I attended the lively City Council Candidate forum sponsored by Village Laguna. Although
there were no questions on trees, Paul Merritt answered a question related to historical preservation by stating that he hoped the city would provide protection for historical trees.
Certainly, the support of trees is not unqualified and must be balanced with public safety and view rights. We know from past City Council meetings that Ann Christoph is a supporter of trees, their proper maintenance and care. I’m honestly not sure about most of the other candidates’ position on trees, with the exception of Sue Kempf. In 2011, Sue initiated action that led to cutting down some large eucalyptus trees in Bluebird Canyon. The views from Sue’s home benefited from these removals, and as she initiated this action while co-chair of the Disaster Preparedness Committee, the question is, did Sue take this action partly to improve her view or solely for public safety? If the latter, did she look at trees in other areas of town, or just her neighborhood as part of her Disaster Preparedness Committee work?
Other tree-related actions documented in a 2009 Laguna Beach Police report suggest that Sue allegedly trespassed on a neighbor’s property and topped trees that partially blocked her view of the ocean. These activities may be indicative of Sue’s antipathy to Laguna’s status as a bird sanctuary and of Laguna winning the certification for being a Tree City USA.
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