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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Response to Rosemary Loubal on trees

Dear Mrs. Loubal,

Thank you for your kind and gracious offer to visit my home, look at my view and possibly speak with my neighbors about resolving our view dispute. Unfortunately, I must decline your offer for the following reasons:

I have already attempted to negotiate with my neighbors – many times. I have tried to talk to them over the fence. I have written them letters inviting them to community meetings. I retained an arborist /mediator who soon quit when he realized the situation was hopeless. Then, after my neighbors planted three additional trees in the back of their yard that at in just a few years will block my view completely, I hired an attorney. I first considered taking my claim to the Tree Commission but my neighbor; Paul Gilbert Snyder, is a member of the Tree Commission. No fairness there. With all due respect, I question whether a private citizen would be able to resolve a dispute where one side has the power of the city of El Cerrito behind him.

Yes, I know that you are part of a group. That group is the “Friends of El Cerrito Trees.” If you’ve read any of my letters you know that my thoughts are in direct opposition to those of the “Friends.” In fact, as I write this note, you are hosting a meeting of the “Friends” at your home. The position of the “Friends” regarding the view ordinance is painfully clear. So it is difficult for me to imagine that despite your best intentions, you could be fair and impartial in evaluating my view or the steps necessary to restore the stunning view I had when I bought my home.

You mentioned you wanted to bring your husband along; whom I assume would assist you in evaluating my view and in negotiating with the Gilbert-Snyders. Are you speaking about Peter Loubal? If so, at the recent Tree Commission workshop, a gentleman turned to my wife, introduced himself as Peter Loubal and asked her, “Why do you want to chop down trees?” I need not say more.

Finally, I must tell you that even if you were able to visit my home and solve my problem with a wave of your hand, it would not solve the problems of many like me who want and deserve to have their original views restored. So I decline your offer because I am in this for the long run. Either we as El Cerritans will have a firm and clear view ordinance NOW or we may lose our views forever. If you are truly interested in helping to resolve this conflict, work within your own group, “The Friends of El Cerrito Trees.” Find others like you who want to resolve conflicts with their neighbors, not dig in their heels against them. Regain control of the “Friends” from the shrill voices that dominate the group today. And please read my most recent post on the El Cerrito Wire where I explain that a view ordinance protects everyone involved in a view dispute INCLUDING THE TREE OWNER.

You appear to be a reasonable person with a desire to search for the win-win resolution. Unfortunately, the win-win is probably not possible in my own situation. But for the sake of others like me, I wish you success.

Glenn Davis

Run dates: 2003-09-22 - 2003-10-06

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