Friday, August 26, 2016

Bad News About Our Urban Forest

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.
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.

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.

Commissioner Julie Mercurio had nothing to say.  (I feared she had permanently lost her voice, since she's had nothing to say for the past several meetings on any subject).

Byron de Arakal told the commission that AB 385, the bill to do away with Daylight Saving Time, died on the Senate floor.  He also mentioned AJR28, which apparently is designed to make Daylight Savings Time permanent year around.  He spoke about the negative impact of AB 109 and Prop 47 on our communities and spoke of Prop 57, which is on the November ballot, which will only exacerbate the negative impacts of the other two.  He spoke of the sucess of the OC Fair and the Olympics and local Olympic stars.
Kim Pederson spoke about the Master Plan Outreach meetings, citing a good turnout of passionate people.  He also spoke of the need to move forward with lighting fields, and that the Newport Mesa School District Board just approved a contract with a consultant to study which of their fields might receive permanent lighting.  He said, flat out, that we have plenty of fields, just not enough of them lighted.
Bob Graham showed images of Vista Park, along Victoria Street, to demonstrate the danger that exists due to a lack of fencing and asked Bruce Hartley if it was possible to install a fence.  He told Graham that it didn't make the cut in the last few budgets.  Graham also asked that somebody consider acquiring naming rights to Huntington Beach State Park and call it Costa Mesa State Park.
Chairman Brett Eckles commented on the Olympics, then told us the past 3, 4 and 5 years he has never seen so much support for sports in the city and gave credit to Steve Mensinger for this "achievment" - as blatant a campaign plug as I've seen lately.  He also spoke of the need for lighted fields, citing the fact that 89% of the fields in our city are school district fields.

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.

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.
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.
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.

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Anonymous Casual Viewer said...

The polyphagous shot hole borer, which loves sycamore trees, actually prefers healthy well-watered trees. There are other pests which prefer stressed out drought stricken trees. The city should avoid planting trees that are on the host list for PSHB, which a responsible landscape company (and the general public) can access. Irvine has lost hundreds of trees.

I wonder about some of these landscape companies that provide "instant" landscape without any thought as to how big the plants will become when they mature.

8/26/2016 02:59:00 PM  
Anonymous It has to be said...

Does staff actually have to take the time to fufill Graham's request to acquire and rename Huntington State Beach to Costa Mesa State Park?

8/28/2016 11:43:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Nope. He cannot direct staff to anything like that.

8/29/2016 01:06:00 AM  

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