Homeowners Fined $347,000 For Trimming Trees Without A Permit

The Glendale Fire Department sent Ann and Mike Collard a notice informing them that the branches on some of their trees were too close to their home. The notice ordered the couple to maintain 5 feet of “vertical clearance between roof surfaces and overhanging portions of trees.”

They hired a tree trimmer, paid him $3,000 to trim the trees, and were assured that no permit was necessary.

Not so.

From the LA Times:

On the third day of the three-day job, the city’s urban forester happened to be in the neighborhood, and noticed the tree trimmer doing his thing.

“She saw what was happening and said, ‘Stop! Cease and desist!’ ” says Mike, a work-at-home software and computer guy.

Glendale has an indigenous tree protection ordinance that dates to the 1980s. It was enacted to discourage developers and homeowners from bulldozing or hacking trees willy-nilly. Earlier this year, because of citizen complaints that native trees were still being ruined, the city approved more restrictions and bigger fines.

None of which the Collards knew about.

They now admit that had they read the Fire Department notice closely, they would have seen in small print that a free permit was required to trim oak and sycamore branches larger than 1 inch in diameter. But it was an understandable oversight.

A week after her first visit, the urban forester was back, telling the Collards an arborist would come by soon to assess the damage. The Collards recall being told they might want to hire an attorney.

“That’s when we realized the gravity of the situation,” says Ann. “I was pregnant and crying, but it didn’t help.”

In August, the Collards got a visit from the arborist. She looked at the trees, took measurements and jotted down notes.

How bad could it be? The Collards began to anticipate the possibility of a fine, but it wasn’t as if the trees were mauled. They looked pretty good, in fact.

Finally, on Oct. 1, a letter arrived. It was from Glendale’s Neighborhood Services administrator.

“Dear Owner,” it began. “The city of Glendale is committed to maintaining a community with quality streetscapes that include the care and well-being of protected indigenous trees.”

The letter informed them they had improperly pruned 13 trees, some of them on city property because they were near the street, and some on their own property. The fine was listed on Page 2, where the Collards were informed they would be charged “two times the value of the damaged tree(s).”

“Total: $347,600.”

“I about passed out,” says Ann.

After hiring a lawyer and getting the press involved, the Collards are off the hook “for now,” but will still have to pay a fine of some kind.

The weird part is that they aren’t the only ones who have been fined a ridiculous amount of money for trimming trees in Glendale.

“I was fined $175,000 for cutting two sycamores after my architect contacted the city and was warned not to touch oak trees,” says John Oppenheim, a registered nurse and single dad. “I am not a criminal, though because of a string of bad advice, I did make a mistake.”

Ann’s reaction to the fine mirrors our own thoughts about the matter:

Ann points out that White House aide Lewis “Scooter” Libby was fined $250,000 for perjury, obstruction of justice and lying to investigators in the case of CIA operative Valerie Plame. She adds, with appropriate exasperation, that Glendale Memorial Hospital drew a $25,000 fine in October for a medical error in which “a person was killed.”

Yeah! It’s not like they were caught videotaping the Jets’ top secret defensive signals or something.

Out on a limb over trimming fiasco [LA Times] (Thanks, Cesar!)
(Photo:Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)

Comments

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  1. C2D says:

    Yet *another* reason I’m glad I don’t live in Cali. I would not shed a tear if the state went up in flames.

  2. demonradio says:

    I wish fines like this were imposed on people who beat their children or abuse the elderly and whatnot. I fully support protecting the environment, but that is just insane and uncalled for. Where would the money from the fines go to anyway?

  3. Catperson says:

    That amount is clearly ludicrous, but who assured them that no permit was necessary? The contractor they hired? You should NEVER trust contractors for stuff like this – you should always contact the city directly. Also, what kind of trees are we talking here if the bill was $3000?!

  4. badgeman46 says:

    Why would anyone live in such a communist state? They hug trees, dont let you cut down dead ones, and then wonder why the whole place goes up like a tinderbox! Seriously, what freedoms do californians have?

  5. 9us says:

    This seems like something straight out of “Brazil”. Worrisome.

    Note to self: don’t move to Cali.

  6. smitty1123 says:

    That sucks, but the old saying “ignorance of the law is not an excuse” still applies. That fine is crap though.

