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24th Street Trees Face One Last Chance Before Removal

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Image: Shalaco

San Francisco is planning to remove 48 of those ficus trees you see above that stand along the sidewalks of 24th Street in the Mission District. After a nearly two-year fight among residents who either love the trees, or think their sprawling roots do too much damage to sidewalks and floors of homes and businesses, the SF Department of Public Works settled on a plan to remove 48 ficus trees from the sidewalks of 24th Street. But a community appeal in January won a two-month delay on the trees’ fate (which became a six-month delay, thanks to COVID-19). The San Francisco Board of Appeals will decide on the trees at a Wednesday, July 15, 5 p.m. meeting and you can comment your opinion by logging in to this Zoom link. (Public comment is limited to 2 minutes per person.)

24th Street Ficus Removal Hearing

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Hearing information: http://bit.ly/24thStTreeEn Españiol: https://www.facebook.com/ShaIaco/videos/798533713884200/Cities case: https://missionlocal.org/2019/04/city-makes-its-case-for-axing-51-ficus-trees-along-24th-street-corridor/The city is proposing to remove 48 trees from 24th Street. La ciudad propone quitar 48 árboles de la Calle 24.These trees are like familyEstos árboles son parte de nuestra familia.They aren’t perfect, but they are part of our community.No son perfectos, pero son parte de nuestra comunidad.Our names are etched in these trees Nuestros nombres están grabados en éstos árboles.They’ve grown with us. They are our guardians. Crecieron con nosotros, son nuestros guardianes.They clean our air and provide us with shade.Ellos limpian nuestro aire y nos dan sombra.Every morning we greet them, “Buenos dias”.Cada mañana les damos los "Buenos dias".They give roots to our neighborhoodLe dan raíces a nuestro vecindario.We mustn’t be satisfied with quick fixes, but we must take the appropriate actions to preserve the life, culture and history of our neighborhood.No debemos satisfacernos con un arreglo rápido, debemos tomaracciones apropiadas para preservar la vida, la cultura, y la historia de nuestro vecindario.We can do this by:Podemos hacer lo siguiente:Pruning trees on a two year cycle to provide the care they needPodar los árboles cada 2 años para darles el cuidado que necesitan.Reducing the number of trees removed. Reducir el número de arboles quitados.Phasing the removal of trees.Remover los árboles en fasesIncreasing the number of replantings andIncrementando el numero de plantaciones yCommiting to Replanting within 3 monthsComprometerse a replantar en 3 mesés.This is an opportunity for the city and public works to demonstrate its commitment to the resilience, sustainability and health of Calle 24 by providing the support needed to preserve the culture and iconic beauty of our neighborhood and promote the health of all who live in it.Esta es una oportunidad para la ciudad y los servidores públicos de demostrar su compromiso con la resiliencia, la sustentabilidad, y el bienestar de la Calle 24 proveyendo el apoyo necesario para preservar la cultura y la belleza icónica de nuestro vecindario y promover el bienestar de todos los que vivimos aquí.If this matters to you, raise your voice. July 15th. Si esto te importa, levanta tu voz, este 15 de Julio.Information linked below. Thank you for your support.El link para la información está abajo. Gracias por tu apoyo.

Posted by Shalaco on Monday, July 13, 2020

“These trees are a very important part of the neighborhood, not just iconically, but culturally and environmentally,” Calle 24 Latino Cultural District president and co-founder Erick Arguello tells BrokeAssStuart.com. “A low-income neighborhood like ours has suffered a lot of environmental inequity for decades. We’re surrounded by freeways, we have Cesar Chavez [Street], we have Mission Street, we’re surrounded with a lot of traffic in the area. We have a lot of carbon and fumes, which these trees help to absorb.

“There’s always been this debate, this controversy about the trees. Some people love them, some people hate them.”

Image: mlinksva via Flickr

The reason some people hate the trees, according to a Mission Local report from April 2019 is “years of local complaints about tripping hazards caused by roots breaking through sidewalks, and large branches breaking free on windy days.” The expanding roots have also caused problems for the floors of homes and businesses near 24th Street.

But advocates maintain that this is easily preventable.

“The issue has been the maintenance and pruning of these trees — or the lack of pruning and watering and maintenance,” Arguello tells us.

Image: mlinksva via Flickr

The Department of Public Works, which is under a sprawling FBI public corruption and fraud scandal, has clearly been misappropriating taxpayer dollars for years. This may have affected their attention to necessary maintenance, and the department had wanted to remove nearly twice as many of the 24th Street trees.

“It was originally 77 or 78 trees,” says Joshua Klipp, an attorney and self-described ‘tree advocate’ who’s one of the people appealing DPW’s decision. “It would have essentially changed the entire character of the cultural corridor that is 24th Street, but would have had a big impact on the immediate environment.”

Klipp adds there are important public health issues at play too. “This particular corridor and this neighborhood suffered disproportionately from air pollution and from health effects like asthma”, he tells BrokeAssStuart.com, citing environmental reports and assessments. “Talk about an exacerbation of that.”  

Image: aballant38 via Flickr

Health considerations aside, it just wouldn’t be 24th Street without those signature ficus trees. “It’s important to the community healthwise, these trees help us keep the air clear,” according to Arguello. “They also are great during the summer, we have the warmest neighborhood in the Mission. And it’s an identity marker for us, I think we’re the only one in San Francisco that has this amount of trees which are huge canopies on a 12-block corridor.

“We look at these trees as part of our cultural assets in the Calle24 Cultural District. They’re very important to our history in the neighborhood and the development of 24th Street.”

The San Francisco Board of Appeals will decide on these trees at a Wednesday, July 15, 5 p.m. meeting and you can comment your opinion by logging in to this Zoom link or by calling (833) 548-0282 (toll free) and enter the meeting ID: 819 5317 4837. There are also instructions in both English and Spanish for how to comment.

 

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Joe Kukura- Millionaire in Training

Joe Kukura is a two-bit marketing writer who excels at the homoerotic double-entendre. He is training to run a full marathon completely drunk and high, and his work has appeared in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal on days when their editors made particularly curious decisions.