Friday, May 30, 2008

Call it an expansion

You may have noticed a lack of posts here at mrontario lately.

That's because I've created a new blog, under the "Empoprises" banner, that is devoted to the entire Inland Empire.

So please visit Empoprise-IE at

Saturday, May 10, 2008

If I look like this later, I only have myself to blame

At Marinello School of Beauty in Ontario for a men's haircut. I hope today's lesson isn't on "the Hilary Duff makeup style."

Thursday, May 8, 2008

If you're going to steal a car, that's the one to steal. Maybe.

Ouch. Daily Bulletin:

A Los Angeles gang member in police custody on a drug violation kicked through the metal cage of an Ontario police squad car, jumped in the driver's seat and led officers on a high-speed chase late Wednesday.

Jose Mora, 24, was arrested in the 5000 block of Flora Street in Montclair after he abandoned the patrol car and ran.

According to the article, Mora reached speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour during the chase.

Well, the good thing about stealing a police car is that it goes really fast, and it has sirens that you can turn on to help you go faster.

The bad news about stealing a police car? The police REALLY want to get that car back. And in this case, they did.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Doubletree Hotel Ontario Airport

On Vineland - I mean Vineyard.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Ontario, the city of uninspected apartments

Yes, I know I'm supposed to be a danged libertarian, but this just doesn't strike me as right.

Andrea Bennett covered this story.

It seems that there was a proposal before the City Council to require city inspections of apartments, at a charge of $36 per unit, at the astonishingly high frequency of once every 48 months.

Most if not all of the City Council members indicated their support for the measure at an April 15 meeting, either personally or by letter.

But now, the Council has deferred implementation of the measure, delaying its discussion until June 3.


Karen Fricke, executive director of the Apartment Association of the Greater Inland Empire or AAGIE, said her organization, which represents more than 5,000 units within the city, said she had planned a rally at the Euclid Avenue bandstand before Tuesday's meeting.

The scheduled protest was canceled, however, when city officials agreed to revise the ordinance, Fricke said....

Fricke said with the $36 per door fee, a few Ontario landlords in her association will pay $17,000 a year.

That fee was too high, and the proposed entry of every single unit would be too time-consuming for city staff, apartment managers and residents, she said.

Let's look at that $17,000 fee that is so detrimental to the landlords. For a landlord to have to pay $17,000 a year, that means that the landlord has at least 472apartments that need to be inspected that year. And, since inspections are on a four year cycle, that means that the landlord actually owns 1,888 apartments.

Now let's figure that the 1,888 apartments have an average monthly rental of $500 per month. (That's probably low, but humor me.) This means that each of the 1,888 apartments takes in gross rentals of $6,000 per year.

In other words, the landlord that has to pay $17,000 a year is already grossing over $11 million a year.

And, what's more, the landlord doesn't have to pay the money. You can guess what's going to happen once this gets ratified. Anyone who rents an apartment in Ontario will suddenly find themselves subject to a $36 inspection fee. Even if they stay in the apartment for less than four years, they'll still have to pay a $36 inspection fee.

But what the hey, the Apartment Association Greater Inland Empire (AAGIE) is just doing its advocacy. But they can't plead poverty.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Yard sale at Christ Church Parish

On San Antonio at 4th.

We're getting our junk - I mean, valuable treasures. (TV tables and Pyrex.)

And I didn't even have to pledge to uphold the Millennium Development Goals!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Tent City Has No Suburbs (and a video report)

From the Daily Bulletin:

Dusty, vacant campsites surrounded the city's secured homeless site Thursday, the day after police and code enforcement officers passed out dozens of warning tickets for "trespassing on public property."

In late April, MobLogic.TV produced this video report on Ontario.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

This one!

El Pollo Loco, Holt Ave, Ontario, California.

Picture taken from the east near sunset.

Now to order - whoops, I already got our dinner. They're quick.

@karenswim is missing California right now...

Friday, April 25, 2008

Well, at least they didn't say that it was in Canada

There's a work related conference coming up in May, and one of my co-workers mailed me some information about it that he received from another party. Since the conference is in Ontario, I'm naturally interested in it.

Here's the information that he had on the location of the conference:

Ontario Doubletree
222 N. Vineland Ave.
Ontario, CA 91764

I was the one who had to tell him, "By the way, the hotel is not on Vineland Avenue, it's on Vineyard."

