The Battle of the Santa Monica Ficus Trees Ends in Defeat... For the Trees
Ending a climactic battle over the fate of Santa Monica's now infamous ficus trees that pitted the city against Treesavers, a local environmental group, 23 trees were felled last Friday as part of a multimillion-dollar street renovation project, reports the LAT's Francisco Vara-Orta. In a move that took Treesaver members by surprise, city officials cut down the trees in the early morning after blocking sections of Second Street.Treesavers' attempts to have the city's 153 ficus trees declared landmarks a few months ago failed after two courts ruled against their claim; a ruling last Wednesday paved the way for city's decision to take down the trees, which has argued that the trees' branches and roots "obstruct" bus traffic and sidewalks. A disappointing end to what always seemed like an uphill battle to this writer.
In case you're looking for a blow-by-blow account of the fight, Emerald City's Siel has the goods -- with lots more local reporting and insight.