Mike Sullivan, Friends of the Urban Forest adviser and author of "Trees of San Francisco" (Pomegranate Communications), has another idea. "It's not really effective to punish the homeowners for topping trees. ... The people who should be subject to the ordinance are the tree professionals. They absolutely know the city's laws. If you fined them a couple hundred (dollars) it would ensure it wouldn't happen again."
Who do you suppose are the tree professionals Mr. Sullivan is talking about? I have some ideas!
If the property owner cheaps out and hires, um, tree professionals instead of a licensed or certified or certificated arborist (I'm not sure if arborists are licensed or certified or certificated--and I'm too lazy to look it up), then that wasn't that the property owner's decision?
And if you hire an arborist, and the arborist fucks up, it's not going to be hard to bring the arborist to court. Which might not be the case with tree professionals.