Claremont Insider: Happy Birthday, Pomona!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Happy Birthday, Pomona!

Monica Rodriguez in the Daily Bulletin reported yesterday on Pomona's 120th birthday celebration. Yes, Pomona is Claremont's elder by 19 years. Of course, Pomonans don't quite have this civic birthday business down - they only celebrate centennials every 100 years.

Like any seasoned pol, Pomona Mayor Norma Torres is off an running with her city's birthday festivities, as the article pointed out:

"It's an opportunity to be able to show potential developers and businesses our city," Mayor Norma Torres said.

It's also a chance to have those in the city learn about what's happening in Pomona, she said.

Pomonans may not be happy with everything Torres has done. There was her very public feud with Pomona Police Chief Joe Romero, for instance. (The Foothill Cities Blog had a number of posts on the Romero-Torres fight.)

And, Norma is the person most responsible for Xavier Alvarez being thrust upon Pomonans and the rest of us as a member of the Three Valleys Municipal Water District Board.

Alvarez, who falsely claimed to have been a Medal of Honor receipient, is also accused of lying about still being married to an ex-wife in order for that person to qualify for health benefits through Three Valleys.

Alvarez faces federal misdemeanor charges for the Medal of Honor claims, though his defense attorney is trying to get charges dismissed by arguing that lying is a protected form of speech under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Alvarez may still face local charges for the health benefits business.

Part of the reason Alvarez was elected was because of the endorsement he received from Mayor Torres, who seems to want to build a network of elected and appointed officials beholden to her. So, her endorsement seems a bit of deception too, though Torres herself says she was unaware the truth of Alvarez's claims.

Pomona voters shouldn't feel too bad, though. They and Norma Torres may not be the only ones to buy into Alvarez's fictional acheivements: