The meeting that wasn’t

I was at a meeting last night, well… it was supposed to be a meeting but the main speaker called and explained he was unable to get to the meeting due to traffic.

I’m not sure that I buy his excuse, he was only over in Santa Clarita and there are multiple ways to get here from there.

Crying indian

On the other hand I can understand that he might not have wanted to speak at this particular meeting, it’s possible that traffic was really bad and presented a convenient excuse for him to bail on the meeting. As I said, I understand.

I think the poor guy was being sent as a sacrificial lamb and folks in town were prowling like a pack of hungry wolves.

Why were we prowling around like hungry wolves?

There’s a Congressional Representative named Judy Chu. I don’t know what she’s done for the constituents in her district during her tenure.

Frankly, I couldn’t have cared less.  However, NOW, she is trying to do an end run around her colleagues in congress to get the San Gabriel Mountains declared a national monument, by presidential order instead through congressional approval.

You see this meeting was to discuss what I think of as a slimy underhanded potential land grab.


One problem is that Rep. Chu seems to have forgotten is that her plan crosses county, city, and congressional district, boundaries.

A second problem is that she has completely failed to include the people her proposed designation would affect in any discussions about her proposal. It is apparently by accident that anyone in town heard about the plan.

Third, and this one really burns me up if it’s true; It’s been reported that Rep Chu has gained President Obama’s attention through Michelle Obama.

President Obama is reportedly considering making the area a National Monument without Congress by Presidential order under a provision of the Antiquities Act.

This is not how our legal system works.  This is NOT an Imperium, one does not curry favor with the emperor by approaching a member of court, or the first wife of the emperor. For this blatant disregard of the law alone, I believe Judy Chu should be removed from her congressional seat. 

Again, I’ve been unable to 100% confirm Rep Chu went through the First Lady to get this measure on the President’s desk. I’m still trying to track the source of that report down.

Rep Chu claims that a national monument designation will provide more funding to the forestry service which in turn will pay for the clean up of trash. TRASH!?!?!?!

Let me tell you about trash. I took my dog to a favorite creek last year. I’ve taken my dogs to this creek for years, and have a few photos of the creek over the last decade.

This last time, I was at the creek, I didn’t hear a word of English, there was grafitti, trash, gang signs, and just about anything else you could imagine strewn all over the area. 

Representative Chu says the money will be used to make trails more accessible and increase the number of visitors to the area. 

If just 3 Million visitors to the area are doing the kind of damage I’ve seen, I think we might need to build a 20 ft high razor wire topped fence to keep people out! Oh wait… We don’t build fences to protect anything.

Time for show & tell.

The first couple of photos to the right are what the creek looked like in 2002

The remaining photos are what the creek looked like last summer.

People had actually climbed the trees and then using their weight, they’d torn them out of the ground so that the dying trees formed a bridge across the creek.


Gang signs on the rocks, trash all over the place. Human feces unburied, this is what Judy Chu seeks to fix. Her desire is perhaps a noble one, her implementation is where we have a problem.

My concern is this:

If successful, This designation sets the stage for potential land grabs. There are approximately 3500 residents in the town I live in, There are also scattered clusters of people throughout the mountains. If I recall correctly, there’s a priory in the designated area. 

If the mountains are designated a National Monument, what happens to all the people that live here?

Do we get forced out when an EPA representative discovers the four legged bat winged whooping snipe?

It’s happened before. There are many examples of people who purchased land or homes in good faith, or who lived for years in a particular place and then one day are told that they have to leave because either the National Parks System claims imminent domain.

Or folks are prevented from building on their land because an endangered hopping stick was discovered, and their property was now part of a National Monument.

We all know that fighting the Federal Government in court over land is a pointless exercise, you’re pretty much doomed to lose. Even if you win, the government will pass a law with a pork inclusion, that changes the rules so that you lose.

Solving the problems Rep Chu cites, isn’t about cleaning up the mess. The solution is in preventing the mess in the first place. What’s changed?  I have one word, respect.

Back in the ‘70s there were a series of PSAs which featured a  Native American shedding a single tear when he looked at the trash accumulating all over this country.

Those PSAs helped to change our perception of what it meant to respect our environment. We as Americans generally took the message to heart and decided as a people that it was important to clean up our messes. 

Remember “Give a Hoot, Don’t Pollute”?

Even poor neighborhoods would band together to pick up trash from their streets if there were bins to put it in. I can remember telling my father on family trips he shouldn’t toss paper out the car window. After only a couple times, Dad decided that putting the trash in a bag and disposing of it properly was better than having to send me to my room for telling him what he should do. 

Flash forward 30 years and we have a very large number of people from other countries living here. These people never saw those PSAs. Let’s face it, what is considered perfectly acceptable in their countries, is very different from what we in the US consider acceptable.

There is no guarantee that designation of the San Gabriel Mountains will bring additional funding to the forestry service.  Even if additional funding is forthcoming you’re still reducing the forestry service to the role of maids.

Money might be better spent and have a more far reaching impact if a PSA campaign were mounted across the nation in several languages including English.

We need to educate people. 

Perhaps we could be a little more direct about it. Something like, “You came to this country because it is beautiful, don’t destroy one of the reasons you came here.

Whatever Rep. Chu’s intentions, she’s going about this the wrong way. Thus far she’s been exclusionary. She’s forgotten that what she’s doing affects more than the folks who use Azuza Canyon.

I’d bet that Rep Chu isn’t even aware that people live in these mountains, I’m sure that she’s never taken Hwy 2 from Glendale to Big Bear. 

Living here as long as I have, I know without a doubt that folks from LA think it’s too far to come up to the mountains for a visit. Unless there’s snow or they’re camping out in their motor homes. 

I think that we as citizens who are being affected by Ms. Chu deserve the opportunity to speak directly with her. I think that she should be compelled to tour all the areas that her National Monument designation will encompass.

Representative Chu should have to look everyone in the eye and answer their questions.

I’m offended that she abdicated her responsibility to speak for herself.  Instead she unfairly delegated her responsibility to face the public to a forestry service representative.  

I’m offended that yet another faceless government official is making decisions without regard for all the people that their decision will effect.

Just last year we put up with months of noise, dust, and outright nuisance from the flood control district, again without much in the way of notice, or more importantly choice, because a select group of individuals decided what was best for us. In reality they were deciding what was best for themselves and the people affected by their desires be damned. By the time we found out about the project it was too late to register our dissent.

I can’t help but wonder if Representative Chu isn’t doing the same thing. She’s up for re-election, is this grandiose plan nothing more than her bid to look like she’s taking care of her electorate in hopes of retaining her seat in Congress?

As of last night, I learned that the Board of Supervisors in my country has voted “NO” and will be fighting Rep Chu’s plan.

From a call to our Congressional Representative’s office, we’ve learned Rep. Chu hasn’t bothered to discuss this National Monument designation with the Representative of our district.

Perhaps it’s time for Representative Chu, to read the law, and accept that she, like The President, is supposed to be bound by it. 

Just like every other citizen of this country…