Why So Many Palm Trees?
Work crews are finally preparing to take down the power line poles from the new plaza near the railroad tracks at the foot of Park Avenue as part of the Park Avenue improvement plan. The poles will be removed so that six large palm trees can be planted. Strangely, those trees will be planted even though the citizen's committee charged with co-designing the plaza several years ago specifically said "no" to palm trees there.
It's not only the committee that objects to palm trees. Councilwoman Ruth Atkin likes deciduous leafy trees and she has railed against the plethora of palm trees planted in Emeryville, calling them "ugly", yet we still seem to get palms planted everywhere here.
Why palm trees? Because, as it turns out, some nameless, faceless bureaucrat from 100 years ago thought two palms would look nice in front of City Hall, so now Emeryville must live with palm trees everywhere.
|A healthy mature palm|
Indeed even the palm trees at City Hall are brought to us by the palm trees at City Hall. Because of the now unknown designer in 1903 that planted the two large palms in front of the original building, the architect who designed the building's addition in 2000 insisted we must have more palms around the building to achieve proper "contextualization" (see Tattler story January 2nd).
The existence of the palms at city hall, iconic in their auspicious placement, have been used to justify palms all over town from Pixar across Park Avenue to the Public Market on Shellmound Street.
Our fate seems to be sealed because like it or not, a critical mass seems to have been reached and palm trees are now seen by architects and city planners as emblematic of Emeryville. This vision is so strong for them that they over-turned a democratic vote by citizens on the Park Avenue Committee to not plant palms in the plaza. The irony of the ugly bare power poles there being replaced by palms is probably lost on them.
So it looks like we're going to be seeing a lot of bare trunks and not a lot of leaves in Emeryville unless someone without a masters degree in city planning can shout loud enough that the emperor has no clothes.
|The one on the right is healthier|