Tree-Trimming Ordinance Revisions Scheduled for Public Works Committee on Monday, June 27 at 1 p.m. Jessica Lall of the South Park BID Files First Opposition. Our Letter Appears Here and You Can Send a Copy if you Want!

We have a lot of really pretty trees in Los Angeles.  Let's not let the BIDs prevent us from taking good care of them for our children just because they're too fricking cheap to pay for a permit.
We have a lot of really pretty trees in Los Angeles. Let’s not let the BIDs prevent us from taking good care of them for our children just because they’re too fricking cheap to pay for a permit.
Last week I reported that the Bureau of Street Services’s response to O’Farrell and Ryu’s motion on tree-trimming was set to face some opposition from business improvement districts. Well, tonight, Jessica Lall of the Southpark BID, who seems generally sane, but evidently is not, has fired the first shot across the bow of the proposal in the form of a letter to the Committee. You can read it. It’s the usual bogus anti-government whining about layers of bureacracy and don’t impede the private sector and blah-de-blah-blah-blah. Anyway, I fired off my own letter to the committee, which you can read after the break, but, more importantly, which you can download here in Microsoft Word format so you can send a copy of your own. I know it seems bogus to sane people that a bunch of cookie-cutter letters would have an effect on our Councilmembers, but it seems that, in fact, they do. The necessary email addresses are:

councilmember.buscaino@lacity.org
councilmember.martinez@lacity.org
councilmember.huizar@lacity.org
councilmember.price@lacity.org
councilmember.ofarrell@lacity.org
councilmember.ryu@lacity.org


Public Works and Gang Reduction Committee
City Hall
200 North Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012-4801

June 24, 2016

Dear Honorable Committee Chair Buscaino,

I am writing to express my support for the proposed modifications to the City’s tree-trimming ordinance that have been submitted to the Council by the Bureau of Street Services. Our trees are one of our most valuable civic assets. We are lucky that they’ve been passed down to us and we would be remiss in our duty if we failed to give them the best care we know how to give so that they may be passed down to future generations of Angelenos in turn. To that end, it’s essential that the City be able to exercise some oversight in how the trees are treated during trimming. The proposal submitted by BSS addresses this issue by requiring City tree surgeons to be involved in the tree-trimming process. This would require additional personnel, of course, and the proposal covers that by increasing tree-trimming fees, which, ideally would make the revised ordinance self-funding.

There are those who will argue that this would “add extra layers of bureacracy” or constitute “government interference” in the private affairs of people who trim the City’s trees. I think such arguments miss the point entirely. For instance, it’s to the benefit of all residents of the City to have sturdy safe buildings. To that end the City requires new construction to be inspected by expert City inspectors and covers the costs of those inspections via building permits. This is not to say that the contractors doing the construction aren’t experts, but just that shoddy construction affects everyone, so it’s essential to prevent it. The same argument goes for tree-trimming. Currently the City’s trees are trimmed by many different private organizations. If they’re doing a good job, and I think mostly they are, they ought to welcome inspections (and the fees which pay for them) so that all residents of our City can feel sure that our valuable urban forest is being given the respect it deserves.

To that end I urge you and the Public Works and Gang Reduction Committee to accept the Bureau of Street Services recommendation and forward it in its present form to the full Council for approval.

Thank you,
Mike K.
Los Angeles, CA 90038


Image of trees in Koreatown is freely licensed and I got it here.

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