Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Library Loaning, Curtailed (Pomona and Upland)

Pomona Now announced that, due to budget constraints, the summer hours of the Pomona Public Library will be limited. The revised hours, which start on July 7 and last until September 12, are as follows.

The library's hours of operation will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Fridays and Saturdays the library will be open from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Sundays and Mondays the library will be closed.

The closure days are nothing new - I've heard of other libraries that aren't open certain days of the week. But it's interesting to note that the library has no evening hours during the summer. Presumably - or hopefully - that can be changed by the time school starts again in the fall.

This is not the case in Upland, which does have a little bit of evening hours:

Mondays and Tuesdays: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Wednesdays and Thursdays: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Fridays: closed.

Saturdays: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Sundays: 1 to 5 p.m.

In Upland, the new hours start Wednesday July 1.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Teepee Tales, Tweeted (the Wigwam Motel)

If you want to get my attention on Twitter, send me a direct message that ISN'T spam. I'm so shocked to get such messages that I'm bound to be in a positive mood. Even if the direct message didn't talk about doing it in a teepee.

Yes, folks, I got a Twitter direct message from the Wigwam Motel.

If you're not familiar with this particular establishment, you obviously haven't been around in the Inland Empire all that long. Because the Wigwam Motel has been around since 1949:

The California Wigwam Motel was built within the city limits of San Bernardino in 1949, a period when citrus groves flourished. The motel would later acquire a Rialto postal address, creating confusions as to the motel's actual location. This location would mark the final of 7 Wigwam Motels that were constructed. The motel's village-style arrangement of nineteen 30-foot-tall tepees made from wood framing, concrete and stuco draws much admiration from all generations.

I didn't realize that there were additional Wigwam Motels. The others are in Arizona and Kentucky.

But if you want to tweet to our Wigwam Motel, their Twitter account is @wigwammotel. And the staff has started to respond to their Yelp reviews.

Or you can visit it in real life.

View Larger Map

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Empoprise-IE News - 28 June 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

I apologize for not getting a newsletter out this past week, but here we are, back again to chronicle Inland Empire things.

Behind the Scenes

The reason that I didn't get a newsletter out was because a week ago I wasn't IN the Inland Empire. I was across the country in Atlantic City, New Jersey. That in itself is no excuse, but with trip prep and all I didn't get around to it.

Incidentally, I try to fly out of Ontario when I can, but for this trip I decided to fly directly into Atlantic City, which limited my choices. I ended up flying from LAX to Atlanta, and then taking the one daily AirTran flight from Atlanta to Atlantic City - a flight that didn't even exist a few weeks ago.

In retrospect, I should have flown into Philadelphia and taken a shuttle to Atlantic City. As it turns out, shuttles from Philadelphia to Atlantic City cost less than the shuttle from my Ontario home to LAX. Lesson learned.

Special Features

Not that I didn't write about the Inland Empire while I was away. I guess the post that hit me the most was my P.T.O. = Profit Takes Over post. On one level there's no difference between ripping off school kids and ripping off corporate executives - theft is theft - but it's a bitter lesson for kids to learn that people can do bad things. I vaguely remember a similar thing happening in a Cub Scout pack when I was growing up. Sad.


Complete this phrase: "Do it in a ______."

Friday, June 26, 2009

The sanitization of cruising

Back when George Lucas was growing up, cruising was definitely not a family affair. But in 2009 Fontana, times change:

Cruise and Market Night – Cruising Spring Street Cruise Night includes classic cars, food and live entertainment.

When:July 3, 2009 Cruise Night is from 5 to 9 p.m.

Where:The Art Depot Gallery 16822 Spring Street Fontana, CA 92335....

This family oriented event is a perfect outlet for the community to unwind and enjoy all that the Fontana Civic Center Campus has to offer while promoting the City of Fontana Recreational Events.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Make your plans to see the Reign'ing champions on October 20

You'll recall that we have a new sports arena in Ontario, the Citizens Business Bank Arena, which is primarily the host to the Ontario Reign hockey team. No, Ontario Reign and Ontario Emperor are not connected; the name of the former presumably comes from their association with the Los Angeles Kings. I did not get to see the Ontario Reign during the last season, but I know people who did go and who enjoyed it.

But we also get some visitors to our fine arena, and we'll have some return visitors come October 20. Perhaps you've heard of a professional basketball team called the Los Angeles Lakers? Well, they came out here last fall, and Ontario Now reports that they're making a return visit.

[T]he 2009 NBA Champions, the Los Angeles Lakers will be coming back to the arena for a preseason game.

The newly crowned champs will face the Golden State Warriors on Oct 20 at 7 p.m....

To purchase tickets visit www.cbbankarena.com

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

P.T.O. = Profit Takes Over

Embezzlement is embezzlement. Sometimes it's on a large scale, like Madoff. But the small scale is just as damaging, as this police report from San Jacinto, California shows:

In April 2009, the Principal of DeAnza Elementary School, in San Jacinto, reported to their School Resource Officer that the PTO (parent-teacher organization) had discovered several accounting discrepancies, specifically unauthorized debits made to the PTO’s bank account.

San Jacinto Investigators assumed the investigation, and discovered PTO president Amy Hoffarth had used her PTO check card to make numerous personal purchases, including groceries, gasoline, jewelry, music CDs, and cash ATM withdrawals, amounting to over $800 in stolen funds.

