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Monday, June 15, 2015

Whose Fault Is the California Drought This Time? Rich People Edition

Posted By on Mon, Jun 15, 2015 at 9:52 AM

click to enlarge SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
If there's one group that's really been victimized by the drought, it's the incredibly rich people who live in the desert and can no longer pretend that they don't. The Washington Post's Rob Kuznia got some of the residents of Rancho Santa Fe, California (area median income $189,000) to go on the record about the hardships of the four-year drought, and goddamn if it won't break your little heart:
People “should not be forced to live on property with brown lawns, golf on brown courses or apologize for wanting their gardens to be beautiful,” Yuhas fumed recently on social media. “We pay significant property taxes based on where we live,” he added in an interview. “And, no, we’re not all equal when it comes to water.”
It's true that we're not all equal when it comes to water. Some residents of California can't take a shower after a day working in the fields or even flush the toilet. And then there's Gay Butler, also of Rancho Santa Fe. Per the Washington Post
“I think we’re being overly penalized, and we’re certainly being overly scrutinized by the world,” said Gay Butler, an interior designer out for a trail ride on her show horse, Bear. She said her water bill averages about $800 a month.

“It angers me because people aren’t looking at the overall picture,” Butler said. “What are we supposed to do, just have dirt around our house on four acres?”
Another real-life, freedom-loving hero who chose to live in an arid region is reaching across party lines to take a stand: 
“I’m a conservative, so this is strange, but I defend Barbra Streisand’s right to have a green lawn,” said Yuhas, who splits his time between Rancho Santa Fe and Los Angeles. “When we bought, we didn’t plan on getting a place that looks like we’re living in an African savanna.”
But what most of us aren't paying enough attention to is the favor rich people are doing us by living on giant estates: 
“You could put 20 houses on my property, and they’d have families of at least four. In my house, there is only two of us,” Butler said. So “they’d be using a hell of a lot more water than we’re using.”
Really makes you think. 

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About The Author

Julia Carrie Wong

Julia Carrie Wong's work has appeared in numerous local and national titles including 48hills, Salon, In These Times, The Nation, and The New Yorker.

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