Sunday, January 31, 2010

I give a counterintuitive (Update)



Results of City Council Meeting

I’m not going to say the staff and consultants behind the Haha plan are a shifty lot. But their presentation to city council was one long rebuttal before any arguments had been made. Defensive, rambling, non-professional. I can’t help but think by stretching their presentation out to OVER AN HOUR, they hoped people would leave or they’d befuddle the council.

And is there really anyone in the world who can’t work powerpoint? If you’re going to use that old chestnut, at least know how to turn the darned pages.

But council asked cogent questions, and obviously already knew about the public concerns. And while the overall design plan was accepted, very important additional work will be done and language added. I can’t say all the trees will be saved, but they will be the subject of a new environmental impact review, taking into account habitat displacement from fire, etc. – something the staff had not wanted at all.

Democracy makes for some tedious meetings, but seems to work at this level. At least in Pasadena.

(For a much more complete look at environmental and open space issues around our way, visit Greenward Civitas. A smart and thoughtful site.)

Original Post
“Counterintuitive.” It’s the polite way of saying fuck!

You’d think with most of Angeles Forest burned and destroyed, the last thing on the City of Pasadena agenda would be to cut down trees in Hahamonga Park. Healthy trees that apparently have the original sin of not being original to the area, or more importantly, stand in the way of two bikes riding abreast. Live trees that are home to hawks and sparrows and all that draw us back to the charred hills. It just counterintuitiveling blows my mind.

These trees are the good guys. The peppers and palms have been a refuge for hikers and riders. They don’t encroach. They don’t throw wild parties and sow seeds throughout the Arroyo. At their worst, these trees give us shade and beauty in the dead heat of summer, and wet their whistle only when the rain falls. No one has the right to counterintuitive with them.

I hope I’m wrong. I hope I misread the city’s plan for Hahamonga – that it doesn’t plan to destroy wildlife habitats in service of native plants. Sacrifice nature to make a nature center.

I hope others who love this little patch of green and wild land will watch what happens at the planning meeting tomorrow. I’m speaking just for myself here, and my interpretation may be way, way off.

Nothing could make me happier than to return from the meeting tomorrow and admit I misread the whole thing; that I got it all counterintuitiveling wrong.

NOTE:
The Pasadena City Council will be considering the Hahamongna Annex Plan on Monday, February 1, 2010 at 7:30 pm in the City Council Chambers in City Hall, 100 N. Garfield St.

Pasadena Daily Photo (who writes on the subject today), Bellis, and I will be there, and surely many many more. Will let you know how it goes.

48 comments:

  1. Progress!

    Who would profit most from these changes?
    Note your speakers well...

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  2. Linking to you. See you there. Taking notes.

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  3. Go, KB! I'm with you in spirit. {Not wanting to creep you out or anything...} I hope you got it all counterintuitiveling wrong, too.

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  4. Good luck with the tree lovers on the council this time around.

    Like most politicians, they tend to think counter intuitively.

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  5. I weep for the trees. Your post is excellent. Please update us as the week goes on, less I seethe into a pile of broken limbs.

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  6. I can't even cut down dying trees in my yard, and the city can run down dozens of healthy ones?

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  7. Thanks lovely people. They're always trying to mess with this area. Over the years attempts have been made to install soccer fields, new roads, parking lots, blah, blah, blah. Fortunately, this little patch where the wild things are has some very good friends as well.

    I'll update y'all.

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  8. Hahamongna will need even MORE good friends tho - especially if this Plan is approved by Council in its present form!

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  9. Great word play, as usual.

    Bandit's question is probably the big one: follow the money.

    It's good to see someone who's inclined passionately one way but still willing to try for all the facts. e.e. cummings wrote, "even if it's sunday, may I be wrong."

    I have heard about some non-native species causing big problems. I think it was some kind of Asian snake or frog in Hawaii, and kudzu (sp?) in the Southeast U.S., and some kind of barnacle in the Great Lakes.

    So the counterintuitivers might have a point, but I'm still betting it's about money or power.

    Good luck.

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  10. Good luck! I'll hold the highest intentions for you & your beloved trees.

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  11. That's counterintutived up.

    GG

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  12. A note to the Pasadena City Council: Don't counterintuitive with Hiker!

