The loss of the centennial tree planted in 1972 is unfortunate ("Centennial Tree didn't see city's birthday," Feb. 5, Page B-3). However, the safety of property and human beings is more important than any tree. I do not know all the details of the history of this tree and its surrounding environment, but the change of environment in the root zone of any tree is usually a serious issue.
The expansion of the adjacent building and parking lot over the root zone proved detrimental to the health of the tree. Not removing a tree in poor health with a history of limb failure is a risk that should not be taken. The potential for serious human injury or loss of life is of greater value than the tree.
Rick Harden, the public facilities maintenance manager, made the call to remove this tree. Though not a certified arborist, his knowledge of tree health and maintenance is equivalent to an arborist. Harden has attended the same horticultural and tree maintenance seminars required for certified arborists. Harden was fulfilling his duty as a public servant and saved the city of Turlock the expense of hiring a certified arborist to tell the city what Harden already knew.