The governor vs. California parks and recreation

You post a story like this one below, No. 2 with a bullet on our most-read this Friday afternoon, and it really brings on the outrage, and properly so. (‘Course it also brings out the wack jobs sprinkled in among the regular folks in the comments section, bores who would blame the lack of green cheese on the moon on illegal immigrants, but that comes with the territory — they have nothing better to do, and can be ignored.)

But reading the list of state parks is both a kind of tonic — what a natural bounty this state has, and how many of these places we’ve all been to! — and something that just ticks off any sane person.

Because, right, how dare the government say it’s going to “close” a beach or a mouintain when it isn’t the damn government’s to open or close in the first place! It’s our California, not the bureaucrats’. So much of the time, what is it that the state brings to the party here other than a booth with a uniform to whom I have to pay my 10 bucks? I went to Bolsa Chica State Park to surf on Saturday — early, because that’s when surfers surf. We left before the life guards even arrived. So we used the parking space and the head to change into our wetsuits. The state didn’t make the waves. I don’t litter. I demand a refund.

Most of these wonderful places, Sacamento brings a lot less than that to the party. Stop trying to balance the billions in red ink on Californians’ God-given right to the outdoors. If the workers have to be laid off or reassigned, fine. Close the toll booths and let us at our land. For years, just as on federal land, we’ve been told there isn’t enough money to provide any help from rangers or other state workers anyway. So don’t pretend you’re providing us a service when you charge us to get in.

At San Onofre State Beach, it’s the members of the volunteer surfing club who do the work to keep the place nice — including the outdoors showers and other plumbing — not the state. Let similar associations take care of their favorite wildlands up and down our state. Government, stop pretending you created California — and leave us alone.

Here’s the list:

Schwarzenegger proposes closing 220 state parks

These are the 220 state parks, state beaches, state recreation areas, museums and state reserves that officials say would be closed under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s proposed budget cuts:
1. Leo Carrillo State Park.

2. Los Angeles State Historic Park.

3. Los Encinos State Historic Park.

4. Malibu Creek State Park.

5. Malibu Lagoon State Beach.

6. Pio Pico State Historic Park.

7. Point Mugu State Park.

8. Rio de Los Angeles State Park.

9. Robert H. Meyer Memorial State Beach.

10. Santa Susana Pass State Historic Park.

11. Topanga State Park.

12. Verdugo Mountains.

13. Will Rogers State Historic Park.

14. California State Capitol Museum.

15. Governor’s Mansion State Historic Park

16. Leland Stanford Mansion State Historic Park.

17. Railtown 1897 State Historic Park.

18. State Indian Museum State Historic Park.

19. Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park.

20. Bethany Reservoir State Recreation Area.

21. Calaveras Big Trees State Park.

22. California Mining & Mineral Museum.

23. Caswell Memorial State Park.

24. Columbia State Historic Park.

25. George J. Hatfield State Recreation Area.

26. Great Valley Grasslands State Park.

27. Indian Grinding Rock State Historic Park.

28. McConnell State Recreation Area.

29. Carpinteria State Beach.

30. Chumash Painted Cave State Historic Park.

31. El Capitan State Beach.

32. Emma Wood State Beach.

33. Gaviota State Park.

34. La Purisima Mission State Historic Park.

35. McGrath State Beach.

36. Point Sal State Beach.

37. Refugio State Beach.

38. San Buenaventura State Beach.

39. Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.

40. Cuyamaca Rancho State Park.

41. Indio Hills Palms.

42. Palomar Mountain State Park.

43. Picacho State Recreation Area.

44. Salton Sea State Recreation Area.

45. Annadel State Park.

46. Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park.

47. Benicia Capitol State Historic Park.

48. Benicia State Recreation Area.

49. Bothe-Napa Valley State Park.

50. Candlestick Point State Recreation Area.

51. East Shore State Park State Shoreline.

52. Jack London State Historic Park.

53. John Marsh Home State Historic Park.

54. Mount Diablo State Park.

55. Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park.

