28 February 2014

Carbon Canyon Road Closure and the Late Winter Storm

Within the last half-hour or so, Carbon Canyon Road has been closed to through traffic at the former Party House/Canyon Market site in Sleepy Hollow.  A Chino Hills Sheriff's deputy is stopping traffic and there is yellow tape up with cones and flares.  There doesn't appear to have been an accident because there are no paramedics or ambulances on scene. 

What might be at issue, perhaps, is a problem with Carbon Creek and its effects on the roadbed of the highway.  This, some will remember, became an issue in the heavy rains of 2004-05, when part of the westbound section of Carbon Canyon Road collapsed between Canyon Hills Road and Canon Lane.

Sheriff's Department personnel were only allowing locals to turn from Chino Hills Parkway to Carbon Canyon Road in the late morning today, when this photo was taken.
 Again, it is not known what the specific problem is, but the creek has had a considerable amount of water from the heavy downpour that hit this area about an hour or so back.

This great view from Olinda Village resident Duane Thompson from the top of the hills high above Carbon Canyon Road shows a waterlogged roadway and there were some mudslides on the steep slopes west of Olinda Village that caused a closure of the highway for some time today.
In any case, at this point, cars are being turned back in both directions.

CORRECTION:  Traffic is also being stopped in both directions at Olinda Village, but whether there is a separate problem, given the steep slopes on the downhill west of there towards Olinda Ranch and possible mudslides there, or related to the Sleepy Hollow incident is not known.

Provided by Olinda Village resident and Hills for Everyone director Claire Schlotterbeck, this view shows a Caltrans vehicle working to remove mud and rocks from the steep slopes west of Olinda Village this morning.
CORRECTION #2:  Chino Hills Sheriff's officers were also stationed at the intersection of Carbon Canyon Road and Chino Hills Parkway to turn away anyone who was not seeking locals-only access to the Chino Hills portion of Carbon Canyon.  A short distance west, the eastbound lane was washed out with water, mud and debris.

At a little before 4 p.m., this is how a section of Carbon Canyon Road looked a little west of Chino Hills Parkway.  All those eastbound commuters in the afternoon rush need to negotiate the "little inland sea" with care until CalTrans can take measures to clear the roadway.
UPDATE, 4:00 P.M.:  Carbon Canyon Road has been long reopened, but the area just east of the intersection of the highway and Chino Hills Parkway that was washed out with water, mud and debris must have dried up to some extent earlier, but that section is again filled with those items.  So, eastbound drivers have to slow considerably to move through that area and westbound drivers need to be alert, as well.  CalTrans is obviously slammed with storm-related problems throughout the region, so putting out sandbags, scooping out debris and other measures are likely to come later, if at all.

Here is a link to a Inland Valley Daily Bulletin piece on a car that got stuck in the area shown in the above photo, but earlier on Friday morning:  click here.

Meanwhile, here is a rare instance of a double rainbow, captured on later Friday afternoon:

An unusual occurrence of a double rainbow, caught by a passenger in this blogger's car, on Chino Hills Parkway, south of Chino Avenue, in Chino Hills on late Friday afternoon.

27 February 2014

On the Skids in Carbon Canyon #14484

The elementary school bus driver, arriving about 15 minutes later than normal, reported that a car overturned eastbound at the bottom of the S-curve along Carbon Canyon Road in the Chino Hills section of the canyon, somewhere near the intersection of the state highway and Old Carbon Canyon Road.

This image taken on 28 February shows what appears to be part of a front fender that is residue from the overturned vehicle accident that took place on the morning of the previous day the 27th on the rain-slicked Carbon Canyon Road along the S-curve near Summit Ranch in Chino Hills.   Click on it to see it in an enlarged view in a separate window.
Though the rainfall from this badly-needed storm seems to be pretty moderate so far, with the heavier soaking to come later, there appears to be the expected lack of adjustment by some drivers to the wetter conditions that are out there.  Obviously, there are certainly many similar accidents throughout the region right now.

Eastbound traffic is light in the mornings, so the inconvenience might be marginal . . . well, except for the bus trying to get kids to school.

26 February 2014

Sleepy Hollow Founders Home for Sale

A house said to have been built by the Purington family, who established the Sleepy Hollow community in 1923, has been put up for sale within the last couple of days.

The two-bedroom, one-bath residence, built in 1930 and measuring in at a little under 1000 square feet sits on a 15,840 square foot lot, which is pretty large by Sleepy Hollow standards.  The house looks to have had some remodeling in recent years and has a nice brick fireplace near a skylight in its living room.

