Darryl Hannah: Climbing Up the Wrong Tree?
We've all heard the news about Darryl Hannah being pulled from the tree in which she was perched to assist in a protest of the development of a piece of land being used as an urban farm. It's the second major celebrity tree related story of the last two months (leading me to ask: do the TREES really WANT this publicity? But that is a subject for another blog entirely, one I hope to shortly embark upon). At first I was inclined to dismiss this, as one radio talk show host did, as another stupid celebrity story, but then I heard her side. And, frankly, I'm inclined to agree with it.
The land in question was seized almost two decades ago by eminent domain. It was given to the people of LA to use as an urban garden after the riots, and repurchased by the original owner some years later for something like $6 million. He had plans to build a warehouse, which started the people who had been using the garden in serious discussion about purchasing the land. He asked for a price of $16 million.
Now, here's where it gets really interesting. Instead of trying to take the land by asserting some stupid environmental law, Hannah and her fellow activists raised the asking price. The owner reneged on his part of the deal and was preparing to bulldoze the 14 acre tract of land, which included about 500 mature fruit trees, which cannot easily be replaced at a later time. Hannah's protest was to protect the trees from destruction until the matter could be settled in court, or more preferably, out of it like civilized beings.
Darryl Hannah's actions and those of her colleagues have been doing exactly what I have asked of liberals all along. First, they are truly trying to help the citizens of LA help themselves by growing gardens and contributing to the greening of the inner city. Second, they are employing do-it-yourself liberalism and attempting to acquire the land through legal channels rather than back door seizure methods. Third, they are participating fully in the free market system that makes this a truly great nation. If more liberals would work to make a difference in the way that Ms. Hannah and her friends are doing, I truly believe that the label of "liberal" would not be as distasteful as it is to so many of us. I applaud Ms. Hannah's efforts and believe they set a shining example for other liberals to follow.