Not a good Earth Day

Dear Editor:Happy Earth Day. Those were the three words I was greeted with as I returned home Thursday evening to find that all the beautiful trees on my block had suddenly disappeared. Today is the day after Earth Day. It's 7 a.m. and the city has cut down my beloved tree. The tree that my little baby brother used to run around as a kid in the spring and enjoyed raking the leaves in the fall. This is the same tree I would sit under when I needed a breath of fresh air, the tree where I used to park my vehicle. I am upset and I'm writing about the city's notification system in the event they are going to tear down trees in residential communities. I am very disappointed in the way they handled the removal of the trees, especially the removal of the tree in front of my house. First and foremost, we were never warned. No one from the city informed us; all they did was show up the day of and cut the trees down. Looking at the Downey Municipal Code, Section 7607, it states there are several different criteria which warrant a tree removal on the street. If warned, I could have provided a case stating that the tree in front of my house was not dead, not growing into any power lines and if it was a danger to our water and sewer system, no one was ever brought to our house to truly investigate whether the tree was "the root" of the problem. Secondly, the trees were cut on Earth Day. Who picks Earth Day to cut down trees besides paper companies? The answer: the city of Downey. I'd consider that an epic failure on their behalf to recognize the importance of the day. Furthermore, the city decided to cut down my tree at 7 a.m. When we put in our new roof we were told Downey has an ordinance prohibiting work until 8 a.m. Is that rule only for residents but not the city? Do we have rules that apply to some but not all? The trees helped shade our fairly good-sized lawn. Thanks to the city of Downey conservation efforts, the lawn is now fully exposed; if we maintain the current appearance we will have to give up our conservation efforts and increase our water intake, or maintain our current water schedule and perhaps receive an "unsightly" lawn ticket. I highly suggest the City Council implement a notification system in reference to tree removal in residential areas. On behalf of the practice of transparency, we as taxpayers deserve written notification if a tree in front of our house is being removed, there should be written documentation within a reasonable amount of time for the residents to respond. We need to have more transparency to protect our neighborhoods and our city, and please, let's do more to conserve. - Shantal Voorwinden, Downey

********** Published: April 30, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 2