Sunday’s column (read it here) begins with news about Pilgrim Congregational Church’s 125th anniversary, its 1887 start preceding almost everything else in Pomona, even the city’s incorporation. I also present a few cultural items, comments about ONT and a sampling of recent tweets from my Twitter page.
El Ranchero, 9260 Haven Ave. (at 6th), Rancho Cucamonga
Famished after a Rancho Cucamonga council meeting, I despaired of finding a restaurant open at the locally ungodly hour of 9 p.m. But on my drive to the freeway, I noticed an “open” sign alight in the window of El Ranchero and made a hasty right turn.
There’s a smaller El Ranchero at 19th and Carnelian, which is a nice little mom and pop fast-food place. This is larger and newer. When I pulled in, students from the adjacent automotive trade school were congregating for a meal break.
I ordered an al pastor torta ($5.75), which came on an oval bun at least 8 inches long and was loaded with pork, refried beans, lettuce and tomatoes. Tasty and filling, it was one of the better tortas I’ve had in these parts.
With bare floors and a high, exposed ceiling, the interior is kind of cavernous, but there are plenty of windows, two flat screen TVs and four tourism poster-type paintings of Veracruz, Xochimilco, Guadalajara and, charmingly, Rancho Cucamonga. And the place is open until 10 p.m. Thanks, El Ranchero.
Friday’s column (read it here) is about that night’s Spring Concert by the Pomona Concert Band, in which a British composer’s symphony will make its world premiere. Unusual enough to lure me to a rehearsal to find out what this London-Pomona connection was all about. Here’s the band’s website for more information on them.
A colleague told me how much she enjoyed listening to Rancho Cucamonga reporter Wendy Leung (who has since left for breezier pastures in Ventura County) and me volley back and forth from our desks. With that in mind, I scribbled down a recent exchange that will give you an idea of the kind of warped minds at work in a newsroom.
It began when I overheard an editor asking the status of a “Huff piece,” a story on Bob Huff, the state senator. I remarked to Wendy that “Huff piece” sounds a lot like “puff piece,” a derogatory expression for a needlessly flattering story.
Me: “Can one write a puff piece on Huff?”
Her: “Any piece on marijuana is a puff piece.”
Me: “What about a piece on ‘Puff the Magic Dragon’?”
Her: “That’s a puff Puff piece.”
Me: “A piece on a certain school in the Harry Potter series could be a Hufflepuff piece.”
Her: “Only if Hilary Duff is in it.”
It ended there, thankfully for the English language, before we could debate the merits of puff pieces on puff pastry or H.R. Pufnstuf.
Wednesday’s column (read it here) is about last Friday’s appearance at Victoria Gardens of Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston, author of “Farewell to Manzanar,” a memoir about her childhood at the Manzanar internment camp for Japanese Americans during World War II. The Rancho Cucamonga Library brought her here. That’s Houston above, flanked by Robert Karatsu, library director.
Without my noticing, the library’s Michelle Perera snapped a couple of photos of me interviewing people, which she shared. What the heck, I’m including them here. At right, I’m chatting with Tayeko Hashitsume, a Manzanar internee. Below, I’m interviewing Wakatsuki Houston. Editors, please note the blur in my right arm as I hasten to scribble down a pithy comment!
Incidentally, my knees may never forgive me for all the squatting. With no chairs handy, I didn’t see any other way to conduct the interviews politely.
A belated but thoughtful comment was posted by reader Stephen on my April 27 column, “Let’s give some ink to newspapers’ role.” I tried to respond in kind. Those of you who love or are indifferent to the print version of newspapers might find the exchange of interest, and your own thoughts are welcome, of course. Find it here.
The august Wall Street Journal last week covered the struggle for control of Ontario International Airport (find story here), focusing on the juicy detail that Tommy Lasorda was hired as pitchman for the anti-L.A. side. (We’ll see if that effort has more sustained success than Lasorda’s Slim-Fast ads.) Here are the first four paragraphs of Tamara Audi’s piece:
“ONTARIO, Calif.–The Ontario International Airport, 35 miles east of Los Angeles, offers nonstop flights to just 15 cities. Daily departures have plummeted to 62, less than half the number five years ago.
“The international airport has one nonstop passenger flight out of the country, a three-hour trip to Guadalajara, Mexico. Security officials stand around waiting for a passenger to screen, coffee shops and bookstores are empty, and the runways are quiet enough to hear the rustle of trees and birds chirping.
