A Detroiter's Bill of Inalienable Rights

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Re: A Detroiter's Bill of Inalienable Rights

Postby Mud Bug » Sat Sep 25, 2010 9:57 am

Bitter tears follow gusts of wind
Anger flares after tree falls and kills a man in Detroit
BY STEVE NEAVLING
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER


Jeannette Brown angrily counted the number of dead trees lining her block in Detroit.

"There's one there, one there, one there, one there, one there," she said, pointing to the rotting trees around her house on Virginia Park, just east of the Lodge Freeway. "No one cares about the poor, black folk. We might as well rot like those trees."

Hours earlier Friday, strong winds snapped a dead tree, which struck and killed her fiancé, 53-year-old Chester Carter, also of Detroit.

Strong winds Friday accounted for power outages at more than 30,000 homes in metro Detroit, mainly because of downed power lines. Brown said she has implored the city for years to cut down the tree.

"Chester should be walking, talking and laughing, not sitting in a morgue," she said. "There's no excuse for this. I lost the love of my life. And for what?"

A spokesman for Mayor Dave Bing said the city had not received a complaint about the tree. "We are saddened for the family of the victim in this tragic accident," spokesman Dan Lijana said.

Earlier in the day, firefighters were on high alert as winds reached 47 m.p.h., raising fears about a repeat of the devastating wind-swept fires that raced through several neighborhoods Sept. 7 and destroyed more than 70 houses and garages in Detroit.

The Sept. 7 fires called into question the response by an understaffed fire department and 911 operators, who couldn't keep pace with the calls for help. Many residents became critical of the city and of DTE Energy over the maintenance of power lines.

On Tuesday, the City Council is holding a hearing on the blazes to investigate the cause and emergency response. The Michigan Public Service Commission is holding a hearing Tuesday, at Cadillac Place, 3044 W. Grand Blvd., as part of its investigation into complaints about DTE. Both meetings are at 10 a.m.

Read more: Bitter tears follow gusts of wind | freep.com | Detroit Free Press http://www.freep.com/article/20100925/N ... z10Y5jjZip


The right to own private property means any rotten trees are to be cut down by the city.
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Re: A Detroiter's Bill of Inalienable Rights

Postby Roquefort Robert » Sat Sep 25, 2010 10:27 am

Mud Bug wrote:
Bitter tears follow gusts of wind
Anger flares after tree falls and kills a man in Detroit
BY STEVE NEAVLING
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER


Jeannette Brown angrily counted the number of dead trees lining her block in Detroit.

"There's one there, one there, one there, one there, one there," she said, pointing to the rotting trees around her house on Virginia Park, just east of the Lodge Freeway. "No one cares about the poor, black folk. We might as well rot like those trees."

Hours earlier Friday, strong winds snapped a dead tree, which struck and killed her fiancé, 53-year-old Chester Carter, also of Detroit.

Strong winds Friday accounted for power outages at more than 30,000 homes in metro Detroit, mainly because of downed power lines. Brown said she has implored the city for years to cut down the tree.

"Chester should be walking, talking and laughing, not sitting in a morgue," she said. "There's no excuse for this. I lost the love of my life. And for what?"

A spokesman for Mayor Dave Bing said the city had not received a complaint about the tree. "We are saddened for the family of the victim in this tragic accident," spokesman Dan Lijana said.

Earlier in the day, firefighters were on high alert as winds reached 47 m.p.h., raising fears about a repeat of the devastating wind-swept fires that raced through several neighborhoods Sept. 7 and destroyed more than 70 houses and garages in Detroit.

The Sept. 7 fires called into question the response by an understaffed fire department and 911 operators, who couldn't keep pace with the calls for help. Many residents became critical of the city and of DTE Energy over the maintenance of power lines.

On Tuesday, the City Council is holding a hearing on the blazes to investigate the cause and emergency response. The Michigan Public Service Commission is holding a hearing Tuesday, at Cadillac Place, 3044 W. Grand Blvd., as part of its investigation into complaints about DTE. Both meetings are at 10 a.m.

Read more: Bitter tears follow gusts of wind | freep.com | Detroit Free Press http://www.freep.com/article/20100925/N ... z10Y5jjZip


The right to own private property means any rotten trees are to be cut down by the city.

Aren't trees that are on the city's right of way, the responsibility of the city?
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Re: A Detroiter's Bill of Inalienable Rights

Postby frank - up in grand blanc » Sat Sep 25, 2010 11:22 am

I believe roq is correct. Not clear where those Virginia Park trees are located, though.

FWW, in Snobbyville Heights up here the city writes tickets to those who are slow in removing dead trees. Fair amount of casualties among the Ash.
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Re: A Detroiter's Bill of Inalienable Rights

Postby guest » Sat Sep 25, 2010 1:48 pm

"No one cares about the poor, black folk. We might as well rot like those trees."


Exactly, so get off your ass and trim your trees like the rich people do around their own homes. I'm thinking that maintenance of the easement is the responsibilty of the homeowner, and I assume that would include trees, but I expect a big lawsuit will be filed anyway.
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Re: A Detroiter's Bill of Inalienable Rights

Postby Norm Abrams » Sat Sep 25, 2010 2:15 pm

guest wrote:
"No one cares about the poor, black folk. We might as well rot like those trees."


Exactly, so get off your ass and trim your trees like the rich people do around their own homes. I'm thinking that maintenance of the easement is the responsibilty of the homeowner, and I assume that would include trees, but I expect a big lawsuit will be filed anyway.


Yes, technically the home owner is responsible for maintaining the tree, if present, in the easement. Although, the city will come and remove dangerous trees from the easement and trim them as they deem necessary. There are an estimated 10k trees that could/should come down tomorrow, but there's no money for the Forestry Department to do so. They are barely able to keep up with storm damage which can take them weeks to clear. The small department often goes out after a storm to make sure the streets and sidewalks are cleared and that trees that took out power are moved to the side. Then they go back to cut up and remove the remains of the trees.
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Re: A Detroiter's Bill of Inalienable Rights

Postby guest » Sat Sep 25, 2010 2:55 pm

This is exactly the attitude of the poors that I find so infuriating: nobody cares about me or comes out to my house to clean it up and wipe my ass so I'll just lay here in my own shit and bitch about it. For a lot of people, there are reasons that they're poor.

Oh, and too bad about dude geting in the way of that tree.
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Re: A Detroiter's Bill of Inalienable Rights

Postby Mud Bug » Sat Sep 25, 2010 3:57 pm

I've had to shell out several grand in the last several years to have three dead ash and one dying white pine removed from my "right of way" property (between sidewalk and road). I hated the thought of paying as well and tried convincing everyone else (city, county, MDOT, DTE, Consumers, insurance company) it was more their problem than it was mine. No sir, those trees are on your deeded property and therefore are your responsibility. I thought my reasoned approach to the insurance company made the most dollars and sense: hey, you guys can spend 2K to cut down the towering half-dead white pine or you can spend tens of millions after a storm blows it onto my house or my neighbors and people get killed. That logic train went nowhere though and after awhile I grew tired of my reasoned pleas falling on deaf ears so I bit the bullet and paid out of my own pocket. Now I sleep well when the wind blows 60 mph. My advice to the thousands of Detroiters with widow makers in the front yard precariously awaiting their fall is to stop waiting for the City GSD and take matters in your own hands and hire a tree service.
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Re: A Detroiter's Bill of Inalienable Rights

Postby Roquefort Robert » Sat Sep 25, 2010 4:01 pm

Mud Bug wrote:I've had to shell out several grand in the last several years to have three dead ash and one dying white pine removed from my "right of way" property (between sidewalk and road). I hated the thought of paying as well and tried convincing everyone else (city, county, MDOT, DTE, Consumers, insurance company) it was more their problem than it was mine. No sir, those trees are on your deeded property and therefore are your responsibility. I thought my reasoned approach to the insurance company made the most dollars and sense: hey, you guys can spend 2K to cut down the towering half-dead white pine or you can spend tens of millions after a storm blows it onto my house or my neighbors and people get killed. That logic train went nowhere though and after awhile I grew tired of my reasoned pleas falling on deaf ears so I bit the bullet and paid out of my own pocket. Now I sleep well when the wind blows 60 mph. My advice to the thousands of Detroiters with widow makers in the front yard precariously awaiting their fall is to stop waiting for the City GSD and take matters in your own hands and hire a tree service.

You should have taken a fall out of the tree and sued the city. That's the Detroit thing to do, isn't it?
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Re: A Detroiter's Bill of Inalienable Rights

Postby jmy » Sat Sep 25, 2010 5:42 pm

The tree issue is driving me nuts at the new place. Several of us who would like to have the alleys vacated are being hamstrung by the neighbors who claim the trees along the alley are the city's responsibilty. "And the city never trims them!" According to neighborhood wisdom -- the Elders -- the city encourages vacating the alleys only as a means to transfer its responsibility to the citizens. Explaining easements to them is like explaining calculus to my dog -- or me.

Of course, this is the neighborhood, probably like almost every neighborhood in Detroit, where people clean up the brush in their yards and dump it in the alley "for the city to clean up."
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Re: A Detroiter's Bill of Inalienable Rights

Postby The Conscience » Sat Sep 25, 2010 6:10 pm

People don't seem to recognize how serious a problem the tree situation is in Detroit, and the perfect storm created here by shrinking municipal budgets, biological entropy, and the decline of neighborhoods. I suspect dead trees played a big factor in the recent eastside firestorm; dead branches fell on powerlines, which sparked fires, which climbed the branches of dead trees, which ignited old homes, which lit up more dead trees, which burned more homes. This tragedy will happen again as more old trees and old neighborhoods continue to die.

Who do we blame? The civic lions who orchestrated the planting of hundreds of thousands of trees back in the 40s and 50s (but now dying) in an attempt to beautify the city? The spread of invasives and diseases via transportation and commerce, such as the emerald ash borer and dutch elm disease? Or the tragedy of the commons created by the low standards of public ownership?
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Re: A Detroiter's Bill of Inalienable Rights

Postby James Scott » Sat Sep 25, 2010 6:19 pm

jmy wrote:The tree issue is driving me nuts at the new place. Several of us who would like to have the alleys vacated are being hamstrung by the neighbors who claim the trees along the alley are the city's responsibilty. "And the city never trims them!" According to neighborhood wisdom -- the Elders -- the city encourages vacating the alleys only as a means to transfer its responsibility to the citizens. Explaining easements to them is like explaining calculus to my dog -- or me.

Of course, this is the neighborhood, probably like almost every neighborhood in Detroit, where people clean up the brush in their yards and dump it in the alley "for the city to clean up."


Technically, if an alley exists, it is a public right of way, and under the direct control of the municipality. So technically, the elders are correct. Now dumping the brush in the alley, not so much. Curbside should be the correct call in most municipalities, but Detroit? Bundle small twigs, large ones get picked up?

An alley is, by rights, also an easement. But I guess that you know that. And even if one person uses that alley for parking their car in their garage, you'll be pissing in the wind for the vacation of that alley. If there are trees in that alley, check where that alley starts and ends, property wise. I'll bet those trees aren't growing from a paved alleyway at all, but from private property.
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Re: A Detroiter's Bill of Inalienable Rights

Postby frank - up in grand blanc » Sat Sep 25, 2010 7:06 pm

Throughout the 70s, 80s, and into the 90s big storms would bring down huge limbs off of the monster silver maple and cottonwood which provided the canopy over my old 'hood. The area never really was hot stuff, but relatively speaking those were the good old days, and still the serious weather made streets impassable for days and sometimes weeks.

I get the shaking of fingers at the poor-me crowd, I really do. But some of those trees are, clinically speaking, really fucking huge and maintenance is beyond the ability of everyone short of an orangutan wielding a chainsaw with an 18-inch bar.

Consequently, I'm with Conscience on the blame part: not easy to know where to lay this problem. Tell you what though: I'm damn thankful that I was stubborn enough to personally bring down my two silver maples. Those things are designed to shatter in high wind.
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Re: A Detroiter's Bill of Inalienable Rights

Postby Norm Abrams » Sat Sep 25, 2010 7:22 pm

Technically, if a neighborhood as a rule doesn't have driveways, then an alley will not be vacated. Think Woodbridge, Corktown, etc.

Needing firewood and being somewhat industrious, I'm tempted to just start cutting down the dead trees in vacated areas of the city. I'm not going to tempt fate and cut anything near houses or cars. I could probably use a hand. I've seen numerous large limbs and such that would be easy pickings. Hmmm, "I'll do something."
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Re: A Detroiter's Bill of Inalienable Rights

Postby jmy » Sat Sep 25, 2010 7:53 pm

Whether the residents like it or not, understand it or not, in Detroit, the property owner is responsible from the middle of the street to the middle of the alley. That includes trees, though DTE will trim trees if they're between poles. Midtown is pretty tough on ticketing that sort of thing, but enforcement hasn't made it to the neighborhoods.

The alley is inactive and there aren't any garages on it. All the new homes have driveways from the street, Whether they can build garages or not, I don't know, but those residents who have petitioned to build garages with access from the alley have been denied permits. Several blocks have successfully vacated alleys in the neighborhood, so it seems very doable (aside from the obstructionists).

As it stands now, the alley is overgrown and it'll still be overgrow when/ if the alley is vacated. It's not like 30 or more years of municipal inertia will suddenly fall away and people will have to be responsible for once. The holdouts only have to look at the already vacated alleys to see that. And, it's not like the city is going to trim the trees, anyway. The only difference it makes is to the neighbors who'd like to extend and control their lot lines. In my case, since I'm at the end of the alley, it'd be nice to try to stop stolen cars from being dumped there -- or from my neighbors dragging their dead trees there (two so far).

It also seems to be a magnet for wigs.
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Re: A Detroiter's Bill of Inalienable Rights

Postby James Scott » Sat Sep 25, 2010 8:09 pm

jmy wrote:Whether the residents like it or not, understand it or not, in Detroit, the property owner is responsible from the middle of the street to the middle of the alley. That includes trees, though DTE will trim trees if they're between poles. Midtown is pretty tough on ticketing that sort of thing, but enforcement hasn't made it to the neighborhoods.

The alley is inactive and there aren't any garages on it. All the new homes have driveways from the street, Whether they can build garages or not, I don't know, but those residents who have petitioned to build garages with access from the alley have been denied permits. Several blocks have successfully vacated alleys in the neighborhood, so it seems very doable (aside from the obstructionists).

As it stands now, the alley is overgrown and it'll still be overgrow when/ if the alley is vacated. It's not like 30 or more years of municipal inertia will suddenly fall away and people will have to be responsible for once. The holdouts only have to look at the already vacated alleys to see that. And, it's not like the city is going to trim the trees, anyway. The only difference it makes is to the neighbors who'd like to extend and control their lot lines. In my case, since I'm at the end of the alley, it'd be nice to try to stop stolen cars from being dumped there -- or from my neighbors dragging their dead trees there (two so far).

It also seems to be a magnet for wigs.


I was always of the understanding that a tree, if planted by the City, remains their property. The alley may be your problem, but the CITY trees, are not. Try a fence? They won't bother tearing it down if they won't bother doing the alleyway.

Edit: Here's a snippet from the COD website:

Services to the Citizens of Detroit:

•Grounds maintenance and management of all parks
•Grounds maintenance and management of all vacant lots
Maintenance and management of all forestry activities including the removal, replanting and trimming of trees in parks or between the streets and sidewalks in neighborhoods

•Grounds maintenance of all islands, boulevards, and freeway berms


You are only responsible for leaf/grass removal. And the street if you wish, but not really.
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