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And the trees come down

Original post made on Jan 19, 2010

Nary a tree hugger was in sight this morning as the rows of redwood and cedar trees at the Veterans Memorial Building in downtown Danville were removed in the rain. ==B See the video.==

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, January 19, 2010, 1:16 PM

Comments (42)

Posted by TL Nelson, a resident of Danville
on Jan 19, 2010 at 3:49 pm

What awful, needless destruction of these heritage trees! All for what? .... a few more square feet of floor space in a building that benefits only a small percentage of Danville's residents. I must say that this has left a sour taste in my mouth for the Veteran's groups and city officials ... these can only be people who care little about Danville's natural environment.

The redwoods and cedars on the corner of Hartz and Prospect will be remembered for giving our downtown shade and a sense of place for nearly 70 years only to be senselessly cut down while still in their youth.

Of course, new trees will be planted. These will be Pistacia trees, something normally seen in parking lots. The majestic redwoods and cedars are gone forever .. lost to our generation and all future generations.

The new Veteran's Hall could have been built on another site, one that would not have required the destruction of 70 year old trees (and please don't tell me a suitable site could not have been found).

On the other hand, maybe the town council is right. What Danville really needs is more and bigger buildings and fewer trees. In fact, why not make Hartz Avenue a four lane highway with a 65 mph speed limit? If the existing trees get in the way .... just cut them down!


Posted by tree hugger, a resident of Danville
on Jan 19, 2010 at 6:11 pm

let's build high rises and more banks and realtors. way to go danville


Posted by Roark, a resident of Danville
on Jan 19, 2010 at 11:34 pm

To the town council: You have destroyed what is special about Danville. What is next ... more strip malls? There must be a special place in hell for the people that authorized this decision.


Posted by Doug, a resident of Danville
on Jan 20, 2010 at 6:48 am

Does anyone remember the stink the town made about the couple that wanted to cut down 1 redwood tree in their back yard? Talk about "two faced" politics. Vote them out!


Posted by Jackie, a resident of Danville
on Jan 20, 2010 at 7:17 am

This is why we now have landscape architects and city landscaping ordinances. What we plant today needs to be in scale with the location so they don't need to be taken down in 70 years.

Big trees along narrow city sidewalks made a dark corner. We have a beautiful building that needs appropriate landscape.

Let's plant some new trees in the right place.


Posted by Debbie Simpson, a resident of Danville
on Jan 20, 2010 at 7:22 am

Dolores: "Nary a tree hugger in sight"??? A little "snarky", even for the Danville Express. We've sadly learned that the Town of Danville does what it wants, when it wants, to get what it wants. Doug, I couldn't agree with you more.


Posted by jeb, a resident of Alamo
on Jan 20, 2010 at 8:31 am

Now lets hear Danville cry about bad air.....................


Posted by susan, a resident of Danville
on Jan 20, 2010 at 8:57 am

I also agree with so many, a sad day to see these beautiful trees destroyed. We moved here over 20 years ago to "The Town of Trees", a shame to see how town officials can just decide what they need for so few. New small trees will not re-create that corner of our town.


Posted by spcwt, a resident of Danville
on Jan 20, 2010 at 9:03 am

Disgusting, tragic news. Why don't we just change Danville's name to "Dublin" and get it over with.


Posted by Bob, a resident of Danville
on Jan 20, 2010 at 9:21 am

On the other hand, maybe the town council is right. What Danville really needs is more and bigger buildings and fewer trees. In fact, why not make Hartz Avenue a four lane highway with a 65 mph speed limit? If the existing trees get in the way .... just cut them down!

To the town council: You have destroyed what is special about Danville. What is next ... more strip malls? There must be a special place in hell for the people that authorized this decision.
let's build high rises and more banks and realtors. way to go danville

On the other hand, maybe the town council is right. What Danville really needs is more and bigger buildings and fewer trees. In fact, why not make Hartz Avenue a four lane highway with a 65 mph speed limit? If the existing trees get in the way .... just cut them down!

Disgusting, tragic news. Why don't we just change Danville's name to "Dublin" and get it over with.


Posted by Sandy, a resident of Danville
on Jan 20, 2010 at 9:50 am

Vote them out!!! Those pictures brought tears to my eyes, the "charm" of Danville continues to erode.


