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Responding to Removal of Trees

June 07, 1992

For two months, residents of Stephora Avenue and vicinity have protested the unlawful removal of our parkway jacaranda trees by the city of Covina (Times, April 23). We have presented suggestions for acceptable reparations at several council meetings but have been ignored.

What has the city done in response to our entreaties for help and for their own suggestions?

Stalling tactics: Following media attention to our plight, the council appointed me as contact person at a council meeting. Although I was repeatedly told they would "get back to me," not once have they initiated any communication.

Threats: We were threatened that a 1906 ordinance could be enforced which stipulates that residents are responsible for damage to sidewalks caused by their parkway trees but that it hasn't been enforced because it is politically unpopular.

Attempted Extortion: Before April, our annual taxes covered maintenance of enormous, mature 30-year-old trees. Suddenly our trees were chopped down and we were told if we want new trees we must join the Landscape District for $21-$30 per year.

These new peewee trees are narrower than the sticks that support them and cannot replace what we had for another 30 years.

Council members lack the courage to require all property owners to belong to the Landscape District. Instead, they are willing to slowly force residents to join by cutting down their trees and to let a minority of us bear the burden of this special assessment.

CHARLENE FLUSTER

Covina

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