Investigators are submitting the case to the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office for prosecution of Hoffarth, a 34-year-old San Jacinto resident. The San Jacinto Police Department regards any misuse or embezzlement of public funds to be a serious offense, and will vigorously investigate these crimes. Persons placed in positions of trust in the community shall be held accountable for their actions.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Local casinos are not recession-proof

I've talked about California's Native American casinos here and there in my blogging career. The advantage of the local casinos is that you don't have to drive all the way to Las Vegas to play at them, so you'd think that they would be attractive during a recession. However, apparently they're not attractive enough:

Revenues at Indian casinos across the country were actually up 2.3 percent in 2008, according to the annual report from the Nation Indian Gaming Commission. But in California, where most of the 58 tribal casinos are in areas affected by last year's collapse of housing markets, revenues were down 5.6 percent.

More here.

Apparently local casinos are like local amusement parks - attractive during the first stage of a recession, but less attractive as the recession gets deeper.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Revisiting DUI checkpoints

Police Car Lights by Scott Davidson used under a Creative Commons License

This blog has previously looked at DUI checkpoints, primarily noting that they seem to catch a lot of activities other than DUI. But a recent Daily Bulletin article looked at their efficiency regarding catching DUI people. For example, Sarah Longwell stated:

Cops are pulled off the street and stand in one spot in hopes the drunken drivers come to them....

Only the dumbest drunken driver would get caught up in the checkpoints. The majority of drunken drivers simply go around them.

For the record, Sarah Longwell is managing director of an organization called the American Beverage Institute. I'm not sure why the lobby would take a formal stand on this issue, but for the record ABI advocates alternate deterrence methods, such as roving patrols and education.

Others are saying that roving patrols are more efficient than stationary checkpoints.

[W]ith checkpoints costing about $10,000 and roving patrols a mere $300, there are advocates who question the effectiveness of DUI checkpoints.

In 2008, Ontario police officers made 85 DUI arrests and 57 other arrests while working state-funded checkpoints through federal money and DUI saturation patrols, according to a police news release. The department arrested 777 drunken drivers citywide last year, an increase from 744 DUI arrests in 2007.

But perhaps the effectiveness of DUI checkpoints can't be quantified by the arrest records.

Sgt. Michael Olivieri with the Pomona Police Traffic Services said he believes both programs, checkpoints and patrols, are necessary for safe streets....

"We look at (checkpoints) as a great education opportunity," he said. "If 3,000 people pass through a checkpoint, then we are able to make contact with those 3,000 people."

"Checkpoints show the public we're out there."

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Jay Johnstone in Carbon Canyon

It's been a while since I've anything about Jay Johnstone, former player with several major league baseball teams including both the Angels and the Dodgers. The last thing that I heard was some weird story about cigarettes in a warehouse store. But this is more respectable news.

Former Dodger and Angel outfielder Jay Johnstone on June 29 will headline the Boy Scouts Of America California Inland Empire Inaugural Golf Classic at Western Hills Country Club.

Proceeds will benefit scouts in the Chino, Chino Hills, Corona, Eastvale and Norco communities.

More here.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Bad blood runs red...and white

I really need to get out more. You've probably heard of the Joseph Filippi Winery in our area. Now whenever I hear the winery's name, I automatically think of a former co-worker named Joe Filippi. My Filippi lives in Ohio, however, and I don't think he has a vineyard. Regarding the California Filippi, all I knew was that Gino Filippi would occasionally write for our local paper, the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin. Oh, how little I knew! It turns out that Gino and his brother Joe don't get along:

Joe fired Gino from his vice president post in 2007 but Gino remained on the board and continues to own 45 percent of the company. Gino then sued Joe for firing him without cause. Joe counter sued, accusing Gino of taking money from the business and testing positive for cocaine.

OK, there have been all sorts of shenanigans in various industries lately, but I've never heard one board member insist that another board member take a drug test.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Ontario and Chino Hills prepare for National Night Out

Our neighborhood hasn't done it in a while, but a lot of neighborhoods get together to celebrate National Night Out, getting to know your neighbors, knowing how to prevent crime, and eating picnic food or whatever. Two local cities are already preparing for the night (August 4, 2009), according to the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin's local blogs for the towns.

Ontario Now:

There will be a kick off meeting for neighborhood watch captains on June 17 at 7 p.m. at the Ontario Police Department....For more information contact Ontario Police Department Crime Prevention Unit at 395-2093 or chuggins@ontariopolice.org.

Chino Valley Now:

A kick-off meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 18, at the James S. Thalman Chino Hills Library, 14020 City Center Drive. NNO coordinator, Bonnie Michaels, will be available to help with ideas and activities to plan resident neighborhood events....Information: (909) 364-2730.

If you live elsewhere, or if you'd like to find out more about National Night Out, you can go here. And remember, all across the country, National Night Out will be celebrated on Tuesday, August 4, 2009...

...unless you live in Texas. They're celebrating October 6. Hey, Texas was its own nation once.

Monday, June 15, 2009

It's gonna get awfully dry around here

I live in Ontario, and I've watched from afar as Los Angeles has instituted draconian water-saving measures with mandatory cuts in water usage, accompanied by fines. Well, forget that "afar" stuff. As I type this, the Ontario City Council is meeting and is debating some water conservation measures of their own:

Earlier in the year, the council urged its residents and businesses to voluntarily reduce water consumption by 10 percent....

The steepest measure in the plan proposes residents do away with refilling or filling pools and spas, Bowman said.

Multiple violations can result in a fine up to $500.

Well, brown is in for lawns this year, I guess.

Layoffs at Fairplex

The headline to this Pomona Now post says it all:

Economic downturn results in Fairplex layoffs

CEO Jim Henwood said the following:

Henwood said Fairplex is "in good shape" and prepared to meet its commitments, but it has seen fewer guests staying or planning events at the Sheraton Suites Fairplex and some events on other locations around Fairplex cancelled due to the economic downturn, he said.

