Letters: March 27, 2009

Column about Cardiff trees unfair
I felt the need to fill in some gaps re: the pine trees at the library (“Sea Notes” Feb. 6, 2009: “Trees a valuable part of history that deserve respect”). Saying goodbye to those 60-year-old trees wasn’t easy and we didn’t do it lightly. The Friends (of the Cardiff by the Sea Library) and the county spent money and time hoping that we could save them but they were dead and when the beetles moved in, we knew the day had come to say so long. It isn’t as if we cut them to save someone’s view, they were also becoming a hazard. A lot of people came by and got pieces for keepsakes. There are plans for a wonderful learning garden on that spot.
Thanks for listening.
Irene Kratzer
Cardiff-by-the-Sea

Dear Irene,
I was totally emotional and uninformed on the issue Irene. Please accept my apologies for not getting the facts before I wrote my piece on trees. I look forward to seeing, and using the “Wonderful learning garden.”
Thanks for your kind and gentle rebuke.
Chris Ahrens

Excellent coverage of Orpheus Tree removal debacle
Thank you, Sheila Cameron, for another excellent commentary highlighting the city of Encinitas’ challenges with open, accountable government, responsive to citizens, honoring the public trust.
Hopefully, the actual “policy manual” relating to maintaining and preserving city trees will be specific, will guarantee nothing ever happens again like what recently took place in Orpheus Park.
One of the main public concerns regarding taking out eleven healthy trees, there, was the lack of opportunity for citizen input and council discussion at a public hearing before the much loved trees were “axed.”
One public speaker at the March 18 Encinitas City Council meeting brought in the city of Davis’ Tree Policy Manual. This would be a good guide for establishing our policy here.
What we don’t want in Encinitas is for the three-man majority on council to continue to arrogantly ignore public outcry and to e-mail one another and staff, while making it clear they were not willing to wait for public input. The tree e-mails exchanged constitute unlawful council “meetings” according to the Brown Act, and were apparently the reason City Manager Phil Cotton told Chris Hazeltine, Parks and Recreation Department director, to go ahead, don’t wait for a public hearing, disregard Councilwoman Teresa Barth’s phone calls and e-mails asking staff and council to listen to public concerns.
Councilman Dan Dalager was involved, despite what he misstated at the March 11 council meeting, as quoted in The Coast News. He wrote an e-mail to all of council, much of staff, which he also copied to the media and EUSD, blasting Barth by implication, incorrectly claiming she was interfering with staff, and “waving red flags.” Dalager also went to Paul Ecke School and spoke to teachers there, objecting to the peaceful protest in which students had also participated, trying their best to save the trees.
Lynn Braun Marr
Leucadia

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