29 May 2011

On the Skids in Carbon Canyon #7344

This one was an injury accident on Carbon Canyon Road in Brea east of the Manely Friends stable property and occurred Friday late morning/early afternoon.

Response came from the Chino Hills side with a fire truck and ambulance.  Otherwise no details known to this blogger.

Photos taken yesterday morning.

24 May 2011

On the Skids in Carbon Canyon #s7248 and 7248a

It's now ancient history—probably ten days ago now.

On eastbound Carbon Canyon Road between Fairway Drive/Ginseng Lane and Carriage Hills Drive, in which a vehicle slid off the shoulder, hit an embankment, skidded across lanes and nearly went over the side of the opposing shoulder.

The above were taken a few days ago.  Meantime, on the lower part of the S-curve a little further east, more errant traipsing around a curve in which frequent miscalculations occur, as fresh tire tracks show an alternate route off-road:

16 May 2011

Childhood Recollections of Camp Kinder Ring in Carbon Canyon

In a comment to an earlier post on this blog about Camp Kinder Ring, a Jewish youth camp run by the Workmen's Circle of Los Angeles at what is now the horse ranch on the northeast corner of Carbon Canyon Road and Canyon Hills Road in Chino Hills, Leslie Frierman Grunditz excitedly noted that her father, Leonard, had attended the camp for several summers as a child. 

When she came in from out of town in February to visit her father, Leslie was able to secure a written account of some of his recollections.  Finally and belatedly, the Chronicle is happy to be able to offer those reminiscences in a post, just as they were sent.  Here is Mr. Frierman's account:

Childhood of memories: Carbon Canyon Kinder Camp
as told by Leonard D.A. Frierman

Leonard was born in Los Angeles on January 23, 1925. His parents, Russian immigrants, were both very active in the Workman’s Circle and in Socialist discussion groups. His mother, Rebecca, played in the Working Man’s Circle Mandolin Orchestra. In the late 1930’s Leonard and his older brother, Jay, began attending Kinder Camp in Carbon Canyon and continued going there every summer until the beginnings of WWII. Besides attending summer camp, Jay and Leonard often followed their parents to meetings for labor and social organizations that were sponsored at Carbon Canyon throughout the year.

Here are some of Leonard’s memories from his days at Carbon Canyon, as he related them to me in February of 2011.

 Leaving Los Angeles, the road would take you through mixed farm country. Passing through the town of Chino on the way was always considered dicey. This was because Chino was know as “Ticket City”, a place that made it’s money by giving tickets to those traveling through.

As the road climbed up to Carbon Canyon, there was a Roadhouse that served booze, had steam baths, and poker. Leonard remembers that the mother of a friend of his (Bud Novack) liked to gamble there, but didn’t trust banks. So, she would bring a purse full of money with her and bring her loaded purse into the steam room with her when she took her bath.

 Continuing up the road, it would eventually turn to dirt. Then you crossed a bridge over a stream and entered into the Working Man’s Circle property. You would drive past a cement swimming pool, which he remembers as having a huge filter system.

Reaching the top of the hill, you came to a large wooden building which housed an auditorium and offices. Past that, was the dining hall building, and then you came to the campers cabins. Behind the cabins ran a little creek, which was mostly dry, and the kids would hang out together there. They also like to hang out in a grove of large oak trees that lay past the dry creek. Past the oak grove was a gully and then a little wooden shack where the ladies would cook and serve potato latkes. Leonard remembers killing a rattlesnake out in this area, and described how there were lots of very large garter snakes. He said the girls would take the live garter snakes and drape them across their shoulders like feather boas.

 Up on the hillside were private cabins, which people built for themselves. There was no electricity to these buildings, all accept for one, a cabin owned by a friend to Leonard’s parents, John Uptaker. He was a handy guy, who sold used small mining equipment. The cabin consisted of a large room and kitchen and one bedroom. There was an outhouse, no bathroom. On the roof of Mr. Uptaker’s cabin were 3 windmill generators. These were connected to wet cell batteries in the basement, and this provided him with electricity for the cabin!

Summer camp sessions for kids lasted 3 to 4 weeks. Leonard has very fond memories of the camp activities and clearly remembers the daily routine. Breakfast was followed by Yiddish lessons, Jewish music, and then political discussion (Much centered around socialism with a clear anti communist bent). The kids would also put on shows. There were nature walks and afternoon pool time, and of course, campfires at night.

 The camp director, Mr. Laser, was nicknamed Mr. Loiser by the kids (which is Yiddish for loser)! They actually liked him very much, but thought the rhyme was funny to say.