While the timing may be interesting - why lay off permanent staff a couple of months before your most important event? - we have to remember that Fairplex is not a one-month a year business. It's a 12 month operation, and if people aren't coming in the other 11 months, something has to give.

Free Hot Dogs in Montclair Plaza, and elsewhere

Have I shared my theory about fair food? You can create any fair food by (1) picking the name of a food, (2) preceding it with the word "fried," and (3) following it with the word "on a stick." Yes, fried green peppers on a stick is a perfectly acceptable fair food. Well, maybe not acceptable...

One food in which the "fried" is implied is Hot Dog on a Stick, which is not only available for purchase in fairs, but is also available for purchase in malls. And, according to a Montclair Now post, on June 15 between 5:00 pm and 8:00 pm you don't even have to purchase them. They're giving them away for free (one per person).

But they're not just in Montclair. Here are some Inland Empire locations:

Montclair Plaza
Hot Dog on a Stick #075
2022 Montclair Plaza Lane
Montclair, CA 91763

Moreno Valley Mall
Hot Dog on a Stick #101
22500 Town Circle, #2145
Moreno Valley, CA 92553

Victoria Gardens
Hot Dog on a Stick #180
12434 North Main Street, Sp #118
Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91739

Redlands Mall
Hot Dog on a Stick #030
213 Redlands Mall
Redlands, CA 92373

Galleria at Tyler
Hot Dog on a Stick #098
1120 Galleria at Tyler Space #F-6A
Riverside, CA 92503

Inland Center
Hot Dog on a Stick #164
110 Inland Center, Unit J
San Bernardino, CA 92408

Westfield Promenade
Hot Dog on a Stick #137
40820 Winchester Rd., Sp #FC-4
Temecula, CA 92591

I'm not sure if all of them are honoring the promotion, so check in advance.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Empoprise-IE News - 14 June 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

For those who don't live here, we're right in the midst of "June gloom" right now, in which it will be cold and gloomy one day, hot and scorching the next. But eventually this will make way to July, which pretty much occupies the "scorching" end of the scale.

Behind the Scenes

Perhaps you saw my post on Travis Clark. I should also mention that I attended his funeral on Friday, as well as the graveside ceremony. Travis was a Boy Scout, so the members of his troop attended the former and participated in the latter.

Two things bear repeating. First, there were several readings in the church before the memorial service, one of which was from 1 Samuel 17, the story of David and Goliath. In the readings, the reader chose to use The Message text, which renders the first part of 1 Samuel 17:44 as, ""Come on," said the Philistine. "I'll make roadkill of you for the buzzards." In the context, this worked well.

Second, Travis was very interested in aeronautics and aerospace, as you probably noticed from the Gene Kranz clip I shared earlier. Therefore, it was especially touching when, during the graveside ceremony, two helicopters flew overhead, then flew in the "missing man" formation. Very touching.

Special Features

Perhaps Mary Petit doesn't have to move to Rancho Cucamonga - perhaps she could move to another part of Upland. While her neighbors war over her proposed garden, the people in the Red Hill area have enthusiastically adopted a garden.

"We had this triangular piece of land in the back that wasn't being used for anything. And then I remembered seeing the stories about First Lady Michelle Obama planting a garden at the White House. A light went on and I thought, `Hey, we could start a garden,"' [Ron] Hamer said.

He and a dedicated group of residents have taken a forgotten piece of land turned eyesore and transformed it into fertile ground for both vegetables and friendship.

Interestingly enough, both Ron Hamer and Rancho Cucamonga's Dee Matreyek have cited Michelle Obama as an inspiration. If Mary Petit's opponents are effectively rejecting the First Lady, does that make them un-American?


Free hot dogs on Monday, a National Night Out in August - stay tuned to this blog for details. And write me at the Gmail address "empoprises" if you have any other thoughts or comments.

Friday, June 12, 2009

There's RED in that flag

This is a bit personal, but I'm going to tell you a long-running joke that I have with a certain Finnish person of my acquaintance. This Finn has a birthday on June 14, but instead of wishing her a happy birthday every year, I make a point of wishing her a happy Flag Day. Never mind that Flag Day is an American holiday, not a Finnish holiday.

Well, this year I can tell her that the Pomona Elks are throwing a party in her honor:

A barbecue luncheon marking Flag Day will take place from noon to 1:30 p.m. June 14, organized by the Pomona Elks.

The event will include a 2 p.m. flag ceremony carried out by several Scout troops, according to a statement from the Elks.

The celebration will be at 695 E Foothill Blvd.

View Larger Map

But somehow I don't think they'll be honoring this flag.

Flag of Finland from Wikimedia Commons, public domain

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Yes, the Upland Chamber of Commerce CAN have its dinner in Pomona

At first glance it seems silly - the Upland, California Chamber of Commerce having its dinner in Pomona, California?

The Upland Chamber of Commerce has changed the location of their annual installation dinner.

The dinner will be held at the Pomona Valley Mining Company, 1777 Gillette Road in Pomona.

The chamber will be installing its 2009-10 chairman of the board during their annual installation dinner from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. June 11. Dinner is at 6:45 p.m.

But then I began wondering - perhaps Pomona Valley Mining Company is a member of the Upland Chamber of Commerce. Well, I checked, and they are. I don't know how many Chambers of Commerce the restaurant has joined, but it makes sense for a destination business to join several area Chambers.

(Incidentally, if you wanted to go, it's too late. Reservations were due by June 2.)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

On Travis Clark, the boy who passed away on Tuesday

Travis Clark, a boy who attends my church, passed away on Tuesday morning after battling a malignant tumor for a year.

One highlight of the last year of Travis' life was the opportunity to talk with Gene Kranz of NASA fame.

