The owner of a house on York and 25th streets where trees were removed in the days leading up to Sunday’s Fiesta De Las Américas block party will be fined nearly $6,000 for taking the trees down.
Rachel Gordon, a spokesperson for the San Francisco Department of Public Works, confirmed that three trees — two in healthy condition and one that was dying — were removed without permits.
As a result, the owner of the property, musician Richard Segovia, will be fined a total of $5,919, or $1,973 per tree, she said.
Gordon said he has a right to appeal the fines.
The house, where Precita Eyes Mural Arts Center recently painted mural honoring Latin Rock, was the backdrop for the stage on Sunday, where more than 100 musicians played. Many of their younger selves appear in the mural.
Segovia said he and some friends removed the trees, but only because officials, who he thought were on their way, failed to arrive.
The musician said he contacted District 9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen’s office earlier this summer about the tree removal, and in May he met with one of Ronen’s aides, Carolina Morales.
Last Monday, less than a week before the festival, he received a call from Morales asking for his address, so that someone could remove the trees. No one showed up, Segovia said, so he and some friends took the trees down. And, yes, they obstructed the view of the mural.
“I would have never removed the trees if I wouldn’t have got this mural on my home,” Segovia said.
Morales confirmed that she had been in contact with Segovia about the trees, and that she contacted the Public Works about the procedure for getting trees removed before the block party, but received no exact response.
She said she called Segovia that Monday for his address to give to Public Works, but did not give him permission to remove the trees.
“I never gave permission,” Morales said. “I said I would get Public Works to get there. That’s the most I could ever do.”
On Friday, residents of York Street reached out to Mission Local, pointing out the removed trees.
One of the residents, Ben Glenn, that said that neighbors on York Street were “heartbroken” that trees had been illegally removed from the street.