“Impacts would be less than significant”

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Dear Friends,

Like some kind of a nut, I read the Green Hotel Apartments Draft EIR, Section 3.1 last night. Sweating in 102 degree heat, swatting at mosquitos while plotz’d-out on my back porch, a crow’s flap away from the Green mothership herself.

“I don’t know what the big deal is… it’s just a 75 foot high, 76,980 sq. ft. addition butted up to a National Historic Landmark. It won’t even be noticeable.”

The report is peppered with the phrase “Impacts would be less than significant” but it is the photographs and the photo-simulations of what is claimed to be “less than significant” that shock me. For instance, here is a photograph of a before and after taken from one of my favorite and most photographed vantage points because of its unique view of the western turret. As you can see in the after… turret is GONE. 


Then, to spit in the eye of my eye-candy, this paragraph describes…

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It’s Tax Deductible!

Dianne Patrizzi:

I plan on being there and have already purchased my tickets. I don’t think they’ll have many at the gate…. unless I go early.

Originally posted on +:

Come tour the Castle Green apartments and be entertained June 6, 2014.


Here’s the deets:


Moonlight at the Castle – Tour and Janet Klein Concert in Ballroom


Castle Green – 99 S. Raymond Ave. Pasadena, CA


Friday, June 6, 5:00 – 9:00pm; Janet Klein performance after 7:30pm


$40 per person; advance tickets on sale at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/660157

or by mailing a check to: 