Also see comments on Kranz at Collect Space.

The sad thing about the video - the Fox reporter identified Travis as living in Loma Linda. He actually lived in another city - Loma Linda is where he was hospitalized for portions of the last year of his life. (For those who don't know the Inland Empire, the Loma Linda University Medical Center is an extensive medical facility.) But when you're seriously ill, a hospital often becomes your "home."

My understanding, however, is that Travis was actually able to return to his real home before he passed away. I have known other people who were terminally ill, and some of them were able to return home to pass away, while others were not.

Time to eat

I don't get it. Obama looks more slender than Dubya, but for some reason Obama seems to make Inland Empire people all hungry - or at least more hungry than they've been in the past:

"I have not seen any improvement in our company as far as gaining sales," said Chuck Keagle, owner of Inland-based restaurants Cask 'n Cleaver, Sycamore Inn and Blackwood American Grill.

"What's happened this year is sales are no longer dropping -- they'd been sliding for the past year and a half, and this year they've stayed at a relatively stable level," Keagle said Wednesday.

Hey, when sales aren't dropping, that's success in my book.

Be sure to read the rest of the Press-Enterprise article, which includes a mention of Junior Seau's restaurant efforts in Temecula.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Does Congressman Joe Baca appreciate our views and share our concerns?

I grew up in the Washington DC area, and as a result I got to know someone who worked on Capitol Hill (and still works there today, last I checked). My friend's Congressman put a heavy emphasis on communicating with his constituents, which back in those days meant typing letters and sending them back home. Obviously constituents tend to write about similar things, and there were a ton of letters to type, so there was a bit of a form letter strategy that was used to respond to the constituent letters. I can't remember whether this phrase actually appeared in this Congressman's letters, but I do recall the phrase "I appreciate your views and share your concerns." I never received any indication that this particular Congressman actually thought his constituents were a bunch of bozo idiots, but even if he did, at least the Congressman took the time to communicate with the people back home, something that I'm sure the constituents appreciated.

If Matt Munson's experience is typical, the same cannot be said of Joe Baca. Munson wrote to Joe Baca about an issue but never heard back. But Munson is a blogger, so you can guess what he did next. He wrote about it.

It is disappointing when Congressman Gary Miller who served my community before reapportionment had his office write to me even on the most insignificant of legislation, but Joe Baca’s staff is asleep at the wheel even when its legislation that is traditionally Democratic Party favored.

Baca is a Democrat, by the way. And unhappy constituent Munson is weighing his next option:

It is disappointing when Congressman Gary Miller who served my community before reapportionment had his office write to me even on the most insignificant of legislation, but Joe Baca’s staff is asleep at the wheel even when its legislation that is traditionally Democratic Party favored.

Now I don't know if Munson's experience is typical. While Baca is my Congressman, I've never had occasion to write to him. I decided to conduct a web search for the words "joe baca communicates with constituents," and I ran across this:

Esquire magazine has released a list of the 10 Worst Members of Congress, and the Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Representative Joe Baca (D-CA) has made the list. Esquire states:

“As chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Baca steered CHC funds to the campaigns of his two sons. When Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez called him on it, he did the mature thing and called her a “whore.” Nice. So Baca’s corrupt and venal.”

I checked the comments to that particular post, and no one defended Baca. Well, a few people did say that Baca was right about Sanchez, but no one painted Baca as a stellar public servant.

But Baca is not alone in ignoring constituents. Forrest Wallace Cato wrote 70 Congresspeople regarding a financial issue.

The feds Financial Services Committee is composed of 36 Democrats and 33 Republications, plus Chairman Barney Frank (D of MA). In my Priority Mail package I included a copy of the official monthly publication of the International Association of Registered Financial Consultants, plus detailed info about this important association of more than 10,000 professional and active members, along with other credential establishing enclosures. I explained that I was writing to ask one question on behalf of all IARFC members who are mostly financial planners, insurance agents, broker dealers, money managers, accountants, tax lawyers, bank trust officers and other fiduciaries.

OK, Cato was lobbying, but even a lobbyist deserves some response from the 70 people who received Cato's communication. And Cato DID receive a response - from exactly one Congressman, Barney Frank.

To his credit I must report to you that Congressman Barney Frank quickly got back to me each time I sent this question. Barney Frank as you well-know is Chairman of the Financial Services Committee and most-likely he is by far the busiest, most informed, and most involved member of this important group. Yet Chairman Barney Frank made time to give us his informed thoughts and he phoned me twice. Plus his staff members phoned to offer follow-up assistance.

So why was a 1970s-era Congressman able to type letters of response to constituents, while dozens of other Congresspeople, armed with computers, were unable to respond?

Um, let's look at some basics of economics - Ontario International Airport proposes to increase fees

The Riverside Press-Enterprise has been covering the economics of Ontario International Airport. On March 31, I quoted from a March 29 article that noted that Ontario International Airport has seen a huge decline in passenger traffic, which occurred right after its airport expansion. As a result of this, the airport has jacked up its landing prices, which means that airlines have no inclination to land here.

Well, the Press Enterprise has returned to the story. And the airport, suffering from declines in traffic...wants to INCREASE its landing fees.

Ontario International Airport, already a costly alternative for airlines looking to do business in Southern California, will propose raising its airline landing fees by nine cents to $2.79 starting July 1.

The airport has already increased parking rates and cut costs, but airport spokeswoman Maria Tesoro-Fermin said the fee increase is expected to offset the airport's revenue losses -- a result of airline cutbacks.

Needless to say, the airport's remaining customers aren't thrilled.

