Bad News About Our Urban Forest
SMALL AGENDA TOOK AWHILE
The Costa Mesa Parks and Recreation Commission met last night and had a light agenda, HERE. However, it still took more than two hours for them to work their way through it.
MARINE GOWN DRIVE
Beth Refakes reminded us of the current gown drive for the Marines at Camp Pendleton that continues through September 15th. Donations may be dropped off at City Hall.
BANNING RANCH HEARING
An unidentified speaker reminded us of the Banning Ranch hearing at the Newport Beach City Hall on September 7th beginning at 9:00 a.m. She also encouraged us all to vote.
Most of the time was spent dealing with yet another tree removal request at 3081 Klondike Avenue, in the neighborhood entered from Bear Street via Yukon, HERE. That neighborhood entry has been the subject of controversy - and numerous tree removal requests - for several years. The predominant tree, the Canary Island Pine, is a beautiful tree but it turns out to have been a problematic choice when this development was created. The applicant, Gabriella Oseguera, was joined by more than a half-dozen of her neighbors requesting trees in the parkway and adjacent to her property on the slope landscaped area be removed.
The result, after much discussion, was to have one tree that apparently is damaging a wall removed at the City's expense and the remaining two - those in the parkway - removed at the applicants cost, which includes a 3-for-one replacement. It was decided to NOT replace those specific trees, but the replacement of trees would occur elsewhere in the city.
URBAN FOREST IN BIG TROUBLE
During his Maintenance Services Managers report Bruce Hartley provides some grim information to the commission. Due to the ongoing drought conditions our urban forest is in bad shape. He ticked off many statistics - none of which were available as a staff report online. He spoke of the diseases that are affecting our forest, including the shot hole borer that afflicts Sycamore trees in town. He told the commission that more frequent watering will begin the solution, but it won't happen overnight. It will take years of "normal" rainfall for the forest to regain a healthy condition.
WHAT ABOUT HOMELESS IMPACT ON PARKS?
Commissioner Kim Pederson asked Hartley about the impact of the homeless on our parks. Hartley told him it was a HUGE impact, and that the maintenance of our parks is much more complicated due to the encampments in them. He cited the need to pick up drug paraphernalia and the need to frequently powerwash places like the Senior Center due to the infestation of homeless folks. He told us he's heard from mothers who are afraid to visit the parks because of the homeless/rehab folks who infest them.
RECREATION PROGRAMS FLOURISHING
Justin Martin's Recreation Manager's Report was more positive. The summer programs are winding down and enrollment was good. The City will offer 199 classes during the upcoming fall session.
Oh, yes.. new commissioner Julie Mercurio apparently has found her voice again. She actually spoke a few times during the meeting, although her inexperience and apparent lack of doing her homework showed through. We expect more from her.