Posts Tagged ‘Tree removal’

Almaden Girl Scouts fight City Hall

Per the ABVnews edition dated 3-31-2014 , produced by Robert Braunstein: 

Three Girl Scouts from Almaden are taking on City Hall over a proposed housing development on a hill. The proposed 10 homes are part of a new planned community on the hill at Coleman and Almaden Expressway. The entrance to the tract is on 5827 Brasilia Way, near where the three girls live. The hill is famous to Almaden residents who drive by everyday. It once had sheep grazing along the hillside in view of drivers along Almaden Expressway.


The 12 and 13 year old girls are working to save this pristine area as part of their Silver Award. The girls have started a petition drive and after one week have 140 signatures from people who also want the hill preserved. The goal is one thousand signatures.

The details of the plan get complicated. The builder JSM Enterprises now owns the land. In the past one home has been on the land, for more homes to be built the city would have to rezone the property for multiple dwellings. This current plan calls for ten homes. You can see details of the project here

The Girl Scouts are not happy with the project for many reasons. According to Lia, “I would love this land to stay the same because it is one of the few spots of wilderness still preserved in our city today”.

Hallie says, “I love how there are so many beautiful native oak trees and animals. There was already a tree branch chopped down, and a hawk that lived in it now just sits on a telephone pole. It makes me really sad to see that”.

This is the first foray into city government for the girls. “I have never been involved in city government before.” said Hallie. “I think that this is a really good experience because I’m learning how to fight for what I want, and defend others for what they prefer.”

“If the zoning changed it would deprive the neighbors of their peace and destroy all the natural beauty of this hill.” Said Lia. “Plus it would corrupt the neighborhood lifestyle but also the animals inhabited on the hill.”

There have been two community hearings on the project so far. The deadline for complaints to the city is today. After that the proposal will go to the planning commission, and then to City Council for a vote on changing the zoning for the lot to allow ten homes.

Residents say they would be fine with one home on the land as it is zoned now. But according to Hallie, having ten homes would “wipe out all of the trees and animal habitats.”

The Girl Scouts learned about San Jose’s tree shortage while earning their Trees Legacy Badge. They say the big problem is large, mature trees are being replaced with smaller trees that don’t come close to providing the same benefits.

The girls say they started the petition drive to let more people know about the housing project. They also want the City Council to know how they feel.
If you would like to sign the petition click here.

For an additional story published in the San Jose Mercury News click here.

PG&E plan that would chop down thousands of trees

The following  story was on the front page of  the March 26th edition of the San Jose Mercury News this morning:  

“Pacific Gas & Electric is moving to cut down thousands of oaks, redwoods and elms across the Bay Area that block access to its natural gas pipelines, outraging city leaders who say the utility is disregarding local laws designed to protect trees.”


Trees along Locust Street, between Civic Drive and Bonanza Street, in downtown Walnut Creek, Calif., photographed on Tuesday, March 25, 2014. (Dan Honda/Bay Area News Group)


For the rest of the story click HERE

Martin-Fontana Parks Association (MFPA) Priorities Feedback

Members of MFPA, neighbors and users of TJ Martin and Jeffrey Fontana Parks, we need your input to prioritize park issues.  At the Sept. 4th MFPA Board of Directors meeting, the following park priorities were identified for the next couple years.  We would like your feedback on these priorities to help us validate our choices/identify other priorities that are important to the community. Once we have your feedback compiled, we will report back to the community the findings in the form of a finalized list of projects to be budgeted for 2014.

Please take a few minutes to rank priorities using the online tool, and write in any other issues.  It’s quick and easy and compiles the results for us.  

All surveys need to be received by Oct 21.

If you Do Not have inter-net access you can fill in the form below and mail to:

Larry Sasscer

5930 Weimar Ave

San Jose, CA 95120


Heart of the Park IV

2013 HOP Flyer

Negotiations with PG&E concluded for 2013

Coast Live Oak #14 being removed.

Coast Live Oak #14 being removed.

For the 2013 year, PG&E replaced the negotiating team (with whom we had worked since 2010), with two new personnel.  This meant starting from scratch.  We entered this year’s discussions with the new team who chose not to follow the previously schedule or plan of discussions used in the past.

