To the Editor:
The article appearing in the Daily Freeman-Journal on April 21, entitled "A?pre-emptive strike."?is a very disturbing picture of public employees and bureaucrats making rash decisions without study or seeking out other viewpoints or methods. The unilaterally arrived at decision to destroy 550 "city owned" ash trees is appalling. The destruction of elm trees in the 1960's did nothing to stop Dutch elm disease, nor will the destruction of Webster City's ash trees stop or even temporarily contain the inevitable spread of the emerald ash borer infestation. The cost to the taxpayer of destroying these trees and those on private property will be far, far more exorbitant than any costs associated with simply treating the trees.
Many of the claims made thus far are half-truths and innuendo. The Iowa State Extension Service, the DNR, and our own illustrious town council and City Manager Ed Sadler are rash indeed. While Iowa State has been at the forefront of an eradication program, those states (Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana) that have been through this process report that treatments, treatment intervals, and associated costs have improved rather dramatically in recent months. To fail to discuss this matter with homeowners and a more representative panel of experts is appalling. To eradicate an entire species of tree to supposedly solve a problem is quite frankly small-town-politics over-the-limit. If we can spend $675,000 on a new fire truck, $160,000 on a new street sweeper, and $182,000 on a new water slide, is contemplating $180 a year to save a 100-year- old tree too much?
There are other alternatives. There is need for more public discussion. The City Council needs to slow down and remember for a brief moment who they work for and who they serve. There are alternatives other than keeping our city employees profitably employed by destroying our beautiful trees. Cutting them down and destroying them will do nothing, but make our community a less desirable place to live.
Richard Crissinger Jr.