Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I'll Wear Daffodils in My Crown

daffodils grow along an old fence at the Hahamongna Annex

Monday night I went to my first Pasadena City Council meeting. Because so many of you commented on Monday's post, where I expressed concern for the fate of the Hahamongna Annex, I thought I'd report back.

Everybody won!

That's the gist of it. Everybody got some of what they wanted. Nobody got all of what they wanted. In other words, democracy worked.

With 35 people asking to speak on the Hahamongna issue, Mayor Bogaard asked the public to refrain from speaking if someone before them had already made their point. I'm sorry to say there was an awful (and I do mean awful) lot of repetition. But the mayor, known for being a gentleman, kept the meeting moving and pretty much kept commenters to the time limit. (One of those commenter occasionally comments here--Laurie Barlow. Check out her well thought-out post on the subject at The Greensward: Civitas. She's in my blogroll, by the way.)

I was impressed with the City Council. They listened to the Staff presentation and public comments and asked good questions. There are some very sharp people on the Council. And here's the best part: they included almost all reasonable public requests in the plan.

I know. The mind boggles.

There's still a "bikes only" path in the plan. (For now.) I don't want it. But this isn't about what I want or don't want, this is about what the majority of people want. Democracy worked this time. When the bike path comes up for review, maybe we can try a different governmental system, such as Petrea As Queen.

Something else you should know, by the way: it took from just after 7:30pm to 11:15pm to resolve the Hahamongna issue. Most of the people clapped, got up, put on their coats and bumbled noisily out of the room, not noticing the small group that stayed behind: the City Council. With more items on the agenda, for them the night was young.


Shell Sherree said...

How wonderful ~ all very civilised, intelligent and sensible from the sounds of it. Ra, ra!

bandit said...

Your first meet, aye?
I find that kind of hard to believe-something about what you said "...don't walk in with your guns drawn."

The chair of the meeting sounds like a good parlimentarian. You can do amazing things with a strong knowledge of parlimentary procedure, a bit like a knowledge of intricate knot tying.

If I ever get into one of these 'path" fights, I'll bring some big guns and the manual of parlimentary procedure in my pocket.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

Our other friend Richard Amromin from Altadena's "Newtown" (better known as A Persistent Weed in the Garden of Art) warns us that another battle of the soul/spirit is taking place down at Los Angeles City Hall today.

(a sampling of what Richard has to say...I'll be sending you the e-mail)


The Los Angeles City Council wants to take all mandated funding away from the Department of Cultural Affairs! Once again, in a time of fiscal crisis, the cry goes out from the phlegm-packed throats of City Hall, “Kill the Artist!”

The LA Times article

Mbarrie said...

Nobody wants the paved bike path and paved is the operative word! Mountain and hybrid bike riders have been getting along with everyone else in the park for decades on the dirt trails. What the park users fear is fast road bikes!
See you down in Hahamongna!
Mary B.

kat said...

Just out of curiosity, why don't you like the bike path? As an occasional biker, I sometimes wish I could ride in the Arroyo -- which is strictly off limits because of walkers and horseback riders. A bike only path allows another section of users to use the area without (hopefully) disrupting others. Or doesn't it? What issue am I missing?

And I'm glad the meeting was a model of civility and reason. And I"m glad that you were there to report on it!

Petrea said...

Ra indeed, Shell!

I've been in on some SAG negotiations, Bandit--where I watched things go down the tubes. When you begin the meeting on the attack instead of with a spirit of coming to an agreement, you create the desire in your opponent to shoot you down instead of working with you. If they have any power, you're setting yourself up to lose.

Thanks, PA. I'm on Newtown's mailing list. The situation is dire in LA and everywhere. We need eloquent speakers to tell the world how the arts affect things like crime rates. Some people will only understand it this way, which is okay. Whatever it takes.

Amen, Mbarrie. And Kat, does Mbarrie's comment answer your question? Mountain and hybrid bike riders already ride in the Arroyo with no problems. The paths are wide enough for bikes, people, dogs and horses. I'm just learning this, but apparently the concern about road bikes is the speed.

