Trim a Tree, Pay $350,000 in Fines

The city of Glendale, California has lost their minds. Back in August the Collard's were ordered by the city fire department to trim back their trees as part of a fire abatement program. So they hired a private contractor to come do the work. Instead of being praised as upstanding citizens for helping reduce the threat of wildfires, they've instead been fined by the city for $350,000 for violating some ridiculous new ordinance governing the pruning of protected trees.

The ordinance was apparently enacted to keep the oh so evil developers from razing hillsides full of trees to build stuff. As usual the boneheads on the city council didn't bother to think of the unintended consequences. Nor did they bother to stop and remember what it means to own private property in this country. The audacity of the city to think that they have any business interfering in the private lives of private citizens doing things to private property is appalling.

In total, 13 trees were pruned. Five of which it turns out were on city property, which begs the question of why the fire department was asking them to have them pruned as well. These people have done nothing wrong. They complied with a lawful order. If anyone should be held responsible for the "damage" that's been done, it should be the fire department, who should have to reimburse the city for the damages to the 5 trees they actually own.

The trees themselves will live. As trees are want to do, they will regrow the cut branches. They'll grow new leaves. They'll once more become a nuisance requiring maintenance. But I'd fully support the Collard's if they simply told the city to go to hell the next time the fire department rolls around with another abatement order.
"It is pointless to resist, my son." -- Darth Vader
"Resistance is futile." -- The Borg
"Mother's coming for me in the dragon ships. I don't like these itchy clothes, but I have to wear them or it frightens the fish." -- Thurindil

Well. I guess that's that then.

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Posted on Nov 22, 2007 1:41 am by Samson in: | 2 comment(s) [Closed]
Oh, but then they'd be in violation of fire ordinances.. *shaking his head*

It's worth noting that yet another poor soul has become the victim of the Glendale city council.

John Oppenheim is a single father with two children. He pays his taxes, obeys the laws, goes to work and back, and tries to do right whenever he can. John was fined $170,000 in September for cutting down two trees on his property to make room for a home addition. But here's the kicker. John believed he lived in La Cresenta, not Glendale. His property tax records showed that his assessments went to La Cresenta. His address is listed as La Cresenta. All of his other bills and records pointed at living in La Cresenta. So when he went to hire a tree service to remove the trees, he wasn't surprised when they told him he wasn't subject to Glendale's ordinance.

Even if John had decided to research the ordinance, call city hall, and do the "right" thing, he would have done so with the wrong agency. Apparently he DOES actually live in Glendale, even though there's basically nothing to prove this with other than the city council's word.

So imagine his surprise when the bill came in the mail. He went to the city council meeting in Glendale on Monday to plead his case. The council members were none to sympathetic, even though 3 of the 5 were openly wondering if they should simply abolish the ordinance, and repeal the fine. That's 3 of 5. Majority by anyone's count. But they didn't do it. Instead they let the remaining two council members be rude, abusive, and dismissive of John's grievances. The man had to take off work because he normally works graveyard hours at a local hospital. Then the councilors made him wait until the last hour of a 5 hour meeting before he could speak. I heard the tapes on John and Ken last night and was appalled by this. They were basically treating the guy like a serf begging forgiveness before the king.

This is not how things should be in America. Treating people like this is an outrage we shouldn't stand for. Fining people for lopping off branches from their trees ( which grow back ) or for cutting them down ON THEIR OWN PROPERTY goes against every principle this nation was founded on. For God sake Glendale, wake up and do the right thing. Repeal the ordinance, cancel the fines, and stop harassing your citizens!

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