Sunday, May 31, 2009

Empoprise-IE News - 31 May 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

You knew this was going to happen. I started a "newsletter" for my Empoprise-BI blog, so I'm rolling the idea out elsewhere. I anticipate that this will come out weekly and discuss various items related to my Empoprise-IE Inland Empire blog. You can come to to read it, or you can read it via an RSS feed or email (go to the blog and subscribe via RSS or email by going to the appropriate item in the upper left corner of the blog).

Behind the Scenes

Today's "behind the scenes" is pretty self-referential - how long have I lived in the Inland Empire?

Well, I've lived in the Inland Empire longer than I've lived anywhere else - over a quarter century at last count. I moved to Upland a few months after my college graduation to take a job with a small company in Rancho Cucamonga, and I have lived in either Upland or Ontario ever since. I'm the kind of person who likes to settle in a place, and if I were spirited away to Olten, Switzerland tomorrow I'd probably grow to love the place, but I will say that I definitely enjoy living in the Inland Empire - close enough to a major city but yet a bit removed from it. And for the most part you can't beat the weather.

Special Features

Well, a long-retired special feature.

If you only started reading the blog recently, you may not know that I used to have a daily feature called "Empoprise-IE Rooster," which published at 6:00 am every day. And I mean EVERY day. Basically conceived as an idea to get daily content into my blog, these were short posts that contained links to various Inland Empire-related websites. I started this on Thursday, May 15, 2008, and continued it almost every day until Wednesday, July 9, 2008. While the series is long since gone, I've continued the tradition of trying to publish an Empoprise-IE post at 6:00 am every weekday.

To see the whole series (plus a couple of other items), go here.


I have a few things in the queue for the upcoming week, but I want to mention one of them in particular. Probably on Monday morning, I will run a post that looks at California Attorney General Jerry Brown's fraud allegations against a locally-based charity, the California Organization of Police and Sheriffs. It turns out that the allegations aren't new, but Brown is now seeking to dissolve the charity.

In addition to the COPS story, I have a post queued up on former Chaffey High football star (and USC Trojan and Cincinnati Bengal) Anthony Muñoz, and one discussing the local effect of the state park closure proposal.

As always, if you have any questions, contact me in the usual places or at my "empoprises" account which the Gmail folks host for me.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Ruben Ayala, how we remember ye

Ruben Ayala was a dedicated politician, serving the Inland Empire and the state of California for many, many years. Many things have been named for Ayala, including a street, two parks...and a high school in Chino Hills, California.

And therefore, the name of Ruben Ayala lives on through...cow chips:

Ayala High School Band and Color Guard will host their 2nd Annual "Cow Chip Bingo" event on the back band field at Ayala High School on Saturday, May 30, 2009 from noon to 4 p.m.

Three cows will be released onto a pre-marked 50 x 60 yard field, containing 3000 squares. Each square yard represents a "land deed parcel." The first three plops on a "land deed parcel" will be measured and recorded, and prize winnings totaling $1500 will be awarded to the owners' respectively,

Cost of each parcel will be a $5 donation....

More here. And see my 2008 post on the first Cow Chip Bingo event, although I don't recall that the 2008 event had sponsors such as Chick-Fil-A.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Non-violent protest turns ugly? Duh...

Josh Dulaney's Daily Bulletin article begins as follows:

What began as a nonviolent protest by hundreds of warehouse workers led to a bloody confrontation, several arrests and snarled traffic in all directions.

View Larger Map

When I wrote about Warehouse Workers United's first protest earlier in May, I quoted from their statement. Excerpts:

Warehouse workers, local clergy, community members, and area students will participate in a civil disobedience outside the warehouse of an as-yet named major national retailer on Thursday, May 14th at 2pm....


Direct action/civil disobedience to block distribution at a major corporate warehouse. Arrests are likely.

Their second announcement began as follows:

On May 28th, Warehouse Workers United will stage a major act of civil disobedience in what has become an escalating campaign to draw attention to the economic meltdown in the Inland Empire and its impact on warehouse workers and their families.

When you say that arrests are likely at your first event, and you characterize your second event as part of "an escalating campaign," one shouldn't be surprised at what happened next.

[F]orklift driver Marq Stonestreet, 24, of Rialto drove a forklift into the intersection and stopped, to the cheers of his fellow protesters.

A group of warehouse workers linked themselves with handcuffs and duct tape to form a human wall around the forklift.

Eventually one of the drivers who was inconvenienced by the traffic snarl attempted to go through the intersection anyway in his pickup, two of the protestors hung onto the bed of the truck, a fight ensued, and police arrested people from both sides of the fight.

But will this help jobs in the Inland Empire? Not for one person, according to the Daily Bulletin.

Mike Heffner of Riverside was one of those blocked in traffic as protesters chanted, clapped, played music and sang.

He was late for work at a nearby K-Mart.

"If I don't get to work on time, I'm going to lose my job," he said.

Heffner, who said he's in a union, said he tried to explain his situation to the warehouse workers, who refused to let him through.

As you'll recall, I previously noted that Warehouse Workers United is actually sponsored by seven unions, including the Teamsters, the SEIU, and the UFCW. I'm not sure if Heffner is a member of one of those unions, but I wonder how many other union members had problems because of Warehouse Workers United's actions this week. Or in future weeks; KPCC:

Warehouse Workers United promises to organize similar actions until the companies they're targeting agree to meet with workers over their demands.

More multi-handed economics

I've previously quoted former President Harry S Truman's wish for a one-handed economist. Perhaps it's time to refer to it again, based upon this good/bad news:

The San Bernardino-Ontario-Riverside unemployment rate dropped from 13 percent in March to 12.6 percent in April, according to data released Friday by the state's Employment Development Department.

Sounds good right? Wait a minute:

But economists aren't expecting it to become a trend. Instead, consider it some breathing room before things get worse....

April's unemployment rate could actually be higher, depending on how you look at it. Some economists theorize that certain people have been job hunting for so long, they've given up on searching for work.

When they do that, they're no longer categorized as "unemployed."

More bad news:

Brad Kemp, director of regional research at the company's Los Angeles office, says the two-county region's explosive economic growth between the mid-1990s and 2000s was largely driven by population growth, but those fundamentals changing.

"That won't be as much of a driver in the future," Kemp said during an interview at the conference.

But they continue to quote Kemp:

He's a huge believer in the Inland Empire's future economic growth potential.

Are we setting up a psychic hotline or something, in which everyone can claim, "I was right"?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

@goddessofpomona exits terrible twos

There was a birthday yesterday - the Goddess of Pomona blog.

Today marks the three year anniversary of the blog. I don't post much these days, but at least I have hung in there and plan to continue doing so.

The Goddess, one person who continues to remain pseudononymous, has been devoting her energies to Twitter. Or trying to; the art of crafting an appropriate tweet does not come naturally to her, though she tries.

I even thought of another inane thought to post on Twitter, so things are really looking up.

Ride this train...perhaps not

2006 Tennessee State Fair Model Train exhibit by Brent Moore (Brent and MariLynn) shared under a Creative Commons License

Yes, there will be trains in Ontario. But they'll be kinda small:

Model train enthusiasts will find Ontario the center of the universe June 6 and 7 at the 19th annual Big Train Show at the Ontario Convention Center.

This year's show will open at 10 a.m. both days. Tickets are $12 for adults with kids 11 and under free.