Strangely enough, mountain bikes are allowed on the Sam Merrill trail which is at points as little as two feet wide or less.

Michael Coppess said...

Watched it all on my laptop. You are right, the public discussion in this city is exceptionally well informed. Nice to see so many people who care so much.

Margaret said...

Well this is nice news. And I love the picture. Daffodils are my fav.

Greg Sweet said...

Coincidentally, or maybe not, one of the definitions of Hahamongna is "the gathering place". The site of the park is more than a place where area Tongva Indians would gather to grind acorns collected in The Arroyo and Millard Canyon. They also met one another, conversed, spread the news, traded, and ironed-out differences... an area council of sorts.

Bellis said...

Those glorious daffodils, the lush grass and the old fence could be somewhere in England - though in April rather than February. I hope they'll be left there as a historic feature even though they're not native. As for the bicycle issue - did I hear one Councillor come up with a really good suggestion? If Pasadena City requires an expensive paved bikepath (to Caltrans standards!) because road bikes are illegal on unpaved roads in Pasadena, why not simply change the law to allow them? An unpaved road would deter speeding racing bikes, and avoid the possibility of a peloton starting up there. And for the kiddies learning to ride on their little bikes, there's a section of paved road off-limits to cars near the dam.

pasadenapio said...

That's a great report, Petrea! I was happy to see you and Karin in the room.

Desiree said...

Love the celebratory photo!

The Photo Huntress said...


I WANDER'D lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretch'd in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed -- and gazed -- but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

- William Wordsworth

... and dances with the daffodils.

I love the image it feels like spring.

altadenahiker said...

Allow me to be a broken record for a minute (like THAT'S anything new) to say, there's already a bloody path there. Everyone gets along on it -- bikers, walkers, riders. None of us asked for anything other than the existing path, we're happy with it. The grading prevents anyone from going too fast on it. In short, what's already there serves its purpose and function. Why flush hard-earned tax or grant dollars on something no one is asking for?

Virginia said...

Well I just bugged Bugge about the outcome. Glad to hear it and that you're pleased with the outcome. Now I can sleep again.

PS Are those dafs blooming NOW??

owassodailyphoto said...

What a beautiful photo, it's so cold and snowy here that I'm enjoying that golden sunshine!

Bellis said...

Hear hear Karin. I'd like to know how much of our tax dollars have been spent over the last 10 years on plans that have been thrown out repeatedly and developments no-one wants. Remember there was once a plan for a large boating and fishing lake???

Chuck Pefley said...

I'll send in my absentee ballot for you Petra. Let me know when you run for the royal office.

Good to hear everybody got something. I hope others feel as generously about the outcome as you seem to.

Hooray for Democracy.

Petrea said...

Welcome to new commenters Photo Huntress (merci for the Wordsworth) and Owasso Daily Photo! Thanks for stopping by.

I think democracy is expensive. It takes for-damn-ever to iron everything out. It doesn't start with everyone wanting the same things, and it doesn't end that way. I agree with Karin, though, I have no idea who wants this bike path besides the Staff committee. I want to be generous about this but I admit that in the meetings I've attended they've seemed defensive about the plan and about the path.

Bellis, I think it was Steve Madison who made that sane suggestion, but I could be wrong. Not sure why road bikes aren't allowed in Hahamongna. I don't see how they could go very vast on the unpaved trails.

Ann, I was glad to see you, too. It did seem too formal of a situation for me to run up and give you a hug.

Yes, Virginia. Bellis showed me around the Annex last Saturday. California has a lot of problems and people keep coming here. I wonder why.

Hapi said...

hello... hapi blogging... have a nice day! just visiting here....

TheChieftess said...

Glad to hear your city council listens to your community!!! Good job to the community for electing good people and for coming out to speak on this issue. Well done!!!

Dina said...

Those are daffodils?? So what are narcissus? The same?
Here they are everywhere now and in Hebrew we call them narkisim.
Lovely either way.

Petrea said...

Hi Hapi, thanks.

Chieftess--they did this time. I hedge my bets...

Dina, you sent me searching. Looks like Daffodil is the common English name for Narcissus. Had I used Narcissus in my title it would have been more fitting.