Santa Monica City Council: Democracy or Dictatorship?
Over 10,000 of Santa Monica's citizens and visitors wanted the beautiful Ficus Trees of 2nd and 4th Streets to stay there, continuing to nurture the health of the environment and the physical and mental health of the people.
Treesaver's made every effort to come to some compromise. Only this week, Treesaver's committed Attorney- Tom Nitti- proposed that the City could cut down the 3 trees that their consulting Arborist had identified as having "High" failure potential (i.e. potentially dangerous to the public) in the presence of an independent arborist. The trees should then immediately be examined for internal evidence to justify their arborist's evaluation; this would be an educational opportunity on which to re-evaluate the 4 trees in the "Medium" bracket. These could then be pruned accordingly. The ones given a "Low" rating should be left as they were. Let us remember that there were never any in the "Severe" potential failure bracket.
What could be more reasonable than this? apart from anything else, it would have restored our faith in the City Council, giving them some credibility and showing they listened to the citizens who employed them.
But no, it was too much to expect them to be reasonable. Early on Friday morning the two streets were blocked and guarded by the Police, the chainsaws were brought in and 23 of these utterly beautiful Ficus trees were rapidly, callously slaughtered- trees that could have lived for another 100 years. Further trees were cut down on Fourth Street.
Photographs and video recordings taken by Treesavers who managed to gain access, showed healthy cross sections of the sawn Ficus trunks and branches- no sign of the "integral decay". Was this why the trees were rapidly composted, to destroy evidence that would have proved that Treesavers' arborist, Alden Kelly, was right in thinking there was nothing seriously wrong or untreatable with the health of all but possibly 3 trees?
We have lost the trees but we have made, literally, thousands of people aware of their senseless, criminal destruction. We have learned how thousands of people love and value trees. It has been a great learning experience and we will not give up........
The accompanying moving photo of a "laid out" Ficus was taken by Scott Smith as well as the two poignant video recordings on YouTube, linked below.
Ficus Trees Cut Down in Santa Monica
Ficus Trees Down at School