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Central Group Newsletter
May 2018

this month's topic:
Parks and Proposition 68
 

In This Issue:

Life Pro Tips 


LNT, aka Leave No Trace, are a set of principles to encourage responsible use of our outdoor spaces. Properly dispose of trash, pack out what you packed in, don't disturb the natural environment or remove any objects, and respect wildlife. Learn more at LNT.org.

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Vote YES on Prop 68

Jason Wise, Editor, Communications Chair
On Tuesday June 5, 2018, you have a chance to make a huge difference for the parks, wild spaces, and the natural resources of California by voting YES on Proposition 68. Sierra Club California endorsed this bond initiative because it has a minimal budget impact while having a hugely positive impact on the environment of our state for decades to come.

Check your polling location now so you're ready to vote on election day, and if you haven't sent in that vote by mail ballot, do it today! Now more than ever, it's important for California to lead the way in the fight to protect the planet.

And if you need some help on the rest of the ballot, check out Sierra Club Angeles Chapter's full slate of endorsements.

Get Involved!

Come to a Celebration and Phone Bank
in Support of Prop 68 and Parks

Join us as we phone bank for Prop 68 from 3-6pm. It's super easy! We'll give you a script and all the tools you need to help out. Come for as little or as long as you're able.

After that, stay for the People's Party for the ParksFREE food, music, and hiking all in the beautiful native outdoor landscape of the Audubon Center at Debs Park, 4700 N Griffith Ave, in Montecito Heights, 6-8pm.

See the flyer below, follow the link, or contact Jason Wise for more info.

Prop 68: Good for Los Angeles

Barbara Hensleigh, Central Group Chair

The California Sierra Club has enthusiastically endorsed Proposition 68 in the upcoming June 5 election, and for good reason.  This statewide $4 billion bond measure has the potential to transform the way we manage parks, open space, and our water for decades to come.

The funding from this bond would go to a number of environmentally critical areas: $1.5 billion to preserve natural habitats, including improvements to coastal, river and other ecosystems, addressing resiliency in climate change and allocating funds for some much-needed wildlife corridors; $1.3 billion to clean up and provide safe drinking water, recycle more water, and fix leaky pipes; and another $1.3 billion to maintain and create park and green space.

And for those concerned about repaying the bond, the estimated interest paid by the state to bondholders is less than 5% of its general revenue funds.  So it’s a pretty good deal considering how much it will help us in environmental and water preparedness.

But there’s more in the bond that makes it especially beneficial for Angelenos, which is why there is bipartisan support for the bond throughout Southern California.  Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, the L.A. Chamber of Commerce and your local Sierra Club Angeles Chapter all say Vote Yes on Prop 68.  Here’s how the bond will benefit our region:  

  • San Fernando Valley reservoir is the second largest in the state.  Funds from the bond would go to making the reservoir more sustainable and the entire region less dependent on water from the waning Sierra Nevada snowmelt.
  • Funds are allocated to complete the Glendale Narrows project, linking the existing Riverwalk and the Glendale Bikeway system with the Los Angeles bike trail and Griffith Park through a pedestrian/bike bridge over the Los Angeles River.  
  • Money will go to the Baldwin Hills Conservancy for projects contained within the two square miles of parklands that are the last undeveloped open space in Los Angeles.
  • Prop 68 focuses primarily on water and parks.  The LA River is both. Bond funds will go to the San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles River and Mountains Conservancy to revitalize the Lower Los Angeles River and the broader river watershed.  
  • The Lower Los Angeles River is the core of southeast Los Angeles and serves a critical role by managing flood risk. It protects life and property by collecting storm water from surrounding areas and safely conveying it to the ocean.
  • The majority of residents in Los Angeles are unable to get to a park or green space within a 10- minute walk, a common measure when looking at access.  One of the most important aspects of the bond measure is that funds are allocated to park poor areas, to provide much- needed green space, enhancing the health and well-being of underserved communities.
  • In addition to the specific funding allocations identified above, Los Angeles can receive additional Prop 68 funds for parks, drought preparedness and to address climate change.  
  • And, of course, all of the above will add jobs to our local economy.

For the good of Los Angeles, vote YES on Prop 68!

Check out our new website, updated lots of helpful information about events, what we're up to, and how to get involved! Visit: SierraCentralLA.com
✔ Life Pro Tips ✔
If you're camping in the cold, put a medium/large stone near the fire to warm it up. When you go to bed wrap it in a shirt and snuggle it!

