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


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Dianne Patrizzi


Princess HAHA Blog


Princess Haha has returned tonight from a two meetings back to back by influential governmental bodies of the City of Pasadena: Municipal Services Committee (MSC), comprised of city council members and staff, and the Hahamongna Watershed Park Advisory Committee (HWPAC).

The composition of the HWPAC appears to have changed drastically. The Chair, Annette Nicole of the Northwest Commission, committee members Rita Moreno (District 5) of Recreation and Parks , and Gabrielle Woods of Environmental Advisory Commission remain and were present this evening. As were the City of Pasadena staff members Loren Pluth, Project Manager for Parks and Landscaping, Charles Peretz, Administrator Parks and Natural Resources, Dan Rix, City Engineer, and Rosa Laveaga, Arroyo Seco Project Supervisor/HWPAC Staff Liaison.

Not present tonight but listed as members of HWPAC are Siobhan Foster, Director of Public Works, Mercy Santoro, Director of Human Services and Recreation, [Lisa Jeffery (District 1), Patricia Keane (District 2), Thom Mrozek (District 4), Donna Estacio (at large), Robert Shepherd (Mayor Appointed) ] all of Recreation and Parks Commission.

New members present tonight: Donabed Donabedian (District 3), Ciran Hadjian (District 7) of Recreation and Parks Commission, Sheryl Turner of Northwest Commission, and Morey Wolfson of the Environmental Advisory Commission.

I was surprised and sorry not to see Don Bremner of the Sierra Club and no longer listed as a member. –Nor was he present in the public audience of about 10. No more Ann Schied, either.

The public attendance at the MSC was larger, about 50 no 25-ish. Its hard to say if very many were just ordinary citizens attending, like myself, since most were in suits or were reporting to the committee from an agency… according to the crazy twittering from an unofficial source @PasaCityCouncil.

The MSC met at 4:00 pm. At a recent regularly scheduled Monday night meeting of the Pasadena City Council, Tim Brick of the Arroyo Seco Foundation took a clear position of moving the SCE power poles, south of JPL and the sports field parking lot, and relocating them to the road out of the belly of Hahamongna. These power poles holding lines that run along Berkshire Creek are part of the SCE 1948 Easement that I wrote to you about earlier. At that city council meeting, Margaret McAustin moved that the subject be put on the agenda of the MSC. That didn’t happen tonight at the MSC.

What did happen was an interesting discussion about renewable energy and the prospect of the City of Pasadena exercising a lease to purchase agreement with a Lancaster owner of a solar energy farm, Alpine II. I have to applaud Pasadena for the effort towards renewable sources and the moving away from coal and fossil fuels (unsustainable and environmentally disastrous). However, the photos I saw of the flatly lain solar panels, that in a desert environment trick birds and other wildlife into mistaking them for water bodies and diving to their deaths into them, was not part of this discussion, Instead, heaps of praises came, as if there were no environmental consequences to consider.

Once again, humans rarely consider the reaction of wildlife in decision making or even to seek a minor alteration that could make massive solar panel farms look less like a water source to birds–including endangered ones. I guess that’s just too deep to think about.

At the MSC, there was also a report on state water quality monitoring and the recent result of chromium VI being present in Pasadena water. At this point, I almost fell off my seat. Chromium VI is why the world knows the name Erin Brockovich.

So, I left there with my head reeling about water quality and the healthy ecosystem benefits in Hahamongna that provide bio-filtration of such poisons. The source of chromium VI in Pasadena drinking water was reported tonight to council as “naturally occurring” in contrast to the contamination caused by industry as in the Glendale water system. Whether the source is natural or industrial, chromium VI is especially toxic when made airborne from digging.

At 6:00 pm I rushed to the HWPAC with renewed gratitude for the safe drinking water that the ecosystem of Hahamongna combined with the function of NASA built Monk Hill Water Treatment Facility provide. But my gratitude high soon turned to disappointment at the HWPAC meeting.

