A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA


A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA


A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA


Pseudo Pop – The empty lot known as Lake Pomona

Anthony Solorzano

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For the last 17 years, the heart of downtown Pomona has had a ditch right at the center of it. The rich owners of the ditch have no plans for it. The community has many.




HOST: Hi, welcome to Pseudo Pop where we use pop culture to give real life some context. I’m your host, Anthony Soriano and today we’re going to talk about a ditch. In 2009, the show “Parks and Rec” premiered. The sitcom followed a parks and rec department of a fictional city of Pawnee Indiana as they try to build a park on an empty ditch in a community.

ANN PERKINS: I’m here to talk about the abandoned lot on Sullivan Street.

LESLIE KNOPE: Excellent. That sounds like a good idea. Tell us about that?

ANN: No, it’s a problem. It almost killed my boyfriend.

HOST: Two years before the show aired, a concert hall located in the heart of downtown Pomona called the Tiki Room, was demolished and created a ditch similar to the one in the show. Sounds like the creators of parks and rec owe the city of Pomona a residual check and Chris Pratt owes the city of Pomona a simple thanks for his career. 17 years later, the property remains empty. Locals now refer to it as Lake Pomona

VICTOR PRECIADO: Back in the day before the metal fencing went up. I was told that the lake, it would fill up with water and people would either jokingly be fishing there or throw some fish in there, you know, and just start fishing.

HOST: That’s council member, Victor Preciado.

VICTOR: It was torn down to make something and that makes something never happened. It’s owned by Charles Group. They have ton and a ton of money. They buy properties and sit on them. There was a case where they’re supposed to bring in a Target and I forgot where somewhere in South LA and the city even gave them money. And after like 15-20 years, they didn’t do nothing and it’s terrible. They put stuff on sale, they’ll get an offer and then they’ll pull it. And they’re just like, oh, never mind. They’re just very wealthy people. It’s two brothers, one of them, a couple of years ago, got indicted by the FBI.

HOST: According to the US attorney’s office, Arman Gabay, one of the brothers that owns the Charles Group was sentenced to 48 months in federal prison in order to pay more than a million dollars back in December 2022. He was charged for offering to buy a million dollar home for an LA county public official in exchange for the official’s assistance to secure a $45 million county lease for the developer. Money is not an issue for these brothers. The brothers have enough money to build a club for Tom Haverford to sell his snake juice.

DONNA: This snake juice is basically rat poison. Everybody’s wasted.

LESLIE: You don’t even know what they even say what they gonna do. He asked me the whole thing and I didn’t even do it.

TOM: I’m like, like an elephant. OK. If I walk into a room, it’s like, OK, he’s in there.

HOST: Enough money to build a Paunch Burger that gives Lil Sebastian action figures in its kid’s meal.

LESLIE: Ladies and gentlemen, the world famous Lil Sebastian.

HOST: The brothers are so rich, they could award a “Treat Yourself” Scholarship to the entire city of Pomona without hurting their wealth.

TOM: Once a year, Donna and I spend a day treating ourselves. What do we treat ourselves to?

DONNA: Clothes.

TOM: Treat yo self.

DONNA: Fragrances.

TOM: Treat yo self.

DONNA: Massages.

TOM: Treat yo self.

DONNA: Mimosas.

TOM: Treat yo self

DONNA: Fine leather goods.

TOM: Treat yo self.

DONNA: It’s the best day of the year.

HOST: Council member Victor and local art gallery owner Gio were tired of looking at the empty lot and created an outside art gallery, which I participated in a few years ago.

GIO: So one of the ideas, I think, we’re just, we’re just chilling, you know, just chilling and it was like July and shit and we’re like, fuck, well, why don’t we put fucking little murals? So my brother, my brother’s from STP, it’s like a graffiti crew and they also run the Venice Beach Art walls. So it’s, it’s called the STP Foundation. They run the Venice Beach art wall. So I was always in that certain environment where you’re like, hey, look at this shit, like, not look at this shit, but look at this art, you know, it’s a, it’s a rotating art space. A lot of people around the world come for it. Luckily Victor made me his Arts Commissioner where I could kind of like put into it and certain things like that, you have to learn how to be outspoken. Like, hey, this is my idea and like, even though there’s people that have been there for like years. From like doing that, we actually got an award for, during that time of COVID for being the best art walk.

HOST: The community got together to create something beautiful out of dirt. Gio and Victor joined forces to unleash their inner Leslie Nope to use the space for better.

GIO: Because there’s two sides, there’s the entrepreneur in me that says fuck it, build some buildings in there and put some apartments and fucking rent it out. You know what I mean?
What you can make your money for. And then the other part of me is like, make it to like an outdoor amphitheater, you know, where you can have live music bands coming out, you know, something that echoes nicely where you can, you know, you can have like different types of jazz orchestras, people doing open mics and shit like that, you know, that would be beautiful.

GISELLE MOLINA: I feel like a lot of locals here are also, like skating, roller skating, you know? I feel like you bring the community together a lot more because I mean, they have community events like these 909 markets already.

JUAN VEGA: A space that can bring in foot traffic, that can make give like, make an experience like people walking in. Like, our shop has six seats, our shop has six seats. So, we love to encourage people coming in to shop with us and then going to take a walk and having something to do. And if we can give people a little bit more what to do, that’d be awesome. Restaurants, shops, boutiques.

HOST: These developers aren’t thinking of the community. They are selfish capitalists who are hoping to score a big check off of a community that has better ideas than them.

RON SWONSON: I will walk deeper into the belly of the beast if it means I’m able to further limit reckless government spending. I mean, I have so many ideas. Some are simple, like take down traffic lights and eliminate the post office. The bigger ones will be tougher, like, bring all of this crumbling to the ground.

HOST: For Pseudo Pop, we out.

CHAZZ MICHAEL MICHAELS: No one knows what it means, but it’s provocative.

JIMMY MACELROY: Ugh, no its not, it’s…

CHAZZ: Gets the people going.

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About the Contributors
Anthony Solorzano, Opinions Editor
Anthony Solorzano is the Opinions Editor. He has been pursuing journalism since he realized he hated his job. Anthony loves to tell stories using humor. He finds pop culture to be the truest form of pretentious art.
Alex Ruiz, Multimedia Editor
Alex Ruiz is the Multimedia Editor. He has been invested in journalism and covering stories since enrolling in Mt. SAC in 2021. He likes covering sports and sharing his opinions. He also runs his own newsletter covering the LA Galaxy, The Galactic Tribune. He also has a cool cat.

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