One of the things that drives me nuttiest about the anti-government movement in this country is its easy assumption that all those who do work for the public are, at heart and at the root, Evil. Exhibit A: The woods of Huntington Woods.
Here we have a tiny (1.6 square mile) suburb that would likely be called “leafy,” mainly because it is. It’s Huntington Woods, after all. See if you can follow this: In 2007, the city does a survey to develop a community master plan. How do you feel about trees? the city asks. Ninety-six percent — 96! percent! — says yay trees. The next question: Would you support an ordinance to protect them? Ninety-one percent says hell yes. So in June the city passes an ordinance that discourages people from removing trees that aren’t diseased or dying. It’s patterned after one that already exists in 13 communities. Requires inspections and fines. And…
On June 17, Huntington Woods’ five-member city commission unanimously passed the new tree protection ordinance, Sullivan said.
It amended the city’s code of ordinances to require permits for cutting down trees — something that previously wasn’t on the books, she said.
The city only keeps permit fees of homeowners removing mature, healthy trees; it returns fees for removing dead or dying trees, according to the city manager.
I know you know what’s coming next: A citizen who says, like Madeline, “something is not right!”
“My personal feeling is they shouldn’t be able to tell us that we can’t take down any tree on our property,” said Iversen. “It’s ridiculous.”
Yes, it’s a property-rights activist who had determined that if she should want to take down her sycamore, it would cost her a lot, even though the sycamore is fine and yadda yadda principle of the thing.
It’s stories like this that make me heave a deep sigh. There’s a lot of this sort of thing locally — the endless surveys, the consensus-building that sometimes turns an entire administration into a finger in the wind, stripped of leadership. But I get why they do it, and when you get two surveys that show more than 90 percent of respondents are Pro-Tree, it shouldn’t be this complicated.
And yet it is. And somewhere out there, an eagle-eyed citizen is ready to upset the apple cart.
You wonder why anyone runs for a local office, with rewards like this waiting for them.
And so another week has collapsed under the collective weight of the work we’ve done, and a weekend awaits. Wait, did that sound grim? I didn’t mean it to. It’s just been a week. A little bloggage:
It’s not the Trayvon Martin Trial, part 2. This thoughtful Brian Dickerson column explains why.
Why do we say “big brown dog” instead of “brown big dog?” The semiotics of adjectives, for you language geeks.
Finally, oil and gas drilling (tries to) comes to the last, 49-acre stand of virgin white pine in Michigan.
A good weekend, all.