The Meaning of Hahamongna

The original settlers of the region were sometimes called the Hahamongna Indians. The word means "Flowing Waters, Fruitful Valley" in the native Tongva language.

Hahamongna News

Title:

Arroyo Seco plans approved

Subtitle:

Date:

2003-10-01

Author:

Gene Maddaus, Staff Writer

Publication:

Pasadena Star News

Content:

Subtitle: Deal took five years; millions to be spent on both ends

PASADENA -- The City Council, acting after midnight Tuesday, took less than
a half-hour to dramatically redraw plans for the Arroyo Seco that have been
five years in the making.

At the end of a dizzying blitz of deal-making and project-swapping, the
council had adopted the long-delayed Hahamongna Watershed Park Master Plan
and the Lower Arroyo Master Plan, defining documents that will set the
course for the arroyo for years to come.

"It was quite a whirlwind,' said Mary Barrie, president of the La Canada
Flintridge Trails Council. "I just sort of sat there with my mouth open.'

The master plans will allow city staffers to move forward with spending
millions of dollars on projects on either end of the arroyo. The Central
Arroyo Master Plan is on hold, pending the outcome of the city's
negotiations to bring a National Football League team to the Rose Bowl.

Among other changes, the council eliminated two artificial lakes in the
Hahamongna area, north of Devil's Gate Dam. The lakes were originally
proposed as habitats for native species, but environmentalists objected to
them, dubbing them "fake lakes' because of their artificial linings.

"They were kind of Disney,' Barrie said.

Councilwoman Joyce Streator, who represents a district in Northwest Pasadena
that borders the Hahamongna area, spearheaded the elimination of two sports
fields on the east side of the park, and scuttled a road widening and a new
parking lot that would have drawn more cars and congestion to the area.

"The improvements would have made that area basically an east side public
park, and that will no longer be the case,' said Rosa Laveaga, the city's
Arroyo Seco park supervisor.

Streator's proposal was welcomed by environmentalists who have strongly
opposed developing the eastern portion of Hahamongna.

"I think Joyce's motion really cleared a logjam,' said Hugh Bowles of the
Hahamongna Watchdog Group. "She suddenly removed this huge obstacle to the
plan moving forward.'

Streator's motion initially drew strong opposition from Councilman Victor
Gordo, who has pressed for more athletic fields. With help from Councilmen
Paul Little and Steve Haderlein, the council agreed to put sports fields on
the 4.8 acres that would have been occupied by the western artificial lake.

Councilman Steve Madison, who had earlier advocated holding off on the
approval, added his support when the council agreed to do away with an
artificial stream.

Everyone but Councilman Sid Tyler found something to like in the altered
proposal, and the plan passed 7-1.

Tyler said he felt the park was out of balance because the recreation areas
had all shifted west, and was disappointed that certain improvements on the
east side, like new picnic tables, would not happen.

The council then moved on to the Lower Arroyo Master Plan, which was less
controversial. Gordo sought alterations such as better signage, an expanded
rest room and drinking fountains, that would make it easier for residents
from far off to find and use the park.

"I want to ensure that the park is accessible and user-friendly not only to
people who live in and around the arroyo but to everybody in Pasadena,'
Gordo said.

Little picked up on Gordo's comments about prominent signs that would help
guide unfamiliar visitors to stress that the massive investments in the
canyon are not meant to create a "nice back yard' for West Pasadenans.

Joan Hearst, who lives adjacent to the arroyo and is chairwoman of the
Coalition for the Protection of the Arroyo Seco, called the comment "an
inappropriate remark.'

"I think his remarks were disrespectful of the desire by the community to
protect a natural space,' Hearst said. "That space is used by not only our
community but our region.'

Environmental groups had advocated earlier in the meeting that the council
hold off on approving the master plans until several errors and
inconsistencies could be corrected. But the groups seemed cautiously pleased
with the compromises that resulted from the late-night meeting.

"A whole lot of compromises were made, perhaps nobody was really happy,'
Haderlein said.

Nobody except maybe Laveaga, who never expected when she started that it
would take five years to get master plans approved.

"I was happy that decisions were being made,' she said. "Basically we wanted
to throw everything up on the wall and see what stuck. That's what I guess
the exercise was about, but I was surprised it went so quickly.'