Friday, April 2, 2010

Pardon Me, My Dander is Showing

So where are they planning to put the soccer fields?

This might be a good spot. A nice little forest stood here in Hahamongna before the January flood when I took these photos. There's still water flowing more than three months later and the area's been pretty well leveled. Hey! Flat enough for a soccer field!

Maybe they're thinking of putting soccer fields here. Nice view, huh?

This, too, could work, once the flood debris has been removed.

Of course we'll have to rebuild our soccer fields every few years, depending on how often the watershed basin floods--which I grant you is unpredictable. But I ask you: where else can we possibly put soccer fields?


We can put soccer fields just about anywhere.

Hahamongna is a rare gem. Once it's gone, it's gone.

Soccer fields are fine. But they don't have to be built in an environmentally sensitive watershed. (What part of "watershed" does Pasadena Staff not understand?)

I'm surprised we have to keep fighting for this place, but we do. And we're not fighting other citizens. We're not fighting the Hahamongna Advisory Committee. We're not even fighting City Council.

We're fighting "Pasadena Staff."

Who are these people? To whom do they report? Why do they keep resurfacing, like a hungry monster that won't go away, and attempting to devour Hahamongna? What is their agenda?

Please go to and read the survey that shows what a teeny, tiny minority of Pasadena citizens feels a pressing need for more soccer fields. Then click on "Sign the Petition" to read more reasons to save Hahamongna. As of this writing there are 25 pages of signatures, including some interesting names.

Then please sign the petition. Future generations will thank us.


Laurie said...

Keep fighting the good fight, P. This is crazy.

Latino Heritage said...

Signed. Would it make sense to add soccer fields at say, Crater Lake or Yosemite. Not hyperole to campare AS to these areas as AS was discussed as a possible National Park in the early history of parks, I believe.

Shell Sherree said...

It doesn't even make sense to me, and I live upside-down. All the best with this, Petrea.

Katie said...

I assume the petition is for residents only, but I'd sure sign if I could. What are those people thinking? Ok maybe these spots would be fine for water polo, but soccer? Hee hee. Amazing to see so much water in the photos; hard to imagine things will ever dry out.

Bruce Nauman said...

"Leave the Land Alone"

Margaret said...

I have Katie's question: Is it for Pasadena residents only?

altadenahiker said...

I signed! Thanks for this. You can sign Margaret, you just have to state where you live.

This dark and mysterious "staff" is downright Kafkaesque

Bellis said...

You're so good when you have your dander up! I wish that the people that have the power to make irrevocable changes to Hahamongna used the area for their own recreation. But I have never seen them on any of my visits (though councillor Steve Madison does walk there occasionally, he said).

Pasadena Adjacent said...

I think it's a good to show the city of Pasadena that others make their way over to visit this slice of nature. Many of us do and while here, we take advantage of other services in the area as well.

sign the petition!!!!!

those dirty back room rat bastards

Bruce Nauman had it right

Petrea said...

Thanks, Hiker. Yes, you can sign, Margaret. Hahamongna is available for anyone to use.

Enjoyed the Bruce Nauman reference.

I've seen some of these "staff" people, but I've never seen them at Hahamongna. I can't for the life of me figure out what they have against the place. But some people see open space and they think they have to fill it.

J+P said...

As Hal Holbrook said in a certain movie, "Follow the money." In a recession, City Staff looks good when they create revenue-generating locales.

Remember when we lived in Van Nuys, P? The high school nearby admitted they raked in $10,000 per event, renting out their football field. Some of that money was sent back to the city … "everybody wins"—except for the area residents, who suffered the noise, traffic, trash and urinating yahoos.

Soccer fields need parking lots. They need bathrooms and space for concessions. They need access roads and all the associated construction. Think of how much effort goes into molding a simple street-curb. Who's going to win that contracting bid? "Follow the money."

There's no mystery to the bureaucratic imagination. First priority is: justify your position. Best route: generate revenue. All other considerations are secondary, when thousands of municipal employees are being "furloughed" across the state.

I prefer the green minted by nature to any other. If I want City Staff to value something above their jobs, it's my responsibility to inspire them. It's our park, our city. We're the bosses, here, so if we don't instruct City Staff on appropriate choices, they'll just make the same ones they always make.

