Column: Former developer embraces role at City Hall

Phil Burum (and if that last name rings a bell, he’s Jeff’s brother) left housing development to work for Fontana City Hall as deputy city manager in charge of planning and building. That’s an unusual transition, from the private to the public sector. I sit down with him to hear about his background, why he made this leap and what’s envisioned for the city of 220,000. That’s the subject of my Wednesday column.

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Column: Fontana meets goal of a new sports park

Just when I’d gotten interested in giving Fontana more coverage early in 2020, everything shut down. So much for that. But I was back in the city this week for the opening of a sports park on the edge of downtown. Remarks by a mayor, balloons, a ribbon cutting — it was nice to be at a civic event again. I write about that, with a couple of other items, in Friday’s column.

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Column: Fontana hires its first new city manager this century

I was back in the Fontana Council Chambers this week for a meeting at which a city manager, the first new one since 1999, was hired. His name is Mark Denny and he’s from Dana Point. I write about him and a few fun moments from the meeting in Friday’s column.

Btw, in our interview after the meeting ended, he got in the first question: “Are you going to update your food blog?” My mouth probably fell open. He grinned. The man does his research.

He says he’s a fan of “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” prefers family-owned restaurants to chains and had already eaten at El Gallo Giro, one of only a handful of restaurants in the city about which I’ve blogged, and which he called “fantastic.”

I’ll have to hit some more restaurants in Fontana, if only to ensure the city’s top executive doesn’t go hungry. Before the meeting, I pulled into a taqueria for a future Restaurant of the Week.

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Column: Retired city manager is on payroll into 2021

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.

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Column: Workers crush it during grape harvest in Fontana

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.

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Column: Fontana mayor had seat at the table — by president

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.)

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