All the Trimmings | Letters | Chicago Reader

All the Trimmings 

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Dear Reader editor:

Your Neighborhood News article (July 15) regarding a Chicago resident's frustration in dealing with Chicago's Bureau of Forestry is similar to my own experience.

Last fall the 800 block of West Wrightwood was repaved. Previous to the repaving, the trees along the block were trimmed in order to accommodate the machinery. In spite of the trimming one of the pieces of machinery broke off a big limb of a tree in front of my building. I called my alderman's office, who put in an order to the Bureau of Forestry to trim it.

I came home one December day to find the Department of Streets and Sanitation trucks cutting off limbs all along the block on both the street and sidewalk sides. I tried to get them to stop since the limbs were healthy and not damaged in any way. They refused, of course, saying they had their orders. I called the Bureau of Forestry and was told someone would call me back. No one did.

The destruction was done. The trees (which had been previously trimmed) now looked quite naked. I wrote an angry letter (and included pictures of the trees) to the head of the bureau and to the Department of Streets and San.

A Mr. John Dalton from the bureau came out, looked at the trees with me, and said the men were doing their job because the limbs had been damaged. Of course, Mr. Dalton hadn't seen the trees before the trimming so he had no way of knowing whether there indeed was any damage. I tried to explain that there had only been damage to the one tree but he didn't believe me.

I then got a letter from Ms. Eileen Carey, Commissioner of Streets and Sanitation, who also defended the crew. Her letter states "Mr. Dalton was quite familiar with the site from photographs taken by the Bureau."

I called Ms. Carey's office to get copies of these pictures. An assistant of Ms. Carey's who gave her name as Mary Pat said she would contact Mr. Dalton for them. She called me back to tell me he had no pictures other than the ones I took (after the trimming). I pointed out to her that Mr. Dalton must have then lied to Ms. Carey. Mary Pat assured me she would pass on that information to Ms. Carey.

I haven't received or sent any more correspondence on this issue. The deed is done and the trees can't be fixed. I only wanted someone to accept responsibility and admit an error had been made. It seems the city departments are not up to the task.

Mary Schulatz

W. Wrightwood

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