    Oh this could get ugly and I want to be on the front row!
    V
    PS Did you say ya'll?? Har!!

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  13. The Mexican fan palm in this photo (or one just like it) is one of the trees the nothing-but-native purists have got it in for - yet it's the annual nesting site of a pair of red-shouldered hawks, who appreciate the peace and quiet of their elevated eyrie. The trees, birds and squirrels of the Annex area can't speak up at the meeting, so we'll have to do it for them.

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  14. We need Palm Tree Nation to weigh in on this issue. I've read that the Washatonia Palm is a native.

    This is what they did to the lower arroyo a decade or more ago. Muuuuuch contention. Maybe I'll see you there.

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  15. PA, if you come looking like your avatar, we won't miss you!

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  16. PA's a party, Bellis. Hope you do come.

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  17. I get your point, Banjo, but non-native doesn't necessarily mean invasive. These trees have been there a long time and haven't caused problems--on the contrary, they've been supportive habitat for creatures who lost their homes during the recent station fire. There just doesn't seem to be an actual reason for chopping them down, especially during a budget crunch.

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  18. Weren't they planning on a freaking golf course for Haha a few years ago??? All that wasteful, water-hogging grass... ugh. Miss J has become skeptical of any and all plans for Haha. Several times in the past 7 or 8 years she has seen the postings for "public meetings" to discuss proposals for the land... She has seen none come to fruition. Perhaps one day, they'll do the right thing and just leave it alone!

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  19. Just to be clear(er)-- Petrea, all my instincts tell me I'd be on your side. I'm just saying I'm glad Hiker is getting as much info as she can because at least a few non-native species have not been good in other places. Hey, I'm no scientist, and I've never even seen HaHa.

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  20. Can't make it tonight, but I'm with you! Will link to your counterintuitive essay! This reminds of me of the city telling my friend she couldn't build a guest house on her huge property because it would overtax the city resources, while they're tearing down buildings of character and replacing with monstrosity apartments and condos at every turn. Makes me crazy.

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  21. WEll ahem.....I hesitate to bring up the non-native species of KUDZU that some fish eyed fool brought over from Japan ( I think) and well you know the rest is history. That said, I don't think your palms are causing undo stress in the Dena.

    And Petrea, don't just take notes.....take NAMES! We want justice here. Go get 'em girls!! I'll be hanging on the edge of my chair.
    V

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  22. Thanks Deb & Janey & Carolynn & Virg & Laure & Banjo, I know you'll be there in spirit.

    Paula -- fedex cookeez.

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  23. I took it in that spirit, Banjo. Was really addressing the general you, not you specifically.

    One plan for Hahamongna is to plant more Poison Oak, which is native. Very rigorous about the native flora, these planners are. Some folks also want to put up "interpretive signs" near the Poison Oak (presumably to warn people about the Poison Oak?). I have a post planned to educate people about what happens to interpretive signs unless you have armed guards posted 24/7. I don't believe we have the budget for that sort of staffing.

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  24. Looks like all the San Gabriel Valley bloggers are into giving their City Councils counterintuitiving hell lately!

    At least have these non-native trees learned to speak English?

    WV: decuzzle. I think it's a nice way of saying, "defoliate."

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  25. Why thank you Bellis. I was wondering when someone would acknowledge my new do

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  26. Dude - WTF did the trees do?

    :(

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  27. I'll update the blog tomorrow for those who are interested (and for those who aren't). Couldn't stay until the bitter end. Someone needs to teach the staff who presented their plan how to A) Speed up their presenation. They had 20 minutes of material that they stretched into over an hour. B)Use powerpoint. C) Give their advisory committee all the facts so they know what they're advising on/about.

    It was a packed house.

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  28. Please DO keep us posted. This is really crazy making!

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  29. I'm definitely interested in how this plays out.

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  30. I stayed--not 'til the bitter end, though. After this issue was resolved at 11:15 pm the Council still had more on the agenda. They had a long night.

    Upshot: The plan was accepted unanimously, with about 10 caveats that ought to help iron out some of its imperfections. My concerns about the trees have been alleviated, for the most part.

    Basically, the pros wanted the plan passed so the Mach I program for disabled riders could go forward and seek funding. The cons wanted environmental protections written into the plan. Council figured out how to give almost everyone what they wanted.

