Thursday, September 27, 2012

The South L.A. Tree Massacre

(Pic via LA Weekly)

Sadly lost in the excitement about the arrival of the Space Shuttle Endeavour has been the move to chop down nearly 400 trees in L.A.'s poorest neighborhoods. The trees had to come down in order to drive the shuttle from LAX to the California Science Center -- yet there was never any discussion or warning that this would happen, and never an attempt to try an alternative. The L.A. Weekly looks into the lies and spin that led to the mass tree removal. A snippet:

Until the moment Inglewood residents awoke to buzzsaws outside their homes on Sept. 3, few people knew of California Science Center president Jeffrey N. Rudolph's controversial plan to hack down more than 370 magnolia, coral, bottlebrush, eucalyptus, sycamore and pine trees that line the 12-mile shuttle route from LAX.

"This is unbelievable!" well-known wetlands activist Marcia Hanscom says with disgust.

She views the destruction of nearly 400 trees — after zero public notice or involvement — as "symptomatic of deeper problems: Here in L.A., it's OK to bulldoze a wetland away because 'it will come back.' The same disconnected thinking leads to approval of something like this tree massacre: 'We'll just plant more!' "

Few people realize that the city and the museum got away with, well, tree murder, by abusing an obscure section of L.A.'s municipal code that was actually meant to protect, not destroy, trees. Those rules normally apply to "house moving."


Anonymous said...

I completely understand the problem with the tree removal happening without any real public notice... but they're replacing with 4 times the number they cut down. In the end, isn't that a true gain?

Mike said...

It will be a true gain... for these folks' grandkids. But if I live in the neighborhood, I'd be upset to realize that the large, shade-bearing trees were gone and replaced by small trees that won't ever have the same effect in my lifetime. That's going to impact house values -- which already aren;t great in those neighborhoods -- and for people who depended on those trees to cool things down, they're in for a more miserable existence.

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