Posted by jm, a resident of Danville
on Jan 20, 2010 at 11:09 am

Read on folks, it all couldn't be better said!


Posted by mary, a resident of Danville
on Jan 20, 2010 at 3:55 pm

When I moved here over 20 years ago, Danville had an Arthur Murray dance studio...and those beautiful trees around the Vets Hall...I thought how charming and special this town was...and now I think how could the town council do such a thing? I thought there were ordinances in place in the town plan that prevented the removal of protected 'heritage' trees. I guess I was wrong.


Posted by SK Johnson, a resident of Danville
on Jan 20, 2010 at 5:50 pm

Shame on you, TL. The veterans and the sacrifices they continue to make on behalf of people like us - and even you - allow you the freedom to state your negative comments. I am grateful to the veterans for everything they have done and given, and continue to do and give, to protect me, you, our citizens and our country. I hope I never have a "sour" taste in my mouth like what you exhibited here. We are all so fortunate to live here and not to be impoverished, thanks in great part to those men and women you so off-handedly write off.


Posted by TL Nelson, a resident of Danville
on Jan 20, 2010 at 6:44 pm

To SK Johnson: You are right about the Veterans (of course) and I apologize for my comment. I just cannot comprehend how anyone could standby and let this happen. It is really the town manager and the town council that should be held accountable for this.


Posted by Ralph N. Shirlet, a resident of another community
on Jan 20, 2010 at 6:54 pm

Ralph N. Shirlet is a registered user.

Dear Dolores,

Among veterans, near and far, we were laughing today about the trees to plant to replace the trees lost. Now that they are gone, the ugly building is quite noticeable.

Thus, we decided that our group should plant trees from everyplace Americans have served and cover-up what likely will be something less ugly.

A cinnamon tree from Viet Nam. A lotus tree from Korea. A Bavarian Pine. A French Chestnut. An English walnut. And, of course, a Hawaiian macadamia. A Watts CA whatever.

We would put them around the outside and on the roof just to add a natural attraction.

What a very fun project,

Rofl


Posted by Stud, a resident of Alamo
on Jan 20, 2010 at 8:30 pm

Just another "to hell with 'em" act by power-mad beaurocrats. To needlessly cut down 70 year old redwoods is a sin. As someone posted, make the building conform to the trees........ But too late now, thanks to the mayor and his council cronies.


Posted by Bainter the Painter, a resident of Alamo
on Jan 20, 2010 at 9:15 pm

This story should have been under "Crimes and Incidents." But no one cares what the painter thinks. That's ok.


Posted by SK Johnson, a resident of Danville
on Jan 21, 2010 at 7:23 am

To TL - Thank you for your apology regarding the Veterans.

It seems to me like some of the comments here are getting a bit goofy. I went to many of the meetings at the Town where all of the planning was discussed, including on many occasions, the trees. I heard the Arborists reports. I heard the details of the state of the Redwoods.

Just as I was there, so from time to time were 3 or 4 other people. They spoke up. EVERYONE could have come to these meetings, heard the situation(s), voiced their opinion(s).

The truth here is that a handful of people does not a majority make.

At any rate, it's time to turn away from the sour grapes and bring positive attitudes back into our beautiful community. The people of our Town, of neighboring cities, our Seniors, our Youth, our Veterans, our friends, will all be able to make wonderful and meaningful history in this renovated building at it's historic site. To me, the most valuable history about this location is the people - the events that have taken place at this very location. That can never be taken away. The Town is about to embark on a venture that will enhance our memories, our future memories, our lives, the lives of our children and their children and their children - OUR LEGACY.

For me - it's time to leave the sour grapes behind and look forward to tasting the sweet wine. We will all be able to enjoy this new and updated building and so will our families for the next 100 years.

I look forward to utilizing this new building and knowing that my family, and yours, will enjoy its warmth, shelter memories, honor and beauty for generations to come.


Posted by Duffy, a resident of Danville
on Jan 21, 2010 at 8:34 am

Politicians, even those as inconsequential as the Danville Town Council, need to "do things."
Cutting down trees (ever stop and think - it is the trees that make Danville unique) and
renovating a unneeded Veterans Hall are merely symptomatic of this urge to "do things!"

How much better a remembrance it would be of our fallen heros if they removed the Veterans Hall, saved the trees, and made a mini-park at the site.