    One caveat: Council demanded language in the plan stating that there is to be no road. They also have instructions there regarding trees, environmental studies, etc.

    They paid attention to everyone who spoke. They asked intelligent questions. The discussion that followed public comment was lively and sharp.

    Even the Friends of Hahamongna applauded the vote.

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  31. So it turned out good for the trees?

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  32. Let's say, better for trees than it had been the day before. Their life and death will no longer be at the whim of this design group.

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  33. I'm glad to read this update. It's good to see that SOME people win the good fights.

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  34. Good news.
    and I must add your a saint if you got there at 6:30 and stayed past 11:30

    I'd like to think that the negative past experience in the lower Arroyo helped folks farther north have a say in their environment. I'll tell you, they bulldozed right over us. Do you have a link to who the designer group is? This plan has been in the making for decades (I thinK)

    curious as to who that road was supposed to serve..

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  35. Glad to see all the interest in Hahamongna. The recommendations from the Hahamongna Advisory Committee that were added should help a good deal. We still all need to be paying attention tho as all the projects move forward.
    Mary B.
    Friends of Hahamongna

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  36. Mary's right, we still have to pay attention.

    I think one thing that helped, in an unfortunate way, was that the Council took flak for the way the mature ficus trees were removed from Colorado Blvd. a few months ago. This is only my guess, but wanting no more of that might have been in the back of their minds.

    The "bikes only" path is still in the plan. I can't find anyone who wants this path except the Staff planning committee. Even the Hahamongna bikers don't want it, but unfortunately few of them were there last night to speak.

    Creating this path will likely require removing some trees, mostly non-native (the number varies between 10 and 33--staff says they can't give a definitive answer at this time because the design is not specific). There are two native trees growing through the cyclone fence that will likely be removed with the fence.

    But as Karin says, this is better than it looked a few days ago. And if bikers don't use the path, walkers will. It's not like anyone's going to be policing it and forcing them not to. I wish they wouldn't bother with the path because it's already used well as it is, but if that's the concession that meant moving forward, it seemed a small price to pay at the time (especially since it will be reviewed again before it's built).

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  37. The crazy thing is, the path already exists, everyone who wants/needs to use it does, and all get along. So what a waste of effort and $$ and trees if they do put in the stupid bike path.

    I think that was a punitive decision on the staff's part. People complained about their 30 foot wide road, "so fine, it'll be 10 feet wide, but you can't use it. So there."

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  38. You may be right. But honestly, do you think any of them will ever go there and tell us we can't walk on it, or force the bikers to use it? They don't look like outdoors types to me.

    The bad part is the waste of funds (and 10-33 trees).

    We still have time to stop it. We need to rally some bikers to go to the meeting regarding the path and give their opinions. Will they use it? Not? People I know who ride in Hahamongna ride for the dirt trails, not "surfacing," but this isn't just about people I know.

    By the way, a round of applause for Mary Barrie and the Friends of Hahamongna. If you want to be apprised of updates on this issue, sign up at http://www.fohwp.org/.

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  39. I was just about to sign off when...

    Whether or not bikers use the path doesn't mean it can't be used by all, as it already is. It doesn't need paving, grading, widening, lines, signs, rules. It exists, we use it, it's fine, it's free.

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  40. Since one (supposedly) walk on the "bikes only" path, there seems to be no pedestrian access to the nature center.

    Ahem.

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  41. Hee-hee. I'm hoping the staff group and consultants just play with the stupid nature center no one wants (and get their grants and job security) and forget about everything else.

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  42. Hiker, you're right (as always).

    I'm looking at my previous comment and wondering what I meant to say. The gist of it is in the latter part of the sentence anyway.

    Someone said last night "this is the only place we have for this." Huh? We already have Eaton Canyon, is he new in town?

    At least they're renovating old structures and not making new ones (except their precious path). We don't need new buildings at Hahamongna and the Council seems to get that.

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  43. Please. Just holding the purse. I'm pretty sure you're the one who brought this issue to the larger blogger-world attention.

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  44. Thanks, Karin, for giving us the update. I couldn't make it to the meeting last night and wanted to know what happened.

    I love local reporting!

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  45. Everyone was pretty nice to let me get away with spelling the name wrong. HahamongNa. Got it. The heart was in the right place, the N was nowhere to be found.

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