Universal Studios fined $250 by city of LA over trimming of trees near picket line location

Universal Studios fined 0 by city of LA over trimming of trees near picket line location

Universal fined $250 over tree trimming near picket line location

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. — Universal has been fined by the city of Los Angeles after trees were trimmed near the location where actors and writers have been picketing during their ongoing strikes.

The issue sparked controversy after several trees were cut near Lakeside Drive and Barham Boulevard, eliminating shade and protection from the sun.

SEE ALSO: Writers strike 2023: WGA demonstrations held in Chicago outside NBC Tower

In a tweet posted on Friday, L.A. City Controller Kenneth Mejia provided an update, saying the company will be fined $250, the highest amount allowed by law for a first-time offense.

He previously provided before-and-after pictures of the trees and said they are managed by the city.

“Currently, investigations of unpermitted tree trimming are complaint-driven,” said Mejia in a series of tweets. “We also discovered that permits to trim trees are issued by the City instantly. Due to understaffing issues, there is no pre-inspection on whether the trees need to/should be trimmed.”

He continued to point out other issues, saying StreetsLA, which handles these type of issues, is “underfunded and understaffed” so the city “can’t effectively protect our trees through timely and effective services.”

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“In addition, outdated laws limit fine amounts and aren’t equitable across offenders, especially big corporations,” said Mejia.

“Based on our findings, the system isn’t working as intended,” he continued. “As the City’s watchdog, our job is to bring transparency and accountability to systemic issues that our city is facing. The information we bring to light empower policymakers and the people to create change.”

According to the Los Angeles Times, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) also accuse NBCUniversal of disrupting their picketing efforts by blocking sidewalks.

Universal has not issued a response to the fine.

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