Perhaps we can still remember our heros by voting these busy fingers out of office the next chance we get!


Posted by mark, a resident of Danville
on Jan 21, 2010 at 9:05 am

I find it sad to see the veterans going along with the destruction of the trees so we could have a better place to talk about the past conflicts we were in and the destruction that we saw. To honor a veteran for what we did is kind gesture not a right or debt that we should make people pay over and over.We need to move on, the tree's brought a life to a town, It brought a life of peace back for me,I still think of veitnam, and the destruction and loss of friends I have known. But a tree was life and growth. Now where do I sit to enjoy the sound of children and parents without the noise in my head of what I as a vet can only hear of the past.


Posted by Del Chandler, a resident of Danville
on Jan 21, 2010 at 9:51 am

Watched part of the tree removal. Those trees probably should not have been planted there in the first place. And now you can actually see the Vets Hall. Having seen all the plans, I can't wait for the new facility. This will be a great new place for Vets, Seniors and the town of Danville.


Posted by Ron, a resident of Danville
on Jan 21, 2010 at 10:12 am

If you feel that strongly about it, you should have been at the meetings but I dont think anything could have been done to save them. They are not protected trees. Seems like a lot of people want a say on what you can and cant do on your own property regardless of the cost implications. Put your money where your mouth is and start writing checks if you want things your way. I am sure some people will start listing to you.


Posted by Erica, a resident of Danville
on Jan 21, 2010 at 12:03 pm

It is called the Veterans Hall, not the dance studio hall, or for that matter, not the winers hall either. This has been a long time in the making with a public process that you could have particpated in. The project represents a huge investment by the town, $6mil in fact. while you may want to relocate veterans to a remote location that won't disrupt your shady spot to drink your chai lattes, eat quiche and practice your reactive political involvement, i prefer a town that honors vets with a new facility and keeps them where they deserve to be, at the center of our community.


Posted by Rodney, a resident of Danville
on Jan 21, 2010 at 12:26 pm

What a tragedy by site. Perhaps it was needed to improve what we are currently offering, but it sure does look bad. To bd there hadnot been some kind of comprimise as now it really does look like Dublin - only thing missing is the muffler shop!


Posted by BB, a resident of Danville
on Jan 21, 2010 at 12:46 pm

Has anyone thought that there may be another side to the story? Maybe there is a reason it was appropriate to remove these trees. I'd be interested in that information, instead of all the complaining, name calling and such. Just sayin'.


Posted by rose wilson, a resident of Danville
on Jan 21, 2010 at 2:16 pm

The "tree huggers" you referred to were too horrified to witness the murder of those magnificent redwood trees. We said our farewell each time we sat beneath those trees for shade and the cool breeze they provided us, knowing their fate had been decided and any arguments in their behalf were snuffed out with numerous excuses!

Don't be so smug as to think we didn't care! The twelve feet, or so, the Veteran's hall will gain by this destruction will never replace what those beautiful trees provided to everyone, not just a few. We missed the lighting of those tree's this holiday season! The lights hung quietly waiting for the city to st least turn them on one last time. Too bad, it would have a decent farewell.




Posted by Kathy, a resident of Danville
on Jan 21, 2010 at 3:32 pm

I feel like crying every time I go past the Veteran's Hall. I can not bear to go to downtown Danville any more. I will find another place to patronize restaurants and shops. I hope the town manager and town council are pleased with their short-sighted decision. I refuse to ever enter the new building when it is completed .. the sacrifice we have made for this building is just too much to bear.


Posted by Captain 45 years in Danville, a resident of Danville
on Jan 21, 2010 at 8:14 pm

NO ONE IS DISHONORING VETERANS' BY SPEAKING OUT ABOUT THE TEARING DOWN OF THOSE BEAUTIFUL TREES! THOSE TREE'S WERE A MAJESTIC TRIBUTE TO THE VETERANS' IN OUR VALLEY. WHAT NEXT...OH YEAH...PARKING METERS AND HOW ABOUT TEARING DOWN WHAT'S LEFT OF THE DANVILLE HOTEL, NOW YOU HAVE YOUR PARKING LOT. GOOD GOING


Posted by TL Nelson, a resident of Danville
on Jan 21, 2010 at 8:29 pm

The real problem here is that there were not enough people who were willing to stand up and do something to save these 70 year old heritage trees.

