The N&R reports Greensboro City Attorney Mujeeb Shah-Khan has sent a letter to Duke Energy asking them “to suspend all nonemergency pruning and tree removal — or face legal action.” The letter comes after residents from three Gboro neighborhoods spoke out against Duke’s pruning methods, which prompted council member Nancy Vaughan to make a motion instructing Shah-Khan to pursue a cease and desist order.

But —as usual — the Rhino has the behind-the-scenes story. Apparently the City Council met “behind closed doors and armed guards” before Tuesday’s regular meeting, ostensibly to have the council portrait taken. John Hammer writes:

The council, while waiting for their picture to be taken was doing what councilmembers do when they are together – they were talking about city business, deciding on strategies on how to get things done and generally conducting the business of the City Council.

While Shah-Khan was explaining to me that this was only an informal meeting of the City Council and a majority was not actually gathered together, five councilmembers – a majority – were standing in a rough circle discussing the Duke Energy situation, something a couple of hours later the council took action on.

…However, I don’t know if Councilmember Nancy Vaughan would have been so bold with her excellent “cease and desist” motion aimed at Duke Energy if she had not had the time to discuss the matter with her fellow councilmembers and known that she had near unanimous support.

For his part, Mayor Robbie Perkins arrived late to the meeting and because he saw Hammer in the room he assumed it was open to the public. However —as Hammer points out — “every councilmember was present and none had enough of a problem meeting behind locked doors to do something about it.” Just goes to show that everything’s political –even ‘saving the trees.’