Section - 02 NEWS

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Tuesday January 20,2004 - OLD GLORY sets sail down PICO CANYON
Early Tuesday morning the move begins with Old Glory boxed and ready to roll. A set of huge trucks were attached to the dollies and after some serious pulling, moved the tree to its new home. The 400 year site is now empty. Please pray for the success of the tree at its new site.

Saturday January 17, 2004 Scouts see that there are wheels ready and under the box and the final destination site is being prepared. The move seems imminent; possibly as soon as Tuesday after the Holiday.

Saturday January 10, 2004 - Terry Tamminen, Head of the California Environmental Protection Agency inspects tree and participates in a press conference. The hope is for the Governor and the state to stop the tree move. Andy Lipkis from TREE PEOPLE tells Terry that the tree is already compromised, but they both agree that this shouldn't happen again. ,

Friday January 02, 2003 - Chumash Indian Leaders conduct a New Years Ceremony at the tree for a small rain soaked group of supporters.Work continues slowly at the roots, but so far the major roots are uncut.

December 30,2003 - An appeal has been filed in renewed hopes of blocking the 21,000-home Newhall Ranch development, planned at the foot of the Santa Susana Mountains west of Santa Clarita. This is the destination of PICO CANYON ROAD and why Old Glory is threatened.

December 22, 2003 NRDC weighs in on the efforts to Save Old Glory! Reported in the Daily News

December 18,2003Dozens of Pico Canyon Elementary School parents are campaigning to lower the 50 mph speed limit on the infamous Pico Canyon Road in order to make the highway safe for children walking to school.

December 17,2003 SCOPE files an appeal of the judge's dismissal of its breach-of-contract lawsuit against Laing. They expect to go back to court and have their case heard.

December 5, 2003 Charges against SCOPE dismissed! Trespassing and libel charges against a local environmental group were dropped Thursday, two days after the same charges were dropped by a builder against John Quigley.

Dec 3, 2003 12/3/03 John Laing Homes today drops lawsuit against JOHN QUIGLEY!

Dec 3, 2003 John Laing pursues SCOPE in court for tresspass and libel in trial to take place Dec 10, 2003

Dec 3,2003John Laing announces "final plans" to move OLD GLORY to the press and launches its own website

October 29,2003 WILDFIRE! Old Glory is threatened, but skillfully saved by the busy LA County Firefighters battling the huge wildfire. This on the year anniversary of the Tree Sit.

July 08, 2003 SENNA says move may wait until winter
Nick Grudin of The Daily News Reports that John Mote, President of SENNA Tree Company is recommending that the final boxing and moving of Old Glory take place in the cold months of winter when the tree will be dormant. He remains optimistic for the survivability of the tree. Notably John Laing Homes did not confirm this plan. Laing's investment may exceed $400,000 in the move.

Dec 10,2003 Court Date set for Laing vs Quigley Lawsuit hearing
John Laing Homes cross complaint against John Quigley in response to SCOPE's suit for "breach of contract" has not been "dropped." Quigley and SCOPE will have their day in court in December. Please contact the for further details.

Saturday May 31, 2003 Santa Clarita Oaks Conservancy Fundraiser honors John Quigley
John Quigley graciously accepted a scroll from the City of Calabassas and the kudos of a smart crowd of Santa Clarita environmentalists at the dinner held to raise funds for the Santa Clarita Oaks Conservancy. Gabrielle Benton, a fellow "tree sitter" and artist, created a unique honorarium for the other "treekeepers" made from a slice of the amputated surface roots of Old Glory. Lynne Plambeck and Cynthia Harris, together with Keith Prisker and his family put this event together to raise funds for the further legal defense of the TREE SIT and other activities in the area.

May 21,2003 Old Glory now boxed on sides (but not the bottom)Old Glory is not yet "undermined" and awaits this final boxing step before the actual moving can begin. The SENNA Tree Company is working methodically to keep the tree "healthy" despite the trauma of its roots being cut. There is significant energy in the trunk to keep it leafed out, despite the lack of water and oxygen uptake now.
Apr 27, 2003 Old Glory Tree


The NEWHALL RANCH hearing was a major success, thanks to about three dozen activists... Everyone arrived at the Hearing Room at 9:30AM and after a certain amount of confusion, settled in for the proceedings. Ironically it was Cesear Chavez Day at the hearing and we were entertained by mariachis (as well as the usual kittens and puppies.) When the hearing got down to the Agenda Item 11, the Chaiman got the fully attention of the filled hearing room. The Proponents of the project were asked to stand and show that they wished to cede their time to the four designated speakers. The entire rear of the hearing room stood en masse in a dramatic gesture intended to demonstrate the "tremendous support" the Newhall Company could bring to Supervisors. They fielded only seven speakers, who did not address the issues the judge ruled on, but instead "pitched" how great it was going to be for the project to go forward. Our group of thirty six by comparison, was quite focussed on the six points and really hammered home the environmental message: "the EIR" needs to be revised!" Antonovich brought a motion to the table, which delayed the vote, opened the documents up for public review and gave us some room to r-e-a-l-l-y get specific. You should be proud of the group that came down!
Antonovich makes a surprise motion to consider alternate ways to handle EIR Process to find "an even greater arms length approach." This action is in reponse to proposed State Bill AB406 which addresses the kind of poor review procedure now used by LA County that allowed the concealment of the [formerly considered extinct] SPINEFLOWER habitat in Newhall Ranch just beyond Old Glory.

