"Rampant Development" & Bulldozers Win In Atlanta

More editorializing in the news section: "But in the contest between trees and the area's rampant development, the bulldozers have often won."

Reporter Robbie Brown's liberal tone shown throughin his storyblaming "rampant development"forthefiring of anAtlantabureaucrat in "Atlanta Tree Lovers See Victory for Developers in Arborist's Firing." The city's "senior arborist" Tom Coffin was fired from his job without explanation,leaving local environmentalists fearing forAtlanta's trees.

Brown doesn't have a discouraging word to say about Atlanta bureaucrats issuing citations and fining people for cutting down trees on their own property (at least Coffin was earning his government salary, issuing several times as many citations as any of the city's other arborists).

So proud are Atlantans of their sprawling canopy of dogwoods, magnolias and pines - and, of course, peach trees - that builders must pay hundreds of dollars for every tree they uproot, even with the city's permission.

The penalty for violators is far heftier: One developer was recently fined $24,000 for illegal tree clearance, and Tyler Perry, the movie actor and director, was penalized $177,000 for unauthorized deforestation on his property.

Brown's sympathies clearlygrow on theside oppositve"the areas's rampant development."

But in the contest between trees and the area's rampant development, the bulldozers have often won. That may explain why many tree lovers were upset last week when Tom Coffin, 64, the city's senior arborist, was fired without explanation.

Mr. Coffin, a vigilant defender of the city's trees, said in an interview that he had complained to his superiors about the "almost total lack of enforcement" by other arborists. Before being fired, Mr. Coffin had issued 70 citations for illegal tree removal this year, while the five other arborists in his division issued a total of 29 citations.

There's essentially no enforcement going on, except in my region," Mr. Coffin said. "We need to account for why."