The Law of Threes to Save Our Trees - Recall, Recall, Recall

CORRUPTION WATCH-Lawyers like the Law of Threes. You’ve heard them use it: “I hereby give, transfer, and grant to you my red Corvette.”

The historic reason that attorneys use three verbs, when one would be fine, is that after the Norman invasion in 1066 CE, there were three languages: French, used by the King and his royal court from the mainland, Latin, used by the Church who owned much of England, and Anglo-Saxon for the native riffraff. 

There is also psychology behind the Law of Threes. Some think that it is best to tell the audience what you are going to say, to say it and then tell them what you said.   

Three Practical Reasons that Three Recalls Are Better than One 

(1) The media is more likely to provide news coverage when there are three simultaneous recalls as the story is three times larger than with one recall.

(2) Recalls in three council districts have more credibility. When three different councilmembers face recall, the voters are less likely to dismiss the efforts as coming from some fringe group. 

(3) Councilmembers fear losing power. The only thing that will ever make an LA councilmember pay you any heed is power – your power to remove that person from office. We Angelenos never use it and hence they run roughshod over us. 

Fear of Losing Power is the Key to the Three Recalls 

Some councilmembers will improve their conduct when faced with a recall. Need we review Ryu’s abrupt about-face on the Runyon Canyon fiasco after the recall started? Developer money is worthless when the voters have turned against you. 

Los Angeles’ Anti-Green Policies Require Recalls 

Put aside the fakery and the myths about LA’s sustainability or Garcetti’s being Green. If concrete, high-rises and a denuded landscape are green, then the green comes from developer kickbacks and not from LA’s rapidly vanishing tree canopy. 

Before there were people, LA had no trees. (See photo left from 1900.) 

After decades, LA had a great tree canopy because hundreds of thousands of Angelenos planted millions of trees and other bushes like bougainvillea. 

Even after 2000, we knew the need for more greenery. 

Villaraigosa’s Plant-a-Million-Tree Campaign has Become Garcetti’s Destroy-a-Million-Trees Mania 

Former mayor and world-famous skirt chaser Antonio Villaraigosa had his “Plant a Million Trees” campaign. Tony V maintained the number of Tree Employees set up by former Mayor Riordan at 270 until the recession and the corrupt CRA decimated the city budget and he cut the number to 85. But now with record revenue income under Garcetti, we have about half the number of Tree Employees (125) – even when the problem has become so great we need between 350 to 400 to match other cities. 

Cities like Seattle, Austin, and Washington D.C. devote 1% of their budget to their tree canopies, while LA’s languishes around 1/4 of 1%. Cities where trees grow no matter what spend four times as much as LA to protect their tree canopy. Garcetti spends our tax dollars subsidizing billionaire developers to build into an increasing glut while starving the departments that would improve the quality of life of Angelenos. 

Google Austin’s Urban Forest 2014 to view its extensive 64-page report and then look at the shlock LA has – basically nada. LA’s Urban Forest division will give you free mulch. Wow! Fantastic, free mulch. Something is seriously wrong with LA. 

So, What’s the Big Deal About a Tree Canopy 

Angelenos don’t know about the Tree Canopy because they can’t rely on the LA Timesand City Hall to tell them the truth. As with LA’s other woes, it begins with Garcetti’s Manhattanization mania. Everything is devoted to the developers. If the developer wants to bring an oversized crane down the street, then, hey, let’s cut down 10 thirty-year old trees. If the developer wants to have no setbacks, then tear down all the trees on the property. If the developer wants his signage to be seen, rip up the trees in the median. 

Has the LA Timesor Garcetti told you that you can have your water meter fixed so that it does not charge a sewer tax on water you use outside your house? Yep, the water you use to keep the trees alive will cost you considerably less when the outside water is not the basis for your sewer tax. Go look at your bill and see how much money you’re paying for the sewer tax. 

Since the LA Timesis silent about virtually all the information we need to save LA from the never-ending developer corruption, Angelenos are clueless about the air quality benefit of trees. Not only do the trees cleanse the air, they fight the heat island effect which Garcetti is rapidly aggrandizing. Visit the website for Tree People for more information about this. 

The Intersection of Tree Canopy and Recalls 

Angelenos can make City Hall’s corrupt vote trading arrangement work for them. Each councilmember controls each project in his district and he or she alone gets to put it on the city council agenda. Voters can hold their councilmember solely liable for each tree removed, for the increase in air pollution, for the increase in the power bills due to heat island effect and for the oversized mixed-use complexes. 

Your Councilmember Controls Your Tree Canopy 

Each councilmember holds the power to protect the trees in his or her district. No councilmember should give you the false BS that “we replace trees 2:1.” (1) The replacement does not occur, (2) two saplings do not replace one mature tree. Another thing, sidewalk repair does not mandate destruction of encroaching trees. A third thing, other cities force new construction to be set back to protect trees, while LA tears down the trees to make room for oversized mixed-use projects. 

Your councilmember controls what goes on his city council agenda. Don’t believe otherwise. The vote trading agreement requires all councilmembers to support any measure another councilmember puts on the agenda. LA is run like a feudal system in which each councilmember reigns over his or her fiefdom. 

Remember, we can take all that away from them! So, recall, recall, recall – which three shall it be?


(Richard Lee Abrams is a Los Angeles attorney and a CityWatch contributor. He can be reached at: Rickleeabrams@Gmail.com. Abrams’ views are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of CityWatch.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.