MENLO PARK (CBS SF) — A Menlo Park woman is on a mission to save a once mighty redwood tree in her home’s front yard from what she says is a systematic killing of the tree by PG&E.
“I’m very afraid that someday I’ll come here, or my tenants will call me and say the tree has been cut down,” homeowner Angela T. Cannavo told KPIX 5.
Angela grew up in the home, and her parents fought until their deaths to save the beloved redwood, which had grown too close to power lines put up long after the tree was planted.
On paper, the utility claims they only want to prune the tree, but Angela insists they are slowly, and systematically killing it.
“It’s my heritage, and my family legacy. It’s a living, breathing being,” she said.
However, utilities like PG&E have tremendous leeway to cut back, or even cut down trees near power poles in the name of safety, especially if the home gets power from PG&E, or if there’s an easement on the property.
On top of that, a homeowner may have to pay damages if anything goes wrong.
“The homeowner may have to pay damages if a fire is sparked, or anything else safety-related happens,” UC Hastings Law Professor David Jung said.
Angela’s property does have an easement, and the utility provides power to the home, but Angela believes it’s PG&E who is barking up the wrong tree.
“I will fight as long and as hard as I can to keep the streak alive,” she said.
A PG&E spokesman said the utility has reached a compromise with the homeowner, agreeing it will notify the homeowner in advance before trimming and and will try to better keep the shape of the redwood tree during pruning.