The Spectacle Blog

The Tree Whisperer & The Rights of Trees

By on 7.23.08 | 8:53PM


SAN FRANCISCO - Neither State Senator Joe Simitian of California nor the state's governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, bears much resemblance to Dr. Seuss's Lorax. But on Tuesday, like that fictional defender of the environment, they spoke for the trees.

Well, at least he's stopped pretending to speak for conservatives. (And, yes, George Neumayr did warn us about where this would all lead long ago.) Sigh. Ready for more?

More than six months after two Santa Clara residents were convicted under a state nuisance law for letting their redwoods cast shade on a neighbor's solar panels, the governor signed into law a bill that gives trees the right to grow as they please-as long as they predate any solar panels they might be shading. "I think we've demonstrated that there is nothing mutually inconsistent about trees and solar," said Mr. Simitian, a Democrat who wrote the bill, shortly after the measure was signed on Tuesday. "I was frustrated by the tone of the debate at the outset-that it was somehow about trees versus solar. I thought it should be about trees and solar."

By all means, let's not throw trees into an unnecessary cage match with solar! More diplomacy! Of course, at the same time, there absolutely is something "mutually inconsistent" about trees and solar, otherwise there wouldn't be the need for a bill to define the apparently separate-but-unequal rights of redwoods to grow--which is maybe why we need to do this stuff in space. But neither Simitan nor the Governator can acknowledge basic facts because they might just muddy up the precious self-aggrandizing rhetoric. And Ahnold wouldn't have Time magazine calling him--along with that paternalizing bore Bloomberg--a New Action Hero.

Hey, for the record Governor, I liked you better in Commando.
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