I only found out about it a week before these trees were cut down. Perhaps others were in the same boat. Maybe I was not paying attention, but I think the decision to cut them down was kept pretty low key until recently. I am sure there were many who cared enough to do something, but were too busy with work or other obligations to pay attention to what was happening.

Also, this could not have happened is there was not a premeditated move by the city council to take redwoods off of the protected trees list last year.

I believe that this act of destruction is the "shape of things to come". Soon we will be living in a world of concrete, asphalt and stucco.

These trees could have lived for centuries, even thousands of years if cared for properly. Just think of what Danville could have had if only a few more people had spoken up and made a difference.

Not many towns can boast of majestic, centuries old redwood and cedar trees in the center of their downtown. Danville could have had this, but has chosen to have a big building and paving instead. How very sad!


Posted by Thomas K., a resident of Danville
on Jan 21, 2010 at 11:47 pm

It really is a sad thing to see. The trees are gone and it is time for the residents and visitors to Danville to move on. Danville has and will always have it's magic about it. Believe it or not the missing trees have not taken away that magic. Sure it was a majestic thing to see but guess what? CHANGE is invevitable and Danville has been caught up in it. So folks.....we will still have our street fairs and car shows and most of all our 4th of July parades. Oh and one more thing......we have people who care like you. Keep Smiling....it's not the end of the world for us....just those trees.


Posted by sponge bob, a resident of Danville
on Jan 22, 2010 at 8:16 am

Jackie - "beautiful building"???? Are you serious????
More like shaving Marilyn Monroe's head and seeing what she'd look like bald. Get a clue.


Posted by Heather K, a resident of Danville
on Jan 22, 2010 at 9:54 am

I agree with a lot of the things that SK Johnson said earlier. I first heard talk about the trees and the possibility of losing them over a year ago at a Town meeting when in the interest of trying to retain them, the Town hired arborist(s) to do that. I heard about it several times more during other meetings. The information was available all along for over a year to all of us who wanted to know, speak out, etc.
I will never abandon our beautiful town and all the benefits it has for us... the removal of these few trees, while sad, does not define the total beauty of the entire Town and everything it has to offer.

As SK said, seems like some of the comments here are getting crazy.
It's true, the people of our Town, our Seniors, our Youth, our Veterans, our friends, will all be able to enjoy the Veterans building right here where it's always been! The most valuable history about this location is the people - the events that have taken place at this very location. That can never be taken away. The Town is about to embark on a venture that will enhance our memories, our future memories, our lives, the lives of our children and their children and their children - OUR LEGACY.
Wonderfuly stated!


Posted by Barb, a resident of Danville
on Jan 22, 2010 at 12:09 pm

I couldn't bear to go and watch the destruction of the trees. It would have broken my heart. I knew as soon as the tree ordinance was changed that those trees were coming down and there was nothing we could do about it. Very sad and shameful too.


Posted by psmacintosh, a resident of Danville
on Jan 22, 2010 at 1:32 pm

"...our group should plant trees from everyplace Americans have served .....
A cinnamon tree from Viet Nam. A lotus tree from Korea. A Bavarian Pine. A French Chestnut. An English walnut. And, of course, a Hawaiian macadamia. .....We would put them around the outside and on the roof just to add a natural attraction."

This is an interesting and clever idea!
However, there is NO space/place at all for such trees at the enlarged footprint of the new Vet Hall and I assume no appropriate roof space as well.
Also, you are assuming that all those trees would grow well in Danville climate, which I don't know is true.

And to do this idea elsewhere--at some park for instance--is to create a new Vets spot and thereby fragment the Vets location.

Perhaps it could be done somewhere around the Vets Wall/Rose Garden area at Oak Hill Park?


Posted by Resident 48 years, a resident of Danville
on Jan 22, 2010 at 3:10 pm

Well I have heard many excuses, rationalizations and opinions as to why the destruction of the trees had to happen. As Barb said...when the tree ordinance was changed...the trees were coming down! Naturally we will continue to love and cherish our town! That has nothing to do with the hurt and shame we may feel for allowing this thing to forge ahead without at least trying to stop it! Come on, get a grip, this could have all been avoided. We knew ripping out those magnificent trees was an option being considered; however perhaps we trusted our town council to do the right thing! Just as there were arborist opinions for and against, there were alternative things which could have been done, and they know it!!