This 1930 Sleepy Hollow residence, said to have been built by the Purington family, developers of the community, is now up for sale.  Click on the image to see it in an enlarged view in a separate window.
It is the lot, however, that might be the most appealing part of the property.  For one, it has an in-ground pool, one of only a couple in the neighborhood.  Second, it has some pretty extensive decking and a bridge that crosses from the house over a gully that empties into Carbon [Canyon] Creek and connects to another part of the lot.  Then, the lot backs up to the creek and there is only one neighbor, which is the old Sleepy Hollow Community Church that serves now as a residence.

One of the constraints, though, is that the residence sits right on Carbon Canyon Road and at a spot where the road curves sharply.  Consequently, accidents are as frequent in this location as virtually anywhere else in the canyon.  In fact, the wood fence for the lot along the road has been plowed into a few times over recent years--leading the owners at one point to put up a hand-lettered banner reminding drivers of the 25 mph speed limit in the area!

Still, this could be a very cool place for someone looking for the type of environment the canyon offers and with the amenities listed above.  It may not matter to a prospective buyer that the home was built by the founders of Sleepy Hollow, but that's a pretty cool attribute, as well.

To see more, check out this Redfin listing here.

19 February 2014

On the Skids in Carbon Canyon #14373

These poor signs at the middle of the S-curve along Carbon Canyon Road on the Chino Hills portion of Carbon Canyon just don't have much of a chance.

Despite their simple, modest suggestions to eastbound drivers to follow the yellow center and white shoulder lines and make the sharp turn downhill towards Summit Ranch, they are prey to being mowed down by those who, for whatever reasons (generally speed and/or chemical impairments), cannot fulfill their humble request.

So it was within the last few days for this ex-sign, plowed under and mutilated, leaving it for another of its kind to be, at taxpayer expense, put in danger on the front lines for the next errant vehicle to repeat the violence.

Meantime, below is a shot of the location, also eastbound, but this time directly across from the old Party House #2/Canyon Market in Sleepy Hollow, in which a red car determinedly drove straight, more or less (OK, less) while the state highway thoughtlessly veers slightly to the left and then right, into Carbon (Canyon) Creek.  The crumpled guard rail's end managed to snag a piece of the car's body before the vehicle plunged into the nearly dry waterway.  This was a few weeks or so back.  The location is just a hop, skid and crash away from the scene of last Thursday night's accident on the westbound side of the road, of which crash little evidence remains aside from some small pieces of debris and splayed dirt.

16 February 2014

Tonner Canyon's Future and Past, Part Three

From the late 1870s, an expanded Rancho Los Nogales, including the original 1,000+ acre land grant of the 1840s and the additional of considerable sections of former public land with both combined to some 10,000 acres, was owned in a partnership between Los Angeles resident Charles M. Wright and Santa Cruz and Los Angeles lumber magnate Sedgwick J. Lynch and, after Lynch's 1881 death, his widow Jane.  A good portion of this enlarged property including much of Tonner Canyon.

While Jane Lynch remained an absentee owner at Santa Cruz, Wright was the on-site representative of the partnership and was something of a colorful figure in the Los Angeles region.  An 1889 history of Los Angeles County gave some background on Wright.  He was born in 1836 in Colchester, Chittenden County, Vermont, in the northwestern part of the state near Lake Champlain and the city of Burlington, and his father was a farmer.  But, in his early twenties, Wright migrated west by ship through Panama and then San Francisco, where he stayed briefly before moving down to Los Angeles.

Wright entered the employ of Tomlinson and Company, one of the main stagecoach companies servicing between the harbor at San Pedro and Los Angeles.  For a time, he left to try his hand at mining in San Bernardino County, but then went back to stage driving with Tomlinson.  By 1870, he formed his own stagecoaching firm with A.L. Seeley, but as the railroad began to make its imprint in southern California, it upstaged the use of the stage and Seeley retired to a ranch in San Diego County, while Wright obtained his interest in Los Nogales. 

In December 1911, just after Wright's death, a Los Angeles Times article titled "Famous Whips of the Past," devoted to famed stagecoach drivers of the Los Angeles region, featured a lengthy description by author Benjamin C. Truman (former publisher of the Los Angeles Star newspaper during the 1870s and author of a few noted books) of a journey he took in 1867 with Wright from Los Angeles to San Diego.

