Sunday, May 31, 2009

In Support of the DPOA

As most of you probably know by now, there is a bit of a debate going on as to whether the DPOA should be allowed to continue revitalizing downtown Pomona, or as we like to call it, "Metro Pomona". A very prominent downtown businessman and advocate of all that is good in downtown summed it best when he sent downtowners an email and asked us to spread the word. Here is that message:


I assume by now everyone has read the “Point of View” article by David Armstrong in today’s Daily Bulletin. On the surface David makes a strong point (as I read it) and undoubtedly it will succeed in swaying many people. His timing for this article is also well thought out, making it difficult for a timely reply and rebuttal. 

He makes it sound as if the majority in the DPOA is against its renewal, and that the poor property owners are saddled with all of this expense, he fails to mention that in most instances these costs are passed on to the property owners tenants, who I do believe are pleased to pay it, (I know that I am) because of the “obvious benefits” they do receive! I can only assume that the City where possible, passes these expenses on as well? I’m not sure about this; hopefully someone in the know can confirm it? I do believe that these monies which the City pays into the DPOA/PBID do not come from the general fund, so our tax- paying public is not footing the bill for the downtown.

His tricky wording makes it sound as if the entire city is being assessed to benefit only the downtown. He should be a politician—what a smoke screen. I can only guess of course, but he’s probably trying to mass public outcry at the next council meeting to intimidate our leaders into backing out of the PBID. 

A. Ashley wrote an excellent article in yesterday’s daily bulletin concerning the DPOA I encourage all to go on line and read it.

I believe the best way to counter this, is for everyone who feels (as I do) that the DPOA/PBID is the best thing that has ever happened to downtown Pomona, must stand up and be counted. There are two ways to approach this. 
The first is to launch an immediate letter and e-mail campaign to the Daily Bulletin (Blog the editors) voicing your support for the DPOA/PBID and pointing out, where appropriate and factual any erroneous or distorted items in the Point of View article in today’s paper.

The second is to contact your City Council person, and in addition, come to the Pomona City Council meeting on Monday, June 1, to voice your support for the DPOA/PBID. 

I cannot express how important this is to the entire City of Pomona. The Downtown area is the “Front Yard” of our City! Look at our history…. What happens in the Downtown, so goes the rest of the City! Think of the Downtown as the hub of a wagon wheel, if that hub is weak and broken it affects the spokes which cannot support the rim and the entire wheel will collapse. If on the other hand that hub is in sound working order, then it in turn radiates through the spokes to eventually strengthen the rim.
Thanks in advance for your immediate action on this matter,

George Cuttress

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Pomona needs a downtown group!

For those of you who have been following the recertification process of the downtown Pomona PBID, and even those who haven't been following it, the opinion piece in todays's Daily Bulletin is a fair assessment of the situation. 

Pomona needs a downtown group
A.S. Ashley
Created: 05/26/2009 07:20:23 PM PDT

As an individual living in Downtown Pomona, I have no problem imagining what life in our downtown area would be without the Downtown Pomona Owners Association (DPOA). 
To date, this is the fourth downtown arts colony I have lived in, and I have seen the best and the worst during the revitalization efforts of their respective downtowns. 

My experience has borne witness to many of the elements that are required for the successful turnaround of a blighted downtown. 

The first is safety: It doesn't matter what an area offers if it can't ensure the safety of its tenants and patrons. 

The second is cleanliness and general maintenance: A trash-filled community is a trashy community. 

From there merchants can get down to the business of doing business, free from nuisance and criminal threats in a clean and safe environment, with prospective new businesses eyeing the benefits of moving into the area. 

In two-plus years living in Downtown Pomona, I've seen nearly a half-dozen new restaurants open, empty storefronts filled, the renovation of the Fox Theater, and 30 percent growth in art venues in the Arts Colony. 

And that's during these devastating financial times. Thank you, DPOA! 

The third is marketing: A lot more needs to done in this area, especially due to the reputation Pomona has been living with for years. Therefore it is not surprising that many improvements in downtown are still a well-kept secret. 

