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County's Misplaced Concern Over a Tree

November 25, 2002

I find it extremely comforting to know that our county supervisors have all their priorities in line. Mike Antonovich is willing to spend time, media attention and $250,000 of a developer's funds to replant a 400-year-old tree (Nov. 19), yet he cannot even feign interest in the neediest of his human constituents ("County Urged to Grant Reprieve to Rehab Center," Nov. 20). I attended the eye-opening Board of Supervisors meeting last Tuesday. During the impassioned speeches delivered by members of the Rancho Los Amigos community regarding the board's decision to close the hospital, Antonovich and other supervisors did not even have the common decency to pay attention to the speakers.

Not for a moment am I trying to make light of the importance of saving the Santa Clarita oak tree. However, I would like to point out that weighed against the prospect of saving human lives, all of the attention being put on the plight of a single tree seems misplaced.

Frances Ozur

Pasadena

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Re Steve Lopez's darkly ironic column on tree-sitter John Quigley's vigil in Santa Clarita, Nov. 20: His conclusion that we deserve to lose that beautiful oak for our complacency and complicity with developers is right on the money! If we drive through Santa Clarita and shake our heads at the sprawl, yet do nothing, we are as much to blame as Antonovich for "rolling over like a lap dog for developers." And if we buy a house, and thereby encourage the developers to keep their juggernaut rolling, we are similarly to blame.

This doesn't mean, however, that we don't have the right to call for an immediate halt to the irresponsible destruction in the northern part of our county. In fact, there's only one source of dissent powerful enough to stop the destroyers of Santa Clarita, and that's us, the generation of new suburbanites who helped create this mess. Chalk it up to basic homeowners' rights, but if you buy a house with a beautiful view, that view must be defended from sprawl. Don't stand by while John Laing Homes and the Newhall Land & Farming Co. sell you out so they can sell more homes. And vote Antonovich out next time he runs.

Tuck Tucker

Glendale

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The original, Nov. 15 news article reporting on the oak tree stated that the developer did not want to remove the tree but was being required to remove it by the county in order to widen Pico Canyon Road. Yet the letters you published Nov. 20 berate the developer for wanting to destroy the tree.

Bob Recker

Torrance

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If there is one thing we are passionate about in Santa Clarita more than oak trees, it's roads. The only reason we have let our oak tree passion take over from our road passion is that Pico Canyon Road doesn't go anywhere. If the developer promised to build a Nordstrom (our really serious passion) at the end of the road, the good citizens of our fair town would have the tree-sitter out in no time.

Dave Sherman

Santa Clarita

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