Peregrine flight

Friday, May 10, 2019

Copy of letter to Eileen Delaney - Design Review Board, FCPG

Dear Eileen,

As a neighboring landowner, I want you to know that I am appalled by yesterday's removal of the beautiful mature trees at the Mission Resource building on Alvarado. It is my understanding that you and your community planning group approved the removal. My wife and I have been in the desert for a day celebrating our wedding anniversary, she just drove into town and alerted me to what had happened. In the four years since this organization took occupancy of this county property, the landscape around the building has been long neglected and now totally denuded. Obviously they have little regard for either beautiful mature trees or their neighbors. What was the sin of these magnificent specimens? That they were non natives with the gall to provide a little shade and beauty on public land?

There is some small irony that a quasi public entity that professes to teach the community proper environmental stewardship can be such a poor, inconsiderate tenant and leave such an awful legacy in its wake. In 2016 it took several letters from me to get them to even weed their property. Their director suggested that I either do it myself or make a contribution so that it could be cleared.

I wish that my fellow property owners and I had had some prior notice of their intentions to cut down the trees but we did not.

I want you to know that I am extremely angry about this arboreal travesty. I think it is both shortsighted and tragic. I will miss those beautiful trees.


Robert Sommers
Blue Heron Gallery
113 N. Main Ave.
Fallbrook, CA 92028

Dear Robert,

I appreciate your email and I can understand your anger.

I was completely opposed to the removal of the trees until I got more information. No one else was happy about it either. We even tried to find a way that the trees could be replanted somewhere else.

The only reason that we approved the removal was that the roots from the trees were causing major safety issues with the gas lines.

Jackie Heyneman who is on the Design Review Committee and our resident tree expert investigated this for us and went over the plans. She confirmed that the trees did pose a safety issue, as did an arborist. As a result all 15 members of the Planning Group approved the plans.

Courtney Provo became the new Director of Mission Resource Conservation District in June. I think if you contact her, she would be happy to go over the plans with you. You can reach her at the email above.

No one wanted the trees to be removed, so I hope this gives you a better understanding about why they needed to be. 

We have monthly meetings of the Design Review Committee and the Planning Group. Our agendas and the projects we are working on are published in the Village News as well as being posted at the fire station.

The meetings are open to the public and we want community input on each agenda item. In the future if you see something on an agenda that you are concerned about, I hope that you will come to the meeting/s.

Eileen Delaney

and the sin of the Washingtonia filifera?
Dear Eileen,

I appreciate your quick response. I admit to not knowing the facts about the root growth of these particular trees. But I have my suspicions that you were being fed a line. These were ambers, not ficus, the roots are relatively shallow. Gas lines can be lowered and they are made out of flex these days, they can be rerouted. I heard that the MRCD wanted to do a native plant exhibition garden and the trees and their attendant roots were interfering with their grand design. I think that these fabulous trees were probably sacrificed needlessly as a convenient excuse. But I hope that I am wrong.  Before I was an art dealer I built subdivisions. I had to alert my neighbors in writing when things like this took place. Unfortunately I don't have a habit of reading your planning group's agenda items. I would have made my feelings known.

Thanks very much once again. What is done is done, the trees will never reappear no matter how badly they are missed. At least I have pictures of them.


Robert Sommers


Anonymous said...


I could not Agree with you more..... Appalled is a very good word.....

I cannot write as beautifully as yourself........ So, I must liken it to an Old Dog...

An Old Dog hat now has "control" over the property, or at least has found "the moment to stroll by" these beautiful old mature trees..... and "Lift there Leg on Them" .!.....

The Old Dog, or "Conservation District" has chosen not only to "Lift their Leg" on these trees and "Leave their mark"?....... But Worse yet.... CUT THEM DOWN!!!

Why?.... because they can and evidently, because they thought Nobody would either notice or complain....

WELL, i WOULD COMPLAIN AND I THINK THEY SHOULD BE REQUIRED TO IMMEDIATELY REPLACE THEM (although one cannot actually replace them fairly and equally) they should be required immediately re-landscape the entire property putting in the mature trees place new, large sized specimen trees that would equally fast growing to the liquidambar trees that were criminally cut down and be required to keep the entire property well landscaped, clean and well maintained...

good job on your part.,r

Anonymous said...

