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Out of His Tree

Of course, it had to end this way, with no happy Disney resolution or theme music: just a swarm of officers doing the bidding of progress last week, and removing a heretofore unnoticed man who became a lion of resistance by going to Santa Clarita to sit in a tree. By sitting in a 400-year-old oak for 71 days, 42-year-old John Quigley became a hero to schoolchildren, an object of fascination, and a counterpoint not only to urban sprawl, but to rumblings of war, a sniper‘s madness and an economy’s stumbles. Quigley saved the tree from the saw, but it will be lucky to survive its impending transplant to a nearby park. All of this to widen a road that will serve new tract homes. This week, Quigley and other activists went to court to keep the tree in place. And they lost. Superior Court Judge John P. Shook cited the benefits of the new development, adding, “I‘m satisfied the owners are taking actions above and beyond the call of duty.” Lawyers for John Laing Homes argued that they had to move the tree while its roots were still dormant for the season. So it’s back to dormancy as usual.