Friday, September 30, 2011

HaHa, Forget it Jake, it's Chinatown


You can never take me anywhere, least of all a civic-affairs meeting, regardless of scale. I make faces, roll my eyes way far back in my head, blow up my cheeks and then exhale audibly. I bounce up and down in one of those plastic chairs provided for the citizen’s seating enjoyment. I chew gum.

As I never sit in the front row for anything anyway, my train of thought jumps the track, from the matter at hand to the fascinating phenomenon of male pattern baldness. They’re like snowflakes, you know, no two are alike.

Attended Tuesday’s Pasadena city council – no, sub-council, pre-council, or –take-the-heat-off-us-in-the-real-council -- meeting, held to discuss the destruction of our little watershed area known as Hahamongna.

Actually, I didn’t know we were there to hear from the bad guys because I hadn’t read the party invitation. I thought we were all going to get together and say WE HATE PULLING UP TREES TO PUT IN SOCCER FIELDS, and then hug.

But it wasn’t that kind of meeting.

It was held in some place way off the beaten track, a place with a florescent lighting and furniture usually reserved for the coroner’s office or Midas Muffler.

Then, this panel or whatever it was, took roll call and approved minutes, and engaged in other activities practiced fondly by middle school student councils everywhere.
“Next on the agenda, Fruit cup or jello chocolate pudding. The chair recognizes the pimply fellow to my left.”

Not everyone on the panel was up to speed on the whole Hahamongna issue. Some hadn't even started to peddle. Setting a foot on the actual park was apparently not a requirement for appointment to this committee that was appointed by a committee that was appointed by an advisory committee of the appointed staff of the actually elected members of the city council.

So I ducked out, leaving others to fight the good fight. Which was wrong. But I had already laughed, loudly, without filling out a speaker’s card. It was really best for all concerned.

Try, try again. There’s a meeting with the actual Pasadena City Council on 10/17; another opportunity to press our concerns regarding the preservation of Hahamongna Natural Watershed Park. As Alice Roosevelt said -- if you’ve got nothing nice to say, come sit by me. I’ve got gum.

34 comments:

Mister Earl said...

LOL!!! Fruit cup or jello chocolate pudding! Great piece.

anonymos2 said...

Lobster.

the good soup said...

Bad Bald guys. you're so funny, and so right. I wish our local coal seam gas protest groups had someone like you to write up their chronicles.

Bellis said...

You have summed up these meetings brilliantly! I wished you'd stayed so I could read more of your take on the evening.

Ah, the speaker's card. Here's a friend of mine's take on it: Quick, race over for one, scribble down your question and rush it over before the committee moves on to the next agenda item. When called, stand and speak emotionally but sensibly, to a wall of blank faces. Get thanked, sit down and have your speech totally ignored, as though what you said was so ridiculous that there was no point even discussing it.

Petrea Burchard said...

At least at the meetings of the Hahamongna Watershed Park Advisory Committee (the meeting described here), the blank faces turn toward you and act like they're listening. I've witnessed members of the City Council whispering and giggling to each other while citizens spoke to them. And you thought this committee was like junior high.

Karin, you got this so right.

But

The soccer field is already funded.

There will be an Environmental Impact Report. That might take about a year.

Then the thing will be built, in our watershed, unless we start fighting it at the 10/17/11 City Council meeting and we don't let up.

Even then it might be built. We've already put up a fight. The citizens of Pasadena have already made it clear we don't want this soccer field and yet the City insists on building it.

To me this is less about the beauty of Hahamongna than it is about the idiocy of building a chemically treated athletic field in our watershed at a time when the major source of our water,
the Colorado River, is drying up.

Sorry to hijack. More on PDP in a couple of days.

Shell Sherree said...

All the best for the 17th October. This kind of thing gobsmacks me.

West Coast Grrlie Blather said...

It's a great strategy, you know, to make the meetings insufferable so that people can't bear to attend. Thanks for the flashbacks to junior high and the now-abandoned reverence for Robert's Rules of Order. I'd like to call the question.

Paula said...

In the words of Jason Nesmith:

As long as there is injustice, whenever a Targathian baby cries out, wherever a distress signal sounds among the stars, we'll be there. This fine ship, this fine crew. Never give up... and never surrender.

Keep on keeping on, KB.

altadenahiker said...

Point of order, Petrea! No, that's ok, hijack away.

When I let out my HA! it was when we were told the planned paved bike paths would henceforth be called Greenway Passages.

Petrea Burchard said...

