same issue, and Steven's Hope For Children was born. Consider what such families have to face:

[M]any families must temporarily relocate near the hospital while their child is receiving outpatient care. It becomes an even bigger burden once the child is released from the hospital but must remain near the facility for outpatient care and rehabilitation. Depending on the illness, this can be for several months at a time.

The pressure of supporting two households, a possible reduction in income, coping with physical pain of a child and being in an unfamiliar area is too much stress for most families to deal with. One crisis has now caused another.


Again, the grand opening is on September 10.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Tequila Hoppers for NTN Buzztime is educational

As I previously shared in this blog, I visited Tequila Hoppers on August 12, but the Upland establishment was closed due to an emergency. Well, the bar was open tonight, and I had the opportunity to play some trivia. You can see the trivia details, as well as a little bit about the waitresses riding a bull (sorry, no pictures), in a post in my Empoprise-NTN blog. I did want to mention a couple of things about Tequila Hoppers, though.

I got an interesting greeting from one of the patrons after I arrived. Perhaps due to my advancing age, I'm not exactly a party animal, and I certainly don't drink as much as I used to 30 years ago. So it was kind of interesting to hear a guy farther down the bar yelling that I should be waterboarded. Luckily he didn't insist on this, and there's a good chance that he forgot his suggestions five seconds after making it.

That's when I noticed that one of the games on the Tequila Hoppers televisions was a pre-season Oakland Raiders game. "Uh oh," I thought. However, things worked out fine, just as they did in 2007 when I went to Oracle OpenWorld in a plane along with the Raider Nation, headed to Oakland Coliseum. Eventually the mechanical bull attracted more attention than the Raiders game. Of course, that's probably because this guy wasn't at the bar tonight.




They had some good specials at Tequila Hoppers tonight. I didn't get the cheap bottled beers, but I did enjoy a couple of spicy 75 cent tacos.

Glad they were open tonight.

Boy, that prison warden job is a bit TOO exciting

So this guy get a new job:

[Aref Fakhoury] had only been on the job as head of CIM since May when the state called on his predecessor, Mike Poulos, to take on an interim position as head of the state's maximum-security prisons.

For those who don't know, "CIM" stands for the "California Institution for Men" at Chino, or the prison that suffered a huge riot last month.

I guess it goes with the territory, but it has to be tough to get a new job in May and face a major crisis in August.

More here.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Stater Brothers Route 66 Rendezvous, Revisited





I wrote about the 19th annual Route 66 Rendezvous last year, and a year has passed. The Inland Empire News has posted an announcement of the "entertainment and celebrity appearances" that will take place at the 20th annual Route 66 Rendezvous. Some highlights:

Football great, big game champion and NFL star Joe Theismann and former NFL wide receiver Mark Seay will be signing autographs on Saturday, September 19, 2009 from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at the Stater Bros. Court Street Stage area sponsored by Stater Bros. and Kellogg’s. Photographs will be available for autographs, or one item can be brought for an autograph per celebrity.

But there's also music:

Headliner Buzz Campbell & Hot Rod Lincoln featuring Lee Rocker of The Stray Cats [will play] Saturday, September 19 beginning at 7:00 p.m.

For the complete list, go here. The Stater Brothers Route 66 Rendezvous web site is at http://www.route-66.org/.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Is the IE surrendering its technological lead in the meth industry?

I read an Anthony Citrano share in FriendFeed and followed it to this San Francisco Chronicle article:

This is the new formula for methamphetamine: a 2-liter soda bottle, a few handfuls of cold pills and some noxious chemicals. Shake the bottle and the volatile reaction produces one of the world's most addictive drugs.

Only a few years ago, making meth required an elaborate lab....


Go here to read more. It turns out that the "shake and bake" method has some advantages:

  • It needs less pseudoephedrine, which potentially means that users can obtain the drug in small quantities and not run into legal limits.

  • You don't need to depend upon a dealer, because you can make your own small personal batch.

