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Home / Neighborhood / San Gabriel Valley / Pasadena Independent / A Minivan Full of People Against a Legion of Archers.

A Minivan Full of People Against a Legion of Archers.

by Pasadena Independent
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By Nick Kipley


The children in favor of Pasadena Roving Archery Range – Photo by Nick Kipley

The City Council meeting on Monday night, Feb. 2nd, went on for a full eight hours and well over a hundred taxpayers and citizens from all over Southern California turned up.
Early in the night, Chief of Police Phillip L. Sanchez gave a report on the recent spike in violence in Northwest Pasadena, spurring residents to rally together in the public comment portion of his remarks.
Citizens North of the 210 and West of Lake Avenue claimed that they only needed a little help and funding from the city to create more after school sports, park-based programs, and ways to fill vacant public space with positive influence.
At the end of the session, several members of the community concluded that in order to favorably impact the youth of Pasadena more inexpensive, family-based outdoor activities were needed in order to create a positive change in not just one neighborhood, but in all of Pasadena.
This was immediately followed by a proposal by a group calling themselves the “Stewards of Public Land” whose mission is to greatly limit a specific inexpensive, family-based, outdoor activity whom opponents of the Stewards claim has created a positive change in not just one neighborhood, but in all of Pasadena—Pasadena Roving Archers.
Proponents of the archery range claim that the archers have beautified the arroyo, that they tend to the region, and nearby residents have said in the past that they feel like the archers make an area safe that would otherwise be a vacant swathe of land (like the civic activity-devoid parks in Northwest Pasadena that the residents claim are attributing to the recent spike in violent crime).
Although Mayor Bogaard’s wife is an outspoken member of the Stewards of Public Land, (the Mayor claimed that this fact had absolutely no effect on his final vote) the group is not, according to their website in a section called “setting the record straight,” comprised of “West Pasadena Elitists.”
They are instead—as made very clear by Dianne Philibosian—a group comprised of nature-loving West Pasadenans who just want to be able to walk through the Lower Arroyo and not be hit by an arrow.
And to be fair, that’s a reasonable request.
Unfortunately, literally every person who publicly commented on behalf of the Pasadena Roving Archers—a number in the low fifties—as well as every member of the City Council, a document known as the Lower Arroyo Master Plan, the City Manager, and even the people opposed to the archery range admitted that there is, in fact, a newly renovated walking path that totally avoids the field archery range, and it is maintained by the City of Pasadena.
So, rather than make an argument that might lump them into the elitist camp, for example, “When I stand in the back yard of my hilltop estate, upon the earthen terrace overlooking the nature preserve, I don’t mind looking down at the thicket of wild oak and at the architecturally significant bridge, so long as I know I’m not going to get shot from an errant arrow fired from America’s oldest field archery range,” the Stewards for Public Land have different reasons for not wanting an archery range.
The Stewards of Public Land claim that their reason for not wanting the archery range is because they really want to be able to walk through a space that has unfortunately been occupied by a live field archery range for the past eighty years.
“So here I am before you. Privileged. Powerful. Totally unsympathetic with children,” said Philibosian in heavily self-deprecating overtones that the Independent would like to objectively state affected not a single person in the room at 1 a.m. on this particular Monday night.
Then, without another hint of the above-mentioned self-irony, she continued, “I believe for those of you that know me know me as a very egalitarian individual. And that I’m often here voicing the concerns of those who cannot voice them for themselves.”
This right away set the entire crowd slightly on edge. Of the majority of those who spoke up to keep the range, many seemed to consciously be struggling with that daunting, almost Kafkaesque task of having to earnestly convey a passion to an indifferent-looking panel of politicians.
The Independent would like to stress that of the sixty plus speakers in the Public Comment section for this proposal, a very conservative estimate would place those who spoke wholly in favor of keeping the range made up approximately 90%.
