Search The Tattler

Friday, August 3, 2012

From The Archives

The Tattler introduces 'From The Archives', a new feature that brings back Tattler stories from the past that we deem to still be of interest.  From The Archives will appear on an occasional basis.  
Here then is our From The Archives offering for today:


Emeryville: Land Of Palm Trees

All Pedestrians See Are Bare Trunks
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
At the Park Avenue plaza, the new palms will create a "unified and homogeneous street-scape"; at least that's what the city planners with masters degrees tell us.  City Hall, up the street has palm trees in front, so in order to tie Park Avenue together in a Big Lebowski oriental rug sort of way, we must also have palm trees in the plaza.

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

No comments:

Post a Comment