Bird scooters in Pomona trashed (not really)

Above, an Instagram post by John Pena, as seen on Eye on Pomona

One Pomona business owner who considered the arrival of Bird scooters on his property a scourge took matters into his own hands.

John Pena, who owns the Mission Promenade mixed-use center at Mission and Garey, wasn’t happy to see the scooters on his property, where a sign reads “No skateboards, no bikes.” He called the city and learned Bird had no permits.

(The company dropped scooters off around the city overnight Tuesday and then alerted City Hall that it would apply for permission, as my colleague Liset Marquez reported.)

I happened to be sitting by Pena at a luncheon event at the Sheraton on Thursday and he told me about the scooters. He said he had phoned Bird on Wednesday asking that the scooters be removed and the company assured him it would do so. Two hours later, he phoned again and they told him they’d already collected them. No, they hadn’t.

Pena said if the scooters weren’t gone in two hours, he’d throw them in the trash. That got no response either.

He didn’t want to damage them, so no throwing was involved. Instead, he placed the eight scooters upright in the trash enclosure and texted a photo to Bird.

“Guess what? Two hours later, they were gone,” Pena said. “They probably thought I was bluffing, but I wasn’t bluffing. And now this morning they’re gone. So they understood.”

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Column: In last act, Upland City Council hires city manager

I’d have attended Monday’s Upland City Council meeting simply because council members were set to hire a city manager, and the first woman in the job to boot. But then the anticipated move became controversial because the lame-duck council was doing something so important. I report the results of another contentious, weird and sad Upland council meeting in Wednesday’s column.

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Remembering Owl Drug

This vivid photo of the old Owl Drug Co. in Pomona was posted by Darin Kuna on his fabulous Growing Up in Pomona in the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s Facebook page.

The view of the storefront was a landscape photo, so large Darin split it in two. (The man’s sleeve is barely visible above on the right, with his complete figure seen below.) Click on either photo for a bigger view.

As the car is said to be a 1938 Plymouth coupe, the photo may date to that year or thereabouts.

The Rexall store was at 102 E. 2nd St., which I believe was the southeast corner of Garey and 2nd. It’s long gone and that lot is now a parking lot.

In the comments on Facebook, Elizabeth Cole said she remembers the store from childhood and “how beautiful” it was. “When you entered it, it had a tobacco counter, made of polished dark wood, with the smell of all kinds of tobacco and pipes with a person selling it inside,” she wrote.

A mysterious sign on the door advertising “Hot Chemm” was explained by Kenny Soper: “Hot Chemm was a vitamin food drink that was sold at drug store fountains. It was something new around the time this photo was taken.”

Another interesting feature is the ramp visible from the sidewalk into the street, meant, Kuna tells me, to allow pedestrians to cross in wet weather without stepping into a puddle or stream of water. Must have made for an obstacle for cars like that Plymouth trying to pull into traffic.

Also, I asked about the striking building visible in the reflection of the sign next to the word “Co.” See that ornate tower?

That, Kuna says, was the Pomona Implement Co., located on the northwest corner of 3rd and Garey, opposite the Fox on the southwest corner and the Mayfair on the northeast corner. He had a photo of that, too. The towers were sheared off in a later remodel and the building was, alas, torn down in the early 1970s. It’s remained a parking lot — there’s a lot of that going around in this post — for the adjacent bank ever since.

How that’s for a blast of Pomona architectural history?

UPDATE:¬†Soper adds via Facebook: “I don’t know if you are aware of it or not, but the 2nd floor of the Pomona Implement Co. building was the location of the Municipal Court. The entrance to the courtroom was through the stairway on the south side (Third St.), which is behind the tree in your photo. One of the judges was Harry Westgate whose home was on the southwest corner of Lincoln and Washington. It was later the home of Jon Provost.”

More proof that everything is connected, or at least everything I’ve ever written about.

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Restaurant of the Week: Claro’s Italian Market, Upland

Claro’s Italian Market, 1655 N. Mountain Ave. (at 16th), Upland; open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday; closed Wednesday

You know how it is: Sometimes there’s a long-lived, beloved restaurant that you always mean to try, but you never get around to it. Claro’s was like that for me. I knew where it was, but it’s rare that I pass by on North Mountain, and since it’s a market, seating might be an issue. It was always a “one day I’ll check it out” kind of place for me.

But then a friend in the San Gabriel Valley brought up Claro’s to me, as there are a few out that way. This was two weeks ago, on what was looking to be the the last hot stretch we were likely to have in 2018. Since the heat was such that eating outdoors would be comfortable for your easily chilled blogger, I resolved to make a special trip for lunch that Friday before inspiration faded.

Claro’s is larger than I’d have expected, the deli area busy with employees preparing catering orders and fulfilling a long grocery list of the other mid-afternoon customer, who ordered a pound or half-pound of multiple deli meats. The store, incidentally, has pasta, sauces, canned tomatoes and many other Italian items — as probably everyone reading this has known for years.

The young man taking my order suggested the Grandpa Joe as the deli’s most popular sandwich. It’s got salami, capocolla, provolone, lettuce, tomatoes, pepperocini and dressing on a (what else?) Italian roll. Price is $7 for a small or $8.49 for a large. So obviously I got the large.

I paid at the register and also bought a $1.20 cookie, which, charmingly, rang up on the receipt as “Delicious Claro’s cookies,” and a Pepsi, then took it all out to one of the half-dozen outdoor tables, situated under the broad awning. Customers came and went from the store, some grabbing a small shopping cart before entering.

The capocolla and pepperocini provided a nice kick that cut through the other fillings like Willie Nelson’s voice through your speakers. The roll was soft and crusty. The result¬†was delicious, possibly the best such cold deli sandwich in the Inland Valley.

Half a sandwich would have been fine, by the way, but I went ahead and finished it. And the cookie did not make a liar out of the receipt.

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