Thursday, February 24, 2011

On Empires

Some of you may recall that most of my online interactions used to be under the pseudonym "Ontario Emperor." I selected this online name in about 1998, using the following rationale:

The Inland Empire needs an emperor. The "Inland Emperors" are a band signed to a Seattle label. Hence, I am the Ontario Emperor.

Just think - if I hadn't found that band via a web search all those years ago, I might have proclaimed myself as THE Inland Emperor - the name, of course, taken from the regional name "Inland Empire."

But AliAgins questions whether "the Inland Empire" is truly a single entity:

Riverside is and always has been totally different from San Bernardino. We have never co-mingled much unless Riversiders would go to the Orange show. Riverside is Riverside. Folks in Corona where I live don’t bother to go there very often unless they get a summons from the courthouse to do jury duty. Chino, Ontario,Montclair? They are what they are and I can’t remember the last time I was over that way. And then at the Southern end is Temecula and Murrietta and one goes through there on the 15 to go to San Diego. I’ve been to San Diego more times in oh let’s say five years than I’ve been to San Bernardino in ten. And then there is Palm Springs at the Eastern edge. So completely different from Riverside or San Bernardino or maybe anywhere.

While I'll grant the exception for Palm Springs, I submit that there is more similarity between Temecula and Fontana than there are differences - especially when compared to cities such as Fullerton, Pasadena, and Hawthorne.

The first distinction that I claim for the Inland Empire is that it feels less crowded than places to the west and southwest. You find far fewer fourth floors in Inland Empire buildings than you do elsewhere.

The second distinction is that it is clearly considered well outside of Los Angeles, especially by media outlets. When a radio station announces that it is designed to serve Los Angeles and Orange Counties, the immediate message is that I should tune out and the folks from Lancaster should tune in. And the perception of "the 909" (so, um, "tagged" before the 951 area code split) in local and national media is undeniable.

The third distinction is geographical - and here I again exclude Palm Springs. With mountain ranges on the north, east, and southwest, there is a clear boundary that separates Corona from, say, Yorba Linda. Now some could argue that the Jurupa Hills serve to divide San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, and there is a clear division further east between Moreno Valley and Redlands, but I submit that hills are hills and mountains are mountains. When was the last time that Caltrans closed Sierra Avenue between Fontana and Rubidoux due to snow?

So I'll argue that the Inland Empire is one.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Follow-up on my local cluelessness

Earlier today, I shared a post in which I confessed that I wasn't aware of the investigation into Upland mayor - now former mayor - John Pomierski.

Later in the day on February 22 - presumably below his furlocation - David Allen weighed in on the episode, drawing parallels between Pomierski's departure from office and the departures/possible departures of others.

My theory is that, in a last-ditch effort to cling to power, Pomierski had ordered Upland's air force to bomb San Antonio Heights. But pilots at Cable Airport had refused to carry out his order, since that would have required them to put down their coffee cups at Maniac Mike's Cafe.


Akin to another past leader of renown, I like to imagine Pomierski flashing a "V" for victory sign and waving farewell from the City Hall lawn as the emergency medical helicopter - the Upland equivalent of Marine One - carried him away.

But Allen did turn serious when discussing the ramifications of Pomierski's resignation.

[H]is departure, while overdue, was the right thing to do. The eight-month investigation by the FBI and IRS had cost Pomierski his legitimacy and his insistence on remaining was distracting everyone.

Except, of course, for yours truly - the clueless one.

Be sure to read the rest of Allen's column here.

In which I confess my local cluelessness

I was at the Daily Bulletin web site, reading David Allen's article about the new cell phone that he recently bought - his first. Allen spoke of the reactions that he received when he told people that he didn't have a cell phone - in short, people thought that he was a weird specimen from a prior era.

But I ended up discovering that Allen is more clued in about things than I am.

To the side of Allen's column, the Bulletin included a link to an article announcing the resignation of Upland's mayor. The article, written late in the morning on February 22, started as follows:

Upland Mayor John Pomierski resigned this morning from his position as mayor, according to an Upland news release.

I wondered why Pomierski resigned, and the answer came in the fourth paragraph.

Pomierski has been identified as the target of an FBI investigation into alleged corruption in the city of Upland.

In June of last year, FBI and IRS agents confiscated records from Upland City Hall and Pomierski's home, where his construction business is based. They also took records from J.H. Builders in Upland and Venture West Capital in Rancho Cucamonga.

Read the rest of the story for more details. The substance of the story is no surprise - corruption in a city is not unknown - but the surprising thing is that I, living in a city right next to Upland, knew nothing of this. The story's been going on for several months, and I didn't know about it.

It's sad when I don't realize what's going on in my own neighborhood.

And I even have a cell phone. And a netbook.