On weekends, parents would come for visits during the day. Special activities were scheduled and there were family picnics. The Working Mans Circle Mandolin Orchestra would sometimes perform and there was Eastern European entertainment. Parents would have political meetings and the kids were welcome. There were guest speakers who talked about politics, history, and Jewish culture. An actor from Hollywood, Paul Muni, would come and read from the works of Shalom Aleichem (this was before Leonard’s time at camp). Guest actors and singers would come on weekends to perform Jewish cultural works. The Farm Worker’s Union would also make an appearance. Everyone argued politics. Everyone participated. Everyone ate latkes.

People tend to think that, because Chino Hills is a recently-incorporated city, it somehow lacks history, which cannot be further from the truth.  Although residents, visitors and passersby might notice the horse ranch and some of the old camp buildings sitting off Carbon Canyon Road, few undoubtedly know of the interesting history of Camp Kinder Ring, which existed for about thirty years from the late 1920s to the late 1950s.  Mr. Frierman's recollections help preserve a little of that story.

The accompanying photos are courtesy of the Workmen's Circle Arbeter Ring office in Los Angeles and were copied in Summer 2008 from an album of images photographed at Camp Kinder Ring in the 1940s or 1950s.  Clicking on any of them will open a window with a larger view.

11 May 2011

A Strange Sight on Carbon Canyon Road

While it is not at all uncommon to see items dumped alongside Carbon Canyon Road, especially on the less populated and more rugged Brea side, this was a strange sight encountered this morning.  This is in a large turnout on the westbound side of SR-142 between the old La Vida Mineral Springs property and Olinda Village.

It appears to be a couch loaded with trash, covered with some kind of pad and tied together with rope that is then attached to a reflector sign.

The obvious question seems to be why it was left this way, especially tied to the sign?  Maybe it looks a lot creepier than it really is!

10 May 2011

A Less Intrusive Artistic Expression in the Face of Social Injustice

This, appearing in the last week or so at the old La Vida Mineral Springs property on the Brea side of Carbon Canyon, is an interesting manifestation of tagging--isn't the point to be seen?

Then again, is there really a point to it all anyway?

Um, are we done with the rhetorical questions?  Let's hope the good samaritan who usually comes in and paints this area will return soon.

09 May 2011

On the Skids in Carbon Canyon: #7011 and #7163

Late last week, at the top of the S-curve on Carbon Canyon Road in Chino Hills, an innocuous directional sign politely pointing drivers to remain firmly in the eastbound lanes of traffic while negotiating a curve was pathetically pulverized by someone who evidently thought better of it, as below.

Meantime, within the last week or two, there was some erratic perambulation (look it up) a little further down the curve to the east, but, without success in taking out any pent-up energy or dislike for any signs or other animate or inanimate objects down thataway, as below (though a car coming westbound inadvertently, though conveniently, demonstrated here what could have happened had someone else been coming that way when said skid-monger made his mark.)

06 May 2011

Wildfire Awareness Fair Next Saturday!

On Saturday, 14 May from 10 am to 2 pm, the Carbon Canyon Fire Safe Council hosts its annual Wildfire Awareness Fair with the cities of Chino Hills and Brea serving as co-sponsors.  This event, held for the last few years at Western Hills Park in the Chino Hills side of the Canyon, is moving to the new Chino Hills State Park Discovery Center at 4500 Carbon Canyon Road in Brea, adjacent to Carbon Canyon Regional Park.  Moving the venue is also recognition of the fact that Brea joined the Council in 2009 and this important interconnectivity has strengthened the organization and the resolve to make awareness of wildfires a broader effort.

The event, created to let the area know about prevention of fires, evacuation policies and procedures, and general emergency preparedess, will feature presentations on landscape that is firewise and water-saving, demonstrations of wildfire preparedness products, displays by local CERT (Citizen Emergency Response Team) and Auxiliary Radio Operators who assist with emergency issues, and animals from the group "Nature of Wildworks."  There will also be food, face painting and prize drawings and many people will be able to get a first look at the Discovery Center, which is awaiting completion of exhibits, but is otherwise finished in terms of the structure.

Among local vendors and agencies who are participating are: Fresh and Easy Neighborhood Market, Home Depot, Chino Valley Fire District, Brea Fire Department (which has just concluded an joint operating agreement with the Fullerton Fire Department), Brea Police Department, CalFire (the state fire agency), California State Parks, Hills for Everyone, and others.

Anyone who lives in Carbon Canyon or nearby areas that are vulnerable to wildfires should come and learn more about what can be done to mitigate that hazard, as well as get a chance to see the new center.

For more information, call the Fire Safe Council at (714) 33-2405 or (909) 902-5280, extension 409.

05 May 2011

The Carbon Canyon and Tonner Canyon Connection, Part 9

In late summer 1984, two years after the ratification of the Chino Hills Specific Plan, an unprecedented master planning document covering 18,000 acres of undeveloped land in the Chino Hills area, the Los Angeles Times reported that the City of Industry, owner of 2,600 acres in Tonner Canyon, including the historic 1,800-acre Tres Hermanos Ranch within San Bernardino County, had taken initial steps to take part in that planning process.

