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Kevin James
City Hall debates who should trim L.A.'s trees
City Hall debates who should trim L.A.'s trees

Nearly a decade ago, Los Angeles embarked on an ambitious campaign to plant more trees across the city. Now city officials find themselves struggling to maintain the urban forest along its parkways and medians. To save money during the recession, the city began to jettison dozens of employees who trimmed trees. The city retained a small group of trimmers for emergencies. And as the economy improved, it began hiring outside companies for routine jobs — a practice meant to be more efficient. But then the private companies started increasing their prices. The average low bid to trim a single tree more than doubled between 2009 and 2013, from nearly $56 to $124, according to data...