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:

Council doubts chance for land

Subtitle:

Date:

2005-03-08

Author:

Gene Maddaus, Staff Writer

Publication:

Pasadena Star News

Content:

Monday, March 07, 2005 - LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE -- The La Canada Flintridge City Council concluded Monday that it has little chance of intervening in the sale of 30 undeveloped acres to Pasadena, leaving the foothill community to hope that Pasadena will stick to its word and preserve the land as park space.

The land is just south of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, on the Pasadena side of the boundary with La Canada. The Metropolitan Water District, which has owned the land for 35 years, decided in January to declare it surplus and sell it.

Both Pasadena and La Canada want to preserve the land as a natural part of the 300-acre Hahamongna Watershed Area, but some in La Canada mistrust Pasadena's intentions and feel it would be best if La Canada bought the property.

"As to their promise to keep it as open space that and 49 cents will get you a Big Mac,' said La Canada Councilman Greg Brown.

Some in La Canada worry that Pasadena will end up building a 1,200-space parking garage on the property, which would serve JPL commuters. Were it built, the garage could create traffic problems for La Canada High School, which is just across the street.

Pasadena officials have repeatedly disavowed the idea, but some in La Canada and Altadena still suspect that Pasadena doesn't have its neighbors' best interests at heart. Pasadena controls the Hahamongna Watershed Area, a spit of land that juts north from the northwest corner of Pasadena proper, separating La Canada from Altadena.

"Hahamongna is really Altadena and La Canada's park,' said Mary Barrie, a La Canada trails advocate. "I have this feeling that there's a vision out there (in Pasadena) of a big urban park with a lot of roads going through it. We have something special in this park the way it is now.'

Some nature lovers would have preferred to see the 30 acres end up in La Canada's hands, because they feel the smaller city would be more responsive to neighbors' concerns.

"We look with a jaundiced eye at Pasadena,' said Altadena activist Lori Paul. "The problem is that Pasadena is a large King Kong in this neighborhood, in an area which is not geographically a part of Pasadena.'

The water district told La Canada that Pasadena would get first dibs on the land because Pasadena declared its interest first, and because the land is within Pasadena's boundaries.

"This has pretty much been a done deal with Pasadena from the very beginning,' said a frustrated Laura Olhasso, mayor of La Canada Flintridge.

Brown, who also said the deal felt like "an inside job,' asked the city's staff to dig out the incorporation papers to determine whether any sliver of the 30 acres is legally within La Canada's border.

"All we need is one square foot, as far as I'm concerned,' he said. "If it turns out any of this is in La Canada, it may change the strategy.'

Pasadena continues to negotiate with the water district, and hopes to close a deal within a month. The land is expected to sell for about $1.2 million.

Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard argued that the land is rightfully Pasadena's to purchase, given that the water district bought the property from Pasadena in the first place.

"I've had a lot of people sidle up to me and say, 'What is Pasadena really going to do with the land?'' Bogaard said. "I realize there are suspicions. Some of those who were part of the planning for Hahamongna would like to be as close to controlling that themselves as possible. That's perhaps understandable... (But) I'm confident that what Pasadena is saying about that property will be carried out.' Gene Maddaus can be reached at (626) 578-6300, Ext. 4444, or by e-mail at gene.maddaus@sgvn.com .