Trees spared

Chico is one whack closer to a tree ordinance, even though the three conservatives on the Chico City Council did their best to kill it. The ordinance was born in the wake of the infamous Andy Meghdadi oak tree harvest from a few years back, when the developer of a residential subdivision took out 100 more trees than the city said it had allowed. At the time, everybody on the council—albeit a slightly different one than today—said, “Yes, yes we need to protect our trees with an ordinance!” Though it tried to punish Meghdadi at the time, the council came to learn that it had little leverage without an ordinance in place. (And then the city got sued for trying and spent a quarter of a million in a losing battle.) Thus the effort was put in motion and, after much discussion and compromise, the end result came before the council this week as a consent item. But it was pulled by the conservatives, who now say no such protection is needed, that all Chicoans love their trees and would never hurt them. They also argued that somehow the ordinance, which covers only vacant parcels of a half-acre and larger, is both “ineffective” and “discriminatory.” The law says those who want to remove trees 24-inches in diameter or larger must get a permit first, which costs $95 for up to five trees and $164 for six or more. If the tree poses an imminent threat, it may be taken without a permit.

Councilmember Larry Wahl said because the law is too narrowly written and affects only property owners with vacant half-acre-or-greater lots, it is discriminatory. That is like saying DUI laws discriminate against drunks. By this time, Mayor Maureen Kirk, who first broached the idea of an ordinance at the meeting so long ago, was getting pretty pissed at Wahl, though she did note that his motion to kill the ordinance “had some nice things in there.” With a few minor language changes—including one from Wahl who ended up voting against it anyway—the ordinance passed. Hey it’s election year; logic takes the back seat.

The nation’s terrorist alert thermometer is back up to orange following the Super Bowl’s halftime terrorist boob attack. Rich kid and Federal Communications Commission Director Michael Powell was interviewed by Harry Smith on the CBS Morning Show the day after the carnage and promised a “full investigation” into the series of events that led up to the image now forever ingrained in America’s consciousness. During the Powell interview the offense was played no fewer than six times, with exposed bosom appropriately fuzzed out. Still, watching it was just as stark and somehow as unreal as the first time around—sort of like the infamous Zapruder film that captured on grainy film the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Oh the humanity. Powell said the investigation will first focus on whether the knocker in question was indeed real or some sort of “implant” designed to fool the common man. “Doesn’t matter,” Powell told Smith. “As long as the intent to disturb is there, a crime has been committed.”

Early reports have already linked the suspects, Jason Timberlake and Janet Jackson, to domestic terrorist organizations, including so-called sleeper cells in Utah and Florida. The FBI has connected the dots between Timberlake and the boy band *NSYNC, which terrorized America’s youth via the radio and MTV in the mid- and late-’90s. And *NSYNC is reportedly only a hip-hop, skip and a jump to al-Qaeda. As for Jackson, reports have tied her to the infamous Jackson 5, the Utah-based “singing” group that unleashed its own brand of terrorism on an unsuspecting nation in the late 1960s and early ’70s. As they did with our accusations against Iraq, much of Europe has discounted the threat posed by Jackson’s unclothed breast, saying Americans are once again making a big deal over nothing.