Sunday, August 03, 2008

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

Disputes between neighbors can often turn nasty, as conflicts between the claims of property owners and competing communal values about shared space heat up. In Los Angeles, there have been two recent stories in the news that show how social media is now playing a role in neighborly disputes, as disgruntled residents use the Internet to share their gripes about bad neighbors with the world.

In one case, residents of the Hollywood Hills were peeved by the aggressive "pruning" of fourteen Aleppo pine trees by former Styx guitarist Tommy Shaw and his wife. Photos of the hacked up trees were posted on a neighborhood blog under the heading "Mulholland's Tree Massacre." The blog that broke the story, Curbed LA, carries news about new restaurants, real estate open houses, local government, and controversies about development in business districts, along with other articles about the flora and fauna of the city and its uneasy symbiosis with human inhabitants.

Meanwhile, the LA Weekly picked up the story of a dispute brewing in the Pacific Palisades between another set of neighbors. In this case, elderly reclusive female twins had allowed their home to become overrun with rats, much to the disgust of their new neighbors, who posted two YouTube videos to advertise their revulsion at the situation of the property.

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