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.
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!
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.
Location of tree removed showing drip irrigation line.
Location of second tree removed.
They did a great job on these, don't you think?
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.
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.
Landscaping damage... Weed control cloth shown, big hole.
But the drain area, they say that isn't their responsibility.
No where else along our street was any trimming or mowing done.
- 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?
Division 1 Headquarters
11970 Singer Lane
Spring Valley 91978
-- Raymond Lutz
- 07 Jun 2007
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