Monday, February 1, 2010

Hahamongna Watershed; Theme day: Wood

We interrupt Zen Monday because of an important issue on the City Council agenda tonight. I promise we'll have Zen Tuesday tomorrow. (Hey, maybe I'll find Zen at City Hall!)

Item 6. on the City Council agenda is "Public Hearing: Adoption of the Initial Study and Approval of the Hahamongna Watershed Park Master Plan Addendum for Hahamongna Annex."

If you've followed this blog for more than a day or so you know that to say Hahamongna Watershed Park is close to my heart is an understatement. It's practically my muse.

The plan has benefits, including improved facilities for the Rose Bowl Riders. There will also be a nature center, but if you ask me, introducing nature via a "nature center" is a sure way to teach people that nature is boring. (Oh well. At least the kids get a field trip--that is, if there's any funding for field trips. But that's another post.)

Other parts of the plan are more complicated. I can't explain it because I don't understand it. Apparently there was a road in the original plan. Upon public outcry the road was taken out of the plan and everyone thought things were fine. Nobody wants a road through what is a bit of Eden in the city. But one group, Friends of Hahamongna, fears that the language in the plan is too vague, leaving in the possibility for a road.

I've read this stuff. The language is indeed vague. As I said in last Thursday's post, I wish people would write these documents in English. Whether it means "road" or not, I don't know. I'll have to go to the meeting and listen to what everyone has to say because on this subject I have only questions.

The plan is clear, however, that a large number (some say about 70) of trees will be removed from the park--not necessarily invasive trees, just non-native trees that support wildlife--when we've just lost 250 square miles worth of trees just north of Hahamongna in the Angeles National Forest. (See Altadena Hiker's take on the subject, also Laurie Barlow's post at The Greensward: Civitas.)

That's a long way around to today's City Daily Photo blog theme day, "wood," a lot of which will be chopped down and mulched in the implementation of this shiny plan.

I think we can compromise. If it's really, really necessary to remove those trees I'm sure someone at the meeting can explain why. Then perhaps we can remove them in a few years, once the mountains have regrown some habitat.

John, Boz and I have taken so much pleasure in the open space of Hahamongna. The park belongs to us, just as it belongs to everyone. It does make me nervous that people who don't use it are about to vote on its fate. I hope they've taken the trouble to go there, take a long walk and enjoy the serenity of an hour away from the city's clamor and agitation before they decide to turn it into the more of the same.

The meeting's at 6:30; Item 6 will be heard at 7:30. When I called City Hall I was told citizens are free to skip the first part and come at 7:30. Read the info. Come, speak up, or just be present. City Hall, room S249.

To see what other City Daily Photo bloggers do with today's theme, click here.


pasadenapio said...

I strongly recommend arriving at 6:30 Whenever there is a sensitive or controversial issue on the agenda, there's a chance the council chamber will fill up quickly. If the fire marshal exercises the prerogative, standing toom is outside in the corridor with a TV monitor.

pasadenapio said...

Standing room, that is!

Julie said...

now this is a glorious photo of a beautiful scene.

bandit said...

My goodness. standing room only!

Petrea, you've explained the scene so well, perhaps a tree cutting moratorium will occur. Lest they argue costs will go up in time.

They just dropped a mil near the walking trail by Swede Hollow for a rest stop or some damn thing.

I suppose they (the city) have to spend the cash or risk losing more from the fed. Stimulus $. (snicker)

The rest stop's been trashed, and it's not even Summer yet.

Chuck Pefley said...

I find it so ironic that it is often the vast majority of non-users are the ones who cast the all important vote.

A theme with a purpose today. Hope you get cogent answers, though that may simply be wishful thinking.

Mbarrie said...

Thanks for your excellent comments and thanks for wading into the documents! There is no reason to cut these trees down other than to get them out of the road corridor -they have grown there for decades and are part of the history and character of the Annex. Yesterday I saw two enormous red tail hawks in one of the non-native italian stone pines on the property and several weeks ago a western grey squirrel - come down no doubt from the burn area. These squirrels are rare in the basin. As you know, Hahamongna teems with wildlife who can't save their homes themselves so I urge everyone to come out tonight also!

Laurie said...

Wow, this is nuts. Wish I could be there tonight.

Greg Sweet said...

I went to the meeting on the subject of couple months ago at La Casita Del Arroyo and it sounded to me like Laurie Paul convinced them to keep the trees for birds displaced by the Station Fire. They hadn't considered that angle. Everyone seemed concerned about the wildlife and they voted to keep the trees intact. At least that's the way I heard it. Do they think the trees have already grown back in the forest? Or are they hoping enough time has passed since the fire to make people forget? Maybe it was a temporary appeasement.

Paula said...

The great thing about theme day is the number of ways to interpret it. I hope the meeting goes better than expected. Good luck, P.

Virginia said...

Note to Pasadena City Council : Don't counterintuitive with Petrea either! OR John!

PS Great shot of that gorgeous tree. Tie yourself to it if they try and cut that one down.

Petrea said...

Thanks, PIO. I hope a lot of people come, so I'll show up early.

This tree is one that is likely slated for removal. It's a non-native (non-invasive) eucalyptus.

If there's one thing I've learned about negotiations, it's that you don't enter the room "with your guns drawn." I really do believe we can reach a compromise about these trees.