Los Angeles County Parks:
An Environmental Justice Issue

Mark Edwards, Central Group Ex Officio

Los Angeles County is a massive and complex arrangement of cities and unincorporated areas, with a combined population that is larger than many states. We comprise over 10 million people living together in suburbs, small cities, large cities, and within dense urban areas. It is vital to the health of the people to have access to parks and open space.

In 2015 the Board of Supervisors commissioned a Park Needs Assessment that comprehensively studied both cities and unincorporated areas. The catalyst was the desire to put a measure on the ballot to sustain funding for parks and opens space, because a previous funding source was due to expire in 2019.

The Los Angeles Countywide Comprehensive Parks and Recreation Needs Assessment was completed in 2016. The comprehensive analysis utilized 5 Key Park Metrics:

  • Park Land – How many acres of park are there per 1,000 people?
  • Park Access – What percent of the population lives within ½ mile of a park?
  • Park Pressure – How much parkland is available to residents in the area around each park?
  • Park Conditions – Is the park in good, fair, or poor condition?
  • Park Amenities – What amenities are available on each park in the study area?

Key findings confirmed that economically disadvantaged communities suffer disproportionate health outcomes due to not enough parkland per 1,000 people and excessive park pressure. The negative outcomes are higher rates of asthma, obesity and diabetes, among others.

Because the lack of parks and open space has a negative health outcome  it has become a public health issue of great importance to government. Furthermore, it is disadvantaged communities of color that usually bear the negative impacts; therefore, it is also matter of environmental justice.  

The national Sierra Club has made environmental justice a key platform and has prioritized working with community-based organizations focused on environmental justice. To align with local and national goals, we adopted within our Sierra Club Strategic Plan Overarching Visionary Goals plans to protect communities from pollution and ensure they have access to opportunities to experience the natural world. To that end, the Central Group has added the following specific local goal to “address the unique environmental needs and concerns of the dense and diverse urban area of Central Los Angeles, including environmental justice, pollution, waste reduction, and the access and availability of park space.

To ensure the Central Group effectively and dynamically serves its constituents, every story or blog post should have an actionable item. To that end, I recommend reading the Los Angeles Countywide Comprehensive Parks and Recreation Needs Assessment to assist in your understanding of methodology and to read the Park and Public Health in Los Angeles County report to learn more about the health benefits of parks. Additionally, you can monitor the implementation of Measure A by the Los Angeles County Regional Park and Open Space District to learn how funds are being spent in your area.

Finally, get involved with Central Group by joining the Sierra Club, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@sierracentralLA), sign up for our newsletter, and volunteer!

Meeting our Water Crisis Head-On

Jason Wise

Water has been a hot button issue in California for decades now, but as the effects of climate change take hold, our water situation has become more precarious than ever. Our state now faces more severe droughts more frequently, leading to impacts as small as restricted irrigation days all the way up to raging wildfires that have wiped out entire communities.  

Californians have seen firsthand how a changing climate can strain and damage local water resources, so it only makes sense that we will face this crisis head-on.

Proposition 68 will help do just that. 

The statewide initiative amounts to a $4 billion investment to ensure every Californian has access to clean drinking water and safe parks. A portion of that funding goes to prepare the state for a changing climate, specifically addressing the effects it will have on our delicate water system. 

  • Less water means a decreasing Sierra Nevada snowpack, one of the largest sources of water for Southern California. We’ve already seen in recent drought years that this once abundant supply has become less than stable. Prop 68 will fund new projects to capture more water locally here in Los Angeles County, to recycle more of the water we’re sending down the drain, and revitalize the LA River watershed.
  • Less water creates a drier landscape, and a drier landscape leads to bigger and more devastating fires. Prop 68 supports forest health improvements and restoration to protect our open spaces, mitigate the effects of drought, and prevent wildfires down the road.
  • Less water, along with over-development, has depleted the state’s groundwater supply. Many communities across the state depend on clean groundwater as their soul source of survival, and as climate change dries the environment and industrial interests pollute the land, that resource becomes even more scarce. Prop 68 makes critical investments to clean our drinking water, fix our aging water infrastructure, and to protect and enhance natural water catchment areas.


Water is a right, but it’s also a finite resource. It’s vitally important we do all we can in California to protect it for generations to come, and Prop 68 is a critical tool to help us get there. 

Take a Hike in a Park Near You

Will McWhinney, Outtings Chair

We need more parks! Meanwhile, let’s explore, enjoy, and protect the ones we’ve got – they’re pretty cool!  Come with us as we visit the open spaces and natural areas in our region, many of which are accessible by mass transit. All of our outings are listed at the Sierra Club website.