Hahamongna (upstream) of the Arroyo Seco is probably the region’s most important player in local area environmental health. Water and air quality are its benefits. Yet, I get the feeling that this value is completely lost on the members of the HWPAC. The clincher was when Rita Moreno (District 5 -Victor Gordo’s appointee) suggested that preserving asphalt car accommodations in the watershed was important to ease (unexpressed) human residential concerns. As she lobbied for more parking, she characterized the public attending the meetings as wanting to take exclusive ownership of Hahamongna and ban anyone else from being there. An outrageous assumption that completely depressed me, instantly. And, as if that wasn’t bad enough, the majority of members now on the HWPAC have no idea of its history or value, as was evidenced by their questions to staff. How does one arrive on a committee tasked with such an important stewardship as Hahamongna, proceed responsibly without any knowledge or reverence for what they are being asked to advise the City of Pasadena on?

Tonight’s agenda of the HWPAC, item VI, B. Report of Maintenance Work by SCE on Westside of HWP (informational item – PW Staff) was never addressed because a member of the committee abruptly left the meeting. When this happens, a quorum is no longer present (under the Brown Act) and the meeting had to come to a close.

No wonder most people don’t bother going to these important decision making meetings. It’s too sad and embarrassing to witness the exhibition of human cluelessness, the same thoughtlessness that lights up in dry brush on an easily accessible local mountain trail and then blames fire on the existence of chaparral.


Kathleen on July 24, 2013 at 7:41 am said:
I don’t understand this about the HWPAC meeting. How can a member of the panel, when in session, just get up and leave? Was there an explanation of this abrupt departure? What are the quorum rules for this Commission/Committee? Sometimes, it’s based on filled seats and sometimes on the total number of seats.
It just sounds odd to me.

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Miss Havisham's Tea Party
on July 24, 2013 at 8:31 am said:
Kathleen, No explanation was given, at all. It was a complete shock. That particular committee member is a very astute, valuable member. I hope she is okay and will return to the next meeting (next one Sept. 23, 2013) I missed her departure entirely. All my attention was on the 2D modeling presentation from JPL of the design of their new parking structure. It wasn’t until the Chair turned to us and apologized, announcing that a committee member left and the meeting was over. Someone asked if we could still ask questions. The answer was no. As to the rules of this committee, Rita Moreno seems to be the self-appointed authority on the open meeting laws, although her interpretation is open to challenge it is very seldom questioned. You are right, it’s as odd as can be. This “body” is pretty useful at making Hahamongna even more vulnerable to attack by their lack of pro-active protection.

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Kathleen on July 24, 2013 at 9:10 am said:
It might be worth looking into. jes sayin’…

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Princess Hahamongna
on July 24, 2013 at 9:19 am said:
It is worth looking into. Thank you for saying that.

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Kathleen on July 24, 2013 at 9:27 am said:
I just looked at the city page for this commission. 15 members, with 2 vacant seats, and one person leaves, equals loss of quorum? Weird, to me. Here, in SM, our quorum is based on seats filled, not total number of seats. You also may want to look at the lack (at least for me who isn’t a resident) of availability of supporting docs for the meeting that, according to the agenda should be available on line. Jes sayin’…

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Princess Hahamongna
on July 24, 2013 at 10:04 am said:
Last night, only 7 members were present, and one left …so 6 is not a quorum. Unless I counted wrong. My mind fuzzes. Kathleen, there’s apparently no requirement of residency to be on this committee, a few are residents of Altadena. I think one lives in Glendale. I’ve been told that any city councilmember can appoint whomever they wish to represent their district in Pasadena.

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petreaburchard on July 24, 2013 at 10:13 am said:
These meetings have broken my heart many times. Ignorance, indifference, inability…it goes on and on. You feel like you’re climbing a perpetual mountain, surrounded by difficulties on all sides. I don’t know if the HWPAC has any power, but as I understand it, the individual city council members appoint their district’s representative. If that’s the case, they’re the ones responsible for a committee full of people who know little and care less.

