Pride in Pomona

The Metrolink station in north Pomona has a nifty new piece of public art. It looks like a railroad water tower and has vintage-style images on two sides. Metrolink dispatches all its trains in six counties from an adjacent facility there in Pomona — yet another feather in Pomona’s cap — and is upgrading its communication and dispatch system.

The agency first proposed a simple, bare antenna for the station off Garey Avenue, between Bonita Avenue and Arrow Highway. City Hall, unimpressed, made a counter-offer.

“We wanted a better design and suggested a water tower with orange crate labels reminiscent of the old citrus packing labels of the area. They agreed,” said Mark Lazzaretto, the city’s community development director. “Our Cultural Arts Commission eventually chose the two images on the tower from a few samples that Metro provided. It was built within the last few weeks. Cool, huh?”

Indeed. Above is the view on the west side; below is the east side view. That station, located in an industrial area, was previously rather bleak, but with a new platform and expanded parking lot installed a couple of years ago, and now this tower, things are looking up. Good job all around.

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Your two cents: “Liberal a-holes…”

In Friday’s column I wrote: “While it was no shock that Barack Obama won a second term, and won California, did you know he carried San Bernardino County? He got 51 percent to Romney’s 46 percent. Remember that the next time you read those anti-Obama, ‘wake up, America’ letters on our Opinion page. They don’t reflect majority sentiment.”

A voice mail left on my phone Friday morning from an anonymous caller before I got into the office, quoted in full: “Liberal a-holes spent eight years writing about Bush in the Bulletin letters section. I never heard you remind them he won the popular vote in San Bernardino County. Why was that? C’mon, put down your Obama poster and get out of bed. Fool.”

My point was that Obama carrying conservative San Bernardino County was a surprise. I don’t think Bush carrying conservative San Bernardino County surprised anyone, did it?

Reasonable people may disagree — question: are there any reasonable people left? — but I did enjoy additionally pointing out that, given the 909’s reputation, we must not be as Republican as we used to be. I was directing the comment partly to the rabid Obama-haters that they ought not to assume everyone agrees with them, but also to those on the other side of the fence, who might appreciate the perspective that a majority locally may agree with them.

Anyone want to toss in their two cents on this fellow’s two cents?

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Restaurant of the Week: House of Wings

House of Wings, 2317 D. St. (at 3rd), La Verne

When the Ellsworth’s Stationers store closed in the heart of downtown La Verne, it was replaced by a restaurant and sports bar featuring chicken wings, a change dramatic enough to be worth writing a letter about (better go to Staples for the paper, pen and envelope, though).

I’m not a wing guy, nor have I ever acted as a wingman, but I’ve been to House of Wings, which opened in April 2012, a couple of times with friends. We were struck on our first visit by the arresting photo-mural of a woman’s eyes, as well as the club-like atmosphere and electronic dance music soundtrack. It was as if we’d wandered into a hip spot in L.A., not L.V. This makes sense, as the owners also have a wings place in Hollywood.

The wings are pretty good. Priced 5 for $5, 12 for $10 or 16 for $12, they have various marinades to choose from. I’ve had the lemon pepper recently (below) and liked it. (I hadn’t intended to eat any and ended up eating four, or was it five?)

I returned on my own for lunch. The menu has salads, sandwiches and wraps and heartier entrees such as a steak, beef stroganoff and shrimp dishes. I had a wild mushroom burger ($11, pictured), a half-pound burger with fries (or salad). In these days of premade patties, it often seems like the only decent handmade burgers are at bars and cost 10 bucks or above. The House of Wings version is worth it.

They have more than 20 flatscreens, sound off, in a clean, minimalist, dimly lighted space. There’s a full bar with 16 beers on tap and 16 in bottles. House of Wings is popular with the ULV crowd — the campus is only a block away — and it’s a good addition to downtown. You might even want to write home about it.

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Bleak present

When I shot the photo recently of all the campaign (and other) signs at Fourth and Via Asti, west of Ontario Mills, I was struck by the dead office building there and the state of the landscaping. Part of the Piemonte master planned development, the building, circa 2006, is kind of snazzy but appears entirely vacant, the parking lot is cracked and weeds are about the only thing growing from the dirt.

A few yards to the southeast lies the Best Buy that closed earlier this year; east of that is the still-operating Target, El Pollo Loco and other businesses hanging in there despite the housing crash that prevented hundreds of dwellings from being built to the south. The business center above is our own little ghost town. Call it Ontario’s answer to Bodie.

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Early bird gets the joke at Upland cafe

Wednesday’s column (read it here), due as it was at mid-day Tuesday, avoids election topics. It begins with a long item about some customer byplay at Rabi’s Cafe in Upland on the morning after the time change. After that comes an item on Isabel Allende’s appearance (via webcam) in Pomona, a couple of cultural notes and an anecdote about actor Richard Kiel that involves Ontario.

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Blog update

This blog is getting back on track. The Category listings returned last week, allowing you to search for local restaurants by city again, look at funny photos and what have you. The search function up at the top works. Still waiting on the Links blogroll, an RSS feed* and a few other bells and whistles, as well as for the “Just another insidesocal Sites site” line to vanish from the top. Be patient; our online overlords have dozens of sites across the L.A. basin to attend to.

For you social media mavens, a button to find my Twitter page is brand new, and you can find a bewildering array of buttons at the end of each post to share it in any of 10 (!) ways, including by good ol’ email.

If you’ve tried leaving a comment, you’ve found we’re now using a system called Disqus. (As in, “discuss.”) You do have to create a password, but that’s as tricky as it gets. No more of the Captcha unreadable-text-in-a-box to transcribe. Disqus evidently keeps out the spammers, at least it has so far, and that’s good news; previously I was deleting a couple of dozen spam comments per day.

Feel free to comment on any of the changes if you like, and if you’re having difficulty here, email me at david (dot) allen (at)

* Reader Carl Knecht says that while the old RSS feed is dead, he found the new one:

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