Saturday, August 18, 2012

Arms Down

I like warm weather.

I'll rephrase that. I like hot weather.

What I don't like is being stinky. I hope you don't mind my saying. John says nobody can smell me but me, but that's bad enough. And yes, I use deodorant, but no amount of ...

I probably shouldn't be talking about this.

How's your summer going? Getting ready for school? Some people are starting up again next week and it seems too soon, don't you think?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Beating a Live Horse

August 23rd marks the end of the period for public comment on the scope of the Environmental Impact Report on the Initial Study for the Multi-Benefit/Multi-Use Project at Hahamongna Watershed Park.

That's doublespeak for:

Pasadena proposes to build an athletic field at Hahamongna, which is currently mostly open space. The name of the proposed field is the Sycamore Grove athletic field. I'm not sure why, maybe because sycamore trees will be razed to build it, along with cottonwoods and willows.

The city also proposes "creek restoration" and "trail restoration." Some bad stuff and some potentially good stuff. They've bundled these things into one project with a confusing name.

It's easy to register your comments, and you don't have to be from Pasadena to do so. Here's the City's link to get you started. Also, the Arroyo Seco Foundation has provided you with a toolkit. At the most recent Hahamongna Watershed Park Advisory Committee meeting, Loren Pluth of the city staff said comments will be accepted until the close of business on thae 23rd.

Please send your comments regarding the scope of the EIR to:
Rosa Laveaga, City of Pasadena, Department of Public Works,
Phone: (626) 744-4321
Mailing Address: City of Pasadena, Department of Public Works, Attn: Engineering Division, 100 N. Garfield Avenue, Pasadena, CA, 91101

Check out YouTube sensation Tim Martinez and his tour of the proposed site for the athletic field (shot by Jonathan of the Arroyo Seco Foundation).

To help get you started, here are the comments I submitted yesterday:

Dear Ms. Laveaga,
Herein are my comments on the Initial Study of the Multi-Benefit Multi-Use project for Hahamongna Watershed Park.

The description of the project is vague. Under the circumstances, it's difficult to make direct comments.

As a frequent Hahamongna user, I notice the athletic field that is already there is rarely used.
Why are we building a second field there when the first one gets so little use?
Are there records on the use of the first field?
If so, where can I see the records?
If not, how do we justify a second field at that location?

Because the athletic field is to be built in a flood plain, sooner or later all or part of the field will be affected by heavy rains. One possible result is that the field will be flooded and/or washed into the dam.
Does Pasadena have the funds to repair the field during flood years?
Does Pasadena have the funds to clean the remains of the field from the dam during flood years?

Another possibility is that the field will withstand heavy rains, and flood waters will back up north of the raised field. In a low rainfall year, this wouldn't be a problem. In a high rainfall year, this could affect Tom Sawyer Camp, Rose Bowl Riders, and NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab.
Is Pasadena prepared to repair those potential damages and/or respond to potential lawsuits?
Has the regularity and severity of flooding in Hahamongna been studied? Over how many years?
Where can I see the results of that study?

It seems we are destroying habitat only to "restore" it.
How are you defining "habitat?"
How are you defining "restore?"

Water shortages continue around the United States. The Colorado River is no longer a source for the Metropolitan Water District. Pasadena's watershed feeds the Raymond Basin. Building anything at all in our watershed, at this time in history, is, at best, idiocy, especially something that pollutes with pesticides, oils, gasoline runoff, asphalt, etc.
Can you guarantee 0% pollution of the Raymond Basin, a San Gabriel Valley water resource?

California's governor is proposing a $23.7 billion pipeline to transport water in California, while Pasadena proposes to destroy its own potentially lucrative water resource. Once we've done that, we will have to spend taxpayer money on water we would have already had if we hadn't ruined the watershed with construction, pesticides, gasoline runoff, trash, etc.
Is Pasadena prepared to pay more for water?
What water resources will Pasadena have when the Raymond Basin becomes polluted?
Now that the Colorado River is no longer a source, where will Pasadena get its water?
Can the Metropolitan Water District guarantee enough water to Pasadena in future decades, when we won't have use of our own watershed and/or the Raymond Basin?
Have the above questions been studied?
Where can I see the results of the study?

The Initial Study says there will be no impact on wildlife. I have seen a mountain lion within yards of where the proposed athletic field is to be built, not to mention rabbits, deer, squirrels, snakes, and toads.
How have the project's effects on each of these particular creatures been studied?
How are you defining "wildlife?"
How are you defining "impact?"
Have these potential effects been documented, per creature? Where can I see the documents?

Additional auto and foot traffic can't help but impact wildlife. Not to mention lights, which the city says it will not include but which the grant requires.
How does the city reconcile the fact that it does not allow lights in Hahamongna but the grant requires the field be lit until 7pm?

Rare black willow and cottonwood are rebounding in the Hahamongna basin.
How many of these rare trees will be impacted?
Will they be part of the restoration?

