5/2/18Helicopters make a lot of very irritating noise. Who would want to have more of them overhead? Well, our State Senator Bill Dodd for one.
At the end of Patricia Damery's very clear refutation of the falsehoods made by Sen. Dodd in the ballot arguments opposing Measure D (Arguments against Measure D are wrong), the Register's editor reached out to Sen. Dodd to respond: too busy to speak about it, he said; there might be unintended consequences; "the people" and supervisors should be left to handle these matters.
Private use heliports will benefit perhaps less than one tenth of one percent of the county's population. Yet the thump-thump-thump of helicopters will impact everyone, particularly as more and more of the county's plutocrats opt to heli-commute rather than subject themselves to Napa's increasingly congested roads.
Why is the opposition being led by Sen. Dodd? His constituency is now well beyond the parochial issues of Napa County. Why is he willing to sign his name to bogus claims to benefit a small handful of people, while harming the quality of life for the rest of his Napa constituents and the county's visitors?
Well, one might speculate looking at the donor list:
Perhaps it's the $17,000 from the Calif. Association of Realtors who know how much value a helipad would add to properties aimed at plutocrats. Or perhaps itís the $16,800 from the Halls, who might want to assure the future buyers of the remote Walt Ranch estates of their right to a heliport. Or perhaps itís the same amount from the Woolls who might want a quicker way to get friends and family from home to their remote estates.
Members of the Palmaz family are no ordinary Bill Dodd donors. In 2008 the Palmaz family donated $500,000 to Justin Siena school for the "Dodd Stadium" - to honor Sen. Dodd's parents. He might have been thinking about that when decided to oppose the heliport initiative.
Major political donors expect special consideration from their representatives. Itís the American way (unfortunately). But that consideration needs to weigh what donors want against the larger public good.
In the short term, the defeat of Measure D will immediately benefit one very influential family. The appeal to the Supervisors of the Palmaz heliport application is scheduled just after the election. In the longer term it may benefit an increasing number of the uber-rich, some no doubt already Bill Dodd donors, who can afford to heli-commute .
But the impacts will be on us all. In a county that claims to be a bastion against the ills of Bay Area urbanization, an ever increasing din of helicopter traffic diminishes the environmental character for Napa residents and visitors who value the peace and quiet to be found here.
Given his responsibility to represent the entire county, and not just his major contributors, Sen. Doddís opposition, and his untruthful opposition ballot arguments, have not been well considered.