56. Robert Louis Stevenson State Park.

57. Sonoma State Historic Park.

58. Sugarloaf Ridge State Park.

59. Brannan Island State Recreation Area.

60. Delta Meadows.

61. Folsom Powerhouse State Historic Park.

62. Franks Tract State Recreation Area.

63. Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park

64. Stone Lake.

65. California Citrus State Historic Park.

66. Chino Hills State Park.

67. Mount San Jacinto State Park.

68. San Timoteo Canyon.

69. Wildwood Canyon.

70. Angel Island State Park.

71. China Camp State Park.

72. Mount Tamalpais State Park.

73. Olompali State Historic Park.

74. Samuel P. Taylor State Park.

75. Tomales Bay State Park.

76. Caspar Headlands State Beach.

77. Caspar Headlands State Natural Reserve.

78. Greenwood State Beach.

79. Hendy Woods State Park.

80. Jug Handle State Natural Reserve.

81. MacKerricher State Park.

82. Mailliard Redwoods State Natural Reserve.

83. Manchester State Park.

84. Mendocino Headlands State Park.

85. Montgomery Woods State Natural Reserve.

86. Navarro River Redwoods State Park.

87. Point Cabrillo Light Station.

88. Russian Gulch State Park.

89. Schooner Gulch State Beach.

90. Van Damme State Park.

91. Westport-Union Landing State Beach.

92. Andrew Molera State Park.

93. Carmel River State Beach.

94. Fort Ord Dunes State Park.

95. Fremont Peak State Park.

96. Garrapata State Park.

97. Hatton Canyon.

98. Henry W. Coe State Park.

99. John Little State Natural Reserve.

100. Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.

101. Marina State Beach.

102. Monterey State Beach.

103. Monterey State Historic Park.

104. Moss Landing State Beach.

105. Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park.

106. Point Lobos Ranch.

107. Point Lobos State Natural Reserve.

108. Point Sur State Historic Park.

109. Salinas River State Beach.

110. San Juan Bautista State Historic Park.

111. Zmudowski State Beach.

112. Admiral William Standley State Recreation Area.

113. Azalea State Natural Reserve.

114. Benbow Lake State Recreation Area.

115. Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park.

116. Fort Humboldt State Historic Park.

117. Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park.

118. Harry A. Merlo State Recreation Area.

119. Humboldt Lagoons State Park.

120. Humboldt Redwoods State Park.

121. Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park.

122. John B. Dewitt Redwoods State Natural Reserve.

123. Little River State Beach.

124. Patrick’s Point State Park.

125. Pelican State Beach.

126. Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park.

127. Reynolds Wayside Campground.

128. Richardson Grove State Park.

129. Sinkyone Wilderness State Park.

130. Smithe Redwoods State Natural Reserve.

131. Standish-Hickey State Recreation Area.

132. Tolowa Dunes State Park.

133. Trinidad State Beach.

134. Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park.

135. Anderson Marsh State Historic Park.

136. Bidwell Mansion State Historic Park.

137. Bidwell-Sacramento River State Park.

138. Castle Crags State Park.

139. Colusa-Sacramento River State Recreation Area.

140. McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park.

141. Shasta State Historic Park.

142. Weaverville Joss House State Historic Park.

143. William B. Ide Adobe State Historic Park.

144. Woodson Bridge State Recreation Area.

145. Pismo State Beach.

146. Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve.

147. Austin Creek State Recreation Area.

148. Fort Ross State Historic Park.

149. Kruse Rhododendron State Natural Reserve.

150. Salt Point State Park.

151. Sonoma Coast State Park.

152. Border Field State Park.

153. Carlsbad State Beach.

154. San Pasqual Battlefield State Historic Park.

155. Silver Strand State Beach.

156. Torrey Pines State Beach.

157. Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve.

