20 Jul 19
San Gabriel Valley Tribune
Karen Comstock, Chino’s police chief since 2014, on Tuesday attended her last City Council meeting before her retirement. A lot of people turned out to wish her well, including yours truly.
After her hiring I wrote a profile of Comstock, Chino’s first female police chief and only the second in San Bernardino County history after Barstow’s Diane Burns a few years earlier.
In fact, Comstock will be the first woman to retire from the Chino Police Department when she leaves July 31. Still breaking the mold even on her way out.
When Mayor Eunice Ulloa called Comstock up to the front of the room Tuesday, the chief explained that her choice of outfit — an Oxford shirt, jacket and slacks — was deliberate.
“I wore this same outfit when you appointed me four years, seven months ago. I decided to wear the same outfit going home,” Comstock said.
Raised in Chino from the fourth grade on, she joined the police explorer program while at Don Lugo High and was hired in 1990 as an officer. She worked her way up, holding every rank in the department over 29 years.
“Her heart has been and always will be in the city of Chino,” Ulloa said.
There was official recognition from various Chino Valley legislators and boards, with the best comment coming from Chino Valley Unified board member James Na. He said he’d been talking to a student and her mother recently when the girl said she’d like to grow up to be a police officer “just like Chief Comstock.”
Incoming chief Wes Simmons was pretty good too. “I just want to say how excited I am for you to retire!” Simmons cracked.
Comstock laughed and protested: “David Allen’s here!”
(Looking back at my 2014 column, I see that when Miles Pruitt, her mentor, retired as chief, Comstock deadpanned at the council meeting: “I’m probably the one person here who’s happy Miles is leaving.” I was there then, too.)
But onto the fabulous parting gifts.
The Dodgers diehard was presented a Pelican ice chest filled with Dodger-branded items. They included a ball signed by council members. “Marc Lucio signed the Dodger baseball even though he’s an Angels fan,” Ulloa noted.
Comstock’s attention was caught by the most glittery item in the bag: a pair of blue sequined sneakers with white trim. “I’m going to put these on immediately,” she said.
Returning to her seat with her loot, she did just that, removing her slip-ons and donning her spangly sneakers, which she wore for the rest of the meeting.
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By doing so, Comstock may have achieved one final milestone: being the first police chief of either gender to leave a council meeting with new footwear.
One last time?
Chet Jaeger has been playing at Claremont’s Concerts in the Park since the 1940s and with his Dixieland band, the Night Blooming Jazzmen, annually since the 1970s.
But the cornet player thinks their July 29 gig might be his last summertime appearance in Memorial Park.
“I’m just getting old. I’ll be 95 in November,” Jaeger told me. “Everything’s going pretty good but my legs.”
He and his band are still performing. Just Thursday, they played for 2 1/2 hours at the Press, a Claremont restaurant and bar, with Jaeger seated the whole time. But he has trouble getting up and down from the Memorial Park bandshell stage.
Well, whether it’s his last time or not, I’m sure he’d like to see you. The free concert starts at 7 p.m. at 840 N. Indian Hill Blvd.
As part of the show, Jaeger’s great-granddaughter, Zoe Hine, 9, will sing “Is It True What They Say About Dixie?” With a great-grandfather and a great-granddaughter sharing a stage, it’s bound to be great.
On “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” Tuesday, the Mountain Goats, the band led by onetime Claremont resident John Darnielle, performed his teenage lament “This Year.” The autobiographical song includes the line “heading north up Mills Avenue,” a real street that runs from Montclair through Claremont. Colbert, who’d requested the song, joined the band to duet with Darnielle and sang the line about Darnielle’s stepfather, who (in deep Claremont lore) was the late council watchdog Mike Noonan.
David Allen writes Sunday, Wednesday and Friday, which qualifies as shallow lore. Email firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 909-483-9339, visit insidesocal.com/davidallen, like davidallencolumnist on Facebook and follow @davidallen909 on Twitter.