3/17/03 Photo of WESTERN excavation by Larry Kanner
The SENNA TREE men are now deep into the Western side as shown in Larry's photo. The bottom of the slanted box is its "true" size; the upper part is back filled with loose dirt after the side is strapped on.

3/16/03 Photo of OLD GLORY from the Cliff by Glenn Mullins
The North side has been excavated to 6 feet and a wooden box side installed. The South side has been istalled, but the East and West side are not yet excavated. A cursory inspection has shown no large roots cut yet; all of the root matter cut was no larger than a couple of inches:

3/4/03 Supervisor's Meeting Tesimony by Tree Sitter
After a long wait for PUBLIC COMMENT, Gabrielle Benton gave a heartfelt and articulate update on the wound to the tree and alerted the Supervisor's that their actions remain under the scrutiny of the many supporters, especially the children. Her testimony was the only public comment of the day, and she therefore had the "last word" and impression. We are still keeping their attention on the issue (despite there reluctance to act.)
3/2/03 First Sunday Vigil At The Tree
A group of about twenty supporters gathered at the corner of Wispering Oaks and Pico, opposite OLD GLORY, for a twighlight "vigil." This gathering will hopefully be the first of many, allowing the public to demonstrate its support - despite the fences, guards and "unwelcome" put in place by Laing Homes.
3/1/03 Strategy Meeting Chaired by Quigley
A daylong conference in which many long and short term objectives were discussed, was held in Valencia with group of supporters of OLD GLORY. John Q. guided the meeting through the formation of various "action teams" each with a unique focus. The end goal is to build the strength of our coalition of the various groups and interests.
2/27/03 IEC Meeting Cancelled!
The Interagency Engineering Committee that approved the road alignment that threatened Old Glory, was to meet with the public in attendance to decide on the next section of the Pico Canyon Road. This meeting was scrubbed because the Public Works said they "weren't ready" Immediately after this announcement, Conal McNamera was moved from the Supervisor's Antonovich Office to a new position at the Public Works (to "streamline the process...for the building industry")
2/26 Update - OLD GLORY roots are being cut :-(
I heard a blurb on KPCC that Old Glory has had it's roots cut and that they are about to move it. Does anyone else have more info?

Yes, sorry to report that its true, the SENNA TREE COMPANY began excavation on two sides of the tree using two backhoes, digging six feet deep trenches. The trench on the South side of the tree got a large wooden panel lowered in and shored against the root ball. The gaps were filled with great mounds of dirt, tamped in with the bucket. 


Closeup of workers and their heavy machinery Wednesday Feb 27, 2003 - copyright ikonographics CLICK FOR LARGER VIEW

The process began in the rain on Monday, and continued yesterday (while I was meeting with the county about how to reroute the road, and stop any work on the tree through a challenge to their permits!) Today was a total surprise; we had scheduled a press event with Cynthia Harris to present a donation check and to discuss the realignment of the Pico Canyon segment at Dead Horse Canyon.
Thankfully there was a significant press presence and three helicopters, a couple of news vans and the major LA publications all managed to look in at the horrific deed. Matt Zubal, John Q., Travis, Jerry, Jeff Johnson and several others of the "Coalition to Save Old Glory" showed up for the press conference and were there to witness - from outside the armed guard patroled perimeter fence.
What does this mean for the tree? At this time all of the roots are NOT cut, and if SENNA were to stop right now, it would be better than the complete amputation and strangulation of the roots involved in boxing and moving. We are still attempting to put a stop to this - through several avenues, all of which are "political" (meaning that we need support from the "authorities" in the county government to work with us against the Public Works plan of making the expressway.) Its a tall order.
In the meantime, let SENNA, Laing and the County know how concerned you are about their actions. The tree is in full bloom and looks fantastic, there is no new development down the road for years and yet here they are spending hundreds of thousands to prove to you and your family that they care about this tree.
Hold the image of the growing, eternal tree before your eyes and pray!

Automatically SEND LETTERS and FAXES to the Los County SUPERVISORS and SENNA !!