And, for those interested in such things, the trains will be on G, Z, N, HO and O gauges.

Top that, Metrolink.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What is American Sports University?

basketball court by Allison Yoshimura (Ali San) used under a Creative Commons License

I read a press release that is entitled "American Sports University to launch the International Sports Avenue of Stars." They're in very early planning - nominations don't close until July 1 - but I have a more basic question - what is American Sports University? The press release says the following:

American Sports University is the only four-year university in the nation dedicated to preparing those students who are interested in the sports industry. A 501(c)(3) non-profit institution, ASU is committed to providing a healthy educational and athletic environment for students while playing an active role in the revitalization and development of San Bernardino.

The university's website says more:

The American Sports University (ASU) is an independent, non-profit private institution granting bachelor and master degrees in the discipline of Sports Education. The undergraduate degree program leads to the Bachelor of Science Degree in Sports Education. Degree and certificate course work is available for students who wish to concentrate in: Sports Marketing; Sports Management; Sports Coaching; Personal Training and Fitness; Sports Health; Sports Recreation Management; Sports Journalism; Sports Broadcast; Sports and Special and Sport Facility and Personal Security Management and Golf Management. Our programs emphasize theoretical and practical sport experiences in each of the emphasis areas.

The word "accredited" does not appear, but there is a similar-sounding word that is used:

The university is approved by the Bureau for Private Postsecondary & Vocational Education of the State of California (BPPVE).

Oh, and if you're not interested in attending, perhaps you can become the University's Vice President. Craigslist has the ad. Excerpt:

As a New University, (3 years), ASU and the Board of Trustees seek a Vice President that understands the challenges of such a university. The New Vice President will need to have sufficient financial stability to be able to grow with the university and the performance-based incentive compensation plan he/she will work under.

The New Vice President will lead the total organization to a position of preeminence in undergraduate and graduate learning, research, and public service.

In other words, the Vice President is in charge of fund-raising.

Par for the course for a college executive these days....

The benefits of co-location of residential and commercial areas (Victoria Gardens)

Years and years ago, the Inland Empress and I traded blog posts on the Victoria Gardens shopping complex in Rancho Cucamonga, California. Those posts aren't necessarily the topic here, however - instead, I want to paint the picture of what has happened to that area, and what will happen there.

By the time I moved to California in 1983, the city of Rancho Cucamonga had already been created by merging three small communities with a bunch of open space. Most of the developed area was on the west side of the city, and the eastern portion of the city was pretty sparse.

Fast forward a quarter century and that has changed. Shopping centers that were the center of activity just a decade ago are now dwarfed by comparison to the Victoria Gardens complex, a place to which people will drive from all over.

But what if they didn't have to drive?

Approval by the City Council to amend the Victoria Gardens master plan ... paves the way for mid-rise buildings as high as 160 feet, or about 12 stories. The amendment also allows 290 residential units, which already have been approved for the residential area north of Cultural Center Drive but not yet built, to be constructed in the shopping area.

Brian Wynne of Forest City, a developer partner for Victoria Gardens, said the amendment will further the "downtown feel" of the 4-year-old center.

"It will add that energy and create a daytime population at the center," Wynne said. "It will cut down on car trips and increase the pedestrian feel to the project to have residents on site."

And there are more homes in the area:

Location, location, location! It's often said that those are the three most important considerations when purchasing a new home, and convenience-minded buyers will find all three at Shea Homes' 24-Seven and Three-65 at Victoria Gardens in Rancho Cucamonga.

24-Seven and Three-65 are located directly across the street from Victoria Gardens, the Inland Empire's premier shopping, dining and entertainment destination.

And this sentence also stood out:

For commuters, it's also a short drive to the Rancho Cucamonga Metrolink station....

Hmm...does Omnitrans run between Victoria Gardens and the Metrolink Station?

Now we need to be realistic. The placement of a few hundred homes on or near Victoria Gardens is not going to substantially "cut down on car trips." But this is a continued movement toward multiple-use areas, in which people can get everything that they need from within walking distance. Kinda the anti-Brasilia, don't you think?

I should also mention that co-location of residential and shopping areas also helps to address some of the energy concerns raised in Steven Hodson's Inquisitr post "Are we headed to an Internet Dark Ages?".

And ColdFusion gets even hotter

As if a videoconference wasn't enough, wait until you hear was the Inland Empire ColdFusion User Group (IECFUG) has planned for June:

Adobe is embarking upon a world-wide tour of user groups to publicize the next versions of ColdFusion and Flex, as well as the first releases of Bolt and Flash Catalyst, two new tools for developing ColdFusion and Flex applications. We have been selected as a stop on the tour, and our event will be held on Tuesday, June 16th at 7:00 PM in room P2-7 of the C/L/A building at Cal Poly Pomona.

More here.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Just where are the traffic stops located?

I've discussed traffic stops before, but here's an interesting take on the issue from a week ago.

Police were conducting a safety checkpoint on Perris Boulevard just north of Alessandro Boulevard, screening for drunken or unlicensed drivers.

Several people, including [Moreno Valley school board member Victoria] Baca, were peacefully and lawfully protesting the checkpoint in a nearby parking lot, diverting motorists away from it...

Baca said she was protesting the traffic stop with the Moreno Valley Parents Association because people have complained to her that the checkpoints target the Hispanic community, and that police don't set them up in wealthier areas.

Valid point, if true, although one has to remember that checkpoints are usually set up in areas with large amounts of traffic. You aren't going to set up a checkpoint on a cul-de-sac (although you could set one up on the busy street nearby).

Unfortunately, Baca's involvement didn't end there:

According to police, a patrol car pulled over a vehicle before 10 p.m., and Baca decided to get involved in the situation....

She denied that she was interfering with a vehicle being pulled over when she was approached by a police officer. She said the officer asked for identification but all she had on her was a business card, so he left to get his supervisor.

A second officer approached and asked for ID, Baca said. When she told him she didn't have any, she said, "he jerked me around and began to twist my arm."

Officers arrested Baca on suspicion of resisting, delaying or obstructing a police officer, a misdemeanor charge....

More here.

Can you have ColdFusion meetings as the hot summer approaches?

The IECFUG is meeting on Thursday:

Due to scheduling issues, our meeting this month has been moved to Thursday, May 28th. Our presenter this time will be Steve Bryant, who will be speaking on DataMgr, his database abstraction ColdFusion component. Although we will be holding the meeting at the regular time and place (7:00 pm at Cal Poly Pomona -- see our meetings page for further details), Steve is located in Tulsa, Oklahoma, so he will be presenting via Adobe Connect. As usual, pizza and soft drinks will be provided, so bring your appetite!

More here. Hope Steve gets some pizza.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Speaking of checkpoints...

This blog has spent a lot of time talking about traffic checkpoints, which are often used for purposes other than those which were initially stated. Student in Pomona notes that there will be a discussion on this topic next Tuesday.

Pomona Checkpoints: Saving Lives or Ruining Lives

Guests will be:
Mayor Elliot Rothman
Pomona Habla Coalition
Dr. Jose Calderon of Pitzer College
Chris Rodriguez of Cal Pulli Sound System/Community activist
Shawn Fago, President of the Young Republication Party of Orange County

My guess is that the "ruining lives" argument will not be mounted by the Young Republican. I found this June 2008 article that mentioned the Pomona Habla Coalition:

"This has never happened before," said Gilberto, a middle-aged gardener who joined over 600 hundreds residents of the inland City of Pomona to protest what he said were never-ending racist traffic checkpoints, or "retenes."...