  • You need less room to create the drug. The article states that some people have even mixed up a batch while driving. (Now that's a scary thought.)
However, this method ISN'T any less dangerous than the old meth lab method.

One little mistake, such as unscrewing the bottle cap too fast, can result in a huge blast, and police in Alabama, Oklahoma and other states have linked dozens of flash fires this year - some of them fatal - to meth manufacturing.

Oh, and the bottle used to mix up the meth is toxic. Imagine running across one of those while scavenging for recyclables.

This is gonna be REALLY fun, because you know it's gonna hit here if it hasn't already.

Legislation won't necessarily help casinos if the overall economy is sour





Last year, the initiative process was used to increase the number of slot machines at various Inland Empire casinos. (As I previously noted in my mrontemp blog, Inland Empire tribes often depend upon casino revenue to improve atrocious living conditions.) But this increase in slot machine authorizations didn't necessarily help these casinos against their competition.

[Las Vegas] has slashed room rates and is using promotions to make clear that a bargain vacation is possible, even if it's a five- to six-hour drive away from most Inland residents.

And what happened?

In the first half of the year, the number of people driving from Southern California to Las Vegas via Interstate 15 was up 3.5 percent -- 37,882 cars on average each day, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

But what about the extra slot machines?

No tribal casinos have maxed out the amount of slot machines they're allowed because local housing markets collapsed and the unemployment rate rose....

More information here.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Empoprise-IE News - 30 August 2009

Empoprise-IE News


The news letter for Empoprise-IE - An Empoprises vertical information service for Inland Empire (California) news.



Welcome to Empoprise-IE News

And I'll understand if you've forgotten about Empoprise-IE News. I don't necessarily run it every weekend, but I just discovered that I haven't published one since July 12. To be fair, I didn't have a lot of Empoprise-IE News in late July and early August because I was in Illinois and Wisconsin. But now I'm back, and things are continuing to roll along.

Behind the Scenes

A few days after writing about the upcoming Second Spin store at Ontario Mills, I happened to be at Ontario Mills and saw the site where the store will be. Another interesting tidbit - the former site of the Virgin Megastore has now become an H&M - a very, very large H&M. By the way, I wrote about my Ontario Mills visit in a post in my Empoprise-MU music blog - not because of the Virgin Megastore or Second Spin, but because of the Akoo service that they had in the food court.

Upcoming

I can't really say what will be coming up, other than the fact that I have a casino post coming, and I'm revisiting the Stater Brothers Route 66 Rendezvous.

Good news and good news for Ontario Mills music lovers (or, a post dedicated to Susan Rodriguez)

While I made it to Ontario Mills a few days after writing my previous post Good news and bad news for Ontario Mills music lovers, I was still two days too early to see the August 27 opening of Second Spin.





You'll recall that in my August 21 post, I said:

(Incidentally, I had to edit the last two paragraphs, which initially contained the word "record." I have no idea if Second Spin will sell vinyl records.)

Well, Susan Rodriguez made it to Second Spin after the opening, and she commented:

You need to edit your posting again as the Second Spin location in Ontario Mills mall has a HUGE selection of music, movies and games just like the other Second Spin locations and yes they DO sell vinyl!

Thanks Susan for the update!

A local perspective on ethanol





Whatever you may say about the macroeconomics of ethanol, and whether or not government encouragement of ethanol leads to poverty via rising food prices as agricultural operations quit growing food, you do have to admit that ethanol can make a difference in a microeconomic sense.

When I rode the train out East and back, I passed through the San Bernardino-Rialto-Colton area. Because of the Cajon pass, the area is a hub of sorts for moving all sorts of things. Now, it's a hub for ethanol also:

Officials of U.S. Development Group LLC, involved nationwide in the handling and distribution of ethanol, said construction has started on the first phase in Rialto, consisting of a pipeline transfer system that will begin receiving and off-loading fuel from railcars this fall.

