Still No Water

I was really hopeful to have water, but I’m sad to report no water.

So what was done?

Dues collected from the 85 gardeners who have not had water. A notice was put up and then taken down after about 7 days. It was more like 2 days for collection of dues since I was there on the first day and Carlos was not in the office at the allocated time to collect money.

No emails were sent to them, no calls were made, no attempt to be proactive by “The Board” to notify people, except for a posted notice. I’m sorry to say, gardeners might have lost their gardens since they did not have a chance to see the dues notice. This is unfair to them. How could they anticipate this after so many years of no water when the notice was going to be put up? There should be an appeals process put in place to rectify this issue.

New LA Garden Counsel rules were given to us. I have compared the rules to other gardens, and the main rule that say’s gardens should be for the residents of San Pedro was missing. Other community gardens have this requirement and so should the San Pedro All Year Community Gardens.

As for the water – it appears as if it was a pipe that was already connected. The shut-off valve was simply turned on to allow water to move to our side of the garden.

The gardens at the top benefit because of the water pipe location and being turned on. It never reaches the bottom gardeners who are affected the most severely from not having water for years. This tells me, no additional piping was done to fix the water problems and supply water with proper pressure to all the lower gardens.

“The Board” has once again done a below expectation job of implementing this new water system. Right now, it’s simply a schedule. Until more thought, and all gardens are getting water fairly will not improve our gardens. For now, there is NO water.

LA Community Garden Council Brought To Help

Taken directly from the LA Community Garden Council.

“The Gaffey Street Community Garden in San Pedro was founded more than 40 years ago on a 4-acre site owned by the Los Angeles City Bureau of Sanitation, one mile west of the port of San Pedro and alongside the 110 freeway.  There are 200 families working 15’ x 15’ plots to grow healthy food in the garden.  Los Angeles Community Garden Council is working to revitalize this garden and we have hired a consultant community organizer to work with the gardeners to organize an effective volunteer management team and regular gardener meetings. ”

To Summarize:
They are going to Revitalize the garden
-Hired a Consultant to organize a volunteer management team of gardeners

Revitalize is a big word, but what does it mean? I don’t know what their scope is when calling it a revitalization. Will wait to see more as the days get closer.

Not sure who the consultant is, but hey, if this is what it takes to get Carlos and the existing “Board” gone, then so be it.

This project is listed below 4 other projects. This means our San Pedro Community Gardens will still not have water for a few more years – its already been 3 years.

I hope the Los Angeles Community Garden Council can help provide us with a temporary water solution before coming in to revitalize our gardens.

Update: Still No Water 3 Years Later

Coming up to the 3 year Anniversary of No Water at the garden.

Over 900 days and counting of no water by the city. This issue has been brought to their attention and in-decision and in-action has been the Los Angeles City decision.

There has been no interrim solution, which could have easily been implemented. Instead, they chose to simply let indecision be their defining strategy.

A temporary day could have been set aside for those to carry water in buckets, or a hose pipe attached to the Department of Sanitation 1-day per week could have also helped out gardeners.

Now, I see there are no gardeners left on the Northside. I carry 5 gallons buckets into my garden. This is not considerate for the elderly who cannot do this or injured.

Gardens on a Closed Sanitary Landfill 1977

Been to the garden many times.

Never noticed this sign posted. It was so easy to miss.

It was not well maintained. The sign was old, the writing was faded in with the background and hardly readable. The sign was posted not at eye level, and posted in a very forgetful spot.

 

sanitary landfill closed 1977
Gaffey Street Sanitary Landfill

Here is what the sign reads:

Gaffey Street
Sanitary Landfill
1400 North Gaffey Street
San Pedro, CA
Closed Sanitary Landfill
Date of Closure 1977
No Dumping
L.A.M.C…

This land is trash, literally.

Gardeners I hope you understand this when getting a garden here. I was not made aware of this at the time of signing my garden plot. This might make some people uneasy knowing what lies under their gardens.

This might be somewhat of an issue now that the city is involved in its management. They have to disclose this vital information to gardeners when getting a plot here.

