Text of Andrew Cruz’s comments Aug. 13

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At Thursday’s Chino Valley Unified School District board meeting, the first since his political monologue at the July 16 session that created a furor, board member Andrew Cruz asked for time to speak prior to the 19 public comments. I shot video (watch the first part here) and transcribed his comments verbatim, mistakes, missing words and all, as best I could.

Cruz: “Since our last board meeting, I thought a lot of my comments made in an unorganized, hasty manner. Although I support strong family values, I have never intended to exclude any single child from my heart, because I believe every living human being is very precious and is born with unfortunate purposes in life. If my comments made, derived from research and news media reports, may have left you victimized, please accept my sincere apologies. ‘Cause that’s not who I am.

“I’d rather choose to be the victim but never to be the one who would hurt someone both intentionally and intentionally. Thank you and I truly love each one of you.”

[finishes reading from prepared remarks]

“I just want to say one thing. And that is, this boardsmanship that I have is a very beautiful experience that I am dealing with. I am grateful and humbled of the things I am doing and how I am working with children throughout these three years. But I have tremendous joy in my heart, and that these things I see, and the things that are going on, I will speak from my heart. I am grateful and humble knowing the fact that the pain that you guys are feeling, I can definitely relate what you are going through here. You know, as a special ed student, I do, based on things that I have experienced, a lot of these things that felt the same way that I felt when I was younger. And it’s a dirty shame that it had to be the way it was directed. It may have been misguided, but it was from my heart, of the things I had seen and the direction of this country that it’s going towards. And you may not accept that –”

Irene Hernandez-Blair, the board president: “OK, Mr. Cruz…”

Cruz: “Hold on please.”

Hernandez-Blair: “This is a statement for public comment.”

Cruz: “Thank you.”

Look for my column on the meeting in Sunday’s paper.

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Column: Dipping into the mailbag about ‘the dips’

“The dips,” the subject of a column in late June, drew some interesting reactions from readers. That makes up the bulk of Friday’s column — with a few comments about the malaprops in an early July column as well. Just so you know, this column has been largely written since late July, but what with one thing or another — CVUSD or ONT news, mainly — it’s only getting in now (after some tweaks and additions this week). Good to get it off my plate and into your newspaper or electronic device.

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Restaurant of the Week: Maple House

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Maple House Chicken and Waffles, 1520 N. Mountain Ave. (at 6th), Ontario

Chicken and waffles are hard to come by in the 909; I think there used to be a Roscoe’s in San Bernardino, but other than that, the only place I’m aware of is an obscure Pomona restaurant, Day Day’s, which isn’t open for dinner. But now there’s a spot in Ontario.

Maple House opened in March in what had been Sal and Sons Pizza, right off the 10 in the Gateway Center, near Starbucks and a cupcake shop. One of Sal’s sons is still involved, and the interior looks largely the same. But service is now at your table rather than at the counter and the menu, needless to say, is entirely different. (There’s also a patio with umbrellas.)

Have you had chicken and waffles? I have, a couple of times, at the Roscoe’s in Pasadena. The chicken and the waffle are usually plated separately, if you’re curious, and can be eaten separately, with the waffle more of a side dish, or eaten together. They do pair surprisingly well.

A friend and I tried Maple House for dinner recently. They serve several kinds of waffles (with such toppings as bananas, strawberries, pecans and Nutella) and various pieces of chicken, all cooked to order; they also serve omelets, salads, desserts — peach cobbler and sweet potato pie — and beer and wine. Sides include yams, mac and cheese, turkey greens and more. And my friend got a grape Kool-Aid. So it’s a soul food restaurant, and the background music included James Brown, but they’re not quite all-in.

The chicken and waffle dinners came with two sides, which seemed like too much food, so my friend and I ordered a la carte: a waffle each ($4) with a breast for me ($4.35) and a leg ($2.50) and wing ($2.25) for him. We each found that a filling meal.

The chicken coating was crunchy, with excellent texture, and the chicken itself came off the bone easily and tasted great; my friend declared it “awesome,” and as chicken is his favorite meal, that says a lot. The waffles were puffier than Roscoe’s and had powdered sugar too. Roscoe’s is a tradition, the food’s very good and the energy and vibe part of the experience; Maple House doesn’t have that, but the food is arguably just as good, and depending on where you live, it’s probably closer.

Each table, by the way, has a small sign advising that the food is cooked to order and that the chicken “can take up to a minimum of 30 minutes to prepare.” Isn’t “up to a minimum” contradictory? Mixed messages aside, our food came out in about 20 minutes during a slow period. Be prepared to wait a bit, but it’s worth it.

I’m not a guy who wants to order chicken and/or waffles very often, but it’s cool to have a local place, and one with good hours: from 9 a.m. daily, closing at 8 on Sundays, 9 on Mondays to Thursdays and 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

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World’s biggest, and dustiest, yard sale?

