The tree up-lighting, as well as the entire 2nd and 4th Street so-called Pedestrian and Streetscape Improvement Projects, are an abomination. Apparently for “light show art”, atmosphere, or for providing a cohesiveness to the area, the tree up-lighting wastes electricity, does not illuminate the narrow, dangerous sidewalks, and obfuscates the natural beauty of the Ficuses’ majestic, graceful silhouettes. (The pole lights adjacent to the trees provide sufficient lighting.) Wounding the trees by screwing lighting apparatus into them exposes the trees to the newly discovered disease, Nattrassia, a fungal infection, and a related disease called Sooty Canker. These diseases are already killing Ficus trees in Santa Monica because of the city’s longstanding improper and excessive branch and root pruning practices. And if that’s not enough, the tree up-lights, like the entire project, are hideous. The only cohesive factor they provide is ugliness.
If you want to get angry, check out 2nd and 4th Streets. Our City killed 23 Ficus trees, crucified the rest with ugly tree up-lights that are superfluous, planted Gingko trees that are sticks half the year, and put in sidewalks that are unnavigable. That’s at least $8.2 million of our tax dollars at work, not including the value of the killed Ficus trees appraised at approximately $750,000 and the salaries of all the City Hall employees involved!
The tree up-lights should be removed and the wounds to the trees sealed, for aesthetic reasons, for protecting our valuable urban forest, and for lessening the $25,300 budgeted annually for utility costs and bulb and pole replacement.
Susan J. Hartley
Santa Monica, Ca