David Castelveter, spokesman for the Air Transport Association, said now is not the time to charge airlines more to do business at airports when the industry is poised to lose billions of dollars to fuel costs, business travel cutbacks and a marketplace of travelers unwilling to spend.

"It's like being nibbled away by geese," he said of incremental fee increases that are sometimes just several pennies more than they were before. "It all adds up ... every penny matters now."

Obviously the airport is hoping that a nine cent fee increase won't be big enough to cause other customers to follow JetBlue out of the airport. But we'll see.

Take the train IN Pomona

We all know that you can take the train for inter-city transportation in large cities such as Chicago and Los Angeles. But Student in Pomona notes that from 1887 to 1925, you used to be able to take the train in Pomona.

SIP notes that the following intra-city rail lines used to exist:

Garey from 4th to walnut,
Walnut St. to Park
West Holt
East Holt
West Second
South Garey and E. 5th
South Gary and Franklin
Ganesha Park

More here.

Incidentally, SIP was wondering why the line closed. I found some details here:

Financial results of this operation for 1926: Revenue, $12,989; expenses, $15,600; taxes, $700. Loss: $3,300.

How passenger totals declined on this line may be clearly understood by a study of the official figures:

Year Passengers Car Miles Revenue
1914 264,863 81,782 $23,237
1916 631,978 217,685 51,200
1918 493,069 199,292 42,272
1920 302,038 85,518 20,542
1922 186,723 86,510 19,013
1924 149,820 81,252 14,514
1926 140,675 77,860 12,989

Monday, June 8, 2009

Celebrities visit Pomona, and celebrities visit Pomona

Over the past few months, celebrities have visited Pomona. Some visits are praiseworthy, such as Barack Obama's stop at the Edison facility, and some less so, such as Lindsay Lohan's community service. But the May 22 visit by a celebrity definitely falls into the former category:

May 22 a group of students [at Village Academy High School] had a chance to spend time with award-winning actress Whoopi Goldberg.

Goldberg heard about the video students from teacher Michael Steinman's advanced placement English class made titled "Is Anybody Listening?" Steinman said this week.

More in Pomona Now.

July 4 fireworks in Upland

It's coming up on July 4, which means that there will be several area fireworks displays. Upland's fireworks show will be held at Upland High School. Sandra Emerson of Upland Now has the details:

This year's show will feature 1,500 pyrotechnic shells and a performance by Smooth Touch prior to the fireworks display.

The stadium will open at 5:30 p.m. Smooth Touch will perform at 6 p.m. The fireworks show will begin at 9 a.m.

Tickets are $7 per person and free for guest two years old and younger.

More here.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Empoprise-IE News - 7 June 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

Things continue in the Inland Empire, and I continue to document the things that strike my fancy. If you have any suggestions or comments, contact me at the empoprises email address at gmail dot com.

Special Features

Back in May 2008, I blogged about how Howard Snider, former mayor of Ontario, showed up at my door and sold us tickets for a Kiwanis pancake breakfast and car show. I wasn't able to attend that year - I was in Alabama when the breakfast occurred - but Howard Snider appeared at our door again this year, and my father in law and I went to the breakfast on Saturday June 6. No car show this year, and the "orange juice" that one of the kids was handing out was actually the liquid that the astronauts drink, but we still had a good time, and the pancakes and sausage were good. There was a band, and contestants from some beauty pageant were milling about the place, and I was talking with two women who got free breakfast tickets from a trophy business that co-sponsored the breakfast.

Looking forward to next year.

Behind the Scenes

I can't think of any big things "behind the scenes" regarding the blog, so I'll just pick out some "behind the scenes" information regarding me - or, more accurately, a member of my family. I make a policy of respecting the privacy of my family members, so let's refer to this family member as FamilyMember. FamilyMember could not join my father in law and myself at the Kiwanis breakfast because FamilyMember was taking the Scholastic Aptitude Test, something which took up all of the morning on June 6 - a day that happened to be FamilyMember's birthday. Things got better for FamilyMember from there, since we went to get FamilyMember's birthday present - a MacBook. See this FriendFeed thread for an account of the purchase experience. But FamilyMember had to leave the new Mac for a short while, to go to Disneyland. You see, Disneyland (and Disney World) allow you to register to receive free park admission on your birthday. Since FamilyMember has an Annual Passport, FamilyMember was eligible for an alternative award, a gift card in an amount equal to the daily admission price. So FamilyMember had a wonderful birthday.


A number of posts are coming up over the next few days. For example, many of you are familiar with train systems that allow you to get around in major cities, but did you know that early in the 20th century, there was a train system that allowed you to get around in...Pomona? I link to another blogger's writings on this, and then provide some additional information.

And there's more coming up for those of you who want to know the latest about the Inland Empire, or at least my view of it...

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Thoroughly Lutheran and totally tweetable

I found this in Ontario Now. For those who don't know, I'm a member of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, which tends to be on the conservative side of things, and is the Lutheran group that is somewhat likely to emphasize its Lutheran character.

But things are changing.

I'm not a member of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Ontario, but I do have various connections to the church and am interested in what the church does. Well, they're launching a new sermon series starting this Sunday:

The pastor at Redeemer Luthern Church in Ontario will be offering a new sermon series the next three weekend called "The Theology of Twitter."

And, wonder of wonders...

...they will be tweeting sermon points live from the services.

Now I'll confess that I've done this myself on occasion, but not from the pulpit.

Unfortunately, such a move isn't likely to get people into church, especially since you can follow the sermon points from anywhere via http://twitter.com/RedeemerOntario.