Many city residents at the protest [said] the so-called sobriety checkpoints are death traps for hard-working immigrants. After paying hundreds of dollars in fines and impound fees, there is often little left for gas, food or rent.

The checkpoints are thoroughly racist and anti-immigrant. They target undocumented workers who are forced to drive without a license because of their legal status in the country.

Arturo Jimenez, coordinator of the Pomona Habla Coalition, told Liberation that aside from causing extreme economic hardships, the checkpoints violated the guidelines set by the California Office of Traffic Safety Grant (OTS), which funds the Pomona Police Department’s checkpoints.

"We are against the racial profiling and the department’s abuse of the traffic stops," Jimenez said. "If the OTS says they’re supposed to catch drunk drivers, then why have they netted—at the most—only a handful of DUIs."

City statistics prove that Jimenez is right. On April 12, Pomona police screened 4,027 vehicles, impounded 152, issued 170 citations but made only 3 DUI arrests.

Go to Student in Pomona's blog for more details on the panel discussion.

Some Memorial Day Weekend Checkpoints in the Inland Empire

DWI Enforcement by versageek used under a Creative Commons License

Between graduation season and the unofficial start of summer during Memorial Day weekend, there are many opportunities for alcoholic mayhem. But police in our area are doing their best to minimize the damage. The Inland Empire Crime Blog carried a press release which stated, in part:

The enforcement campaign begins Saturday night with a DUI/Drivers License checkpoint in the city of Victorville. Special DUI Saturation Patrols will be deployed in Hesperia, Apple Valley, and Adelanto.

But that same blog linked to notifications of checkpoints in other areas.

In Loma Linda, "[t]he checkpoint will be held on Saturday, May 23, 2009 from 6:00 p.m. until 2:00 a.m. at Redlands Blvd. near Mt.View Drive."

In Redlands, "[t]he first checkpoint is scheduled Friday, May 22, from 7 p.m. until 10 p.m. on westbound Citrus Avenue west of University Street." And later, "[t]he second checkpoint will also be on Friday May 22, between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m. Saturday, May 23, on northbound Orange Street south of Pearl Avenue."

In La Quinta, "[t]he La Quinta Police Department will be conducting a Sobriety and Safety checkpoint on Saturday, 05/23/2009 from 8:00 P.M. to 3:00 A.M., at a location to be announced."

Just assume that checkpoints will be EVERYWHERE over the next couple of days, and act accordingly.

P.S. Regarding graduation, the Inland Empire Crime Blog also carries this announcement of interest to Moreno Valley grads-to-be. Excerpt:

The Moreno Valley Police Department has established an “Operation Safe Graduation” twenty-four (24) hour non-emergency hotline for the anonymous reporting of events that you believe require police attention. These events include, but are not limited to, graduation parties, juvenile gatherings, fight rumors, underage drinking and drug use, gang activity or graduation disruptions.

The non-emergency Hotline Number is: 951-486-6924

Give me a one-handed economist! Has the Inland Empire housing market bottomed out, or not?

President Truman once asked for a one-handed economist because he got tired of hearing "On the other hand...." Perhaps we need one-handed economists in the Inland Empire to analyze our housing market.

A week ago, a blog post of mine linked to the latest cheery news from Housing Kaboom, which included the following:

[E]conomists expect the number of bank repossessions to burgeon in coming months as a new influx of defaulted mortgages proceeds to foreclosure.

Christopher Thornberg, an economist with Beacon Economics in Los Angeles, said the slowdown in foreclosures while mortgage delinquencies increased "was a mirage. It wasn't real. At some point you have to foreclose."

It then went on to quote Riverside County foreclosure statistics, noting that they were higher than the year-ago figures.

But the Daily Bulletin notes that another local economist paints a slightly different picture.

The Inland Empire real-estate market appears to be bottoming out, according to regional economist John Husing.

Home prices over the past few months appear to be stabilizing as home sales volume continues to increase, Husing said Thursday, adding that the economy will still take some time to pull completely out of the recession.

So either we've bottomed out, or we're about to slide down some more. Time will be the judge.

Weird political rules

I'd love to get to the bottom of this little tidbit from the Fontana City Manager's new blog, Fontana360. It's good to set the ground rules at the outset, and Ken Hunt is doing just that with his new blog. Some of the items are mere common courtesy ("No personal attacks"), but this one is, at first glance, a little mystifying:

All public officials subject to the Brown Act and/or other open meeting laws must identify themselves and must not post comments if comments have been posted by two other members of the body in which they serve.

The first part isn't mystifying - the Brown Act is commonly cited as a way for politicians to be transparent - but where did this "two other members" thingie come from? Do comments from three members of the same body constitute an official meeting or something?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Book Direct and Ontario

An article in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin noted that Ontario hotels, faced with declining traffic, have adopted a software solution.

The story is all too familiar for Bob Brown, director of the Ontario Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The visitors bureau has launched a link to Book Direct on their Web site in an effort to get leisure travelers into the city, he said....

The connection was made with Jack Rabbit Systems, an online travel software and creator of Book Direct, about eight weeks ago....

In the first five days the new program resulted in 45 bookings for hotels in the city....

If you go to, you will see the Book Direct area in a prominent location on the website.

Whatever you have to do...

Little house in the desert?

Now this is an interesting little tidbit:

On May 30th and 31st, Rileys at Los Rios Rancho will host the museum's traveling Laura Ingalls Wilder, Journey of a Pioneer Family exhibit. Rarely seen outside of Missouri, the exhibit contains photographs and information relating to Mrs. Wilder, her famous "Little House" books and America's westward expansion.

The exhibit will be open to the public 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. in the Los Rios Rancho packing shed. Admission and parking is free.

More here.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Gardening follow-up

You'll recall my April 18 post "I'm sorry, San Antonio Heights, but your reaction to Mary Petit is crappy." Well, issues continue:

Many of the issues the residents have are with the property owners, Charles Pfister and his family, and what they have been doing on their private land....

Mike Pfister attributes much of the trouble between his family and the residents to one resident in particular, whom he would not name.

"The position the city is taking with us now is anything we do that one would think is just ordinary use of your property has got to be permitted and mainly through the complaints of this one homeowner," Pfister said. "And we're going to do that. I don't think it's right, but it's someone who's in a position in a state agency that is just doing everything he can to prevent us from really doing anything on that property."

More here.

Local crime maps for San Bernardino County residents

I recently ran across this post that linked to this article.

San Bernardino County residents, including those who live in the unincorporated areas around Barstow, will now be able to log onto the Sheriff’s Department’s Web site and see how much crime is in their neighborhoods....

The program combines current crime data from each of the sheriff’s stations with Google Maps and ESRI’s geographic engine to show where criminal activity is taking place....

To log onto the system, visit the Sheriff’s Department’s Web site at and follow the link for Community Crime Mapping.

The actual link is at, and it only includes areas patrolled by the sheriff - so the city of Rancho Cucamonga is on the list, but the city of Ontario is not.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

OK, skip it! Now! But not in Moreno Valley...

