By Allen David
Driving along Interstate 10, where the freeway climbs between Ford Street to Yucaipa Boulevard, and if not for the unmistakable restlessness in my divining rod I wouldn’t give a thought to investigating the site just to the south. But time has taught me not to ignore the bustle in my hedgerow. So I am led to the remains of Crystal Springs Ranch, 164 acres of what was once the oldest continuously operating bottled water company in California—located just under the Panorama Point overlook, bordered on the west by Wabash Avenue and on the east by Gold Hill Road (at the old Yucaipa off-ramp) and stretching on up the hill to Sunset Drive. Serrano Indians lived on the site because of its natural springs, but the first recorded owner was Redlands founder Frank Brown, who intended to cultivate the springs for city water. But there wasn’t enough water, so in the late 1800s Brown sold the property to George D. Heron for $100 and two gold watches. Heron started bottling and selling both natural spring and distilled water in wicker-covered bottles from a horse-drawn truck to Redlands customers. His son, Avalon, took over from 1930 until his death in 1965, when his sister, Lola, became chief of operations. In 1979, Lola Heron bequeathed the ranch to the Blessed Hope Foundation for use as a spiritual, educational and charitable property. A men’s shelter was being run on the property in 2001, although preservationists have all along hoped to establish a historical site and museum on the property.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 12
California’s minimum-wage workers will get their first raise in more than six years next summer if Governor Jerry Brown signs a bill the California’s legislature passes today. Well, the bill is passed mostly by Democrats—the state Senate approving the measure on a 26-11 vote and the Assembly following hours later on a 51-25 vote, both largely along party lines. It increases the minimum wage by $2 an hour over the next three years—from the current $8 an hour to $9 an hour next July 1 (2014) and to $10 an hour on Jan. 1, 2016. Assembly Speaker John Perez (D-Los Angeles) estimates a $10 minimum wage would increase earnings for a projected 2 million Californians by $4,000 a year and put $2.6 billion into the economy. Brown indicated earlier this week that he would sign the bill, calling it overdue help for working-class families. Most Republicans call it something else. “This is a classic example of how out-of-touch state leaders are,” says Sen. Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber). As one of the few Republicans in the state legislature, where his party’s extreme positions have handed Democrats virtual one-party rule, Neilson ought to be an expert on the dangers of being out-of-touch. Alas, because he remains so out-of-touch, he continues to serve as a case study. Meanwhile, Sen. Ted Gaines (R-Rocklin) compares the wages of our lowest-paid workers to one of our biggest public-health scourges—saying that the principle of raising the cost of tobacco to discourage its use also applies to labor: “If you make something more expensive, people will buy less of it.” Gaines is trying to say that raising the minimum wage will result in fewer jobs, but he’s struggling because he’s out of touch.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 13
Depending on whether you prefer Norse or Greek origins for your phobias, the fear of Friday the 13th is known as friggatriskaidekaphobia (after Frigg, the Norse goddess Friday is named after in English) or paraskevidekatriaphobia (from Παρασκευή Paraskevi, Greek for Friday).
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 14
Johnny Manziel. Everybody pronounces it Man-ZELL. But shouldn’t it be Man-ZEEL?
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 15
Day of rest.
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 16
All that history I gave you at the top of the column? About 164-acre Crystal Springs Ranch? How it was once the oldest continuously operating bottled water company in California? The stuff about it being sold for $100 and two gold watches? And how it was handed down through the Heron family, bequeathed to the Blessed Hope Foundation, became a men’s shelter—and how I happened upon this classic story of Southern California and water because of restlessness in my divining rod? Weren’t you wondering why? Patience.
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 17
The Redlands City Council will consider designation of Crystal Springs Ranch as a city historic and scenic landmark on Oct. 1. Pamela Smyth filed for the designation with the city’s Historic and Scenic Preservation Commission on March 3, 2011. In e-mails to supporters, Smyth calls Crystal Springs Ranch a perfect example of a sustainable urban farm that has everything it takes to prosper and could provide food and education for Redlands and the Inland Empire: “The hillsides and slopes provide the wildlife corridor and grazing areas, not to mention the beautiful green and verdant scenic vistas that are so important to the people of Redlands. This perfectly balanced and fragile ecosystem deserves to go forth undisturbed for as long as nature provides.” One potential problem, as pointed out in the last line of a story in Redlands Daily Facts: The designation sought by Smyth does not include restrictions on development.