Ken Hunt’s abrupt departure as Fontana city manager last summer raised eyebrows. I’d been wanting to look into this and finally did, learning that although it was described blandly as a retirement, Hunt had to sign an agreement not to defame the city, and for his silence gets a full year of pay and benefits. I write about all this in Sunday’s column.
Grapes are being harvested in north Fontana off the 210 Freeway by workers for Galleano Winery. At 220 acres, it’s the largest vineyard in the Inland Valley. The grapes are great, Galleano ways, but the property’s long-term future is in doubt. I write about this age-old tradition in Wednesday’s column. Above, passerby Carly Palomar takes photos of a gondola full of grapes.
The actor dropped into the city’s In-N-Out for a meal, and was nice enough to thrill everyone with selfies and free food. I write about that in Friday’s column, as well as about consuming my last Fresh & Easy product, Ontario’s new Nativity creches and my book’s appearance in the LA Times.
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.