Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Remember the Frostie

Share your memories of Ojai's landmark fast-food joint. It was demolished Tuesday morning, March 13, 2007


Dana Wilson said...

Ojai is certainly going through allot of changes. But change is the only constant in life, in a community. Change can be for the better-with good planning, as in the hard work baseball players parents put into all the playing fields this year. Sometimes not, as in Los Arbolas and Polito's torpedo of Ojai's character.

We had some good council members many years ago when I was a kid in Ojai, they really work for the community, they were not perfect in their planning at times, but you didn't have such poor planning and execution as we do now.

Dana Wilson

Anonymous said...

As posted in the Ojai Post:

"Well I suggest that anyone unlucky or desperate enough to do business with Polito better dot their "i"s and cross their "t"s. He's already cheated two Ojai residents out of their leases (Ojai Frostie and Gift Galleria -when it was on Ojai Ave) shortly after the owners sunk huge amounts of money buying their new businesses. He should hang his head in shame!"

I say let's boycott anything Polito gets his hands on.

pete lafollette said...

I happened by when school kids were walking by Frostie site and yelling "Where we supposed to go now?" which said it all. There
safe after school hangout is no more, and city council took no steps to prevent it. So it goes...

Anonymous said...

Jersey Mike's?

Anonymous said...

A bland and homogenized run-of-the-mill chain (the type of which one can find in any and every town in this country) is no replacement for a beloved institution that had great sentimental and local historical value, where kids could hang out with each other outdoors while being able to afford the inexpensive prices. A real travesty!! I hope anyone who has the same disgust that most of us have keep the spotlight on this issue. Mr. Polito - We won't let this be swept under the rug!!

Anonymous said...

Remember that the way he dealt with Henderson isn't just a one-off. If it were, perhaps one could make the argument that it was simply business related. (Although again, that begs the question, why didn't he advise Mr. Henderson of his intentions to redevelop BEFORE Henderson bought the business?)

Remember, a few years ago, he promised the lady who was buying the Gift Galleria that he would extend the lease to her. He reneged shortly after making the promise. His word WASN'T his word. He cost her tens of thousands of dollars as well as her business.

To the people who want to defend his "character" I ask: How the hell does all of this qualify him to be "a hell of a nice guy"?

Anonymous said...

Since when does anyone rely on anything that's not in writing?

Anonymous said...

You certainly can make the argument that one should not rely on anything, not put into writing. But that is not the only issue here.

I went to school with Mr. Henderson, we both had allot of mutual friends, (In Ojai, how can you avoid it).
I don't know of anyone who knows Mr. Henderson that wouldn't take what he would say as anything other than honest and forthright. He can sleep at night. It is that cache that will bring him back, providing a safe and comfortable place for the kids of Ojai.

One's business acumen, good or bad, travels open and vealed paths, as praise or gossip.

I would do business by a handshake with Mr. Henderson before I would enter a written contract with Mr. Polito.

One would go forward with confidence, the other, I would always be looking behind my back.

Anonymous said...

Perfectly said Annonymous!

The previous owner of the Gift Galleria (who I was referring to in the above post) was a life-long Ojai resident and was trusting enough to believe that a man’s word would be sufficient. Obviously, she learned a very painful (and financially ruinous) lesson dealing with a person with absolutely no conscious.

These two Ojai residents have had their lives pulled out from under them and are probably still financially recuperating (and yes, maybe at least one of them made the na├»ve and less-than-savvy mistake of trusting that a verbal agreement would be honored), but both of them can look themselves in the mirror every day and know that they are honest and upright human beings. Unfortunately, for them (and for the citizens of Ojai – especially the kids), they had to cross paths with someone quite different – one with no moral character or business integrity.

Anonymous said...

Hey, what happened to Rob Clement's post???

Anonymous said...

Was his (Clement's) the comment where he said that he stood under the bucket of the heavy machinery, used for tearing down the Frostie?

I've heard that several posts have been removed shortly after posting.

It would be interesting to understand what guidelines are used to discern which posts are dispatched.

A comment by those doing it would go along way in our understanding.

Linda Potter said...

Well, the Ojai Peddlers Fair is not allowed anymore to have vendors on the grass outside or to put up their little sandwich board sign, by the way this even sponsors high school activities, BUT we let this happpen in our city?? My God......

Rob Clement said...

One particular statement I made in my earlier post was innaccurate. I stated that Mr. Polito did not return our phone calls, as this was my understanding. I was corrected, as Mr. Polito did return calls, he merely refused statement on certain relevant questions. The post was removed so as to avoid providing false information in a public atmosphere. It is my hope and aim in all things, as a journalist, to stay as faithful to the truth as possible. Of course, truth is liquid, only taking shape in the mind of the beholder.

Below is an edited version of my previous post.

Standing in the middle of despair and heartache last year, frustration fueled by the end of a community icon and the squashing of one families' dream, it is easy to understand why a man whose decisions brought this about would be so illusive.

I was approached by someone during an appointment, the husband of the one I was about to see, and was the recipient of a harangue regarding the Ojai Valley News' discriminatory stance on Ron Polito. "You really don't know him," he told me, "he's a hell of a nice guy and really only has the very best interests for Ojai."

