I simply cannot let one more week go by without discussing the ficus tree situation on 2nd and 4th Streets. Besides, next week might be too late. People are apoplectic about the thought of losing these mature trees. Who in this day and age cuts down large, mature trees to plant baby trees whose growth potential is but a fraction of the trees that will no doubt be turned into kindling (when they don’t survive the move)? Walking down 2nd and 4th Streets is always a pleasure because it is shady and cool; people waiting for the bus have a respite from the harsh, unrelenting Southern California sun.
Go to http://treesavers.blogspot.com /and check out what happened to El Segundo. Their once thriving canopy is now comprised of pathetic looking small trees that provide no shade whatsoever.
According to the City of Santa Monica (smgov.net/epd/scpr/OpenSpaceLandUse/OSLU2_Trees.htm), “The ficus account for 26 percent of the total asset value of all trees and 11 percent of all annual benefits.” How much of this benefit will be lost once 2nd and 4th Streets become mature tree-free?
Who’s idea was this? No one at the Mirror has been able to get a firm answer on how many trees are actually diseased. If someone has a diseased organ, the doctor takes out that specific organ – not all of them! My father had an old, diseased tree on his property that had to be taken out; his yard has never looked the same. And that was over a decade ago.
Once these trees are gone, they are GONE!! Is that when the City Council will realize they made a mistake of epic proportions? How about NOT making a mistake of epic proportions, and solving the problem before it is a problem. The community doesn’t want to hear a collective “oops” or “sorry” from the Council after the damage is done. Does the city need that transportation grant money so badly?
I recently received information from the California Planning & Development Report about downtown areas of mid-sized cities throughout the State. There were categories such as best, next big thing, etc. While Fullerton was Most Underrated and Pasadena was the Best Downtown, Santa Monica walked away with the distinction of being the Most Overrated City. Without the ficus canopies on 2nd and 4th Streets, we can add hottest city near the ocean, most hypocritical (always claiming to be such a “green” city then pulling out healthy trees), and just plain foolish to our moniker. Our new motto could be something like, “Santa Monica: Where Trees Don’t Matter.”
Unlike Santa Monica, the City of Los Angeles is planting trees. According to Zev Yaroslavsky, “Under the County’s Urban Reforestation Project, by year’s end some 59 Los Angeles County parks will have received 9,168 trees and planted 7,000 small shrubs.” To be fair, Los Angeles did receive $3.7 million from State Bond Proposition 12. Still, it’s a mindset; LA is determined to plant trees. Is Santa Monica going to be part of the global warming solution or add to the problem? Does Santa Monica have a comprehensive reforestation project, or any sort of workable plan that doesn’t include removing mature trees? Is anyone with a progressive vision in control?
Heaven help us all.
Laurie Robin Rosenthal