Thursday, September 30, 2010

Maybe David Allen will run for office too

I never got around to this, but Gino Filippi is running for Upland City Council this November. While his claim to fame is with the Filippi Winery, I actually know him best as a columnist for the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, where he wrote about...Gatorade. Just kidding, he had a wine column.

This is what Gino Filippi said:

The Upland City Council needs revitalizing. My passion is driven by people and their contributions. I'm considered open-minded, ethical and organized. While this is my first opportunity to serve the people of Upland in an official capacity, I have served as a community volunteer for multiple organizations for over 20 years. I will work to establish term limits, maintain public safety including sidewalk and street repairs, restore library services and support local business. I have no agenda for personal gain or favors and my objective is to restore Upland to the "City of Gracious Living" as intended by its founders.

So does this mean that David Allen will run for the city council in Claremont or Pomona or wherever he lives?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Somehow this drop in the jobless rate is not encouraging

Again, a statistic that can be spun multiple ways.

On the one hand, the jobless rate in the Inland Empire has dropped!'s dropped to 14.8%.

But gets better:

Unemployment, which had reached an all-time high of 15.1 percent in the Inland area in July, declined to 14.8 percent. The jobless rate declined because more than 9,000 people left the work force last month.

In an odd twist, net employment gains were registered by construction and shipping firms (or what John Husing called "the meat-and-potato sectors" for our region), while net employment losses were registered by government agencies.

Well, at least that's a good sign. If the net gains were being registered in the public sector rather than the private sector, I'd be more worried.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Well, one regional airport is thriving

Sometimes it seems that the stories emanating from Ontario International Airport alternate between bad news and worse news. But there is a bright spot in the (sort of) local airport conversation.

Palm Springs International Airport has added a direct flight from Toronto starting Feb. 2 on West Jet.

Wow. Ontario doesn't have a direct flight to Canada, to my knowledge.

Oh, and the number of air travelers at Palm Springs is increasing.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Ontario International Airport without the "LA"?

Readers of this blog know the story. Ontario International Airport launched a big expansion, just before 9/11 hit and rendered its terminal configuration meaningless (all of the shops and restaurants ended up behind security barriers, meaning that only passengers could get to them), decreased the number of passengers because people didn't want to fly, resulted in increased rates to the airlines who flew into the airport...thus meaning that airlines began to pull out of the airport.

I guess it helps to write a 25 page study to say that, but the study apparently also calls for an action plan.

City leaders in Los Angeles, which currently operates the facility, must act now to prevent further loss of flights at ONT, where unusually high operating costs contributed to a decision by Southwest Airlines alone to cut its daily departures by a third in the last decade, the report said.

If you've never been to the airport, Southwest pretty much IS the airport. Yes, other airlines fly here, but Southwest is clearly the dominant carrier.

There are actions that can be taken, and a suggestion of who can best perform those actions. The Press-Enterprise:

Reviving ailing Ontario International Airport will require slashing costs and increasing marketing, two things the city of Ontario thinks it can do better than the city of Los Angeles....

So how do you cut costs?

The plan focuses instead on the airport's high cost to airlines -- a result due in large part to a bloated work force of city employees and millions of dollars in administrative costs collected by Los Angeles International Airport annually, according to the report.

But the Press-Enterprise cites one economist, Alan Bender, who says that operational cost-cutting won't help much.

"You go where the business is," he said. In an area where the recession has left an even deeper wound than other regions, the business climate has waned, he said. "That's more important than lowering the costs."

But you have to admit that the costs are huge.

It costs airlines an estimated $14.50 per enplaned passenger at Ontario airport. At LAX it costs $11, at John Wayne Airport in Orange County it costs $9.93 and in Long Beach Airport it's $5.34.

Hmm...maybe Los Angeles could sell the airport to Long Beach.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Why the Ag Preserve needs to be shut down

This story is from Australia, but it bears great relevance to the Inland Empire, and illustrates why the Ag Preserve needs to be shut down.

When a crowd of about 50 Aussies started pawing at their suddenly burning, aching eyes, panic set in.

Did somebody release poison gas? (But why would terrorists strike the dairy pavilion at the Royal Adelaide agricultural show?)

No, it’s so, so much worse.

Austrialian health officials were called in CSI-like to investigate the outbreak, Reuters Life! reports. The culprit: Stagnant cow urine.

More here.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Follow-up to my Royal Tahitian post

On March 3, 2009, I photoblogged a poster that I saw in the Applebee's in Ontario International Airport. Because the poster listed musicians, I posted it to my Empoprise-MU music blog. However, it talked about a local place - the Royal Tahitian. The post, entitled "At the Royal Tahitian, circa 1966," mentioned that I knew nothing about the establishment, other than the fact that Pearl Bailey, Sarah Vaughan, and Louis Armstrong had apparently performed there in 1966.

Leave it to David Allen, in a September 4 post in his blog, to fill in some of the gaps.

The Royal Tahitian operated in Ontario from 1960 to 1967 at Whispering Lakes Golf Course.

View Larger Map

Afterward the building became the clubhouse for the golf course (at 2525 E Riverside Drive, Ontario CA 91761), but Allen reports that the clubhouse was closed in April, and the building is slated to be demolished.

Be sure to visit Allen's post for some before and after pictures, including some handbills from the heyday of the Royal Tahitian. Some of the other performers included the Four Tops, James Brown, and Ray Charles. Also see the Sunday article that Allen wrote in his paying gig, the Daily Bulletin.

But it wasn't just about the music, according to Critiki:

The Royal Tahitian claimed to be the world's largest Polynesian restaurant, with 250 acres of tropical landscaping and "lagoons" -- however, this was simply a reference to the Ontario National Golf Course nextdoor. The main floor was the restaurant, with a bar downstairs, and a show area outside. It featured a dramatic asymmetrical swooping A-frame entrance.

However, Critiki also claims that the building was demolished in 2003. Frankly, I trust David Allen on this one - unless the golf course happened to have TWO buildings with dramatic asymmetrical swooping A-frames. Perhaps there are multiple Royal Tahitians, just like there are multiple Doyle Owls. (And no, I don't think Reed College's Doyle Owl has ever appeared at the Whispering Lakes Golf Course.)