Update: Glen led a "Freedom Academy" event at the Rome Grange on Mt. Baker Highway April 20th, attended by over 50 folks. Freedom Foundation encourages the public to learn about civics and become directly involved in local government "because people want to be free." (Well, most folks do. Some take juvenile pride in mocking liberty. )
Glen Morgan, Property Rights Director
Freedom Foundation, Citizens Action Network blog
How many government employees does it take to plant a tree?
It sounds like an old joke (the answer starts at five and grows from there), but it is a real question some of us have asked when we see the expansion of “Tree Ordinances” in local jurisdictions in Washington State. The City of Tukwila, for example, is exploring a tree ordinance consisting of many pages of make-work rules to manage every aspect of pruning, planting, protecting, removing, and enjoying trees and landscaping. The question, unanswered, of course, is how did the City of Tukwila become one of the most heavily treed cities (47% according to their “consultant” report) in Washington State without this critical, crucial, crises ordinance process to save our trees from ourselves? This is indeed a mystery nobody in the Tukwila government appears able to solve. However the citizens and elected officials of Tukwila still have the opportunity to avoid the tree ordinance fiasco which the Mercer Island City Council attempted to impose on their citizens (and which was impressively rejected by the residents in 2001).
Unfortunately, what we are more likely to see with the proliferation of pointless, homogenous tree/landscaping ordinances provided by Central Casting at the American Planning Association (this is the group that provides the cookie-cutter planning documents for most of our planning departments), is the reduction in both variety of landscaping/tree planting results, and the tendency to force whatever the fad of the day might be upon our communities with little local control or individuality allowed. Secret, midnight pruning, and using the ordinance as the excuse to file complaints against neighbors are certain and well-documented outcomes.
We do this because we enjoy watching the trees and plants grow, and if a community wants to encourage tree planting, they can do so without these ordinances. Use the history of Arbor Day as an inspiration on how you can get your community to plant trees without government harassment. Review your local ordinances to see what is restricted, "managed," or "permited" where you live. To the Nanny State and those who support it – please just leave us alone and let us plant and manage our trees without your interference. To the amazement of the Central Planners the trees really will grow without their ordinances.
Do we really need a tree ordinance to "manage" this?