We all then went through a period of self-doubt, and had to confirm things on Hilton's website:

Doubletree Hotel Ontario Airport
222 North Vineyard Ave, Ontario, California, United States 91764-4431
Tel: 1-909-937-0900 Fax: 1-909-937-1999

Although I haven't visited the hotel in years, it's one of my first impressions of southern California. Back in November 1983 it was the Red Lion, and when I came to the Inland Empire for a job interview, the company put me up there. It made a good impression, but not as good as the impression that I got when the company owner interviewed me from his office in Rancho Cucamonga.

His office with a north-facing window.

On a clear, non-smoggy day. (Kaiser had already closed by this time.)

If you're not familiar with the area, there is a series of mountains just north of Rancho Cucamonga which, when you can see them, are absolutely beautiful. My church also has north-facing windows, so I get to enjoy the view weekly.

But I haven't ever stayed in the Red Lion/Doubletree again. My loss.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Electronic Waste and Tire Collection Event on Saturday

I tried to moblog a newspaper article about this, but was unsuccessful. Here's the announcement from the city itself:

The City is sponsoring a FREE collection event on Saturday, April 26th from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. The event will be held at the City of Ontario Public Works Agency located at 1425 South Bon View Avenue. Residents can drop off electronic waste as well as used tires from residential passenger vehicles. The event is FREE to Ontario residents; however, businesses are not eligible. Proof of residency is required.

See the announcement for additional details.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

RoHS, RoHS, RoHS your boat

Actually not RoHS since it's Ontario CA, which is not in Europe no matter how you slice it.

But Saturday is the day for Ontario California residents to dispose of old electronics (and tires).

What's in a two letter abbreviation (CA)?

I just ran across this tweet from Jim Weirich:

reading the tracking info from UPS and suddenly realized that there is a big difference between "Ontario, CA" and "Ontario, CA, US"

A Google search of the words "ontario ca" yields a hodgepodge of results:

As you can see, Google shows a link to the Google Map for Ontario, Canada; the official website for the city of Ontario, California; a Wikipedia entry for Ontario, California; and the home page for the Government of Ontario, Canada.

The confusion is the result of two competing standards: the official state abbreviations as maintained by the US Postal Service (in which "CA" stands for California), and the list of top-level domains as maintained by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (in which "CA" stands for Canada). And, of course, there's the underlying fact that the California city was named after the home of the Chaffey brothers who founded the place. (Not sure where they got the "Mildura" name from when they went to Australia, but did you know that there is a Chaffey Secondary College down under?)

But despite this confusion, Canada and California have learned to work together. The Canada-California Strategic Innovation Partnership does a lot of things that I'm sure are strategic and innovative.

Just don't refer to the organization as CACA. That's a Japanese seminar devoted to the categorical aspects of constructive algorithmics. It ended up changing its name to TOPS (The Tokyo Programming Seminar).

Monday, April 21, 2008

Permit me

Ontario's "Tent City" has been revamped for safety and other reasons, and there are new procedures:

Ontario's improved Homeless Services Area will start admitting permit-holding homeless people Tuesday, said Brent Schultz, the city's housing manager, at a meeting of service providers at the Ontario Convention Center....

The first order of business for volunteers who plan to continue feeding, counseling or otherwise helping those at Tent City is getting "provider permits."

Schultz said those who can show affiliation with a legal organization (such as a nonprofit), who have insurance, and county approvals for things such as kitchen inspections would qualify for permits.

"Anyone within the Homeless Services Area will need a permit to be there," he said. "This is to respect privacy, limit illegal dumping and reduce crime and keep people from coming in to prey upon the homeless."

And perhaps permits sound like Hitler tactics, but one could argue that if a restaurant needs a permit to provide food outside of Tent City, then permits should be required inside of Tent City.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Unfortunately, I don't care for Counting Crows

Mrs. Jones was not spotted at the Starbucks at San Antonio and Holt.

Friday, April 11, 2008

McDonalds - Starbucks Round Four

Now if this is the only blog you read, you may be wondering about rounds one, two, and three. Well, those rounds appeared in my general interest blog, mrontemp.

Round one, entitled You think Feldman-Israel is a bad war? Wait until McDonalds-Starbucks gets into battle mode!, ventured the opinion that Starbucks would do better by differentiating itself from McDonalds, rather than trying to grab the McDonalds crowd.

But then I remembered how businesses work. Round two concentrated on the needs of stakeholders other than the customer - namely, the investors. Investors, whether public company shareholders or private company investors or venture capitalists, wants businesses to grow and expand and continue to show growth, and growth, and growth. A Starbucks that maintains the same level of revenues and profits is a failure for those folks.

