Sunday, May 28, 2006
The "Pomona Problem"
According to Wilkpedia, in 2005 the population of Pomona was 160,815. We measure 22.8 square miles, making us the fifth largest city in L.A. County. Funny we don't seem all that big to me. We're the birthplace of musician Tom Waits and steriod-friendly jock Mark McGuire. Jessica Alba is a Pomona home girl, and Eldrige Cleaver spent the last year, and day, of his life here. I think the greater world is of the opinion that a lot of people have spent their last day here, with most lives coming to a violent end.
When I look around Pomona, I don't see where it is all THAT bad. I'm sure there are a few pockets (along Holt Street). I do believe the days of senseless violence are behind us. Of course it does not help when a mother puts her toddler in a washing machine at our local Spin Cycle, or when a random shooting of a CHP officer occurs outside our courthouse. Seems there's no shortage of senseless violence stories to put Pomona's dark side on the world's radar. But the day to day feeling on the street can best be described as small town urban if you ask me.
Sometimes there's an upside to being an overlooked city. Because Pomona hasn't been overdeveloped, many of Pomona's old buildings and facades are still here. The City of Pomona has been on the ball about declaring several historic districts, which preserves some pretty unique and beautiful housing stock. Even where homes are not necessarily well-tended in the historic areas, there are diamond in the roughs just waiting for someone to restore them to their former beauty. And I believe someone eventually will.
So the good news is that lots of what makes Pomona unique will be saved, unlike other areas that become redundant with the usual suspect of stores and a "this could be anywhere" lack of a sense of place. Who wants Ontario Mills when you have old town Pasadena. Pomona has potential. Pomona has personality.