Letters to the Editor
Please start a one-year subscription in my name.
It has been five weeks since I saw a copy of your newspaper and I greatly miss it. I have had to rely on “Nextdoor Alameda” a.k.a. “rumor central” for any local news.
I hope you and yours are all A-OK.
I’ve been doing a lot of walking during the shut down and have noticed a lot of people walking dogs. Have also noticed that, in most cases, owners have those leashes that extend and retract, making their walking easier because they don’t have to keep up with their animals as much as they once did. I also noticed that it allows their dogs to intrude upon private property a lot more easily.
While the kids were young, we went through three dogs: beautiful rescue collies, each one. And we did not have those newer leashes. There was also an ordinance in Alameda which stated that leashes shall not be longer than 6 feet. Also, the kids and I walked the dogs only on the curb side of the sidewalk so that, when they urinated, it was on city property.
Then the extending leashes were invented and Alameda passed what I call an accommodative ordinance. That is, an ordinance that accommodates a select number of people who pushed for it. Like the ordinance that now allows vehicles up to 6 feet tall to park near busy corners instead of those only 5 feet tall, which was the previous rule. More on that next time.
Meanwhile, long-leash dog owners feel it is perfectly all right to allow their precious pups to run up onto private property and urinate at will, or defecate, of course, which most owners clean up properly. My question is: what is in the minds of pet owners who allow their dogs to run up on someone elses private property to do their business? Why do they feel entitled to do this? It is wrong, and most property owners do not like it. So stop.
I have a friend who has a pool at their home. In the changing room there is a sign by the bathroom that says simply: “We don’t swim in your toilet. Please don’t pee in our pool.” Folks, if it’s not your property, you and your animals need to stay off it.
Two large giant sequoia trees (Sequoiadendron giganteum) in Alameda’s Franklin Park are proposed for removal almost immediately after Earth Day. These trees and several other giant sequoias have been in decline for a number of years, mostly due to the lack of irrigation during the drought several years ago and soil compaction around the roots. The 2015 city arborist’s report cited this.
The city spent $65,000 following the 2015 report to prune the trees and to apply mulch, but the mulch was much less than minimal as recommended by the arborist. Now, most has disappeared. Unfortunately, it is also not clear that the city arborist’s irrigation plans were ever implemented.
Now we have these gorgeous, noble giants standing in peril of being cut down.
According to arborist Steve Batchelder, Alameda faces a similar plight in Jackson Park where 59 trees are now in decline and need to be removed. Several have recently been removed. The city has a good window of opportunity to plant new trees to adequately maintain this lush historic park and its tree canopy. Jackson Park neighbors are very active in support of this.
The Franklin Park trees are examples of valuable mature trees that are at considerable risk due to problematic conditions that have been allowed to develop over too long a period of time. Without adequate steps to protect and preserve these noble trees as called for in arborist reports, we will lose more trees from our cityscape.
We can, and must do better as a city to plant more trees and preserve our existing tree stock. Alameda was once a large coastal live oak forest. But where have all the trees gone? We don’t have to look too far.
We will be judged by our children and our grandchildren by how well, or if, we acted when we had the chance to help save the planet. Investing in saving our trees and in planting more is our best option to move forward with dignity for our heirs, and, to meet our community’s carbon-reduction goals.
Editor’s note: We noticed a tree being removed from Franklin Park last week. Unfortunately it’s too late to save these trees. There’s “always” a valid reason to chop them down and rarely the political will to plant more.