I just wrote round three, which concentrated on cost optimization, or whatever euphemism you want to use for cost cutting - another thing that the investors want to see, since lower costs result in higher profits, don't they?

Well, I saved round four for this blog, because it's taking place right in Ontario. Continuing on the cost-cutting theme, but adding a new twist.

From the Daily Bulletin:

Mervyns distribution warehouse in Ontario is laying off 200 employees and will outsource to a manager of third-party logistics vendors called Kalserve....

Mervyns expects to save $4million. It will keep about 30 employees in Ontario to oversee its third-party vendors.

More here. While Matthew Wrye took the local point of view, the Sacramento Business Journal noted that layoffs took place in northern California also. (By the way, I didn't realize that Mervyns was no longer part of Target. But hey, it's only been independent for four years now.)

As for Kalserve...well, I can't find out anything about any logistics company called Kalserve, or for that matter any company called Kalserve, other than an unidentified company in Dublin, Ireland.

But Mervyns would probably like it better that way.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

At least it drove the meth labs out of the news

Someday, the Inland Empire is going to take off and become a true urban megacenter of business and residential opportunity.

Until then, we're going to be laughed at as hicks with meth labs, road races, and a prison down the street.

Stories like this aren't going to help our image:

Prosecutors filed dogfighting charges Tuesday against nine men accused of participating in or watching a battle between pit bulls in Ontario last month.

There is one good point in all of this, however; perhaps it will be easier to lure an NFL team to the area now.

But an NFL team may shy away after hearing the bad explanations for the dogfight:

[A] witness called police just after midnight on March 5 and reported a dog fight near Walnut Street and Cucamonga Avenue in Ontario.

View Larger Map

The witness said men were standing in the street in a circle surrounding the dogs. The witness said that when the dogs tried to flee the fight, the men grabbed them and tossed them back inside the circle....

When police came, the men claimed they were simply trying to breed the dogs in the middle of the street when they began fighting on their own....

Bad activity on Walnut Avenue. We have to put a stop to this.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Breaking the law, breaking the law

The Daily Bulletin broke the news about a series of three signs.

The first sign, on Interstate 10 Eastbound at the Euclid overpass, read:


The next sign, on a subsequent overpass, read:

Will You

And perhaps you can guess the third:

Marry Me?

The Daily Bulletin noted that the signs were removed a short time later, but I bet that they weren't removed by Katie, or by Katie's lover. Presumably Cal Trans stepped in, since the signs probably presented a hazard. Previous attempts to use freeway overpasses for messaging have failed:

Nathan Benjamin, a Bay Area attorney, filed a lawsuit [in 2002] against the state Department of Transportation for taking down an anti-war highway sign. Benjamin says he sees nothing in state law banning people from doing this.

In that court case, however, an appeals court ruled that overpasses are not a "public forum." Subsequently a judge ruled that Caltrans could take down signs if the agency felt they might cause a safety hazard, but Caltrans must then take down all signs, or none. It can't pick and choose based on political messages.

Caltrans' stance, reiterated last week, is that signs on overpasses and freeway soundwalls are potential safety hazards.

"We don't allow anything up there," spokesman David Anderson said.

Don't know whether Katie ever saw the marriage proposal. If you know more about this, please contact (who is presumably the Daily Bulletin's advisor for freeway-loving lovers).

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Another uncooperative case

I love these half stories.

According to the Daily Bulletin, a man was at the corner of D and Sultana on Monday at 11:09 pm when he was approached by two other men. The three men got into an argument, and the first man was shot in the left bicep.

A friend took the victim, whose wounds were not serious, to San Antonio Community Hospital in Upland.

So will the two men be tracked down? Not likely.

The victim, who was not cooperative with police, gave few details about his attackers.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Tent City evictee

Previously I've talked about the challenges that the city of Ontario faces when trying to provide for homeless people in Tent City. Presently, we are also providing for homeless people in other cities. But no more.

The Daily Bulletin ran a story that featured Cathy Miller, a former Rancho Cucamonga resident whose family faced medical, job, and financial problems which caused them to lose their home and their SUV.

It's uncertain what programs other cities have for the homeless, but if Rancho Cucamonga has one, Cathy Miller isn't aware of it. She plans to return to Rancho Cucamonga - possibly to an underpass.

There's a national debate regarding whose fault all of this is, but even Miller notes that people who lost their homes may have themselves to blame for their situation.

They got easy loans and then went out and bought a Humvee. A lot of these young couples don't think. They're going to lose their homes. I think you're going to see a lot more homeless.

