Tag Archives: Bolsa Chica

Not So ‘Wise Guy’ Jersey Joe Takes City $, Threatens 9-11 War When Caught

By John Earl
Surf City Voice

Sunday, Sept. 26, was a hot day in Surf City.

For me, however, most of the heat came from a chance encounter on a street corner with a local politician, not from the late blooming summer sun.

That politician, Joseph John Carchio, a.k.a. Jersey Joe, possible former owner of Jersey Joe’s Italian Eatery at 424 Olive Street, would insult my integrity as a person and a journalist multiple times; no problem there, that goes with the territory.

But I was shocked—and nerve racked for the rest of the day—when Carchio, an otherwise congenial member of the Huntington Beach City Council since 2006, and with whom I had enjoyed a professional but cordial acquaintance the past four years, lashed out. In a fit of intense anger, expressed with squinted eyes, a tightly stretched face and deliberately pronounced words, Jersey Joe, everybody’s friend, threatened me with dire warnings of “war” and “9-11.”

Was the threat just a bluff of hot air from a reelection candidate, who is desperately trying to hold on to his seat on the council, amid embarrassing revelations by the Surf City Voice that he could have to pay back thousands of dollars to the taxpayers for health benefits that he had kept his ex-wife signed up for even after their divorce, a divorce which he had not revealed to the city or the public while maintaining on his two Facebook web sites that he is married and has eight children?

No doubt, with the emergence of Measure O—the city ballot infrastructure proposition that is partly aimed at the alleged excesses of the city’s public employees—in a time of great economic hardship and budget cutbacks for the city, the otherwise unemployed city councilperson has landed in the worst crisis of his political life. Continue reading Not So ‘Wise Guy’ Jersey Joe Takes City $, Threatens 9-11 War When Caught

Special Event: Jim & Sylvia Gallagher on the Birds of Bolsa Chica

Renown birder Sylvia Gallagher and photographer Jim Gallagher will be the guest speakers at a town forum hosted by the Bolsa Chica Land Trust. Sylvia’s birding classes are always in high demand, so this is an outstanding opportunity for birders and nature lovers to hear from Sylvia and Jim about the awesome avians that frequent the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve in Orange County.

September 23, 2010
at: Huntington Beach Public Library Room C/D
7111 Talbert Ave (at Goldenwest)

more info: Bolsa Chica Land Trust, 714-846-1001, www.bolsachicalandtrust.org

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

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

Monster vs. Coyote: the Great Surf City Land War continues

A long time ago, before people inhabited the earth, a monster walked upon the land, eating all the animals except Coyote. In anger, Coyote attached himself to the top of the highest mountain and challenged the monster to try to eat him. The monster tried to suck in Coyote with its powerful breath, but the ropes were too strong. The monster tried other ways to eat Coyote, but it was no use.

Realizing that Coyote was sly and clever, the monster thought of a new plan. It would befriend Coyote by inviting him into its home. But first, Coyote asked if he could enter the monster’s stomach to see his friends. The monster allowed this, but Coyote cut out its heart and set fire to its insides. His friends were freed. From the monster’s body parts Coyote made the indigenous nations and they flourished. —Adapted from on a summary of the Nez Perce tale of Coyote, the Creator, written by Terri J. Andrew. Turquoise Butterfly Press.

By John Earl
Surf City Voice

In March, Huntington Beach residents living on the edges of the Bolsa Chica Wetlands and the Naval Weapons Station packed a study session held by the city council and Chief of Police Kenneth Small, joined by state Fish & Game and Orange County Animal Control officials.

Metropolitan coyotes: An increasing common sight in the suburbs
Metropolitan coyotes: An increasingly common sight in the suburbs. (Photo not in Huntington Beach)

The citizens were snarling mad. Coyotes were invading their neighborhoods and city officials hadn’t done enough to stop them, they said. The citizens made it clear they weren’t going to take it anymore.

The emotionally charged meeting was a skirmish in the proverbial land war that has dominated the history of the American west since its first European explorers and would-be conquerors set foot on its soil centuries ago.

Until recently, there was no doubt about who was winning that war. But now, the coyotes are fighting back and seem to be winning.

Lisa Comacho, who lives near the weapon station’s wide open fields, sounded desperate and angry as she described to the officials a homeland under siege.

Seven pets and been killed on her street in the past week, she claimed. The coyotes are more aggressive than ever and they no longer fear people. Instead, they growl at them and stalk them when they walk their dogs, she said.

“The other day they ripped into a friend’s rabbit cage….They’re killing dogs and cats,” she complained.

Comacho expressed her ultimate fear, the same fear held by others at the meeting. “All I know is that we bought homes to live comfortably and safely and we can’t let our children out. Babies can’t go in the back yard….What we’re looking at is someday a child getting hurt or killed.”

One young mother said that her cat had been killed by a coyote and that a coyote had torn a dog on her street into three pieces. Sobbing, she pleaded for her daughter’s safety. “Is it going to take my daughter to get attacked in order for you guys to do something?” Continue reading Monster vs. Coyote: the Great Surf City Land War continues