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Princess Hahamongna
on July 24, 2013 at 12:03 pm said:
Exactly, right. I did feel some sympathy with the new people on the committee. It’s an aweful feeling to stumble around in the dark knowing that your every move is being watched and documented. This is very serious. Loren Pluth would like nothing more than to be encouraged to design more recreation facilities “after the water situation is figured out” and if all of these new members are more recreation than park, then what’s left for ecosystems and wildlife? Yes, it’s downright depressing but it helps to have you here, all of you.

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Bellis on July 24, 2013 at 10:49 am said:
Petrea, thank you, you’ve said what I was going to say but in a better way. It’s too depressing that people who know nothing of Hahamongna are on this committee. I had heard previously that you have to be a Pasadena resident (which is why Hugh Bowles and Mary Barrie are ineligible) so why are some from Glendale? The abandonment of meetings because someone suddenly leaves and there is no longer a quorum is a recurrent event. It’s a huge waste of time for the City staff, the remaining committee members, and the public who are there for information. Perhaps we need to join forces and complain to the City manager.

Any mention of the burst water main that’s closed the Gabrielino trail access road from the Sunset overlook to the JPL bridge?

PS Love this new blog design.

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Princess Hahamongna
on July 24, 2013 at 12:13 pm said:
Thank you, Barbara. The Arroyo Seco Foundation Jonathan Frame and Natalie Vandersloot, the engineer on the Canyon Project were both there to explain that all the drilling being done to test the slopes for the new spreading ponds caused the rupture in the water main. A large section of Altadena had no water for hours and hours. Everytime there are additions to plans there are cosequences. Did I ever hear any committee members ask about where, how much, when, who about drilling? No. We put our faith in institutions like Metro and Water and Power to do the right thing and tell us about all the risks involved in something. We only find out after the damage is done, the real danger.

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Kathleen on July 24, 2013 at 11:01 am said:
Isn’t it at least partially up to the public to require some action from committees and commissions? Not just the public as represented by the City Council, but also the more direct approach. As to complaining to the City Manager, it certainly would be worth a question or two, it seems to me.

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Princess Hahamongna
on July 24, 2013 at 12:14 pm said:
A more direct approach. I am all for that.

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altadenahiker on July 24, 2013 at 11:50 am said:
Initially, when I heard Rita Moreno would be joining the open-space conversation, I felt hopeful. Her work has always been compelling and exciting — from the under-appreciated “So Young, So Bad,” to more recent efforts (just to pluck one of many examples) as Olive in the female version of the Odd Couple.

But the Rita of today seems to be a far cry from the Rita we used to know. Needless to say, her recent performance at the HWPAC left me cold.

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on July 24, 2013 at 11:52 am said:
Truly, Hiker, she sometimes skips out on the second act. It leaves the rest of the cast in the lurch.

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Princess Hahamongna
on July 24, 2013 at 12:17 pm said:
“A boy like that who killed your brother. Forget that boy go find another!” oh no. Was that Chita Rivera?

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Princess Hahamongna on July 24, 2013 at 12:51 pm said:
Rita Moreno of the HWPAC works to subvert the intent of open meeting laws by using her interpretation to shut down public discussion and access to information. She chooses to either leave abruptly herself or stay and insult the public for being interested. She’s there at every meeting and every nonmeeting. At Muir HS, when the presentation was made about moving Loren’s soccer field over there, she lectured some of us that we should care more about what other people want and not our own special things. She was referring to bird watching as a special thing. Yes, everyone has their interests. In the case of Hahamongna, recreational interests must be weighed by how much they impact the ecosystem and environmental health. Rita Moreno equates soccer and field sports impacts to birdwatching. She sees it as all the same and is unable to grasp any kind of reverence for the natural world and its present struggle, out of balance.