2/25Update: Los Angeles County Supervisors Meeting:
Only Tom and Robert Pittman showed, but the agenda was light and after a little administrative wrangling, Tom again addressed the Supervisors, this time on an Agenda item put up by Antonovich to "promote the equestrian lifestyle" in conjunction with the city of LA. Tom made the point of supporting the concept of open space, but contrasted the currently thinking in planning as inconsistent with this "traditional western" lifestyle. The supervisors listened for one minute, but the comments made the press. Go figure.

2/18Update: Los Angeles County Supervisors Meeting:
Only a few of us showed up for this event, but it was still productive. Tom commented on the agenda item relating to the destruction of four oak trees in a county park in the fourth district to make way for a library. Instead he suggested that they should transplant these small 8inch established tree, and unlike the 90in Old Glory, their chances for survival would be good. (Thus bringing Old Glory back into the hearing room, but trying to save other oaks as well) Tom's further suggestion was to move the trees to the fifth district to a park under construction, to commemorate the fallen Deputy March. The Board actually liked this idea, and told staff to figure it out.

Natasha Walton gave testimony in the public comment period, without interruption for he full three minutes. Her points on the survivability of the tree were well made, and at the end Yvone Brathwaite-Burke said, "yes, we hear you, every week!" Showing that we are continuing to make an impression.

2/11Update: Los Angeles County Supervisors Meeting:
Two dozen Save Old Glory supporters including celebrities, road experts, tree experts and caring children and parents went "downtown" with written testimony, speeches and a well produced PowerPoint presentation. In a surprise move, Chairwoman Supervisor Yvone Brathwaite-Burke changed the rules and the time for each speaker was reduced to one minute. Fortunately the "heat" just made it more obvious that the Supervisors are not yet getting the message. We must keep coming back!

2/7 Update:
OLD GLORY still stands on PICO! The current pictures taken by volunteer Glen from the cliff show the work done by SENNA Tree Company to prepare the oak for moving. Currently the tree is being fed to stimulate root growth, and to our knowledge the root system remains intact. The tree is very vulnerable as it is "pushing" a lot of energy to leaf out.
The County Board of Supervisors is going to meet again on Tuesday Feb 11, 2003 and we hope you can join us at the PUBLIC COMMENT period which follows each meeting. Each member of the public can address the Supervisors for no more than three minutes, but you can also submit six copies of written testimony. Our objective is to get the Supervisors to direct County Public Works and County Regional Planning to reconsider the road plan for Pico - with reduced speed and capacity specifications so that the "alternative" road designs that Save Old Glory will meet county standards.

2/6 Update:
County Public Works finally responds to the questions posed by Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky at the 1/14 hearing in which the suggestion was made to lower the speed limit on Pico. James Noyes of Public Works spells out in detail the facts about Pico Cyn as a MAJOR HIGHWAY! This "high capacity and high speed" roadway is needed for "future development" and is as outrageous as it sounds: 65MPH design speed and a 100 right of way (enough for six lanes.)

1/18 Update:
A rally was held on Saturday 1/18 in front of Newhall Land headquarters to show support of saving Old Glory, and to protest Newhall Ranch and to dessiminate information about this proposed monstrosity which is behind the removal of Old Glory.

By 11am there were 60-70 people gathered, and passing cars honked their support.  Many children came, learning a valuable lesson in civic responsibility and citizenship.  Ultimately this area will be theirs, and saving some of the natural beauty and habitat for them seems as obvious to adults as saving Old Glory is to the children.

Information about Newhall Ranch was discussed, including maps and photographs showing previous environmental affronts by Newhall Land.

1/12 Update:
1PM:  To the shock of many, Sunday found Old Glory under assault by crews from Senna Tree Company, who apparently has been hired by John Laing Homes to attempt the doomed move of Old Glory down Pico Canyon Road.  Register your protest with Senna:

Senna Tree Company
115 Foothill Blvd. M140, La Crescenta CA 91214
Tel: 818-957-5755
Fax: 818-957-5255
Mr. John Mote email:

You can see the backhoe to the right of Old Glory in this westward view up Pico Canyon.  It also shows the room on both sides of Old Glory for a split road.  Obvious as it is to the community, the County can't see a way to fit a road on the right only slightly wider than the one on the left..

You can see how close to Old Glory the backhoe is getting.  There is nowhere near the rootball size being taken that a giant such as Old Glory would require.

The claim that the tree is being moved before it leafs out is seen to be false, as this photos show.  Old Glory has broken out it's leaf buds for the year already, and is therefore in need of massive anounts of water and nutrients, which it will no longer be able to get form its severed root system.  In its 400 years of adaptation it has never had to deal with such an attack.

Please write Antonovich, Laing, and Senna and register your outrage over this attack upon our community's heritage. Addresses are below.

CONTINUED! See these pages for the earlier events.

EARLIER! See these pages for the earlier events.

Contact Supervisor Mike Antonovich:
Phone: (213) 974-5555
FAX: (213) 974-1010

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