TAKOMA PARK, MARYLAND – Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III testified before all seven members of the city council about his investigation and proposed revisions of the city’s current tree ordinance. The testimony lasted six hours and several heated exchanges took place.
For those members seeking to make changes to the existing ordinance, Mueller left them disappointed mainly due to not remembering key details of the original ordinance, or refusing to answer questions involving the City Arborist or actions of the city staff.
Mueller got off to a shaky start, often contradicting himself on whether he thought that a Tree Impact Assessment and a Tree Protection Plan were the same thing. Members looking to revise the ordinance seemed frustrated that Mueller didn’t flat-out say the current tree ordinance went too far to protect the trees.
Mueller did hint that some provisions in the current ordinance were “problematic,” but couldn’t indulge any more details on the subject. Kacy Kostiuk, Ward 3, specifically asked him if he believes a tree deemed dangerous by a third party arborist should be approved for removal, to which Mueller replied “I’m not going into that.”
While pro-revisionists were often frustrated with vague responses, members looking to preserve the current tree ordinance weren’t pleased with Mueller either. When grilled over whether Mueller unfairly persecuted the Arborist and his decisions, they were often met with more unwillingness to go into details.
“We did not reach a determination as to whether the current tree ordinance needs revisions or not, ” stated the Special Counsel.
Overall, the six hour testimony was a complete waste of time that nobody will ever get back, and residents will likely hear what they wanted to hear coming out of this testimony, just like everything else that gets debated in Takoma Park.