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Update on Japantown Cherry Blossom Tree Resolution

Jan 26, 2021

Since introducing this item last week, Public Works has been working with the neighborhood to replace the Cherry Blossom trees adjacent to the JCCCNC, and I want to thank the department for their expeditious work, particularly Nicholas Crawford and Jeremy Spitz, who I know have worked closely with JCCCNC Director Paul Osaki, JCBD Director Grace Horikiri and their respective teams.

I want to one offer one minor amendment that reflects the responsiveness of our Public Works agency. On Page 3, Line 22, replace “will be sending” with “sent.” This amendment reflects the fact that Public Works sent crews out the day after learning of the incident, greatly appreciated by my office and the neighborhood. I understand that last week Public Works sent a crew to do sidewalk prep work to resize the tree basins, and they will be quickly moving forward with replanting. This amendment has been circulated, and is nonsubstantive.

We have been reminded of the significance of our city’s Japantown in the community response to this incident. Donations from around the world were made to a GoFundMe to support the planting of new trees, a testament to the notion that Japantown is important not only to our city, but to the cultural heritage of the Japanese community worldwide.

I wish I could close my remarks on that positive note, but unfortunately my office was made aware yesterday that additional trees in the neighborhood have recently been vandalized. This is completely unacceptable, and a serious affront to our Japantown community. I understand that Public Works will be meeting shortly again with the JCBD leadership to work out a plan to restore or replace these Cherry Blossoms, and my office will continue to work with community leaders and our city departments to get this resolved and all the Cherry Blossom trees replaced or rehabilitated as quickly as possible.

With that, I’d like to move to amend the Resolution as stated, and urge your support for the Resolution once amended.  Thank you.

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