- Written by Tessa Stuart
28 Sep 2012
“THIS IS UNBELIEVABLE” - "Moving the Endeavour will be a marvel of wonder and ingenuity," Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said at an August press conference, where it was announced that some 212 traffic signals and streetlights would be dismantled to accommodate the shuttle's slow crawl through South LA to its new home at the California Science Center.
What Villaraigosa pointedly did not say that day — and what no one from the Science Center said either — was that they also were quietly planning to chop down hundreds of mature, often beautiful shade trees in some of the city's poorest neighborhoods.
Until the moment Inglewood residents awoke to buzzsaws outside their homes on Sept. 3, few people knew of California Science Center president Jeffrey N. Rudolph's controversial plan to hack down more than 370 magnolia, coral, bottlebrush, eucalyptus, sycamore and pine trees that line the 12-mile shuttle route from LAX.
"This is unbelievable!" well-known wetlands activist Marcia Hanscom says with disgust.
She views the destruction of nearly 400 trees — after zero public notice or involvement — as "symptomatic of deeper problems: Here in LA, it's OK to bulldoze a wetland away because 'it will come back.' The same disconnected thinking leads to approval of something like this tree massacre: 'We'll just plant more!' "
Ever since the truth belatedly emerged that city leaders and Rudolph planned to destroy 119 trees in South LA, 124 in the Westchester area, 128 in the city of Inglewood and a handful near LAX to make way for LA's latest tourist attraction, Angelenos and even many living outside the city have been up in arms. (The rest of this LA Weekly piece … including what South LA is going to do about it … here.)
Vol 10 Issue 78
Pub: Sept 28, 2012