Point Loma Residents to Protest City Cutting Down Palm Trees – Thursday, Oct.21, 7:30am

by on October 20, 2021 · 10 comments

in Environment, Ocean Beach

Point Loma residents will be gathering Thursday morning at Newport Avenue and Santa Barbara to protest city crews cutting down Palm Trees. The gathering will begin at 7:30 am.

For the last two mornings, city crews have been out in the Point Loma neighborhood attempting to remove Palm Trees that have been determined to “obstruct” aircraft flight paths and airspace.

No permits have been made, no traffic or parking control signs have been put up, no planning boards or neighborhoods informed. All in the name of “emergency” and public safety.

Rag writer Geoff Page reported on what has been going on:

The City of San Diego is moving forward aggressively to cut down iconic and historic, tall palm trees on Newport Avenue, Santa Monica and Santa Barbara.

They are lying to the public saying it is because of a safety issue.

These are healthy trees — there is no safety issue whatsoever. But, when talking to the city’s forester, Brian Widener, it soon becomes clear that he is one of those people who believe if you repeat a lie over and over, people will eventually believe it is true. No matter how many times he says it is a safety issue, it is still not true.

The city is not only using public safety as an excuse, they are bypassing all the normal procedures for removing city trees by designating these as emergency removals. There is no emergency, the city just does not want to take the time to explain to the public why removals are necessary.

To add insult to injury, the city had the airport send residents a letter dated October 8 but not received until October 14, and it stated:

“The Tree(s) identified above are scheduled for removal by a City of San Diego contractor within the next few weeks.”

The tree removal crews showed up unannounced Tuesday, October 19 and began cutting a tree before a resident stopped them.  This was not a contractor; these were City of San Diego employees.

Page continued:

The city tried again this morning [Wednesday] but was stopped by resident Tracy Van De Walker. This despite Widener telling this writer on the phone Tuesday that he would see to it the city placed the proper 72-hour No Parking signs and would have traffic control. Widener lied again.

Widener told Van DeWalker the city would be back Thursday morning and would bring the police to cite her if she interfered. … Anyone who cares about these historic palms should show up tomorrow at Santa Barbara and Newport to help stop this work.

Now, residents are trying to put a stop to this outrage; they’ve contacted Councilwoman Campbell and other authorities. But Thursday morning, they’re asking their fellow neighbors to join them at Newport and Santa Barbara to bring a halt to the needless killing of Point Loma’s signature Palm Trees.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank Gormlie October 20, 2021 at 2:37 pm

Residents of the Peninsula are organizing a protest for Thursday morning to stop city crews from killing Point Loma’s signature palm trees. Newport and Santa Barbara beginning at 730 am.


kh October 20, 2021 at 7:24 pm

What if the curb is filled with cars there? Can they tow without signage in an “emergency”?


Geoff Page October 20, 2021 at 8:32 pm

They posted No Parking signs during the day today but the signs are not valid because they do not have the required information on them and must be posted for 72-hours. If there is an emergency, they can tow cars if they can’t locate the owners but I don’t believe the owners are charged in those cases. They have to demonstrate a real emergency and they know they can’t do that because they haven’t done that. There are cars parked there, two are mine and others have parked cars there too.


Debbi October 20, 2021 at 8:06 pm

Put some tents up…they are everywhere else in the city! Why not Newport?


Sorry not Sorry October 21, 2021 at 6:48 am

Good luck Folks. I would be there if I could!

I can’t be 100% positive, it has been a long time since I lived in the area, but those trees are not the tallest things in the area to obstruct the flight path are they? aren’t the trees at the crest of the hill of Newport taller?

This all sounds like some shenanigans to me.


Frank Gormlie October 21, 2021 at 9:18 am

Nearly 2 dozen local residents showed up early this morning – many with signs, like “Remember the Lorax”. At least 2 news stations were also there – but the reporters are still confused. The residents are not. Geoff Page was interviewed; it looks like some police are there. It’s 9:15 and people are still out there – if you live in the area, go check the scene out. They’re your palm trees.


Frank Gormlie October 21, 2021 at 9:21 am

It’s funny; both news stations said this was happening in Ocean Beach. But this is really happening in the heart of Point Loma – Santa Barbara and Newport is way up the hill from OB. I guess there’s more viewership resonance when “Ocean Beach” is mentioned.


Frank Gormlie October 21, 2021 at 9:47 am

For those following this story, Geoff Page just called and said the city arborist, crews and police have left after announcing they will not chop down any trees today. Geoff will be filing a more detailed report soon. Local residents really came through and prevented more removals today. Tomorrow is another story.


Tim Fleming October 21, 2021 at 12:59 pm

Good news they survived another day. I sent in emails to the Jennifer Campbell & Ralph Redman. This is not an ’emergency’.


Geoff Page October 21, 2021 at 1:23 pm

Thanks Tim, that is exactly what everyone needs to echo, this is not an emergency.


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