Petrea said...

I agree with you, PA, on all counts.

I wish you weren't right, J.

ben wideman said...

Thanks for sharing, P. I love your perspective on this issue, and I learned a little bit more about our Pasadena backyard today. Keep it up!

Pascal Jim said...

Some park projects are done with monies/grants offered by the state or feds.
My feeling on this one, someone found money "resting" in an account and has resurrected this early 2003 project.
As a resident of Pasadena for forty years, its just one brush fire after another. If enough noise from those "pesky citizens" can be heard, we may suspend this stupid exercise.
A respected someone from the past said:

Shanna said...

I signed it.

It was nice meeting you in person last night. Thanks for the great talk!

Petrea said...

Such a beautiful backyard, isn't it, Ben? A good place to ride that bike of yours.

I don't know the story, Pascal Jim. It may well be that we don't have enough soccer fields and I have no problem with building new ones somewhere. Just not at Hahamongna. And yes, J is an excellent writer. He tops just about anyone I know.

I just loved meeting you, Shanna. Thanks for signing the petition and thanks for being there last night.

TheChieftess said...

I signed!!! Sorry I missed last night...keep us posted for a next time!!!

Lori Webster said...

Of course I signed the petition. Thanks for bringing this issue much needed attention.

Petrea said...

Thanks for signing the petition and please tell your friends!

Chieftess, I will keep you posted.

Katie said...

Thanks for letting me know this petition is open to all; I just signed! I too am bummed I missed your talk last night. I'm sure it was an enlightening and entertaining evening enjoyed by all. I hope you share more about it on your blog!

pasadenapio said...

Pardon me, but now my dander is showing.

Arroyo Seco Project Manager Rosa Laveaga and I are city staff and therefore surely we must be evil.

The fact is that city employees implement the decisions and policies of the Pasadena City Council, which approved the following projects for Hahamongna Watershed Park as part of the city's Capital Improvement Program (CIP):

(1) restore a small canyon and re-establish the streamcourse that has been severely degraded by the high urban storm water flows through Berkshire Creek (funded by $118,000 from the California Proposition 12 Riparian & Riverine Habitat Program and $100,000 from the City of Pasadena); (2) improve 1,900 linear feet of trail from the recently completed Flint Wash Bridge Trail Crossing to the new Sycamore Grove Field (funded by $80,000 from L.A. County Proposition A, $789,000 from Proposition 50 River Parkways Program and $282,000 from Prop 12 Riparian & Riverine Habitat Program); (3) create the Sycamore Grove athletic field between Oak Grove field and Johnson Field, to be built on compacted fill to raise it from a 1,040-foot elevation to 1,050 feet and expand the current 100-space parking lot to allow 200 parking spaces along with various storm drain improvements associated with the project (all of #3 funded by $981,000 from 1996 L.A. County Prop A, $883,000 from 1992 L.A. County Prop A and $1 million from California Youth Soccer & Recreational Development Program); and (4) removal of sediment and establishment of a water conservation pool to allow retention of floodwater.

The work will, of course, require the preparation of an EIR.

With all that (whew) being said, staff absolutely does not stay awake nights plotting ways to destroy Hahamongna.

The Hahamongna Watershed Park Advisory Committee is comprised of members of the Recreation and Parks Commission, Northwest Commission and Environmental Advisory Commissions. This committee, along with the commissions, hosts community meetings, takes public comment and advises the council on issues related to Hahamongna.

Recently the committee sent a letter to the mayor and city council asking for guidance on whether to re-evaluate the approach of the Hahamongna Watershed Park Master Plan with considerable public input, or continue with the projects as approved by council. The committee is awaiting a response on this.

So now, while the committee waits for a response from council about this critically important matter, please stop vilifying staff. It's not justified and it's not fair. Rosa Laveaga and her team are dedicated public servants who are well-liked and appreciated in the community. You may not have happened upon Rosa and her team when you've been at Hahamongna, but believe me, they have put in their time and then some.

Thanks for listening. If I can provide more information to anybody about this or any other issue, please feel free to contact me. I may be evil, but I do my best to keep the community informed.

