Saturday, May 29, 2010

The City Gave Us A Tree. But Alas, It Perished

It wasn't for a lack of watering. Our children's allowances were awarded by the liquid foot (or whatever the term is) during this project, and water was lavished on our beloved California Oak most evenings. Delicious mountain well water was all it knew throughout its short and tragic life. And it couldn't have been from the lack of sunshine, because our little yard is blessed with a rich share of God's sweet golden abundance. As are most homes in Southern California.

During my brief and rather meteoric political career, and this would have been during its ascendancy as I haven't heard much from that quarter lately, I received an email from City Hall (or "The Palace" as some people are wont to say), informing me that I was to be the lucky recipient of a beautiful California Oak sapling, courtesy of some government program or other. The impetus behind this being that a city tree person had noticed that a similar small tree in my yard had died, and due to the rules of this government funded program it must be replaced. Because, after all, we are the "Tree City." Which means we need to have trees.

Now I did protest that I really wasn't worthy of this honor. No trees in my yard had died. As a matter of fact, there are a few scrubby little wretches that I've been trying to kill off for years, and they just won't succumb. There was one tree however, some kind of delicate ornamental flowering thing sitting in the front of my yard, that did seem to be on its last roots a while back. But on the wise advice of a green thumbed neighbor, I cut it back. And for whatever reason, it has now revived and is covered with sub-psychedelic purplish leaves and little red flower buds. The hearts sings to see such a rebirth.

"No matter," said The Palace. "We're going to give you a tree anyway." I was flattered by this I must admit. No City government - and we're talking my entire life here - had ever given me anything in the past except traffic tickets and dirty looks. So the tree was planted and the kids began their tender first efforts in horticultural care.

The damned thing died anyway, and now sits there in my front yard forlorn and slowly falling apart. A metaphor for something profound, I'll bet. Dead things often are. I kept thinking that the City tree checker might be coming by to "scope" (to use planning talk) its demise and remove it. Or even replace it as we are the Tree City and all kaput trees need to be replaced or we'll lose status. Or even some funding, we must never forget that.

But nobody of that ilk has noticed this tragedy. Or if they have, perhaps they've lost interest. Or they're off on more important missions. I don't know. But if you are the person in charge of such things, please come and take it away. I'm not sure if I might be violating some City or state codes if I did it myself. Trees, even dead ones, having rights in California.

(The Tattler will be observing Memorial Day by not typing. We do have some rather shocking information to share, and we will be posting that Tuesday, June 1st. Enjoy the long weekend!)

25 comments:

  1. And to think they were ripping out trees by the thousands, and making the developer put in three more in the future problem trees. Now my city is becoming an urban forest, trees like the california oak are on that list.

    Some people have gifts, yours obviously aren't trees. you let your second tree die and the tree police are coming for you. They are right behind the net nannies and spell checkers, run and play dear editor can't wait to hear the shocking information.

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  2. It is a good thing the Green Committee isn't in place yet, Sir Eric. I've seen the agenda, and stocks are being considered for Kersting Court to deal with those whose crimes include tree-o-cide.

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  3. We have planted so many trees and most have died. The only trees that have done well are the ones that are planted by nature...sometimes called Volunteers. Just goes to show you that Mother Natures knows how to be "Green" the best.
    So to Hell with John's Green Committee.

    As in nature let the volunteers run the city and forget about the city planners/consultants. They can't even protect the trees.

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  4. well sir eric, now that the tree is there they've got you.

    first, you need to get bill tice to give you a permit to remove it.

    and when you do get a permit, if you don't remove it fast enough that super-mean-crazy-billy- jean-moffat-king-look-a-like-meter-maid lady will cite you.

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  5. another tragic example oif the failures of government. how
    many more trees must die until we are free?

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  6. Clearly a defective tree and probably planted in the wrong season. Call Public Works and demand the tree be removed. It detracts from the beauty and harmony of the neighborhood.

    Use the Totoro method of tree planting. Gather acorns, many acorns, and dig a shallow pit some feet across, Dump the acorns into the pit. Cover over with dirt, and water from time to time. This should be done at night under a full moon.

    Magical trees will appear; thin as necessary.

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  7. Oh, Sir Eric, I hate cliff hangars! Is it Tuesday yet? What time of Tuesday? Should I stay up late Monday night?

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  8. Obviously what is required here is a committee to study the dead treeling, with a council liason or two. Or maybe a council study session with a committee liason.

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  9. don't cha just love the adopt a curb cutout campaign? only this city would disregard volunteers then ask for volunteers to weed and plant flowers for public works - also putting citizens next to wild traffic

    just stupid

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  10. Sir Eric, Tree growing in So Ca is easy! Dig the hole. Plant the sapling according to instructions. Water as necessary. And voila your tree flourishes. I am sure James Thurber wrote a piece on "how to kill a tree", somehow implicating his spouse. This time the City goes home free of suspicion or implication of wrong doing. Get a tree and plant it!!