I never really skipped school during my high school years, except for one time when a substitute was almost asking for it. One by one, several of us told the substitute that we had to do another errand in the school. The sub would let us go, and one of my friends and myself went right off the campus, either to Jack in the Box or McDonalds (I forget which).

But back then I lived in Arlington, Virginia, not Moreno Valley, California:

On Friday, May 15, 2009, Officers of the Moreno Valley Police Department, in a collaborative effort with the Moreno Valley Unified School District, Val Verde Unified School District, and Riverside County Probation Department conducted a citywide daytime curfew sweep. Participants of the program patrolled the city of Moreno Valley in search of juvenile students who either failed to report to their assigned campus at the start of the school day, or left their campuses without permission while school was in session in violation of the Daytime Curfew Ordinance.

During the course of the sweep, participants located and detained 61 violators. The students were transported to their assigned school for disciplinary proceedings and issued City Administrative Citations for the violations. The citation fines ranged from $100 for the first offense, $200 for the second offense, and $500 for the third offense.

I don't know what the fines were in Arlington, Virginia in the late 1970s, but perhaps the parental disapproval would have been more harrowing.

OK, listen to it! All this month! Claremont!

Back on Monday May 11, the Claremont Insider printed a list of various Friday night and Saturday afternoon events that are taking place at Rhino Records in downtown Claremont this month. You can see the entire list here, but I'll just highlight the next two events that are taking place.

May 22 [8pm]: Halloween Swim Team
Straight outta Silverlake! Synth rock that is dark, edgy and danceable

Their MySpace page is at

May 24 [2pm]: Eliza Rickman
Eliza’s songs are distinguished by sharp contrasts. Her dulcet voice juxtaposes her haunting piano harmonies. Somber and sorrowful lyrics are paired with beautifully orchestrated and executed music spanning several pop styles and genres.

Her MySpace page is at

Monday, May 18, 2009

OK, act it (some more)! June! Candlelight Pavilion!

Now Vina Danks isn't the only place where kids can get acting experience. I've already talked about Theatre Experience of Southern California, so it's only fair to note one other area program - this one sponsored by the Candlelight Pavilion in Claremont.

The Candlelight Pavilion is proud to present our third workshop for youth. This is a workshop taught be professionals and those behind the scenes at the Candlelight Pavilion, created for kids who have never performed or who have had limited performance experience....

At the end of the workshop, students will put their new skills to work by participating in the Friday evening performance of Disney's High School Musical on Stage!

For age ranges 7-12, a workshop will be held June 15-19. For age ranges 13-17, a workshop will be held June 22-26.

More here.

OK, act it! Ongoing! Vina Danks!

Anything can happen if people take initiative. Can people imaging that this would be the time during which a school would START an arts initiative? But according to the Daily Bulletin, that's what Vina Danks Middle School in Ontario is doing.

Last year, under the leadership of Beatriz Casagran, Vina Danks formed an after school drama club - this year the school went one step further.

"This is the first year we've been able to teach drama as an elective," said Casagran, who is also the language arts teacher.

Of course, they had a little help.

To help get the program off the ground, Vina Danks received a grant from the state because of its Title 1 status because at least 56 percent of enrolled students are eligible to receive a free or reduced lunch.

More here.

OK, curate it! Next month! Redlands!

In my ongoing effort to delve into deep controversial issues, let me start with this item from Inland Empire News:

The San Bernardino County Museum invites the public to visit the museum in Redlands from 9am to 5pm with no admission fee on Sunday, June 7, 2009.

At 2pm, join Curator of Geological Sciences J. Chris Sagebiel on a tour of the Earth’s interior in a special lecture, “Journey to the Center of the Earth.” Sagebiel will take you through the layers of the Earth’s interior, presenting the evidence for what we know about its structure.

“Why are there layers and what are they made of? Did you know the Earth’s magnetic field is caused by convection currents in the molten iron outer core of the Earth?” These are just some of the questions that Sagebiel will discuss with visitors. He will also give a preview of the upcoming Hall of Geological Wonders’ exhibits that will focus on the interior of the Earth.

From 3 to 4:30pm, Genevieve Duo will perform in the new Hall of Geological Wonders Amphitheatre with romantic classical and Celtic songs of harp and flute.

Visitors will enjoy also two special exhibits: “Gadgets and Gizmos: inventing the modern world,” and “The Art of Ramon Contreras and the Mexican Muralists Movement.”

The San Bernardino County Museum is at the California Street exit from Interstate 10 in Redlands. Everyone is admitted free on Sunday, June 7. Parking is free. For more information, visit

The San Bernardino County Museum is accessible to persons with disabilities. If assistive listening devices or other auxiliary aids are needed in order to participate in museum exhibits or programs, requests should be made through Museum Visitor Services at least three business days prior to your visit. Visitor Services’ telephone number is (909) 307-2669 ext. 229 or TDD (909) 792-1462.

Now I want to find something controversial about this whole thing, but other than the fact that the museum is near Pharaoh's (really) Lost Kingdom, what controversy can we find?

Well, all you have to do is follow up on the activities of Jerry Lewis.

No, not THAT Jerry Lewis. I'm talking about our esteemed California Congressman. I assume that Lewis didn't think that this December 23, 2005 article was a Christmas present:

From powerful positions on the House Appropriations Committee, California Rep. Jerry Lewis has greenlighted hundreds of millions of dollars in federal projects for clients of one of his closest friends, lobbyist and former state Congressman Bill Lowery.

Meanwhile, Lowery, the partners at his firm and their clients have donated 37 percent of the $1.3 million that Lewis' political action committee received in the past six years.

Such intertwining of public, political and for-profit business is legal. But because the relationships between campaign contributors, lobbyists and lawmakers are forged out of the public's view, they are not widely known or understood.

And one of the beneficiaries of this activity?

San Bernardino County has benefited from Rep. Jerry Lewis' tenure on the appropriations committee. The county museum has received more than $1 million for a Hall of Paleontology and a heritage center.

Don't know if Lewis has any creationist supporters who would be aghast at Lewis helping to fund a paleontology exhibit. But if any such supporters exist, they should realize that Lewis is devoted to the acquisition of funding for his district, even when he objects to said funding on principle.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Guess where Warehouse Workers United ended up? Hint - it starts with a W, and it's not Wendy's

When I wrote this post, I had no idea exactly where the Warehouse Workers United were going to end up.

I should have known that this is where they'd go:

5/15/2009 - Warehouse Workers Fight Walmart’s Anti-Worker Agenda

FONTANA, CA- Today, warehouse workers, clergy, community members, and area students staged a nonviolent civil disobedience outside a Walmart warehouse in San Bernardino County. The protest ended with the arrest of 7 people, including 4 clergy members, who had literally put their bodies on the line by blocking the truck entrance to the warehouse.

Over 200 people gathered in front of the Walmart warehouse, carrying signs with messages such as “Warehouse Workers Want the Freedom to Form a Union.” They were protesting Walmart’s vicious anti-worker and anti-union policies and highlighting the need for the Employee Free Choice Act. Past attempt by workers at this warehouse to form a union were thwarted by management’s harsh tactics of fear and intimidation.

