Who Is Really In Charge?

san pedro city gardens

About 6 years ago I tried to get a garden in San Pedro All Year Community Gardens. I walked around and found some gardeners. They did not speak English, so I communicated as best as I could with them. I was told the guy would be there on Monday’s and drove a white truck – to look for him. I did, and found him.

He was a complete fraud. He wanted cash up-front and he said there was a 5 year wait to get a garden, and once again did not speak English. I felt uneasy about all of these barriers to entry.

When I refused to pay his extra demands in cash to get my name ahead of the others, he just wrote my name on a broke piece of paper and his Englished seemed to get progessively worst with me and then communication was difficult. It was obvious, there was pay-to-garden policy going on at the time and preferential treatment taking place.

This after this, this went on for 3 more years or so. The city then came in an took over. There were complaints about the garden and the city stepped in.

This was good and bad. The city became more aware of the problems. Nicole Deering, City Services Manager, was listed as the contact person for the city. She was over-whelmed with the issues and how to correct them.

Part of the reason, is there is a “board” and a person named Carlos is responsible for some issues and reporting back to Nicole Deering. This is an unoffical role, and between the 2 of them there is no accountability.  About 80% of the gardeners do not like how Carlos advocates for the gardeners. He must be completely removed as he is a remnant of the of regime of pay-to-garden. Not only that, he allows gardeners he has known for many years to break garden rules on the contract we all signed when getting a garden.

Garden meetings are never recorded and only certain people are invited. This must be changed also. All gardeners should be notified and allowed to attend. The decisions affect all gardeners and being able to take part gives gardeners a sense of belonging.

Even though the city is in charge of the gardens now, they must include the gardeners who want to improve the San Pedro Community Gardens. Otherwise, this will not work out as well as it can.

Gardeners Who Don’t Follow The Rules

san pedro gardens

Some gardeners get away with murder (figuratively).

They are some of the biggest offenders of water because of the size of their land and the number of trees they grow.

One that I know of has sugarcane, multiple over-grown avocado trees, guava trees, pomogranate trees, and who knows what other tree inside of his plot.

He also has a big shed and a bbq pit with table and chairs.

All these offenses are against the community garden rules, but for some reason he is not brought into compliance with the rules we all have to follow. The city is aware of this person and ignores him.

The main reason this is unjust and unfair to all the other gardners following the San Pedro Community garden rules is that he gets away with it. Second, is I’m sure with all the fruit and vegetables he is growing that either he is selling them for profit, or letting them fall and rot on the ground. The third, most important one, is he is the biggest user of water and he get first access to the water source first because of his garden location and water pipe location.

What does this mean? Well, he uses a lot of water which costs the city a lot of money. In a time when we are fighting the city of San Pedro to get water back on to our plots, he must be brought into compliance or his plot revoked. Otherwise, he will just continue to cost the city more money. He is just one, there are many other cases like this.

We are all affected by the drought and his offenses along with others have cost 67 gardens to not have water for almost a year. The city has told me the cost for water is “the water costs millions”. Well, I would ask him first to pay you, then turn on the water. As far a I’m concerned “millions” is an outrageous figure as stated by our City Services Manager.

It has now been about 300 days some of us gardeners have not had water. Thanks Nicole Deering and Joe Buscaino of the Harbor District Office.

Water Inequality

San Pedro Community Gardens

Currently approximately 67 gardeners do not have equal water distribution. While others are fine and enjoying the Spring, there is another section that has been dead for 9 months.

As of May 1, 2017, there has been no water from approximately August 1, 2016 to today. That is over 9 months.

The San Pedro City Manager Nicole Deering is the one accountable to get this fixed. Many meetings with her have not yielded results yet.

The City does however, require all 67 gardeners to still pay their yearly fee, or face late fees and the possibility of losing their garden.

We pay for the city to provide water. Just image paying for water at home, not getting any from the city, and then having to still pay for something you don’t get. This is unjust by the San Pedro City.

Nicole has mentioned resolving this issue could take as long as 2 years. According to her, we have to pay for the privilege of having a garden and just have to deal with trekking in water until the City can get to it. Many gardeners are older and this is not feasible, and this is well known to the city.

The gardeners do not have a favorable opinion of the city because of the politics they play. They have had numerous calls to get this fixed and nothing seems to get done, or get done fast. Fixing a pipe does not take 9 months even for city government.

The City of San Pedro needs to be more accountable for this water inequality. The longer the solution takes, the more they favor inequality. We are better than that.

Welcome San Pedro Community Gardens

This website is dedicated to disseminating information about the San Pedro Community Gardens, located in the city of San Pedro.

The San Pedro community gardens have a rich history dating back about 40-years ago. It was started approximately in 1978. It was first a city landfill and soil and dirty was placed over the landfill. I was told it started with one person gardening there, then more followed suit. Currently, there are about 267 community gardens. Gardeners represent all cities within the Los Angeles area.

Plots are given out based on a lottery based system. The current administrators to the San Pedro Community Gardens are the City of San Pedro. If you would like to apply for a plot, the official city contact is Nicole (no longer there) at the city.

This website has been set up to help create more transparency between all stakeholders involved. There are many problems with the garden, but we remain hopeful the city of San Pedro will get it organized so everybody can enjoy gardening here.

If you would have any questions, please email me.