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Voices

“Isn’t it great? Look how wild it is. It is a beautiful scene.”

--Alice DeBerry of Ojai, watching the fast-moving creek that destroyed her mobile home.

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“We’ve tried every possible route and we can’t find a way out of here. We haven’t stopped to look around at all. Frankly, every minute we’ve been here has been spent trying to leave.”

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--Graham Wright of Santa Maria, 24 hours after being stranded in Ventura with his wife, Darien.

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“The pier is extremely important to this community. It needs to be fixed and reopened, and we’re doing it as quickly as humanly possible.”

--Ron Calkins, Ventura’s public works director, on the battered Ventura Pier.

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“At this point, it’s amazing that it’s still here.”

--Denis Murrin, the engineer supervising the Hueneme Pier repairs after Tuesday’s storm dropped a sagging portion two more feet.

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“We have now gone through three of California’s four seasons: earthquake, fire and rain. The only thing we haven’t experienced yet is a riot.”

--Roger Campbell, Fillmore city councilman, on the beating the small city has taken in recent disasters.

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“I was going to bring up a bigger piece of equipment. But then I looked at this road.”

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--Bruce Decker, operating a small bulldozer as he cleared a three-ton boulder off the narrow, winding Carlisle Canyon Road.

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“We started out with snow in Flagstaff and ended up with floods in Ventura. So it’s been quite eventful.”

--Jerry Ball, a retired engineer from Michigan visiting a friend in Casitas Springs when floodwaters forced an evacuation.

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“One of my cars is full of mud--but it is still running.”

--David Ross of Ojai, who nearly lost his Creek Road house to rising floodwaters.

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“When you come and see things like this, it makes you feel real small. Mother Nature is in control. We’re just peons.”

--Kelly Salerno of Ventura, rummaging through the piles of branches, tires and other debris that the storm left along the Ventura coast.

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“They’re not happy about it, but I’ve never found farmers to be whiners. The vast majority just say ‘That’s the breaks’ and keep on trucking. They’re gamblers. They’re the same kind of guys who went out there and settled the West and all that.”

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--Rex Laird, executive director of the Ventura County Farm Bureau, on the reaction to the flooding that caused an estimated $22.7 million in damage.

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“I don’t think we’re doing them any favor by letting them live there. The river bottom was killing them.”

--Gary Tuttle, Ventura city councilman discussing plans to keep the homeless from rebuilding camps in the Ventura River bottom.

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” I’ll probably sneak down there and clean the place up so when they come to their senses and realize they can’t force us out of there, we can move right back in there.”

--Hal Sanders, a Ventura River bottom dweller after learning that the City Council intended to keep him and others from returning.

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“We wish you well. We’ll get through this, in good American style.”

--President Bill Clinton to Southern Californians affected by the floods.


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