Providing, of course, that Twitter isn't down.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Tribes aren't depending upon gaming revenues alone

I've previously written (in another blog) about the economics of casinos on Native American tribes. However, in a Press Enterprise article marking ten years of cooperation between the San Manuel tribe and the U.S. Department of Commerce (the tribe provided space for a local export assistance office), it was noted that the San Manuel tribe has many business interests.

In February, the tribe sold its 9-year-old Big Bear Mountain Premium Spring Water company.

San Manuel's other business ventures include owning the Twin Palms restaurant in Pasadena and two hotels, one in Sacramento and one in Washington D.C.

Tribe chairman James Ramos was quoted:

"You don't rely on anything for the rest of your life," Ramos said of the tribe's economic ventures outside of gambling industries.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Cagle's and other businesses honored

The Riverside Press-Enterprise ran a story in which they noted that the California state legislature recently held a luncheon in Fontana to honor 13 Inland Empire small businesses. The Press-Enterprise published the list:

Recognized were Gosney Construction of Bloomington; JLM's Towing Services Inc. of Muscoy; Café Montclair of Montclair; Los Portales Grill and Seafood in Montclair; Daniel's Electrical Construction Co. of Fontana; Brickley Environmental of San Bernardino; Brother's Pizza in Rialto; Mommie Helen's Bakery in Colton; Complete Health Store in Rialto; Darafeev Furniture of Chino; Cagle's Appliance Center of Ontario; Edward Jones Investments of Chino; and The UPS Store in Pomona.

Now I have no knowledge about twelve of these businesses, but I was glad to see that Cagle's Appliance Center was honored.

Since 1952 the motto at Cagle's has been "Where Customers Send Their Friends". We believe that to be the key to our success.

Cagle's Appliance Center is one of the few independent retail appliance stores remaining in the Inland Empire. Although independent, Cagle's belongs to a nationwide buying group, allowing us to offer prices to compete with and often times beat the "big guys". If shopping the "competition", simply ask them if they service the products they sell. Remember, when you purchase from Cagle's, you can always call us for service if needed, and if factory service is required, we'll help walk you through the process.

If you'd like to know about the history of Cagle's, visit http://www.cagles.com/Cagles.htm.

Perhaps Mary Petit should move to Rancho Cucamonga

kitchen garden by *Susie* (chasetheclouds) used under a Creative Commons License

I've written about Mary Petit on April 16 and May 20. You'll recall that she's the woman who wants to start a community garden in the north Upland-San Antonio Heights area, but she has faced opposition from her neighbors.

RC Now has posted the following:

Plans to start a community garden on Foothill west of Day Creek will be discussed at a 7 p.m. meeting [tonight, June 4] at the Lions West Community Center. Dee Matreyek is forming a team of community leaders to brainstorm ideas for the 15-acre garden.

Well, perhaps I'm being overly hopeful. Perhaps the Rancho Cucamongans will be as horrified about nasty fertilizer and animals as the San Antonians.

Putting the Warehouse Workers United fight into perspective

The Warehouse Workers United fight, which I've chronicled previously in this blog, extends far beyond the Inland Empire. As I've previously mentioned, Warehouse Workers United is in fact sponsored by several large union organizations, and our fair area appears to be their battleground of choice. Because of our interlocking transportation system and our proximity to Los Angeles (without all of the traffic headaches that you can find out west), this is an ideal place for warehouses - and warehouse protests.

It's almost finished! by Anika Malone used under a Creative Commons License

In its June 3 press release, Warehouse Workers United aims to carry a message to national businesses:

Warehouse workers are calling on the national retailers to help end the recession in the Inland Empire by providing good paying jobs, ending the system of temp employment, providing access to affordable health care, and allowing workers to choose to form a union.

But not necessarily in that order. Jack Katzanek of the Riverside Press-Enterprise notes that unionization is the primary goal:

Seventy years ago, America's recovery from the Great Depression coincided with the start of the biggest growth in union membership the country has ever seen.

Labor leaders believe those two events -- an economy that underwent a severe beating and employees coming out of it who sought the clout of a union -- can happen once again.

Civil Disobedience for Houston Janitors by Brooke Anderson used under a Creative Commons License

Is this truly an opportunity for a return to the unionization levels of yesteryear, or will the competition from other countries in a global economy continue to put a damper on union organizing efforts? Time will tell, but the warehouse case is an interesting case, since even if the goods are manufactured in China or Bangladesh or wherever, you still need to ship the goods to the consumers. So as long as demand for the goods continues, warehouses aren't going to go away.

The Press-Enterprise also talks about the choice of the Inland Empire as the battleground:

Warehouse Workers United was a creation of umbrella labor federation Change to Win. Some of the country's largest unions, including the Teamsters and the United Food and Commercial Workers, are among the unions affiliated with Change to Win.

Greg Denier, director of communications for Change to Win, said the Inland area was chosen as the launch point for the warehouse movement because of its huge concentration of distribution centers.

"From the macroeconomic standpoint, the Inland Empire is the linchpin of the global supply chain," Denier said. "Some of the largest corporations in the world operate distribution centers in the Inland Empire. Only, a temp firm appears on the paychecks."

More here.

Glen Ivy Hot Springs, recent history

Although I've lived in the Inland Empire for a quarter century, it seems that I haven't lived here long enough in some respects. I always assumed that the Glen Ivy Hot Springs had been around forever, but the Riverside Press-Enterprise clarifies that their modern history only stretches back 32 years.

The resort, which started as the Temescal Sulphur Springs spa in 1860, based on a newspaper advertisement in the Los Angeles Star published at the time, had fallen on hard times after a flood in the 1960s and years without reinvestment....

John C. Gray was a 29-year-old former high school teacher with a business degree when a friend told him about the Glen Ivy Hot Springs spa in Corona. A few months later, he and others had formed a company bearing the spa's name and pooled money together to buy the nearly 12-acre property for $377,000.

