Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Saving Hahamongna - Last Ditch Efforts


The plans the City of Pasadena has in store for Hahamongna canoodle under an umbrella called the Multi-Benefit-Multi-Use Project.

It's a project name that’s semi-manipulative-semi-clever.

It hints that Hahamongna, in its current configuration as a watershed, nature preserve, and wildlife habitat, is of singular and quite possibly exclusionary interest. Something for the connoisseur; a private club that squats on unexploited resources. How much better it would be, the project name implies, to transform Hahamongna Natural Watershed Park into something for everyone.

If the members of the Pasadena City Council, advisory committees and their paid consultants really believe in transparency – and believe it’s in the best interests of current and future generations to rip out acres of the watershed park and replace them with athletic fields, cars, and porta-potties -- then they should call this battle between the city and the citizens of Pasadena, Altadena, and La Canada by its true name: Soccer Fields-Parking lots versus Open Space.

But no, they’re all cagey and coy. Hence, “Multi-Benefit – Multi-Use.” Like they’re selling us something; a shampoo that both “cleans and conditions,” or a deoderant that’s “strong enough for a man and gentle enough for a woman.”

For years, the City of Pasadena has tried to make Hahamongna something other than what it is today. And in the face of public protests, the City has backed down, or appeared to, until it could sneak something in, one acre at a time. Then before you could say multi-benefit-multi-use (and yes, that can take awhile), the City (More On Patch).

26 comments:

  1. What a long and ongoing battle it has become. When local governments say something is for the greater good, it usually isn't! Somebody is ALWAYS going to benefit and it isn't going to be Joe Citizen...

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  2. A very Impressive photo, KB. And the thots behind it aren't bad either.

    Pray for good luck on the Single-use--Single benefit side.

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  3. ....and then your taxes will go up, in order to maintain all this multi-use crapola. Keep fighting the good fight.

    BTW, don't all the greenies frown upon filling in watersheds and wetlands these days? It sure looks like this would be watershed and/or wetland. Where's the Sierra Club when you need them?

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  4. Sounds as if Marjie's onto some things . . .

    It's hard to believe that anything close to a majority would prefer all that plastic crap to the scene in your photo. So many things I just don't get.

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  5. I'm getting algebraic formations as my word verification.

    Has Pasadena City Council sent a computer virus your way?

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  6. Good points, Marjie. I directed the city council to reports that municipalities around us are already trying to buy water. I also directed the council to studies on the projected 70-year or longer drought we're entering. But I didn't grease anybody's palm.

    Banjo, it's not actually a majority. I've been blogging about this, we had a blog protest day, and heroic citizens have been protesting these plans for much longer than I have. There have been city council meetings and committee meetings ad nauseum. Never, at any of those meetings, has a citizen spoken in favor of these developments. A small minority on the city council and city staff wants to develop Hahamongna, and apparently they have they power to force that on the rest of us.

    Whoo! I told Karin earlier I could never go into politics. When I run up against this kind of thing I can barely be civil.

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  7. In the piece, I said the majority existed in those who get to represent Pasadena -- ie, those who get to vote on the soccer field initiative. The citizens are dead-set against.

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  8. Your argument is very persuasive. The multi-use, multi-benefit plans will take away the very things that make Hahamongna special. It's a wilderness area and valuable watershed: it's not a public park to be paved and mowed and interfered with - Pasadena has many of those already. The soccer field will project into the floodplain of the Arroyo Seco, an area that currently has the richest bird and animal life of the basin. Paving the paths is unnecessary. Bikes can ride on unpaved paths, so long as they're kept in good condition. There's enough car parking already. I hope the City Councillors will reconsider the Master Plan in light of the changes that have happened since it was approved - most importantly, the disastrous Station Fire and the City's financial deficit.

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  9. But, doesn't that majority answer to their voters?

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  10. To my knowledge the Hahamongna plans have never been put to a vote among the citizens at large. I don't think most people are even aware of them (the plans, I mean). So although it influences how I vote for city council and mayor, and perhaps how Bellis and Karin and several others vote, my guess is it's not on the radar of the majority. If it were, I doubt it would pass.

