Southern California environment news and trends

If and when #OccupyLA leaves, does City Hall's lawn have to come back?

Occupy LA

Mae Ryan/KPCC

Could a grassroots #OccupyLA uproot City Hall's grass?

As Julie Westfall writes elsewhere at SCPR's site, LA's Department of Recreation and Parks continues to play a key role in the city's response to Occupiers.

One of the three documents the City of LA will produce to counter the Occupy movement's legal efforts to halt clearance of City Hall Park will come from city parks chief, Jon Kirk Mukri. Mukri has already written to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa about how "soil has become compacted and extremely dry in turf areas and around trees. Trees and other plants are suffering from a lack of water and nutrients."

To people like ACLU Southern California director Hector Villagra, that's a fig leaf for the city's real desire to just make this spectacle stop.

In a piece for Huffington Post and at the City Watch website, Villagra made fun of the city's concern for the lawn, and set it as parallel to Bloomberg rationalizations in Zucotti Park. "New York mayor Michael Bloomberg explained that the increasing number of tents erected in the park made it difficult for the emergency services to ensure the protesters' safety, and the New York police then moved in, under cover of night, to clear the park of protesters and tents. There are reasons to question just how persuasive Bloomberg's justification was, but it at least sounds weighty."