Tag Archive | "Ridge"

Native Americans Are Not Artifacts, City Council Told


Ruben Aguirre, member of Tongva Nation and a descendant of the original occupiers of the Bolsa Chica upper mesa, told the Huntington Beach city council what he thought of the record of California Coastal Homes (previously known as Hearthside), the developer that  won city council approval to build 22 homes on a 5 acre parcel, one of the last two remaining spots of undeveloped but sacred Native American land located on the mesa, part of the Bolsa Chica wetlands ecosystem located in the city near Warner Avenue and Pacific Coast Highway.

Digging for artifacts on the Bolsa Chica mesa

Digging for artifacts on the Bolsa Chica upper mesa in 2001. Photo: Scientific Resource Surveys

The public hearing attracted hundreds of opponents and council members received 664 communications regarding the project, at least the vast majority of which were opposed. Nobody spoke in favor of the project at the except city staff, the developer and the city council majority of 5, who voted for the project. The vote included changing the parcel’s 26-year-old open space-park zoning designation to residential and exempting the developer from completing a rigorous Environmental Impact Report, which opponents say is required under state law.

The Surf City Voice will being reporting on this story periodically.

Ruben Aguirre’s comments are printed below and his city council presentation can be seen and heard in the video.

“I am here for my ancestors. That’s why I’m here. This gentleman, developer, you know him by name now, he had our ancestors prisoners for I forget how many years, in trailers and boxes. Now, I think any of you that would have your ancestors in boxes or in trailers, stored as artifacts, you would not stand for. When it comes to greed and money, that’s all they worry about, these developers. You as a council have the right, and you know in your hearts if it’s right or wrong, when there’s development or anything you have to do to take care of our wetlands, all the open space out there. I go over there and I pray, constantly. I am waiting for one of them to come and tell me I can’t pray there. I would like to see that for them to stop me from praying. That’s our sacred place, sacred land for all Native Americans that can come there. And its cogstones and its burials.  Where’s all these things? Where are they? Who has all of them? Where are they? Who has them? What right do they have? Because they found them or because this archaeologist, these grave robbers, grave diggers—and I will say it right out and I will say it in front of them: that’s what they are. And to make excuses, or this developer pays their own archaeologist, so they’re going to lie. You know, they keep on digging and bringing out remains, funerary objects; but it’s all artifacts, so they take them to museums, like I say, they put them away, you know? We are not artifacts. Native Americans are not artifacts. We are human beings just like everyone else here.”

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Question #1: City Council Candidates Speak Out on the Ridge


By John Earl
Surf City Voice

On July 6, 2010, the Huntington Beach City Council voted 5-1 to approve rezoning from open space/park to residential for a hotly disputed 5 acre patch of land on the Bolsa Chica upper mesa and to accept a Mitigated Negative Declaration for a 22 unit housing development proposed by California Coastal Communities (Hearthside Homes) for the site–instead of a more rigorous Environmental Impact Report.

To many Native Americans, the entire area is a holy site that should be left alone out of respect for their ancestors. To preservationists it is also a place of natural wonder linked to the Bolsa Chica wetlands ecosystem that should be kept natural to help maintain the city’s already limited open spaces.

The current owner of the site says that Native American burial remains and artifacts are unlikely to be found there and that the project will not have significant impacts on cultural or environmental resources that can’t be properly mitigated for.

The following question was submitted to every Huntington Beach City Council candidate as the first in an ongoing series to be published between now and the day before election in November, 2010.

On July 6, 2010 the Huntington Beach City Council will consider an appeal of the city planning commission’s approval of rezoning 5 acres of land on the upper Bolsa Chica mesa (known as the Ridge) from open space/park to residential and its approval of a Mitigated Negative Declaration for a 22 unit housing development on the site.

If you were an elected member of the city council, how would you vote (or how would you have voted if you answer after the city council meeting) on the appeal of the Huntington Beach Planning Commission’s decisions (noted above) on the Ridge site? Would you vote (yes) to uphold the appeal in whole or in part? Explain which part of parts of the appeal you would uphold or not uphold and the reasons for your decision in each case.

The following candidates submitted answers in the requested format within the deadline requested. Readers are encouraged to post their responses to any of the answers posted by the candidates, to ask them questions, challenge or praise them. Candidates may answer readers and post questions for other candidates as well. Please keep all comments within the spirit of constructive debate and keep your comments to the issues.

Respondents are listed in alphabetical order. Read the full story

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Free the Bolsa Chica Mesa Now? Not likely, but there’s always ‘purposeful grading’


By John Earl
Surf City Voice

The upper Bolsa Chica mesa’s mile-long ridge demonstrates the mixed grandeur of the Surf City region with a wide view of the Santa Ana river basin below, where the largest wetlands restoration project in California is locked between urban sprawl and the Pacific Ocean.

The mesa has changed a lot since its first human settlers arrived over 9,000 years ago to create the Acjahemen Nation. Soon, it will change again by the hands of a more powerful, corporate, nation.

Parts of the mesa have revealed some of the most important archaeological discoveries made in America. More discoveries are sure to come, archeologists say, but their exact locations and how to best preserve them are in dispute. Buried somewhere on its northeast corner, in the area of two undeveloped side by side lots, are the only remaining accessible human records of its mysterious past.

To many Native Americans, the entire area is a holy site that should be left alone out of respect for their ancestors. “That whole area was a major village [with] a high concentration of everyday life activity,” Tongva tribal leader Anthony Morales told the Voice in 2008.

The Tongva are the descendants of the second wave of human inhabitants of the Bolsa Chica mesa. They started arriving between 2,000 and 3,500 years ago. The Ajachemen and Tongva consider the site to be very spiritual and sacred.

Native Americans protest Brightwater on the upper Bolsa Chica mesa. Photo: Surf City Voice

For California Coastal Communities, the bankrupt but legal owner of one of the lots and the representative for the owner of the other (both lots are located on the SE corner of Bosla Chica Rd. and Los Patos Ave.), development of the corner may provide some of the financial salvation, if not the spiritual or scientific enlightenment, that it needs. Read the full story

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Joe Carchio on the Ridge: ‘I think maybe it should remain sensitive.’


Joe Carchio, interviewed by the Surf City Voice on May 4, 2010.

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