I wonder how the people who ride bikes in Hahamongna feel about having paved bike trails. Those I know who ride there are cyclocross riders, and they spit at paving.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclo-cross
At least a few of them are members of Urban Wild and they are anti-development.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

That pandering element is alive and well in getting development passed. including the inventive use of language. "Greenway Passages" indeed

It would be a dream come true if "the powers that crush" would stop slipping this stuff into every public meeting. Meet at the court building in Alhambra Thursday between 1-3 to protest against this___. Show up behind the pool on Monday between 7-9 to protest that...... and be prepared to do this for the next 20 years. It's like 12 stepping for nature except instead of church basements it's city owned community rooms.

Anonymous said...

They can't win by argument, but they can win by boring you to death. They have all the time in the world.

GG

Petrea Burchard said...

And we're paying them.

Jean Spitzer said...

Oh, dear. Take a few months off and return to learn the development is forging ahead.

Tony Van Helsing said...

As soon as I get in a meeting I need to fart, doesn't matter what I've eaten. I then spend the rest of the meeting concetrating on holding it in and miss all the important stuff.

Paula said...

I'm watching Chinatown, I'm right at the part where he meets up with Roman Polanski and gets his nose cut. LA politics are ruff.

altadenahiker said...

"You know what we do with nosy guys, Kitty-Cat?"

anonymos2 said...

Fight on girls.

Paula said...

I had to paws and take a break before THAT, he's just wicked. I hope you're packing some heat, Girlie.

Pat Tillett said...

You are so darn funny and scorchingly so, when you do it at times like this.
Great post...

Kaori said...

"No two are alike" - So true. How can your post be so hilarious and so meaningful at the same time. Rooting for you and your gum on the 17th.

bandit said...

Let fly, Tony, let fly. Compare it to, well, a breath of fresh air. . .

Seen the Wall Street protestors? One guy was protesting his student loan balance. An odd diversity in the face of an overcrowded Brooklyn Bridge? Are you guys willing to get arrested? That's where its at, baby!

Talk to me, Mac.

Petrea Burchard said...

So interesting about that, bandit--Wall Street, San Francisco, Boston and downtown LA are full of protesters--occupied by protesters, in fact. I don't have a TV but I'm not finding much news about this anywhere except Twitter and Facebook.

If you check out the Twitter hashtag #OccupyLA you'll find photos and news.

Petrea Burchard said...

Here. The Weekly covered it:
http://bit.ly/oaimpw

Susan Campisi said...

You nailed it, Hiker. This should be required reading for the council, along with the comments. Maybe they'd see how ridiculous they can be.

I'm in for October 17.

Bellis said...

I saw a few of them in Los Angeles yesterday - quite a diverse set of people (I was going to say rag-tag but diverse sounds better). Not sure they got their point across, perhaps because there was no single point, but good on them for turning out. I'd give up a day to protest about the way the GOP stalls every attempt to improve the economy and put the unemployed back to work.

altadenahiker said...

Re: the OWS, I'm enjoying this kitchen-sink protest. Anything beats apathy.

Marjie said...

Our town board of supervisors meetings are tiny and never newsworthy. In a town of 1000, how could they be? But Scranton City Council? They are worthy of Barnum and Bailey. Seriously! They bash the mayor, they bash the newspaper, they try to go beyond their own power and usurp the mayor's duties. It's a freak show. The latest gem? When city council leader told our newspaper that she won't talk to them until they stop printing lies about city council. Hilarious.

Bellis said...

The Ocrober 17 meeting may run late, as it's also the day the City rules on whether we can have a small cell phone antenna on a wooden pole in a street near my house. We're desperate for better cell phone coverage in our area, but 5 objectors managed to convince the Council that it would be a blight on the neighorhood, so it's got to be reheard. I'm disappointed that the Council listens to such a minority rather than the majority of residents, when they (apart from three sensible Councillors) don't want to listen to all the people objecting to unsustainable development in Hahamonga.

Petrea Burchard said...

As Bellis points out, there are sensible people on the City Council. Very bright people. People who listen to their constituents.

Unfortunately, they're not the majority.

Virginia said...

Pack the stands, and don't let 'em back pedal. And for heaven's sake, don't stick your gum under your seat Hiker. Great piece. I hope when I get there you all will have good news on this subject.
V

PS the bald thing killed me. Don't ask .

Desiree said...

I take it this is your declaration of running for office. Just don't tell the bikers. I mean cyclists.
You got my vote.

Princess Hahamongna said...

Tribe think you are brilliantly funny.

Ha & Ha

A lawyer told me to go to the EIR Scooping Meeting Oct. 5 or Oct. 15 and make sure I made written and oral comments about the rest of the public getting to hear and read each others written and oral comments so that more oral and written public comments can be made.

Petrea Burchard said...

I heard that, too. Supposedly the public needs to make written and oral comments at these meetings because the comments will then be part of the public record, as some sort of evidence in the case of future legal whatever.

See, I speak law.