At least it appears to be good news. The proof, as you know, is always in the gordita.
The fiasco with the San Jacinto Plaza park has spurred some real action by the City Manager's office. elpasonaturally has learned from several sources that there have been some shake-ups in Engineering. Also, and here is what is delightful, we have learned that Tommy Gonzalez is a tree person as is his wife. I have now heard that from three solid sources. That's good news.
Let's hope that our City Manager will take time to listen and to learn from experts about the planting and proper treatment and pruning of trees. He can find great expertise from the City Arborist, Brent Pearson. He can also find expertise, support, cooperation and partnership from the West Texas Urban Forestry Council. WTUFC's Board is a Who's Who of tree, irrigation, landscaping and sod experts. Brent Pearson is a member of that Board. So is Oscar Mestas, the State's Urban Forester. John White is a former County Extension Agent, a horticulturist and the Curator of the Chihuahuan Gardens at UTEP. Debbie Hradek manages Sites Southwest El Paso office. Jennifer Barr knows irrigation and landscaping. I could go on and on about the Board membership. Here's WTUFC's mission statement:
"The mission of the West Texas Urban Forestry Council is to promote the preservation, health and expansion of community trees in the El Paso region. Together with the friends of WTUFC, 'Los Tree Amigos', we work to promote desert green - shade friendly and water smart."
Mr. Gonzalez needs to work with WTUFC. AND, he needs to revive the City's Tree Board established by Mayor Wardy following the recommendations of his Green Sweep team. That Board was eviscerated by Joyce Wilson and her minion, No No Nanette Smejkal, the former (thanks be to God) Parks and Recreation Director. Tommy Gonzalez would go a long way by re-establishing the Tree Board.
One more thing that our City Manager can do to foster great tree growth in El Paso: make the City Arborist an independent office. Currently Pearson works under Transportation and is ignored by Engineering that ignores everyone any way. (That may be changing with Gonzalez at the helm.) As an independent office with some real powers to oversee the planting of trees and shrubs by the City, good practices for the planting, care and maintenance of trees would be put into practice. Engineering will not be able to ignore him.
Let's do hope that Tommy Gonzalez will turn over a new leaf for the City of El Paso.