The 1889 Los Angeles County history noted that "the Nogales Ranch, [was] one of the finest properties in the beautiful San Jose Valley."  That name has long passed out of use, but it was denoted as the area spanning from Pomona towards La Puente in the corridor between the Chino Hills and the San Jose Hills in which the 60 and 57 freeways and the two railroad lines (formerly the Southern Pacific and the San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake lines) now controlled by Union Pacific run. 

Continuing, the account stated that "the ranch contains 9,000 acres, partly fine valley lands and partly hill and valley interspersed, but all of fine quality."  As to the use of the ranch under the ownership of Lynch and Wright, "the property is mainly to sheep and wool growing, about 5,000 sheep being kept.  A few hundred each of cattle and hogs and about seventy-five head of horses help to make up the stock usually to be found on the ranch."  Some portion of the valley land of Los Nogales was also devoted to agriculture: "about 600 acres of land are kept for seeding to barley.  Alfalfa is grown. and a variety of fruit and grapes." 

Noting that "since Mr. Wright became interested in the ownership of the ranch, he has been the resident manager," the piece concluded by averring that "Nogales Ranch is known to be not only one of the largest, but one of the finesse grazing properties of southern California."  As to Wright being "resident manager," it turned out that he occupied the adobe built by Ricardo Vejar for his son, Ramon, as noted in the first entry on this subject last month. 

It appears that Wright moved into the adobe very soon after taking his ownership stake, as he appeared in the 1880 federal census in what was then the San Jose township.  In the household was Wright's younger brother, Mark, and nine other men.  Four of the men were French, including the supervisor and three sheep herders, with all likely being from the Haute Alps region, from where many sheep raisers and herders who came to Los Angeles County hailed.  There were two other sheep herders, including a Mexican and one known only as "Indian Charlie."  There were also an Irish cook, an American machinist, and tanner Stanley Bates, who later married one of Wright's sisters.

In the 1900 census (the 1890 enumeration was consumed in a fire), Wright was still at the Vejar adobe, but had a much smaller household, consisting of himself, a Maine-born farm worker, and a Chinese cook named Wong Ah Chow.  Sometime shortly afterward, however, Wright left for the big city and moved to Los Angeles, where he bought a property in the fashionable West Adams district, a short distance west of the University of Southern California.  There, remarried late in life and with a surviving son, he lived out his remaining days, dying in October 1911 at the age of 75.  In addition to his interests at Los Nogales, he and Jane Lynch invested in real estate in Los Angles, including some valuable property in the Spring Street financial district of downtown.  He survived his longtime Los Nogales co-owner Jane Lynch, by about a year.

Meantime, the two aging owners of the ranch had decided to sell it.  The new owner was a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania dentist and coal and oil investor, Walter Fundenburg.  While he has been discussed here previously, some new information about Fundenburg's varied and rocky career as a southern California real estate investor, including his ownership of the Los Nogales Ranch and part of Tonner Canyon, will be featured next.

13 February 2014

On the Skids in Carbon Canyon #14224: Sleepy Hollow Crash Tonight

Just came home from a talk, sponsored by the Orange County Historical Society, on Carbon Canyon, during which, among many topics, the "Carbon Canyon Speedway", a.k.a. Carbon Canyon Road, a.k.a. State Route 142, was touched upon, with three photos of accident scenes . . .

And, came upon an accident in Sleepy Hollow with what looks like a vintage Econoline van with a crushed front end stopped next to a house that sits right along the north end of the roadway.  The van was heading westbound and went straight instead of left.

San Bernardino County Sheriff's officers are guiding traffic through one lane at a time and there was, evidently, an ambulance on scene, so the partial closure could be going on for some time.  It's been said the van was sailing along at high speed before the loud crash was heard.

05 February 2014

Carbon Canyon History Talk for the Orange County Historical Society

A detail of a panoramic photo of workers and others on the Chanslor Canfield Midway Organization (C.C.M.O.) lease at the Olinda oil field, September 1925.  Courtesy of the Workman and Temple Family Homestead Museum, City of Industry, California.  Click on the image to see it in an enlarged view in a separate window.
Next Thursday, 13 February at 7:30 p.m., a presentation on the history of Carbon Canyon will be given at the monthly meeting of the Orange County Historical Society.