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  11. Just to pass along information from tree-planting orgs. The right tree has to be planted in the right season. There has to be some agreement with either the property owners or the city watering crews about watering and maintenance, nothing seems to be spelled out here. I see so many relatively young trees all over the local cities that have been planted in the last few years that have simply died from the drought, not just the existing ones (especially sycamores). Most new developments require that a bubbler be provided at newly planted trees, they'll need it it for at least five years, and then during droughts.

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  12. The bump-outs were paid for by redevelopment money. Goal was to make the downtown walker friendly. Lost lots of parking spaces. There was no need to worry about lost parking because the DSP was going to provide us with a bright shinny three story parking garage that we would share with the condos at baldwin and SMB.

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  13. Long time residentMay 29, 2010 at 10:16 PM

    One day soon you'll be stopped at the light and wonder how we ever did without the parking structure and the $7.00 fee for parking in it. The Pinney House Bed and Breakfast guests will comment on how attractive the bump-outs are and how well maintained the resident volunteer keep them. Aren't the costumes quaint? Weekends are Victorian; weekdays are mid-century modern.

    It's a whole new same small town we all grew up and old in.

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  14. My understanding is that a tree consultant will be contacted on Tuesday. In time a report will be issued, at which time it will go to the Tree Commission, the Green Committee, the Citizens Against Tree Abuse (CATA), The NW Sierra Madre District Vegetable Alliance, The Gardening Coalition, The Society of People Who Care More Than You Do, The Entitled Gripers Club, COG, and the SCAG Special Committee on the Propagation of Green Ethics. Each will issue their findings, at which time an Ad Hoc Committee on Premature Tree Death (each member to be chosen by someone from the City Council) will examine all of these findings, make their recommendations, and pass them on to City Staff. City Staff, after issuing a lengthy report on how busy they are, followed by several vacations and Blackout Fridays, will examine the evidence as well. When they have completed their deliberations Bruce Inman will stand before the City Council and communicate his recommendations. The City Council, after several delays, will agendize the matter for discussion. They will discuss it, and then file it for future action. After filing, it will agendized for a vote with 60 days. In time that vote will take place, and once having voted, the votes will be counted. Only then will someone be sent out to take the dead tree down. However, as the tree will have long decayed and returned to the soil as nutrients for the surviving plants in the area, no tree will be found. The Sierra Madre Police Department will be contacted, and investigations will be ongoing for the rest of our natural lives.

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  15. There you have it then. A fair and succinct distillation of City process at its finest.

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  16. Mystery of the missing oak by Sir Eric MaundryMay 30, 2010 at 10:50 AM

    8:48, I can't stop giggling, it is so true, I have laugh tears in my eyes, big hugs tatts, happy memorial day

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  17. I believe that 8:48 pretty much nailed it, though related public comment from Bill Coburn will firmly establish that there is nobody from The Society of People Who Care More Than You Do who cares more than he does. This will cause quite a stir within certain segments of the community. The resulting effect will be the hiring of a consultant who specializes in properly measuring caring. Once it is established who really does care the most, that person will be chosen as the Grand Marshal of this year's 4th of July parade. People who care a lot (but not the most) will be permitted to array closely behind, though their heads must be kept at least one foot below that of the Most Caring Grand Marshal.

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  18. Speaking of SM Police, How many officers do we employ? How many police cars, SUV's, trucks, and motorcycles do we own / lease? Are City Council and City Manager privy to the police work schedle and how our force is deployed? Is this all left to the Police Chief? Can someone tell us how may officers we employ and how many vehicles do we have in our possession?

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  19. I would like to thank all your veterans who have served our country today.

    We remember you on this Veteran's Day.

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  20. actual real police officers or play pretend offices? real - 1 or 2.

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  21. We support all kinds of sketchy characters in this town. And I'm certaibn they don't think it is enough. Get ready for the guilt trips.

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  22. Rasputin MortadellaMay 31, 2010 at 6:16 PM

    I suggest Modesto Ash trees be planted. They are a rapid growth hardwood and rilly rilly nice. Also hard to kill in hot weather.

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  23. It's,...ummm Memorial Day......just an fyi Old K

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  24. Oh 1:50pm please don't get me started... ;) Ha! Ha! Ha!

    Be back in the morning after i've pondered!!!!

    Lisa
    PS. Remember...SMPD? I stick up for!!!!

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  25. Oh good Lord, Lisa. Under the current city council the SMPD will get everything they want when the MOU comes up. The only people who will suffer are the taxpayers. But when did that crowd ever care about them?

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