Whitsett median over pruning

GVGC Board Member Joanne D’Antonio is in active correspondence with Urban Forestry on behalf of tree trimming they completed:

On Thu, Mar 30, 2023 at 5:07 PM Joanne D’Antonio:

Hi David,
I believe the Urban Forestry Division needs to put sidewalk repair tree removal requests on hold. We received one today for 6427 and median island N Whitsett Av in my neighborhood council area.

Last week a Judge ruled in answer to a lawsuit by two environmental groups that the City is not adequately exploring alternatives, and that trees could not be removed for sidewalk repair until alternatives were found — the Judgment is attached.

The City Council in response passed Council File CF 23-0167 https://clkrep.lacity.org/onlinedocs/2023/23-0167_misc_2-14-23.pdf that requires a report back on alternatives to tree removals and a federal funding request.

Trees should not be removed for sidewalk repair until this adopted motion has reached a determination on alternatives and funding for them — this to be in compliance with the Judge’s orders.

I have been in conversation with Deputy Mayor for Public Works Randall Winston about the challenges we face with sidewalk repair and trees, and he is working on it.

These pine trees are in the Greater Valley Glen neighborhood council district, and one of the trees is on our NC adopted median, though it predates the trees the NC planted. These are valued shade trees in our neighborhood and we look forward to an alternative solution.

The Council Office has asked me about this removal request, and I provided information today. The Neighborhood Council has not as yet had a chance to discuss a possible motion to challenge.

I do understand the need to fix the sidewalk and bumpy roadway and look forward to an infrastructure solution that does not sacrifice what could be two shade trees that may be each worth close to $100,000. The Judge himself pointed out that birds can’t wait for replacement trees to grow — they just die, and that is why the bird population is declining.

prickly plant in parkway

The response indicated that these trees were not part of the City Sidewalk Repair Program.

April 12, 2023:

Hi David,
I am trying to understand why UFD would want to take out two huge pine trees and give us little desert willow replacements (yes they are native), which downsizes the urban canopy, and also why not consult us about where to replant since the replanting is not on site and one of the trees is on our NC adopted median.

The Italian stone pine, which I understand you do need to remove because DWP chopped the power line side of the tree making it unstable, is on a median adopted by our neighborhood council — and I am in charge of these medians for the Greater Valley Glen neighborhood council. We were not even notified of work done on these medians — heavy uplifting of the skirt and limbs on all our pepper trees, which were planted by our neighborhood association. (see photo) The pepper trees have suckers now. due to the trimming shock, and I will have to get our landscape crew, whom we pay to come weekly using most of our NC budget, to trim the suckers.

Back to the desert willows — I understand you don’t want more big trees in this median that is under power lines, but I am requesting on behalf of my neighborhood council that you plant 4 coast live oak replacement trees on the Victory southeast median ( 17 feet wide), which we also adopted years ago. We recently planted 2 very small coast live oak baby trees (donated by a stakeholder and doing well) on that median at Victory and Bluebell, but there is room for more than 4 more (actually more than 4), planted 30 feet apart. Please don’t do the replanting on Gilmore as the Valley really needs these big shade trees.

I don’t know who does the notifying for the One Infrastructure projects to NCs and CFAC, but yesterday was the first I heard of this Whitsett plan from the Council Office — yet the start date was last November. We did not even know about 57, mostly non-native trees despite our NC commitment to native planting, getting planted on Whitsett until yesterday in a conversation with the Council Office because we had questioned the pine tree removals. I attached the project fact sheet I received yesterday when I requested it from the Council Office.

Some of the gator bags are full of dirt (see photo). One parkway is synthetic turf (see photo). I have a lot of pictures taken today (sending some). Did UFD do this planting? Also a property owner put in really huge dangerous prickly succulents in the parkway next to a sapling and adjacent to parking spots — maybe after the tree was planted? (see photo) I realize you can’t be everywhere and hope this is helpful to fix a few things — there is also a fallen stake.

Also, I would like to know the solutions you anticipate for the places where existing canopy street trees have raised the sidewalk on Whitsett (photos not included, but I can provide them).

Thank you for considering planting coast live oak replacement trees for us. We really appreciate this.