“Greed has become the rule of thumb in our unjust society. Here we have the injustice of degrading salaries and denying the worker's right to be members of a union. Unions are a necessity due to the injustice and exploitation by the Corporations upon the workers,” said Fr. Pat Guillen, a retired Catholic priest with the San Bernardino Diocese, who was arrested at the protest. “Jesus broke bread and shared the cup with His disciples. We demand that the employers also share the cup of production, created by the workers and break the bread of exploitation and injustice, created by the grid of the corporations; for when injustice is present, there cannot be peace.”

The warehouse workers of the Inland Empire are fighting back against the national retailers who dominate the goods movement industry in what is the largest concentration of warehouse space on the planet and the distribution hub of the new global economy. These are the workers who need the Employee Free Choice Act because the only hope to improve these jobs is to allow them the freedom to choose to form a union free from fear and intimidation.

The Inland Empire has some of the highest rates of foreclosures and unemployment in the country, but the main industry of the area, warehousing for national retailers, is built on bad, low paying jobs. Most of these jobs are through temp agencies and, in addition to low pay and no benefits these jobs do not allow workers to have any job security. Jobs in the Inland Empire need to be good jobs with a living wage and affordable health care; this is the best way the region has to pull itself out of the Great Recession.

“I worked in this warehouse and it is a sweatshop. While the workers are slaving away in the heat, management is sitting in their air conditions offices,” said Diana Romero, a 20-year-old single mother who was a temp worker at this Walmart warehouse. “Management was always harassing us. They wouldn’t let the workers speak to each other, they followed us into the bathroom to check on us. What Walmart is doing here is not right and we need a change.”

The Valley Boulevard warehouse is completely dedicated to products destined for Southern California Walmart stores. The facility serves Walmart stores and supplies a significant percent of non-food goods to Walmart stores in the region. The facility operates 7 days a week, with three shifts running 24 hours a day.

P.S. Unrelated comment - this is the first blog post that I have written on our brand new home computer, which was NOT bought at a Wal Mart. It was bought at a Costco. But a lawsuit alleges that Costco makes its workers clock out, then locks them in the warehouse for 15 minutes before they can leave. You can't win.

OK, foreclose it! In a few months! All over!

I haven't peeked into "Housing Kaboom" lately, but it appears that they're not starry-eyed "hope" people there just yet:

A near record number of homes entered the first stage of the foreclosure process last month in Riverside and San Bernardino counties after mortgage industry foreclosure moratoriums were lifted....

But economists expect the number of bank repossessions to burgeon in coming months as a new influx of defaulted mortgages proceeds to foreclosure.

The hope, of course, is that the moratorium period would have given people a bit of breathing room and temporarily stopped the negative vibes. When the moratorium was lifted, the presumed hope was that the economy would be better, and the damage wouldn't be as bad.

Time will tell.

OK, print it! Tonight! Temecula! (And we're not talking "reproduction" either)

I found this announcement at Inland Empire News.

San Diego and North County Printmakers

Exhibit: May 15 - June 29, 2009

FREE Opening Reception: Friday, May 15, 2009
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

@ The Gallery at The Merc
42051 Main Street, Temecula, CA 92590

Printmaking is an ancient process and has at times been called the "Democratic Art." In America during the end of the 19th century printmaking emerged as a method of making images that were affordable and could be distributed to a large audience. Etching, woodblock printing and the newcomer lithography were among the most popular techniques. Clubs were formed and patrons could subscribe for a modest fee and receive prints by their favorite painters and sculptors.

Printmaking eventually became a specialty and today there are many artists dedicated to only making prints. Printmaking is now valued as an artistic medium with unique qualities competing with other media. To make a print, the artist typically creates an image on a flat surface of metal, stone, wood, or other materials; the surface is then inked, and pressed onto paper to create an original print. By repeating the printing process, the artist is able to create multiple "original" works of art. The number of works made is determined by the artist and indicated as a "limited edition." The edition size is often expressed as a fraction e.g. 12/100; indicating the twelfth print of one hundred.

The San Diego & North County Printmakers can be contacted at:
The Art Campus at Fallbrook
310 E. Alvarado, Fallbrook, CA, 92028

Now I could have left off right there by reprinting the press release and leaving it at that, but I recently read something by Duncan Riley that took journalists to task for doing that very thing. And frankly, I've been guilty of doing the same thing at times. So now, I'm going to use my journalistic skills, acquired at the Reed College Quest, to probe into the controversial world of printmaking.

But I'll still take the lazy way out by following up on the web link provided in the press release itself. And it turns out there is a bit of controversy - just mention the word reproduction:

There is much confusion over the difference between hand-pulled original prints and limited edition reproductions because the latter are often advertised and sold as "limited edition prints."

An original print is an image created by an artist from a plate, stone, block, or screen. The unique qualities of each process determine which medium is chosen. Prints are numbered and signed in pencil by the artist beneath the image, after the edition is printed. Editions are usually limited to less than 200 images, often as few as 10 or 15. After the specified number of prints, including one of two called "artist's proofs," the block or plate is destroyed.

A reproduction is a copy of an original painting, drawing, etc. The original work is photographed and reproduced by an offset printing process, sometimes in an "edition" of 1000 or more images. The artist may not be involved in the printing process at all.

Because reproductions are all made by the same printing technique, they have a certain textural uniformity. Original prints, on the other hand, vary considerably depending on the process and the type of paper used. Many printmakers make their own paper, giving their work a quality that cannot be duplicated.

Reproductions can and do bring beauty into many homes and offices, but they do not have the distinction and hands-on quality of original prints. The difference is that indefinable quality between the work of a craftsperson and something mass-produced. The problem is that reproductions are sometimes numbered and signed in the same manner as original prints and then marketed and sold as "limited edition fine art prints." Consumers are thus led to believe they are purchasing an original piece of fine art.

Also check out (and no, that's not an oxymoron).

The commercialization of the art business by big business is no more evident anywhere than in the marketing of reproduction prints, primarily giclees, by entities billing themselves as fine art publishing houses. Many of these prints are advertised as signed, limited editions and sell for hundreds or even thousands of dollars. The great majority, however, are nothing more than scans or copies of paintings, watercolors, or original works of art in other mediums. The only thing original about them are the signatures which take the artists maybe several seconds to apply at most. Now that's worth hundreds or thousands of dollars, right?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Why schools should check their math at the beginning of the year

When I'm not writing captivating blog posts such as this one, I am employed as a product manager, and one of my major jobs is to write marketing requirements. These marketing requirements, derived from various sources, are then turned into system requirements, then design, then actual software code which undergoes up to five separate tests before a customer site goes live. One of the things that is drummed into all of us is that mistakes that are caught early in the process are much less costly to fix than mistakes that are caught later.

That paragraph really doesn't have a lot to do with this Daily Bulletin story, but the same principle (heh) applies. If someone had done their homework (heh) at the beginning of the school year, things would have been much better for kindergarten students at the Ontario-Montclair School District.

After an audit revealed that kindergarten classes in all Ontario-Montclair School District's schools were short 10 minutes of instructional time each day, the Governing Board voted on Saturday to amend the 2008-09 student calendar and tack on 10 days of instruction to all kindergarten classes in the district.

More here.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

ESRI's Jack Dangermond speaks about Google Earth and Microsoft Virtual Earth

Local interest, but a bit of a technical bent.

In this interview, Jack Dangermond of Redlands' ESRI answers a question regarding the effect (positive or negative) of Google Earth and Microsoft Virtual Earth on ESRI's professional GIS products.

