"This works exactly how it needs to," he said of the concrete abutment next to his house, with fences to keep out visitors, as water poured into the L.A. River below a Canoga Park High School football practice. "It funnels all the excess water away from residents and businesses.
"The last thing we want to do is to encourage people to get close to the L.A. River - let's all hold hands and smoke pixie dust and sing `Kumbaya."'
With hindsight, it's easy to see that they should have set up a huge system of parklands alongside the river to absorb floods, but, they were kind of busy and didn't have the money, what with the Depression and WWII, and so they didn't do that. It's too bad, because my father discovered in 1994 by plotting on a map all the buildings that had to be condemned after the 1994 Northridge Earthquake that about 80% of them were on the old streambeds, which were typically around a half-mile wide swath of sand. As the Bible says, a building built on sand ... So, knowing what we know now (and how many people know that), it would have been great if they'd lined the river with golf courses and parks, but they didn't.
And they aren't going to do that now, either.