Letter: Appalling Accusations

Letter to the Editor

I am appalled that—without checking the facts—The Malibu Times published the snarky “Special to the Times” (“MRCA Plants a New Hope,” May 22) in which contributor Hans Laetz (and The Times’ photo editor) attempt to discredit the SMMC/MRCA efforts to install and maintain ember catching oak woodlands along the 101 Freeway where wind-driven fires cross and burn all the way to Malibu. The accusation, that Laetz describes as “irony,” was that MRCA mulched newly planted trees with highly flammable redwood chips that are “actually illegal” in Malibu.

MRCA’s restoration crew used a commercial product called “Garden Bark” that is a mix of fir and pine. It is added to the tree wells to retain water and provide nutrients. Further, Malibu’s fire-resistant landscape ordinance (461) encourages the use of mulch “to minimize evapotranspiration and runoff, and to moderate the temperature of the root zone.” 

Mr. Laetz and The Times should also note that “an ecological restoration project that does not require a permanent irrigation system” is exempt from the city’s ordinance. The MRCA’s restoration crew has 20 continuous years of experience planting oaks and other trees in all the local mountain ranges.

While it might be fun for Mr. Laetz to score a “gotcha” with unresearched accusations, it does our community no service for The Malibu Times to display animus towards our organization and publish his inaccuracies as fact. 

Chad Christensen