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.

A book talk in Ontario

Your humble scribe spoke July 16 in Ontario at the Chaffey Community Museum of Art downtown, jointly sponsored by the museum and Ontario Heritage. I didn’t know what to expect, especially after the Facebook invite said “0 going, 0 interested,” and settled in to my 90-minute book signing with some reading material close at hand.

But a steady stream of customers walked up, and I met some nice people, or renewed acquaintances with others. I sold 25 books, signed a 26th that someone brought in and didn’t have a break.

The talk followed, with 30 in the audience. I talked a little, read a column from each of my two books and took questions about my career (peaking), my early interest in writing (adorable) and the future of newspapers (dim). People responded to my reading with laughter, which was much-appreciated, and seemed to be paying attention and to be having a good time. I sure did.

Thanks to CCMA, Heritage and those who gave up an afternoon to listen to a newspaper guy for making this among my best-attended, and most enjoyable, book signings and talks. Photo above is by Petrina Delman of Heritage; that’s a John Svenson piece behind me, making me look good.

Below is a photo of the audience as CCMA’s Nancy DeDiemar speaks, to give you a sense of the room.

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Column: After vote split, educator picked for council

Returning to the Chino Council Chambers after the applicant interviews from last week, I watch as the City Council deadlocks on the first vote to fill a council vacancy before picking a different person on a 3-1 vote. The intrigue didn’t stop there. Also, I crack a few jokes. Because every council meeting column needs jokes. Read all about it in Friday’s column.

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Restaurant of the Week: Project Pie

Project Pie, 4711 Chino Hills Parkway (at Ramona), Chino Hills; open daily

I noticed Project Pie a year ago while heading to another restaurant within the Commons shopping center. Initially disappointed it was a pizzeria rather than a pie shop, I was open to trying it sometime. A year later, meeting a friend for lunch and a movie, Project Pie came to mind.

It’s another fast-fired pizza place, where your food is cooked in about two minutes. Project Pie has only a few locations; oddly, its website lists three (Chula Vista, Eastlake and Carlsbad) and doesn’t cite Chino Hills. Thankfully I took photos or I might wonder if I imagined the whole meal.

One eye-catching part of the interior is a long wall of quotes, great and small. They seem random, but they can be fun to read. (Pieology is the inspiration here, although its are typeset rather than seemingly hand-written.)

The menu is pizza (most are $9) and salads ($4.50 to $8.50). You can build your own pizza, or choose from the pre-selected options, most of which are white pies, without tomato sauce.

I got the No. 4: sliced tomatoes, basil, mozzarella, parmesan and garlic. Its crust was crisp and charred, more so than at other such places. While I still prefer Blaze to its competitors, including Pieology, Project Pie was among the better ones I’ve tried.

My friend got a spinach salad (spinach, feta, bacon, mushrooms, red onions and honey mustard dressing) and added sunflower seeds. “This salad is unbelievably delicious,” she said. “It’s got so many goodies in it.”

That completed our lunch project at Project Pie.

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Paul R. Williams, architect

The pioneering African-American architect Paul R. Williams (1894-1980), responsible for some 2,000 private homes in Southern California and such landmarks as Los Angeles International Airport, the Beverly Hills Hotel and the Los Angeles County Courthouse, was posthumously awarded a Gold Medal from the American Institute of Architects in April.

Williams designed two Ontario structures, both still standing: the Robert Norman Williams home, 205 E. 6th St., above, in 1948, and the former Post Office, 125 W. Transit St., below, in 1926. The latter is now used for artist lofts and an art gallery that bears his name. Click on the links above for more on each from the late architect’s website. The home sounds particularly interesting with glass walls offering views of “multiple gardens” and custom Maloof furniture.

For the record, the web page for the 6th Street home mentions a third Ontario commission from 1935, the Alfred E. Thomas residence, with no further explanation. The city planning department and the library’s researcher looked into this for me and can’t find any reference to the home or to Thomas. Perhaps the citation for Ontario was in error. Until we hear otherwise, we’ll assume only the two structures were ever built.

Update: After my inquiry to the Williams Project website, I got this reply from its director: “The Thomas house citation is in Ontario, Canada. We will delete that reference.”

So: There are two Paul R. Williams structures in Ontario — and both are still with us. Who says Ontario doesn’t have any history?

Read about Williams on Wikipedia, his website or the AIA announcement.

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Inland Valley population, 2017

Every spring, the state Finance Department releases population estimates for California’s cities and counties. I always find the numbers of interest to see where our cities stand on their own and in relation to each other. Usually one or two numbers surprise me because I’ve forgotten how large one city or another is.

Having given up on writing an item for my column on the population numbers, as I’ve done some years, I’m putting ’em here on my blog. In descending order:

Fontana 212,786
Rancho Cucamonga 177,324
Ontario 174,283
Pomona 155,306
Chino 88,026
Chino Hills 80,676
Upland 76,790
Montclair 39,122
Claremont 36,225
La Verne 33,174

Chino’s population increased 2.7 percent, highest in the valley, over the previous year. And note the big spread between Pomona and Chino.

You can look at all the numbers starting from the department website and downloading the spreadsheet.

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Restaurant of the Week: Cream

Cream, 960 Ontario Mills Drive (at Rochester), Ontario; open daily, noon to 11 p.m. (midnight Fridays and Saturdays)

Cream is said to be an acronym for Cookies Rule Everything Around Me; the first opened in Berkeley in 2010. One came to the Ontario Mills area in 2016, sharing space in a building with a Noodle World Jr. across Rochester from the Edwards 22.

I had meant to try it at the time but forgot the whole thing until Tuesday, when I met a friend for lunch at Rubio’s (which has a new name, Rubio’s Coastal Grill, and new menu since the last time I ate at one; it’s an improvement, btw) and parked facing Cream. Walking back to my car on a hot afternoon, I decided to hit up Cream before going back to the office.

They have two dozen ice cream flavors and more than a dozen cookies (menu is on the website), with the concept being that while you can get one or the other, you really ought to make your own ice cream sandwich. In real life, the cookies are less blurry than in my photo.

I paired peanut butter twist ice cream with two peanut butter cookies ($4). There’s the option of adding toppings to the sandwich, like chocolate sauce or Nutella, many of them as a drizzle, for another 75 cents, but that sounded messy for eating by hand, so I skipped that step.

The server first warmed the cookies for me — mmmm — and the sandwich made for a nice mid-afternoon treat.

You can get your ice cream in a cone, or get your sandwich with brownies rather than cookies. Also worth noting, it’s vegan-friendly, with two soy ice cream flavors (blueberry and mint chocolate chip) and three vegan cookies, as well as three gluten-free cookies.

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Column: Bookstore’s reopening binds community after tragedy

Just as I was trying to figure out what to say about the death of Dwain Kaiser, the bookstore owner in downtown Pomona who was shot to death July 3, along comes a more positive angle. The store reopened Saturday thanks to his wife, her children and volunteers, and the hope is to keep it open until the books can be sold, which may take months. “He didn’t want his books dumped. He wanted them to go to somebody,” JoAnn Kaiser said. Full story is in Wednesday’s column.

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