Friday, July 19, 2013

Faustinos says programming is 'meat and potatoes' but continues to push for big box water museum

The former head of the San Gabriel River Discovery Center Authority and the Rivers and Mountains Conservancy, Belinda Faustinos, delivered a report from the water museum's foundation to the authority board at the latter's July 11 meeting.

The report was revealing in the contrast between what even she concedes is of highest value at Whittier Narrows and what she insists is the unchanged goal of the authority.

Judging from the lack of emphasis on the fundraising accomplishments of the foundation -- ostensibly its raison d'etre -- it's clear that the organization has secured little, if any, funding beyond what the project received out of ratepayer and taxpayer dollars years ago -- and which has by now been spent with little to show for it.

Instead she emphasized two other things.

First, she emphasized the foundation's support for programming at the wildlife sanctuary, which she called the "meat and potatoes."

It is through programming that "children in the community" are helped to understand that which they vitally need to understand regarding nature and natural resources, she said.

It was truly heartening to hear Belinda Faustinos, champion of the big box water museum, say that.  

But then . . .

She returned to the actual reason for the foundation's existence -- and perhaps the reason for her continuing involvement: construction of the 14,000-square-foot big box water museum.

It's tragic. She cites Richard Louv's theory of "nature-deficit disorder" to prop up the goal of replacing trees, shrubs and soil, and the fauna they support, with a building that no one wants -- apparently not even the authority board, which is exploring far smaller alternatives.

Perhaps she mis-hears herself when she speaks and thinks Louv was concerned about "building-deficit disorder."

People who suffer from that ailment are called developers.

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