My solution to Carbon Canyon overcrowding

I often drive through Carbon Canyon - an act that in and of itself probably irritates the local residents - and I've seen the various signs protesting some new development or another.

Well, I predict that signs will be going up again, based upon what I read in the Carbon Canyon Chronicle:

As reported in this week's Chino Hills Champion, "a plan to build 117 custom homes at Carbon Canyon Road and Canyon Hills Road is on the horizon. A pre-application for the project was submitted to Chino Hills for the gate-guarded community project . . ." Unfortunately, nothing more was said in this tidbit regarding the exact location, the developer, or any other information, other than that there is a proposed traffic signal for this intersection....

Combining this project with some other proposed projects, you get some interesting math:

[A]ssuming that all four projects pan out and are built, means that there are potentially 319 (yes, 319, or some 650 cars and about 1,000 people!) houses that could be built on the Chino Hills side, 174 of which are already approved and some of which are now built. While the Canyon Crest development, planned for 165 units, in Brea has stalled because the developer has not come up with the money for fund further environmental review study called for after the Freeway Complex fire last November, that project would raise the number to 484 houses that could be built someday and about 1,000 cars and some 1,500 or more people.

Existing residents aren't happy:

This, in a canyon that has a two-lane highway not built for this kind of suburban use, a vanishing wildland habitat, an extreme and growing fire risk, in an era when basic infrastructure relating to water, school, refuse disposal, and others are increasingly becoming harder to acquire and maintain. One can only hope that environmental impact reports for any future projects not already approved will demonstrate beyond a doubt that Carbon Canyon simply cannot keep accomodating housing development any longer without radically altering the fundamental nature of the Canyon.

It all sounds like a wonderful argument, except for one teeny tiny little fact -

Most of the homes in Carbon Canyon are less than 100 years old.

This isn't a situation in which a community was established early in the 20th century, remained stable, and then all of a sudden was invaded by evil developers. Many of the current canyon residents came into the area based upon previous developers who built homes and communities in the space, threatening wildlife and increasing the fire risk.

If people were truly dedicated to preserving the beauty of Carbon Canyon, then they'd agree to raze all homes built after 1951.

Warehouse Workers United to stage protest tomorrow

When the world is going through a terrible downturn in the economy, it's time to blame the rich and get arrested while doing it.

Warehouse Workers United has announced a protest for May 14:

5/8/2009 - Warehouse Workers to Stage Large Protest Against Retail Giants in Inland Empire

(Inland Empire) - Warehouse workers, local clergy, community members, and area students will participate in a civil disobedience outside the warehouse of an as-yet named major national retailer on Thursday, May 14th at 2pm. Warehouse workers and their supporters are drawing attention to the Inland Empire (IE), which has the largest concentration of warehouse space on the planet and one of the highest unemployment rates in the country.

The Inland Empire is the central hub of the global economy, with a massive network of distribution centers that move goods from overseas to big-box retail stores across the nation. But a majority of the workers in these warehouses are hired through temp agencies, paid low wages, receive no benefits, and have no job security. Warehouse workers are standing up to our nation’s largest retailers to fight for good jobs and the right to choose to form a union free from fear and intimidation.

Media will meet with organizers at the Fontana Truck Stop and will then be directed to the site of the direct action, nearby. Both English and Spanish-speaking workers will be available for interview.


Hundreds of warehouse workers, local clergy, community members, and area students.


Direct action/civil disobedience to block distribution at a major corporate warehouse. Arrests are likely.


Media will meet at Fontana Truck Stop -- 14264 Valley Blvd, Fontana, CA -- and then will be directed to the physical location.

2pm PST, Thursday, May 14th, 2009

# # #

Warehouse Workers United is an organization of warehouse workers in the Inland Empire. We are dedicated to bringing warehouse workers together to fight for good jobs and build a better future for ourselves and our families. We are supported by Change to Win, a coalition of unions representing more than 6 million working Americans.

Submitted to the Inland Empire News by:


Daniel I. Medress
Warehouse Workers United

The WWU website also links to Change to Win:

Seven unions and six million workers united in Change to Win in 2005 to build a new movement of working people equipped to meet the challenges of the global economy and restore the American Dream in the 21st century: a paycheck that can support a family, affordable health care, a secure retirement and dignity on the job.

The American Dream is under threat today as never before in our lifetimes. To learn more about this challenge and what working people are doing to meet it, see The American Dream Survey, our ongoing research project on the state of the American Dream.
Affiliated Unions

Change to Win consists of seven affiliated unions. These are:

* International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT)
* Laborers' International Union of North America (LIUNA)
* Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
* United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (UBC)
* United Farm Workers of America (UFW)
* United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW)

You'll note that the United Auto Workers are not part of this group. They have other ensuring that they and their employers survive.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Good news for Hansen's

I keep on forgetting that Hansen's is a local company, but it is, and it's doing well:

Fewer people can afford to jump on the energy drink bandwagon these days, but tighter cash is not stopping Hansen Natural Corp. from picking up more of the market.

The Corona-based company Thursday reported strong earnings and sales for the first quarter, mostly because of solid sales of its Monster Energy drink. The growth in energy drinks has declined sharply because consumers have less disposable income, but Monster continues to take market share from its main rivals.

Here's the press release, if you didn't see it last week. Excerpts:

Hansen Natural Reports Record 2009 First Quarter Financial Results
First Quarter Net Sales Rise 15.1% to $244.2 Million; Net Income Increases 44.3% to $41.6 Million

CORONA, Calif., May 7, 2009 (GlobeNewswire via COMTEX News Network) -- Hansen Natural Corporation (Nasdaq:HANS) today reported financial results, including increases in sales and profits, for the first quarter ended March 31, 2009.

Gross sales for the 2009 first quarter increased 14.3 percent to $278.9 million from $244.0 million in the same period last year. Net sales for the first three months of 2009 increased 15.1 percent to $244.2 million from $212.2 million in the same period last year. Both gross and net sales for the 2008 first quarter were impacted by purchases made by customers in the 2007 fourth quarter in advance of the price increase effective January 1, 2008, for Monster Energy(r) brand energy drinks in 16-ounce cans and for the Java Monster(tm) line of non-carbonated dairy based coffee drinks. The Company estimates that approximately eight to nine percent of 2008 first quarter gross and net sales were reduced by such purchases made by customers in advance of such price increase.

Gross profit as a percentage of net sales was 53.3 percent for the three months ended March 31, 2009, compared with 49.4 percent for the comparable 2008 first quarter.

Operating expenses for the 2009 first quarter increased to $64.4 million from $61.9 million in the same quarter last year.

Distribution costs as a percentage of net sales were 4.5 percent for the 2009 first quarter, compared with 5.7 percent in the same quarter last year.

Selling expenses as a percentage of net sales for the 2009 first quarter were 12.5 percent, compared with 14.9 percent in the same quarter a year ago. Decreases in merchandise display costs and in-store-demo costs contributed to the decrease in selling expenses over the prior year. However, sponsorship expenditures were higher than in the comparable quarter last year.

General and administrative expenses for the 2009 first quarter were $23.0 million (including $1.1 million in termination obligations to prior distributors), compared with $18.3 million for the corresponding quarter last year. Termination obligations to prior distributors were minimal in the first quarter of 2008. Stock based compensation (a non-cash item) was $2.7 million in the first quarter of 2009, compared with $2.1 million in the corresponding prior year period.

