County Removes Lutz's Trees

After sending a request for information to Dianne Jacob's office and to the County Counsel regarding Brown Act violations, the County retaliates by driving over the curb with a truck and removed all the trees in front of the Lutz residence with no notice at all.

Background

Our home is situated in the county, but three sides of our property border on El Cajon City. Eventually, we are told, our property can become part of the City of El Cajon. It is a rural setting, and our home is set very far back from the front fence. On the other side of the street is City, and it has palm trees planted in the parkway between the sidewalk and the property fences. We planted palms as well, to match the other side of the street, and installed irrigation, weed blocker fabric, and redwood chips to keep the weeds down. We also planted a number of ornamental plants in the area between the street and our fence.

According to county documents, our property extends to the centerline of the street. Normally, it is the responsibility of the homeowner to maintain this parkway area. We used to maintain lawn, but with the water shortages, we no longer do so, and use only drip irrigation to maintain larger plants and shrubs.

On May 18th, 2007, I videotaped the "Backcountry Revitalization Meeting" held by Dianne Jacob in Campo. You can view the video if you haven't already.

After the meeting, I asked Sup. Jacob why she did not allow public comment, and why did they specifically censor Blackwater comments. She said she could not talk or even hear any public comments about Blackwater. I sent an email to her office requesting the law. She sent it to the County Counsel on May 21. I should have heard back by now, but receive only a love note from the County in the form of having our trees removed. (See Backcountry Revitalization Violates Brown Act)

Landscaping Gouged and Trashed

Look. If our trees are too close to the road or something, we expect at least a letter letting us know so we can move the trees or do what ever trimming might be necessary. You can see in these pictures that half of our front yard has nice trees and the other side has been raped. Our goal was to match the right side of the street to result in a balanced street look. (click on the pictures for higher-resolution image) Then, on Thursday, June 7th, they took out all our trees!

EntireFront.JPG
Shot of entire frontage to show missing trees. This was the first day, and you can see that some of our trees were still left. I figured these were too far from the edge of the street or something.
IMG 4066.JPG
Location of tree removed showing drip irrigation line.
IMG 4067.JPG
Location of second tree removed.
IMG 4068.JPG
Third Tree removed here
IMG 4070.JPG
They did a great job on these, don't you think?
IMG 4071.JPG
City of El Cajon has always put their sign on County property in a really stupid place. See the sidewalk? That's where it's supposed to be.
IMG 4077.JPG
On June 7th, they removed the rest of them! Why is it that homeowners can have the same sort of tree on the right side of the street, but one our side, no closer to the center of the street, they see fit to remove them without any notice at all.
IMG 4078.JPG
Landscaping damage... Weed control cloth shown, big hole.
IMG 4079.JPG
But the drain area, they say that isn't their responsibility.

No where else along our street was any trimming or mowing done.

Progress

  • Called general Public Works number and was referred to Road Section: 858-874-4040
  • Called Road Section 6/11/07 and they referred me to Carlos Michel( He refused to correct spelling), County Arborist & "Vegetation Manager" 619-660-5820
  • Called Carlos Michel 6/11/07 but he does not work on Mondays. Left a message for a return call.
  • Called again at 6/12/07 at 11:48 AM and left a second message, again providing my cell phone number.
  • Returned call at 8:15 on 6/13
    • Said trees were only considered "weeds"
    • He refused to provide his name. His said that was "personal information" that could not be revealed.
    • My request to him:
      • Provide the definition of the term "Tree" and "weed"
      • Provide the exact policy with regard to removing and disposing of trees. Why is this not "Stealing".
      • Provide copies of all the work orders and who was responsible for starting this work.
      • When the irrigation and weed control cloth was noticed, why did they continue to remove the trees?

Contact information:
Division 1 Headquarters
11970 Singer Lane
Spring Valley 91978

Attn Carlos

Supervisor: Bruce

-- Raymond Lutz - 07 Jun 2007

Resolution

After talking this over with his supervisor, Carlos called back and made arrangements to meet with me. He will be providing six replacement trees, and will have a crew come out to weed and improve the parkway area. I agreed to plant the trees on the inside of the fence. -- Raymond Lutz - 13 Jun 2007

Six trees were delivered (15-gallon) and planted on the inside of the fenceline.

I also informed him that the sago palm we had growing (and which I warned him not to remove) should be replaced. He came by that day and gave me a new palm.

I consider this issue to be closed , but will be keeping a close eye on future such actions by the County.

-- Raymond Lutz - 04 Sep 2007

Topic attachments
I Attachment Action Size Date Who Comment
EntireFront.JPGJPG EntireFront.JPG manage 249.5 K 2014-06-26 - 17:23 Raymond Lutz Shot of entire frontage to show missing trees
IMG_4066.JPGJPG IMG_4066.JPG manage 492.6 K 2014-06-26 - 17:23 Raymond Lutz Location of tree removed showing drip irrigation line
IMG_4067.JPGJPG IMG_4067.JPG manage 477.0 K 2014-06-26 - 17:23 Raymond Lutz Location of second tree removed
IMG_4068.JPGJPG IMG_4068.JPG manage 355.9 K 2014-06-26 - 17:23 Raymond Lutz Third Tree removed here.
IMG_4070.JPGJPG IMG_4070.JPG manage 388.3 K 2014-06-26 - 17:23 Raymond Lutz They did a great job on these, don't you think?
IMG_4071.JPGJPG IMG_4071.JPG manage 293.2 K 2014-06-26 - 17:23 Raymond Lutz City of El Cajon has always put their sign on County property in a really stupid place. See the sidewalk? That's where it's supposed to be.
IMG_4077.JPGJPG IMG_4077.JPG manage 986.5 K 2014-06-26 - 17:23 Raymond Lutz On June 7th, the removed the rest of them!
IMG_4078.JPGJPG IMG_4078.JPG manage 1702.4 K 2014-06-26 - 17:23 Raymond Lutz Landscaping damage... Weed control cloth shown, big hole.
IMG_4079.JPGJPG IMG_4079.JPG manage 1327.3 K 2014-06-26 - 17:23 Raymond Lutz But the drain area, they say that isn't their responsibility.
Topic revision: r12 - 2015-03-11, RaymondLutz
 

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