“Look,” said a Conrad representative in a Gish Gallop interview, “we wanted to make it easier to see retail space. And we all know how onerous the permit process is. We thought, ‘Hey, this is Penn Valley. They hate the government as much as we do. They’ll appreciate us going rogue like Sarah Palin.’ Well, it looks like we overestimated that local response.”
After searching for months for a tree maintenance crew that would ignore the permitting process, developer Ethan Conrad Properties had over 40 trees removed from the Gateway Center in Penn Valley, CA.
According to a representative at Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest low-wage employer and purveyor of crap, the plan calls to replace the downed trees with illuminated Vickerman Outdoor UV Royal Pre-Lit Palm Trees. At a cost of almost $500.00 a piece for these faux replacements, Ethan Conrad Properties is hoping that they can put this issue to rest and avoid any costly litigation with the county.
“We are not looking for trouble here. And they’re drought resistant, because they don’t require water,” continued the Conrad spokesman. “And they light up at night which will add a certain ‘I-80/Roseville’ look and feel to the property. You know. Modern and less Podunk.”
Reaction from the community was largely negative.
“These trees have been growing here in this spot for many many many years & have adapted & provided our area with some unique trees,” commented a one Facebooker. “Yes not indigenous to our area but beautiful & I am sad to see them go.”
Some were less conciliatory.
“Ethan Conrad just flipped his middle finger at the county and community,” said one outraged local. “Their company and profits are more important than this or any community.”
There were a few die-hard conservatives who maintained that this was a property right’s issue. And that the government had no place telling private property owners, who benefit from police protection, road maintenance and other public infrastructure, what to do with their land.
“I ask again why the government needs to be involved with every facet of our lives,” questioned a ranting Jake Zillevich of Grass Valley. “Why can’t a private land owner cut down the trees [on] their private property? The permit process is killing America. They’re worse than ISIS.”
The Vickerman Palm Trees should be installed by late spring. No word yet on who will provide the power for the trees by insiders say the developer will look to the county to pick up the electric bill.