Sunday column preview

I had a farewell lunch with Norma Torres, the assemblywoman-elect and outgoing mayor of Pomona, on Wednesday. When we set it up, I wasn’t sure if I would actually interview her or just talk with her privately to pry loose the inside scoop on City Hall. For better or worse, by the time I pulled off the freeway in Pomona I decided to interview her. (City Hall: “Whew.”)

You can read the results Sunday. We talked about all sorts of topics, including Barack Obama, whom she met twice in early 2007, introduced by a campaign consultant. “We couldn’t get anybody to talk to him. It was all about Hillary,” Torres said. And about the Assembly, where as a Democrat she is pleased to be in the majority, while lamenting the rigid party structure that makes reaching out to the other party difficult. And about her time as mayor, where she admits she didn’t accomplish all that much, in part because she didn’t have much support on the City Council, even after replacing two members with Torres-friendly newcomers.

But space didn’t permit me to go into any of that. In fact, her tenure as mayor gets only two sentences! (Torres: “Whew.”) Rather than rehash her time in Pomona in superficial fashion, I opted to focus on aspects of her personal story, the most compelling thing in my notes and of the most interest to a general audience.

People in Pomona have their minds made up on her, anyway. I did, however, give her a letter grade. Feel free to leave your own grade below. But be nice.

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  • Zoe

    I am glad to see her go and it’s a shame she won the Assembly seat. Grade F. We need a mayor that is tough, really tough on crime. Gangbanger heaven and sanctuary city, NO MORE. Elliott, you have our support. Let’s get the job done!!

    [If Torres is an F, what was Donna Smith? I’ll remind readers that Pomona is not a “sanctuary city” for illegal immigrants and that, in fact, Torres came out forcefully in favor of the police DUI checkpoints. She also pushed through a gang injunction even though police weren’t thrilled by the idea. — DA]

  • Dee

    “the rigid party structure that makes reaching out to the other party difficult.”

    George Washington’s Farewell Address warned (the country in general) against three things. (paraphrased)

    1. Don’t get too chummy with foreign nations.

    2. Don’t go into debt. (HAR)

    3. NO political parties!!!

    He said it would divide the nation.

    Sometimes I wonder if they remember they’re supposed to be making the country a better place….not just being the party in control.

  • calwatch

    C-. Didn’t really improve the city, didn’t really hamstring it either.

    Bad spots: Turning down a free bike trail because a few whiny neighbors complained; shamelessly riding the sex offender issue and milking it for all it’s worth; throwing away the General Plan that the city spent hundreds of thousands on and forcing the creation of a new one, all while the General Plan currently in force is over three decades old.

    Good spots: Kept the focus on the sex offender issue, including shutting down those massage parlors in the Lincoln Park area; preserving fire services (paid off by the firefighters’ union, of course, but fire was one of the services that potentially could have been cut); standing firm on checkpoints, while reducing some of the worst problems like those massive traffic backups that happen when they start too early.

    [There must be a fine line between “milking” the sex offender issue and “keeping the focus on” the sex offender issue. And my impression is that nobody on the council liked the draft General Plan. I agree with many of your points, though, especially the bike trail vote. — DA]