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VANDALS RUIN TREES.

Byline: Ryan Oliver Staff Writer

GRANADA HILLS - A city beautification effort was set back this month when vandals attacked a group of freshly planted saplings in the San Fernando Valley.

The 25 trees that had been in the ground for a less than a month along Sesnon Boulevard, near Balboa Boulevard, were discovered snapped in half about Oct. 18. Some had their branches torn off.

``I take this really personally,'' said Henry Cespedes, owner of a tree- planting company operating under city contract. ``Trees are not only my business, they're my life. Snapping the head of a tree like that, to me it's something alive. It's not like painting a wall with graffiti. You're damaging something that's alive.''

Los Angeles police are investigating the matter as an act of vandalism.

``We went up and took a look at those trees and it's clear someone went and broke the branches off,'' said Sgt. Tom Broad of the Los Angeles Police Department's Devonshire Division. ``The little branches are laying down on the ground by each of those trees.''

Cespedes said his company, International Environmental Corp., could be out as much as $21,000. Because the trees were in the ground for less than 30 days, he was still responsible for their upkeep, according to the city contract, he said.

``We cut through the concrete and plant the trees according to city specifications,'' he said. ``We then have to put a permeable concrete on top; it's a special mix for that. You don't just drill a hole and throw a tree in there.''

He said he planted 50 sycamore and chitalpa trees, and that half were damaged. The city has not decided whether it will require him to replace the trees that only had their branches torn off, he said.

Cespedes said he was particularly surprised that the trees were vandalized in what he thought was a good part of town bordering the hills. ``I figure I try to beautify the neighborhood and this is what happens.''

CAPTION(S):

Photo:

Vandals destroyed several small trees, including this stakedsapling, along Sesnon Boulevard across from O'Melveny Park.

Hans Gutknecht/Staff Photographer
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Oct 29, 2002
Words:356
Previous Article:DAILY UPDATE.
Next Article:PAVLEY, WISSOT SQUARE OFF IN 41ST DISTRICT.


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