The federally listed endangered bird, the Bell's Vireo, has now been documented in the exact area where the athletic field is planned.
What are Pasadena's plans to protect this federally listed endangered bird?
Has this been studied?
Where can I see the study results?

Thank you for the opportunity to comment.
Petrea Burchard Sandel

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Women at Work

Last week I received a call from Patty Murphy of Women at Work. If you've been in Pasadena for any amount of time you probably have at least a vague idea of what they do there: train women and men in job skills and help them find work. They've been doing it, with great success, since 1979. Patty was calling to tell me about their new division called Training at Work, where they would come to my office and train my employees in job skills.

I've done everything I can to get Boz the pooch to learn Quickbooks and he flat out refuses, so I thought the best thing I could do would be to spread the word. So Patty and I set up a time for me to meet with her and Robin McCarthy, Executive Director of Women at Work.

A few days later while I waited in the lobby a man entered, approached the receptionist and offered to volunteer. That's a fine thing because there's plenty to do. Each Monday begins with orientation for those new to Women at Work, followed by the popular Job Club, with motivation and the "Hot Jobs List." Job Club involves a $2 requested donation, for which you can stay at Women at Work all day and use their computers to search for a job and even check your email.

The hot story now is the new division called Training at Work: "workplace training at our site or yours." As companies cut training budgets they still need employees who know what the heck they're doing. Women at Work can send a qualified expert to train your employees, and can tailor that training to  your company's needs.

Contact Vickie N. Campbell, Program Manager, at 626-796-6870 ext. 32, and qualified trainers will come to your place of business and train your staff in such skills as Business Communications, Customer Service, Project & Time Management, Social Media for Business, and even job-seeking. The W.A.W. folks can teach your employees how to use the various Microsoft Office programs, too. And as long as they don't behave like spoiled, overfed, elderly dogs, Training at Work can even teach them Quickbooks.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Should've Checked the Love Meter

It had gotten to the point where I was embarrassed to be seen in my darling car.

I don't have a preference when it comes to car washes in Pasadena. Do you? If so, let me know. I've only tried a couple and I tend to stick with convenience and price.

The Walnut-Hill Car Wash (on Walnut at Hill) doesn't get a whole lot of stars on Yelp but I've never had a problem there. They have this Something Wicked This Way Comes arcade that captures my fancy, if not my quarters.


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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Thank You, Chicken Little

When a tree on our street began dropping large, random branches, we called the city. While we await the inspector's visit, the neighbor girls and I are concerned about what happens when the next branch falls. So we got out the markers and construction paper.

I don't think it was the sign above that warned off these neighbors because it's on the wrong side of the tree for them to see.

They crossed the street in time to be out of harm's way. It might have been this sign that warned them.

Or maybe it was these dire warnings, which they saw on their approach.

For help with city-owned trees on your block, call Pasadena's Urban Forestry division at Parks and Natural Resources, 744-4321.


A crew of great guys came out within 48 hours of my phone call. They removed the branches that had come down and mulched them on the spot. They told us they don't park their cars under trees when the weather gets hot like it's been lately. Any tree, not just a liquid ambar, can drop a branch. The guys said they'd send an inspector out, just to make sure there were no other problems with the tree.

My neighbor (whose daughters made the signs) asked the crew what to do about a branch dangling over her driveway; it had been damaged by a truck and it threatened to come down. They sent a man up in the cherry-picker and snip-snip! Problem solved.

Wonderful work, gentlemen! Thank you.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Zen Monday: #209

Zen Monday is the day I refrain from telling you about the photo so you can tell the rest of us, without influence, what the photo makes you think, feel or see. Let yourself go. No one is passing judgement. Really.

Sunday, August 12, 2012


About 21 years ago, I quit smoking on the last day of August. I felt euphoric for the first few days, then I had to move, and I mean move, constantly. At my office job I offered to deliver mail, run errands, do the heavy lifting. In my car I chewed gum, sang with the radio, rolled up the windows and screamed. With friends I opted for things like dancing, babysitting, swimming--anything active.

But I still had down times that had to be filled. The best thing was walking. I lived in the Fairfax district of Los Angeles, and I did all possible errands on foot. One day, I got the idea to drive up to Pasadena to a hiking trail I'd read about.

I don't know how hot it was, but it was hot, and it was noon, and I had no experience with mountain hiking. About three miles up the trail, when I saw no cover from the sun and I was so thirsty I could have chewed a cactus, I noticed no one was out there but me and decided maybe I had picked the wrong day. I stopped, looked out over the San Gabriel Valley and told myself I didn't have to kill myself to quit smoking. In fact, that was missing the point.

Years later, hiking the Sam Merrill Trail, recognition tapped me gently on the shoulder and I realized I was on the same trail, in the same spot where I'd turned around that day. It was not three miles, not even one mile up the trail. With the shape my lungs were in back then, it had only felt like I'd gone that far.

21 years later and by no means an athlete, I can still outdo my younger, smoking self. I'll prove it when the weather cools.


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