Tuesday, March 29, 2011

70 feet of petition signatures opposing Discovery Center delivered to authority board March 21

Friends President Jim Odling wrote today:

The board of the San Gabriel River Discovery Center Authority got a surprise at its meeting last week when members of the Friends of the Whittier Narrows Natural Area delivered more than 1,100 petition signatures opposing the authority’s $22 million taxpayer-funded water museum.

Friends board members Ed Barajas, Michael Barba and I delivered the signatures — the vast majority coming from people living and working in the Whittier Narrows area — as a 70-foot banner, which stretched out from one end of the board room to the other.

You can watch a video of our presentation here:

You, our many terrific supporters, made this dramatic and important moment possible.

Your signatures and signature gathering efforts are sending a clear message to officials that the community wants the Whittier Narrows wildlife sanctuary and its nature center preserved.

As I said in my comments to the board, the signatures represent an incredible spectrum of the community, including Latinos, Native Americans, community and environmental activists, volunteer docents and more than 200 local high school and college students, among others.

These 1,100 voices are the most recent expression of concern over the destruction and waste promised by the Discovery Center project — concern that has been growing.

Last November, the Gabrieleno Band of Mission Indians announced their opposition to the project. Local chapters of the Sierra Club, Audubon Society and California Native Plant Society pulled out of the project booster club last year. And in 2008 the county’s environmental review board deemed the project “incompatible” with the Whittier Narrows Significant Ecological Area.

Together we can help save the Whittier Narrows wildlife sanctuary, the community’s access to firsthand experiences of nature there and our evermore-scarce financial resources.

Thank you for your continuing support.

Jim Odling
President, Friends of the Whittier Narrows Natural Area