May 24, 2011
Dear Readers, Neighbors, and Government Officials,
Let me tell you about my day. At 9:00 A.M. it started at the Los Angeles County Municipal Court in Alhambra, Department V, 4th Floor before Judge Stephanie M. Bowick. I was there to show my support for the Arcadia Tree Sitters. A small group of ordinary citizens that took it upon themselves, in our behalf (that’s you and me Q. Public) to sit in trees to try to prevent those trees from being violently ripped to shreds by bulldozers to make way for nearby dam sediment (formerly known as what becomes beach sand) to be dumped. The subject of which is a whole other rant I’ll not go into here. Let’s just say, it was a tragic human rudeness against an ancient natural resource. Old oaks and sycamores were slaughtered without a care in the world for the benefit they provide to the public and to the habitat they provided to many wild creatures.
After a parade of many other people that had driven drunk or were accused of some other serious offenses, at 10:45 the tree sitters case was called. At that time, their attorney stated to the court that they were still in ongoing negotiations with the District Attorney’s office regarding disposition of their case, and if no agreement could be reached (as in dismissal) the case would move forward to trial on June 23, 2011.
I ask you, in voire dire, where are they going to find a jury of twelve tree haters and total haters of free speech? This is a ridiculous waste of precious taxpayer dollars. I ask you, District Attorney Steve Cooley, to give this up and let it go. This case goes against everything you know in your heart to be right. You can’t convince me that you didn’t sit in a tree one day in your life and feel cradled by the earth (ref. Kelly’s comment on a previous post).
All these people did was try and save a few trees. A heinous outrage! (excuse me for laughing out loud)
After a fabulously luxurious nap with my cat at home, I attended the City of Pasadena’s Hahamongna Watershed Park Advisory Committee meeting. This is where things got a little more crazy for me (and I use ‘more crazy’ loosely). The committee is comprised of ordinary citizens (appointed by the mayor), government staff employees, and representatives of establishment environmental organizations-like the Sierra Club.
On the big screen was projected this map:
The pink area is a development project proposed in partnership with the Arroyo Seco Foundation. Which I trust to be sensitive to the surrounds, and appropriate to the further nurturance and practicality in preservation of the watershed, an extremely valuable resource. I feel the same confidence in the integrity of the Pasadena Water and Power Department and the work they do in protecting and purifying our water.
The Annex section of the map (the area just below JPL and to the far left on the map) concerns only development and renovation of a group of buildings that were once occupied by the US Forestry Service. No problem there. It’s reuse of established stuff. It’s like recycling. It would be good to find or transfer some funding for that. Fix it up. Make it an Environmental Education Center, but what environment do you have left?
There’s a serious problem in the areas shown in blue and yellow on the map. This is an area that the committee seems bent on using city funding and finding grant funding to develop. It is undeveloped habitat. This is human encroachment, rudeness toward nature. It irritates the hell out of me. Why? Why do they want to mess with any of it? WASTE of taxpayer dollars!
The committee spent at least an hour discussing the status of the various funding/grant application status to develop these areas. The idea is to pile up tons of sediment in there and make a piece of land that is high and flat. Then, create a “multipurpose” athletic field, ie. famously known as the soccer field. This has been blogged about extensively to the credit of Petrea Burchard, a Pasadena homeowner and frequenter of Hahamongna. She designated a blog day about it last year: http://pasadenadailyphoto.blogspot.com/2010/07/hahamongna-blog-day.html
Chris Holden, Pasadena City Councilman of District 3 weighed in with his observations and expertise: http://chrisholdenblog.com/tag/hahamongna-watershed-park-master-plan/
At the last meeting of the Hahamongna Watershed Park Committee, Los Angeles County Department of Public Works presented their plan to remove sediment from behind Devil’s Gate Dam. This is at the base of the Hahamongna wetlands area. They propose a roadway created specifically for their humungous hauling trucks from the base of the dam all the way up the right side of Hahamongna to the JPL parking lot. That plan in conjunction with the areas of development in the blue and yellow parts on the map leaves a very narrow strip of wetlands, of wildlands. Do you see? This is too much human intervention.
There are animals living there. How much of this habitat destruction do you think they can take? It’s absurd the arrogance of these plans! Great Horned Owls are thriving in Hahamongna, among other treasured wildlife.
If I were not the flawed human being that I am, I would have yelled at the committee tonight like a Code Pink Activist at a Carl Rove book signing. I would have said: What are you doing? You are totally ruining Hahamongna!!!!
Totally ruining Hahamongna.
We will all wake up tomorrow and say, Where is it?
Do you have the money to replace this waste?
No, we can’t ever.
A laugh, yes and no. If slaughtering 500 year old oak trees (prized acorn food providers for the ancestral local indian tribes) to clear hillside lands for development, sediment dumps, or soccer fields is a joke then there would be no need for the fictional configuration of a Princess Haha. This is what a frustrated, depressed, hamstrung environmental activist does when she feels powerless er.. or powowless.
With a crown of leaves and feathers…a few homegrown organic Brussels sprouts, Princess Hahamongna Cowabungna Intergarlictic made a plea to the tribe of the DooDah. At the request of an official, Princess HaHa CI composted from within what she believes to be the mating call of her tribe. Haha to DooDah to PooBah (Grand Marshal Ron Stivers of PooBah Record Shop), this:
Then, a quote from Henry David Thoreau:
Be not simply good – be good for something.
And so it goes. How did we get so lost in our materialism? How did we get so disconnected from nature?
Last night the Pasadena City Council looked (practically begged) for comments from the public on the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works (LADPW) plan to remove sediment from the Devil’s Gate Dam and the Hahamongna Watershed Park. No one came forward. Is it apathy? I don’t think so. Dave Meslin describes intentional blocks to you and I becoming engaged in our local government in this TED video: http://www.ted.com/talks/dave_meslin_the_antidote_to_apathy.html
The Pasadena branch of the Sierra Club, and the Hahamongna Watershed Park Advisory Commission were both very satisfied with County Mayor Antonovich’s strong advocacy and order of an EIR (Environmental Impact Report). However, at the time of this jubilation, the LADPW had not yet given any details of how they would proceed in the interum.
Here is the portion of the meeting that pertained to Devil’s Gate Dam:
Please forgive the visual…it turned bad in the transfer. The unedited source audio/video can be found within the entirety of the April 11, 2011 meeting here: http://www.ci.pasadena.ca.us/CouncilAgendas/Video/
Here is a written summary of what the county plans to do by Mary Barrie http://fohwp.blogspot.com/2011/04/hahamongna-sediment-removal-report-to.html
Here is the county’s actual powerpoint presentation http://dpw.lacounty.gov/wrd/Cmeeting/DGD_City_of_Pasadena_04_11_11.pdf
Would you like to be in the parade?
I’d love for you to walk with me, and carry a sign with your love on it, or nothing. I am inviting you on April 30, 2011, 10AM to meet me there. Spur of the moment, if you like! And in the spirit of Leaves of Grass, black willows bend to say, thank you for your attention.