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Editorial

The sad-looking palms at LAPD headquarters could use a hand

Who knows why, but the trees don't seem to be taking to their new digs.

November 22, 2009

Are they stressed? Sick? Sad? Mortified? Who can see the stand of palm trees on the corner of 2nd and Spring and not feel just a tinge of pity? Yellow and brown fronds droop from their once-proud crowns as if thieves had pried loose their jewels and left the tattered settings to dangle, prongs askew.

It's probably stress. The Urban Forestry Division of the Department of Public Works says the transplanted palms will need up to a year to adjust to their new home on the grounds of the new Los Angeles Police Department headquarters. But if it is stress, an official said, they could be susceptible to catching a bug, so to speak.

Or they could be unhappy -- upset about the pitiful state of the once-beautiful lawn they preside over. It was to be expected that the Marathon sod would brown somewhat in the winter, and neighborhood dogs are certainly creating, shall we say, a nitrogen-rich environment. But gouges and tire tracks? That was one heck of a housewarming party the police threw.

Whether trees can be embarrassed to death is unclear. But these well might be. City policies discourage the planting of palms. They just don't add enough to Los Angeles' tree canopy.

It would be uncharitable, however, to say that they're becoming an eyesore. So we won't. That would lead to talk about how blight has a "broken windows" effect on neighborhood crime, and then someone would have to call the cops. And then they might notice the decrepit sycamores in front of The Times.

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