Yesterday, a federal public hearing on the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument designation was held in Baldwin Park’s Performing Arts Center. An estimated 600 supporters and opponents were at the hearing with hundreds outside the venue after the auditorium reached capacity. Congress woman Judy Chu, County Supervisor-elect Hilda Solis, and U.S. Forest Service Chief Thomas Tidwell were on the panels addressing various issues pertaining to the national monument option.
Member organizations of the San Gabriel Mountains Forever Coalition worked very hard the past two weeks specifically on rallying people to the hearing. The result was a highly energized group both inside and outside the venue.
BikeSGV and Day One volunteers, staff, friends, and family came from El Monte, Pasadena, and Pomona to support a National Monument designation for the San Gabriels.
Although many of us were forced to stay outside, the atmosphere was joyous. Various community groups that came to call on President Obama for national monument status mingled with each other. Stories were shared in many language from different community organizations. The diverse crowd represented the diversity and cohesiveness the people of the San Gabriel Valley.
We may not have been able to share our stories with the panel, but we were able to ignite each other by talking about our personal stories about the San Gabriel Mountains. Toward the end of the event, US Forest Service Chief Thomas Tidwell came outside to address the crowd. Most of the crowd stayed throughout the hearing.
He took questions and explained some of the points that were discussed inside the venue. We applaud his efforts to reach out to the people directly.
Overall, there may have been some disappointment but we were even more ecstatic that so many people showed up in support.
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