My letter went into the newspaper last week asking that Surfside members that were interested in changing the tree topping covenant sign my petition.
Today I am heartsick with the experience that I and my mother have had while talking with members in this community. Let me say that my parents moved to Surfside in 1994. My father was the president of the board for a year. He has since passed away. During my visits to my parents' home on "L" Place, I fell in love with this community and moved to the Peninsula when I retired. My mother and I looked for a home within the Surfside limits as we wanted to live where people were so caring for one another and their environment. I see now that I was completely naive.
Now let me be clear. We (my mother and I) only wanted to find a way to save our trees and our wildlife. We were unprepared for the heartbreaking stories and the selfishness on the part of some residents. One widow with severe sun allergies, topped her trees as required. The trees died, and now she is unable to sit outside during the good weather as she can't be exposed to the UV rays from the sun. She is unable to build a cover on her porch due to budget concerns. One family built a fort for their kids in the trees. They were told to top their trees, the trees died. Now the children have lost their fort. One resident that has a Master Gardener license topped an entire row of trees in his most beautiful yard, and all of his trees died. This person tried everything to save the trees, but they were in too much shock to survive. Many senior citizens do not have the money to top their trees and are trying to do it without help. Someone is going to get really hurt. Do we as a community even care?
One family came to their property only to find several of their trees cut down to the ground, and lying in the middle of their property. On-and-on the stories go. On the other side, some of the residents on the hill have gone house to house talking to people, asking them to not sign the petition, saying that they have a right to their view and besides we will never be able to change the covenant. One woman said to me that we owed them the courtesy to top our trees so that they could have their view. One person said that if we wanted to have taller trees we should have spent more money to move on the hill.
I am ashamed. We should be trying to save the trees and the wildlife. We should be trying to help our senior citizens and those that have a limited incomes. View is the least of our problems right now. Where are our values? No trees, no oxygen. No oxygen, no people. Think about that.
Kathy Gordon and Sheila Jones