  7. ironchef says:

    @badgeman46:

    quit over reacting. For crying out loud.
    It’s the city of Glendale that are idiots.

    I love the way you make it sound like the sky was falling.

    I live in CA. Damn proud of it too.
    As much as you want to bash the whole state, this is a freaking ISOLATED problem. Get a grip.

  8. mthrndr says:

    this is such bullshit I want to scream. God, I hate bureaucracy. for the trees on their property, they should be able to gut them if they wanted to. FUCK that noise. Sorry, but little hitlers like that “urban forester” make me sick.

  9. Jasmo says:

    Damn, that sucks. A vivid example of the phrases “read the fine print” and “ignorance is no excuse”.

  10. warf0x0r says:

    rant

    What kind of idiot can look at a cut tree and say that’s worth a 1/3 of a million dollars?!? Not even in California with the insane real-estate market can this be rational.

    /rant

  11. JackHandey says:

    Sounds like the city has a stick up its ass. Complete BS, especially since the city fire department told them to trim the trees in the first place. I am curious how much trimming the city would have allowed if the Collards sent in the free permit to begin with. (Sure, you can cut down the branches to bring them within fire code since you filled out this free permit. Oh, wait, no permit? You need owe us $347,000.)

    Also, the tree trimmer didn’t know about the permit/fines?
    “The Collards asked if a permit was necessary. Not at all, said the licensed trimmer, who told the Collards he’d done lots of work in Glendale.”

    I hope this ends well.

  12. ironchef says:

    FYI….

    City Councilman John Drayman told the LA TIMES the Collards shouldn’t have to pay a nickel. Councilman Frank Quintero called the whole thing a fiasco and an embarrassment.

    City Atty. Scott Howard had decided to drop the case against the Collards.

  13. sonichghog says:

    This could be quite a scam for the community. Let the fire company go out and check tree clearance. Then order the homeowner to cut the trees. Then send out the forrester when the trees are cut and hope the homeowner missed something. = profit.

    I am glad I do not live in CA.

  14. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    @warf0x0r: Unless you really like the trees.
    Seriously, hey Glendale, I got some oaks and some other trees I could let go for probably under a quarter mil or so. You just come and get ‘em.

    Isn’t it wonderful when the gubbamint comes and tells you what you can do on your own property?

  15. FightOnTrojans says:

    Hey, my 1st submission to you guys, and it got posted really quick. Great job!

    What I especially liked was the comparison to Scooter Libby. Hmmm… endangering a CIA agent’s life is punished less than trimming some trees? C’mon now.

  16. Queenofthehighway says:

    How heartwarming. People calling down fire and brimstone on my home because one city did something inane. I’ll go call my friends who lost their home in the recent fire and tell them it’s okay because our state, and thus they, deserved it.

    Seriously. Comments like that make me glad I live in California. ;)

    In regards to the actual post, it sounds like a case of public shame causing those guilty of the outrage to back down. Good!

  17. BStu says:

    The fine was out of proportion with the offense here. The bottom line is that they were ordered by the city to trim the trees. The problem wasn’t that the recklessly destroyed trees, the kind of offense that the fines were meant to address. That CAN be a problem. I know here in Boston there was an issue when a developer ripped out the trees on a landmark property without permission. The remedy here is pretty toothless and I could see a stiff fine being a useful deterrent to people breaking laws like this. BUT, that’s not the issue here. These people just didn’t get a permit that would have been free. They were only doing what the city required, so for the city to fine them for that “damage” is unjustified. They should probably be fined, but nowhere near $347,000. Probably not even near the $3,000 they spent on the tree trimming. Its simply the wrong fine for the crime.

  18. mcjake says:

    It sounds like the city of Glendale is friends with the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency! Those guys are bastards!

  19. spryte says:

    @C2D: What a sweet thing to say, in light of the fact that huge chunks of the state HAVE recently gone up in flames and hundreds of people lost everything they owned. Guess they deserved it for living in CA?

    I love how someone who doesn’t live here will read ONE stupid story from ONE stupid little town and crudely write off the entire state…the state which is, incidentally, the most populous in the country. We must all just be CRAZY!

  20. SoCalGNX says:

    While they should have read the fine print to begin with, the city’s fine and heavy handedness was absurb. Save the big stuff for real criminals and quit using resources to harass normal people.