And it should be noted that Miller lost her SUV because of an unpaid ticket. However, she did not cause her husband's medical condition that caused him to lose his job.

It's a tough situation.

P.S. I think I finally figured out where all the Hitler tactics conversation came from. It turns out that the new Tent City will be fenced, and no one will be allowed in between 10:00 pm and 6:00 am. Whether one regards this as a "concentration camp" depends upon one's point of view about the situation.

Isn't it a little too early to declare success?

Louis Brewster wrote about the Citizens Business Bank Arena, which isn't scheduled to open in Ontario until October. But it's already a success, according to Mayor Paul Leon:

"This is money we've saved," Ontario Mayor Paul Leon said Monday at the unveiling of the Ontario Reign logo. "We are not spending taxpayers' money as it's being built."

The Ontario Reign is a minor league hockey team, and they issued their own press statement about the event:

Logo Unveiling Ceremony Conjures Up Excitement Over Impending Season
03/17/2008 2:54 PM

ONTARIO, Calif. – The Ontario Reign Professional Hockey Team of the ECHL and affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings, formally unveiled their official logo today at a press conference at the Hilton Ontario Airport Hotel. The historical event marks the official debut of Ontario, California’s first-ever professional sports team.

Today’s ceremony served as an induction of the Reign into the history books of Ontario and included over one hundred and sixty representatives from local cities and organizations throughout the Inland Empire. Speakers included Reign president Barry Kemp and Executive Vice President of Business Development Justin Kemp, Los Angeles Kings President of Business Operations Luc Robitaille, Ontario Mayor Paul Leon and Senator Bob Dutton.

The ceremony unveiled the Reign’s first advertising campaign as well as the team’s primary and secondary logos which will be used for all future branding and marketing initiatives.

Designed by Keith Flynn of Flynnagain Productions out of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, the logo incorporates the Reign’s colors of navy, orange and silver into the design which will be used to brand the team’s image in the Inland Empire.

The logo depicts a sleek, but menacing dragon grasping a hockey stick, set atop an iron shield. The body of the image, the dragon, is colored navy with highlights of orange outlining the wings and head. ‘Ontario Reign’ sits across the middle of the logo in white lettering accented in silver and orange, while the shield in the background is colored silver and rimmed in navy.

The Reign believes that the logo will command a presence in the Inland Empire that promotes a sense of strength, honor and pride of being a part of an outstanding community and encourages an on and off-ice attitude of dedication, determination and action.

“This logo represents everything the Ontario Reign stands for”, said Justin Kemp, Executive Vice President of Business Development for the Ontario Reign. “The fierce image signifies strength, intimidation and power carrying on the Los Angeles Kings’ royal tradition.”

The name ‘Reign’ came from a team naming contest that was held from November through December, 2007 with over 600 entries submitted. The winning entry was submitted by Mike Brewster of Fontana, Calif.

The Reign will begin play of the 2008-2009 season in October at the state-of-the-art Citizens Business Bank Arena with the schedule to be released to the public in the near future.

Can’t wait to check out all the excitement of Ontario Reign Hockey? Season ticket deposits are now being taken for only $25 per seat! For more information contact the Ontario Reign office at (909) 941-PUCK (7825) or log on to

The history books of Ontario? Promotion of on and off ice attitudes? I know that you have to talk your product up, but southern California is not really noted for its support of ice hockey. It may be a little premature to declare an Ontario Reign of ice hockey. (And anyway, I'm the emperor around here.)

And as for the Citizens Business Bank Arena, while it's wonderful that I haven't had to pay anything for it yet, we still have to see if people will come to the new arena.

Set for a Fall 2008 opening, Citizens Business Bank Arena will be a state-of-the-art facility that will play host basketball, ice hockey and a variety of other sporting competitions, concerts, family shows, special events, and community activities as well as private events. The venue will be the biggest and most modern arena within the Inland Empire.

Citizens Business Bank Arena will be the centerpiece of Piemonte at the Ontario Center, a massive mixed-use project, with large-scale office, retail, hotel, entertainment and urban living components. Built on a 37-acre footprint in the middle of the project between Haven Avenue and Milliken Avenue and Fourth Street and the I-10 Freeway...

Let me interject something here for those who aren't familiar with the area. Years ago, there was another wonderful sports facility at this same location; namely, the Ontario Motor Speedway. It's gone now. Continue:

...Citizens Business Bank Arena will include 9,500 fixed seats with additional "portable" seating risers to accommodate capacities of 11,089 for concerts, 9,736 for ice hockey and 10,832 for basketball. The 225,000 square foot venue will also feature 36 suites located on two levels and a continuous concourse hosting a variety of refreshment stands and merchandise kiosks, a VIP club and other fan amenities.