Greg, I thought we already had gotten there at that meeting, too (didn't know you then, would have looked for you). The plan language is vague about removing the trees gradually. All it needs is more specific language and we'll be all set.

The pepper trees along the corridor alongside JPL are a different matter; their removal makes way for widening the road, which concerns Friends of Hahamongna. This is where we need more specific language regarding the road.

Thanks for all your comments, everyone. I think of the blog as entertainment for my friends, but every once in a while it's my mouthpiece!

Petrea said...

Oh and Virg, we have some nice people on the City Council, at least the few I've met. But they didn't write this plan and I don't want to see them fooled by the rhetoric.

And I'm not going to tie myself to a tree, although the photo op is tempting.

Lucio said...

It's great to see the gorgeous Californian countryside. How easy it is to forget you have any!

Pasadena Adjacent said...

This kind of action is exactly what my comment was referring to in your "Natures Course" post.

I'm not giving details, but those who had a intimate relationship with the lower Arroyo were able to save some of the trees despite "the master plan".

Bellis said...

Your post today is so eloquent and reasonable, thank you. I just wish the councillors would read it, and all the comments, before tonight's meeting.

I recognise the dead eucalyptus in your photo - it feeds the woodpeckers, and many flocks of birds love resting on the bare branches for a while. Every tree has a value.

L Barlow, AIA said...

The idea for clearing 40 feet of trees and vegetation all along a once-publicly-proposed road to a JPL parking structure(which was originally plopped into the Hahamongna Master Plan about a decade ago when I worked on it at Miralles Associates) makes no sense under an official policy of sustainability and the preservation of open space. This intrusion has been consistently opposed by all constituencies since its inception. The "non-native" thing is a red herring, and the public's money is far better spent on a just-submitted proposal to provide public recreation space adjacent to the YWCA across from City Hall. The staff time spent on this over the years is incredibly expensive. Not to mention the cost of tree removal when we desperately need to keep them for now and focus on watershed management.

My post on this is at

Petrea said...

Lucio, have you ever been here? San Francisco and LA are the exception. Beautiful countryside is the rule.

I wish I knew the details, PA. Or maybe I don't.

Thanks, Bellis.

Laurie, I've linked to your post. Thanks.

Lucio said...

No, I haven't! But I'm planning to in late July. Your and Katie's photos of rural California have made me keen to experience it beyond the boundaries of SF & LA - if time allows, that is.

Margaret said...

good luck at the meeting. I didn't even know any of this was going on.

Ted Thompson said...

How does the song go...

"Cut down the trees, put em in a tree museum
And charge five dollars just to come and see em" ?

Petrea said...

The meeting is in room S249, by the way. That's the second floor, south wing.

Lucio: Google California National parks and have a drool.

Margaret: I think a lot of people thought it was all taken care of. But there are some that fear the plan's language leaves open the possibility for a road through the park.

"You pave Paradise, put up a parking lot..."

Kim said...

Beautiful photo, wonderful integration of theme day with an important local issue, and wonderful writing about it. Great theme day post, Petrea.
The photo is so lovely.

Steve said...

Petrea -

(I had written a longer post, but it somehow never posted).

It was great meeting you the other day at Johnson Field.

Living here for many years, I've come to regard the Angeles Nat'l Forest and the Hahamonga areas as an extension of my backyard.
Of course, with the devastation of ANF due to the recent fires, our backyard has gotten alot smaller.

Hahamongna is indeed a special place.

It's truly one of the last open spaces in this area that hasn't been developed for the "greater good".

Us hikers, walkers, bikers, equestrians, and even the odd unicycle all seem to co-exist in this area quite peaceably.

My opinion - leave it as is.

As for building a Nature Center, we already have one over at Eaton Canyon.

For those of you unable to make it to the City Council meeting, you can watch it live and repeated throughout the week on KPAS:

- Steve

J. said...

Second the motion by L. Barlow, AIA (QED): "[T]he public's money is far better spent on a … public recreation space adjacent to the YWCA across from City Hall."

Do we have a quorum?

Katie said...

Stunning photo Petrea. I hope the meeting tonight went well. Sad to think of any trees being removed.

altadenahiker said...

I'll vote for you, J.

Laurie said...

Just checking in to see how it went.

Petrea said...

I'm tired! It was a long meeting. I'll bet the City Council is tired, too.

They listened--took into account almost everything said at the meeting.

Upshot: The plan was accepted unanimously, with about 10 caveats that ought to help iron out some, if not all, of its imperfections. My concerns about the trees have been alleviated, for the most part.

The Council also requested new language in the plan stating clearly that there is to be no road. Even the Friends of Hahamongna applauded the vote.

Shell Sherree said...

Yay!! Or ~ mostly Yay!!

Dina said...

Dear Petrea and all, it is quite moving for me to watch all this from across the ocean and to see how you Californians care about and care for and do something about your open spaces.

Laurie said...

Yay for the good guys, Petrea! I feel better reading this.

Petrea said...

Me, too.

Lori Lynn said...

Excellent Theme Day post! I already read your post on the meeting, so that is good news indeed!
P.S. I have been busy upgrading Taste With The Eyes and have missed a lot of posts, now it's done and I have time to go back and read. Ahhh...

Espresso said...

Nice view :D

Tree Removal Atlanta GA said...

It looks awesome....

Petrea said...

It is, TRAG. That's why people have fought so hard for it.