  21. Pylon83 says:

    While I whole-heartedly agree that the fine is absolutely ridiculous, if they needed a permit and they didn’t get a permit, they should incur some sort of fine/penalty. Particularly since it was stated ON the notice from the fire department, they shouldn’t be able to walk away unscathed. It’s well within the power of the municipality to regulate these kind of things, and their ignorance of the local law is no excuse. A fine of $350k is simply insane. Personally, I’d say something along the lines of say $250 would be more appropriate for such a technical violation of the law. From the way the abstract of the article reads, they didn’t chop down the trees, they trimmed them. From the reading of the summary of the law, it seems it’s designed to prevent the complete removal of trees. Fine them a little more than a parking ticket and call it good.

  22. clickertrainer says:

    But she was pregnant and she was crying! Oh wait, that should have nothing to do with it. Never mind.

  23. MoCo says:

    Glendale has over 10,000 illegal aliens from Mexico living there and nothing is done about it. Meanwhile, the city wants to issue fines over a few tree branches.

  24. scarletvirtue says:

    @C2D: On behalf of the state of California, I’ll just say that we’re also glad that you don’t live here.

    @spryte: I thought being crazy was one of the requirements to live here. Dammit … looks like I was misled there.

    @ironchef: But, but getting a grip would be too hard! Much easier to bitch and moan, apparently.

  25. Pylon83 says:

    @MoCo:
    I wonder what would happen if they kicked out those 10,000 illegal aliens. Who would do the jobs that other people don’t want to do? While it’s a bit of a generalization I know, and not a pretty one, but illegal immigrants tend to take jobs in the construction, sanitation, and food service industry that are necessary for the success of a community. If you suddenly deport 10,000 residents of a community, it would collapse on itself. So, your statement is a bit ignorant, no?

  26. mr.dandy says:

    That hits home because I just had my trees and bushes trimmed today! What a terrible surprise. Sounds like the city of Glendale needs something else to worry about. Glad it sounds like it’s being solved, good luck!

    BTW, California doesn’t suck any more than any other state, it’s just the other 49 have different ways of sucking. I know several people who left CA in the last few years, and all of them have either returned, or want to, so I think it’s all in what you get used to. A handful of cities might have weird laws like that, but the other 99% rarely gets the same press. But generalizing is a lot easier, isn’t it?

  27. Atomike says:

    If you want the government to tell you how to live, what to do, and how to do it, vote for a Democrat. Watch out for liberals. They’re the death of freedom. California voters get what they deserve.

  28. lostalaska says:

    wow… mind… blown…

  29. iluvhatemail says:

    hey c2d, fill in the blanks: f__k off. What happened to this couple is an example of the law working negatively but if it weren’t for strict laws developers could go nuts cutting things down. I am a homeowner in Los Angeles which is much better than being a home owner in Michigan. My property still has value and my property tax is low. While the rest of the country may go through recessions, I’m lucky that the economy in LA will still go strong.

  30. clickertrainer says:

    @atommike: California’s Governor is a Republican.

  31. ncboxer says:

    @Pylon83: Everyone always comes up with that argument about why we should just allow it. “They do jobs no one else wants to do.” OK, first, who did the jobs before they came? Sure there might have always been some (depending on where you live in the US), but it seems like there has been a heavy influx in the last 10 years. Second, if one assumes that if we just deport them all, the economy will collapse- is that a reason to condone the illegal behavior? Should we just turn a blind eye to the problem?

    With all that said people might think I am a bigot or whatever and just want to get rid of them all. On the contrary, the US was built as a melting pot of people and I have no problem accepting people from other countries- provided that they do it legally. They should be on the roles, pay the correct amount of taxes, learn to speak English, etc. Just like most of the immigrants to the US have done for the past 200 plus years. If they aren’t getting their fair share of visas (or whatever it takes to legally enter the US), then the various groups should lobby Congress or whatever agency to do something about it. Don’t just say “it is too hard, so I am just going to break the law”.

  32. davebg5 says:

    I always thought FL was the most screwed up state in the country b/c it seemed as though every other article about some whacked out crime came from there.

    I have now been convinced. CA is clearly the most focked up state in the entire US of A. I’m sorry, but you people are a joke.

