Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Saving Hahamongna



Hahamongna Natural Watershed Park is an acquired taste, like Roquefort cheese or truffles. To appreciate the Haha, you must welcome the extraordinary; you need a sense of adventure.

I like parks. I like an expanse of green green lawn in the middle of a desert -- a clipped hedge, appointed paths, acres of St Augustine, a fake pond. I also like liquefied American cheese on nachos. You know, when they melt that baby down and the chips get all soggy. Even though I realize, fully realize, I’m eating something akin to motor oil with salt and it’s not food at all. But yeah, I like parks and I like nachos.

Hahamongna does not present itself in pre-sliced, sodium infused packets. Hahamongna is strong, barely tamed. The visitors who love it are explorers. They have a taste for adventure; a call of the wild. Because the Haha is raggedy and unkempt, with unhemmed skirts and pillow-hair. Filled with newts and toads, good dreams, bad dreams, a Native American burial ground. The Haha is an open invitation to share quality time with ducks and herons, hawks, owls, coyotes, and mountain lions.



You’ll never find an image of Hahamongna on a candybox or in a Kincaide --but if you bring your own sensibilities to the picture, the Haha will embrace you. You’ll find a landscape for the dark and light moments of the soul.

So, when the City of Pasadena lost their bid to gentrify the Haha, seems our wily County of LA found a backdoor. A sediment removal project which will host more than 400 dump trucks six days a week. The plan is to rip out riparian areas that have been self-healing since the rock quarry years of the last century. And this project will continue for five years. That is more than fifteen hundred days of dust, dirt, destruction, noise, and death.

The County couldn’t more effectively obliterate the heart and life of this area if they tried. But then, I think they are. Trying, I mean. No conspiracy theorist here, but the City of Pasadena and now the County of LA, they’ve always hated Hahamongna. Partly because most of those on whatever panel have never even visited, let alone seen, Hahamongna, and partly because we’ve loved it so much.



If the County has its way, well, here’s the riddle: how many souls can fit in a dump truck? Before you answer, County, scoot over. No, further, give a girl some room. (You always hog the floor, 30-seconds for public comment? You won’t get away with that, you really won’t.) Ok, the answer is, zero.

The souls I know opposing this plan -- you have no idea what sort of tenacity, intelligence, and creativity you’re up against. These souls are in it for the long haul and have been at it for decades. Their roots grow long and deep, into a welcoming earth.

Catch a meeting.
Thursday, November 14, 2013

6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Jackson Elementary School Auditorium, 593 West Woodbury Road

Saturday, November 16
2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m., Community Center, 4469 Chevy Chase Drive, La Canada Flintridge
La CaƱada Flintridge, CA 91011

35 comments:

  1. I know we won't give up and I'm pretty sure we can outlast them.

    I am comforted by George Carlin: "The planet has been through a lot worse than us...bombardment by comets and asteroids and meteors, worldwide floods, tidal waves, worldwide fires, erosion, cosmic rays, recurring ice ages...The planet isn’t going anywhere. WE are!

    "...And we won’t leave much of a trace, either...The planet’ll be here and we’ll be long gone. Just another failed mutation. Just another closed-end biological mistake. An evolutionary cul-de-sac. The planet’ll shake us off like a bad case of fleas."

    He was actually mocking environmentalists.

    What I mean is, we are killing ourselves, cutting off our own supplies. Nature will out.

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  2. Nature rules the world...we only think we do...

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  3. Things never change, do they?

    Brilliant people -- probably the direct descendants of the ones who put the rock quarry in Fish Canyon, and the debris dams in Big Santa Anita Canyon

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  4. This writing is a gift. You have put it to words all that I want to say but I can't seem to. My words are too bloated to fit through the portal that would bring them to paper. Your words just sing that song too good.

    You is too good. This is printed on my sheets and I will wrap myself up in them everynight and let the tears sog them up like cheesy tortilla chips. God bless.

    This is a good shot in the arm, just when I was feeling saggy under the pressure.

    The pressure in on! My mensch's mensch says petrified wood beads worn around the wrist reduces stress, but I think your stories are my medicine.

    This will inspire a lot of people!

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  5. Wonderful, moving, strong. THIS is how to write a persuasive essay, I hear myself say to my (ghost) students. THIS.

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  6. This is so eloquent it made me cry. Just one caution - don't think Pasadena is done with its efforts to "gentrify" Hahamongna. Their so-called Multi-Use/Multi-Benefit Plan had a road masquerading as a trail!

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  7. Beautifully said, Karin! Once again I have to wonder why so many hate the places where the wild things are. Actually, if you give them a chance, just stop,breath, smell, and listen, those are the places that bring the most peace and regeneration. In addition to meetings, lots of letters to Mike Antonovich can't hurt. I can't be sure they would help, but he needs to hear the voices.

