“The L. A. River is what??” -Jan 2001


Okay, so I recently got a subscription to Mother Jones magazine. And it just kicks ass! The November + December 2000 issue was particularly good. The article that struck me the most was entitled “The Same River Twice”. It’s about the Los Angeles River, it’s history, and the ensuing mess they’ve made of it. (You know, the usual “they”)

I remember during my relatively short, treacherous, disheartening stint living in L.A., one day I decided “Hey, let’s check out the river!”I remember seeing it on the maps of my Thomas Guide. (In joke for the California dwellers). A little nature is good for the soul, and mine needed some repairing. I figure it out, I get in my car and I maneuver myself through the valley to the river. I get out of my car, all excited like, and hop on over to the bank and look down from the little bridge I stood on.

They PAVED the blessed river!!!!! Can you believe that crap? How L.A.! At least they’re consistent…. That was a sad, sad day for me. Here is a visual for you. The scene in Terminator 2 when Arnold is getting chased by that cyborg dude in the tractor-trailer? They’re driving around on a dry, concrete riverbed? That’s the L.A. River.

The L.A. River used to be lush and green. (Like most of California, before “they” arrived.) It had a habit of flooding in the wintertime, wiping out bridges and homes. In the 40’s and 50’s, the Army Corps of Engineers decided to pave it into a flood control chute. Hey, here’s an idea. Don’t build a house so close to a famously flooding river!!! As for the bridges, I don’t know what to tell ya, but I’m sure there was a better solution than paving the river. Who paves a river?!!! I’m sure somewhere down the line, it came down to money. As it always does here in America, “Home of the Free” [sic]. It’s been years since I’ve been there and seen it, but I still can’t believe they paved a river.

There are activist groups mobilizing to restore the river as much as possible. One of them is FOLAR. (Friends of the Los Angeles River) Some politicians are also finally starting to take note. I hope their goal is accomplished. I mean, the Charles isn’t pristine, (“I love that dirty water”) but at least it didn’t get paved.

So, getting back to Mother Jones. Check it out. I have taken words verbatim out of “The Same River Twice” article. You can read the real deal. None of this mainstream media “they only need to know what we want them to know” crap. (In this case, the “they” is US.)


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