  33. sonichghog says:

    @Pylon83:Thats not true. There are lots of union construction workers that would disagree with you as well.

  34. trollkiller says:

    @Pylon83: No your statement is ignorant. The community would NOT collapse and to suggest that is just a bit retarded. Criminal aliens do take jobs, BUT they don’t take the jobs Americans don’t want, they take the jobs that Americans WON’T do for the price.

    Criminal aliens move out and American construction workers, service workers, etc. will step in, you will just have to pay them more.

    Face it, you want your shit done for cheap. You willingly exploit criminal aliens for your own benefit.

  35. D-Bo says:

    A local city has similarly stringent tree trimming regulations. Last winter during a record wind storm a tree around 70ft tall fell onto a multistory condominium building crashing through a bedroom and destroying portions of the roof, walls and major damage inside the affected units.

    There we are at 5:00pm with a landscape crew and crane called into get the tree off the building so that my crew could begin protecting the structure from the elements. We had to get the City arborist on the phone, email digital pics from the site (he was far to busy to actually visit being the end of the work day and all) to determine that the tree could be removed.

  36. swalve says:

    @Catperson: ESPECIALLY since it was on the notice from the fire department. Fine print or not, it was there.

  37. RottNDude says:

    For those of you bashing California by saying you’ll never move here, good – it’s too damn crowded already.

  38. nuton2wheels says:

    That urban forester bureaucrat has to keep her worthless job by drinking the blood of her town’s constituents. It’s a sickening dog eat dog world.

  39. overbysara says:

    That sucks.

  40. MrEvil says:

    I think this violates these folks’ 8th amendment rights that states:

    “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”

    I guess glendale CA forgot to read that one. 347 grand for trimming some trees without a permit is DEFINITELY an excessive fine considering other acts classified as criminal can carry a lesser fine. Like DUI for instance. Driving drunk is much more dangerous than trimming a couple goddamn trees on orders from the fire department.

    Makes me glad I live in an area where trees AREN’T indigenous.

  41. @davebg5: Don’t let Tim Henson of Distorted View hear you say that. That’s a cornerstone of his podcast.

  42. chili_dog says:

    Proving once again that municipal governments have become an albatross upon our freedoms.

  43. mr.Man says:

    @RottNDude: Amen. I LOVE it when people slam California. Especially LA…where I live and can’t afford a house. Keeps my irrational hope that we’ll someday become Detroit alive.

  44. synergy says:

    It would be nice to see before and after pictures. How much of the trees got cut? How many trees? I’ve seen some places practically denuded of trees. I would never move to those neighborhoods because it’s not only wrong to cut down that many trees, but it’s just stupid from an economic/energy point of view.

  45. Froggmann says:

    Update: The Collards’ fine has been rescinded. Two of the city council members stood up and brought some common sense into the matter by rescinding all fines given to four residents. This didn’t happen without a fight though. It took the top-rated LA talk show John and Ken on KFI to get their listeners to hammer on the city council members. As of this afternoon the official word was that the Collards wouldn’t have to pay the 340K fine but could possibly pay something. Turns out the Mayor of Glendale, Ara Najarian still wanted a bit of blood for this transgression, $10,000. John and Ken received an email from John Drayman, the only official that would even discuss the matter in public that stated, “THE COLLARDS WILL NOT HAVE TO PAY THE FINE.” While comforting in that their finances save for the $1600 they have spent on a lawyer, no word has been said on any criminal matters. Likely nothing will be done, but the mayor seems to want some retribution for this “crime”.

  46. EtherealStrife says:

    Glendale is pretty screwy, and does not represent the whole of California.

    @spryte: Beautifully put.

    @badgeman46: I’ll take that as a compliment. I don’t believe it’s a communist state, but I’d be happy if it went in that direction. Better to have no state than the police state that the US is heading for.
    Dead Trees: Dead trees are allowed to be cut down with a permit, and most living ones as well. It’s when you suddenly decide to start hacking away at public property (trees) that people get pissed. It’s ridiculously easy to kill a tree by improperly trimming it, or at the very least to badly injure it. Plus, if a branch falls and kills someone walking below, who’s getting sued? The city. Not the idiot illegally trimming. When you consider the millions the city could have to pay out, $347,000 is nothing. In my gut I still think it’s excessive, but I can see some of the reasoning behind the fine.
    Fires: Southern California has a Mediterranean climate, which means many native plants secrete oils to promote fire. It’s part of their natural cycle. Look at Portugal where wildfires consume hundreds of thousand of acres on almost a yearly basis.
    In summary: get a clue.

