Over the weekend I was reading my copy of the Sunset Beacon, and read this rather disturbing story about how PG&E was going to cut down a tree in the Sunset. Naturally I was alarmed since there aren’t a lot of trees out here, and this particular one was planted by Mayor James Rolph (aka “Sunny Jim” Rolph).
I’d been doing some research on Rolph because as we all know, this month is in fact the 80th birthday of the N Judah line, which he built (and drove the first train out to Ocean Beach in 1928, so needless to say this was a dose of WTF on the front page of my local paper!
So I decided to use my allegedly “evil” connection to PG&E to find out what was up and let folks know that the N Judah Chronicles would be more than happy to shoot a double barrelled post of WTF at the utility, despite the fact I have a temporary job working with them. (Believe me when I say that’s not an easy thing to do).
And guess what? It seems plans were already in motion to save the tree thanks to an effort by neighbors, local leaders and elected officials like Carmen Chu who were getting PG&E to change its collective mind by the time I called. Thus, as of today, it’s official – the tree isn’t going to get cut down by PG&E and the utility will pony up the cash to bundle the wires so they don’t get knocked down in a bad storm. I’d much rather write an entry saying Rolph’s tree is saved than a “why did you do something so stupid like cut down our tree” post.
I think the neighbors of Rolph’s Tree deserve a major high five for sticking with this issue and not quitting until the tree was saved. This kind of neighborhood activism where people get together for something positive is more of what Our Fair City needs.
But I also think Supervisor Chu deserves some kudos, as does everyone who helped, and well, I realize this isn’t popular, but PG&E deserves a little kudos for backing down from a dumb idea, listening to folks and doing the right thing. Sure it would have been “fun” to write a scathing blog post, but if it was a scathing blog post and a dead tree, that’s really not that great, is it?
In the end, we can all be assured that a piece of history is saved, and as a local history fan, that’s all that really matters. Screaming tirades by the extreme meanies in local politics never got anything good done, and to me that says a lot.