Now all we have are memories of the wonderful warm weather events, especially our fourth of July parade as people huddled under the shade of those wonderful old trees, experiences shared not only with family and friends but with the trees themselves!

Let the lesson here be this...the love we have for this town has everything to do with it's history, not just forging ahead making everything modern without regard for quality and longevity if maintained and cared for. Watch closely the power we give our city fathers, that they use it wisely. We didn't have a vote as to whether our heritage trees were slaughtered or not; but do do at the poles!


Posted by Jennifer, a resident of Danville
on Jan 22, 2010 at 8:54 pm

I tried to stop this from happening, I called channel 7 news and tried to get them to do a story on the town tearing down these beautiful trees. They were not interested. I spent days trying to find local so-called tree huggers out of desperation, hoping they would climb up the trees and make life hell for the city fathers. No luck. It was just about this time that I found out they had changed the laws regarding heritage trees and I knew it was over. I and members of my family dreaded this day. Every time I passed the trees I said a silent prayer for them, and thanked them for all they offered the people of this town over the many years, shade, beauty, oxygen and peace. I work downtown, and as I drove past there today, I was brought to tears. It looks like Hayward, cold and bare. I am sickened by this town. I don't think I will ever feel the same, and I have lived here all my 41 years.


Posted by Cathy, a resident of Danville
on Jan 24, 2010 at 6:09 pm

I drove past the corner today and saw how barren and ugly it looks without the trees. I didn't recognize it. It will take many years to grow trees as beautiful as the ones that were removed. Why were they cut down????


Posted by Rose, a resident of Danville
on Jan 25, 2010 at 3:40 pm

When visiting old charming towns, one can always count on the courthouse, usually, as being the stately, historic building in the middle of town. The Danville Veterans building, for those of you who don't go back that far, used to house the Walnut Creek/Danville Muni Court. Not that it makes a difference except there is a lot of history in that building and OUR Veterans building was that historical building in the middle of town.

How wonderful to have that stately old building of OURS surrounded by those beautiful trees which were planted there with love and care 70 years ago.

As far as updating this building for our veterans and/or other groups such as the Seniors. They could make the interior look like a palace if necessary! Great..but don't take away the charm and beauty of our grand old landmark! The destruction of those trees was a travesty!!

When cutting the ribbon and gladhanding, I hope you city cronies feel a tinge of guilt for what you have done, just so you could boost about out doing the next town. This decision should have been put to a vote by the people, not at meetings where many could not attend and were not aware. Shame on you!!


Posted by Gunslinger, a resident of Danville
on Jan 31, 2010 at 6:12 am

SK, we who want to keep the character of this town are certainly the majority, including most of the veterans of this area.

Rob, we do put our money where our mouth is. The problem is that the local, state and federal governments take our money too and put it where their mouth is. And those who show up tocrown councill are not usually a sign of the majority. But if those punks aren't gonna listen to us until we mob them like what was done over the proposed section 8 housing in Danville, well then so be it

TL, there are plenty of people willing to stand up for the environment and history of this town, the council just purposely does stuff is a way that prohibits movement against them. They're biggest tact is secrecy, like when they tried to underinform the town public about the low income housing in downtown, but enough found out that 150+ people attended. Imagine if the whole town had been properly informed?


Posted by Gunslinger, a resident of Danville
on Jan 31, 2010 at 6:20 am

Thomas K, the type of change the council wants is not inevitable, and will soon enough be ground to a halt.

Heather K, you're right that the people and demographics are the single most important element of this town, but the government and media is trying to destroy that too with their endless push for section 8 housing and group homes and urbanity. Our environment though is pretty damned important, and we intend to keep Danville naturally picturesque.

On a final note, no one cares more about Vets than I, especially elder vets. The thing is, most vets are on the side of keeping the character and natural beauty of this town.

And we need to start mobbing the local gov more!


Posted by Rachel, a resident of Danville
on Feb 1, 2010 at 12:57 pm

You may think that is an odd comment, but I believe 70 year old trees have a powerful life force. These trees, as they were needlessly killed, most certainly left a curse upon our town and the officials who sanctioned their destruction. A "dark cloud" will hang over Danville for decades to come because of this senseless act. I wonder if people like our town manager, "Chainsaw Joe" Calabrigo or the town council members have any remorse whatsoever for what they have done.


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