  47. EtherealStrife says:

    @EtherealStrife: On second read the fine is complete bs. They still should have known their local ordinances, but I was under the impression the “their” referred to city not homeowner’s trees. LA, please do something about your cousin. He’s out of line, and it’s your county.

  48. MingusSzabo says:

    Only people who don’t live in, or have any real connection (friends, family) to California call it “Cali.” I’ll say it for the other 32,000,000 residents – we’re glad you don’t live here, idiot.

  49. jaya9581 says:

    The town of Glendale is a little wacky. I don’t 100% know the details, but I know some years back they passed or were trying to pass some type of ordinance that said you couldn’t have any type of fencing in your front yard because it detracted from the appearance of unity throughout the town. They wanted to all appear as one big happy family. I lived in Burbank, the neighboring town, at the time and I recall saying something to the effect that they were gonna have a hell of a liability lawsuit from the first family that took down their fence and got robbed, or worse.

  50. ahwannabe says:

    @davebg5: Really? You’re sorry? Gee, I’m so glad you prefaced your idiotic generalization with an apology, otherwise my feelings may have been hurt.

    @froggmann: John and Ken are the bomb. They are the only guys on the radio here who actually give a shit about California.

    @jaya9581: The way I heard it was that they wanted the whole town to resemble a park, with nothing dividing the enless expanse of lawns. Of course there were those who saw it as a slam against Armenians, whose culture puts a premium on privacy. Who knows.

  51. dirtymoney says:

    You know… if these fines were originally designed to punish super-rich land developers who run amuck tearing trees down like crazy….. then why are they being used on regular people who trim trees after being orderd to? I find it rediculous that you have to take diameter measurements of the limbs you want to trim or be handed insanely inflated fines!

    Seems there is a major flaw in this law.

    IF you wanted to be fair…. then work out a penalty fine based on the income/holdings of the offender.

    btw…. I really hate over-legislated communities. If you live in the countryside where you are allowed to do as you wish with your property (within reason), then move to an ultra-restrictive community where every little thing/action has a rule attached to it & little weaslely beauracratic code-enforcers who run amuck handing fines out like confetti….. you would be longing to go back to living in the countryside & doing what you wish with your property.

    More & more & more rules, codes, and regulations keep being enacted….. so much so that it is literally IMPOSSIBLE for everyone to know them all. Christ! I bet I could take a casual walk down a street & somehow break a law or ordinance without even trying.

  52. stanfrombrooklyn says:

    It’s always ironic when you look at lists of the “best states to do business in” put out by business and commerce publications. Almost always they put Florida, California, New Jersey, and New York at the bottom of the list due to high taxes, excessive government regulation, and the like. And they put states like Alabama, North Dakota, and Montana at the top. Funny how you don’t see streams of UHauls going from New Jersey or New York to Alabama. It’s almost always the reverse direction.

  53. dirk1965 says:

    The city of Glendale has fines for everything imaginable. I visited there once and parked my rental on a street in front of a business… like other vehicles. Well, here comes lovely Rita meter maid… I received a ticket for not turning my wheels in the proper direction on a FLAT street.

  54. Rusted says:

    @C2D: Isn’t Cali in Columbia where the druglords hang out?

    @badgeman46: Same nonsense goes on in the urban east as well. Just try cutting a tree in some parts of suburban Maryland or Virginia and not tell anybody. My uncle lives in Trinity county, Cailfornia. He cuts quite a few trees.

  55. formergr says:

    “”That’s when we realized the gravity of the situation,” says Ann. “I was pregnant and crying, but it didn’t help.”

    Ugh, shut up lady, way to set back respect for women about 50 years.

    That being said, the fine was beyond ridiculous considering they didn’t *kill* any trees, they just trimmed them. Based on the updates that have since been posted, the Glendale mayor sounds like a major prick. He still wants blood? Because someone trimmed their own trees a bit? It’s not like they killed his first-born son, or even his trees.

