Tree removal policy is a waste of taxpayer dollars

Tree removal policy is a waste of taxpayer dollars

By Jimm Roberts, Alexandria

To the editor:

To address your quest for knowledge, here are a few syllogisms (the term you recall from your logic course. Remember? “If this, then that”). So here goes: If trees suck up carbon dioxide, then more trees mean less greenhouse gas. Here’s more: If rising climate temperatures are not good for life as we know it, then reducing climate temperatures is good.

And, if ever-increasing quantities of greenhouse gas contribute to rising temperatures, then less greenhouse gas will serve to abate and perhaps reverse this trend.

Therefore, if trees diminish greenhouse gas, then they are good. Ergo, more trees are better for me, for thee and for the whole wide world

But this logic doesn’t apply in Alexandria, “the Fun Side of the Potomac” or whatever our moniker is nowadays. I bet you didn’t know we have a city sanctioned program to remove healthy trees from public spaces. For a long time, I didn’t either.

To add insult to injury, not only are there are no plans to replace them, there are apparently no plans to expeditiously remove them after they are felled. A few are fairly large, too. But, like dead soldiers on a contested battlefield, these trees are allowed to rest ignominiously for days near where they once stood.

If you drove by the intersection of Telegraph and Duke streets recently, which, based on my experience, is traversed daily by half of Alexandria, you no doubt noticed these fallen greenhouse gas grabbers. Curious, I called the city arborist to find out what was going on.

He said he had nothing to do with this tree removal program. However, in the ensuing conversation, I learned that his boss is in charge of it. Apparently, his boss decided a good use of your tax dollars was to remove trees that do not belong in Alexandria.

“Why?” I asked.

They are illegal immigrants I was told. They are invasive. They are taking the jobs that belong to native trees.

“I see,” said I. “When will native trees be planted to replace the ones cut down?”

The city arborist replied by saying there are no plans to replace them. They hope that natives eventually will sprout up.

So, if you ever wondered why your taxes never decrease, then recall this taxpayer funded program that’s removing healthy trees, ones that snare a bit of your car exhaust but are nevertheless undesired.

In the scheme of things, the cost of this program pales in comparison to servicing the hundreds of millions of dollars of debt our city council incurred to construct public palaces, most recently the new Jefferson-Houston School. Together, however, they make clear nothing is too excessive for those who rule “the Fun Side of the Potomac.”