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Letters: The Mighty L.A.

August 22, 2013
  • Paddling up a lazy L.A. River is a pleasant notion to restoration advocates, but it should be noted that most of the water in the channel is reclaimed sewage.
Paddling up a lazy L.A. River is a pleasant notion to restoration advocates,… (Francine Orr / Los Angeles…)

Re “Angelenos' vision of their river is a made-up memory,” Perspective, Aug. 16

Regarding your article on river memories: I was born in Los Angeles in 1939. The first time I saw a river outside of Los Angeles, I said to my parents: “Look at the funny river; it's got water in it.”

Bob Fenton

No matter where our nostalgia lies, Angelenos need to come together to re-imagine our river as the latest public destination.

We don't want the broken-glass river the author grew up with in the 1950s. And we don't want the river that flooded Los Angeles in the 1930s. We want a multi-use river worthy of our world-class city.

We are already finding ways to improve water quality such as constructed wetlands, on-site retention of urban runoff, natural hydrologic features and site-specific best management practices.

Ultimately, we need to make the river what we want it to be — a place where families can ride bikes, play in parks and connect with a new Los Angeles.

Omar Brownson
Los Angeles
The writer is executive director of Los Angeles River Revitalization Corp.

Advocates of revitalizing the L.A. River and its tributaries are driven not by nostalgia but by knowledge of the city's history and a keen sense of the potential of a revitalized river to transform the urban landscape, leading to a greener, more vital city with a great linear park that millions can enjoy.

Now we are engaged in a process of reconsidering channelization and its effects. There are extraordinary opportunities to combine flood protection with green solutions, retaining storm water in new parks that, similar to Balboa Park, would flood occasionally.

Yes, the dry season water does indeed come largely from the Tillman plant. It's good, clean water. Get used to it.

Arthur Golding
Los Feliz
The writer is an architect and urban designer

Most of us already know what the L.A. River was (and wasn't) before it was channeled in the 1940s.

That doesn't mean its path cannot be a beautiful thread that helps better stitch Los Angeles together. That's what L.A. River enthusiasts seek.

Thomas Bliss
Sherman Oaks

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