P.O. Box 556, Trabuco Canyon, CA 92678-0556 (ruralcyn@yahoo.com)

School Board Destroys Heritage Oak in Trabuco

Guarded by police behind locked gates, work crews of the Saddleback Valley Unified School District (SVUSD) cut down a centuries old heritage coastal live oak tree at Trabuco Elementary School on the morning of June 25. Only twelve hours earlier, canyon residents pleaded with the school board to stop the destruction planned by school prinicipal Kathy Clark and district director of business services, Tom Tullar. The speakers pointed to arborists' reports prepared by the district which recommended cabling, bracing, pruning, and mulching as a possible alternative to destroying the tree, and urged board members to offer students a positive example of respecting their natural heritage.

After listening politely, though, the five board members--Suzie R. Swartz, Dore J. Gilbert, Nancy W. Kirkpatrick, Ginny Fay Aitkens, and Don Sedgwick--deferred to district superintendent Jerry Gross who said that the tree's canopy covered 11,000 square feet, equivalent to several classrooms. "We won't be accused of environmental insensitivity," said Gross. "We teach preservation of the environment every day in our classrooms."

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Commentary--Make Representative Government Work--Turn the Rascals Out!

Three of the oak killer board members are up for re-election in November of next year: Aitkens, Swartz, and Sedgwick; the other two, Gilbert and Kirpatrick, in November 2006. They should be held accountable for their actions and the poor example these supposed educators have set for our children.

The Saddleback Valley Unified School District can be reached by phone at (949) 586-1234.

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