Now I've been known to drink the Kool-Aid from time to time. I hope that my mayor and city manager aren't doing the same.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Tent City for One City

The latest on Ontario's Tent City.

Yesterday, Mayor Paul Leon said that people with ties to Ontario may stay in the tent city, but others must leave by Monday (although it appears that there will be a grace period). Wristbands will be distributed to distinguish those who are "known" to be from Ontario, those who claim to be from Ontario, and those who don't claim to be from Ontario.

While there are valid concerns about the strategy, at least one of the reactions was pretty bizarre. Monroe Emmanuel Lee III (a parolee) didn't care for the wristband idea.

That's Hitler tactics. I'm a citizen of the United States. You're not going to put a wristband on me and confine me to a concentration camp.

Um, Mr. Lee, I'm sure that the city of Ontario has no interest in confining you, and would be more than happy to have you leave the camp entirely.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Los Angeles Times Reports on Tent City

In a March 6, 2008 article, the Los Angeles Times states that the city of Ontario is now ticketing and towing away vehicles from Tent City.

Only problem is, people were living in them at the time.

Deputy City Manager Al Boling pointed out that Tent City was never meant to be permanent, and also points out that the city is being overwhelemed with people from other cities.

According to the article, "any camper or motor home that wasn't able to move, was missing major parts or had registration expired longer than six months would be towed in three days unless moved."

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Presumably not the hot wings

I have not been to the Wingnuts in northwest Ontario, but now I have an excuse to go.

Wingnuts restaurant is holding a fundraiser for Drashawn Vernon, a Fontana resident who lost her home recently in an arson fire.

The all-day event will take place Friday at 1520 N. Mountain Ave., Ontario.

Wingnuts will contribute at least 20 percent of its above-average proceeds from the day to The Vernon Family Assistance Fund.

Contributions can be sent directly to the fund, c/o Ann Gonzales, P. O. Box 1134, Ontario, CA 91762.

More information: (818) 524-0708.

More information on Wingnuts can be found here.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Gold Line to ONT? Meeting tonight

The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin reports that a meeting will be held tonight (Wednesday March 5) from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm at the Allan G. Smith Educational Services Center, 211 West 5th St. The topic? The Gold Line.

Gold Line authorities will be on hand Wednesday and Thursday nights, in Ontario and Rancho Cucamonga, respectively, to show possible route maps of the line and where stations might be built. They're asking to hear what local residents have to say about the potential routes and stations.

But don't buy your tickets yet. Plans only call for an extension to Montclair by 2017, and this would take place some time after that, if it does.

It's fitting to learn about magnets in a magnet school

There have been some articles in the local papers recently about a new magnet school for science, technology, and mathemmatics. Here's what the Ontario Montclair School District says about the new school:

Vineyard Elementary School will become the new Pre-K through eighth grade OMSD Science /Technology/Math Magnet. Students enrolled in this magnet program will participate in an enriched and integrated math, science and technology curriculum. Students will complete scientific investigations and “hands-on” activities designed to promote a deep understanding and appreciation for mathematical and scientific exploration integrated throughout literature and social studies. With the addition of third grade and seventh grade students in September 2009 and kindergarten through second and eighth grade students in September 2010, the Science/Technology/Math Magnet will become a kindergarten through eighth grade campus within three years.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Sport Clips, Grove & Philadelphia

This was my first visit to a Sport Clips, and the first visit to any sport salon in several years (when I worked in Irvine, I went to Savile Barber).

They offer three levels of haircuts. As a first-time visitor, I got the $22 haircut for $17 - this includes haircut, shampoo, hot towel, and gadget shoulder massage.

The Sport Clip people thought through the design. For example, they have vacuum cleaners hidden in the lockers along the walls, so when they need to vacuum up hair, they just plug a hose inside the locker and vacuum away.

Other than the college basketball game being a blowout, a good experience. And Courtney cleaned me up.

Sport Clips
1150 E. Philadelphia Ave.
Ste. 109
Ontario, CA 91761
+1 909 947 8170

Friday, February 29, 2008

The Walnut & Walker stop sign is installed

The Daily Bulletin reports that the stop sign requested by the family of the late Paul Roberts has been installed at Walnut and Walker (after the City Council approved the action, despite staff statements that the traffic didn't justify a stop sign), and that people are honking their horns in gratitude.