  56. Red_Eye says:

    As someone who spent the first 31 years of his life living in California I am not surprised. The notice from the fire department should have warned them in 20pt type of the possibility of fines if they didn’t follow the proper procedure. Also if the tree trimmer was licensed in Cali he should be responsible for the fines if he told them no permit was needed.

    Bottom line though, is that people continue to sit on the floor rocking on their ass and sucking their thumbs the government will continue to increase the reach of the nanny state.

    I live in Georgia now (for the past 5 years) and dread the idea of ever returning to Cali.

  57. sonichghog says:

    John and Ken. I listened to them when they were in NJ.

  58. whitjm5 says:

    @EtherealStrife and others:

    If the city is concerned enough about it’s tree branches (which grow) being too close to people’s homes (which don’t) to hand out tickets and .33 million dollar fines, perhaps the city should bear the responsibility of keeping said trees trimmed.

    Also ethereal, a communist state is NOT ‘no state’. I am concerned, as you, about the erosion of our civil liberties but unless the US gets A LOT worse in terms of that, I’ll take it over a communist or socialist state any day.

  59. HOP says:

    big brother and catch 22 are alive and well

  60. Falconfire says:

    @whitjm5: Most cities and communities do pay for the trimming if they dictate that it needs to be done, but its obvious that this was a ruse to make money for the city.

    I know my city actually told us we HAD to cut down one of our trees because it potentially would be a problem, and came the next day with a municipal truck and did it for us.

    Of course this is California we are talking about here..They might have some of the nicest, most laid back people I know from my visit there, but MAN do they have their priorities screwed up when it comes to running things.

  61. MonkeyMonk says:

    I think Glendale needs a new city Arborist. Sounds like someone was on a power trip and needs to be fired.

  62. MeOhMy says:

    Is that “arborist” on a freaking commission plan? Even if the trees were completely destroyed, why should the penalty be anything beyond the value of the trees?

    Also…did the “urban forester” REALLY say “Stop! Cease and Desist!” ? I think that speaks volumes.

  63. Asvetic says:

    I don’t even own a house with trees and that made my stomach hurt reading it. You can’t do anything without a permit these days.

  64. Rusted says:

    California is a huge state. This is one urban area that this happened in. To equate all of California, all three million plus square miles of it with one urban area in or near Los Angeles, is beyond the pale.

    Cali, almost as nasty sounding as San Fran, or Frisco.

  65. Jaysyn was banned for: http://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:

    @demonradio:

    City Slush funds.

  66. Jaysyn was banned for: http://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:

    @davebg5:

    Florida is an absolutely wonderful place to live, especially if you aren’t in a major metro area. I’ve traveled & worked in a good bit of the US (other than the Midwest, Hawaii & Alaska) & I can easily say I’d rather live in Florida than anywhere else. YMMV.

  67. On the third day of the three-day job, the city’s urban forester happened to be in the neighborhood…

    Oh really? Just “happened” to be in the neighborhood, eh?
    Does anybody really believe this was just coincidence?

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

  68. mynamehere says:

    This is where I think local municipalities are pathetically uncoordinated. If the city fire department is going to go to the trouble of alerting you that you are in violation of code due to the proximity of the trees, couldn’t they provide a pamphlet alerting you of the proper steps to address the problem? Otherwise, it stinks of a money making campaign and not of a kindly eco-friendly program. Bury the rules, but openly provide the warnings, typical of any governmental agency!

  69. ancientsociety says:

    Sometimes, to stay healthy, trees NEED TO BE TRIMMED AND/OR CUT DOWN. Anyone with even a basic understanding of forestry management should know this (CERTAINLY in the “urban forester”‘s case but also in the overzealous “treehugger’s” as well). I’m all for conscientious development and saving the environment but (as seems par for the course in CA) this is way too overzealous.

    And, I always thought that it was the contractor’s job to get the necessary permits…?

  70. ancientsociety says:

    @9us: +1 for the Brazil ref. Perhaps the “Dept. of Urban Forestery” was actually looking for a Mr. & Mrs. Dollard?

  71. rg says:

    So, unless this has all happened within the last week or so, I think there should be a fine for those “Holiday Lights” on the house. Has CA completely missed the boat on laws about that?!

