I am writing to ask for your help.
Last night, I attended a hearing about the removal of the final six trees on Beacon Street. Twenty residents spent two and a half hours in conversation with Brad Rawson, Vanessa Boukili, and Steve Maceachern. Alderman Scott joined us for the end of the meeting.
It was a vigorous, wide ranging discussion. Those in attendance, as well as those who submitted written testimony, were unanimous in our desire to find some way to retain even one mature tree on Beacon Street. We proposed alternatives, discussed the financial and livability benefits of mature trees, and made every effort to collaborate and to bring creative ideas to the table.
The city staff at the meeting did a good job as far as they were able. Unfortunately, they clearly did not have the authority to recommend changes. This made for a long and uncomfortable meeting, since they could do nothing but listen, sympathize, and justify.
It is disingenuous and unfair to claim that the clear-cut is based on their recommendation. It makes the entire hearing process something of a sham, a useless bit of window dressing. They clearly had no choice in the matter. This is not a recommendation that they are making.
This is doubly true for our city arborist, Dr. Boukikli. It is deeply unfair to place her in a position where her only possible recommendation, over unanimous public outrage and opposition, is to finish removing all of the trees on a major boulevard.
It was an uncomfortable meeting, sir, because the staff you sent were not empowered to work with us. They did a good job in a bad situation, but they deserve better from you.
The decision to clear cut the street was made in secrecy nearly three years ago. It was concealed from the community, from the Aldermen, and from most of the city staff until last fall.
This decision - to remove every single tree on a major thoroughfare - this decision rests with you.
I am asking you to engage with us, either to own that decision yourself or else to offer your support and help your staff to work with us to find a way to save even one of these trees.
Thank you for your attention.
26 Ivaloo Street
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