158. Estero Bluffs State Park.

159. Hearst San Simeon State Park.

160. Limekiln State Park.

161. Los Osos Oaks State Natural Reserve.

162. Monta a de Oro State Park.

163. Morro Bay State Park.

164. Morro Strand State Beach.

165. William Randolph Hearst Memorial State Beach.

166. A o Nuevo State Natural Reserve.

167. A o Nuevo State Park.

168. Bean Hollow State Beach.

169. Big Basin Redwoods State Park.

170. Burleigh H. Murray Ranch.

171. Butano State Park.

172. Castle Rock State Park.

173. Castro Adobe (Rancho San Andres).

174. Gray Whale Cove State Beach.

175. Half Moon Bay State Beach.

176. Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park.

177. Lighthouse Field State Beach.

178. Manresa State Beach.

179. Montara State Beach.

180. Natural Bridges State Beach.

181. New Brighton State Beach.

182. Pescadero State Beach.

183. Point Montara Light Station.

184. Pomponio State Beach.

185. Portola Redwoods State Park.

186. San Gregorio State Beach.

187. Santa Cruz Mission State Historic Park.

188. Seacliff State Beach.

189. Sunset State Beach.

190. The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park.

191. Thornton State Beach.

192. Twin Lakes State Beach.

193. Wilder Ranch State Park.

194. Bodie State Historic Park.

195. Burton Creek State Park.

196. D.L. Bliss State Park.

197. Donner Memorial State Park.

198. Ed Z’berg Sugar Pine Point State Park.

199. Emerald Bay State Park.

200. Empire Mine State Historic Park.

201. Grover Hot Springs State Park.

202. Kings Beach State Recreation Area.

203. Lake Valley State Recreation Area.

204. Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park.

205. Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve.

206. Plumas-Eureka State Park.

207. South Yuba River State Park.

208. Tahoe State Recreation Area.

209. Ward Creek.

210. Washoe Meadows State Park.

211. Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve.

212. Antelope Valley Indian Museum.

213. Arthur B. Ripley Desert Woodland State Park.

214. Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park.

215. Fort Tejon State Historic Park.

216. Providence Mountains State Recreation Area.

217. Red Rock Canyon State Park.

218. Saddleback Butte State Park.

219. Tomo-Kahni State Historic Park.

220. Tule Elk State Natural Reserve.

Where in the world is Temple City?

I don’t know him, but I always enjoyed the dispatches from L.A. Times reporter Hector Tobar when he was stationed in Mexico City, and I’ve been enjoying his column since his return to Spring Street.

Tobar did an especially good job on the enigma of a Gil Cedillo — a kid from Boyle Heights who made good, only to be chastised during his recent race for Congress for living high on the hog, for being such a big spender of contributors’ money on fancy food and clothes.

But in his wrap-up Tuesday of the 32nd Congressional District race that Cedillo lost to Judy Chu in the Democratic Primary, I had to pause at this line: “Chu’s victory in the barrios of El Monte, Temple City and other places …”

Barrios — in hyper-middle-class TC? There aren’t any. The Latino families who live there are sprinkled around in the mostly Asian and white city.

And, oh yeah — Temple City is not even in the 32nd District. It’s in Adam Schiff’s 29th District.

Other than that, point of the column well taken: It’s a good thing for us, for the future of the San Gabriel Valley, that so many Latinos felt comfortable voting for a candidate with an Asian name.

Hahamongna: The Friday column today

After insisting to me and thee that it was up to absolutely nothing nefarious — no man behind the Hahamongna curtain — it was interesting and a little bit gratifying to see the city of Pasadena this week admit it was wrong. Too much development would have been allowed if it hadn’t been for citizen outrage over what should be the fairly pure open space of the Watershed Park.

“Oh — those words in the plan about a new roadway and a parking garage in the Upper Arroyo Seco? Just words. We would never do that,” the city in essence said.
Well, as the conservative movement activists used to say, words matter. So now that they’ve been pointed out, the city says the words — a mistake, see — will be removed from the plans. Pictures matter, too — and a look at the city zoning map for the project still shows a Planned Development area within the Hahamongna Annex Plan that is not the nearby surface parking lot leased to JPL that is also zoned PD. And, now we’ve got rid of the language about a 50-foot access road across the northern park, we still need a 30-foot road for horses and bikes, taking down some 19 trees? What kind of gargantuan horses and bikes are those?