  72. brilliantmoron says:

    There are several comments on here indicating that noting the woman was pregnant was not and is not relevant.

    In fact it is. Stress, indeed, can affect pregnancy.

    It’s pretty damn stressful to be fined 1/3 of a million dollars over something the city told you to do in the first place.

    This is pretty stupid.

  73. brokennails says:

    Let’s all pretend that this took place in Glendale, Texas. How many comments can we get about stupid rednecks who deserve to have their state destroyed?

    Those writing off, insulting, or calling for the destruction of an entire state because of the actions of ONE city are beyond belief. California is such a huge state, with so many people, with so many problems as well as advantages, that this incident doesn’t even BEGIN to represent what life is like in Cali.

  74. MeOhMy says:

    I’m amazed how sensitive people are about California! Maybe you guys should just be thankful you don’t live in the state that making fun of is practically a competitive sport – NJ.

  75. brokennails says:

    @Troy F.: Heh, point taken. However, I was really surprised that so many comments to this story were “This is what you get in California! Let it burn!” That’s what you jump to first? Not that the city is being stupid and unfair? Not that the bureaucrats responsible should be called on the carpet for it?

  76. nutrigm says:

    Grossly unjustified. Makes me real mad! >:(

  77. kbarrett says:

    ROTTNDUDE:
    For those of you bashing California by saying you’ll never move here, good – it’s too damn crowded already.

    Good. Now if only we can get these Cal’tards to stop moving into our states.

    The keep passing insane and inane laws in CA … and then, once they have thoroughly shat their own beds, insist on selling out, moving out, voting for the same kind of losers in their new home state, and then get confused as to why the problems they fled from have followed them here.

  78. kbarrett says:

    BROKENNAILS:
    Let’s all pretend that this took place in Glendale, Texas.

    Texans don’t pass laws like that, or try to punish people for obeying directives from the local firemarshal.

    Fail.

  79. Queenofthehighway says:

    @Troy F.: Maybe you’d be sensitive too if several of your friends lost their homes in a fire, and someone said they’d wish the entire state would go up in flames? Kind of like saying you’d like to see all of Louisiana underwater because you hate Mardi Gras or something.

    I actually wonder why people take the time to bash California if they hate it so much… sort of belies their motivations, I think. ;)

  80. MeOhMy says:

    There’s been a lot more comments about “Don’t hate on California” in general than there were about the one tasteless comment about the state going up in flames.

  81. squidbrain says:

    Greens gone wild! Haha

  82. EtherealStrife says:

    @Troy F.: Several anti-CA trolls backed up the pyrophile with their own flames. Hate the city policy, not the state.

    @whitjm5: community != state

  83. alice_bunnie says:

    @MoCo:

    Well, they won’t be cutting down any trees now, will they? :p But, there will be lots of leaves for them to rake up.

    The homeowners should sue the contractor for legal fees and any fines that they actually do incur.

  84. chartrule says:

    sounds like California has employees with alot of free time on their hands

  85. chartrule says:

    i mean the “urban forester” and “arborist” that is

  86. facework says:

    People from other states have such weird attitudes toward California. I suspect those who voice such ideas must be peering through a very narrow Hollywood/Los Angeles lens. I wouldn’t like to see people suffer no matter what state they call home. That’s just silly isn’t it? We’re all Americans, right? And I wouldn’t even wish bad things upon, say, Saudi Arabians, because we’re all people with a lot more similarities than differences.

    Anyway, Northern CA is a much different beast. Some of the most beautiful places on Earth are in the top 1/2 of the state — The Lost Coast, Tahoe, the San Francisco cityscape, the Sierras, hundreds of national parks. I am a weekend adventurer, and though there are many other states I enjoy I would never choose to live anywhere else.

  87. Hinomura says:

    sounds like some hippie ass bullshit. kinda fukt up when a maiming a tree costs more than killing a person.

  88. aakno says:

    The idea that someone would require permission to trim trees on their very own property is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard of. Anyone who interferes with the trimming of one’s own trees on their property probably belongs in jail, whether or not they work for the government.

    This just shows you how twisted our justice system is when the victims are being punished and the criminals who were involved in interfering with property rights are upheld as in the right to lay down a fine like that.