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Tree Topping


Re: Sara Catania’s “It’s Not Easy Being Green” [July 28–August 3]. Bravo! I applaud your much-needed exposé of “tree topping.” This information needs to be in the minds of all urban dwellers if we are to see the end of this form of tree mutilation. I am an arborist myself, and find that a great deal of my time involves talking people out of this destructive and unsightly “pruning practice.”

—Bob Johnson

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It is encouraging that Sharyn Romano and Sylva Blackstone finally got through to City Hall about the desecration of trees throughout the city. Congratulations to them, and I hope they persevere in their pursuit. Years past, I would call Councilwoman Ruth Galanter’s office to complain about the horrendous shredding of trees in West chester and West L.A. in the name of “tree pruning.” At the best of times, when I called her office, I was met with indifference.

On one’s next approach to the airport along Sepulveda Boulevard in Westchester, take a look at some of the trees, or what’s left of them, particularly in the business district. It’s heart-wrenching.

—Matthew Hetz
Los Angeles


Thank you for devoting a cover story to the plight of L.A.’s trees. Sara Catania builds a convincing case for concern. She did, however, neglect to mention one factor that surely contributes to the dwindling state of the urban forest: illegal tree-removal by private parties.

Four months ago, with no prior notice and no permit, my landlord removed a decades-old tree from the sidewalk just outside my Hollywood apartment. The environmental, not to mention aesthetic, effect was immediately noticeable. As I write, the indoor temperature in my formerly shaded living room is pushing 90 degrees. The stump still has not been removed, and the jackhammered sidewalk, in addition to being a pedestrian hazard, has become a trash dump.

In spite of the somewhat iffy light in which the L.A. Street Trees division came across in your story, a supervisor from the division, Ralph Schwabe, was on the scene within an hour of my discovering the “murder.” Too late, however, to save yet another L.A. tree.

—David Gadd



Re: Ben Ehrenreich’s “Running on Empty” [July 21–27]. All of the George W. Bush quotes in the article are from interviews, not written speeches. It is refreshing to see a politician actually speak off the cuff, as opposed to the last eight years of Clinton and Gore, where every remark is scripted and poll-tested. If Gore ever spoke from within, instead of from a script, it would be refreshing — but I’m afraid an article on the silliness of his words would be longer than your paper could print.

—Peter A. Ferrara
Paris, France


Re: “Running on Empty.” I didn’t know you guys had a site, and after reading this unveiled liberal and clearly destructive whining, I can say with sincerity that I’m glad I was unaware of you. And, I must say, I will never visit again.

—Jaime Gallegos
Rowland Heights


Thanks for Ben Ehrenreich’s article on George W. Bush. Yes, we hear it every day, on every talk show, how much of a bore is Gore. However, the prospect of a yahoo like George W. becoming our president should be terrifying to persons of any intelligence. The potential impact on our judiciary system alone is cause for great alarm. At least the Democrats have a more humane social agenda. Of course, many of us take issue with the global/corporate agenda of both parties.

—Lydia Szamraj
Los Angeles

Another Bush


Re: “Bush’s ‘Little Brown One’” [July 21–27]. So now you have to earn your ethnicity? And all this time I thought that your ethnic background was just something you inherited. But I guess I was all wrong. It’s a badge you must earn, and George P. Bush hasn’t earned it. He didn’t run for the cover of a multicultural, ethnocentric security blanket when he went to college. He hung out and had fun and played pool with . . . those other people. He didn’t sit around whining about his ethnic lot in life, and discussing club dues and elections, and planning Ethnic Food Day at the cafeteria. Loner! Traitor!

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