In an ironic "F you" to Mother Nature and her gutsiest allies, Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley is calling the four tree-sitters who (unsuccessfully) attempted to block a woodland wipeout in Arcadia this January to court this Friday. Here's the clincher: Friday is Earth Day.
Of all days to punish someone for loving the Earth too much...
Daryl Hannah, a big celebrity force behind the SoCal environmental movement, stood up at a downtown L.A. press conference this morning to scold Cooley for scolding the sitters. Her statement:
"The explosive population growth in LA has led to very few remaining wild open spaces. Residents of these communities deeply treasure these gems as evidenced by the community of Arcadia, which was devastated by the destruction of the Arcadia Woodlands. 250 old growth oaks and sycamores in the last remaining flatland woodlands in the San Gabriel Valley were unnecessarily bulldozed by the [Department of Public Works] for a sediment pit. DPW had other options that made more sense.
Despite heroic efforts by the Arcadia 4 and legal battles from the community the DPW chose destruction anyway. Countywide there are several more eco-systems in imminent jeopardy. I urge everyone to get informed and lend support to Urban Wild Network's efforts to protect these areas."
We listed the endangered areas yesterday; They include whatever sad patch remains of the Arcadia forest; a tranquil reservoir in Pasadena; the old oak-heavy La Tuna Canyon; a picturesque river spot along the Whittier Narrows and a woodsy park in Granada Hills popular for hikers and bikers.
Unlike in Arcadia, the tough outback community of La Tuna may have the tree-huggin' manpower it takes to stop the DPW bulldozers before it's too late. The city meeting last night was attended by over 100 activists, according to the Poetic Plantings Blog -- and they've got a much roomier environmental-review period to work with.
Arcadia opposition leader Camron Stone photo-documents the La Tuna site, where the DPW has death-tagged over 60 oaks (just like in the days leading up to the Arcadia tragedy) in hopes of dumping all the mud and debris left over from the Station Fire. A preview:
Old-Hollywood environmentalist Ed Begley was equally ticked this morning about the Arcadia 4's Earth Day court date.
"I knew that four of my friends were clinging bravely to the canopies of those ancient oak trees and I feared for their lives. Now, DA Steve Cooley wants to punish the Arcadia 4 to set an example of what will happen to any citizen that opposes the actions of a rogue government agency.
This has got to stop now!"
We live in L.A. County because here, foliage and concrete coincide for an urban pop life that's still grounded by the lush, life-giving Earth-stuffs that were here before us. Props to the Arcadia 4, and here's to a defensive push against the same fate for La Tuna. And not just because Daryl Hannah said so.
But her words of encouragement certainly don't hurt: