Letters to the Editor July 3

Questionable logic about tree plan
Re: your June 19 article,  “Pine Mountain tree removal plan debated” :
I’m not sure how many Ojai folks have been up to the Pine Mountain area north of Ojai. I hadn’t been but when I read the article in the June 19 article, it piqued my interest since I work with trees and understand some of the issues discussed. After spending most of a day exploring the area, I would like offer some comments. 
Based on my observations there are several statements attributed to Greg Thompson of the U.S. Forest Service that are incorrect, in my opinion. The forest is not overstocked. The health of the vegetation within the narrow strip proposed for “brush and tree removal” in this article is neither in need of thinning, not will such work benefit the health of the forest. 
There is not any indication that the trees are suffering from “increased bark beetle mortality.” There is not an overabundance of ladder fuels. Finally, the goal, to “create a shaded fuel break of variable width” is preposterous. Nothing that is done in the way of fuel breaks this far from developed areas will prevent or reduce the risk of fire in those areas.
In short, the logic behind the decision to carry out this work is highly questionable. This area is in quite good shape and supports diverse wildlife and many species of valuable native vegetation. The comment period has been extended until August. The USFS should be REQUIRED to complete a thorough environmental impact assessment before any decision is made to carry out the work described. 
I urge readers to visit this area and to look at the Los Padres Forest Watch website for additional information at And if you also feel strongly that this project is ill-advised, write a comment letter to address your concern!

— The writer is a registered consulting arborist.


Newsom needs to be frank
As many know, on June 18,  Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that face coverings are now required for most people and most circumstances until further notice. 
He stated that this is due to a recent upsurge in cases, mentioning specifically Los Angeles. Most of our citizens are aware that LA was where the largest groups of people were protesting and rioting recently. Thousands of people were in close contact with each other and many were not wearing a face covering.
I am very surprised that, when Gov. Newsom made this announcement, he did not mention anything about the fact that the protests and rioting that took place a few weeks ago were a probable cause for this new upsurge in cases.

I feel he had (and still has) a responsibility to be completely open and frank with Californians when making a mandate that is of such importance.

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