Thursday, December 24, 2009

Keep the Chief

I happened to pick up the South Pasadena Review yesterday and saw an article from last week about the City Council of South Pasadena wanting to have Police Chief Dan Watson reapply and compete for his own job. Dan Watson is a good man and a good police chief. In yesterday's issue of the Review, one person who spoke at the last City Council meeting stated that because there appear to be no performance issues with the Chief, it leads one to believe that there are other, self-serving reasons why some on the City Council apparently want to replace him. As many others do, I think this is outrageous.

Why would a City Council replace an experienced Chief with no performance issues, with someone else? Sounds very suspicious to me. What effect will this have on the morale of the South Pasadena Police Department and other city departments?

If you are a South Pasadena resident, please raise your voice in support of the Chief by emailing the city manager and city clerk, spreading the word, and attending the next City Council meeting on January 6. We need to make it clear that this is wrong and that if Chief Watson is removed from his job, those responsible will pay with their City Council seats when they come up for reelection.

Christmas Breakfast - Reprise

[I posted this last Christmas Eve, and decided to post it again for those of you who, like me, have short memories or just didn't see it the first time. The rest of you will just have to enjoy it again, like an old friend.]
Christmas morning can be a challenging time for a single Jewish guy who wants to go someplace for breakfast. Every year I get in my car and drive up to Pasadena, and I always seem to find at least one place that's open. One year, the bakery next to Mi Piaci on Colorado was open. Another year, it was Robin's. But it seems to vary from year to year, and I can't seem to count on any place to be open year after year.

Several years ago, as I made my way into Old Town on Christmas morning, I noticed that Ruby's Diner ( at the corner of Green and Fair Oaks was open. Ruby's is a '50s-style diner that had great food and waiters and waitresses dressed in 50s style outfits. Sometimes my swing-dancing friends and I would go there in the evening after a dance at PBDA ( and dance to the 50s music in the aisles between the tables. I was really happy that Ruby's was open that Christmas morning.

Upon arriving, I realized that I needed to buy an LA Times to read as I ate, but decided I'd wait until after I ordered my meal. As I entered, a young woman greeted me and asked me if I was there for breakfast. I thought this was a rather odd question. It was around 8:00 am, so what else would I be doing walking into a restaurant? I noticed that the waiters and waitresses were not wearing their usual Ruby's outfits. Instead they were wearing blue jeans and flannel shirts. I thought, "That's funny, but it is Christmas, and maybe they just thought they'd let them wear regular clothes."

I was taken to a booth, and I sat down waiting for someone to bring me coffee and a menu and take my order. As I waited, I noticed that instead of the usual salt and pepper shakers on the table there were those little paper envelopes. I also noticed that the utensils were plastic. I thought, "Well, it's Christmas, I guess they didn't want to bring in a full crew of dishwashers and others."

I thought it was odd that it was taking so long for them to come and take my order when suddenly two young waitresses appeared at my table. One had a pot of coffee and the other had a rectangular styrofoam plate containing scrambled eggs, bacon, hash browns, and toast, which she began to place in front of me. "What's this?" I asked. "It's breakfast," one of them said. "But I didn't order this," I said.

Just then a light went on in my head. "Is this a free breakfast for the homeless I asked?" "Yes," she said. "Oh," I said, "I can't eat this. I didn't realize." She said, "Don't worry about it. We have enough food to feed 500 people and only 50 have shown up. We're just going to have to throw it out." So I began to eat my free Christmas breakfast. I began looking around at the other diners. I saw a few homeless-looking people, and a few large tables of what appeared to be special needs patients. I felt so guilty, I didn't have the nerve to get up and buy a newspaper.

After I was done, I went over and offered to pay for my food or to make a donation. The waitress said, "There's no way you can. We don't have registers working, and all the food's been donated and paid for. We're just going to have to send all the leftovers to the park where they're serving lunch, but there will be way too much food."

So that's the story of my embarrassing Christmas breakfast at Ruby's.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Holiday Cards

My friend Karin over at Altadena Hiker did a piece on Holiday Cards today. Like her, I don't often send out Holiday Cards, but there was one time I did. The year was 1994. O.J. Simpson had been tried for murder. During the trial, Judge Lance Ito had ordered prospective jurors not to look at, or listen to, or say anything related to O.J. Simpson. So I created a Halloween costume, a juror, who could neither see, hear, nor speak. I even went to the courthouse on Halloween and it made some of the papers. That year I did my one and only Holiday Card.