The Fontana City Council has moved its meetings from 7 p.m. to 2 p.m., a highly unusual step, after recent meetings have become unruly with protests. On Tuesday, the first such meeting, the council banned protests in front of individual homes, a response to protests in front of the mayor’s house. I attend the meeting, which let out while the sun was still shining, and write about that for my Friday column.
For Friday’s column, I single out a routine Fontana City Council agenda item that might have passed unnoticed: a contract to demolish the former Slovene Hall. It was once a bustling place and its existence said a lot about the character of Fontana.
The rebranded Center Stage Theater was originally announced to open for Memorial Day weekend. I’d forgotten that until a reader reminded me that — oops — it wasn’t even under renovation yet. Work is underway at last, though, with a new opening date of March 9, 2024. I write about that in my Wednesday column, along with an arts item from Chino Hills and the announcement that I’m on vacation, returning July 26. Yay!
Writer Mike Davis, who died Tuesday, was known for his stinging social critiques, especially about Los Angeles in “City of Quartz” and elsewhere. He spent the first six of his life in Fontana and never forgot, in fact reveled in, his working-class, Inland Empire roots. I pen an appreciation, with a lot of details from a 1998 interview I did with him that’s otherwise been lost to time, in my Friday column.
The rocker and native son will give a boost to city-owned Center Stage Theater by lending his name and reputation to the venue and agreeing to perform annually for five years, with proceeds to the city. I attend a council meeting to hear about it, with the bonus of witnessing an unusual arachnid-related incident, all in my Friday column.
First Candlelight Pavilion, now Center Stage Theater. Fontana City Hall is closing its city-owned theater for a renovation and a new focus on live music. That’s a positive, unless you’re a fan of dinner theater. The last show is Aug. 14. “All good things come to an end,” longtime operator says. I write about the impending change in my Friday column.
An ex-Kaiser Steel worker recalls the great pay and the great dives around Fontana to spend it at. He offers a window into a vanished era in my Friday column, which also has a few items from around the Empire.
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.
I attended a Fontana City Council meeting (ehh, I had a free evening) and found a nearly full house there to support or oppose a proposed warehouse. With 40 speakers, you know there were both passion and misstatements. The proceedings are the subject of my Friday column.
I was there at the council meeting when the Fontana city manager was hired (February 2020) and returned Tuesday after it was announced that he’s resigning to take a new job. “I saw you come in,” I told Mark Denny, “and I thought I should see you out too.” He smiled. I write about the meeting in a relaxed Sunday column.