A California city came under fire over “racist” trees at one of their golf courses. Critics wanted them removed after finding one reason they believe the existence of the trees was “racist.” Take a look and let us know what you think.
The Tahquitz Creek Golf Course in Palm Springs became the center of controversy thanks to a row of tamarisk trees that are believed to have been planted when the course was built in the 1960s. Although the landscaping existed for decades without issue, that all changed when some residents found themselves in angst, believing the entire existence of the trees was racist in nature.
While some believe the trees were simply planted for cosmetic purposes, making the course more attractive and providing additional scenery to players, others say that’s not the case. Instead, they believe the trees are a form of segregation, separating the golf course from a historically black neighborhood.
When the matter finally boiled over, the Mayor and city council decided to take steps to address it. Eventually, it was decided that the trees would be removed. “You asked why it took us this long,” council member J.R. Roberts said to a gathering of residents. “I can’t answer that. But guess what? We’re here now.”
“It’s a new city council and a new time,” said Mayor Robert Moon, who believed the $169,000 cost to remove the trees would be money well spent, according to Fox News Insider. “It’s not about a price to pay, it’s about finding the money,” Roberts added.
Local residents who were reportedly pleased with the decision claimed the trees had been a source of trepidation for some time. “It’s really about the barriers. It’s about the segregation and discrimination that has prevented black people in Palm Springs from accumulating wealth,” said Trae Daniel, a real estate agent who moved to the neighborhood. “In Palm Springs, they planted a wall.”
“When you’re coming down 34th and you pass those tamarisk trees, it’s like you’re in another world,” added Charles Metcalf, who grew up in the neighborhood, according to Desert Sun. “And, it shouldn’t be so. And, if you look at it, everything else around is open to that golf course,” he continued. “It’s like the city of Palm Springs did everything they could do to not acknowledge this community,” Metcalf furthered, demanding Palm Springs leaders “tear out these trees.”
“I truly believe they were planted to segregate the black neighborhood from the ritzy community over there and that shouldn’t stand anymore,” added resident Cathie Fox. But, not everyone agreed. As Palm Springs’ decision to remove the trees and the contentions of some local residents drew national attention, Tucker Carlson of Fox News featured the story on an edition of “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
Tucker clearly indicated that he wasn’t on board with the decision. “Why are we punishing the trees? We’re killing them,” Tucker said as he spoke with Daniel, who described the trees as “nasty,” environmentally unfriendly, and an impediment to black homeowners in the area as far as appreciation of the value of their homes.
Although reports indicated that the city budget was stretched incredibly thin, Palm Springs found a way to pay for the removal of the “racist” trees, but this is far from a story of “all’s well that ends well.” In fact, new concerns emerged after the trees were taken down.
Three months after the controversial tamarisk trees were removed in the Crossley Tract neighborhood, a property owner in Palm Springs raised concerns over urban blight that’s visible from her tenant’s unit, KESQ reported. With a line of dirt marking where the trees once stood, the backyards of homes in Crossley Tract were now visible to those in the Tahquitz Creek Golf Course — and, they were quite the eyesore.
“Tenants that I have full time here now have this lovely view,” said Suzan Felando, the property owner of a unit in the Mountain Shadows community of the golf course. She was, of course, sarcastically referring to the Crossley Tract backyard with appliances and other items left outside.
But, it’s more than just unsightly. “There are children that play here on the golf course and for a child to go inside of an appliance, that’s not safe,” Suzan furthered. She also pointed out that there were plenty of residents who didn’t want the trees, which served as “a wind block,” to come down.
With the tree removal raising more problems, the city of Palm Springs addressed the concerns of the community by scheduling “free” weekend cleanups for Crossley Tract property owners. Assistant city manager Marcus Fuller admitted that properties were not up to the municipal code for maintenance and said notices were sent.
“We initiated a proactive approach with all the property owners there regarding property maintenance and cleanup,” Fuller said.
The squeaky wheel got the oil, but it did little to improve anything at all. This is usually the case when you create a problem where there isn’t one. Ironically, Crossley Tract residents have had a few more demands for the city. They include building a 6-foot privacy wall for residents who want it, installing netting or something similar to prevent errant golf balls from flying into yards, and planting new trees similar to ones seen at other parts of the course, according to USA Today.
It sounds like they want “separated” from the golf course, even though that was allegedly their problem, to begin with. Perhaps they just wanted the city to pay for property improvements. And, they got it — thanks to the well-played race card.