Today Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa helped plant 55 new trees in a Westlake neighborhood as part of his Million Trees L.A. initiative, which aims to plant that many trees in the city. However, a Department of Public Works spokeswoman tells the L.A. Weekly that, since the program began in 2006, only 200,000 trees have been planted. By contrast, New York City's Million Trees project has planted 173,229 and is ahead of schedule. New York mayor Michael Bloomberg planted Tree No. 111,111 on the first anniversary of its program last October.

At L.A.'s current planting rate Mayor Villaraigosa would not only be long out of City Hall by the time the millionth tree is put in the ground, but also out of the governor's mansion as well, should he end up there. An analysis for Million Trees L.A. shows that Los Angeles has a 21 percent “tree canopy cover,” lower than the national average of 27 percent. Perhaps city government isn't such a shady business after all.

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