Oak Tree Update

Categories: Open Mic

I attended the Public Works Committee Meeting on Tuesday, 12-13-11, to ask if the flooding has ceased, as well as to follow up on the issue regarding soil and root investigation.  The Public Works Director said they conducted an investigation of the soil within the planter and found conditions to be dry.  This concerns me, as he did not mention the saturated soil adjacent, and it is known that the oak roots extend out into the flooded area.  He said a report will be coming out.  He was also quick to lay blame on Occupy for using the tree as a urinal.  There was no mention if the irrigation was turned off.
If anyone observes the irrigation system running, contact the City at 510-238-3141.
I also used the meeting as an opportunity to make the statement I have copied below:
“My name is Molly Batchelder.  I am a certified arborist working with my father in the bay area.  I am also an active member of the occupy/decolonialize movement.  First and foremost, I am here to make sure the flooding of the plaza has stopped.  I am also here to offer my help in investigating the soil conditions surrounding the oak; so we may understand if any health mitigation is necessary.  The tree has been impacted.  And, we all want to do our best to see that the oak is going to be around for another 200+ years.
I am also here to offer the suggestion… that the City choose not re install the sod.  Oaks and lawns are not compatible.  This action, alone, would be very beneficial to our oak.  Furthermore, folks in the horticulture community have been pushing us for years to abandon our lawns.  The truth is out there that lawns require a lot of resources to maintain.  They are not sustainable by today’s standards.
Also, the 22K dollars that is estimated it will cost to replace the lawn is ridiculous, especially since the reality is, it will probably be destroyed again.  Because, for example, we have not even begun to address the plague of homelessness that is sweeping across our nation.
Instead of lawn, let’s plant California native plants.  Let’s use species compatible with oaks under the oak.  Let’s use native grasses; create an herb garden; let’s be creative; let’s be appropriate; responsible, sustainable, educational, inclusive.  We live in a mecca of energy and wisdom surrounding droughtscapes and zeroscapes.  Masters in the horticultural field are among us and will volunteer their time.  Let’s utilize this passion in our City and create something together.  The revolution can be about evolving, too.  So, we are presently working on a concept plan.  We want to work with you.  We believe in this idea.”
Is this something that Occupy would like to get behind?  As a member of the movement, I believe that, along with tearing down that which does not serve us, we should also be involved with building up.  This means to me, taking care of each other, feeding each other, cleaning up our communities, beautifying our City, creating safe spaces, learning from each other, encouraging each other to find a place of purpose in the movement.
If anyone is interested in contributing to this idea, helping create a concept plan, writing a proposal to take to the GA, putting pressure on the City to do the right thing, please email me at mollyruthb@gmail.com.


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