Monday, March 26, 2012

Losing California history

CC Liu, Xochitl, Pfc. Sandoval, Wisdom Quarterly; California Report (Parks on the Rocks)
Burning California -- annual summer fires are a metaphor for torching historical sites (

"California" is much older than the United States. The USA did not create the country's largest, most vibrant, and arguably most influential state. It annexed it, taking it from Mexico. Its last governor under Mexican rule, Pio Pico, made quite an impact. There is a large park, one of the least visited in California, that is now threatened with closure. And with it goes the tangible evidence of the state's lengthy history prior to becoming part of the USA. Is that the intention of the budget managers in Sacramento or just a fortuitous artifact of the economic crunch? There are many things that might have been cut, but in an Orwellian world, there is nothing more fit for forgetting than history.
Wisdom Quarterly will soon begin a series of explorations into the "Mexican Buddhism" of Los Angeles with Eddie Escalante of the University of the West (Hsi Lai). Just as in the past, the area around Pio Pico is a thriving suburb starved for spiritual meaning, a blended community of Buddhist temples and Spanish-speaking homes. And the Dharma, being of universal value without discrimination, is unbounded.

Losing Pio Pico
Madeleine Brand Show (, March 26, 2012)
LOS ANGELES, California - If a state park that hardly anyone goes to closes, does it matter? Pio Pico is one of the state's least-visited parks. But the history that reverberates inside the park walls still resonates with issues shaping California today, reports The California Report's Krissy Clark.

Once upon a time in California, when the state was still a dusty backwater, the Fandango was the latest dance craze, and the official language was Spanish, there lived a man named Pio de Jesus Pico, the last governor of the state under Mexican rule.

Now and then Pico still makes appearances at the state park named in his honor, wearing his signature top hat and a white bushy beard. "Thank you for coming to my house,” he told a recent group of history buffs and families who were passing by: "Mi casa es su casa" [literally, "My house is your house," too].

The bearded visage doesn't really belong to Pio Pico of course -- he died in 1894. But Roberto Garza, a local educator, impersonates Pico for events like the park's annual fiesta.

Pico, Garza explains to the crowd, was born in 1801, just down the road at Mission San Gabriel. His parents had walked there from Sonora, Mexico, with the Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza. Pico bought this land, what he called El Ranchito or "the little ranch," in the 1840s. More

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