Operating income for the 2009 first quarter increased 53.6 percent to $65.8 million from $42.8 million in the 2008 comparable quarter.

Other (expense)/income includes an other than temporary write-down of $3.5 million in the carrying value of auction rate securities in the first quarter of 2009.

Net income for the 2009 first quarter increased 44.3 percent to $41.6 million, or $0.44 per diluted share, compared with $28.8 million, or $0.29 per diluted share in the same quarter last year.

Net sales for the Company's DSD segment were $222.5 million for the 2009 first quarter, an increase of approximately 17.3 percent from $189.7 million for the same period in 2008. As noted above, both gross and net sales for the 2008 first quarter were impacted by the announcement in the fourth quarter of 2007 of a price increase for Monster Energy(r) brand energy drinks in 16-ounce cans and for the Java Monster(tm) line of non-carbonated dairy based coffee drinks, effective January 1, 2008.

Gross sales to customers outside the United States, after the inclusion of sales to certain military customers, were $35.3 million in the 2009 first quarter, compared with $20.1 million in the corresponding quarter in 2008.

Rodney C. Sacks, chairman and chief executive officer, attributed the record revenues to sustained strong sales of Monster Energy(r) drinks, which continue to grow in excess of the category and achieve further gains in market share.

"We remain pleased with the continued strong performance of the Monster Energy(r) brand in the current challenging economic environment. We continue to believe that the moderating growth in the energy drink segment appears, in part, to be due to the existing macro economic environment as well as the resulting decline in discretionary spending," added Sacks.

Sacks said that Coca-Cola Enterprises, Inc. ("CCE"), other Coca-Cola bottlers and select Anheuser-Busch distributors to whom the Monster Energy(r) brand was transitioned during the fourth quarter of 2008 were, in the main, now performing satisfactorily, following the disruptions that occurred during the transitional period. He added that the Company was now beginning to realize the benefits of the new distribution arrangements. Sacks said that the transition to CCE in Canada in January 2009 has been challenging, but "we are optimistic that we will start to see improved results in this market during the current quarter."

Sacks also indicated that international distribution of Monster Energy(r) brand energy drinks is proceeding satisfactorily. "Our new distributor in Mexico is performing remarkably well and the Monster Energy(r) brand is rapidly gaining momentum and additional distribution in this market," Sacks said.

The new distribution arrangements with CCE in France, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg and Monaco are progressing well and the results achieved in Continental Europe are encouraging. Distribution performance in the United Kingdom in the first quarter was disappointing, although there are signs of improvement with CCE in that country. "Our distributor in Ireland has not met our expectations and we are reviewing our options. Sales of Monster Energy(r) in Sweden are progressing well," noted Sacks.

The Company has recently entered into new distribution agreements with Schweppes Australia Pty Ltd. for distribution of Monster Energy(r) brand energy drinks in Australia; Neill Cropper & Co., Ltd. for New Zealand; Luigi Biscaldi Import-Export S.r.l. for Italy; and Osborne S.A. for Spain in place of its existing distributor.

The Company is planning to launch certain new products in the current quarter, including Monster(r) Import(tm) in resealable 18.6-ounce aluminum cans and Hammer X-Presso Monster(tm) in 6.8-ounce aluminum cans. The Company is planning to introduce other new products in the Monster Energy(r) line later this year.

Auction Rate Securities

During the three-months ended March 31, 2009, the Company redeemed $10.5 million of its auction rate securities at par. At March 31, 2009 the Company held auction rate securities with a face value of $102.0 million ($112.5 million at December 31, 2008). The Company determined that a cumulative impairment of $15.5 million had occurred at March 31, 2009, ($14.9 million as of December 31, 2008), of which $11.5 million was deemed temporary and $4.0 million was deemed other than temporary. As a result, included as a component of other comprehensive loss is $6.9 million, net of taxes as of March 31, 2009. Included in other (expense)/income is an other-than-temporary impairment of $3.5 million for the three-months ended March 31, 2009. The auction rate securities will continue to accrue interest at their contractual rates until their respective auctions succeed or they are redeemed.

Investor Conference Call

The Company will host an investor conference call today, May 7, 2009, at 2:00 p.m. Pacific Time (5:00 p.m. Eastern Time). The conference call will be open to all interested investors through a live audio web broadcast via the internet at and For those who are not able to listen to the live broadcast, the call will be archived for approximately one year on both websites.

Hansen Natural Corporation

Based in Corona, California, Hansen Natural Corporation markets and distributes Hansen's(r) natural sodas, sparkling beverages, apple juice and juice blends, fruit juice smoothies, multi-vitamin juice drinks in aseptic packaging, iced teas, energy drinks, Junior Juice(r) juices and water beverages, Blue Sky(r) brand beverages, Monster Energy(r) brand energy drinks, Monster Hitman(tm) energy shooters, Java Monster(tm) brand non-carbonated dairy based coffee drinks, Lost(r) Energy(tm) brand energy drinks and Rumba(r), Samba and Tango brand energy juices. For more information visit and

Monday, May 11, 2009

Riverside area small business fair on Tuesday

Last week, the Riverside Press Enterprise ran a story that looked at a small business fair that will be hosted on Tuesday. Excerpt:

"The key is weathering the times right now," said Cindy Roth, president of the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce.

Her group has partnered with the city of Riverside and The Press-Enterprise to host a small business fair Tuesday. Of the chamber's members, 75 percent are businesses with 20 or fewer employees.

From 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Riverside Convention Center, experts will be teaching free courses on marketing, financing strategies, business plans, getting contracts with government agencies and colleges, the do's and don'ts of layoffs and how to manage costs.

Read the rest here, including the story of Lake Elsinore's The Graphics Company, forced to downsize to a home-based business.

After working out of a rented 5,000 square-foot space since 2004, Kim Staudenmayer -- owner of The Graphics Co. in Lake Elsinore -- downsized and moved the business into her home....Staudenmayer said her large format printing business started to sour in November 2007 as she lost customers.

Ironically, or perhaps intentionally, the Press Enterprise article appears to be more up-to-date than the Graphics Company's own website.

Our new 5000 sq. ft. facility has proven to be a great move for The Graphics Company. "Maybe 10,000 would have been better" says Kim Staudenmayer ceo and owner. "Filling the bays on a daily basis hasn't been a problem." Our new location by Lake E, the test lake for some of the fastest powerboats on the water, has definately contributed to this fast growing companies success.

What a difference a few years makes. A business that was growing in 2004 is now shrinking in 2009, and the Graphics Company probably isn't the only small business that is becoming smaller.

The fair, by the way, is at 3443 Orange Street in Riverside.

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Happy anniversary to Empoprise-IE!

Yes, this blog has been around for a year. The first post, on May 11, 2008, concerned the Pacific Electric Trail.

Of the two Empoprises blogs that I started in May 2008, this blog has been the most successful. I guess that shows that home is a good thing.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Almost forty years AFTER the guidebook was published

David Allen published a story in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin in which he talked with Charles Phoenix, author of Cruising the Pomona Valley: 1930 Thru 1970. Where did they meet? Vince's Spaghetti, of course (which, if you don't know, was established during that 1930-1970 period).