Is it any wonder Pasadenans I talk to are more distrustful of City Hall motives than at any time in the quarter-century I’ve been newspapering in the city? There’s lots of talk about greenwash — talking a good sustainability game, but it’s mostly for show.

Look, there are plenty of good and even brilliant people on what Pasadena calls its Green Team. I saw Alice Sterling of Planning & Development speak recently, and she’s right on, a potential star. Rosa Laveaga has been restoring the Arroyo Seco for decades. But I’ve heard that citizen members of the Environmental Advisory Commission say they’re not being listened to. All kinds of resolutions have been endorsed and Green City Action Plans filed — but where’s the real creativity on a local basis? Where are the trash trucks backing up to McDonald’s to fuel up on french-fried bio-diesel? The ARTS bus is nice and there are token nods to bike lanes — but where’s the real commitment to getting around without cars promised 20 years ago in the General Plan? Ever tried to ride a bike on Lake Avenue, or Colorado?

Ever tried to find a bus — or, hey, free-market shade of Roy Begley, a jitney! — off the major boulevards? It’s a city that can’t even close down the Arroyo Seco to cars more than one distant afternoon ago. Colorado in Old Pas should be closed to cars every weekend night and become a pedestrian party. Even Gotham is worried that it can’t be what New York’s Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan calls “a world-class city” without radically updating its transit infrastructure. NYC now will have streetscapes with narrower roadways that slow down cars and mix in walkers and bikes and trees with real shade. If the Big Apple can envision streets as public spaces for strolling and sitting, for sidewalk cafe-ing — if it can, get this, close down eight blocks of Broadway in Midtown to cars — can’t Pasadena, too, make a break from the exurban blahs?

Solar trash

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Apparently everyone else but me knows about these solar-powered compacting trash cans now dotted around Pasadena, but I saw this one at Lake and Green for the first time the other day, and was amazed, and you’ll just have to call me late to the party.

I guess it saves on staff hours because its solar-powered engine compacts trash that passersby drop in every day and so it doesn’t have to be emptied as often. Saves on landfill space, too — except where it doesn’t.

Because that’s my beef with these. Nowhere around them is a recycling bin. So everything — aluminum cans, glass, paper, other stuff that could avoid a trip to Scholl Canyon — just goes in. And is compacted. And not reused.

Whereas up in wacko-Green Berkeley:

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where I was this weekend for a campus board meeting at the old alma mater, not only do they have public recycling bins everywhere — they’ve taken it to the Nth degree with composting bins on streetcorners as well. Eating an apple? Toss its core in to the future mulch.

Berkeley will always see you — and raise you.


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I was getting a sneak preview of the soon-to-open Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art at the Huntington Library when I saw this marble angel known as Puck (by Harriet Goodhue Hosmer about 1854) over in the corner under a new skylight with sun just pouring down on it. Hadn’t known before how translucent stone could be. I do know that the space was recently redesigned by Frederick Fisher and Partners Architects of L.A. And that Pasadenan Jessica Todd Smith, a very new mom, is the curator of American art at the Huntington and will be showing off her great new space in all the grand opening parties the week of the 25th. The new Sam Francis in the contemporary painting room looks extraordinary.

Chief Melekian’s Santa Barbara take-down

Pasadena police Chief Bernard Melekian had the day off Monday and was driving through Santa Barbara on 101 when a car in front of him on the freeway veered to the right and crashed into a culvert.

The driver jumped from the car and ran from the scene.

The old patrolman’s instincts kicked in for Barney, according to this story in the Santa Barbara Daily Sound. He pulled over and chased the 31-year-old man into an RV park, and even though the relative kid comandeered a bicycle, Barney got his perp and then called the local cops, who found Gustavo Rodriguez prone on the ground in the custody of the off-duty chief.

