Friday, January 25, 2008

Stood Up by the City of Pomona

Originally uploaded by Goddess of Pomona
Last week I made a post about the pictured parkway strip on Towne Avenue, just south of the 10 freeway. It's today's rainy day photo. As you can see, the parkway is filled with trash and dirt -- as it has been for the past four and half years that I've lived here. Hardly a welcome mat to anyone driving into Pomona from the 10 or North Towne, much less those of us who actually live here. The purpose of my calls to the City was to request that the City add landscaping, or allow myself and other volunteers to do so.

Last Tuesday, I was assured by Melissa in the Pomona City Manager's office that my message had been forwarded to Tom Taylor, Park Operations Supervisor with the City of Pomona. Melissa, by the way, seemed really with it and I liked her. I followed that up with a phone message to Tom Taylor's voice mail, making sure he knew the parkway I was talking about and leaving my name and number. It's now been one week and a few days later, and I have heard squat from Tom Taylor or anyone else from the City about this issue. I put in another message to him yesterday.

I am posting this on here not to be mean and crabby, but because it makes me wonder if herein lies part of the problem with Pomona's beautification struggles. Makes me wonder how many others have called before with requests or ideas and been blown off, or at least been made to feel like they weren't important enough to warrant the typical (and professional) next-business-day callback.

In general, I hate to receive the "It's only Pomona" treatment. I expect the Pomona treatment from certain Claremont types, but it's really sad when it comes from "in house." As I have said before, Pomona's worst enemy is Pomona. The good news is that this is something we have control over that we can actually work to change.
The bad news is that the dirt parkway is, well, still dirt.



calwatch said...

Did you call Paula? Did she say anything?

John Clifford said...

I just copy/pasted this blog entry into an email to Paula Lantz, George Hunter, and Stephen Atchley. Hopefully Goddess will hear from them. If I hear I'll forward any info.

me said...

But you guys, is that how things are supposed to work? Everything goes through the council people or nothing gets done? That sounds terribly inefficient, and overly taxing on our council people. Plus, when I called the City Manager's office, I was not told to call my council person or nothing would be done. I think there should always be the expectation of a response when you call your City about anything. They work for us after all.

But JC, thanks for passing the concern along.

Oh, and by the way, the parkway is not dirt anymore. It's mud :)

G of P

Ed said...

I think all three of you are right. I think the call to the Parks Operations Supervisor should have elicited in initial response. When it didn't, we should contact the City Manager's office to express our frustration. If that doesn't work, then we should contact the Council members to ask them why the individual they hired to run the city is doing a crappy job.

At the end of the day, the City Manager is the individual in charge of the city (hence the highest paid). The Council members should hear our concerns or suggestions when necessary, but I don't think this particular suggestion rises to that level.

We should hold Council members responsible for how the city is run, but only because they select the City Manager. In my opinion, part of the rationale for having a part-time Council and Mayor is that their primary function is to act like a Board of Directors, not the president or executives of the city. Of course, I can't say that the Council members necessarily agree with my assessment.

Sorry for the length, but GoP has really highlighted a problem which for me, is the most relevant the city is facing. Basically, we are looking at bad management and swapping in a new mayor or Council members isn't going to solve the problem unless the Council recognize their role in city government.

Lastly, I don't know how much latitude an interim City Manager has to "pick" her team, but the interim title shouldn't prevent us from holding her accountable. Sorry for the cliche, but it's time to step up to the plate.

John Clifford said...

The problem with a "temporary" city government is rampant. The staff is decimated and no one wants to do anything because in a few months there will be a new regime and who knows what they will actually want. Wouldn't want to go down any wrong roads so it's easier to just glide along. Unfortunately, a city with a major infrastructure problem is the loser.

It's important to remember that the top city staff probably (in most cases I'm aware of) don't live here. At least our mayor and council do and they're pretty responsive when things are brought to their attention.

Ed said...

I hear ya on the problems of having a permanent "temporary" vacancy. And I'm guessing (although never tested)that our Council members can be quite responsive to their constituent's needs.

I guess my expectations of city management aren't based on whether they live in the city. For instance, as a shareholder in Coca Cola, I don't really care if the CEO drinks Coke, so long as he runs the company well. And this city doesn't exactly run like a well-oiled machine.

I just don't think citizens should need to contact their elected representative concerning every query. Now that GoP didn't get an acceptable response, I think sending it up to a Council member makes sense, but if we don't hold the city employee accountable than all we're really doing is training the employee to essentially ignore the city's residents.

Sorry GoP if this is more than you wanted.

me said...

No apology necessary. I welcome the discussion about the larger issues this may touch on. And anyone looking around knows there are larger issues.

John has emailed me privately that he did get a response from the City, but since I have not heard anything directly from the City myself, I can't say what the outcome of all this will be.

btw John, you're welcome to report anything without worrying about stepping on my toes. And remember, I'm missing my sword, so I'm fairly harmless when I get angry anyway! Unless you don't return my phone calls that is.

G of P

John Clifford said...

OK, then I'll let Ed, Calwatch and everyone else know that my email to the council members did get a response from Parks & Rec and they're, supposedly, looking into things. I hope that I was able to help GoP. Hopefully they'll respond to HER original issue and not me. I was only trying to bring this to their attention.

Hopefully you'll get your sword back soon. I don't think being a little bit scary would hurt.

Garrett Sawyer said...

I've only brought one idea to the cities attention, it was to the sanitation department, I received prompt follow-up emails and two snail mail letters with golden City of Pomona seals. Still have yet to see my idea put into place. At first I thought they would just completely blow me off being that I’m so young (which I made them aware of) but they actually responded, now to get them to do what they promised. I should get the letters and scan them and copy the emails from my inbox and compile them into a blog entry on my blog for all to see. I never thought about doing that before, but since your blog seems to get some peoples attention I shall try as well.