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  11. I don't think you can say that the people of Pasadena don't want the improvements because people didn't speak up at meetings. I've got mixed feelings - preserving open space is important. But so is providing recreational facilities for residents. I don't know if there's a shortage of that in Pasadena, but I do know that is the case in most cities.

    I'm surprised that there hasn't been an outpouring of support for the improvements by the Little League and AYSO. Several years ago, when South Pasadena was looking at renewing the lease for the South Pasadena stables, there were a series of community meetings where hordes of soccer, baseball, and horse advocates spoke passionately about why the stables should either remain stables, become baseball fields, or soccer fields. South Pasadena chose to stick with the stables. What's ironic about that decision is that the majority of people who keep their horses there are not South Pasadena residents.

    Perhaps since there has been no push by AYSO or soccer, there are adequate resources for those activities in Pasadena. Regardless, there should be transparency and multiple opportunities for community input.

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  12. Good luck with the battle! It would be such a shame to lose this wonderful open space.

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  13. Don't want to take over the blog. Trying to keep it short.

    I get you, dubya. I don't know if the AYSO hasn't been around the meetings because a)they have enough fields in town or b)they figure they've got it sewn up. There've been multiple opportunities, but the only people I've heard speak up are against the fields.

    I do think we have enough athletic fields. Many fields are empty and unused every weekend, all year round in Pasadena.

    One thing to keep in mind about Hahamongna is it's more than just open space--it's a watershed. And scientists say we're entering a long drought.

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  14. I'm so inspiring that you're still addressing this issue.

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  15. DB, appreciate your comment, and yes AYSO is a strong, strong lobby in these parts, with lots of money behind it and lots of clout.

    I say that Haha is already used for recreational activities of many kinds -- riding, biking, hiking, bird watching, scouting -- and has been for years now. We have lots of vacant lots in Alta and Pasadena that are not being used for anything, including habitat. Perfect for athletic fields. (By the way, I don't count parking lots and porta potties as "improvements.")

    Paula, I've only been doing this for going on four years now -- that makes me a novice. Some have been trying to protect the area from development since 1990. Back then, Pasadena wanted to flood the entire area and have a lake with paddle boats.

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  16. Many hands make light work.

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  17. about the stables DBDUBYA "What's ironic about that decision is that the majority of people who keep their horses there are not South Pasadena residents."

    It's not ironic. Before it was a stable of any kind it was a dairy owned by the Wartzes family. The family turned it into a boarding facility with the old barn - house and large pasture. They sold it to South Pasadena under the condition that Anna Wartz stay on in the little house and run the stable. The stable was the cheapest facility in the Arroyo with many a South Pasadena border paying rent out of their baby sitting money.

    We old-timers were all over the arroyo aboard our less then pedigree horses. It was South Pasadena that chose to lease the stables to a "for profit" outsider who brought in fancy corrals and additional barns, along with Olympic trainers. Ran the baby sitting crowd out, and brought in the non-trail riding equestrian (outsider) elite. I'm hoping someday South Pasadena, in a future lease, will choose a return to that older model and put an end to the elitism.

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  18. I openly cringe when my neighbours talk about their hopes for future development in our area. I moved here precisely because it was small and unassuming. I would like to ship these people off in cramped, over crowded buses with no bathroom facilities or rest stops to a bonafide CITY for a few months or years. Perhaps then, they'll appreciate the sanctity of spaces untouched by human "progress".

    Good luck staving off this mad procession toward sterility.

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  19. Knowledge of Parlimentary procedure is key at these meetings.

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  20. It seems to me it's more multi-use, multi-benefit the way it is since it also preserves the fragile ecosystem, which their beloved pavement would destroy.

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  21. multi-use crapola - that's a good one, Marjie.

    I like Mary Barrie's comment in the Patch article that we have just begun to fight. Sounds like this is far from over. Thanks for keeping the flame alive.

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  22. Hang in there Hiker!!! Between you, Petrea, and Bellis...I'm betting on Hahamonga!!!

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  23. Nothing can be semi-preserved. You either save something, or you don’t.

    I so agree with that. We have the same problem around Sydney. The developers try to advertise "rural lifestyle with city living", while we lose more and more bushland and more and more native wildlife.

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