The talk will be at Trinity Episcopal Church at 2400 N. Canal St. in Orange and will be illustrated via PowerPoint with many historic photos and maps showing Carbon Canyon.  The lecture will cover the founding of Olinda Ranch in the 1880s, the creation of Orange County's oil industry at Olinda in the late 1890s, the operation of the La Vida Mineral Springs and much more.

Anyone interested in Carbon Canyon's history and who wants to attend, can find more information on the Web site of the Orange County Historical Society by clicking here.  A map to the meeting site can be found here.

04 February 2014

Recap of Tonight's Madrona Public Hearing

Tonight was the second evening of hearings in the appeal of the Madrona housing development, proposing 162 houses in the Brea portion of Carbon Canyon between Olinda Village and the Chino Hills border and which was approved by the city's planning commission on a narrow 3-2 vote of the predecessor Canyon Crest in 2008 before the outbreak of the Freeway Complex Fire.

The proceedings were devoted entirely to public comment, with twenty-six persons speaking for up to five minutes over the course of about 2 1/2 hours or so.  Of those who offered remarks, twenty were against the Madrona project and six were in favor. 

Notably, five of these included business members, who must have been there at the behest of former Brea planning commissioner (he was one of those three "yea" votes in '08) and current P.R. consultant for Madrona John Koos and a representative of the Building Industry Association.  The sixth was a resident of Olinda Village who was on a personal quest to belittle Hills for Everyone's Executive Director Claire Schlotterbeck rather than offer much of substance about Madrona's purported merits.

In fact, the others focused on almost purely business issues, such as generated revenue, though a couple had curious commentaries.  One man, for example, who works for an aerospace firm in Brea, indicated that he couldn't find a house in town that worked for his wants, so he was building his custom home in Yorba Linda.  Another offered the view that the "C-class" executives (that is, CFOs, CEOs, etc.) among Brea's businesses would "demand" a Madrona project for the type of clientele that would patronize their firms.

The upshot of these notably narrowed remarks is that someone who could afford "luxury" housing could only be expected to consider such living arrangements and could not deign to look at, say, the executive housing available at Blackstone, some of which are probably not that far under $1 million.  And, that those "C-class" execs are more concerned about the upper-class clientele from a Madrona-type development rather than the yokels, riff-raff and plebeians who only fit the demographic of the $150,000 a year household income living in $600-700,000 houses.

As for the jeremiad against "Hills for Us and No One Else" and Schlotterbeck, it came across like a petty, petulant and, frankly, bizarre rant.  Probably did no favors for the pro-Madrona crowd.

For the most part, those speaking against the project were highly articulate, focused and offered solid reasons for being firmly rooted in opposition.  A number stood out for not only being excellent public speakers, but also going out of their way to praise city leaders for their overall management and direction of what is truly a well-run city, much as Chino Hills is.

One of those who shone brightly resides on the Chino Hills side of Carbon Canyon but was very complimentary of Brea and its many amenities.   Another who is a fairly recent denizen of Olinda Village was effusive in his praise and his belief that the council would make the right decision and was, in this blogger's opinion, the most effective of the twenty-six commenters.

Former council member John Beauman was also excellent at pointing out the differences between constitutional private property protections and the lack of application of these to an out-of-state bankrupt insurance company under receivership.   He made a fine point of noting that "anticipated value" was not a right or expectation that city should have to promote.

Another telling presentation was by a representative of the "Friends of Harbors, Beaches and Parks" in Orange County, who handed out a chart of fourteen points under the county's sub-regional Sustainable Communities Strategy Policy and how Madrona didn't meet a single one.  His remarks were cogent, well-considered and very timely.

An Olinda Village resident gave a penetrating example of how, some years back, he was part of an investor group in a proposed hillside project in Encino that failed to be approved, while pointing out that the Encino gambit had far more going for it, actually, than Madrona.

An insurance company loss control manager from Silverado Canyon in eastern Orange County didn't come across as well as he could have, but did have a good, pointed question for the council:  namely, could the city reasonably argue to have met a standard of care in its stewardship of the Madrona site relating to future claims in case of a disaster, like a wildfire?

In all, it was a good representation of varying views that pointed out the lack of merit for the project, despite all the grandiose claims by the applicants of revenue streams, fire protection, meeting the "need" for luxury housing and so on.

A month from tonight, then, comes the next phase, in which the applicant first and then the appellant are given time for rebuttals.  It will be interesting, given the results of the 21 January opening hearing, to see what each side has to offer and what effects this might have on a council vote.  It would seem likely, in any case, that the council will take additional time to consider the matter, probably asking for further staff input.

