PG&E contractor trashes garden

June 18, 2015


A few days ago I received a call from Manuel, from Davey Tree Co., saying that they would be trimming the palm trees away from the power lines on Broad Street. This was not unusual as they had done this before. From past experience we have witnessed how PG$E interprets their  legal  “right” to  “clear” to mean destroying whatever they want in the name of ‘clearing the area around the power lines.

When they did this a while ago, they also destroyed a number of owl’s nests. The loss of those natural predators resulted in a huge spike in the rat population in the neighborhood. But I digress…

When I got Davey’s call I was prepared to have the trees butchered again. I replied, “Thanks for letting me know, but please be careful not to get the debris in my garden.” He assured me they would be careful.

Well, this is what they did. Davey forgot to set out the “do not park” barricades on the street necessary for parking their vehicles – which they have always done before. Being close to downtown, on-street parking fills up early with downtown employees.

When Davey came to “trim” the trees, instead of realizing their mistake in forgetting to set our their ‘no parking’ barricades, and coming back another day, they made a decision to double-park their vehicle in the middle of Broad Street, leaning their bucket out over the parked cars (surely this is not in accord with city regulations and safety concerns).

They then proceeded to throw all the very heavy palm fronds and debris into my yard. If you’ve ever lifted one of these fronds you know how heavy they are and that they are not going to land in a garden without doing quite a bit of damage.

tree 2

I was shocked to see the Davey employee deliberately hurling the fronds onto my property. I ran out to tell him to stop and he refused! I had to call the police in order to get him to stop and, even then, he didn’t do so until the officer actually arrived.

While there was lots of damage to my fruit trees, and other plants in my garden, I think the maliciousness with which the Davey company acted was beyond comprehension. It was pretty obvious that they figured that it would be easier to mouth the words “sorry” rather than act responsibly and respectfully.

tree 3

The solution to not having done the proper preparation was so simple, just put up the signs and come back tomorrow – that the willful maliciousness of their decision is particularly reprehensible. For any understanding gardeners out there, know that I had just spent weeks doing my garden “spring cleaning” and tending to the plants…and, at my age, it isn’t so easy to do anymore.

It took them nearly six hours to finish getting those fronds out of there. Besides this being an incredibly upsetting situation, I then had to hire a gardener to try and salvage the damage to the landscape.

I can’t help but reflect on what this says about Davey’s corporate mentality and bottom-line greed. I’m sure they wouldn’t want this to happen to their home, or have their families treated this way…but, somehow they determined this was alright to do to someone else.

The whole fiasco was absolutely destructive and so utterly unnecessary.

Over 30 years ago, the city realized this conflict of power lines with mature trees was going to be a problem, and we started an under-ground utility program. Funds were even set aside for its implementation. The under-grounding program was very specific in that it designated the program would start with the most impacted areas…basically starting with the older neighborhoods with the mature trees. New developments would be required to underground their utilities as a condition of development. What ever happened to the program and the money?

By not following-through, the city ensured that incident’s like the Graduate’s palm trees fiasco and this kind of damage and disrespectful treatment to city residents would likely occur.

Peg Pinard is a former San Luis Obispo County supervisor and mayor of San Luis Obispo.

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  1. micsca says:

    I’m curious why Peg Pinard didn’t hire her own arborist to trim HER trees, which are a safety hazard. Why do the rest of PG&E customers have to pay because she is too irresponsible to trim her own trees? Maybe she could have stood there and caught them as they fell.. (J/K). Where exactly are they supposed to fall? And, if it took them 6 hours to remove those fronds, they have to be the laziest workers I’ve ever heard of. It doesn’t appear that much damage was done.

    Why blame the city is also culpable because of their nazi-like polices toward trees in SLO. I believe Peg Pinard was on the counsel when they passed those egregious regulations.

    (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
  2. smile4thecamera says:

    I recently got a notice from Davey (contractors for PG&E) that they would be around within the next 6 weeks to trim the trees away from power lines. They have been pretty good about calling ahead so that I can let them in the backyard through a locked gate. They don’t do the best job on the trees – their mission is to keep the lines clear and they don’t really care how lopsided the tree is/looks. Still, their guys are hard workers and pick up all the debris and chip it up. I can’t fault them for anything except leaving my trees kind of wonky looking, but it’s a free service and if we care to spend extra money, I could get the trees evened out.

    (2) 2 Total Votes - 2 up - 0 down
  3. MaryMalone says:

    Was the person in charge of the work crew a Certified Arborist?

    I have always used a Certified Arborist for trimming our trees, and I have never received anything but a top-notch, professional job, with an esthetically pleasing and balanced tree appearance.

    (1) 7 Total Votes - 4 up - 3 down
  4. CentralcoastRN says:

    I am just a simple person; but to me, this just seems disrespectful and unnecessary on the part of the Tree Trimming Company.

    It is not abundantly clear from this article, but I am inferring that Peg is trying to convey that had the Tree Trimmers cordoned off the street a bit, that they would have dropped the palm fronds on the street to be chipped/mulched rather than her yard. Is this correct?

    As a vendor of PG and E, I would think they are accustomed to a certain level of professionalism. I don’t consider tossing the palm fronds into the yard one of them.

