The word “sacred” is often bandied about, of late. What does it mean? Words mean things. Legally and criminally, I was taught that mere words are not enough to bring serious harm. Wherein a threat is persuasive evidence of an action to cause physical or mental harm, but by themselves, words are not enough to convict or find a party responsible for harm done. This is the American system. It is part of our belief in free speech, the very first amendment to our Constitution.
It is, however, the precise reason one should not use words cavalierly. For instance, “I love you.” Miss Havisham takes umbrage. When a member of the City Council of Pasadena, Steve Madison, uses the word “sacred” to describe a beautiful urban wild land called Hahamongna, I take notice.
Bill of Rites
Definition of SACRED
a : dedicated or set apart for the service or worship of a deity b : devoted exclusively to one service or use (as of a person or purpose)
a : worthy of religious veneration : holy b : entitled to reverence and respect
: of or relating to religion : not secular or profane
archaic : accursed
a : unassailable, inviolable b : highly valued and important
— sa·cred·ly adverb
— sa·cred·ness noun
~ Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Today, I attended the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors regular meeting in the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration in downtown Los Angeles. Supervisor and County Mayor Michael Antonovich presented a motion to require an Environmental Impact Report (“EIR”) to be done on the sediment removal plans of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works (“LADPW”) in the Arroyo Seco Hahamongna.
Mr. Madison read a letter to the County Supervisors; Mr. Mark Ridley-Thomas, Mr. Zev Yarovslavsky, Mr. Don Knabe, Ms. Gloria Molina, Mr. Mike Antonovich, as follows:
The Honorable Michael D. Antonovich
L.A. County Board of Supervisors
Los Angeles, California
Dear Supervisor Antonovich:
On behalf of the City of Pasadena, I convey strong support for your motion on today’s Supplemental Agenda (Item 60C) pertaining to the Devil’s Gate Dam Sediment Removal Project. After due deliberations, the Council unanimously expressed support for the motion.
We recognize the seriousness of the project to be undertaken, and Pasadena is prepared to cooperate fully in its implementation in the years ahead. But like you, we strongly believe that the project must be structured in a thoughtful and environmentally sensitive manner, and we agree that the approach suggested in your motion will put us on the right track for this effort. The City will be represented at today’s meeting by either Vice Mayor Victor Gordo or Councilmember Steve Madison.
Please share this letter with your colleagues on the Board of Supervisors. It is our hope that the motion carries and that the short term plan, to be returned within 90 days, will take into account all material environmental concerns. In this regard, our Public Works staff stands ready to confer and cooperate with the Department of Public Works, Los Angeles County, to assure that the interests of the City of Pasadena in Hahamongna Park are taken fully into account.
Please let us know how we can be helpful in pursuing this important matter.
Mayor of Pasadena, California
Mr. Madison added that the Hahamongna Watershed is “sacred space.” He was forceful and appeared sincere, and because he represents the entire city of Pasadena, I took his words to heart. Why then, could he continue to propagate the idea of allowing a soccer field to be constructed in this same “sacred” spot? He can’t. Can he?
He must change his way of thinking. Certainly, no soccer enthusiast will appreciate the idea of his/her sport venue created at the expense of wild plants and animals, such as the Arroyo Toad, or the fruity pepperiness of the chanterelle mushroom, when there are many other places where foot can meet ball.
Please ask that your representatives at the Altadena Town Council, the City of La Canada Flintridge, JPL, and all of the Northeast Los Angeles communities make a statement in favor of saving Hahamongna sacred ground. This is not something to be taken lightly.
Go there this Saturday. Close your eyes, and listen to our ancient ancestors.
We have 30 days, not 90.
And the winner is the steaming LADPW! Congratulations.