$9.2 Billion Budget but LA Can’t Afford to Trim Its Killer Trees

@TheGussReport – The injuries that 15-year old Van Nuys skateboarder Anthony Hernandez suffered from a fallen tree branch last week were severe; reported to be fractured ribs and a lower back. That raises the question of whether a city which has shown no will, ability – or money - to cure its arbor and other infrastructure dangers is prepared for an Olympics and all of the expense and risk that come to town with it.

KCBS reported last week that the LA City Councilmember for this area, Nury Martinez, says that she directed city crews to “trim all the threes throughout the neighborhood,” but her office has not yet provided documentation of that directive in response to my Public Records Act request. 

The incident took place a short drive from the scene of a deadly Sherman Oaks tree collapse (photo above) in February that led to an electrocution which I wrote about for CityWatch earlier this year. David Ryu, the Councilmember for that area, remains quiet on the potential danger of two massive trees rupturing through one of the worst sidewalks in the city. 

The City of Los Angeles is so cash-poor that it recently started employing financial sleight of hand to pay for legal settlements, like wrongful death lawsuits, by applying those payouts partially to the present and partially to future fiscal years, and resorting to borrowing tens of millions of dollars to fund them. 

As a candidate, Ryu pledged to create a citizens task force to identify and prioritize what City Councilmembers’ multi-million dollar slush, or “discretionary,” funds as they are referred to in City Hall, should be spent on. But don’t count on it happening any time soon. Ryu, who may have been given a talking to about that sacred money, has been decidedly less-emphatic about the subject ever since taking office, as have all of his 14 elected colleagues.


(Daniel Guss, MBA, is a member of the Los Angeles Press Club, and has contributed to CityWatch, KFI AM-640, Huffington Post, Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Daily News, Los Angeles Magazine, Movieline Magazine, Emmy Magazine, Los Angeles Business Journal and elsewhere. Follow him on Twitter @TheGussReport.  Verifiable tips and story ideas can be sent to him at [email protected]. His opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of CityWatch.)