Thursday, August 5, 2010

Letter to Urban Forestry Staff liason on false reference to UFC in DPD effort to eliminate all Seattle tree protections.


I am following up on yesterday’s Urban Forestry Commission discussion about DPD’s bad-faith “effort” to follow through with the directives of City Council Resolution 31138 to improve and enhance tree protections in the City of Seattle.  Specifically, I am following up on the need for DPD to remove reference to the deliberations of the Urban Forestry Commission as justification or as somehow contributing to the specious analysis and false conclusions contained within their recent report calling for elimination of all tree protections in the City.         

The report produced in response to Council Resolution 31138 actually represents a 180 degree departure from the important directives of Seattle’s City Council.  Where the Council requests “enhancing existing protections for trees”; DPD proposes abolishing all existing protections.  The Council requests DPD to “establish a comprehensive set of regulations” for tree protections; DPD advocates for no tree regulations.  And, most importantly, the Council calls for “additional protections for all City-designated exceptional trees”; and, DPD responds by proposing elimination of all exceptional tree protections (??!?). 

Given that the Urban Forestry Commission had no opportunity to coordinate on the production of DPD’s report – report drafts were specifically withheld from the Commission even as commissioners made repeated requests for review and coordination – it is no wonder that my fellow commissioners used terms like “disingenuous” and “not honest” in describing the process that allowed the considerations and false conclusions of the department to stray so far from normative and effective ideas for sustainable urban forest management. 

At this point it is important that DPD remove reference to the Urban Forestry Commission as contributing to the troubling false conclusions contained within the report.  As we discussed yesterday, reference and false implication to UFC’s coordination in this effort should be removed from the marketing literature (the report, FAQ’s, the report summary, website, etc.) created by the department to promote their unsubstantiated ideas on tree management.

I have attached a list of specific false references to UFC’s alleged contribution to DPD’s discouraging effort.  I would also suggest that reference to the recommendations of the Emerald City Task Force be excluded from DPD’s marketing campaign since the task force’s recommendations run completely contrary to DPD’s report (specific task force recommendations: “improve the existing tree preservation regulations on private property”; “require tree removal permits both during development and for all property owners”).

Thank you for your prompt attention to this important matter.  Removal of these false implications is so important to the significant educational value an open, honest process of creating a truly sustainable system of urban forest management affords the great City of Seattle. 


Kirk Prindle
City of Seattle, Urban Forestry Commission
Position 1 - Wildlife Biologist
Ecosystem Committee Chair 

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