Sunday, January 18, 2015

Should We Build In Wildlife Corridors?

Sunday morning about 7:00 a.m. a mountain lion was hit by a car in La Tuna Canyon, near the border of Tujunga and La Crescenta.

The drivers who stopped to see if the animal could be assisted, said the lion darted in front of them suddenly and was hit by a second car. The animal died of it's injuries.

Mountain lions routinely make the area of the Verdugo and San Gabriel Mountains, near the Angeles National Forest but also a stones through from populated areas, their home. Given the semi-rural and low density nature of the Sunland-Tujunga and La Tuna Canyon communities, these incidents are rare.

But a change in city planning policies could change that as a record amount of additional housing density is planned for the last remaining pieces of open mountain space in Los Angeles.

Just feet from where this majestic animal was needlessly killed, developers from out of town plan to slam 250 luxury homes at the bottom of a canyon at the head of a mountain pass, on the site of the current Verdugo Hills Golf Course. Residents are fighting an uphill battle to prevent that. Other similar developments in Big Tujunga Canyon - as well as a proposal to route the California High Speed Rail through the Angeles National Forest and the Tujunga Wash - are creating a crisis like environment for those who wish to preserve the last remaining open space and habitat for hundreds of native species.

So the question is - how any mountain lions must die before we learn our lesson?

(Mountain lion's death details from Christina Gonzalez and photo credit Micki Greslie)

How Do You Fight High Speed Rail?

A local named Eddie Conna, whom I don't know personally, posted the following comments on Facebook concerning the campaign to keep High Speed Rail out of our Foothill communities. While some of his observations might be considered harsh and tough to swallow, he offers nutritious food for thought.

Too often, we let our emotions drive the energy on these battles. That's good in the sense that efforts need fuel, sort of like a runner needs a carbo boost at times.

But running simply on sugar sets the runner up for an immediate crash. It's the protein based muscle that carries the runner to break the ribbon at the finish line. In a highly charged battle, it's smart planning and wise use of resources that sits on top of emotion to win the day.

Here are Eddie's words:

Just a few thoughts on the battle(s) we are all facing.

There are tons of issues being brought up, and while we may all agree they are valid, HSR isn't going to care about most of them, nor will they stop the alternative routes.

Typically, you don't stop development of a project of this magnitude, and with this much money and political willpower behind it through emotionally based arguments.

Sadly, the government doesn't care about homes, people, riding trails, wildlife, or any of the rest of it. These people will, and have bulldozed over neighborhoods in the name of "progress" and what they think is "better for the masses".

So the cries about riding trails, hiking trails, the wildlife way station, coyotes, neighborhoods being destroyed, etc, will fall on deaf ears. These people would plow through a retirement home for mentally handicapped penguins if they felt they needed to.

Traditionally, what HAS stopped this sort of thing are two things:

Environmental issues, ie, threats to endangered plants and animals, and if the project threatens the masses in some other way.

So the issues we SHOULD be pursuing, IMHO, is any endangered plants and animals, and the threat to LA City's water supply.

THOSE are the issues that I believe, we can win this fight with.

The other issues, like the wildlife way station being destroyed for example, while tragic, won't stop the alternative routes. That doesn't mean we shouldn't mention them, (we absolutely should) but it DOES mean that we should avoid spending lots of time focusing on them, and instead, focus on the issues that will likely shut down the alternative routes.

Also, it would help if folks would take the time to do a LITTLE research on their own. I heard lots of people screaming about Eminent Domain at the meeting, (and online too) and many were asking what it even was. These are easy answers a google search will answer.

Time spent answering questions one could easily find the answer to on their own is time NOT spent fighting the matters we ALL need to focus on.

Education is cheap. If one is online, there's almost nothing one can't find info about. So google it.

That being said, I think it would be great if someone would come up with an organized plan that the rest of us could follow, and post it here.

For example, if whomever is leading this fight would post the contact info for those at LA City and LA County water districts, so the rest of us could email en masse, our concerns.

Ditto for those who need to be contacted regarding endangered plants and animals.

Concentrated efforts can, and will make a difference. Unorganized efforts don't, and that's how agencies like HSR get away with what they are doing. They don't have to "divide and conquer" if we aren't organized to the best way we can be.

Right now, I read a lot of posts, and much of it seems disorganized and willy nilly, and running in all sorts of directions.

So is anyone "in charge" and what are others thoughts about what I posted?