Now I'm assuming that the Ontario City Council will be obligated to pass out earplugs to the nearby residents because of the noise from the car horns.

Seriously, with all respect to the Roberts family, I still haven't seen any evidence that this is the proper solution for this intersection. Just because it feels good doesn't mean that it's right. Any driver who would hit a skateboarder would probably run a stop sign.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Logan's Candy

125 West B Street, Ontario CA 91762.

Best time to come is during the Christmas season, when you can see how candy canes are made.

The owners are the parents of the late Hannah Rowley, whom I've blogged about before.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Understatement of the Day

The following sentence appeared in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin (and probably in the San Bernardino Sun).

Police Detective Jeff Higbee thinks there's much more to the story of the death of Santiago Contreras than has come out so far.

You can say that again.

Police Detective Jeff Higbee thinks there's much more to the story of the death of Santiago Contreras than has come out so far.

Yes, it bears repeating.

Incidentally, if you want to understand the difference between bloggers and reporters, I can illustrate it now.

  • Early this morning I drove down Jacaranda, after debating for several days whether or not I wanted to do this. My intent was not to ask grieving people "How do you feel?" or even to take pictures, but just to get a feel for the area. As I suspected, the Jacaranda neighborhood is a nice neighborhood, with nice homes with nice cars and trucks. This illustrates the fact that, whatever the motivation for the Contreras kidnapping and murder, it could happen anywhere. There's a personal note also, since my German exchange student has a friend that lives a few blocks away, on the other side of San Antonio.

  • The Daily Bulletin went about things a little bit differently. Someone (possibly staff writer Monica Rodriguez) went to Jacaranda yesterday afternoon and interviewed residents. First the journalist started with the Contreras residence, but no one answered. Then the journalist talked with a neighbor, 79 year old Josefina Orellana, who told the reporter (in Spanish) that Santiago Contreras liked to work on cars at his home, and that the neighborhood is (understandably) scared after what happened.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Santiago Contreras Coverage from

One of my commenters (actually, on this blog, my only commenter so far) alerted me to G. T. Houts' coverage of the Santiago Contreras story at

The second update to the story includes a photo taken by Houts by Crestline, on SR 138 between Old Mill Road and Camp Seeley - or, more specifically, "just off Highway 138 near Call Box 138-388." Houts has included a map of the area in which Contreras' body was found.

The map below shows the approximate distance between Contreras' home and the location where his body was found. (Starting and ending locations are not exact.)

View Larger Map

NOTE: It turns out that you have to click on the "View Larger Map" button in the lower left corner to see the starting and ending locations.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Santiago Contreras Found Dead

My Google Reader feeds include an item from the San Bernardino Sun. According to the feed, a body with gunshot wounds was found in the Valley of Enchantment (off Highway 138) early Sunday morning. Fingerprints showed that it was the body of Santiago Contreras, who had been kidnapped on Monday.


Saturday, February 23, 2008

Guasti under construction

The Post Office has moved to a temporary building a block northeast of here. Many businesses have moved out.

What's the business behind the Santiago Contreras story?

I've been following the little tidbits from the Santiago Contreras kidnapping story, and, like everyone else, I'm still a little mystified.

The assumption in a home invasion and kidnapping is that money has something to do with it, so I've naturally been interested in the business angles in this story.

First reports indicated that Contreras was a mechanic. Well, I could see someone getting upset over a botched oil change, but not to that level.

At the same time, it was noted that Contreras made extra money with a food cart. Now I myself am a little leery of push carts, and I could see someone getting mad about getting sick from something bought at a push cart, but again, I can't see a multi-person home invasion and kidnapping arising out of this.

Then there was another report that referenced a struggling food truck business in Mexico. Now this sounds like a little more money might be involved.

But when you really want to talk about money, then there's another business that comes to mind. The Daily Bulletin posted this on their website last night:

Contreras' brother-in-law was held for ransom in Mexico earlier this year in a drug-related incident, said police Detective Al Parra....

The brother-in-law - whose name was not released, but who previously lived in Ontario - traveled to Tijuana, Mexico, several months ago, where he was kidnapped and held until his family paid a ransom....

When Contreras' brother-in-law came back to the United States, he moved to Los Angeles County. He was deported in October to Mexico after he was arrested on suspicion of drug possession, Parra said....

Parra said he has no physical proof to back up his allegations, but said "it appears to be some type of Mexican drug cartel involvement," Parra said.

Oh, and one other thing:

Parra said Contreras, like his brother-in-law, is not in the United States legally.

Not that this makes any difference to future president McBama, whoever it may be.