But the DPOA is working hard to inform folks on what Downtown Pomona has to offer (please go to: and see for yourself). 
For those of you that haven't been to Downtown Pomona recently, be prepared to be very surprised, because whatever you thought before, you'll find yourself gladly mistaken. 

For first-timers, I'd suggest coming to two monthly events: Second Saturday Art Walk, or Last Saturdays Metro Night Out. 

Literally thousands of folks come downtown with their friends and families to enjoy the art, Farmer's Market, music, restaurants and other entertainment venues. 

The other important element the DPOA brings to the downtown is a voice: as a vested ambassador of the Downtown area to City Hall, items brought before the City Council or city commissions concerning the downtown area are immediately addressed by the DPOA. And through meetings with landowners, merchants and residents, the DPOA formulates opinions and plans of action that best serve the downtown area and the city as a whole. 

Sadly, it just so happens that the DPOA's P-BID (Property Based Improvement District) re-certification process is occurring now, when the DPOA and the Downtown Revitalization plan are hitting their stride and gaining momentum (please take the time to Google what P-BIDs are, and how they have effectively changed more than 1,200 communities and districts across the United States). 

If the P-BID disappears, so does the DPOA. 

This could be devastating, with the city having to make drastic fiscal cutbacks. It is not far-fetched to imagine Pomona's downtown area going tragically adrift. 

I would encourage the residents of Pomona to contact your council members, and ask them to pledge their support for the DPOA's P-BID re-certification (the city accounts for 26 percent of the P-BID district's land holdings; therefore the city's vote is essential). 

The DPOA's efforts are not only good for Pomona's Downtown Revitalization Plan, but for all of Pomona ... for the future success of the city will grow from the center out, with Downtown Pomona being a superb model for the city's forward growth and prosperity. 

A.S. Ashley is a resident of Downtown Pomona and chairman of the Pomona Arts Colony Association.

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Monday, May 25, 2009

Freeway Series

Yesterday a group of baseball fans from Downtown Pomona, and elsewhere, took a field trip to Dodger Stadium to see the final game of a three game series between the Angels and the Dodgers. This was a tie-breaker game. The Angels took the first game, the Dodgers took the second game. It is no secret by now that the Angels took the third game, and the series, by winning 10-7 over the Dodgers. So, for those of you that missed it, the ANGELS WON !!

But no matter which team you rooted for, if you missed the trip you missed a good time. It was a near sell-out game with over 50,000 in attendance. About 70 people from Pomona (and at least one from Claremont) attended the DPOA sponsored trip. Some drove to the game while the rest took a chartered bus from Downtown Pomona to the game. This is the third year the DPOA has sponsored a freeway series game trip, and this one was the most fun. It was a great day of fun. By the way, the ANGELS WON!!

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Saturday, May 23, 2009

OC Weekly Review

As a follow up to the "This is a test" posting on Friday, the OC Weekly printed a review of Gogol Bordello as well as the Fox and to some degree downtown Pomona, which reinforces this blogs earlier comments. First impressions are always lasting impressions and while one would hope that all visitors to the downtown are first time visitors, that simply can't be the case. The City of Pomona was incorporated over 120 years ago and the downtown of course is much older than that. So it would be fantasy to expect that people are coming to Pomona for the "first" time. What we are left with are return visitors for the most part, and reluctant returnees at that. Most are keenly aware of the reputation "Pomona" has had in the past, and especially downtown's reputation. Those days are long gone of course, but not everyone got the memo. It is almost spiritual to hear visitors say "WOW!, this isn't the Downtown Pomona I remember, this is great!. Reminds me of Long Beach, or Pasadena. Things have really changed."

Here is the OC Weekly article...

