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the skunks of los feliz
11.17.2004
 

Once again, city leaders are attempting to craft a plan to transform the woebegone LA river from an eyesore to an asset. Amongst the proposals sure to be put forward are the building of parks along the rio's length, and the removal of certain portions of the concrete channel (which was built to protect the city from scenes like these).

It's a good idea, simply from an environmental standpoint. The river should run it's natural course, as long as it can be prevented from jumping it's banks, as the unruly body of water has done on numerous occasions.

However, I'm not completely sold on the idea that the river is some scenic wonder buried beneath the debris of a half-century of containment. I mean, we're not talking about the Mighty Mississipp' here, or the Hudson, or even the Sacramento River. This river is basically a 30 mile long culvert that dumps rainwater into the Pacific. It's not navigable. It barely exists during the dry season (in fact, most of it's summer flow is reclaimed sewer water). It smells.

Let's face it, you're never gonna have a picnic on it's banks and mistake it for the Seine.

And yet, we do owe it to the old guy to let him loose a little. The Gabrielinos built their main village on his banks. In the early days of the pueblo, he gave us drinking water. In modern times he's given Angelenos a place to dump bodies, and film car chase scenes.

In return, we put him in a straightjacket because he was too unruly for a maturing city. Maybe now we've matured enough to let him out again.
 
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