We were inundated by responses to my post on why Mission Valley was flooding last week. The opinions ranged from blaming developers for Mission Valley’s problems, to criticism of environmental advocates who have opposed further taming of the San Diego River.

We even got memories and reflections from readers who remember what Mission Valley was like before the development boom that’s turned it into a community of concrete.

Laurie Cohen thought the city got what it bargained for when it approved so much development in Mission Valley:

It tickles me when anyone tries to overpower nature. I feel happy that the area floods occasionally. This is to clean the river. Now if all the parking lots would flow out to sea…

And Chris Brewster criticized supporters of lax regulation of development, saying taxpayers ultimately pay the price:

For those who protest over-regulation by government, consider the fact that we (the people who pay for the government) ultimately pay to clean up the messes afterward, to rescue those imperiled, to use disaster funds to pay to fix the damages to private property, and to fix the infrastructure. The developers are long gone at that point. They made their money.

But Joseph Wize disagreed that development was to blame:

Development has nothing to do with Mission Valley being underwater. The pathetic city council and the extreme environmentalists working for them is the reason. Contractors brought the city many sets of plans to keep Mission Valley safe, and the City environmentalists scaled those projects back on a massive scale and hence, every winter we have those problems.

Mary Slupe thought San Diego could learn a lesson or two from efforts to eradicate conflicts between nature and development in other parts of the country:

In the Midwest — Minnesota, and Wisconsin — they are removing buildings from the riverbeds. Mission Valley is a huge river bed….I lived in the west end of Mission Valley for 20 yrs, but have moved to higher land.

And Tracey McNeel thought some practical steps could be taken to minimize the conflict here:

Has anyone heard of better-built drain outlets??? Every year Fashion and Mission Valley Flood; and every year I am thinking; it cannot be that difficult to restructure or build a better drainage system for the areas that flood.

The video footage of flooding in Hotel Circle got Rhonda Stalker thinking about when the area used to be a horse ranch:

We had horses there when I was a kid. It flooded waist deep nearly every winter. We’d have to swim the horses out to Presidio Park and either keep them there or trailer them to other ranches until it dried out.

It makes me laugh to think of what some of those old cowboys must have said when they found out the land was being sold to build a hotel.

But Brian Davies said housing was a necessity in San Diego, and that development critics could instead focus on lessening the impacts of flooding by dealing with trash and weeds:

Riding the Green line trolley through Mission Valley, it is easy to spot lots of overgrown weeds and trees which seem to hamper the water flow as much or more than concrete. And lots of trash gets in the way too, from hurrying shoppers and trolley riders to the homeless and illegal immigrants. Take care of those issues first before complaining about housing. We all need places to live and work.

Fred Logan disagreed:

For as long as history had been recorded the San Diego River area has been a place for food gathering or growing….

The “weeds” and trash described are not part of the river’s natural system. There are efforts underway to remove the non-native plants and trash which will improve how the river works by restoring it to its natural state.

And Eric Rife offered a biting critique of the priorities that drive decision-making at the expense of what was here before.

Sometimes the invisible hand of the free market is too busy playing pocket pool to care about little things like mother nature.

Have something to say? Keep the conversation going.

Please contact Adrian Florido directly at adrian.florido@voiceofsandiego.org or at 619.325.0528 and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/adrianflorido.

Adrian Florido is a former staff writer for Voice of San Diego.

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