Thursday, January 29, 2015

City Parks Director Neither Sought nor Approved Removal of Palms from San Jacinto Plaza

"No Responsive Documents" - that is the official City of El Paso response to this open records request made by me:

"Mr. Novak [Tracy Novak is the City Parks and Recreation Director], The Policy and Standards Manual for the Care of Trees and Shrubs in the City of El Paso 17.1.4 stipulates "in the case of park trees, the Parks and Recreation Department Director approves the removal in writing after consulting with the Project Arborist." The California fan palms were taken from the San Jacinto Park and given to the contractor rather than to the El Paso Tree Farm. Please supply me with all documents (email, letters, etc.) which reveal your consultation with the Project Arborist and/or our City Arborist, Brent Pearson, prior to the removal of the palms. Please also supply a copy of your approval in writing of the removal of those palms."

"No Responsive Documents" means that Mr. Novak failed to approve the removal in writing. There is no record that he consulted with either the Project Manager or our City Arborist.

Why pass ordinances and have policy and standard manuals when City officials just ignore them?

Also read elpasospeak's post today. 

Why tell the truth at all?


  1. Why am I not surprised? This city council violates every ordinance it feels like violating, as long as it suits their own self serving interest. Taking PSB storm water & open space funds for city parks, paying for streets with PSB funds so city council can pay for it's budget overruns, wiping out master planning in order to appease the sprawl builders just to name a few.

  2. Could this be brought to the attention of the City Manager? I am sick and tired of the city running rough shod over trees, valuable trees. I don't want to see the issue dropped. More over, I doubt that the engineering dept "charged" the contractor for the trees, as they said. I would like to see proof of that.

  3. The rules are there to be followed by all. The reason for the tree ordinance is because the city has been doing it wrong for all these years and a set of guidelines was developed for them to follow so that we will have much better looking trees in our parks and public areas.

  4. Here is the contact info for Tommy Gonzalez, our City Manager: Just remember that this is not just about trees but about a failure by city officials and employees to folow the rules anywhere. Remember that Gonzalez was upset that the Plaza Tree matter had gone public. He too would like to keep things under wraps. You might also want to write a letter to the editor of the El Paso Times. Why are they not following this more closely. The Times address for submitting a letter is