About David Allen

A journalist for nearly 30 years, David Allen has been chronicling the Inland Valley for the Daily Bulletin since 1997 and blogging since 2007. His first book, "Pomona A to Z," was published in 2014. E-mail David here. Read recent columns here.

Green arches in Pomona


Driving on an unfamiliar stretch of Pomona’s Orange Grove Avenue recently, I spotted this unusual feature on the south side of the street. On the way back, I pulled over for photos. The greenery is at the T-intersection with Casa Vista Drive. There are six arches, as seen above; from across the street, below, only five could be squeezed into one photo. I wonder what the story is on them and how they were formed.


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‘Mannix’ in Pomona


This undated Progress-Bulletin clipping was scanned and sent to me by Ren. Actor Mike Connors was in Pomona one summer day to film a scene for a “Mannix” episode in which his private eye character Joe Mannix returns to his hometown, Sumner Grove, to help an old friend in trouble.

Filming was done in front of the old City Hall, since torn down. “Cries of ‘hey, there’s Mannix’ were common as secretaries left the office for an extended coffee break,” the story relates. The Prog office would have been only a block or two from the filming.

“Mannix” aired from 1967 to 1975 on CBS, lasting eight seasons. It looks likely that this was the third season episode “Return to Sumner Grove,” which aired Oct. 11, 1969. Here’s the IMDB summary.

* Never mind: Microfilm research by the Pomona Public Library’s Allan Lagumbay pins the date of the article as June 16, 1971, which means the filming was for a fifth-season episode.

I don’t know that I ever watched the series; at one point it aired the same time as “The Night Gallery,” which I watched when allowed to. The AV Club wrote an appreciation of the series here.

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Column: In Pomona mayor’s race, competing calls for change, stability


The campaign for mayor of Pomona is unexpectedly interesting this year, as it’s the first two-person race in years, and the challenger to the incumbent is putting in a strong effort. Sunday’s column delves into the race. And as noted at the end, there’ll be a fun follow-up column, probably Wednesday.

Above, Tim Sandoval, left, and Elliott Rothman speak to people after the Oct. 14 debate. This was the best I could do to get them both in one frame. I’m still kicking myself that I was seated too far back to catch what would have been a cute photo, as the debate ended with the flu-ridden Rothman not shaking hands with Sandoval, but bumping elbows. Heh.

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Column: Firehouse Inn: once elegant, now trashed


I collected a bunch of history on the beloved Pomona restaurant, Firehouse Inn, last year with hopes of getting a tour of the place, which has been closed for decades and is at least theoretically on the market. But despite a promise, the tour never happened and neither did the column, although I did write a blog post.

Just when I was thinking, for the umpteenth time, that maybe I should try to get back to that idea, neighbors scheduled a protest last Saturday outside the property about its condition. (See above.) And then, driving past on Wednesday, I saw a cleanup. Finally, a reason to write this up! It’s Friday’s column. Here’s the link.

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Restaurant of the Week: The Flinderstreet Cafe


The Flinderstreet Cafe, 5483 Philadelphia St. (at Central), Chino; open weekdays 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturdays 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sundays 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Apparently named for a street in Melbourne, Flinderstreet Cafe is located within Chino Town Square shopping center just above the 60 Freeway. It has a Target, Burlington, laser tag and more, but also some empty storefronts.

It’s not where you would expect to find a cute, locally owned cafe, but there it is, open since November 2015. I wouldn’t have known Flinderstreet existed except for a friend. I invited her to meet me for lunch since she’s a regular.


Inside, there are high-top and standard tables, plus a sofa under a sign reading “Relax.” The menu has sandwiches (grinders, paninis, wraps), pasta, salads and, reflecting the cafe’s Down Under inspiration, an Australian meat pie. They make coffees and teas, and a few bakery items, including macarons ($2). The pricing is simple: all pastas are $7.50, grinders $8.50, paninis $8.90, for instance.


I got a chicken pesto panini. Side choices were housemade chips, salad or, with a small upgrade, soup; I went with the soup. (With iced tea, the tab was $14.47.) My sandwich was okay, my soup, Toscana, better. My friend got a vegetable panini with salad and liked both, and an iced latte ($3.50).



You order at the counter, but after we sat down, an employee came by with a basket of cookies, for us to pick one each. I took ginger snap. “They always greet you with cookies,” my friend confided.

Now who wouldn’t like a place like that? It’s tough enough to get greeted in a restaurant, much less with cookies.

At this writing, the cafe has just more than 300 reviews on Yelp and a five-star rating, not an easy feat to pull off. Flinderstreet is worth the effort to find it.


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Column: He’s still a champion for Chino


He arrived in Chino in 1956 to buy the city’s weekly newspaper. Sixty years later, Al McCombs still owns the Champion and goes into the office daily. Of his newspaper, he says: “I think it makes a difference.” Wednesday’s column tells his story. Above, McCombs is seen in his office; below, he’s looking at  a 1949 photo of himself, among the memorabilia in the Champion’s conference room.


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Classroom conversation


Last Wednesday, I took questions from students in Maria Zavala’s Journalism 1 class at Claremont High. We talked about my use of social media, my favorite topics and columns, my student days, writing habits and more. Only one reads a print newspaper, by the way. I thank them for their politeness and interest. Even the boy who had his head on his desk most of my visit perked up to ask a question.

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Column: Desert Trip in Pomona: Neil Young rocks the Fox


I was there Wednesday night when Neil Young performed in Pomona. (I wasn’t there Thursday night when Neil came back for Night 2.) Friday’s column is about the experience. Here are two bonus photos. And the setlist — 24 songs! — can be viewed here courtesy of Sugar Mountain.

* Setlists, commentary and videos can be seen via JamBase for Wednesday’s show and also for Thursday’s, in which Neil performed 18 songs, only six of them repeats from Wednesday. Maybe I should’ve gone back.


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Restaurant of the Week: Foster’s Freeze, Glendora


Foster’s Freeze, 418 W. Foothill Blvd. (at Grand), Glendora

In Glendora a few months ago I spotted this old-fashioned Foster’s Freeze and my Americana-lovin’ heart skipped a beat. There are said to be 88 freestanding Foster’s left in California, many of which are in classic buildings. One that I liked in downtown San Luis Obispo, I just learned, closed in 2014. The chain started in 1946 in Inglewood, and that one, at 999 S. La Brea Blvd., is said to still be in business; based on Google Street View, it looks original.

Typically, you have to go to an El Pollo Loco for Foster’s Freeze, and then all they have is ice cream. The Glendora location turns out to be the closest freestanding Foster’s to the Inland Valley.

On a recent hot Sunday afternoon, Foster’s came to mind and I made the drive. The low-slung building with the covered patio and walk-up window seems very 1960s. (Employees had no idea when it opened.) And is that a phone booth out front? Next door is an Alta Dena Dairy with an awesome sign.


As Foster’s has a small dining room, and air conditioning was desirable, I ordered and ate inside: a small hamburger and a pineapple shake ($7.56 total with tax). It was a decent burger with a crunchy sheaf of lettuce, and the shake hit the spot. In an unusual touch, a wall-sized chalkboard allows customers to scrawl a friendly message. I’d have taken a photo but someone was sitting in front of it in the otherwise-empty room.

If you like this sort of thing, by all means check out Foster’s. I’m sure I’ll go back.



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