[25 FEBRUARY - this story has a sad ending. Note that the second link is a result of a comment to this very post.]

Friday, February 22, 2008

InsideTheIE on Ontario

Now that I've started this blog, I'm making the rounds of some of the local blogs/pages for Ontario to make sure that I'm accessing all of the available information on our fair city.

One of the sites that I'm revisiting is InsideTheIE, which uses the description "What to do and where to go when you're in the Inland Empire." It's not really targeted for dynamic information updates (it's not going to have the latest Santiago Contreras information), but it is a good source for general information about the Inland Empire.

You can access separate feeds for each Inland Empire city, including Ontario. Back in June 2006, Ghostpainter wrote a post that described the history of Ontario, California. This is a brief, but fairly good introduction to the city for those who don't know anything about it.

But I strongly urge you to read Ghostpainter's story about the mule cars. That's probably the best story about Ontario's early history - especially the part about the farmer who eventually bought the mules (see the second to last paragraph).

Expanded coverage. Don't all swoon at once.

Second try...

I have now implemented the capability to post to the mrontario blog from my mobile phone.

Theoretically, this allows dynamic, real-time coverage.

In all actuality, it probably just provides another outlet for me to post my stupid pictures of trash cans. (But in this blog, they'll be Ontario, California trash cans!)

But I'll try to post some real-time coverage also.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Ontario City Council Gives the Go Sign


The Ontario City Council hadn't released last night's meeting minutes the last I checked, but my good buddy Andrea Bennett has reported on what happened regarding the Walnut and Walker sign issue.

In a 4 to 1 decision, the City Council decided to put a stop sign at the intersection, overriding staff who had said that the decision was not justified.

The only dissenter was Jason Anderson, who said after the meeting, "Staff said it was not justified. I've seen a lot of pedestrian losses in my line of work. All those people didn't get stop signs." (By day, Anderson is a Deputy District Attorney with San Bernardino County.)

Mayor Paul Leon sided with the majority, noting, "More than half the accidents at the intersection were broadside collisions, which can be controlled by an all-way stop. With the growth of south Ontario, the need is coming to that end of the city... Do we have to wait any longer?"

Ontario-Tijuana Business Connections

If you've been following along in this blog, you've seen the post that notes that Santiago Contreras was apparently involved with a food truck business in Mexico.

Meanwhile, I've placed a post in my mrontemp blog that discusses Tijuana kidnappings of people on the U.S. side of the border.

Let's look at something more pleasant (although possibly undesirable, depending upon your point of view) - Ontario-area businesses investing in Mexican operations. This was discussed in an August 2004 article in Hispanic Business. A few of the points:

  • There are different labor laws in Mexico, which means that you can't just out-and-out fire somebody.

  • It's possible to incorporate a business in Mexico, but the process can take between two weeks and two months.

  • As of 2004, the minimum wage in Tijuana was $4 a day (something that I've touched on before), although factory wages are higher - a whopping $10/$11 a day.

Santiago Contreras Update

Remember when I originally said that kidnappings were more of a Third World phenomenon? Well, KNBC reports a possible Tijuana connection in the Santiago Contreras abduction. Ontario detective Jeff Crittenden is quoted as saying, "We do believe there is a connection to Tijuana. We don't know if it's business or family members."

And the business is characterized by KNBC as follows: "Relatives told police that Contreras had connections to a struggling food truck business in Mexico."

[25 FEBRUARY - this story has a sad ending.]

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

More on Santiago Contreras

The KNBC website has additional details on the Santiago Contreras kidnapping (see previous post).

  • Contreras is apparently not a multi-millionaire, but "a mechanic who makes extra money with a food cart."

  • Contreras "may have anticipated something...[he] parked his car around the corner before approaching his front door."

[25 FEBRUARY - this story has a sad ending.]

Walker, Texas Ranger - is a stop sign truly the best solution for Walnut and Walker?

This is why I get disappointed in people who assume that Iraq and Obama and McCain and the unemployment rate are "real" news.

I submit that things that happen in localities are often much more relevant to our personal lives than things that happen inside the Beltway or inside the Green Zone.

Take this story from January, in which the Roberts family, grieving over the November 13, 2007 death of Paul Roberts at the corner of Walnut and Walker avenues in Ontario, was circulating a petition to install a stop sign at the intersection of Walnut and Walker. According to the article, however, Ontario's city manager Greg Devereaux noted that a stop sign was not justified at the intersection, due to state standards.

