“I was pregnant and crying, but it didn’t help.”


An unlucky young couple in Glendale, CA got hit such a huge fine for trimming some native trees without the proper permit that you simply won’t believe it.  Read the article.

Naturally the couple started a website about it, where I found under "Improve the Ordinance" this comment by a certified arborist:  "In 28 years in the business, I have found tree preservation policies mostly an impediment to good tree care."  Yeah, that’s what happened in my town.  Passionate single-issue activists were much more vocal in our tree-law-writing process than, oh, arborists and people who believe that dead and dying trees might pose a hazard to human safety.

Oh, okay, the fine was $347,600.  I’d be crying, too.

Thanks to Kathy Purdy for the story, which she spied on Ethereal Voice.


  1. I’m pretty sure the city reversed all the fines last month. A local radio talk show went crazy over this issue and basically badgered the city into doing the right thing.

  2. In the town I live in, the licensed contractor (if you use one) is responsible for knowing about all regulations and obtaining all permits. This applies to tree guys, lawn guys, roofing guys, fence-erecting guys, the works–and it’s why it’s usually easier to just hire a licensed contractor rather than have your brother-in-law Ned do the job.

    On the other hand, do-it-yourselfers aren’t off the hook in this town: you still have to get a permit, get inspected, and conform to city codes.

    In this instance, I don’t understand why the licensed contractor isn’t the one who was fined and held liable.

  3. There was an article in the NYT or some place just the other day (can’t find it now) about a similar problem. An insurance company told a homeowner to prune his trees or lose his insurance, and the city refused to issue a permit. Eventually they did but he had to spend a lot of time getting it worked out.

    Municipalities that pass tree legislation really need to look at it from all angles.


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