Tuesday, September 13, 2005

A River Runs Through Us

I joined Mayor Villaraigosa, Ad Hoc Committee on the Los Angeles River Chair Councilmember Ed Reyes, and my colleagues Tom LaBonge, Jan Perry, and Wendy Greuel at the "Not A Cornfield" site to announce that our dreams for the Los Angeles River are heading into a stronger current. Over the next several months, the city will host 18 public meetings to set the scope of our recognition of the river's place as the spine of our city. Can we take out concrete and extend the green river-bottom of the Glendale Narrows through any or all of the river's 51 miles of concrete channels? Can we follow the examples of dozens of American cities—Providence, San Antonio, even Pueblo, Colorado—and turn towards, instead of away from, this resource in our backyard? At the same time as we answer these questions, we'll be seeking support from all levels of government: Assemblymember Jackie Goldberg joined us for the announcement, and the city has been in constant discussions with the Army Corps of Engineers, who originally instituted the rivers flood controls and are responsible for them.

The river was part of our city's founding. In 1769, Father Juan Crespi led an expedition to its green banks just north of downtown, and envisioned a mission and a city right there. In the intervening centuries, the river has caused tragedy and attracted ridicule. We're ready to see it in our city, and to see our city's future in it, once again.

See a flickr set from the L.A. River announcement