As reported the other day, the mayor of Fontana was seated next to President Trump at an infrastructure summit. How did that come about? Did they interact? I quizzed Acquanetta Warren on her close encounter and she did not disappoint. That makes up Friday’s column — along with an item of historical interest from Rancho Cucamonga.
Above, Trump holds up a cap that Warren gave him as Florida Gov. Rick Scott looks on. Below, Warren’s quick shot of the nameplates, soon-to-be-infamous notepad in the center. (The column explains why.)
A woman named Davida Lawson of Fontana brought a keepsake into our office to show me: an autograph book in which she had signatures of 13 players or staffers with the 1977 Los Angeles Rams. Among them: Joe Namath (above) and Pat Haden (below). She also got Rusty Jackson, Rod Perry, John Williams, Willie Miller and more.
She and her fiance were living in Fullerton as he studied and worked in the cafeteria at Cal State Fullerton, where the Rams had their training camp that year. Players and staffers ate in the cafeteria and signatures were obtained.
“Pat Haden was so good-looking back then,” Lawson said. And she was charmed by Namath, who was in his first season with the Rams, at the tail-end of his career; by the season’s fourth game, he was done.
The Rams are headed back to L.A. — as you may have heard.
In Friday’s column, we get an update on the plans announced in 2013 to name a street in Fontana after native son Sammy Hagar — which is that the development still isn’t built. After that: three Culture Corner items and a Valley Vignette about, of all people, a presidential candidate’s wife with a local tie.
Wednesday’s column marks the 70th anniversary of a sad tale, a hate crime memorialized time and again in the press and yet evidently still unknown to most, if those quoted in Cassie MacDuff’s Press Enterprise column last week are to be believed. Here’s my version of the story. Above, O’Day Short; below, Helen Short and the couple’s two children, Carol Ann and Barry.
That was the headline on the lead letter in today’s LA Times letters section. The letter reads:
“My young children and I watched the televised rally Monday celebrating the L.A. Kings’ Stanley Cup victory, while my husband and older children attended at Staples Center.
“What a surprise when Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti stood to congratulate the Kings and fans and quipped that a politician shouldn’t be heard swearing, but then proceeded to use the worst of all obscenities. How appalling that a leader in a position to positively influence a community would feel it appropriate to resort to such degrading language on a national stage.
“Language should be uplifting and clean. To resort to obscenities signals a weak mind incapable of expressing intelligent thoughts and emotions in appropriate ways.
“Mayor Garcetti, please refrain from making any statements publicly if you cannot control your potty mouth. My children are listening.”
Stinging — and I reproduce it here because the writer is Julie Bourgeous of Fontana.
While I don’t entirely agree with her, I still think it’s awesome that the leader of America’s second-largest city was upbraided for boorish behavior by someone from the sticks.
Sunday’s column is about my visit on Friday, Nov. 22, to the monument to President John F. Kennedy outside Fontana City Hall. The photo was taken in front of the planter box along Sierra Avenue.
In a milestone for Fontana, new population statistics show the city has topped 200,000. Wednesday’s column has more, as well as updated stats for our other cities — see how yours compares! — and a few unrelated short items.
James Rodriguez of Fontana spotted the above scene on Foothill Boulevard just west of Bono’s restaurant and orange stand. As you can see more clearly below, the figure is a mannequin, one who seems perpetually on the verge of crossing into traffic. “Whenever I pass it,” Rodriguez says, “I notice everybody, especially the men, do double takes.”
The business is named There is a Difference Auto Body and Glass. Rodriguez took a vehicle in to be painted and found out more. “I asked if the mannequin had a name and was told her name is Lola, and they actually shop for her wardrobe.” He confirmed that by looking up the address on Google street view, where he saw Lola in a red dress.
“By the way I would like to give plug for this shop. They did an excellent job painting my 2008 black Suburban,” Rodriguez adds.
I made a rare drive on Fontana’s Foothill Boulevard one evening recently and noticed these new light poles on the south side of the street for several blocks along the western portion of the city. Snazzy, eh? I couldn’t resist pulling over to snap a photo.
Yes, apparently I am a light pole geek. These may be the most ornate I’ve seen locally.
Amy Colbrunn of Fontana City Hall says the poles cost $5,000 apiece and were installed to improve the aesthetics of the old Route 66, similar to efforts in Rancho Cucamonga and Upland.
And by the way, if any local city has development potential, it’s Fontana. Foothill has surprisingly vast swaths of open land and derelict buildings. So did Rancho Cucamonga, once upon a time…
I didn’t know until my colleague Louis Brewster’s column today in Sports that Hugo Zacchini, “a former Fontana resident, commonly is credited with being the first human cannonball.” The Peruvian native died in 1975. His father, Ildebrando Zacchini, is said to have invented the compressed-air cannon used to propel humans in circus acts.
Well, for what it’s worth, Wikipedia repeats the story. Brewster just passed by my desk and I asked him about it. When he was growing up in Fontana, all the kids knew about Hugo Zacchini, who kept a cannon in his backyard.
I don’t know how this ties in with Emanuel Zacchini Sr., who according to his 1993 New York Times obituary was brought to the U.S. from Italy in 1934 by John Ringling, created a human cannonball act with his brothers (none of whom were named Hugo) and set a record in 1940 by traveling 175 feet at 54 mph. He was subject of the song “The Human Cannonball” by Loudon Wainwright III.
Flyin’ Zacchinis must be as common as zucchinis.