Opinion: ‘No sign of mountains': What it was like in L.A. before today’s clean-air rules

Aerial view of the downtown Los Angeles skyline covered in smog looking east toward the San Gabriel mountains in August 1990. (Robert Durell / Los Angeles Times)
(Robert Durell / Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: In 1971, my 2-year-old son and I moved to Los Angeles from Boston. As we descended into LAX, the clouds were dirty, an ominous shade of brown. I wondered why the San Fernando Valley was called a valley; there was no sign of mountains when I drove to work through the canyons to Van Nuys. (“Will Trump erect a roadblock to Southern California’s decades-long fight against smog?,” March 17)

For the next few years we were both plagued with coughs, bronchitis and allergy symptoms that were undoubtedly connected to the smog over L.A.

California has done a good job of cleaning up the air. When working in downtown L.A. in the 1990s and later, I was surprised to see the mountains more frequently as the years went by.

Going back to the days of smog alerts will surely result in more sick children and adults. Lessening restrictions on tailpipe emissions and vehicle mileage will only result in more profits for the elite and more illness for the rest of us.


Susan Barrett, Los Alamitos


To the editor: The left is off its rocker. The hysteria over the Trump administration’s decision to put the brakes on a radical call for increased mileage standards has polluted the brain functions of the environmentalists.

But maybe I missed something. Is Trump advocating reducing the allowable emissions and going back to the 1970s? No. So this hyperbolic nonsense and the picture you published from 1973 are irrelevant.


This is just another example of the “fake news” from the left, where the liberal media and environmentalists imply results that are just not going to happen. This action by Trump regarding the drive to unreachable mileage levels is logical, but the reaction by the left is hysterical.

Joseph Schillmoeller, Gardena


To the editor: I hope the automakers don’t jump to any misguided conclusions on what consumers will expect from them. Just because the current president might sign off on less-stringent clean air regulations doesn’t mean most consumers will change their behavior when they buy a car.

I remember the smog in L.A. in the 1960s and 70s, and I don’t think anyone wants to relive those times. Incredible progress has been made in the styling and fuel efficiency of cars over the years.

We need to continue our consumer vigilance in spite of the Trump administration’s shortsightedness.

Margaret McVey Thomas, Pasadena



To the editor: Your contrasting photos from Los Angeles’ smoggy past and the present-day view of the city’s sparkling skyline, as well as the president’s support for coal mining, has me wondering if Trump meant to say, “Make America gray again.”

Carlos Mestas, Simi Valley

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