Community Commentary: Bluebird residents just trying to improve safety

We have been residents of Bluebird Canyon since the 1970s and 1980s. We are really dismayed that there are any objections regarding removal of the five trees that threaten power lines and homes in Bluebird Canyon.

We have been through three major disasters in the city: the 1993 wildfire and two major Bluebird Canyon slides.

We have limited options to egress in case of emergencies. Just how much will these dissenters complain when disaster does strike once again? What if we lose our homes and possibly lives because we are unable to egress?

What if the Fire Department cannot get in because a tree falls across the road and we have an emergency in progress? What if another branch or tree falls on someone's head? Catastrophe happens. We have a track record to prove it!

Some of those who are protesting the loudest do not even live in this box canyon. Yet they stand in front of City Council whining about birds and "atmosphere." They opine to residents who are concerned, "If you don't like it, why did you move there?"

We all have our reasons for living in Bluebird Canyon. Some of us have been here for decades. Some are newer residents. It is our business as to why.

The reality is we have an overgrown forest. We are dealing with trees planted in the 1920s that have been neglected and are suffering from lack of maintenance and posing danger. These eucalyptus trees are not indigenous to California. Their lifespan is limited and coming to an end.

You interlopers have the right to free speech, but you have no right to place those of us who live here in harm's way with your irresponsible demands. We have the right as homeowners and taxpayers to take steps to improve safety in our neighborhood. It's called personal responsibility.

The City Council ruled wisely regarding these safety issues and is acting to alleviate the inherent danger we face from these elderly aging behemoths. The trees along Bluebird in addition to the five Edison is removing do threaten our ability to ingress and egress. The council is also heeding the advice and recommendations from our Fire Department.

There have already been warning shots fired with a branch falling over Bluebird Canyon and hitting a woman in the head. The city was sued. Those trees were trimmed pronto!

Last week it was a fallen branch blocking access to 20 homes on Anacapa Way. I suggest to those who are protesting, residents and nonresidents alike, to use some common sense. Again, catastrophe happens!

Edison did not come up here and inspect on a whim or at the request of one angry neighbor, as some have been led to believe. Many of us have been concerned about the condition of the eucalyptus trees overhanging our very narrow road for a long time. We are grateful to have Edison in the area performing their due diligence.

Edison has every right, and in fact is obligated by California law, to take action and protect the power lines from the dangers of these overgrown trees.

As for those of you who do not live in Bluebird, perhaps you should also comply with the city's request and prepare disaster planning by taking care of your own neighborhoods. Apparently we Bluebird Canyon residents who are attempting to cooperate in accordance with the request of the city are the only group who has done so.

Lastly, some among the activists at the council meetings have resorted to vileness and name-calling, which is despicable. Rational disagreement is appropriate; however, going door to door in the neighborhood spreading lies about other neighbors and making hateful personal attacks is not. That behavior is malicious and repulsive.

Shame on you!

JEAN and TED KEYES and CLARA and GUENTER FRANTZ are Laguna Beach residents.

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