Liz and Lee Heidhues 5.19.2022
San Francisco Water Power Sewer
Jonathan “JP” Streeter – Communications Specialist-SFPUC
525 Golden Gate Avenue – 12th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94102
Subject: Appellant Brief re Appeal – February 24, 2022, Decision to Approve Application to Remove One Street Tree (With in lieu Replacement) On Clement Street at 39th Avenue
Hearing Brief submitted by Liz and Lee Heidhues
The Decision to remove a healthy, well established New Zealand Christmas tree to install an irrigation system to benefit a privileged class, the golfing community, is an egregious, selfish unwarranted action against residents, our tree community, and our urban wildlife.
An “in lieu” replacement of a decades old historic tree is unacceptable. Its destruction is driven solely by a desire to accommodate a privileged few and by the City’s apathy towards natural urban spaces that meet the needs of all users and not just golfers.
My wife and I have lived near 39th Avenue and Clement Street over 40 years. We are well familiar with the topography, the golf course, and the buildings adjacent to it.
The beautiful fully-grown New Zealand Christmas tree serves as a canopy and a roosting place for songbirds, mourning doves, and neighborhood wildlife. Looking at it, we see it in its essential role supporting a threatened tree canopy growing alongside a residential street.
Equally important, The New Zealand Christmas tree serves as a shield to absorb toxic fumes from cars, buses, trucks, and motorcycles which use Clement Street as a daily thoroughfare going to and from the nearby Veterans Administration Hospital.
Since involving ourselves early this year opposing the proposed destruction of this beautiful tree, we have inspected and photographed the site of the New Zealand Christmas tree on several occasions. It has grown there for decades.
This beautiful integral part of the neighborhood landscape does not need to be destroyed or tampered with to accommodate the needs of a privileged class of resident – Golfers.
It must be preserved and maintained for the benefit of all.
There is a way to preserve this asset while accommodating the privileged class of golfers.
A cement path runs just yards from the tree routing north from Clement Street to a fence adjacent to an auxiliary structure next to the Lincoln Park Golf Course.
SFPUC lacks ingenuity in the face of bureaucratic inertia.
It would be a basic engineering matter to construct a work-around and install the proposed piping so that it avoids the tree while meeting the City’s specious goal of watering the lawns of a privileged class.
Hewing a healthy well-established tree to water a golf course is a misuse of public green space.
This purpose destroys habitats for urban wildlife.
The Lincoln Park Golf Course contains significant areas which erode natural habitat – eg. sand pits – and requires heavy pesticide use and fertilizer to maintain.
The removal of this beautiful New Zealand Christmas Tree further documents SFPUC’s dismal history in NOT: beautifying public spaces, preserving our dwindling tree canopy, buffering residents from traffic noise and auto pollution, ensuring roosting/living places for our urban wildlife, and all of the multiple “lovelies” Joyce Kilmer talks about in her poem “Trees”. (see attached)
Attached is a spreadsheet showing clearly the SFPUC track-record in recent years for simply destroying trees without replacing them.
The SFPUC needs to do the right thing.
It needs to make a clear and unambiguous statement to the people of San Francisco who care deeply about the environment in a time of environmental degradation and climate change – that the SFPUC respects and protects the health of the residents and the environment.
Included are photos of the beautiful New Zealand Christmas Tree at 39th Avenue and Clement Street.
Elizabeth and Lee Heidhues