Friday, May. 22 2009 @ 9:57AM
By Nate Jackson in live review
Last Night: Gogol Bordello at Fox Pomona on Thursday, May 21st.Better Than: Being an actual gypsy in Eastern EuropeDownload: Super Taranta on Side One Dummy RecordsFor years, night life in down town Pomona usually meant parking the car, catching a show at The Glass House and making a clean exit. For many, it also meant a swift walk past the forsaken skeleton of the Fox Theater on Garey Ave. followed by the whiny, rhetorical question "why the f--k don't they do something with this place?" As I weaved my way through darkened parking lots filled with cars a couple blocks from the theater, which made it's glorious return a couple months ago, I'm guessing people aren't asking that question anymore. Last night, the theater hit another milestone as it welcomed it's first Golden Voice concert featuring New York gypsy punks Gogol Bordello and Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros (who I regrettably missed due to traffic issues...seems like a reoccurring theme in these reviews).But after a brisk, two block walk from the car to the glowing marquis, it was hard not to feel a bit of excitement swell in your throat as clusters of noise, people and cigarette smoke brought life to the spanking new neon scenery. In a story written by yours truly for our friends at IE Weekly a few months ago [shameless plug... check the story here] I chronicled most of the work that went into resuscitating the glamorous structure, mis-haps and all. But stepping inside the grand foyer drenched in winding stair case splendor and multicolored murals was an experience that echoed a new era in Pomona nightlife.
With Gogol about to start, people were bumping into each other like confused ants, grabbing last minute drinks, texting their coordinates or running around the second floor in awe of the Fox aura. All things considered, the choice to go with GB for the first Fox concert was spot on. In the darkness of the concert hall, parades of tattooed punkers, olive-skinned gypsy chicks and heavily-mustached carnival characters darted to the front barriers of the stage. Savvy, laid-back show goers, buzzed over to the bars lined the exits at the back of the hall. After all, you can want to be too far away from the booze at a good rock show.Emerging from the wings, head gypsy Eugene Hutz and bassist Thomas Gobena emerged to a roar that swelled from the front row to the silhouettes in the balcony. Starting things off with a slow build of thumping and hazy acoustic guitar, the rest of the band slowly crept on stage in front of a gargantuan black and yellow banner sporting their sling shot logo. Launching into an hour and a half set, the band's clap-happy sound took off instantly with early favorites like "Wander Lust King" and "Ultimate" from 2008's Super Taranta. Under swirls of rainbow stage lighting, the controlled chaos of the crowd almost stole the show as people jumped, clapped and sang like a trained choir.The energy only intensified as toga-wearing back-up vocalists emerged with the band's customary, glittery marching drum and cymbals as they pounded away on the stage filled with color, light and sweat. Churning through one song after another, the unified shouts of the crowd filled the air of this 2,000+ capacity venue.The frenzy continued with pounding percussion for several more songs, that included some insane chops from Sergey Ryabstev, the band's gray-haired violinist on instrumental breaks like "Barro Foro". Having never seen this band live, it's hard to put the sever eclecticism of Russian folk, Ukrainian party music, Samba and funk into one neat paragraph. But suffice it to say that unless you've seen them, you haven't seen anything like it. Launching into the opening chords of "Start Wearing Purple", the crowd exploded again, locking arms and dancing with each other with brimming beer cups held high. Even with the security in front, one girl managed to squeak her way on stage and give Hutz a kiss or two as he flailed his acoustic guitar around like a stage prop...ah, the life of a gypsy.Another thing you must know about a gypsy party is that it doesn't like to be told when to get off stage. After several false set endings, the band kept going, vamping wildly on their closing songs until finally making a riotous exit, only to return momentarily for an encore. All around fans stomped the floor like a thunderous heard of buffalo until the band returned to close out the night. Filtering back into the foyer, the sense of success for the Fox was palpable as it ushered in a new chapter in it's history. And with more acts like Wilco and Band o Horses on the way, there's plenty of reason to believe in the glowing hype of this revived venue.Critic's NotebookPersonal Bias: Party music of any culture is never a bad thing. Especially when it involves the lead singer jamming out on a metal bucket.Random Detail: One thing I did notice: was anyone else bothered by the fact that there seemed to be only one ATM in the entire building?By The Way: HEY!!!!......HEY!!!!.....HEY!!!!