Griffith Park  
Bigger than NYC’s Central Park and wild enough to support a mountain lion, Griffith Park is the most important park in Los Angeles. It includes the eastern end of the Santa Monica Mountains and shares habitat with the other Transverse Ranges. The setting of dozens of films and TV shows, it is a popular destination for residents and tourists. The southern half of the park is the northern boundary of the Central Group.  

  • Newcomers’ Hike
    Stroll up and down Western Canyon, including Fern Dell. This is a gentle introduction to the park and the Sierra Club. First Saturday mornings of even-numbered months. Next hikes are June 2 and August 4.
  • Sunset Poetry Hike
    Watch the sun go down and the stars and the city lights come out, and recite poetry. It’s a transcendental experience. In winter months we take a shuttle from the Sunset/Vermont Metro Station into the park and climb Mt Hollywood. (It’s on hiatus until next Fall, but it was great for the two trips we did in early 2018.) We hike on the third Saturday evenings of winter months (November-March).
  • Dog-friendly Hike?
    Would you like to hike with other dogs and dog-friendly folks? We’re considering regular canine outings, contact Will if you’re interested.


Kenneth Hahn SRA
Abutting the oil fields of the Baldwin Hills and overlooking the banks of the Ballona Creek, this hill in the middle of the L.A. Basin is an outpost of nature surrounded by development, located at the western edge of the Central Group.

  • Baldwin Hills Hike
    See its tamed and wild sides, and its awesome views of the region. No car required. We hike the third Saturday morning of summer months (April-October). Next hikes are June 16 and July 21.
 

Debs Park
This park preserves a set of hills hill on a bank of the Arroyo Seco that served as a marker for the original L.A. city boundaries. It includes flat lawns, wild slopes, a scenic pond, views, and an Audubon Society HQ, all at the north-eastern edge of the group’s region. We had one official trip there in 2017 and hope to visit it again. How about a trash pickup event?

 

DTLA Parks
Do you live or work near downtown Los Angeles? Then you’re surrounded by parks.

  • Downtown L.A. After-Work Exploration
    We’re taking after-work, mid-week walks to all the major, and most of the minor, parks near DTLA, using mass transit. Hike, Eat, Hike, Drink. We hike the third Wednesdays, every month through October. Next hikes are Wednesday, June 20 and Wednesday, July 18.
    • L.A. Historical Park (aka Cornfields)
    • Grand Park
    • Vista Hermosa
    • Hollenbeck Park
    • Echo Park
    • Exposition Park
    • Lafayette Park
    • MacArthur Park
    • Elysian Park
    • Liberty Park


San Gabriel Mountains National Monument/Angeles National Forest
Originally called the “Sierra Madre” (Mother Range), the San Gabriel Mountain range is a big part of what makes Los Angeles special. It’s protected under many programs, including the landmark Forest Preserve Law of 1891, and it includes five designated federal wilderness areas. From its history as a model forest to its current designation, it’s always been an important element of the national Forest Service program.

 
  • Forest Bathing on Mt. Wilson
    Saturday, June 9

    Mount Wilson is one of the most special spotsin our nearby mountains. It has a tranquil route where we can enjoy an oak forest with mixed conifers; truly a wonderful spot to connect with nature.

    Easy hike along the famous mountain’s ridge line with an expert to guide our interaction with the forest. Fundraiser, $30 donation requested. Contact Will to reserve your place.

Upcoming Events

For a full listing of events, visit our new event page on our updated website: www.sierracentralLA.com

Speaker Series: Backyard Chickens and Urban Homesteading
With Roe Sie, owner and founder of The King's Roost
When: Wednesday, June 6, 7pm
Where: The King's Roost, 3732 Sunset Blvd. in Silver Lake

Central Group Executive Committee Meeting
When: Tuesday, June 19, 7pm  
Where: Sierra Club Angeles Chapter, 3250 Wilshire Blvd. 11th floor

Central Group Mixer
When: Thursday, June 28, 7pm (4th Thursday of the month)
Where: The HMS Bounty, 3357 Wilshire Blvd

Speaker Series: Day Hiking Los Angeles
with Casey Schreiner, editor and founder of ModernHiker.com
When: Tuesday, July 10
Where: Stories Bookstore, 1716 Sunset Blvd in Echo Park


Bonus Prop 68 Video!
 
Check out our Mayor Eric Garcetti talk about how Proposition 68 will benefit Los Angeles. After you watch, send in your vote-by-mail ballot!
 


The Central Group is the heart of the Sierra Club Angeles Chapter, representing the area from West Hollywood through East LA, from Griffith Park through South LA, and a number of Gateway Cities. For more info, check out our website www.sierracentalLA.com and join us at an upcoming event.
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