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A construction fence has gone up around much of the 250-acre Meredith property in Ontario above the 10 Freeway — and, heh, someone in the neighborhood used the new real estate to post a “yard sale” sign Monday. Wherever it is, it’s probably not on the vacant land — although with all that dirt, you could put out an awful lot of blankets and card tables to display your wares.

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La Verne’s Unisphere

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“Unisfera Flushing” by Flapane via Wikipedia

I’ve long been curious about the Unisphere-like metal globe at the La Verne Business Park on Fairplex Drive south of Arrow Highway (see top photo). Reminiscent of the Unisphere from the 1964-65 World’s Fair in New York (see above), it’s such a striking feature for a small industrial park across the street from the NHRA speedway at Fairplex.

Finally I stopped to take photos. The stainless steel globe once had a fountain around it (see below), just as does the original, but ours has gone dry. (The original Unisphere is still in place, in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, and has been restored. It’s 12 stories high!)

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Public art was a requirement of the industrial park’s development, according to the city planning department’s Eric Scherer. “Ironwork Globe,” as it’s titled, was designed by Penwal Industries of Rancho Cucamonga, manufactured overseas, shipped in parts (see photos below) and installed in 2005. At the time, owner and developer Tofasco Inc. was said to be the worldwide leader in sales of camping and fold-able chairs. (Its website has a silhouette of the globe.)

The globe is 20 feet in diameter, much smaller than the New York version’s 120 feet but still impressive.

From the La Verne public art brochure:

“‘Ironwork Globe’ is an elevated steel sculpture placed at the center of a water fountain meant to accompany Tofasco, Inc. and represent their defining characteristics: passion for the business in which they are involved and their ability to effectively and efficiently bridge the divide between an increasingly international marketplace.”

Penwal, according to Scherer’s research in city files, drew sketches of other concepts, “including an oversized folding chair which would open and close as it rotated.” Wow! He adds: “If we had approved that, I have a feeling you would have already written a column about it…”

Undoubtedly. It might resemble some of the other giant chairs — rocking, wooden, Duncan Phyfe — turned into oversized sculptures around the nation and overseas.

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Column: Ed Nelson was actor and dad, but never mayor

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Sunday’s column marks the first-year anniversary of the death of actor Ed Nelson, who lived in Pomona and San Dimas for more than two decades. I wrote about him when he died, in part based on a lovely long email of a few years earlier from one of his sons, which I’d featured on this blog.

Some weeks later, it occurred to me that I’d forgotten to check our Progress-Bulletin files, which are housed in a back room in our office. (Our Daily Report files were, inconceivably, thrown out.) The little file envelopes, labeled by topic, appear to cover the ’40s into the ’80s. Their thoroughness probably depended on who had the thankless job of clipping and sorting articles; it’s hard for me to believe that the Prog never wrote about Donahoo’s Chicken, for instance, except a short item on the owners’ square-dancing activities.

Luckily, there was a fat file on Nelson, seen below. I sifted through it eventually and wrote a long item last December, figuring I’d use it during a slow period around Christmas. But I didn’t need it. Then maybe vacation? No. Actually, I kind of forgot about it. Recently finding it again, I struggled for a reason to run an Ed Nelson item some 10 months after his death — before realizing that if it appeared one year later, it might seem to have purpose. I expanded it into a full column.

So there you have it, the story behind the story. Hope you like the column.

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Restaurant of the Week: Luna

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Luna Modern Mexican Kitchen, 7881 Monet Ave. in Victoria Gardens, Rancho Cucamonga

Luna opened in April in a long-vacant spot previously occupied by Candelas and Wapango. There’s only one other Luna, in Corona. Some friends and I checked out the VG version recently for lunch.

It’s very stylish, with high ceilings, long corded fixtures and a light display in the bar area. We were seated in a half-oval banquette.

I have to do this from memory because I can’t find my notes (!), but off the lunch menu, we ordered (pictured in descending order below) a chopped salad, a Cabo roll (prawns, cheese, avocado in a tortilla), mole poblano chicken enchiladas and, for me, the pipian de puerco (pork loin in chimichuri sauce). (None of the prices are online, but the plates were around $12 to $18.) One got a drink, Luna’s signature, named El Pepino (about $8), from the extensive tequila list, and two of us ordered dessert: warm butter cake and deep-fried ice cream.

We all liked our items, and the friend who got the salad couldn’t help but be impressed by the presentation, a hat-like oval. All the dishes were plated well. Service was attentive and helpful and felt genuine.

You can get tacos or burritos here, but Luna is more of a modern, upscale take on Mexican cooking that presents new or altered dishes. It’s worth a try.

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