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Feeling bullied over tree trimming

May 30, 2012

I read in the May 24 Valley Sun (“Council looks to trim tree ordinance”) that our city officials are trying to be more friendly over residents trimming their trees.

I wrote previously about my experience of being fined $200, plus an arborist fee, and now my official arborist report states I owe another $800 for damage to my own trees. My next-door neighbor was fined $1,600 for damage to her Chinese elm. Does this sound friendly? My official citation states that I am guilty of misdemeanors and could face criminal prosecution from the city attorney. Does this sound friendly?

When I talked to the code enforcement officer I said I didn’t know the elm tree was protected. He said it was my responsibility to know the city tree ordinance. I suggested the city mail out a postcard to all residents notifying them of the protected tree list. He said that would be too expensive. Well, on my street alone, the city will collect more than $5,000 from three residents who own Chinese elms.

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Thursday’s article said that the Chinese elm trees will be removed from the list of protected trees. It is my understanding that this talk of removing the elm started months ago. I would hope that the city’s fining residents over tree trimming since that time would be reviewed.

The article said the trimming of trees on public property would be changed. What about private property? All three residents on my street were cited, fined and fined again for trimming trees on our private land.

I always believed our city council was here to serve the people. After going through this experience, my opinion has changed. I don’t feel served, I feel bullied.

Richard Batista

La Cañada Flintridge

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