The city of Los Angeles is investigating a sudden trimming of trees outside Universal Studios Hollywood where striking actors and writers picketed.
Members of both the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) have picketed in the area and there were suspicions that the tree-trimming was done maliciously and without proper city permits.
L.A. City Controller Kenneth Mejia looked into the matter and said there were no permits granted for the trimmed trees.
“Our Office is investigating the tree trimming that occurred outside Universal Studios where workers, writers, and actors are exercising their right to picket,” Mejia said in a statement. “Trees are essential to providing Angelenos with significant environmental and public health benefits, especially during a heatwave.”
Not only had no permits been granted this week, but permits had been asked for in the area for more than three years, according to the Public Bureau of Street Services (aka StreetsLA), which maintains trees for the city of L.A.
The controller’s office will meet with the Urban Forestry Division (UFD) and StreetsLA Investigation & Enforcement Division (IED) to asses if citations or administrative hearings are necessary.
The recommended cycle for tree trimming in the city was set at five years, according to StreetsLA, although the city had fallen far behind its schedule, according to its most recent audit.
Los Angeles maintains more than 700,000 trees and had a goal to plant 90,000 between 2019 and 2021. The city fell short of its goal by 20,000 trees and continues to set goals to increase its planting by 50% by 2028.
SAG-AFTRA and the WGA have both been on strike as contract agreements with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers have not been reached.
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