Their argument time and time again seemed to circle the great appreciation and respect that the archers have for the Arroyo and the positive effects archery can have on one’s life.
As was stated by Tryphena Elliott, a young woman of all of about 13 years old, “Many people who tried archery like it so much they bought their own equipment. If you shut down the range Monday through Friday, what will they do with their equipment? … Please think of how much fun archery could be if the range could stay where it is.”
Prior to Ms. Philibosian speaking, several young archers spoke before the council. Amongst them was 2016 Rio Olympic Hopeful, Amanda Tamayo. Tamayo has been an archer for five years now and is already nationally ranked and is going to try out for the U.S. Woman’s Olympic team. She has been recruited by Berkeley’s archery team, and practices in the Lower Arroyo 40 hours a week. Rumor has it, field archery might become a new medal sport in the Olympics, and since Pasadena has the oldest field archery range in the nation, the Lower Arroyo could very soon become the U.S.’s center for a new internationally recognized sport. In an interview with Tamayo, the young athlete didn’t like the idea of using the old police shooting range as proposed in the meeting, given that the site would only be good for target-shooting. “Plus, wouldn’t it cost the city money to clean up the lead in the ground?” she pointed out.
A young woman named Miss Carolyn Gruss, a nationally ranked 16-year-old AP student who uses the range weekly to hone her skills said (while phalanxed by approximately ten other kids) “If you kick the Archers out of the Arroyo Secco, the very privileged section of the community can retain the notion that their influence entitles them to reserve access to the park. I trust that you will be able to make the decision that benefits the most people, rather than the powerful few.”
Ms. Philibosian, who was unaware that the Independent’s tape-recorder was running and that she was sitting directly next to it, gasped with disgust at the word, “entitles,” and then muttered to herself, “This is amazing to me…” when Miss Gruss made the Robin Hood corollary with the words, “powerful few.”
Ms. Philibosian’s speech, though, did claim that the lower arroyo was one of the last wooded areas in all of southern Pasadena. “I take up the rights of children and advocate actively for children throughout the city,” she humbly informed a room peppered with children from throughout the city; “However I am also an environmentalist and I care about children and their opportunities to experience nature in the way it was meant to be experienced. In a natural, whole, unorganized setting without rules, regulations or restrictions. … This is one of the only places in the Lower Arroyo you can hike through a shaded area IF! you hike through the archery range. And I have almost been shot by an arrow by an archer standing in the wrong place.”
Several people booed openly, but quietly.
James MacQuarrie went up next and laid down what hours of frustration had boiled down to, “Some people don’t wanna walk on that nice trail. They wanna walk on this eighth of a mile. I can’t walk on that nice trail; I have to walk twenty yards to the left. I have to. And I don’t understand why. ”
“I just explained why,” Ms. Philibosian mumbled.
It was at this point that Ms. Philibosian realized that this reporter from Independent was recording the entire council meeting. She promptly switched seats with her lawyer.
After literally hours of this, another lawyer shifted conversation to “private property” regarding complaints of one Arroyo landowner who had collected dozens of arrows over an unspecified amount of time (which Vice Mayor Robinson and others said was beside the point, given no official slough of complaints exist on record of these arrows in the files of any civic or police authority). The vote came down to changing the semantics of two articles that, for some reason, would take the power out of the hands of the council and the public and put it instead in the hands of Mr. Michael Beck, City Manager.
“I don’t understand why the city manager needs this power,” was mentioned by Torneck, Madison, McAustin and Kennedy before Beck decided to backpedal and claim that it’s all just semantics and gaining power wasn’t his intention. The council voted to pass resolutions 1-5 but to remove Resolution 4. About a minute later, the council changed its mind and decided to re-include Resolution 4 but only after a word was changed and a period added to the middle of a long sentence.
Then, it was discovered that the Pasadena Roving Archers had lost their non-profit status about two weeks back, effectively making official negotiations with the city impossible until they re-acquire this status.
The meeting was adjourned and everyone left looking defeated and exhausted.


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