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According to the Daily Bulletin, the Roberts family request will be discussed at tonight's City Council meeting. Item 11 (of 11) on tonight's City Council agenda is as follows:

Meeting Date: February 19, 2008
Section: Administrative Reports

Discussion, possible action.

In other words, let the citizens vent at a late hour and continue the discussion to another time.

In all fairness to the city, the occurrence of a death on a public road does not automatically dictate that a stop sign, or a street light, or traffic calming obstructions, or perhaps a road closure, are required, although Cheryl of Montclair has determined that stop signs are the obvious solution:

[W]e need Stop signs all up and down Walnut there. It was just a matter of time now maybe the city will do something about it.

John Bisnar of the California Injury Blog agrees with Cheryl:

We support this family’s tremendous effort to make sure that their neighbors don’t suffer the tragedy and heartbreak they suffered....

City leaders must stand up for their residents. It seems as if the city recognizes that this is a dangerous intersection that is not conducive to pedestrian safety. They could be held liable if such incidents were to happen again and they did not take the steps needed to ensure pedestrian safety at that dangerous intersection.

But what if the city puts up a stop sign and a driver ignores it and kills someone else? Just because a stop sign is put on a road, the road isn't necessarily any more safe. Just ask the driver of a Chevrolet sedan in Midland, Texas on November 6, 1963. This driver ignored a stop sign at an intersection and killed a classmate, Michael Douglas. The name of the driver was Laura Welch, but she later married some dude who later owned the Texas Rangers baseball team.


Monday, February 18, 2008

Ontario, California Kidnapping of Santiago Contreras

You think of kidnappings as things that occur in the third world, but the San Bernardino County Sun reminds us that it can happen here.

Santiago Contreras was kidnapped in front of his family Monday afternoon at 2:20 pm. The family itself had been held hostage for several hours, awaiting Contreras' arrival.

At the time that the article was posted, a motive was not known.

The kidnapping took place in southwest Ontario, on Jacaranda Street near Cypress Avenue.

View Larger Map


[25 FEBRUARY - this story has a sad ending.]

Ontario's "Tent City"

I was traveling when this story (again by Andrea Bennett) was printed in the Daily Bulletin last Friday, but the story Tent City Growing: Ontario's homeless enclave becomes regional haven was certainly an eye-opener.

According to the article, an airport-adjacent area (Cucamonga Avenue and Jefferson Street) was designated as a location for the city's homeless last July. Hundreds of people from around the region live there today, a matter which concerns Mayor Paul Leon, Councilman Jason Anderson, and San Bernardino County Supervisor Gary Ovitt. Leon:

We've always been willing to accept responsibility for the homeless in Ontario, but we cannot take on the burden of all the homeless of San Bernardino County.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Either things are all wet, or I'm inadvertently starting the Andrea Bennett fan club

David Allen is going to be jealous. I start my brand new blog, dedicated to my empire, and I haven't referred to any of his writings yet. Instead, for the second time in a row, I'm referring to something that Andrea Bennett wrote.

In this case, she wrote about the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors' approval of "a $20million water park and outdoor amphitheater to operate on unused land at Cucamonga-Guasti Regional Park."

It's claimed that prices for this water park will be lower than for Raging Waters.

So will the new park have its own version of incorrect advertisements, directing people to go where the 10, the 210, and the 15 meet?


Ontario, California receives the attention it deserves

Andrea Bennett is reporting on "the buzz" about Ontario - it's going to be featured on a major TV show!

OK, not that major a TV show.

According to Bennett, the KVMD show "Spotlight" will shine its light on Ontario, including Ontario Mills Mall, Graber Olive House, and other local highlights.

To find out more about television powerhouse KVMD, go here.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Down on the 91743, Guasti fades away

In one of my older blogs, my fictional radio station had a fictional mailing address on the 25th floor of a high rise in Guasti, California. At the time this was a joke, because Guasti certainly didn't have any high rises at the time.

This could be changing. In a February 11 post in his blog, David Allen noted that many of the businesses that inhabited Guasti a few short years ago have moved or disappeared - among them the Homestyle Cafe (now in south Chino on the way to the prison) and the Filippi Winery tasting room.

I've written about Guasti before - or, more accurately, about Secundo Guasti, the man who founded the self-sufficient community. A fascinating man, and a fascinating place, now set to disappear in airline madness.

Alpha Test

Consider this an alpha test post for the blog mrontario, intended to cover various things in the city of Ontario, California. Just testing out a few things, including a link to a post in my regular blog mrontemp that explains some of the reasons why I'm creating this new blog.

More later.