I responded simply by saying, "We've given him [Polito] numerous chances to state his side of things. We would love to hear from him. If we knew, as a paper, then we could introduce his opinion, which I'm sure is valid, into the mix. People want to know." I then added, "have your friend call us to talk."


Soon the O-hi Frostie was shut done. There was a huge out pouring. People from as far as San Diego and San Luis Obisbo show up for one last nostalgic feast.


I empathize, a little bit, with Polito on this matter. His business based decision, whether 'good' or not, was his to make. And that decision brought with it tremendous discontent throughout his 'beloved' Ojai Valley. Were I in his shoes, and making his decisions, I doubt I'd want to be public either. What a brilliant move on his part to shut the Frostie down before any other business on the chopping block, therefore ending the media and citizen frenzy directed at his business venture.

Fast-forward now to the demolition. The fire seems to be out. Only a few 'radicals' nursing a quiet grudge. Put up fencing fast. Call in the crews. Execute initiative Polito.


Order the demolition of the Frostie building first, preferably early morning before the daily commute begins. Avoid the circus at all costs. Nothing can be saved. Building down in under an hour. Nice job.

I wonder if he took a photo of the mural before it turned to rubble and dust?

I went there in the hopes that Mr. Polito would be there, overseeing the beginning of his project. When I arrived I was quickly stopped from entering the property, and told I would be in violation if I entered. I told the guy I had no problem with this, that I didn't want to get him into trouble, but that I would be standing behind the 3-ft wall on the Pacbell building. No he told me, that was there's too, and that the cops would be called if I didn't vacate, and that it was really for my safety anyway. Oh, and no pictures. No problem, I understand.

So I went to the most dangerous position I could have possibly gone to anyway. Directly under the bucket of the demo crane, merely feet from snapping timber, electrical wire, and plaster. But on public property, the sidewalk protected by green netting.

Standing there, documenting this metal monster chew through a dying memory, I couldn't help but be optimistic. Ron, you've proven to everyone you're the big guy in charge. Much like Dick Cheney you have said with your actions that you don't care what others think, that there is nothing anyone can do to stop you. You're the guy with the ball in your court. But I can imagine, and hope, that all of this really is in the best interest of preserving that intangible quality that makes Ojai so special, and that one day your actions would be so positive that amends could grow even between you and Mr. Henderson. Is it possible I wonder?

Rob Clement said...


How long has this been true? It seems just a few weeks ago I saw stands up in front of Chapparal. Who made the decision? And what reason do they have for validation?

Linda Potter said...

Just noticed this past event. The woman said some shop owners complained about the outside peddlars. Now I can hardly believe the outside peddlers would distract from any shopping, in fact, where I work two days at St Thomas, shopping totally increases. The point is, why does the city always have to damper and put restrictions on our retail and fairs? We should be having art shows on the lawn every weekend to attract visitors. Then to restrict our once a month afforadble event that actually helps our music students, come on OJAI. We are fastly loosing our ART ambience. But if anyone noticed, we did have SEVERAL out of town RUG peddlers all over our Ojai streets lately. I don't mind them as to me it adds flavor, but when OUR OWN artists and crafts people have nowhere to peddel their wares...... I would love to set up on the grass at the peddlars fair, guess that idea is gone. Will just have to sell out of my truck on the roadside in OAK VIEW.....HA! Are there any other artists around who would like a weekly fair? Trouble is the city would probably charge us more than we would make. Hey, if anyone is game, we could probably have art and craft and peddlers fairs at the Oak View resouce center.

Lisa Snider said...

Why didn't Henderson relocate to another available site in Ojai? Sounds to me like he had a well established clientele who would have followed him anywhere. Sorry, Rob, you're a helluva fella, but comparing Polito to Cheney?! Ouch!

Anonymous said...


Do you have ANY idea or perception of how financially difficult it is to move a business, retrofit a new space, absorb the lack of sales for that period of time, etc.?!?! Some are in the position to do so, others may not be so lucky. Especially after just buying a place where all or most of your capital is tapped. Remember, Mr. Henderson did not own the Frostie for all that long.

I think the better question to ask is how can a landlord live with himself after doing what he did to Rick and Tanya (Gift Galleria)??

Rob Clement said...


I feel the same way about you. I think you're great. But the comparison I'm drawing between the two is not a hard one to make. To clarify though, I AM NOT suggesting that Mr. Polito is capable of orchestrating the death of tens of thousands (some reports in the hundreds) of innocent people, all the while vilifying their way of life, religion, and cultural values, for profit. Nor am I suggesting that Mr. Polito is behind the scenes, pulling the marionette strings of City Council, such as Cheney in the realm of federal politics.

I am stating however that Polito and Cheney exhibit, through their actions and inactions, a disregard for the values, concerns, hopes and dreams of the public at large.

And I remain hopeful, perhaps naively, that Polito will do something so great that we are all left shocked and humbled.

Lisa Snider said...

Rob and Anon,
Points well taken, both. Moving forward, I am hopeful businesses will remember to "get it in writing." And, let's also hope that what is put in Frostie's place is pleasing to the eye and serves the community well. Rob, your last sentence certainly drives that point home - thank you.

Anonymous said...

Hey Dana (first comment) -

The phrase "a lot" is spelled as TWO separate words, not one. To write "allot" meaning "many" is functionally illiterate.

This is a good example of how favorably California's school system compares with that of Mississippi.