Monday, October 30, 2006

Does the City need a Municipal Tree Ordinance?

A tree fell, yesterday, Oct 29, 2006, on Lawrence St. This was a huge tree, and had once been beautiful, but, as you can see from the photos, was a danger for years. We are all lucky that no one was entering the house at the time this came down, and no one was walking along the sidewalk. Folks are killed by dangerous trees that fall "unexpectedly" every year. This is a shame, and we need effective tree maintenance to manage our City trees.

This tree failed due to illness, not due to the "storm" on a sunny, but windy day. The tree should have been examined, and removed before it posed a danger, and certainly before it collapsed. Allowing City trees which are ill, and pose a danger, to exist along our City streets, unmarked, is outrageous disregard for the public safety!!

Years ago, many of us expressed concern for the health and maintenance of our then some 17,000 City owned trees. we wanted a Municipal Tree Ordinance. Instead, our wishes were "hijacked" by those who wanted a way to raise taxes, and at the same time claim they were protecting the environment! Those folks manipulated others, (tree huggers?) into believing that a Private Property Tree Protection Ordinance was the "answer!" These well meaning, but ignorant activists circulated petitions and got hundreds, if not thousands of signatures. Many folks were fooled by this, and wrote letters in support of the Private Property Tree Protection Ordinance, stating that we needed it to protect and care for our City owned trees, in parks, and that lined our City streets.

Of course, not a single City owned tree is covered by the City's private property Tree Protection Ordinance.

Taxpayers trusted Councilor Davis, when she interrupted my public testimony In City Council about this topic. She shouted out that what I was saying was not true. However, what I was saving was all too true. It was true then, and is true today. The private property Tree Protection Ordinance is nothing but a tax. It does not address the care and maintenance of the City's trees, that once numbered 17,000.

We, like other cities our size with many municipally owned trees, need a Municipal Tree Ordinance.

When the City fails to properly care for, maintain, and manage our trees, the trees are at risk. when they become ill they are dangerous. They are now a foreseeable risk.

Just like if you do not maintain your roof, and it begins to leak in the rain, the water damage is not caused by the rain, it is caused by your failure to maintain your property, so when the City trees are mot cared for, they become ill, and when they fall, it is not caused by the Mother Nature, but by Human Nature, human neglect, the City's abject failure to adopt a Municipal Tree Ordinance, for the care and management of our beautiful and valuable trees.

How many other dangerous trees are hanging over us like a sword, just ready to strike without warning?

We need a Municipal Tree Ordinance, one with teeth, and we need it now.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Martin Luther King, Jr. Caring and Dignity Award Luncheon

Lida Hawkins, left and Steven Tolman, right, display their awards. They co-authored a bill to help Massachusetts seniors and people with disabilities to live independently in their own homes. Accepting the award for the ten senior and disability organizations from across the state who led the community coalition advocating for passage of
The Massachusetts Quality Home Care Bill (H.4758) is Paul Spooner, center, Director Metro West.

Held at the State House the ceremony was well attended, with the notable exception of three out of the four candidates for governor. Only Grace Ross and Martina Robinson were present to congratulate the award recipients.

Liz Casey Unseen America Photographer

"A camera is an instrument to help you see without the camera."

Dorothea Lange, American photographer, 1895-1965

What is Unseen America? Unseen America is an innovative arts project in which unseen members of our community document their own experience and describe their worlds with the assistance of professional photographers. This program gives those who are unseen the tools and opportunities to become seen.
The program embodies the transformative power of looking, for a moment, through another's eyes.
The goal is to amplify the creativity and vision of voices that often go unheard, and to use artistic expression as an exercise in democracy with the integration of these voices into the larger social and cultural fabric of the nation.
BTW, Liz is one of my friends who led an Access Survey Walk in July '05 to commemorate the 15th year Anniversary of the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1990, otherwise known as the ADA. (Americans with Disabilities Act)
For more information or the purchace of a book or print, please contact Jenny at 617 989 8051.

Meet the Green-Rainbow Candidates for Governor and Luitenant Governor

Grace Ross is the Green Rainbow Candidate for governor of Massachusetts. Currently, in a 4 way race, polls show Grace with 1% of registered voters likely to vote for her. This is actually a huge percentage for a "third party" candidate.

This was taken at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Caring and Dignity Awards Ceremony to recognize leaders who have worked to provide quality, affordable healthcare to all Massachusetts health care and home care consumers. NONE of the other candidates for governor attended.

Behind Grace, you can see photos from the Unseen America project.

Below, Martina Robinson is running for Lieutenant Governor, as the Green Rainbow candidate. The election will be November 7th. She is on the "ticket" with Grace Ross. Actually, in Mass, there is no "ticket" and each office is elected separately. I have not seen any published polls for lieutenant governor.