More here. Glen Ivy's own history page can be found here. Of course, they've now expanded and have other locations in malls, and they also have social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter, plus a blog.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


I assume that anyone with a Twitter account is getting more and more followers these days, as everyone pours into Twitter to establish a presence. Some people just kind of hop on to Twitter, while some people think about it a little more and incorporate Twitter into part of their overall plan.

I realized this when @CGTheGroup followed me, I followed them back, and I received a direct message in return. Now I don't really mind direct messages, but I have to confess that most of them are useless, at least to me. But this one was an exception. In the space of a direct message, it included:

  • Your usual thank you for following me thingie.

  • The statement "We specialize in Real Estate in the Inland Empire." Good to know.

  • A link to their blog.

  • A link to their website.
Now here's where the thought comes in - Claudia and Giovanny actually thought of their branding BEFORE they set up their accounts. (It took me a few tries to get this right myself.) Their website, like their Twitter account, is branded as CGTheGroup (http://www.cgthegroup.com/).

Their blog? http://www.cgtheblog.com/.

And I should also mention that the website and blog are both very well done, look nice, and are informative. The website design is credited to Agent Image, while the blog is "Powered by ImForza Marketing." While Imforza lists Agent Image as a client, both groups are part of The Design People, Inc.

Now I have no idea if Claudia and Giovanny's relationship extends beyond the professional - and frankly, it's none of my business - but if they do have a personal relationship, I just have one request: if you have a child, don't name it "CGTheKid." That would be a little TOO much branding...

We must take our lumps - state park closures

Chino Hills State Park by Chris Manacop (Super Hanz) used under a Creative Commons License

I ended up voting about Arnold Schwarzenegger's propositions in the May 19 election, knowing full well that this would mean that drastic budget cuts would ensue. So now that the scope of the necessary budget cuts (incidentally, the propositions wouldn't have bridged the entire budget gap) are becoming known, I am forced to support them.

You've probably heard that one of Schwarzenegger's budget-bridging proposals is the closure of some state parks. And in our area, the only state park is the Chino Hills State Park, which is on the proposed closure list.

The Daily Bulletin reports (sorry, old-timers, but I couldn't work the word "progress" into there) that various politicians are decrying and deploring the closure:

Assemblyman Curt Hagman, R-Chino Hills, said he was concerned about the park closing....

Assemblywoman Norma Torres said the closure will affect her constituents in the region....

Chino Hills Councilwoman Gwenn Norton-Perry said she was alarmed by the potential of the state park closing.

But then again, you have to look at the numbers. According to the Daily Bulletin, "the park takes about $700,000 to run, but it only brings in about $60,000."

While I love parks, some things need to be sacrificed, and all of us need to sacrifice. (Even the UTLA, though they may believe they're exempt.)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Omnitrans rate hike proposal

Before I moved to the Inland Empire, I lived in Portland, Oregon, which even at the time had an excellent public transportation system. (They've since added light rail.) In fact, the transportation system was so good that I didn't even own a car, because I didn't need one (even with all the temp jobs that I was working after graduating from college.) So when I moved to the Inland Empire, I took care to choose an apartment that was near an Omnitrans bus line that could get me to work. In the end I bought a used car, and I haven't been on an Omnitrans bus in years, but it's still a fairly good transportation system for a small suburban area - make that a large suburban area.

Well, the Daily Bulletin has noted that Omnitrans is asking for a fare increase, beginning in September of this year.

Omnitrans plans to hike regular bus fares from $1.35 to $1.50 per ride. The rate for seniors and disabled riders would go from $0.55 to $0.60 per ride.

One-day passes also would increase from $3.50 to $4 for full-fare riders. The same service for seniors and the disabled would rise from $1.60 to $1.85.

More here. This will be discussed at a meeting on Wednesday, June 3. The agenda for this meeting (and other meetings) can be found here.

Anthony Muñoz camp in Ontario

Not that I've lived here FOREVER, but I have a mental block that prevents me from remembering the new name for Colony Park in Ontario. It is, of course, Anthony Muñoz Park, named for the former USC Trojan and Cincinnati Bengal, and former wearer of the orange and the black at Chaffey High School.

And Muñoz is returning to his old home to host a football camp:

The Anthony Munoz Football campu will be held Aug. 1 - 2 at Chaffey High School in Ontario.
The camp will run from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. on both days and will cost $99 ($6 online and credit card convenience fee not included).
Contact the organization about multiple camp / multiple camper discounts.
Each Camper Receives:
• Camp T-Shirt
• Camp Team Photo
• 8 Hours of Expert Instruction
• Opportunity to Win Contests and Prizes
• A Fun and Educational Experience Guaranteed!

More here.

Muñoz himself remains a resident in the Cincinnati area, but remains active in that community via the Anthony Muñoz Foundation.

In 2002, Anthony established the Anthony Muñoz Foundation, a non-profit organization that engages the Tri-State region to impact area youth mentally, physically and spiritually. Since its inception, the foundation has impacted thousands of children and raised more than $5,000,000 for foundation programs and select charities.

Besides devoting a great deal of time and energy to his Foundation, Anthony continues to be involved with several community initiatives. He was the chairman of the Billy Graham Mission in 2002. He has spoken to over 150 High School assemblies discouraging the use of drugs and alcohol. He has Co-chaired twelve Anthony Muñoz Cystic Fibrosis golf tournaments and he has been on the Advisory Board of Citizens for Community Values.