Public comment is now closed, but that is no reason for those concerned about this project to avoid going to future stages of this hearing.  A presence still has some weight, so it would be well for anyone concerned about Madrona's fate to attend the meeting on Tuesday, 4 March at 7:00 p.m. at Brea's city hall council chambers, corner of Birch and Randolph.

Meantime, here is the text of one set of comments, not stated exactly as below but pretty close, offered this evening:

Two weeks ago, we heard from the appellant and applicant teams.  The takeaways for me from each are:  for the appellants, that this project emasculates increasingly diminished oak and walnut woodland habitat;  that it is in a dangerous wildfire area that has burned several times in recent decades and it is too risky to build there; that it uses far too much water, especially as we are mired in drought; and that traffic in Carbon Canyon Road is already too heavy and this project would make it worse.
What the applicants basically said is, this project isn’t CEQA-applicable (I hope we all heard that), but that they welcome it anyway; that this project is in a wildfire zone that will burn again, but that firewalls, sprinklers and other elements will make the homes “survivable”, and that traffic on Carbon Canyon Road has gone down, but that it will go up with this project, and that 19 car trips over the CEQA threshold is, essentially, no big deal.
Note, however, that the applicants said not one word about the massive use of water.
Let’s also remember that the applicant is not capable of developing any housing project anywhere at any time—that Madrona is, fundamentally, a figment of a collective imagination.
Let’s remind ourselves that the property owner is a bankrupt insurance company that put itself there by its own poor decisions and is now under receivership via the State of Idaho.
Let’s be clear that the applicant has only one goal:  entitlement, so that it can sell the land at a higher value and do something for the creditors of Old Standard Life Insurance Company.
That’s it:  these folks, no offense to them, are not here to help Brea and its citizens.  I don’t blame them, that’s not their job. 
Your job, however, is to put the citizens of Brea first.  Not in line behind a bankrupt property owner that cannot possibly deliver on any of its rosy promises.
Now, after the applicants’ arguments, I was envisioning a Madrona sales booklet, not that one will ever be produced, at least not by the applicant.
But, I was imagining what it would say and what it ought to say.  In other words, I was mindful of full disclosure.
Because, full disclosure would require a front cover photograph of the CalTrans signs, put up just a few days before the last meeting, at both ends of the Brea portion of Carbon Canyon—signs that read, “Entering Hazardous Fire Area.”
Full disclosure would involve letting potential buyers know that the destruction of native oak and walnut trees would not simply be remedied by planting new trees and creating so-called “open space” because most new plantings die anyway—plus the inevitable fire would burn off most of the new materials.
Speaking of which, full disclosure would also include what the applicant’s fire consultants said, quite clearly:  “The next big fire is coming.”  Then, after showing what the fire walls and sprinkler systems and other elements would look like, there would be the reassuring catchphrase:  “But, it’s OK, your house would survive” next to a photo of the dessicated landscape after the Freeway Complex Fire of 2008.  And, who would pay the estimated $1.2 million and up for houses that are going to “survive” a wildfire that devastates all the land around the development.  And, what a view that would be!
Full disclosure would then involve showing graphics of how much water this project would use relative to the situation that exists in our state and, in fact, in almost the entire American West—including Idaho, where more than half of the state is in a drought condition.  In California it is nearly two-thirds.
Let’s remind ourselves, in fact, that snowpack is 18% of normal; that reservoirs throughout the state are at critically low levels; that dozens of towns in California have water supplies for only upcoming weeks; that Governor Brown has declared a drought emergency, and, if matters don’t change and fast, we will almost certainly be rationing water next year and probably beyond; that the State Water Project for the first time in 54 years cannot guarantee delivery to customers; and that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has declared portions of 11 western states, including California, as disaster areas due to drought.
Let’s also recollect that, with almost no rainfall for three straight years and water shortages and a year-round wildfire season and with a location that has the optimal conditions of windy ridgetops and steep canyons that speed fire—that Madrona is exactly the type of site this video, put out by the U.S. Geological Survey and called “Living with Fire.”
Let’s remember that Carbon Canyon Road is the only way in and out during a fire emergency and that, otherwise, it is over the CEQA threshold—by the way, 19 units over “terrible” is still “terrible” and that it is a road that experiences regular, unmitigated dangerous driving and accidents.
Finally, let’s remember that, if you approve Madrona, the applicants go home and will speculate, yes speculate, on this land.  Is this the kind of private property right we should empathize with and be supportive of?
If anything gets built there, and it won’t be Madrona as we know it, and a disaster happens, they won’t be liable.  The City of Brea will.
THAT is full disclosure.
Knowing all of this, do the right thing by your citizens, the people you’ve sworn to represent. 
After all, if there was a viable project at this site, it isn’t this one and it isn’t by this applicant, who can’t deliver on what they promise.
Please vote yes on the appeal and no on Madrona.