On Feb. 14, the new PG&E lead negotiator met with us in both parks with a list of 10 trees to be removed the first part of March.  We agreed with the removal of two of the trees, and campaigned to save the remaining eight.  PG&E offered to give three trees a reprieve, but insisted on removing the other five.  MFPA President Linda Wilson and Vice President Mike Kalashian then met with District 10 Councilman Johnny Khamis who was very willing to provide help.

After discussions with a PG&E source, who had worked with Nancy Pyle in 2010, and both Councilman Khamis and the Senior Program Manager in charge of Transmission Vegetation Management South at PG&E, MFPA was able to achieve the following results:


  • PG&E removed a Chinese Pistache tree from TJ Martin Park and a Coast Live Oak from Jeffrey Fontana Park in March.  Both were located under the center of the 230 kv lines.
  • In August, PG&E will trim 2 Blue Oaks in Jeffrey Fontana Park that had been slated for removal in 2013, and agreed to trim them annually as needed.
  • Regretfully, in last year’s discussions, we had agreed to the removal of 2 Golden Rain trees in Fontana in 2014.  PG&E donated 18 new trees in 2012 to mitigate this loss.
  • Three multi-trunked crepe myrtles PG&E had slated for removal were placed on a year to year watch and monitor list.   MFPA growth charts for the last four years have shown that these trees have not grown any higher and are not likely to do so in the future.
  • This December PG&E will follow the original time line and procedure of discussions used in the past for their 2014 review of the park trees.


Annual MFPA General Membership Meeting

Sat, January 26th, from 10:30 am to 11:45 am

at the

Villas of Alamaden Clubhouse*

2012 marked another year of activities in the TJ Martin & Jeffrey Fontana Parks.  Negotiations with PG&E resulted in the removal of only one tree this past year, a mature Holm Oak in Fontana Park, along with some volunteer scrub oaks across for Tree 13.

We invite you to attend our third annual General Membership Meeting on Saturday, January 26th, 2013.  The slate of officers for 2013 will be formally elected and members will learn about the latest 2013 PG&E negotiations and hear about the park restoration and enhancement activities being planned for 2013.

Enjoy refreshments and meet your neighbors.

*You will be greeted by a person at the Villas entrance on Meridian who will open the gate and give directions to the clubhouse.

Vegetation Management Best Practices


Chairman Jon Wellinghoff Statement
June 21, 2012

“As a final point, we continue to receive complaints that utilities are clear-cutting right-of-ways in order to comply with reliability standard FAC-003. In some cases, reliability standard FAC-003 has been cited as the reason for clear-cutting even when it does not apply, e.g. transmission lines below 200 kV and distribution lines. The standard only requires that a minimum clearance be maintained and does not prescribe the methodology that utilities are required to use. Companies should not misrepresent the reason for the vegetation action by overstating the requirements or applicability of the standard.”

Jon Wellinghoff, Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)

For the complete statement click here.

Tree Moving

Moving the Ghirardi Compton Oak in League City, Texas

How’s this for a tree move.  Check out the video:  Thanks to MFPA Vice-President Mike Kalashian for bringing this to our attention.  Does it give you any ideas?

Congressman weighs in on PG&E tree cutting

Congressman weighs in on PG&E tree cutting

By Jay Gamel of the Kenwood Press

The fight between a few homeowners in Oakmont and utility giant PG&E has escalated to the point that Congressman Mike Thompson (D-1st District) has called on PG&E to work out a plan that provides clearly understood standards for managing vegetation under its high-voltage power lines statewide.

Click here for the rest of the story

News update from Save Our Sonoma Trees

According to the Kenwood Press:  PG&E has told Oakmont and Bennett Valley residents on May 7th that they intend to clear cut the entire 39 mile long high voltage line from Petaluma to the Geysers.

Read the entire article here… 

Back on on Friday, Feb. 24th, Assemblyman Michael Allen (D-7th) introduced legislation  aimed at getting PG&E “to adequately protect public safety while implementing good forestry practices, protecting heritage trees, and respecting community values.” (AB 2556). It was passed out of Utilities and Commerce Committee of Assembly, on April 23rd.  To read more…


State Assembly update May 30 2012

AB 2556 was passed out of Utilities and Commerce Committee of Assembly, April 23rd. It did not pass the appropriations committee and is now considered a dead bill.