Albany resident Freyja Knapp wrote a commentary on the tree-cutting controversy, responding to previous comments on the issue:
As a current Albany resident I’d like to add my comments to this discussion of tree removal. I agree that a comprehensive plan needs to be determined and made public – and with real community participation in the development of the plan. However, I also agree that sick trees should be removed – and now or in 10/20 years matters little to me.
With that said, I am not a tree expert and thus cannot comment on how sick these trees are and am in the position (as are most residents I think) of relying on expert reports. Tree removal is a very hot issue in planning as there are usually many polarized viewpoints ranging from saving specific ecosystems to personal sacred spaces or views.
In response to the statement that Mayor Lieber’s comments are “speaking for the majority of Albany residents”, I would like to suggest that without polling, interviewing, meeting with, or otherwise collecting public opinions in a participatory manner, we do not know which statements are accurately representing the “majority” of residents. In fact, there may not be a majority opinion in Albany.
I have also been involved with UC for a number of years and I know that they can develop plans without much community participation. I agree that the corner of San Pablo and Marin is a very public space and helps to define Albany. Whatever happens to that space should involve the “users” of that space – which most definitely includes Albany residents. Is the discussion here about the trees themselves or the fact that development may occur that would be objectionable? This is perhaps a good question for us residents to think about. Either way, more public should be involved (truely involved, not just notified) in the process – from both sides.
My personal opinion is that the trees should be removed if they are a public safety hazard (and I grew up with them there – and think they are quite unattractive). However, future plans for the site need to be determined publicly and I am in support for waiting on the tree removal until a plan is finalized (most trees will not likely fall within that time).