Thursday, July 27, 2006

"Down By The Riverside"

Rain forest promoters have been singing an old gospel song recently, "I'm gonna lay down my burden, down by the riverside" [Elvis' lyrics].

More precisely, they're hoping to lay their 10-year-old burden on the Riverside, Iowa, City Council.

A couple of the council members are having none of it. We've yet to hear from the rest.

It's somewhere between unbelievably stunning and ironic that, with so much riding on the willingness of the City of Riverside to provide financial support to the rain forest, the promoters have been acting as if they simply assume they will be able to bend the City Council to their will when the time comes. Given the near 50-50 split in the community's vote to approve the gambling casino, that's quite an assumption.

They've yet to brief the Council on this rain forest project and what it's going to cost the 928 residents [2000 Census] of Riverside in increased taxes.

(That's right; the rain forest promoters -- with all their contacts with Washington, D.C.'s Republicans (including Senator Grassley, Chair of the Finance Committee, who gave them $50 million of our money), Fortune 500 corporate executives, and other wealthy individuals around the country who have foundations and otherwise give money for civic projects -- have not been able to raise an additional dime in ten years. Now they want the handful of citizens in this village of Riverside -- not one of Iowa's more upscale zip codes -- to participate in raising $25 million in a matter of weeks.)

That briefing has now been scheduled for August 3.

Mary Zielinski has stories laying out the details in the Washington Evening Journal for July 26 and The Gazette for today (July 27). Both are available, in parallel columns, here.

The Gazette's headline tells it all: "Riverside to Meet Earthpark Officials." See what I mean? Riverside has been a player in this game for a year; lots of talk has transpired among the casino and rain forest promoters; and this meeting scheduled for August 3 is the first effort of "Earthpark Officials" to meet and brief the Riverside City Council?! Unbelievable.

There will be more on this story, including the reactions of the City Council members, in next Monday's rain forest update, http://www.nicholasjohnson.org/politics/IaChild.

1 comment:

John Neff said...

The dollar figures in the two reports by Mary Zielinski add up to $20 million and $50 million of non Federal matching funds are needed.

As the robot in "Lost in Space"would say "it does not compute".