A Member of the 1% Feels Entitled to a Helicopter in California

Helicopter in California

How would you feel if a peaceful day in nature suddenly became interrupted by the angry whirring of a helicopter? It might set you on edge. You also might be wondering who is allowed to fly a helicopter in such a peaceful place. For residents in Plumas County, California, this isn't just a thought experiment. Hundreds of them are banding together to stop this very occurrence.

It all started when a man in his thirties, Christian Gastón Palmaz, decided to buy a ranch in the area. Wealthy after inheriting money from his father and feeling his purchase entitled him to dream big, Palmaz paid others to clumsily build a massive concrete landing pad and a boxy, red hangar for a helicopter. Palmaz then found it fun to hop into his new toy to "check on the grazing patterns of cattle" and do other odd aerial chores. No other farmer or rancher in the area uses a helicopter for such mundane tasks.

Naturally, residents were bothered by this. Palmaz's helicopter creates needless noise pollution, spoils the natural beauty, and the sight of seeing a man made rich by his father whirring around in a boyish toy is stunningly grating. However, Palmer was somehow able to convince the zoning board his helicopter was actually a type of tractor, something useful for "farm chores." This bizarre comparison only an elite man of privilege could make is understandably even more upsetting.

Of course, much of the resentment also stems from what Mr. Palmer and his expensive toy suggests the future will bring. California is already reeling from gentrification. It only seems to be a matter of time before elitists similar to Mr. Palmer decide to build their own helicopter pads with dubious justification. More nature will then be spoiled, and residents fear the tip of all of that ugliness will have started with Mr. Palmer.

In his defense, Palmer says his vineyard will "give back to the community" by providing agricultural jobs to the locals. However, Palmer fails to mention how much these jobs will pay. Also, since most agricultural work in America is done by undocumented immigrants receiving menial wages, Palmer's claim of community support shows showing a depressing amount of ignorance for what exactly helps a community.

For now, Palmer has convinced a zoning board his helicopter is a tractor. However, it may be only a matter of time before common sense arrives.



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