Thursday, February 18, 2010

Preparing for Pomona Beautification Day

The date has been set for the 2010 Pomona Beautification Day. Save the date: Saturday, May 1.

Huddle up with your neighbors and friends to brainstorm a project you'd like to complete in your neighborhood. This is great opportunity to rid your neighborhood of an eye sore or beautify a barren patch of land -- and the city will provide supplies and festivities.

We're hoping the Garfield Park community center will be far enough along by May 1 that the kiddos in the neighborhood will be able to do a little landscaping or maybe a community art project.

The planning committee is looking for entertainment acts to perform at the post-clean up festival-with-food at the Fairplex. If you know of someone who might be interested, please contact them to see if they are game. It would be great to have some Pomona talent headline the festival. Let Rick DeBruyne know about the lead. You can e-mail him at

Stay tuned for registration information.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

An elevator speech about community development

The final speaker at last night's Area Commander meeting was a representative from Pomona's Community Development Department. For the life of me, I couldn't figure out what the heck we were suppose to get out this presentation, amorphously titled 2010-2011 Citizen Participation.

The speaker provided a hefty handout containing 19 PowerPoint slides (one whole page per slide; note to printer: next time consider using the 3-slides-per-page "handouts" format for printing). She then proceeded to walk us through slides with riveting titles (yes, that is sarcasm you detect) such as: "Statutory Spending Caps" and "CDBG Funding Comes with Rules." Yawn.

Finally, I raised my hand to ask why residents should care about this information. (Those of you who read the M-M-M-My Pomona blog may remember I asked a similar question of the Housing Division's Annual Report.)

With a little prodding, the answer became clear. So, to save you the bewilderment I navigated while listening to a poorly structured presentation that seems to have been prepared for a totally different audience, I present Pride's elevator speech [1] about why we should all give a damn:

"All of us benefit from Pomona's community development efforts. These efforts include improving code enforcement, public facilities, and neighborhood services; providing economic support to home owners, home buyers, and renters; and operating shelters for our city's homeless citizens.

"Pomona's community development efforts are largely supported by Federal funding. The amount of funding we receive is determined by residents' responses to the Census. We receive more funding when more people participate in the Census. Please encourage everyone you know to participate. Let's make sure all of Pomona's residents are counted!

"Once we receive Federal funding, we have to determine how to spend the funds. Your input helps the city determine how to spend the money. If you haven't already done so, complete and submit the Community Needs Survey; a copy appears in the Housing Division's Annual Report that arrived in your mailbox last month. If you don't have a copy of the survey, you can complete it online. Go to the city's homepage, then click on the featured link titled Community Needs Survey.

"The city mailed out 44,000 paper copies of the survey. Yet, only 1,200 surveys have been returned to date. Do the math: 2.7% of those who received the survey get to inform how the city spends its Federal funds.[2] The city needs input from as many residents as possible. Let your voice be heard!

"To summarize, I'll reiterate two points. First, participate in the Census so Pomona receives all the Federal funding it is entitled to. Second, complete the Community Needs Survey so the city knows how you think these funds should be spent. Thank you."

So that pretty much summarizes my understanding of what Tuesday evening's presentation intended to communicate. If others can help sharpen my understanding or representation of the issues, by all means, comment.

[1] Perhaps I could get this all in on the elevator ride down into the bowels of the Hoover Dam.

[2] Presumably the "1,200 surveys completed" estimate includes both paper and electronic responses. I'm not sure if 44,000 is the number of households in Pomona, or just a sampling of residences.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Good time had by all

The block party to celebrate the new playground in Garfield Park was quite the success. We devoured 90 cup cakes, waded through 3 gallons of lemonade and 1 gallon of milk, colored an impressive number of Valentines, and tried out all the cool playground equipment.

I wish I had thought to count the number of kids and parents in attendance. I'm guessing there were 50 kids and 15 - 20 adults.

In addition to celebrating the playground, neighbors brainstormed ideas for the new community center the city is developing on Mountain View. The community center was made possible by a "Weed and Seed" grant the city received from the Department of Justice.

Ideas shared by the kids include a lending library, places for crafts, board games, and science projects, and homework support. Ideas shared by the parents include health and nutrition sessions, parent support groups, computer classes, and ESL classes.

No doubt our next block party will celebrate the grand opening of the community center, hopefully before schools lets out for the summer recess.

Response to Shooting in Ted Greene Park

Community Healing Forum tonnight, Feb. 8 at Antioch Missionary Baptist on San Antonio just south of where it joins Towne. This is being put on by the Cultural Equity and Race Relations Workgroup of Pomona in support of the Pomona Youth and Family Master Plan.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Reminder: Area Commander Meeting -- Northeast Focus

As a reminder, this Tuesday's Area Commander meeting (7PM, St. Madeleine's Church) will focus on the Northeast quadrant of the city.

Given Ted Greene Park is in the NE quadrant, Tuesday's meeting will afford an opportunity to hear any new details about the double homicide that occurred in the park on Jan. 29.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Block Party Rescheduled for Monday

While I welcome the rain, I'm bummed it will thwart Saturday's block party to celebrate the new playground. Fear not. tells me the sun is in our near future. So:

All are invited to attend the Garfield Park block party to celebrate the new playground on Monday, February 8th at 4:00 PM. There will be cupcakes a plenty for kiddos to decorate and devour.

See you there!