They also say they found him reeking of booze, and — allegedly — discovered open containers of hooch when they went back to the crashed Camry.

Melekian is a confirmed teetotaler who has seen way too much of what the demon alcohol can do to a family and to a driver behind the wheel. I’m guessing that makes this arrest a particularly pleasing one for a guy who spends most of his time behind a desk rather than out on the streets.

Sure makes for a good story, too, at the next gathering of the California Police Chiefs Association, of which Barney is the president this year.

District 7 and Martin Truitt

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Consultant (and CPA) Martin Truitt is one of the three most knowledgeable political operatives — with Jon Fuhrman and Fred Register — in Pasadena.

Of the trio, he’s the only one known for usually taking on the more conservative candidates and causes in local elections.

So what was he doing there in the back of the crowd at the celebration Maria and Terry Tornek held at the Athenaeum Wednesday night honoring those who worked in Terry’s recent successful District 7 Pasadena City Council race?

That’s what I wondered, so I took his picture.

Turns out that unbeknownst to me, and perhaps most anyone else, Martin was a key player in advising Terry’s campaign against the more conservative and Republican — insofar as party registration matters in a non-partisan race — Margaret York.

Terry thanked Martin profusely in his remarks as a kind of political and motivational genius, and a great pep-talker. “How many doors have you knocked on today?” was a favorite conversational opener. Martin looked a bit sheepish to be caught among the wine and cheese crowd at the Ath.

Food that’s not Kafkaesque

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Sunday I got to thinking as I read Geoff Nicholson’s essay in The New York Times Book Review about how: Franz Kafka “was a food faddist, a sometimes passionate vegetarian, a drinker of vast quantities of unpasteurized milk and, according to current diagnosis, also an anorexic. There are those who claim that his short story ‘A Hunger Artist’ is autobiographical, the story of a man who can fast indefinitely because he’s never found any food he likes.”

What I was thinking was, what a weirdo. How … Kafkaesque. Because I have found so many foods I like that it’s a wonder I’m not big as Dallas. Along with the good stuff cooling in the fridge waiting on tonight’s dinner at home, there are these fine victuals out there to laud, the first within a few minutes drive of the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, where I can be found at lunchtime Mondays and Tuesdays, the latter on and just off Colorado Boulevard, lunchtime home for the rest of the week:

The beef salad at Chang Thai Cuisine on Arrow Highway in Irwindale: A near-perfect version of this personal favorite way to ratchet up the roughage and protein after any high-carbing that may have occurred over the weekend. I order it every single Monday I’m at the Trib. Really spicy – maybe 7 on a 10 scale – cold, crisp iceberg lettuce, cucumbers, red onions and perfectly seared strips of steak.

The scrumptious tacos dorados at Birrieria y Cenaduria Apatzingan, 14901 Ramona Blvd., Baldwin Park, take you back to the time before there were (north of the border) “soft” tacos on restaurant menus at all – and while downing the ropa vieja version (there’s also chicken on the menu, but don’t bother) at this small dive where virtually no English is spoken, you won’t miss the unfried version one bit. Four to an order, which seem impossibly too much to eat, and yet I’ve never left one to take home. With chopped lettuce, rice, beans and very good crema.

The creamy hummus at Sahara on East Colorado Boulevard, a favorite of police Chief Barney Melekian and it would seem the entire Pasadena Armenian community. I’ve eaten hummus around the world, including in the Middle East, and I’ve never had better, or anything approaching the smoothness of theirs.

The crispy basil beef at Daisy Mint, the new Thai on Colorado west of PCC. An unusually chic little place as all you foodies know, I finally got there just last week; with its organic pots of tea and slightly artier dcor than your average Thai, this place is going far. I got my first lunch with good brown rice, and found the dish more loving-hands-at-home than out of the standard California Thai restaurant cookbook. But quite good.

