first_imgThe Million Trees L.A. program is shaping up to be another feel-good scheme that was good public relations, but the execution by City Hall fell short. Who could argue with having a greener city? Residents in particularly tree-barren places like South L.A. were happy to hear of this environmentalist-approved program that partnered with other organizations and corporations to both plant trees and give them away to people to plant in their own yards. Planting a million trees during Villaraigosa’s tenure – that’s 125,000 a year for eight years – was always going to be a challenging goal, especially considering the possibility of drought and water rationing. The image of a shady, tree-lined city keeping Angelenos cool is an attractive one. But as nice as it sounds, it might not be reasonable for a desert city that has a hard enough time keeping its current trees trimmed to become an oasis. Perhaps the mayor might consider scaling back the program to a realistic level, which includes strategically planting native and drought-tolerant seedlings and saplings throughout the city – and making sure they live to grow into actual trees. In a sun-scorched city of endless concrete, what could sound better than a plan to populate the streets, boulevards and parks with the shade and beauty of a million trees? That’s more than the Los Angeles even has now, and equals one tree for every four city residents – more than 2,000 for every square mile of city. Put in those terms, it starts to become clear why one year after its introduction, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s Million Trees L.A. plan is having a hard time living up to the hype. Despite giving away thousands of tree seedlings in the past year at many events, the city has no idea where the seedlings have gone, whether they were planted in Los Angeles or even if they are still alive. City officials say that over the program’s first year, 110,000 trees were planted. Yet there are no records to prove that. Only the promise that they will start keeping records soon. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more