Friends of the Castle Green  

99 S. Raymond Ave. #401 Pasadena, CA 91105.

~~~Tickets may be purchased evening of–if available.

(price includes light refreshments, tour and concert ~ No host bar)


Vintage Attire or stylish touches are highly encouraged!


Suggested parking at meters or Schoolhouse parking structure

click on me, baby.


Susan Futterman (626) 824-8482



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Fashions for Fifty: Fifty is Flowers with Flair

Dianne Patrizzi:


Originally posted on One woman. Many bicycles.:

Spring has sprung and the flowers are in bloom, not just in the garden but all over spring dresses. Time to pull out the big straw hats and head outside for a picnic or a tea. With a lightweight periwinkle cardigan, ballet pink tights and little white gloves to ward off winter’s last gasp, you’ll stay comfy in sun or in shade.

Red Straw Hat Portrait

Inspired by the poem by Jenny Joseph that begins “When I am an old woman I shall wear purple with a red hat which doesn’t go,” Fashions for Fifty is a month-long celebration of my fiftieth birthday in March 2014.

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Speak for the trees!

An urgent message from our friend and neighbor Lori Paul:

It has come to my last minute attention that a large Indian Laurel Fig (Ficus) tree and a venerable Podocarpus tree growing by the corner of Green Street and Mentor have been tentatively approved for removal by the City of Pasadena.

These beautiful, mature trees are protected species under Pasadena’s tree ordinance, but because they are located in a privately-owned commercial walkway (near a parking lot), the application for their removal won’t be coming before Urban Forestry Advisory Committee (UFAC). Instead, Pasadena Planning Staff is recommending approval of their removal. Ostensibly, these protected species and size trees are being removed because they are “too close to the building,” and growing at an angle over the parking lot, but the real reason, as told to staff, is that the property owners intend to “renovate” the outdoor shaded walkway in the future and the trees need to go before they can submit new construction plans. See exact quote below.

Trees are not disposable on a whim, nor should protected trees utilized by birds and enjoyed by the public be chopped down simply because they are not perfect. These trees are healthy and an asset to the City. It is a slippery slope to grant the wish of every property owner whose manager doesn’t like sweeping up leaves or who has decided to pour more concrete and close off open spaces where living plants and trees now grow.

Landscaping designs and renovations need to creatively incorporate, not destroy, mature trees that require decades to grow and provide full benefits to the community. Trees are often mutilated by bad pruning or damaged by insufficient tree wells, then later removed. Those with ulterior motives use the excuse trees are surviving by growing in non-optimal locations or shapes to justify their removal. If every tree growing in a constricted concrete hole in walkway or flourishing in a too-small planter next to a building were chopped down, Pasadena would lose over half its mature trees.

The Planning Dept. report on the two trees in question can be read at the following link. Such tree removal applications should also go to the Urban Forestry Advisory Committee, but they do not under current Pasadena policy. This is a major loophole that many developers and property owners exploit to bypass expert botanical review and thereby remove large trees in the City. If a protected tree species must be removed for good reason, then the application should be able to pass UFAC approval, but that is not how the City works. It is time to change that.


“…The applicant explained to staff that the property owners have plans to renovate the bulding, including its facade and the walkway in the rear, however, the improvements cannot be performed until these trees have been removed. Although the applicant has not submitted plans for the renovation for the property, staff does not believe the removal of trees could be made using finding 6 above, in which the project includes a landscape design plan that emphasizes a tree canopy that is sustainable over the long term…”

In other words, if the existing trees are removed, the property owner’s new landscape design plan would not support the required replacement trees in their place, in spite of the property owner claiming otherwise. If the current trees are removed, no trees will be replaced that that site.

Instead, the property owners will be required to replace these mature, environmentally useful and lovely shade trees with (8) 32″ Ficus natida and (8) 20″ Poducarpus gracilior little saplings (or fewer trees in slightly larger containers)… planted somewhere off the property. Sound familiar?

This is how Pasadena will gradually become deprived of its large, mature trees that have grown “unfashionable” for new “streetscape plans,” building expansions, and so forth. Pasadena is an old city with an urban forest to protect and be proud of, not to chop down in bits and fits to suit the property owner du jour. Trees can outlive us all, giving cultural continuity to the City, along with so many other benefits.

Fortunately, Councilmember Terry Tornek has called this tree removal up before Board of Zoning Appeals (BOZA) on Wednesday the 15th, 6:30pm at Pasadena City Hall in the Council Chambers.

Please attend tomorrow’s meeting if you can! Speak for the trees that have no voice of their own. If you cannot, please send an e-mail ASAP.

E-mail protesting removal of the two trees at Green Street and Mentor must be sent before tomorrow (Wednesday 15 June) afternoon to:
Kelvin Parker
Pasadena Zoning Administrator

Be sure to state that you want your e-mail comments entered in the official record for the Board of Zoning Appeals (BOZA) meeting on 15 June 2014.

It is important to CC:

Mayor Bill Bogaard

David Reyes
Pasadena Deputy Director for Planning

Councilmember Terry Tornek

Even a few sentences in your own words in support of saving these two “protected trees” would be helpful. (Please do not forward this e-mail with “I agree” or some other comment; that is NOT helpful. In fact, it is counterproductive. Yes, that has been done in the past, necessitating this caution.)

Thank you!


More about the Pasadena Tree Protection Ordinance & Tree Protection Guidelines:



Now is the time for love

December 16, 2013, the Pasadena City Council amazes. Here are video highlights from that meeting.

Victor Gordo makes sane and reverent comment on the subject of Hahamongna. What a beautiful way to turn it around. Mr. Gordo said he favors the slower and smaller approach to Los Angeles County Public Works Sediment Management Draft EIR,  an alternative proffered by Tim Brick. :::

Margaret McAustin wants the position to be much stronger … strongest possible language. The City of Pasadena assert their legal ownership and rights.  All agree.  :::

Public Comment:

Audubon Society of Pasadena

Pasadena Sierra Club

Pasadena Environmental Advisory Commission

Friends of Hahamongna

Arroyo Seco Foundation

Lori Paul

Tim Martinez

Linda Klibanow


Why I love Hahamongna

Photo by Tom Holaday, December 14, 2013 from atop Devil's Gate Dam
Photo by Tom Holaday, December 14, 2013 from atop Devil’s Gate Dam

Tonight I attended the regularly scheduled meeting of the Pasadena City Council about Hahamongna and Devil’s Gate Dam. The subject was on the Agenda listed as Item 14. It was the first meeting I have ever attended (and there have been many) that was all about its protection but not just that, members of the council made it abundantly clear to me that they understand the meaning of “rare riparian habitat.”

I am full of gratitude for this change. It was unclear to me until tonight that council really understood the significance of Hahamongna. Up until now, it seemed some members still thought of this area above Devil’s Gate Dam as little more than a useless vacant wasteland in need of development. A place that needed improvements in the form of soccer fields and whatnot.

Apparently, as witnessed tonight, that is not the case. I heard members speak to its value to wildlife and an acknowledgement of what it has come to mean to so many of us. I heard the concern for air quality, water quality, and to its spiritual intrinsic value. I about fell out of my chair with love.

I told them in my public comment how much I appreciated their position to protect Hahamongna from the overkill, scorched earth approach to flood control management that the Los Angeles County Public Works is proposing. I told them  that after attending the last meeting of the Hahamongna Watershed Park Advisory Committee meeting a few weeks ago, I was impressed with the change in tone and direction of the committee to being a strong protector of Hahamongna.

Public Comment is only three minutes. I did not use the entire time allotted.  What I should have told them, I realize now, is why I love Hahamongna.

I am an oil painter in a long tradition of oil painters. I have been instructed to paint with techniques used by the oil painters of the Renaissance Period.  I mix some of my own colors from the dirt and sands of Hahamongna.

Raphael used the color Umber named from the sands ground to fine powder from Umbria, and Sienna from Sienna. Burnt Sienna was actually burnt dirt from Sienna, Italy. I use sands and dirt ground to powder and mixed with a medium (oil, in my case) to create colors. the colors unique to Hahamongna.

As I amble through the black willows, buckwheat, mulefat, I take little samplings of soil that has a particular sheen, hue and depth that attracts me. All things that have a certain chemical and mineral alchemy when mixed with a medium and slid across a canvas, react and then with time change and convert themselves into something. It’s a kind of magic.

What makes Pasadena so special is its craftsman history. We see the evidence of that all around us; the craftsmen, Greene and Greene, Millard Sheets, Frank Lloyd Wright, Stickley,  Batchelder, and others.  When artists ruled this domain and were revered, given full reign to design and create from local materials and from the general aesthetics of the natural environment that once surrounded us here, creation was full throttle excitement.  A lasting love, as we see in museums now.

Hahamongna holds the seed of that aesthetic and its alchemy. It’s a fascinating experiment what happens to these different pigment creations when applied to canvas or used in a glaze. The chemical and mineral make up react to each other. Then with time, other things happen. It’s quite an experience. Full of surprise.

The uniqueness of Hahamongna holds inspiration of rejuvenation, a new life for an artist like me. That’s why I love and other artists love Hahamongna but we don’t say… Perhaps afraid of being labeled a fruitcake?

Franz Bischoff – Arroyo Bridge http://www.kcet.org/socal/departures/highland-park/arroyo-culture/plein-air.html

As experts from the world renown and Pasadena’s own Norton Simon Museum or the Huntington Museum and Library will tell you, a painting is really a thing; not just some digitally generated image. If you are sensitive to it in person, it will connect with you through its alchemy. A painting or a tile or a piece of wood work from whence it came,  may  move you in ways you may not know how to explain.

Los Angeles County photo of previous sediment and habitat clearance.
Los Angeles County photo of previous sediment and habitat clearance.

That’s why I love and treasure Hahamongna.




The Friends of the Castle Green is a California non-profit dedicated to the historic restoration and aesthetic integrity of the distinquished Castle Green Hotel


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