Not only does Anthony strive to impact lives in the Tri-State region but he also spends countless hours reaching out to other communities. He has spoken to Military units all over our country and participated in several Military events. Anthony has assisted in two football camps in Guadalajara, Mexico and has been a translator / medical assistant to Mexico with Christian Hands in Action.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Amazing Grace at CUCC

For those who keep up with the Christian calendar, yesterday was Pentecost. And, as Life in Claremont announced, the Claremont United Church of Christ (CUCC) Women's Chrous chose to debut yesterday, not with tongues of fire, but with song. There's a YouTube video.

What is it with firefighters and chili?

I ran across a Pomona Now post that talked about a chili cook-off that will be held this Saturday. This cook-off happens to be sponsored by an Explorer post...who happens to be connected to the Los Angeles County Fire Department. Why do fire departments often get involved in these chili cook-offs? Do they figure that if someone makes a really hot chili, the firefighters will treat the consumer?

A few details about the cook-off:

Chili cooks in the region are being invited to show off their cooking skills by taking part in a chili cook-off fundraising event organized by Los Angeles County Fire Department Explorer Post 15.

Contest judging will be at 2 p.m. June 6 at the Pomona Eagles Lodge, 954 W. Mission Blvd. in Pomona.

Attorney General Jerry Brown's allegations about the California Organization of Police and Sheriffs

The Daily Bulletin reported that California Attorney General Jerry Brown has filed lawsuits against 12 charities, including the locally-based California Organization of Police and Sheriffs. More details can be found in the Attorney General's press release:

Los Angeles - As part of a nationwide crackdown on fraudulent charities, Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. is filing [on May 29] eight lawsuits against 53 individuals, 17 telemarketers and 12 charities that "shamelessly exploited" people's generosity and squandered millions of dollars of donations intended to help police, firefighters and veterans....

Brown filed these suits in conjunction with the Federal Trade Commission and 48 other states as part of a nationwide sweep called "Operation False Charity."

In California, just as in the other participating states, the so-called charities raised millions of dollars based on false claims that donors' contributions would benefit police, firefighters and veterans organizations. But in reality, these charities rarely benefit public safety personnel. And, in most cases, 85 percent to 90 percent of donations are used to pay the fees of for-profit telemarketing firms....

Brown is filing one suit against a charity and its fundraisers in San Bernardino County Superior Court:
- California Organization of Police and Sheriffs, based in San Bernardino.

Details are provided later in the press release:

San Bernardino:
People v. California Organization of Police and Sheriffs, et al.
Brown today sued San Bernardino-based California Organization of Police and Sheriffs, its directors, officers and its for-profit fundraisers - Civic Development Group, LLC and Rambret, Inc. -- for falsely representing that donations would be used to benefit law enforcement officers and that 100 percent of each donation would be received by the charity.

Donors were told that their contributions would be used to purchase bullet-proof vests, make grants to families of officers killed or injured in the line of duty, provide veterinary treatment for service animals injured in the line of duty and mentoring of at-risk youths.

Out of the $30 million raised from 2005 to 2007, over $25 million was spent on fundraising.

No money was spent on bullet-proof vests, no grants were made to families of officers, $6,600 was spent on veterinary treatment for service animals, and $16,500 was spent on mentoring.

Brown's suit against the charity, its officers, directors and for-profit fundraisers, contends that they:
- Conspired to defraud donors.
- Engaged in deceptive and misleading solicitation in violation of Government Code section 12599.6.
- Engaged in unfair business practices in violation of Business and Professions Code 17200.
- Used false or misleading statements when soliciting for contributions in violation of Business and Professions Code section 17500.
- Failed to use contributions for the purpose solicited in violation of Business and Professions Code 17510.8
- Violated federal regulations regarding deceptive and abusive telemarketing practices.
- Knowingly filed false public documents in violation of Corporations Code section 8215.
- Committed registration and reporting violations in violation of Government Code sections 12599 and 12599.6.

Brown seeks to dissolve the charity, to prevent the directors from operating a charity in California again, and to prevent the fundraisers from soliciting on behalf of a charity in California until they comply with state law.

He also seeks to recover misappropriated charitable funds and civil penalties in excess of $150,000 from the charity, its directors and its for-profit fundraisers.

Daily Bulletin reporter Joe Nelson was unable to obtain a statement from the charity, and there is no statement on the website about the lawsuit. However, the "contribute" page http://www.ca-cops.com/contribute.html is listed as being "under construction." Although they have been fundraising; in 2007, Indybay reproduced the organization's 2003 financial statement, which lists $7,397,245 in revenue and $6,287,659 in expenses - most notably over $3.2 million in salaries, $449,001 in telephone expenses, and over $640,000 in rent, utilities, maintenance, and office supplies.

Oh, and building on some previous comments about journalistic outlets that basically run organizational press releases without editorial comment (Duncan Riley wrote about this in the Inquisitr, and I previously referenced it here), Government Technology re-ran a COPS press release in 2006, repeating some of the following and listing it as a "News Report":

COPS Executive Director Monty Holden remarked, "COPS is proud to offer peace officers and citizens access to a remarkable Web site dedicated to serving law enforcement and public safety. Please join us in our efforts to help peace officers and put the public back into public safety. Log on and find out how you can make a difference."...

COPS has a rich history and many friends who appear on the Web site including Michael J. Fox, United States Senator Dianne Feinstein, Jay Leno, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Los Angeles Sheriff Lee Baca, Mayor Rudy Giuliani and many more.

Um, I wouldn't count on Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's support at this time. As for Government Technology, one of its own commenters (ahoge) pointed out the questions about COPS - something Government Technology didn't get around to doing.

I haven't seen any statements from COPS yet, and I don't recall receiving a fundraising appeal from them, and thus don't know what types of claims they make in their fundraising.