Making good on his pledge to push for a billion-dollar makeover of the Los Angeles River, yesterday Los Angeles Mayor
Eric Garcetti pushed the idea to President Obama, whom he campaigned for in California.
The river looked beautiful today, baking sun shimmering on the Glendale Narrows. I haven’t had a chance to fish this fall, so I headed to my favorite spot for carp, across from Betty Davis park. It’s fun to watch the riders gently walk their horses toward the stables, which are almost adjacent to the park. Their hooves land with little dust clouds in contrast to the thick, green grass and voluptuous sycamores inside the park. Plus there are plenty of holes in the fence that separates the park from the river. This is, after all, the terminus of the soft-bottom section before the river is corseted by concrete forming a “Y,” as it heads deeper into Burbank.
I was anxious to plop my craw daddy fly with its heavy eyes into the water. I could already see hungry carp in my mind’ eye, and just where I would put the fly in, so it would gently ripple into my favorite pool on the river.
Only one problem: between the last time I was here and today, our river guardians had come in and changed the subtle flow of the river, stripping foliage, so that the water into the side channel increased. Just like that, my sweet spot had disappeared. Just like that, the carp I’d watched so vividly in my mind were, in reality, just a mirage.
Which, if you’ll indulge me, is the problem of our age: What was solid yesterday is quicksand today. What appears to be terra firma during daylight, folds into the shadows of the moon at night.
What will our outlaw river, a place of ragged fence openings, sudden danger, and equally friendly encounters, become?
At Thursday night’s USACE public comment meeting, almost every person who spoke, echoed the one before, 20-20, a vision of the future with Alternative 20, and its billion-dollar makeover of 11water miles. A few concerned themselves with flood safety, the reason we Angelinos asked for the Corps help some 80 years ago. No one argued for the other three lesser alternatives.
This blog has received only one comment that questions the entire endeavor, wondering if there would even be a river without its concrete girdle.
So, it would seem that if the voice of river advocates is heard by the local Corps, it will switch its tentative choice from 13 to 20. It also seems that locally, the top brass is as enthusiastic about 20 as are the mayor,vocal councilmembers, elected officials in adjacent cities, a smattering of state representatives, and a few powerful allies in Washington, itself.
Mayor Eric Garcetti noted Thursday night with some 4,500 names of signees to his petition for 20 scrolling on a screen as he spoke to the standing-room-only crowd at the River Center, “I can’t remember the last time that many people agreed on anything.”
If we were to score the river’s political will versus everything from voter apathy (15 percent), to Congressional approval rating (9 percent), the people have already won. In this time where precious little rings with optimism, the river’s song has captured many of us, and called for us to be better than we were.
Will Washington listen?
I’d like to know that someday the hole I love will actually still be there the next time I’m on the water.
Just in time to rouse your river passions for tonight’s U.S. Army Corps hearing comes KPCC’s Photos: Angelenos share their L.A. River stories. OK, I’m in it (shameless self promotion), but the point is if you haven’t ever been to the river, take a look at what the site’s social media editor Kristen Lepore has put together, all from crowd sourcing. Awareness of what our river is — and what it can become — continues to grow.
All right, so where are we on the eve of the first possible U.S. government default in history? And by “we,” I actually mean the people who would dare to reimagine the Los Angeles River, which would be, for the city of Los Angeles, a great healing of an old wound.
— As Congress’ inability to agree on compromises that would reopen the partially shut-down government and raise the looming debt ceiling continues, Americans give Congress an 11 percent job approval rating, down eight percentage points from last month and one point above the worst rating in Gallup history. (press release)
–The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District today announced it will close its regulatory offices due to the absence of available federal funding. Regulatory offices will be unable to evaluate individual permit applications, Pre-Construction Notifications for Nationwide Permit or Regional General Permit authorizations, or requests for jurisdictional determinations until after current year funding is received and the offices reopen. (press release)
— Mayor Eric Garcetti, who recently visited Washington to push for Alternative 20, the most expensive of the Army Corps restoration projects at over $1 billion, has an online petition he is urging Angelinos to sign. The city would have to bear around $500 million, as the Corps partner. The rest would be federal money.
— You can show up and speak up Thursday at the ARBOR Study public hearing, from 5:30 p.m., at the river center, 570 W. Ave. 26, Los Angeles. Should be a fun time.
— p.s. I was in Mammoth Lakes over the weekend and was anxious to show my wife a great fishing spot my son and I discovered (photo above) over the summer. Lots of gorgeous brookies. The only problem: it’s in Yosemite Park, which is closed because of the partial government shutdown. Does that lead to pessimism on my part? NO, not by a long shot. I want the big bucks for our river, even if we have to wait until the approval rating is at 12 percent.