01 February 2014

Madrona Public Hearing #2 This Tuesday!

This card, mailed out by Hills for Everyone as part of its StopMadrona.Org campaign, lays the matter out clearly and concisely.

On Tuesday the 4th, the Brea City Council continues its hearing on the appeal of the city's planning commission approval of Madrona's predecessor, Canyon Crest.

The appellant team, including two former council members and other concerned residents, did a beautiful job with a compelling series of presentations, buttressed by an excellent PowerPoint accompaniment, about the manifold reasons why Madrona is a bad idea.

Conversely, the applicant's lawyer had the cojones to suggest the project was, in his opinion, exempt from the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act, without saying why and, then, quickly offering that his client was happy to have the project be CEQA-applicable.

Similar tortured logic was employed by the traffic engineer, whose numbingly-long, statistics-heavy discourse stated that, while traffic has declined on Carbon Canyon Road, the Madrona project would add traffic.  Also striking was his insistence that 19 car trips over the CEQA-established threshold for what constitutes a "significant unavoidable adverse impact" was really insignificant.  This would be like saying that, if 1000 units of x was the threshold for extreme pollution, that having 1019 units of x for a given project would be no big deal! 

If something is bad, having 19 more of bad doesn't make it good, no?

Finally, the fire planning consultants, after glossing over the fact that there would have to be fire walls ringing the luxury home site as well as in-home sprinkler systems, which would ruin the contents if deployed, acknowledged brazenly that the "next big fire is coming."  But, this would be OK, because the measures put in place would provide for survivability.

Is that what a prospective buyer would want--to spend an estimated $1.2 million and up at Madrona, only to find out that the premium views will one day be of a burned-out moonscape torched by a wildfire, but that's fine, because at least their home has survived (if, indeed, it has)?

Finally, the news reports keep coming about the increasingly dire water situation in California and the western United States. Snow levels in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, a major source of water for the state, are at the lowest levels ever recorded--a staggering 12% of normal.  Lake Cachuma in Santa Barbara County has gone, in three mere years, to almost virtual disappearance.  The State Water Project announced this week that, for the first time in its 54 years of existence, that it cannot guarantee water supplies.  The state is creating a task force to take a long, hard look at the reality of long-term drought and what needs to be done for dealing with the likelihood of a lengthy continuation of the same.

Then, there is this piece in the New York Times that is worth reading if there are still people out there who don't feel that there is a crisis looming, especially the comment about the region being on track for the worst drought in the American West in 500 years, half a millennium!  And, the head of the "California Association of Water Agencies" described his "worry meter" as being the highest it's ever been.  Tom Vilsack, secretary of the federal Department of Agriculture, was quoted as saying that the drought was reason "to take climate change seriously."

Read the article here.

Water rationing, barring a "miracle March" and consistent rainfall over a few years, is almost certainly going to take place very soon, perhaps as early as next year.  Calls are out now for a moratorium on new home construction (read: Madrona) or on filling private swimming pools.  We could add public and private fountains and waterfalls; golf course lakes that serve no useful purpose except as challenges to players; and many more far-from-essential (mis)uses of water.

Madrona represents a completely outdated, outmoded, infeasible and inefficient model of home building that should have died with the 20th century.  Increasingly, we have to stop turning away from new realities and accept that there are going to have to establish different ways of living--in all manner of ways, not just home-building.

Really, from the time of post-World War II smog alerts arising in our region to Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, published in 1960, to the OPEC oil embargo of the early 1970s, to the water rationing of later that decade, and so forth--we should have been thinking more strategically and long-term about dealing with our environmental issues.

What does this have to do with Madrona?  Well, it's context and perspective, resources that often seem as preciously rare as our water is right now.

In any case, for whatever reasons seem to apply, those who are against the Madrona housing project have their last chance to speak and be on the record about it.  Come to the Brea City Hall council chambers on Tuesday night at 7 and let your voice be heard.  It can definitely make a difference, especially given the 3-2 vote of the Planning Commission five-and-a-half years ago!