Letters – April 3, 2020

Safety First

“Last month’s rockfall was an eerie reminder of the winter storms of 2019, when multiple boulders and rocks came tumbling down onto Caltrans maintenance vehicles and our crews escaped with no injuries. Based on the recommendation of our geologists and engineers, a rock-netting system was put in place at this location to protect motorists and users of the road. Workers also scaled hillsides along the canyon to remove loose boulders that could pose a hazard to public safety. Thankfully, this newly installed rock-netting system did its job.

Safety is our number one priority at Caltrans, and we remain committed to finding well-balanced, context-sensitive solutions that will keep users of the road and residents of Topanga safe.

—Eric Menjivar, Public Information Officer

Caltrans District 7


A History of Her Own 

In response to columnist Jimmy Morgan’s recent “2020 Primer on the Constitution,” Elene Maginnis wrote:

My grandfather was named Charles Sumner Hardy. Quite a few boys were named for Charles Sumner, especially in Kansas. His family made their way to Kansas to help prevent Kansas from becoming a slave state. They were abolitionists. They lived in a Soddy on the prairie near Kingman. However, their forebears were slave owners in Georgia and had owned slave ships. 

My great aunt Effie came to visit my family in Wichita in 1940. She was in her nineties; I was six. She told us that, long ago, her parents had gone down to Georgia for a visit with their southern relatives. They were supposed to stay in Georgia for some time but that first night a slave ship came up the Savannah River and disgorged its cargo of slaves. The relatives separated the men from the women and began to auction off the slaves amidst the weeping and shouting slaves. Aunt Effie said her parents were so horrified that they packed their things back up and left, forever, the next morning. This must have been before 1830, in which case, Aunt Effie, herself, could not have been with them because she wasn’t born until the 1840s.

—Elene Hardy Maginnis


Jimmy Morgan replied:

The most satisfying moments I had in the classroom occurred when students were prompted to think of their own lives in relation to the content we were studying. Not only did it confirm that they were paying attention (not always the case with 14-year-olds) but that what we were learning was relevant. I felt just that way this morning as I read your message. Thanks so much for taking the time to share this story. It seems a very personal way to understand how divided the country was before the Civil War, and a reminder that today’s divisions can become increasingly serious.


Peace to you and yours in these difficult times and let’s keep looking out for one another.


New Home Needed


Added to the disaster of the Corona Virus shutting us all down, we have to move. YES.

MOVE. By the end of April. Please read our situation on the GoFundMe page at the link:



I am so sorry and embarrassed and devastated to ask for your communal help at this

difficult time for all. But it is truly my last resort.


Yours Humbly,

Coco, Edison, my mother, Maureen and sister, Marlé and our kitty cat, Alice


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