Los Angeles City Controller Kenneth Mejia apparently took to Twitter (accounts such as this are no longer verified in Musk's Twitter) to announce his office's investigation of tree trimming on the sidewalk where workers, writers, and actors are picketing. Picketers accuse NBCUniversal of removing the leaves in order to deprive them of the shade those ficus trees were providing.
Picketers were shocked at the pruning, which put them in direct sunlight during a dangerous heatwave.
NBCUniversal responded to Deadline with this statement:
"We understand that the safety tree trimming of the Ficus trees we did on Barham Blvd. has created unintended challenges for demonstrators, that was not our intention. In partnership with licensed arborists, we have pruned these trees annually at this time of year to ensure that the canopies are light ahead of the high wind season. We support the WGA and SAG's right to demonstrate, and are working to provide some shade coverage. We continue to openly communicate with the labor leaders on-site to work together during this time."
Yet it is not NBCUniversal's right to prune these trees; it is the province of the City of Los Angeles. The Hollywood Reporter writes:
Typically, tree-trimming along public sidewalks is handled by the Los Angeles Department of Public Works' Bureau of Street Services. Shortly after this article was first published, L.A. City Councilwoman Nithya Raman, whose jurisdiction includes the Barham Blvd. sidewalk, tweeted that she'd looked into the matter with BSS' Urban Forestry Division and "found that no permit was issued for any tree trimming at this site." She also shared a statement from the bureau indicating that a compliance notice had been issued to NBCUniversal and that its enforcement arm would consider an administrative citation or hearing.
Apparently, the rich and powerful believe they can do whatever illegal damage they like to any trees, owned by anybody, if it furthers their own interests.