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  8. Yes, Mary is the keeper of the understory. We all have our gifts and she's got the nose (you know what I mean!)

    And Lori with the "fugitive dust"... there's a thing.

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  9. It baffles me too, Doris, John. But I do know one thing: We wouldn't have a Haha to still fight for were it not for people like Mary Barrie, Dianne Patrizzi, Marietta, and the like.

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  10. I followed your link, and saw the renderings of what's planned (ugly), as well as the post from Tim Brick (enlightening).

    Wish I could be there tonight. Good luck.

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  11. You're a good man, John. Though you live way up north a spell, I consider you a SoCal environmentalist, emeritus.

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  12. Beautiful blog, John Evans. BTW, I am actually one of the quarry cement mixers decendants. It's a weird mirror to look into.

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  13. Good luck on your fight, Karin. Your photos show the unkempt beauty of the place.

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  14. I hope that Hahamongna Natural Watershed Park will be save!
    Beautiful photos, Karin!

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  15. Best of luck to you. On the one hand, government and other assorted "geniuses" are always decrying global warming, dirty water, loss of habitat, etc., and here you have a self healing habitat with some adorable waterfowl, and they want to ruin it. Genius. Or, as my 4th son, Jeffrey, would say, "This is why we can't have nice things!" Sorry I can't be there to support you.

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  16. You say it so well and your photos are so beautiful.

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  17. But you do support me, M; you always have. And Terry, Jean, Sonia. What's a few thousand miles or even a continent between friends.

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  18. The "problem" here is that Hahamongna is a Watershed. It's basically all the silt behind the dam. There's an outflow pipe that's supposed to be used to allow the silt to flow from the bottom of the dam, but the County doesn't use it. The dam should be modified somewhat so that the silt & dirt flows when the water reaches a certain level in wet years. What that does ultimately is create a ravine formation into the backside of the dam at the outlet, and that's about it. County is not doing the necessary maintenance because then they can wait for an "emergency" to get the funds to scrape it all away at once, rather than managing the silt flow. Unfortunately that removes the riparian habitat that slows the water flow and helps the ground absorb the water, which is what that kind of dam is supposed to do; even out the water flow and recharge the aquifer. They've let it go because it doesn't produce power, so no loss of revenue, but it's headed for failure because it's starting to fill up.

    A big issue here is that managing the silt flow produces no truck emissions, whereas these proposed massive trucking operations probably violate AB 32 and air quality regulations. That in addition to the heavy particulate matter when summer activities are held at the Oak Grove area. And, finally, it's far cheaper in the long run just to manage the silt.

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  19. I agree, Laurie Barlow. Brainy chick! I would only add that if possible, a serpentine ravine be encouraged to enhance purification and percolation... and that would take up the whole of the space and require regular incrimental small equipment maintenance (good job).

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  20. Oh, Patrizzi, that was years ago and a different world, I'd venture to guess. But knowing what we know now, the lessons of the past are there to see.

    Karin, thanks. The San Gabes will make an environmentalist out of anyone. Should, anyway.

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  21. I went to the meeting today. Ok, I went to half of the meeting, which is like 3-1/2 meetings in dog years.

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  22. Thank you for writing this, Karin. Your wisdom and wit and gift with the written word will definitely help to save Haha, along with the other brilliant souls. How was the meeting? I will try to attend Saturday's.

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  23. When I retire and open a man's bar, it's gonna be called Newts and Toads. Don't anyone think about taking my name...

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  24. Good luck with the meeting tomorrow. Sounds like you have smart people on your side who know what needs to happen to preserve the area. Then there's the politics...and I'm sure you have people on your side who know how to work that angle, too.

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  25. You know how it goes, Susan. Everyone who runs the meeting wants it, 99 percent of the audience doesn't. And somehow the project has morphed from ripping out 50 acres to 150, or something like that. I need to stop at Kenny Mac's Newts and Toads for a cold one.

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  26. But I will go tomorrow, Susan, even if I am nothing but a warm body in a chair, just to support a place worth saving and activists I greatly respect.

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  27. Eloquently written, Karin. Thanks to all of you who are working to save the Haha.

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  28. Honestly, fight fight fight - then these fuckers come back doubling the amount. And those deceptive graphics. The color of nature instead of the giant swath of a scar they're aiming for.

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  29. I will see you tomorrow then, Hiker...

    Well said, PA. Piercing and poetic.

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  30. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  31. Seriously, what the hell is wrong with people?

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  32. Seriously, Pat Tillett. What is wrong with them????

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