Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2006 | Victor Walsh’s story, “Once there was a River,” is a wake-up call for everyone interested in preservation of the past to act now – we must not wait to see if Assemblyman Vargas is going to retract his decision to withdraw his bill. We have to make it happen.

The plan outlined by Mr. Walsh is an excellent one, and the fact that it would give everyone the opportunity to take part in observing and/or re-enacting life when the Portola-Serra Party arrived in San Diego in July 1769 is outstanding. Most young people are more interested in the past than you realize, especially if they can see it for themselves to round out what they’ve read about in their school books.

Although born in Southern California, I am a transplant to Northeastern California, where one of the must-dos for fourth graders is to travel to Sacramento over Donner Pass (where they stop to see the museum associated with the 49ers) and then on to the Sutter’s Fort in Sacramento. They even enter a “lottery” to see which of the schools will be allowed to stay over and actually experience life as they lived it in the 1850s.

Every California fourth grader studies the California Missions and life in California – what an opportunity to travel to visit and perhaps experience life as it was lived in the 1700s during the establishment of the first of the 21 California Missions too – long before the 49ers of the next century arrived.

Please write Assemblyman Vargas and your state senator to urge that this bill be reintroduced to protect a monument to the past.

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