Not that it needs any further adulation, but the egg-salad sandwich at Europane, which, if you’re a regular like everyone at the newspaper is, you call Sumi’s. The best poached eggs in Christendom sliced on top of toast with a tomato tapenade is what this sandwich is, far from the mayonnaisey goop of most so-called. Of course her breads and fancy desserts are the best in the San Gabriel Valley – but not enough time is spent celebrating the simply joys of Sumi’s chocolate chip cookie, which is the best I’ve ever had.

The falafel wrap at Pita Pita in the same block as the Star-News – just a dang fine falafel sandwich, to the point that, as often as I grab a to-go there to take back to my desk as I write, I never order anything else. Also the iced tea is unusually good – is there cardamon in it?

The golden tofu at Taste of Bangkok directly across Colorado from us – my vegetarian daughter will accept no substitutes. I wish I could fry the soy so perfectly at home, but I can’t. This keeps it crisp but entirely without a rubbery outside.

The tempura in the lunch special at Japon Bistro two doors east of us – and, if I’m splurging at Clarence’s sushi bar, a pint of Sapporo draft and the albacore.

Speaking of splurging, and so long as the recession recesses Robert looks to be staying closed for lunch, but the seafood salad at Bistro 45 on Mentor, especially when someone else is paying, is lovely with its many mussels. And shrimp. And loxy salmon. And I can also recommend a bowl of soup at the bar if you’re alone; you’ll be in the middle of the action with the waitstaff, which is fun.

Down Lake from us, don’t miss the squid-ink risotto at Celestino. Or whatever the special risotto is that day. A white-tableclothed spot on the streetside patio with the real Italian waiters makes you think you actually live and work in a sophisticated town.

Even Kafka couldn’t stay picky if served these dishes.

The state of play of ‘State of Play’

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When a newspaper guy goes to see a newspaper movie, from “The Front Page” to “All the President’s Men” to this spring’s “State of Play,” it’s as much about watching for the things the filmmakers get right and wrong about this business as it is about the flick.

Flick was pretty good, in some ways. Too condensed from the British mini-series that was its origin to make much sense. Acting uniformly fine — stellar even — which is easier when you’ve got Helen Mirren, a better-than-usual Ben Affleck, Russell Crowe (why’d he think he had to put on 40 pounds just to play a newsroom schlub? plenty of skinny schlubs around here), Rachel McAdams, Robin Wright Penn, Jeff Daniels and Jason Bateman up on the screen.

But here’s what they get wrong about papers:

The Mirren character, editor of a fictional, apparently mid-sized D.C. daily, gets all out of sorts with her staff for reasons of revenue when she’s worried that they’ll miss a story one day and so not sell enough papers. It’s a standard misapprehension about what makes money for newspapers — which is advertising, not one day’s circulation. Let’s say you had an unbelievably catchy screaming headline and so sold 10,000 more papers on the street that day — that’s all of $5,000 in revenue. One time. Sell a single full-page ad and you’ve done better than that.

Late at night in the movie’s newsroom, but not that late — 10 p.m. — there’s no one around but a couple of reporters and the editor in chief. That’s actually one of the busiest times in a newsroom. Who do the filmmakers think design, headline and copy-edit stories at that hour, as the paper is about to go to press? (Wait, don’t answer that; certainly fewer folks than a couple of years ago in these laid-off times.) But as the Russell Crowe character is banging out the paper’s hottest story in years, there’s cub reporter McAdams and honcha MIrren over his shoulder — and no one else around. When he’s done — after, absurdly, writing his own headline (sometimes reporters put “hed suggestions” at the top of stories but that’s it) — his colleagues ask him if he isn’t going to press the “send” button. He lets one of them do it instead, but no one bothers to read the thing for typos or libel or anything else. The movie pretends that ya just hit “send” and the story puts itself on the page.

In “Play,” anyone can just barge into the newsroom (or the Capitol and a congressman’s office, for that matter) in the middle of the night and start rapping with the editor in her second-floor office. There’s no lobby, no security, no nothing. Weird.

Otherwise, it’s nice to know studios still think a paper makes good copy … er, story. Not that it’s doing so grandly at the box office. Friday night at the Paseo, the theater was pretty full, though …