“Ontario city officials believe part of the problem is the airport’s ownership by Los Angeles and have waged a long battle to wrest back control of it. The campaign hadn’t gained much buzz in L.A., until locals recently brought in a pinch hitter: Tommy Lasorda.
“The 84-year-old Baseball Hall of Famer has pitched for the Dodgers, the antacid tablet Rolaids, the diet drink Slim-Fast and 1990s videogame-maker Sega Genesis. Still, Mr. Lasorda’s latest pitch–on behalf of a struggling regional airport fighting for independence from Los Angeles–is out of left field.”
Ontario’s marketing coup made for good copy. Also worth reading are the online comments, some from disgruntled ONT fliers who’ve watched the airport wither. Be warned, however, that the accompanying video will, over the course of nearly 4 minutes, make you think less of the WSJ.
(Our own Liset Marquez had the Lasorda story weeks ago, of course, but Wall Street Journal coverage gave it a national profile.)
* Update: I was misinformed as to the source of the second press release. It was forwarded to us by Ontario, but they now say it was circulating internally within Los Angeles World Airports and made its way to them. “We don’t know who actually penned it,” says Paul Haney, Ontario’s PR guy. While I’m disappointed (if not surprised) that Ontario gets its sense of humor secondhand, it’s interesting that even within LAWA, someone must be rolling their eyes at the official importance placed on the shuffling of duties. I struck the mistaken wording below.
Ontario Someone has deployed a new weapon in the attempt to take back Ontario International Airport from LA: sarcasm.
Responding to a press release from Los Angeles World Airports about a change in the management structure of the airport,
the city sent out someone wrote their own tongue-in-cheek announcement reflecting the view that the change is akin to rearranging the deck chairs on … well, see for yourself. (I added all the photos.)
First, the top half of the LAWA press release:
REPORTING STRUCTURE CHANGE ANNOUNCED
FOR LA/ONTARIO INTERNATIONAL AND VAN NUYS AIRPORTS
(Los Angeles, California – April 30, 2012) In an effort to provide increased coordination between divisions and improve continuity at Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), Executive Director Gina Marie Lindsey has announced a structural change in reporting that involves two LAWA airports: LA/Ontario International (ONT) and Van Nuys (VNY) general aviation.
Effectively immediately, Jess Romo, airport manager of both facilities, will report to LAWA’s Chief Operating Officer Steve Martin in an effort to align the expanded duties
associated with his position.
“It has become clear that the daily management demands at both airports have moved progressively and significantly beyond the confines of Airport Operations,” Lindsey said. “Management oversight at ONT and VNY airports includes an ever-expanding set of requirements in areas of public and community relations, effective tenant and stakeholder relations, resource allocation, budget controls and ONT air service development.”
“Jess will actively participate in the ONT Task Force, along with other LAWA executive staff, and will take an active role in determining service levels from other divisions at the two airports for which he has accountability,” Lindsey added.
All other reporting relationships at the two airports remain unchanged.
Ontario bootleg version:
REPORTING STRUCTURE CHANGE ANNOUNCED
FOR RMS OLYMPIC AND RMS TITANTIC STEAMSHIPS
(Liverpool, England – April 14, 1912) In an effort to provide increased coordination between divisions and improve continuity at White Star Lines, Managing Director and Chairman Bruce Isman announced a structural change in reporting that involves two White Star Lines ships: RMS Olympic and RMS Titantic.
Effectively immediately, Captain Edward John Smith, captain of the two ships, will report to White Star’s Chief Operating Officer in an effort to align the expanded duties associated with his position.
“It has become clear that the daily management demands of both ships have moved progressively and significantly beyond the confines of White Star Operations,” Isman said. “Management oversight of the Olympic and Titanic ships includes an ever-expanding set of requirements in areas of public and community relations, effective
passenger and stakeholder relations, resource allocation, budget controls and steamship market development.”
“Captain Smith will actively participate in the Titantic Task Force, along with other White Star executive staff, and will take an active role in determining service levels from other divisions at the two ships for which he has accountability,” Isman added.
All other reporting relationships at the two ships remain unchanged.
While not quite worthy of the Onion, it’s certainly worthy of my blog. Thanks for the chuckle,
Ontario Anonymous. Oh, and good luck to both Jess Romo and Captain Smith on their promotions!
Sunday’s column (read it here) is about last week’s Rancho Cucamonga council meeting, which was attended by a screech owl (on the arm of the city’s animal services director) and citizens offering comments on a wide array of topics. In more serious news, City Hall recently had its first layoffs in almost two decades.