July 15, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Letters to the Editor:

Save the Trees on Second and Fourth Streets

Removing 50-70 old-growth trees in Santa Monica is so obviously wrong-headed on its face in what is supposedly a “green” city, that I shouldn’t need to supply the previous history of major damage done over a decade ago when the Santa Monica City Council also sought to “spruce” up an area of the city by destroying dozens of healthy trees on Pico Boulevard.

But as Santayana so famously said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.“

I’ve lived on Pico Boulevard for over 20 years, so I’ve already once been through this nightmare of the City Council and its thirst to destroy trees. Over 10 years ago, they also started with pretty lies about so-called “improvement”: Then, that Pico would rival Vermont’s fall foliage when they were done chopping down our trees: ”The new trees will change colors with the seasons!”

Only half-a-lie I suppose, because trees the City Council had planted (possibly London Plane Trees) remain so stunted and starved for moisture year-round (or unsuited to our climate) that the leaves never get completely green, but the crumpled brownish leaves do finally go completely dung-brown before falling off.

The City Council destroyed block after block of healthy trees which had provided a varied and full canopy (including putting through a wood chipper the four-story tree that shaded my apartment, combated the grit and noise from passing cars, and attracted hummingbirds and butterflies). Over a decade later, for instance, I’m left with an ugly, stunted stick tree barely 12 feet tall, which still doesn’t reach my third story window, and its current three crumpled brown leaves don’t make much shade, attract no birds or butterflies, but allow twice as much grit from traffic into my apartment.

Look down any block on lower Pico and you’ll see healthy green old-growth trees on private property 10 or 15 feet in from the street that the City Council couldn’t get its paws on: compare them to the ugly, year-round brownish foliage stunted replacements the City Council forced on Pico Boulevard and its residents. (The same goes for the trees replaced in the medians on lower Pico: check out the City Council’s sickly and forever dying replacements, compare them to the green old-growth trees that still thrive across the street on private property.)

If the City Council’s hand-picked arborist led to such an environmental disaster on Pico, why should we trust the chosen arborist for their new lumberjack experiment? (It’s telling that an environmental impact study was never made, or filed, for this new tree travesty.)

A visiting friend with a horticulture degree was horrified when she saw the trees on Pico forced on us by the City Council, and said they were never meant for Santa Monica’s climate, and will never thrive here. (She also didn’t think much of the Council’s new plan to move the trees on Second and Fourth Streets, saying that experience has shown few old-growth trees survive such a move.)

I can only urge the City Council not to make another such obvious mistake in denuding Santa Monica of necessary foliage, and urge residents to join those trying to save our trees: treesavers.blogspot.com

Judith Brown

Santa Monica

* * * *

This is my second plea to stop the “Tree-o-cide” on 2nd and 4th Streets.

Global warming is threatening our environment on a daily basis. We have already experienced some of its disastrous effects. For this reason alone we should not destroy the much needed, beautiful, and yes, life-giving tree canopy on 2nd and 4th Streets.

Our trees are keeping 2nd and 4th Streets from the “Urban Heat-Island Effect.” Urban areas, like 2nd and 4th Streets, without trees become “Heat Islands” with significantly (as much as 10 degrees higher) temperatures!

They also allow the businesses on these streets to conserve much-needed energy. In the summer their shade provides reduced air conditioning needs and in winter provides a wind-break so that less fuel for heating is required.

During our summer months our trees also shade and cool the parked cars, reducing emissions from heated fuel tanks and engines.

These trees have a life expectancy of about 90 more years. This means as they grow, they will be removing carbon dioxide from the air and safely storing the carbon in wood and soil and giving us back life-giving oxygen to breathe.

I heard that the project cannot be changed in any way without losing the funding. I cannot believe that in this time of global warming, saving trees would stop the funding and end the project…any project! If this is the case there is something terribly wrong.

What good are all the improvements and beautification of any area if it contributes to critical climate change? If it is too hot and polluted to enjoy, what is the point?

We should be planting new shade trees on every project and preserving and caring for those we have.

Please save the trees on 2nd and 4th!


Phyllis Chavez

Santa Monica

* * * *

Thank you for the article on the Court of Appeal decision overturning the Ellis Act evictions of Lincoln Place tenants [Santa Monica Mirror September 27-October 3]. In September 2004, there were over 400 households at Lincoln Place when AIMCO began threatening to evict the tenants under the Ellis Act. By July 2005 there were 177 households who stood up to fight the evictions. Now there are only 12 households currently living at Lincoln Place and 37 households appealing their 2005 evictions because the City Attorney failed to do their job and gave bad advice to the City Council. Only our City Councilman Bill Rosendahl stood up for the tenants. We hope everyone who once lived at Lincoln Place will come to the Celebration Party on Sunday, October 7, at Penmar Park in Venice between 10 and noon. It is not every day the little guy wins!

Jan Book

Marina del Rey

* * * *

Re: September 13-19 Letter to the Editor regarding Assembly Bill 700 by Ted Lieu

Allow me to try to clear the air regarding what happened to AB 700 during a recent hearing by the Senate Appropriations Committee, of which I am a member.

Contrary to what was suggested, I supported AB 700 with my vote during an earlier hearing. It is unfortunate it never received the opportunity for a final vote.

May I add that any review of my record will show I have long been an outspoken advocate on behalf of protecting our environment and safeguarding the public’s health. As a cancer survivor, I understand how these battles often take time – such as my two-year campaign to establish a diesel-monitoring and assessment law. I have also led the way on cancer monitoring and prevention. For example, I am hopeful the governor will sign my bill from this past session, SB 7, which is the third effort in three years to ban smoking in cars with children.

Each of us needs to follow this quality-of-life issue. I hope this community continues to work with local, state, and federal officials to hammer out a solution. We need to work with some of the tools we have at hand, such the data expected from a recent air pollution study at the Santa Monica Airport by the South Coast Air Quality Management District, to be released soon.

I encourage the community to add any relevant information and participate in making recommendations to improve the air for all of us.


Jenny Oropeza

State Senator, 28th District

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