[1:35 PM - SEE ANOTHER ETHANOL STORY IN MY EMPOPRISE-BI BUSINESS BLOG.]

Friday, August 28, 2009

Heman G. Stark Califonia Youth Authority facility will become an adult prison

This is a followup to something I posted earlier, after the Chino prison riots. Some of the inmates were housed at the Heman G. Stark facility, which seemed to worry people who were concerned for the poor kids at Stark. Never mind that one of those poor kids once murdered a worker and sent her body to a trash dump. You're probably safer at the grownup prison.

Well, hot on the heels of the Chino prison riot is the news that the Heman G. Stark facility will undergo a change.

Bernie Warner, the director of the state Department of Juvenile Justice, said Thursday that Heman G. Stark Youth Correctional Facility will be outfitted to handle adults from the state's overcrowded system.

The 400 youth wards at Stark will be moved to other facilities in Southern California, Warner said.


And the mayors of neighboring Chino and Chino Hills are worried. We'll see what happens.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

This is why I don't watch movies unless I have to





David Allen ate at Some Crust one day, and overheard a conversation between two people.

"What are you in?" the writer asked.

"I'm in plastics," the man said.

"Plastics?" the writer said, smiling. "That was the big joke in the '60s after 'The Graduate.'"

Nodding, the plastics man said sagely: "I know a lot of people who got into plastics because of it."


Great, people are modeling their lives after movies. Is someone going to become a dancer because of "Dirty Dancing" or "Footloose"?

Or I have a more worrisome prospect. What if my home computer - or, heaven forbid, my work computer - happens to catch 2001?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Fountain at the courthouse in Rancho Cucamonga

One nice thing about jury duty.

Mary Petit's letter

I've mentioned Mary Petit's gardening efforts in this blog before, and have contrasted the negative reaction to her efforts vs. the positive reaction in Rancho Cucamonga to gardening efforts there. I haven't mentioned Petit lately, but Sandra Emerson of Upland Now has printed a letter from Petit. Go to Upland Now to read the entire letter; here are some excerpts.

The meeting on August 12th held at the Senior Center centered around the beautiful property at the end of 24th Street. This meeting was the subject of a recent article in the Daily Bulletin. This meeting was remarkable in that several residents who reside in the Upland Summit Private Development community, which is adjacent to the proposed garden site, are adamantly opposed to anything being done on the privately owned property which was offered for this project. This includes a private garden club at the invitation of the landowner which would have the added benefit of mitigating some of the concerns the residents have about this property. This is in stark contrast to the Upland Red Hill North complex and many other communities in the state and nation, where homeowners eagerly embrace the creation of community gardens in their neighborhood.

More here>

Monday, August 24, 2009

Are home sales doing better, or worse - part two

Followup.

Monica Gagnier links to a post by Chris Palmeri that includes the following:

A couple of weeks ago I put in an offer on a three-bedroom, bank-owned home in Pomona, California, which is about a half hour east of Los Angeles. The house was listed at $144,500. I offered $145,000. My offer was accepted this week. I was told there were two offers above mine, including one at $180,000. How did I win? I offered to pay cash.

But there was a little wrinkle - Palmeri (and Gagnier) work for BusinessWeek.

A week ago I would have been happy as a clam my offer was accepted. Every bit of analysis I did showed this was just a screaming deal. But on Monday I learned that our parent company, McGraw-Hill, might sell BusinessWeek. Suddenly my future job prospects looked less certain. From an investment standpoint this purchase made perfect sense, from an emotional one? I withdrew my offer. Time will tell if I was prudent or just chicken. You can be both, I believe.

Consumer confidence won't be that high when your own job is on the line.

Feeling blue about trusted ticket agents (or, why Chris Brogan won't go to Ontario)

Yes, a Chris Brogan story belongs in my Inland Empire blog (Empoprise-IE) rather than my business blog (Empoprise-BI).