It seems that getting rid of anything that takes a little care is the standard now. Just look at our republic.


Anonymous said...

The place looks appalling. J and I talk about it all the time. Not an example of good stewardship for an organization of their nature.

Anonymous said...

Agreed—this is ridiculous. Sadly, it's one of those things that cannot be corrected.

Anonymous said...

Another entitled lazy group prob


Anonymous said...

I have been fighting for a little Red Horsechestnut a block away. It was planted by Friends of the Urban Forest
but took hits from homeless folk and others as well as high winds continually blowing down eighteenth street.
It almost died from all the abuse and then someone broke the three posts surrounding it and then it was broken
almost entirely. I hated to see all it had to contend with and called the "Friends" and told them the little tree
was all but gone and needed protection. I ranted until the space on the phone message stopped me. They
called me back and said it had been marked as dead and was scheduled to be replaced. I had seen it struggling
one more time with little buds breaking out in new hope to survive and told them that and they said they would
deal with it as an emergency attend. Days turned into weeks and I called and ranted a second time that they
had not done what they said they would do. I bought bottled water at Molly Stones which it stood down the block from.
Every night I went to shop for dinner I turned the corner wondering if it had survived another twenty-four hours.
It had. Finally about five days ago, three new posts, a profusion of big new leafs on an ancillary branch which had
made it through the battles the most successfully and tiny buds along the main shaft which was most susceptible to
danger. It survives. I buy bottles of water because it is totally unattended otherwise and doomed to fail without caring.
I save an large old cypress by making the same noise as you just did. Scheduled to be chopped down because one
homeowner complained it was blocking the lamp post and was conducive to more crime on the block. I won't go into
the complex argument I brought forward. Suffice it to say this hundred year old plus tree was not cut down, simply
pruned. One neighbor could have destroyed it in the following week. It took one other neighbor to give it back its
freedom....; Keep speaking up, Robert. One tree at a time....Isak

Anonymous said...

Bravo my friend! Thank you for speaking out. I saw that this afternoon and was livid. I thought it to be ironic, a land conservancy cutting down a beautiful tree.

Anonymous said...

I rode by this yesterday morning. It was my first time up Alvarado and a few days. As soon as I saw all the blue sky surrounding the building, I looked over my left shoulder to see if your van was in the parking lot and it was not.

I immediately imagined what you would look like once you saw what had happened. I envisioned blood shooting out of your eyes, your ears, and your ass. Trust me, it wasn’t a sight for kids.

I’m sure they will replace the trees with fanciful succulents surrounded by mushroom colored gravel, and they'll think it’s beautiful and water-wise. It will only be one of those.

I am truly sorry.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for speaking for the trees Robert!

Blue Heron said...

I think that Treegate was a solution looking for a problem and lo and behold they found it! What they cannot tell me is that the trees were not healthy. Would be interesting to see if the building had any gas problems before the supposed issue was announced. My neighbors are reporting lots of strange bugs flying around. Expert came out yesterday and said it was from disturbed soil. Thanks MRCD!

Anonymous said...

Hey Robert

As much as I’m a fan on native plant landscapes, I must agree with you. The trees were mature, beautiful, shade giving, non-invasive and appreciated by the community. How could they possibly think that our community wouldn’t have serious concern about the removal? To add insult to injury, they left the stumps as reminders of the dastardly deed.
I appreciate the service they provide to the community, but they’re certainly not very considerate neighbors, having zero sense of diplomacy!!!!

Thanks for speaking up!!!!!


Blue Heron said...

I once read the greatest interview with Abbie Hoffman about how easy it is for well meaning people to get "co-opted." Especially when they get some sort of official status, goes right to their head. Thanks for the good email, J.

Anonymous said...

Given their age, their size, their beauty, and their will to live, it seems like they deserved a little more respect as a life-form……… certainly a life-form that many people in the community still loved.
With continued public awareness, maybe one day old trees will have a similar right to exist as humans have.
Thanks for speaking for the trees!


Penny said...

Good commentary on the trees, Robert. I agree with you. the only good that came out of the fiasco is that they gave the job to a hometown guy, Brian Bishop.