On July 25, 2014, a city crew showed up on the 2600 block of south Budlong Avenue in response to some bureaucrat's orders to solve the problem of tree roots pushing up a short segment of sidewalk. We don't know to what extent they explored ways to let the tree coexist with a new piece of sidewalk, but the first thing they did was bring out their chainsaws. It was a magnificent huge camphor tree, twice the height of the two-story 1909 Craftsman home it stood in front of. The tree was almost certainly planted when the house was built, long before anyone now living in this neighborhood was born. It was the treasure of the residents of the home it stood in front of. They were not consulted or given any warning or explanation. In an hour or so the wonderful tree was reduced to butchered scrap, which was carted away the next day, leaving the woman who heads the household in tears. This decision is a heavy blow to the residents whose home it graced, and to their neighbors for many blocks around.
Even though this part of West Adams is an old community, mostly built between 1903 and 1915, very few of the old giant trees remain. There is an even larger Morton Bay Fig in the next block south on the same side of Budlong, but it has escaped the city choppers because it is behind the fence on the house's front yard, while the victim on the 2600 block stood on the parkway.
Under current rules the city is supposed to plant two trees for every one it cuts down. We will see if, here in South Los Angeles, they follow through on that promise. But only the youngest of our neighborhood's residents can expect to live long enough for these replacements to even begin to approach the majesty of the tree that was destroyed.
Our sidewalks are now on a hundred year schedule for repairs. Surely in the few cases where something is done about sidewalks in our lifetime we shouldn't have to pay for the repair by losing our finest trees.
We do not know what options the city considered in this case. There are often ways to save the tree while replacing a raised sidewalk. The city needs to explain their actions to the residents and to the local neighborhood association, the Van Buren Place Community Restoration Association. On the 2600 block of Van Buren Place as an accommodation for expanding roots the sidewalk was narrowed by about a foot as it went past a large tree. Roots can be shaved and covered, then topped with thinner than standard concrete. There are other possible measures that might have been applicable.
We would like to receive an explanation of why the Department of Public Works felt they had to cut down this tree, and some review of this policy to reassure our citizens that killing the tree is not the first option where sidewalks have been damaged.
The Van Buren Place Community Restoration Association has planted, or caused to have planted and raised funds for several years of initial watering, about 70 trees in our immediate area in the last 25 years. Even the oldest of these is a small sapling compared to the Budlong camphor tree, and we feel its loss keenly.
Three oil company drill sites in the West Adams section of South Los Angeles, operating more than 100 underground wells, have been the center of recent citizen protests, ramped up government inspections, a City Attorney lawsuit, and complaints that the city's Zoning Administration has violated municipal code and possibly state law in fast-tracking oil company expansion plans. These events have raised broader questions as to the competence of the city's oversight of an industry that deals in toxic, explosive, and flammable materials but has been allowed, from the days in the late nineteenth century when there were few zoning rules, to establish thousands of wells in residential neighborhoods throughout the city. Since the early 1960s most of these have been slant drilled underground, with scores of pipes emanating in all directions from anonymous compounds hidden behind high walls.
The recent West Adams complaints first arose in 2010-11 around Allenco Energy's drill site at 814 W. 23rd Street in the University Park neighborhood north of USC, adjacent to Mount St. Mary's College. Allenco purchased the operation in 2009 and boosted production 400%. Soon, neighbors began experiencing chronic nosebleeds, respiratory problems, headaches, and nausea. By late 2013 the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) had received 251 complaints. Community protest meetings drew several hundred people. The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent inspectors, who were made ill and determined that leaks of petroleum fumes from badly maintained equipment were the cause. Allenco voluntarily shut down on November 22, under pressure from U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer. On January 7, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer filed a lawsuit to prevent Allenco from reopening until they comply with all applicable health and safety regulations.
Subsequently, two drill sites acquired last year by the giant Freeport-McMoRan Oil and Gas company became the subject of community complaints.
HISTORICO LA CONSERVACION RECAME ZONIFIQUE
1] P: ¿ QUE SE RECAMA UNA CONSERVACION HISTORICA ZONA (HPOZ)?
R: Cuando un barrio y la Ciudad de Los Angeles cree que un área específica de que comunidad es digno de conservación, la protección Urbana de ofertas mediante la designación de un HPOZ. El área debe tener importancia histórica, arquitectónica, cultural o estética. El concepto de conservación debe ser ampliamente apoyado por los propietarios de propiedad y residentes del área designada. El propósito del HPOZ está proteger y mejorar el representante de áreas de la historia cultural y arquitectónica de Ciudad que son único y no reempiazable nada el activo. El HPOZ establece una asociación de conservación que es regida por una cinco la voluntaria placa de miembro. Por lo menos tres de miembros deben ser los propietarios o alquiladors quien vivos dentro de el HPOZ de área. Dos de miembros son nombrados por la Ciudad. Los miembros de placa habrán demostrado conocimiento e interesado en la cultura, estructuras históricas y aspectos arquitectónicos del HPOZ de área.
About twenty-five neighbors and block club members, young, old, and very young noted the last of summer August 23 with a community potluck. Something special at the event was the eightieth birthdays of Bob and Irene Grant, two of the block club's founders.
The exciting annual Greek Fest will be held at Saint Sophia Greek Cathedral, Pico and Normandie, beginning Friday, September 11 at 5 pm, and running on through Sunday from early afternoon to 11 (Saturday) or 10 (Sunday) at night. Hosted by Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson. Greek food and music, crafts, dancing, cooking demonstrations and more.
New Downtown eatery offers outstanding breakfast menu at Denny's prices.
My wife Jennifer and I recently had Sunday breakfast at the Nickel Diner, now in its fourth month on Main Street opposite Bark Avenue's new doggie day care facility, between Fifth and Sixth Streets in Downtown. Open early for breakfast and also serving lunch, the offerings are really outstanding. The decor is from the forties, with old menus on the wall from soda fountains of the days of yore. For the price of a breakfast at Denny's classy chef Monica May serves up omlets or scrambles with fontina cheese, salmon, grilled zuccini, and many more unusual and welcome choices.