You see, Brogan has just released a book and is on a book tour. Since his sales don't quite rival those of Jackie Collins, the book tour isn't as extravagant as other tours. And, in true social media fashion, he's crowdsourcing some of the details.

I’m plotting how best to use my JetBlue All-You-Can-Fly pass. Are you near any of these cities? Think you could get a bunch of people together in any of those cities to buy 100 or so books and show up for a signing at a local Barnes & Noble or Borders or Books-A-Million?

Well, we know one airport that won't be on Brogan's tour. You'll recall from a previous blog post that JetBlue pulled out of Ontario International Airport last summer.

Wonder if Southwest has an all-you-can-fly pass....

If you're interested in the book, go to the Barnes and Noble site (note: NOT an affiliate link) to not only learn about the book, but also read a review of the book by...co-author Chris Brogan. He kind of likes the book:

I think it's a decent book. It's not exactly scholarly. It's not a step-by-step manual, although there are tons and tons of actionable moves to take.

I'm proud of my work on it. I hope you like it, too.

Are home sales doing better, or worse?

I've seen several articles on home sales over the past few days. Here's one:

High affordability continued attracting first-time buyers and investors into Inland Southern California's housing market last month, bumping home sales to their highest level in about three years and preventing home prices from falling further.

And in a less tangible measure, consumer confidence is also up:

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo confidence index increased to 18 in August, the highest level since June 2008.

But don't break out the champagne yet:

[A] reading below 50 means most builders surveyed viewed conditions as poor. The gauge reached a record low of 8 in January.

The two articles above were from the Riverside Press-Enterprise. And it's probably no surprise that Housing Kaboom isn't breaking out the champagne either.

26% The number of underwater mortgages in the US (estimated to hit nearly 50% by late 2010)

42% The number of underwater mortgages in California. And yes, it's higher here in the IE!


And a recent survey showed that Riverside is the tenth worst housing market in the United States. The worst was Detroit, and if Inland Empire residents are feeling sorry for themselves, check out Detroit housing prices. Because it's an Associated Press article, I have to be careful about how much I quote, so I'll restrict myself to a few numbers to keep the AP happy:

...$65,000....$10,000...$2,000...

Yes, those are actual home prices.

Inland airport (almost) rusts

I've found that the Riverside Press-Enterprise tends to have the best coverage of issues related to Ontario International Airport (I refuse to use the name "LA/Ontario International Airport" - call it bullheaded 909 pride or something).

Recently I found that the Press-Enterprise covered another local Inland Empire international airport - one that I bet many IE residents haven't heard about.

Remember the Cold War? Well, after the Cold War ended, March Air Force Base was downgraded, and Norton Air Force Base was outright closed in 1994, resulting in the formation of the grandly-named San Bernardino International Airport. I drove by the airport a few years ago, but couldn't find much of anything. The Press-Enterprise updated me on the airport's status:

Counters and kiosks are in place, ready to sell tickets and check in travelers at San Bernardino International Airport's newly refurbished passenger terminal.

High-definition TV monitors display place-holder arrivals and departures, escalators and decorative water sculptures are in motion, and a high-tech security room monitors for suspicious activity. A booming recorded voice tells visitors not to leave bags unattended.


Only one problem - that pesky recession. Actually, two problems - 9/11 didn't help either.

One thing is missing from this picture: The airport has yet to land a commercial airline to bring revenue-generating passenger service to the terminal.

More here.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Good news and bad news for Ontario Mills music lovers

For those who miss the Virgin Megastore at Ontario Mills, David Allen has some good news and bad news.

The good news? Ontario Mills will get a new music store, Second Spin, at the old Vans Skate Park location.

The bad news? As you can probably deduce by its name, Second Spin will only sell used music.

(Incidentally, I had to edit the last two paragraphs, which initially contained the word "record." I have no idea if Second Spin will sell vinyl records.)

Allen also provided the link to the store's website: http://www.secondspin.com/stores/ss/about/about-ontario.jsp. The store itself officially opens on Thursday, August 27.

