Chainsaw Ends Tiki Tree Fight (Maybe)

A battle between a local artist and a North County City enters a new phase when a set of carved palm trees are cut down.

The two tall palms towered over Freeman Street in South Oceanside. Last year, Steve "Tiki Daddy" Tustison carved the trees, which were on public right of way sidewalks. Crews arrived Monday at 7 a.m.; less than two hours later, they were both down.

City officials believe that the carving weakened the trees, creating a safety hazard, and officials said that a pair of arborists said they should be taken down.

"The city just can't take on the liability," Kiel Koger, Oceanside's maintenance and operations manager, told the paper.

Tustison disagreed.
"These are just bully tactics," Tustison said. "It's exactly what's wrong with this country."

The city said it planned on billing Tustison for the trees' removal.

Read the North County Times' "Tikis Fall Under Chainsaw's Blade" for more details.

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