    While I DO read and understand that this woman has too much time on her hands (I mean, you are the mayor and you have time to count Owl nests in your neighnorhood and study the correlation of the proportion of said nests to the rat population? Ironic, as she doesn’t seem to see the human rats in power all around her…) she DOES have a right for her yard to be restored to the condition it was in BEFORE the tree trimmers dropped their mess in her yard.

    Since the drought, I have replaced sod and other “things” with mulch, succulents, and other costly landscape. Working full time with kids, I don’t have a lot of time to clean up the messes that others leave behind, ESPECIALLY business people making some serious $$ trimming trees.

    So basically, I probably wouldn’t have been obnoxious to the tree trimmer; I would have asked him politely to stop throwing fronds into my yard, and if they had refused me, I would have called my homeowner’s insurance agent for advice. When the tree trimmer was done, I would have waited to see if he removed his mess, then if not, photographed the damage, get someone out to clean and repair any damage, then send the Tree Trimming company and PG and E my bill. She cannot refuse to allow them to trim the trees, so they cannot refuse the bill.

    (-4) 10 Total Votes - 3 up - 7 down
    • JMO says:

      RN, you are finally starting to ask good questions of Peg’s opinion piece. I think I was the first one to notice that the fronds fell directly down from the palms that are in Peg’s yard and shoots the hole in Pegs rant that they were thrown there. Then, re-reading her article, I noticed what someone else pointed out. While the trimmers were doing their job, Peg started screaming and yelling at them and called the police. It makes sense that (even though Peg doesn’t offer this information) she wouldn’t let the in to her yard to clean up the fronds. Finally, as I and others pointed out, Peg has a long history of being anti-PG&E. You can tell by the adjectives in her article that she distains PG&E and anyone that works for them.

      I actually know someone who recently called PG&E to have a palm tree trimmed on their property because when they called a tree trimmer to do it the tree trimmer said it was too close to the power lines and wouldn’t do it. Davey came out, were very professional, and even went the extra mile to cut the debris in smaller piles so it was easier to haul away. Davey said they weren’t allowed to load the debris in this persons trailer themselves (liability and contractual issues) but were very polite and personable.

      So, we got one side of the story from someone who, strangely enough, hates PG&E. We can only guess what the other side of the story is.

      (6) 12 Total Votes - 9 up - 3 down
      • MaryMalone says:

        Pardon, but your argument fails because you use a logical fallacy, blaming the victim, to prop up your argument.

        Whether the homeowner screamed and yelled, called the police, etc. has nothing to do with whether or not PG&E and its contractor, Davey Tree Company, destroyed the homeowner’s property.

        The homeowners’ reaction, whatever it was, was in response to the damage done by PG&E and Davey Tree Company to her landscape.

        In addition, whether or not the homeowner is mayor, and whether or not the homeowner “likes” PG&E also has NOTHING to do with whether or not PG&E and Davey Tree Company destroyed her landscape.

        If the best you can do is construct failed arguments propped up by logical falacies, then you are doing more harm than good in your attempts posting a sound argument.

        (-7) 13 Total Votes - 3 up - 10 down
    • mbbizpro says:

      I dont think that anyone questions the fact that if they damaged her property that they should pay for the damages. I think the issue is how she is going about it. In addition, it seems from the photos that the trees were on her property and most likely may have fallen there for that reason rather than being tossed. She made sure to post the “before” pictures, showing a mess. Is it possible that the “after” pictures perhaps show much less damage and that is why they were not shown? It could also be possible that they cleanup and repair was prevented by her as it seems she had no intention of allowing them on the property. As the former Mayor of San Luis Obispo, her people skills should certainly be better than what they appear.

      (4) 4 Total Votes - 4 up - 0 down
      • CentralcoastRN says:

        I think my post is just the result of confusion. Calcoast news usually reports news, and this doesn’t seem like news. This seems like a grumpy person with no people skills that is angry and doesn’t have the full story.

        (3) 9 Total Votes - 6 up - 3 down
        • MaryMalone says:

          How the homeowner went about handling destruction of her landscape caused by PG&E and its contractor, Davey Tree Company, has zip to do with whether or not PG&E and Davey Tree Company destroyed her landscape.\

          Blaming the victim is a despicable way to try to make a point.

          (0) 10 Total Votes - 5 up - 5 down
          • mbbizpro says:

            Nobody blamed the victim and I have said in a number of posts that if they created damage that they should pay. How one handles things quite often impacts the outcomes that they achieve. In addition, there are 2 sides to every story and, she has given no input as to what the damages actually were. Yes, a bunch of tree trimmings/debirs looks horrible. If she prevented them from cleaning it up that is on her. As a number of posters have noted, it appears that the trees are on her property making it much more likely that the trimmings would fall onto her property. I am betting, once resolved, that DaveyTrees/PGE will fully compensate her for damages. This isn’t a contractor review site.

            (4) 4 Total Votes - 4 up - 0 down
        • MaryMalone says:

          Re: CCN’s posted content….

          At the top of each post in the section is headed as “OPINION.”

          If you don’t know what “opinion” means, look it up.

          (2) 2 Total Votes - 2 up - 0 down

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