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Friday, May 22, 2009

This is a test, just a test.

Downtown Pomona was abuzz last night with activity, and it's just a Thursday. The Chamber of Commerce hosted a mixer at Sukura Ichi, celebrating the restaurant's re-opening after having been closed for 2 months due to water damage. The chamber couldn't have asked for a better turnout.

While the mixer was in progress over 3000 people descended on the downtown. The Glass House was sold out with a crowd of 850, the Fox was sold out with a crowd of 2000 people. Angelo's, Locust Lounge, DBA Wine Bar, and Acerogami were all full as well. Many, or most of these visitors were first timers to the downtown or returning visitors from recent years and the comments heard throughout the downtown were music to the ears of any supporter of the downtown. Comments were overwhelmingly positive, most seemed pleasantly surprised with the revitalized face of the downtown.

Preliminary reports indicate that even with this crowd there were lots of empty free parking spaces available. The $4 lot across from the Fox was full, an indication that people ARE willing to pay for parking. Traffic for the most part was orderly, with one small bottleneck at Garey & 3rd. (Nothing that can't be worked out in the future.)

One has to wonder what the pundants mean by economic downturn or recession. It would appear that those demons are no match for momentum, and downtown Pomona certainly has momentum!

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Saturday, May 16, 2009

What's All The Fuss About?

For those of you that don't know, the DPOA (Downtown Pomona Owner's Association) is a PBID (Property Business Improvement District). What that means is, the downtown property owners, after years of frustration, took their city back! The downtown was in desperate need of revitalization due to high crime, gangs, drugs, blight, vagrants, boarded up buildings, dirty streets and sidewalks. Five years ago when the PBIB was formed, and even more so today, the City could not, and cannot today, provide the services needed to correct these ills (extra police, maintenance, etc.). The property owners took it upon themselves to form a PBID for the downtown. Even though this meant assessing themselves higher property taxes they believed the formation of a PBID was the only real and practical solution to the problems facing the downtown. The PBID now provides the downtown the financial resources to provide 24/7 security...a combination of dedicated Pomona Police Officers, exclusively assigned to the downtown, and private security teams. It provides maintenance that includes graffiti removal, street scape improvements such as plants and irrigation in the planters along Second St., weeding, power washing of sidewalks, new trash cans and regular trash removal, resurfacing of alleys, painted bollards and light posts, and a host of other needed projects. A promotion and marketing campaign is also a focus of the PBID. The DPOA advertises the downtown in a variety of mediums. It hosts and sponsors events such as Antique Collector's Street Fair, Farmers Markets, Fresh Air Flicks, Zocola, Guatemalan Festival, Art Walks, Chalk Art Festival, and others. The web site and this blog are examples of the marketing effort the PBID provides to promote the downtown. Unmistakably, the PBID is the catalyst that has brought, and will continue to bring, new businesses and developments to the downtown. 

The formation or re-certification of a PBID is a long, legal, arduous process which involves all the players; owners, merchants, residents, city council, etc. The final determination is ultimately the City Council's. But before the City Council weighs in there are mandatory legal steps which have to take place.

1) All owners must be sent a petition requesting the City Council to allow the process to go forward. This request requires over 50% of the properties to respond favorably.

2) The next step is a request from City Council by the DPOA to mail ballots to all property owners asking for a yes or no vote. These ballots, when completed, are mailed back to the City Clerk and are not opened or counted until a minimum 45 days has elapsed from their mailing. The ballots are then brought before the City Council at a public hearing where they are opened and counted. If the majority of the vote is "yes" and the City Council so chooses, the PBID is re-certified and the County Tax Collector and County Assessor are notified to add the properties' tax assessment to the tax rolls.

It's a boring, tedious, time consuming process. But it is a fair and necessary process.

The DPOA's charter expires this year and a re-certification drive is now under way. The process is wrapping up step #1. It is the DPOA's hope, as well as the majority of the property owners that the DPOA be re-certified.