According to a 9 September piece by Victor Valle, now a professor at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and author of a recently-published book on Industry, the city's redevelopment arm, the Industry Urban Development Agency, voted to approve a preliminary plan by Gruen Associates, a Los Angeles architectural and engineering company, for what was being called "Village in the Valley."  This was the area within Tonner Canyon from the Pomona Freeway (SR 60) on the north to the Firestone Boy Scout Reservation on the south.  While it was not then known whether Industry's proposed plan would meet criteria in the Chino Hills Specific Plan, a city official noted that the $12 million acquisition of Tres Hermanos in 1978 was "an intelligent investment that turned out better than we expected.  We were at the right place at the right time."  The same source, Jerry Winstead director of the IUDA, added that the purchase of the rach was "for water storage and waste management facilities."

With the creation of the Chino Hills Specific Plan, however, the city and the IUDA reconsidered its original thinking.  Winstead added, ""it's like having a property you have zoned more valuable" and that having potentially thousands of new residences would greatly increase the value of the land.  He went on to note that Gruen's plan would include zoning densities, open space preservation, traffic circulation patterns, and concepts for schools and other public facilities, although any specificity as to number of housing units was not known.

Property holders in what is now Chino Hills, however, were hardly receptive to Industry's plans and the zoning parceled out to other developers in the plan area.  A week after the above article, the Times reported that two lawsuits filed in 1982 in federal district court in Los Angeles claiming that Industry and other developers (including Lusk and Sons, Bramalea, Rolling Ridge Estates and Creative Communities) colluded with San Bernardino County officials to receive favorable treatment on zoning for the Tres Hermanos Ranch and other properties, were potentially going to be settled out of court.

One set of allegations was brought by English Road Investment, Ltd., which owned about 57 acres of horse ranches along the street of that name in the center of today's City of Chino Hills and contested the fact that the CHSP only allowed one home per five acres, when it considered that one per half-acre was fairer.  The other plaintiff was Chino Hills Estates I, II and III, which held over 400 acres on the old Gordon Ranch, some of which fell within the Carbon Canyon portion of the specific plan.  In the latter example, the plan called for one unit per acre, while the company argued that it should have had 2 1/2.  English Road was asking for $3.5 million in damages, while Chino Hills Estates sought $20 million.

Looking south from Grand Avenue to the Arnold Reservoir
at Tres Hermanos Ranch in Tonner Canyon, 2 March 2011.

Meanwhile, it was noted that Industry's Tres Hermanos Ranch would, under the CHSP, be allowed to build over 5,000 units, at almost 3 units per acre, while 25 acres were zoned for commercial purposes, presumably along a projected extension of Grand Avenue.

Specific assertions were that county supervisor Robert O. Townsend and county planning director Kenneth Topping had meetings with the defendants and made appointments to a Citizens Advisory Committee to advance the interests of the defendants to the exclusion of the plaintiffs and other property holders.  Notably, in the situation of Chino Hills Estates, it was claimed that "the county planned the alignment and size of certain thoroughfares, including Carbon Canyon Road, to provide access to properties benefitting the developer defendants at the exclusion of plaintiffs."  Unfortunately, few details as to the specifics of the allegations were in the complaint.

Even the Chino Hills Estates attorney betrayed some doubt about the likelihood of victory at trial, however, when he stated "there is no question that they [the developer defendants] got more favorable zoning.  The only question is whetrher there was any impropriety."  This hardly sounded confident, especially when the same lawyer was quoted as saying, "I have recommended meeting with San Bernardino County to try to work out a solution."  An attorney for the county and other defendants simply summed up his views by stating that, in any planning process like this, "some people are happy and some aren't".  An Indusry lawyer went a little further by stating that "I have never seen any eivdence . . . to show there was any conspiracy."

As it turned out, when it came to Tres Hermanos Ranch, the result was that Industry decided not to pursue any residential development and the so-called "Village in the Valley" was shelved.  Indeed, the original goal of water storage has come up several times since then, although the property is still operated as a cattle ranch as it has been for decades and decades.

Notably, it has been reported that Industry is in negotiations to buy the remainder of the Firestone Boy Scout Reservation, much of which it acquired several years ago to the consternation of preservationists.  If this purchase is consummated, it would put the entire Tonner Canyon area, over 8,000 acres, in Industry's ownership.  The Tres Hermanos Conservation Authority, a joint powers agency, with Chino Hills and Diamond Bar as voting members and Industry as an ex-oficio member, has existed for some years, though with somewhat little to do while plans remain conceptual.  Someday, though . . .