History Repeats Itself

I’ve always enjoyed reading Mike Lawler’s columns on our local history. It’s always enlightening. Especially reminding us of the great propensity for catastrophic flooding in our valley during this time of drought. It’s a great tonic, showing us that it is the natural way of things here, the alternation of flood and drought. Weather reporters go to great lengths on the national news to say that the blizzards in the NE and the drought in California are all connected to global warming, without offering a shred of hard evidence to support their assertion. An early settler in Los Angeles asked, “Why do the long time Spanish/Mexican inhabitants locate their adobe homes on the ridges and high ground?” Of course, we know why. After the destructive flood of 1914, L.A. Flood Control officials began interviewing elderly Hispanic inhabitants for their historic views on where the L.A. River once flowed, and how to control it. One man interviewed – F.Ramirez – described growing up in L.A. during the 1840s, and said, “…there was not enough money to control such floods. These floods will come again and no one can keep them from it.”

The huge concrete drainage channel projects of the 1930s did prove Mr. Ramirez wrong as far as control. We live here in grateful thanks to that effort by the state and federal governments. But he was correct in that they will come again, and nothing can stop all that loose, decomposing granite in the mountains that can’t wait to get down into the valley below.

Stuart Byles
La Crescenta