Letter to the Editor: Pasadena Recreation Community Loses Out to Trees

Published : Friday, May 11, 2018 | 11:27 AM

Yesterday’s article about the Pasadena Casting Club’s request to restore the intended use of the casting pond in Lower Arroyo Park is an excellent example of how to sound even handed while, in fact, repeating and amplifying omissions, distortions and biased decision making. To start with, how about an alternative title: “Pasadena Recreation Community Loses Out to Trees”?

It appears that the article was written from the information packet furnished to UFAC members, thus missing the moving presentations of individuals representing various groups that have benefited from the Club’s programming. These groups include veterans recovering from PTSD, women surviving cancer, children from Outward Bound Adventures, Pasadena Parks and Recreation and the community as well as the ordinary citizens who want to have access to the recreation and personal challenge of learning how to fly cast.

The article also missed out on how the process was compromised by UFAC members who apparently had been talking with the opposition ahead of the hearing. One member was openly speaking about how her mind was made up before the hearing even began.

The Public Works Department report, liberally quoted in the article, is also a model of how to appear judicious while being one-sided. The Guiding Principles of the Lower Arroyo Master Plan call on all parties “To balance and integrate the interrelated issues of … recreation [and] natural resource preservation and restoration … in the Arroyo Seco”.  The associated Goals and Objectives include “Provide appropriate recreational opportunities for the Pasadena community”, “Maintain and enhance the historic recreational uses within the Lower Arroyo” and “Manage and maintain the area to balance natural habitat values [and] recreational needs …”. The Department’s position sides entirely with habitat preservation and shuffles historic recreational needs off to a place of “whatever you’re doing is good enough”.  The Department reached this conclusion without consultation with the Casting Club or any knowledge of the full range of programing the Club is currently offering.

Tim Brick of the Arroyo Seco Foundation asserted, inaccurately, that the Lower Arroyo is a nature preserve, period, in yet another one-sided position. Several opposition speakers complimented the Club on its programming then argued for maintaining the blockage at the south end of the pond.

Apparently, for the opposition, no amount of social good is worth a single tree.

The fact is that the six trees in question (two are just volunteer saplings in the shadow of their parent) are easily replaceable.  Nothing was said in the article about the Club’s commitment to a mitigation plan that would create a net increase in oak woodland habitat. Oak trees grow fast as evidenced by the three (including two endangered Engelman Oaks) immediately west of the clubhouse that the Club planted a mere ten years ago. A modicum of patience and compromise would go long way toward resolving this dispute.

Judging from various comments, the opposition is at least as motivated by a desire to keep people out of the park as by protecting a few trees. Protests about “expansion” of casting activities and off-hand comments by individuals belied an attitude of not wanting to share the Lower Arroyo with anyone outside their group.

The Club does, in fact, want to expand teaching and competitive activities, including the occasional casting tournament. Tournament casting at the Club goes back seventy years and is part of the cultural fabric of the city. It is an apex activity that is key to developing the cadre of expert casters who are, in turn, key to providing the recreation and social impact of the Club’s programming. The National Tournament of the American Casting Association, for example, would be an honor to host. It would involve a mere fifty to seventy-five competitors.

Finally, the article makes it sound like this matter is resolved, which it is not. It is for the City Manager to make a determination and even that is not final. The Casting Club is confident in its position and will continue to fight for the needs of the greater Pasadena community.

Sincerely,

C. Eric Callow, Public Relations Chair

Pasadena Casting Club

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