There are those who would like to see the DPOA disbanded and return to the days of old. To that end the DPOA has to respond and defend itself to survive. This posting is meant to explain to those of you who don't know, what all the fuss is about. To better understand the DPOA you are invited to view the presentation made to the owners at last year's annual meeting by clicking here.

Also...  Here is a great editorial by Nancy Matarrita from the Daily Bulletin.

We welcome any comments you may have. If you believe as we do that the DPOA is worth saving, please let your City Council member, Mayor, and City Manager know how you feel. If you do not agree, please keep your opinions to yourself.

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Sunday, May 10, 2009


This past year or so there has been great concern about downtown's parking capabilites. Our city fathers and senior city staff, along with the Vehicle Parking Commission, Planning department,Redevelopment agency, and the Downtown Pomona Owner's Association have grappled with the "what ifs" of adequate parking in the downtown. The city hired an outside consultant for well over $100K to tell them what they could have been given for free by asking downtown merchants and property owners.

The study is finally complete (18 months) and was just presented to the City Council. What the study essentially says is that at some point the downtown will run out of parking if steps aren't taken to address the problem now. With new development projects coming to the downtown there will be a shortage of parking, no doubt about it. Not to bore you with the details of the study or the reccommended solutions to the "potential" problems of the future it should be noted that the worst or best case scenario (depending on how you look at it) would be what all are calling a "Perfect Storm" in the downtown.

A perfect storm (parking) is described as all of the below listed events occuring at the same time:

1) A sell out crowd at the Glass House
2) A sell out crowd at the Fox
3) A huge downtown event such as Second Saturday
4) An unusal turnout for evening diners and shoppers

For the first time in at least 40 years last night the downtown experienced a "Perfect Storm", at least on the west side of Garey Ave. Visitors to downtown had to park several blocks away and walk to their venue of choice. Is this a sign that downtown Pomona is coming back? You bet it is! While parking may have been an inconvience to some, few complained. The electricity in the air was contagious. People strolled the sidewalks to take in all that they could. The galleries were busting at the seams as were every restaurant and watering hole.

There of course was plenty of parking on the east side of Garey Ave., but most people were not aware of it. Perhaps signage directing drivers to the east will be necessary for future perfect storms. But in the meantime one night in forty years is not cause to start constructing parking garages. It is however a very nice problem for Metro Pomona businesses to have. At least once in a while.

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Monday, May 4, 2009

Our 99 Post and Our First Poll!!!

We want to thank everyone for reading our blog this past year!  We have reached our 99th post and we couldn't have done it without your support.  To mark this milestone we are taking our first poll... Which color do you think we should re-paint the Arts Colony and Antique Row Arches?
Click any image below to enlarge then Vote!

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Saturday, May 2, 2009

Miss Pomona Pageant is back!

Not many people know that the administrative assistant for the DPOA, Lorena Matarrita, is the former Miss Pomona 2004. There was no mention of this regal title in Lorena's resume'. As a matter of fact her celebrity was discovered months later over lunch with Mickey Gallivan, who chaired the pageant in 2004. Modesty is a strong virtue, a virtue that Lorena "modestly" possesses.

Now, the reason for mentioning Lorena's past is that she was very upset that the Miss Pomona Pageant was cancelled (much like Pomona's Christmas Parade) due to lack of funding and volunteers. Lorena is the catalyst that is responsible for bringing the pageant back. Because of Lorena's commitment to the community and her belief that the young ladies of Pomona deserve the opportunity to participate in the pageant, the DPOA has agreed to sponsor the Miss Pomona Pageant.

A steering committee has been formed to bring Miss Pomona back to the community. Not surprisingly Lorena was elected Chair of the committee. The goal of the committee is to crown the new Miss Pomona 2009 in October, and hopefully at the Fox.. although there has been no discussion with the Fox committee at this time. It's an exciting undertaking that the DPOA is very proud to underwrite.

As more information becomes available it will be posted on the DPOA web site and this blog.

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