[8/30 - SEE THE UPDATE, INSPIRED BY A SUSAN RODRIGUEZ COMMENT ON THIS VERY POST.]

Inland speedway adjusts

I recently completed a cross-country train trip, that began and ended with Metrolink service (Montlclair to LA's Union Station in July, and the reverse trip in August upon our return). Metrolink is a convenient way to get to selected places - not only downtown L.A. (which allows you to go to Hollywood, or Chicago), but also to the Los Angeles County Fair via a special stop that's set up at Fair time.

But car racing enthusiasts won't get to use a special Metrolink service during the October race. Why? Economics:

"But with the current economic downturn, there is very little demand for a service, no matter how convenient, that charges between $20 and $35 per person to ride the train, especially when on-site parking is free and plentiful. It just doesn't make sense."

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Inland casinos adjust

I've talked about Inland Empire casinos before (including this tangential reference), and a recent Riverside Press-Enterprise article gives me a chance to revisit them. The article mentions some things that local casinos are doing to battle the recession:

[S]ome of the tribal casinos in Inland Southern California have added features that might not pay off this year or next but will serve as permanent, long-term attractions.

Some also are offering enticements that pay off now by keeping customers excited enough to return regularly despite the lingering recession.


So how do they decide what to do? The Press-Enterprise argue that they easy stuff (i.e. build a glamorous new facility) has already been done by the local casinos. So what's next?

Randy Fine, managing partner of The Fine Point Group, a Las Vegas-based casino marketing consulting firm...sees as a third phase, one that he said takes advanced mathematical theory and a marketing plan with multiple strategies.

Read the rest of the article here, including a comparison of our casino economy with that of Las Vegas.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Forward into the past - tangerine development in the IE

Before I moved here, the Inland Empire was an agricultural area. Homebuilding and commercial pressures, however, have forced the vineyards and groves out, and people of an economic bent are waiting for the day that the Inland Empire converts itself into a technological powerhouse of white collar innovation.

Well, the University of California of Riverside is doing is part for technological innovation - in agriculture:

UCR scientists have released a new tangerine -- exceptionally sweet, nearly seedless and deep orange in color -- for commercial distribution to nurseries and then on to growers and supermarkets.

It's called Daisy SL, and while the SL stands for seedless, the suffix could pass for a cool tech name, I guess.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Bathroom humor

Portillo's, Moreno Valley, California. On our vacation we went to their Schaumburg, Illinois location.

The Chino Prison Riot

I haven't written anything about the Chino Prison riot, primarily because I was out of state when it occurred, so I didn't even know about it at the time.

Luckily for you, other people were on the ball regarding this.

Chino Valley Now, August 10:

Staff continue to evaluate the extent of inmate injuries and damages to state property following the riot that occurred on Saturday, Aug. 8, 2009, with inmates at the California Institution for Men, Reception Center West Facility.

Original Skrip, August 11:

While at the ArtWalk this past Saturday, I had asked why there were so many Pomona Patrol Cars around the area. They told me that there was a riot happening as we spoke, and Pomona PD was oncall waiting for the okay to go help at the prison.

Chino Valley Now, August 11:

Among the traces of mayhem from the weekend's violent prison riot, the blood on rags and mattresses at the California Institution for Men spoke volumes Tuesday.

There's also a video at the link above.

And Chino Valley Now continued with this August 12 post:

More than 700 adult inmates left with no place to stay after last weekend's prison riot are being housed near juvenile inmates at the nearby Heman G. Stark Youth Correctional Facility....

Among public concerns is the safety of Stark's youth wards, said CIM spokesman Lt. Mark Hargrove.


Um, I seriously doubt that it's a case of poor, innocent youth potentially being terrorized by big bad adult inmates. After all, when Ineasie M. Baker was murdered and her body ended up in a Walnut landfill, the murder didn't take place at CIM - it took place at Stark. Oh, and the "kids"? The Stark inmate who murdered Baker was 24 years old.