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Today, a small killing

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LOS ANGELES, 31 July, 2007--It was, perhaps, a hundred years old. Yesterday, it was magnificent, standing twice as high as anything around it. Its outstretched arms shaded passersby on their blocks-long walk from a parking space to home or over to the neighborhood 7-11 for a cold drink. It embraced city kids who sat in its roots and ran around it to play hide-and-seek. Cars cruising down the street felt a brush of coolness driving under its sprawling branches. It was the distinguishing characteristic of the otherwise undistinguished, slowly crumbling neighborhood. But trees in Mayor Villaraigosa's Green Dream have no grandfather clause. It had committed the unpardonable sin of pushing up the sidewalk.

It was on the median, on city property, but an adjacent property owner took offense at the presumption of the tree to interfere with the sidewalk. Shaving the roots wouldn't do, apparently--it had to come down. It would be "replaced" with another tree, a sapling, no doubt. So the permit was issued, and Trees "R" Us arrived, sporting an ad for firewood on the front of their truck. The tree-killing boss defended himself: "I'm a born-again Christian," he proclaimed, so he could do no wrong.

The chainsaw buzzed through the neighborhood. This is what was left at 4:30 p.m. By tomorrow, there will be nothing, just more concrete jungle and a hole in the sky. Remember the South Central Farm.
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Los Angeles.

It conjures up an asphalt web of insulated individuals occasionally Crashing into each other. It is that, it's designed to be that, but in the spaces between the asphalt and concrete, and sometimes on those hard spaces that (more...)
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