In 1978 gardeners were welcomed here to garden shortly after closure.

What else could be done about a closed municipal landfill? Turn it into something positive like a garden. At least, that might have been the thought about 40 years ago. The soccer field adjacent is also a trash field.

Came upon some interesting data about the closure of this facility and the monitoring plans.

Broken Pipe That Started It All

This broken water pipe was discovered in the Sanitation Area, that General Services also uses.

This pipe was responsible for 70 gardeners not being able to garden and water plants.

This was discovered over a year ago. Both Carlos and Nicole were aware of its location and told gardeners it was in the process of being fixed or fixed already.

It has been over 1000 days now without water, or little water. Nothing has been fixed.

I know this, somebody broke this pipe on purpose. It was beneath concrete. A lot of force was needed to break this pipe.

Later all the hardware levers for that pipe were mysteriously removed 20 days later.

Photos were taken on 2/2/17 (with levers).

This is more than suspicious.

I understand the Sanitation department was worried about the charges for the water usage, there are better methods to address this problem than what was done.

I worry about this organization which is meant to serve the public when its employees advocate these types of behaviors and the organization is ultimately responsible.

Photos were taken on 2/22/17 (levers off)

Sanitation, general services, and the city should work together to get us water again.

There is an easy solution to either fix the broken pipe or to install a new water meter for the gardeners. With the resources of all 4 groups that use this are, this fix should be easy and fast.

 

Remove The Unqualified

The hand-off of the San Pedro All Year Community Gardens from the old pay-to-garden gardeners to the city was handled with recklessness, and now it has been over 950 days since the garden has had no water. Some do, but many don’t get water.

It has been over 2 years since the city has taken over, and still no water.

Let’s review…

The City took over about the end of 2013. They shoved this workload onto 3 city officials. The only official person I have talked to in-person was Nicole Deering, the City Manager for the San Pedro City. The other names I have heard was Jacob and another person.

Since the Gardens were not their expertise and were not trained on how to deal with a garden in transition, they simply relied on Carlos who was appointed to help out with the Garden. This is a volunteer position which the term was for 2 years before someone new was allowed to have the position.

It has been over 4 years Carlos has had this position and unfit. He actively promotes gerrymandering, he intimidates people, does not communicate to gardeners of change, he does not attend meetings, he is biased toward certain gardeners, he does not include all gardeners in meetings, he translates from Spanish to English in different words, and he simply cannot get anything accomplished. He is unfit for the job and the City of San Pedro allows an unqualified person to represent them on issues for official announcements for the Garden. This is an important role and this is who they pick. His time is up.

So, here we are with city officials who are unqualified to run a garden and they appoint an unqualified person to be their appointed spokesperson.

This is not a very good representation for Joe Buscaino since he is letting down eco-gardeners by delegating this important job to random people. You are letting down 300 or more gardeners.

I represent those who are too afraid to speak up, the old, the migrants, the people do not speak English, those who are afraid of Carlos, yes they are afraid of him, the non-tech savvy, the uninformed, those without cell phones, and those who just want to garden and not deal with politics.

The best option is to involve gardeners from San Pedro who can make a real difference. Remove all the “old” administrators and start over. Let the gardeners make the garden decisions, and the San Pedro City be our alley to navigate political nuances that they know best.

 

Separate The Garden

The garden is in a precarious position.

Currently, as it is laid out, it belongs to the city but the garden exists because the Department of Sanitation has allowed it.

There are also other players that have access to the same area which makes implementing quick changes to the gardens harder because of all the city departments involved and the wasted time finding out who is in-charge and putting in requests, to try to have a broken water pipe prepared.

  1. City Sanitation
  2. General Services
  3. Street Maintenance
  4. Mulching services
  5. Recycle center

All operate from the same general area. There is no clear divisions from what I have come to understand.

San Pedro needs to recognize the San Pedro Community Gardens as it’s own individual organization with its own self governing rules. Right now we are at the mercy of too many departments and not having water for 820 days is not a good reflection on the city of San Pedro for trying to be progressive and “green”.