Friday, December 1, 2023

My name is Luca Palma Poth, and I am a rising ninth-grader and a recent graduate of Vassal Lane Upper School. I am writing to strongly encourage the city not to remove the three mature trees on the Tobin/Vassal Lane property that the city currently intends to cut down. These trees have stood here for many decades and have always flanked the school proudly and provided shade. I know this firsthand because many a day I walked from recess to lunch under these trees. Whether I was having a good or bad day, I would always admire them. On sunny days those trees protected me from the sun, and on rainy days from the rain. You may be able to plant new trees, but it will take decades for them to get to the way the current ones are. Years worth of schoolchildren would not get the benefits of these trees the way I described them and instead will see concrete, traffic and a Mobil gas station. 

In 2018, the city passed a law making it much harder to cut trees down. It made it nearly impossible for someone to cut a mature tree down on their property. I know this because I have a friend who was having his house redone and in his yard was a half-dead crabapple tree. Despite the tree being unhealthy and dropping apples onto surrounding cars, the city would not let my friend’s family cut this tree down. This makes me be 100 percent sure that if these three mature trees were privately owned, the city would forbid the removal of those trees. To me it seems as if Cambridge isn’t living by its own laws. The city plans to cut trees down that it wouldn’t let anyone else remove. To be a good government, you need to live by your own laws and lead by example. I believe that if the city cuts these trees down it will be leading poorly. 

I urge the city to preserve the mature trees that bring shade and soul to the Tobin and Vassal Lane school communities. Thank you for reading and considering my argument. 

Luca J. Palma Poth, High Street