Cafe Pasadena said...

You have a nice big backyard, don't you PDP.

J+P said...

Ann, when was #3 publicized, & how? Have public meetings been held to decide no #3? If so, when & where? If not … same.

And what's an EIR? Environmental impact report?

Petrea said...

Just talked to Ann (Pasadena PIO). She's busy so I'm not going to respond to her comment in full until we can do just that.

Michele Zack said...

Decision #3 (to expand the number of soccer fields, from 1 to 3, I believe, as well as parking in Hahamongna) was taken by the Pasadena City Council after midnight at one public meeting (among many) where the majority and consistent public opinion expressed was that Hahamongna was NOT the best place for this use. But most of people had gone home by that time. The Soccer lobby, although not huge, is well organized and appeals especially to some political representatives who want to have the active backing of constituent blocks come next election. But it makes more sense to locate needed recreational facilities close to where kids can easily access them — by schools and near major bus routes. And such facilities need not compromise or compete with sensitive and irreplaceable ecological sites.

Petrea said...

Thank you, Michele, for your clarifying input. One of the problems I have in understanding this debate is that it has gone on for longer than I've lived here, and there is much assumed, arcane knowledge.

I've spoken on the phone with Ann Erdman, Pasadena PIO. This time I caught her at an event at the Rose Bowl (busy woman)!

Ann said the Hahamongna Watershed Park Advisory Committee recently wrote to the City Council asking Council to revisit a 2003 decision to build soccer fields in Hahamongna Watershed Park. This is the decision to which Michele Zack refers in her comment.

Council has not yet met since receiving the letter and therefore hasn't had a chance to consider it.

Ann said she has not seen the website,

She told me Pasadena Staff "can't do their own thing." They're subject to a hierarchy within City government and nothing happens without Council approval or funding. In the case of Hahamongna, nothing happens without an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and a process of citizen review.

I apologized to Ann, and I hereby apologize to Pasadena Staff, if anyone feels personally offended. My post was not mean to be a personal attack. I don't know who's responsible for what feel like continued attacks on Hahamongna. That's why I asked the question, "Who are these people?" That's why I use the word "arcane" to describe the facts around Hahamongna and construction there. If you haven't lived in Pasadena all your life, trying to understand what's going on there is like walking through a foggy maze.

I thank Ann for straightening me out. I'll do my best to keep you informed about when the City Council plans to consider the HWPAC's letter.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you Petrea: We have to stop this. It doesn’t bring any good.

Yes US.

Btw: I’ll follow your blog at least for a while, if you don’t mind.

pasadenapio said...
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pasadenapio said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
pasadenapio said...

J&P, I post press releases and weekly notices of upcoming events to the City of Pasadena homepage under "Latest News" on the left side of the screen. Most recently, for example, the Hahamongna Watershed Park Advisory Committee's March 23 discussion about athletic fields, which led to the sending of the letter to the mayor and city council, was included in my update for the week of March 22. There were a number of public meetings at the committee and commission level regarding all aspects of the Hahamongna Watershed Park Master Plan prior to projects going to the city council. These were publicized by me, certain neighborhood associations, other organizations and the media. The meetings were well-attended, which could not have happened without public knowledge.

In addition to posting press releases and notices of upcoming events on the city homepage, I e-mail them to a large community distribution list. Anyone who would like to be added to that list may send me a request at

I just went to the SaveHahamongna.Org site for the first time and saw that the letter to which I referred above and in my comment yesterday is posted there. It may give many people comfort to read it. The next step will be a response from the mayor and council, but I don't know when that may be.

J+P said...

OK, thanks for the links, Ann. I'll look at them & see what's what on this. I meant what I said about bureaucracies, which is based on past experience; must I specify that I wasn't referring to you? Nor to the woman you mentioned, whom I've never met …

If you feel defensive of your coworkers, remember the power you wield as an elite. Elected or appointed, city staff can wreck things for other residents. But I've never waded into Pasadena politics, so I'll change the next-to-last word in my Friday comment (above) to "often." That ought to reduce the tone from one of vilification to skepticism. That, at a minimum, is a requisite approach when a wilderness—the product of millions of years of blind nature—may be threatened by the municipal committee du jour.