I encourage you to read the entire article, but I did want to highlight this part:

Graber Olive House is hosting Phoenix on Saturday - 1 to 3 p.m. at 315 E. 4th St., Ontario - to sign its stash of 60 copies, which will be for sale.

Once those are gone, that's probably it, Phoenix says. He's unlikely to reprint the book.

As we left Vince's, however, we learned that the spaghetti house still has 15 copies for sale. If only some of our lost landmarks had proved so hardy.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Short Stuff One - On the First Annual 5 Second Film Festival

The Claremont Insider links to the blog for the First Annual 5 Second Film Festival.

The Claremont Community College (not a real school) will host the First Annual 5 Second Film Festival on Thursday May 14th at the Laemmle Theatre in Claremont California. Go to to submit your film of up to 10 minutes.

The date for submissions has already passed, so now you can just go and watch stuff.

Incidentally, the Claremont Insider post references the Wikipedia page for Short Music for Short People, which is probably an intentional reference to the Randy Newman song "Short People."

Speaking of which...

National Train Day in San Bernardino, California

Technically this isn't an Inland Empire story, but it was written by an Inland Empire guy (David Allen):

It's an event in its second year to encourage train riding. It commemorates 140 years (minus one day) since the "golden spike" was driven to complete the transcontinental railroad. Amtrak is sponsoring Train Day and is hosting events in D.C., Philadelphia, Chicago and...L.A.

Festivities at Union Station, but is there anything at our local train stations or elsewhere in the Inland Empire? Yes, in San Bernardino:

San Bernardino, CA
City of San Bernardino
09:00 AM - 05:00 PM
1170 W. 3rd Street - Historic Sante Fe Depot

Come join the City of San Bernardino History & Railroad Museum for National Train Day. Mayor Patrick Morris will open the event. BNSF, Amtrak and Metrolink displays. The Depot waiting room and conference room will be filled with model railroads, vendors, and displays, in addition to the raffles will be held throughout the day for prizes.

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Someone in the Inland Empire is hiring

Over the last few months, I've run across several very talented people who have been laid off.

Well, one of them (James Johnson of the Inland Empire .NET User Group) has been hired:

Say hello to the new Senior .NET Developer for I will be in charge of new development and will be assembling a team to build even better energy management systems which EnerPath is famous for. The company is cool, everyone is happy, laid back, and insanely intelligent. Some of my new co-workers are members of the IEDOTNETUG. And best of all…wait for it… the office is 15 minutes away from my house.

Congratulations to James, who starts his new job on May 6.

And congratulations to, who's getting a talented person. Although IMHO they need a marketer who speaks English rather than marketing-ese:

EnerPath products will continue to enhance the experience of our customers and we will continue to amaze our most valued customers in developing, designing, improving and advancing our tools and capabilities. We are committed to a culture that constructs the best software/tools in our industry, is a fluid incubator of thoughts, ideas and vision; a culture that listens to our customers, and to each other, and creates real value in form and functionality integrating EnerPath’s awesome array of products. We are committed to an environment that is fun and stimulating and provides opportunities for personal and professional growth....

Enterprise Solutions in the Services Industry will continue to Transcend Business. EnerPath™ Technologies will help revolutionize business processes for a wide range of customers including utility companies, energy services companies, in facilities management and the asset management market sectors.

I'm sure, however, that their transcendent, fluidly-incubated, enhancing ideals actually do translate to something concrete for their stakeholders - I mean customers. (And no, EnerPath didn't say "stakeholders" - that's a word that I'm guilty of using.)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

My comment to Matt Munson's article on Wal-Mart and Ontario

Matt Munson's Inland Utopia blog has implemented captchas, which is a Norwegian word meaning "to capture all comments and send them into the void." This, or something else, rendered me unable to comment on this post. Excerpt:

Personally I am not against Wal-Mart doing business in our city, but it is the wrong part of Ontario for Wal-Mart to do business in....Imagine what Wal-Mart could of done if they built theirs next to the Sam’s Club in Ontario. The Super Center would be part of a commercial district where residents would not be offended that it would be there.

Here is what I wanted to say:

As a resident of northwest Ontario, I have to question a couple of implications in your post.

First, there's the idea that a Wal-Mart by Ontario Mills would give as much benefit to the city as a Wal-Mart in northwest Ontario. This, of course, assumes that the people in northwest Ontario would be happy driving several miles east - and frankly, if I have the choice between driving to a store in Ontario Mills or a store in Montclair (Costco), I'm going to drive to Montclair.

Second, there's the implication (via comparison with Las Vegas) that the Wal-Mart would invade a residential district. The residential district was invaded long ago. Even 20 years ago, the site was home to a grocery store (Giant, later Food 4 Less) AND a Target AND A Toys R Us. Those sites have been abandoned for several years because graffiti-ridden eyesores do so much good for the city. The area also hosts or has previously hosted a gas station, a video store, a locksmith, two fast food restaurants, and a convenience store.

If this is a residential neighborhood, then why didn't these same residents rise up in arms when the shopping center at 4th Street was expanded to include an Albertson's? If you check Cory Briggs' history, you'll soon figure out why he objects to some kinds of development and not others.

I'm sure James Jacques had a logical explanation for the cash and the kilos

I've already shared this, but haven't pontificated on it yet. An excerpt from a post in the Inland Empire Crime Blog:

A search of Mr. [James] Jacques vehicle revealed he was carrying 7.2 pounds of marijuana in a suitcase in his trunk, as well as a large amount of cash. Mr. Jacques was arrested for sales of marijuana....

Now of all the idiotic leaps of logic. Just because someone is carrying over 7 pounds of marijuana, along with a bunch of cash, I don't know how they can conclude that James Jacques was dealing. Perhaps he was using the marijuana for medicinal high doses. And as for the cash (the amount wasn't specified), maybe he just won the lottery or something.

But if you were planning on meeting Jacques at the corner of Scott Road and Menifee Road in Murrieta...Jacques is otherwise detained.

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Monday, May 4, 2009

How "Free Comic Book Day" played out in Rancho Cucamonga (plus an aside on Twitter)

Perhaps you saw my three posts on Saturday that covered my experience at Free Comic Book Day at Comic Madness in Chino. Well, reporter Mediha Fejzagic DiMartino of the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin covered an event in Rancho Cucamonga at 4 Color Fantasies:

More than 300 people showed up during the first hour of the event. Some were dressed in costumes, others took an opportunity to take a photo with several superhero impersonators roaming around. Dozen artists and writers were on hand to sign autographs and talk about their craft.

Oh, and by the way, even the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin is getting into Twitter now. Check out @ivdailybulletin. They're currently only using it to push out headlines, and aren't following anyone, but at least they're out there.

But for a media Twitter account that pushes headlines AND includes unique content AND follows people AND replies to them, check out @waff48 to see how it's done. There are smart people in Huntsville... :)

Saturday, May 2, 2009

And how the comic store gets you to come back

Comic Madness is having a sale that starts tomorrow, with 30% to 50% off selected items.

My wife likes the classic Superman radio shows, and wanted me to check for classic Superman comics. See the book above.

The free loot from Free Comic Book Day

4 of the free 2009 comics, 2 free ones from 2008, and two others that originally sold for a dime.

Comic Madness, 12345 Mountain, Chino. Open all afternoon.

Comic madness at...Comic Madness?

In Chino, on Mountain just below the 60.