The following is the text of a letter I sent to the Pasadena City Council urging them to take another look at adding the sports fields in the current Hahamongna Master Plan. The Council has been hearing from me for about 12 years now, however. They need to hear from NEW voices about how important it is to Save Hahamongna! Thanks so much to all the bloggers who wrote so passionately about the need to save one of Pasadena's last great places - your comments are eloquent proof that the support for the park is widespread and deeply felt. I hope that you who are reading will add your voice as well because the decisions now being made will shape the park for decades to come.
Mayor Bogaard and City Council,
The Friends of Hahamongna urge the City Council to reconsider the building of additional sports fields in Hahamongna Watershed Park. We agree with the Arroyo Seco Foundation, the Pasadena Audubon Society, the Hahamongna Watch Group and the over 1280 concerned citizens who have signed the Save Hahamongna petition, all of whom have asked that this issue be revisited.
As you know from our many appearances before the Council, Friends believes that Hahamongna is an irreplaceable environmental treasure, a remnant of wild California in the heart of our densely settled urban region which should be preserved for future generations. With some creativity and persistence, sports fields can be built anywhere - even atop a parking garage as is the Maranantha High School sports field in Pasadena. The rare habitats, the trails, the equestrian recreation, the very serenity of Hahamongna cannot be moved elsewhere. Once it is gone, it is gone for good.
And therein lies the heart of what we are asking you, the City Council, to do. We ask you to make the politically difficult choice and take the long view of what will be best for the future rather than continuing on with this ill-advised compromise. Building sports fields in Hahamongna with the attendant noise, lights, car traffic and pollution may help to alleviate the sports field shortage for a few years but at what a cost?
We ask that, with your leadership, the City of Pasadena live up to its own Green City Action Plan which states that "Pasadena values the beautiful Arroyo Seco... and protection of the native animals who live in these habitats." Building sports fields in Hahamongna is the very antithesis of the protection of natural habitats as promised in the Action Plan. The residents of Pasadena and surrounding communities have overwhelmingly demonstrated their support for keeping Hahamongna natural by attending hundreds of meetings over two decades. They have written hundreds, if not thousands, of letters and emails, over 600 during the Arroyo Seco master planning process alone. They have not only signed the Save Hahamongna petition but many have contributed eloquent, thoughtful comments as to why they believe this special place must be preserved.
The time has come to hear these voices, to plan the additional sports fields elsewhere, and to save Hahamongna!
Mary E. Barrie
Friends of Hahamongna