Friday, September 29, 2006

Gazette to Earthpark: "Ask not, what Pella can do for you . . ."

The Gazette has provided the rain forest project too much support, for too long, to start ridiculing or savaging it now. So this morning's (September 29) editorial includes, for example, "Even after seven and a half years of ups and downs for Earthpark — and continuing skepticism about whether it will really be built — the proposal to build a 4-acre indoor rain forest and 600,000-gallon aquarium is still a bold one that can mean great things for Iowa."

But this Gazette editorial strolls deeper into the forest with some Dutch uncle comments about Earthpark's history and management. Here are some of them:

Pella it is. Let’s hope that this time the people involved with the Earthpark project will do better than they have in the past with meeting deadlines, communicating and following through on what they say they will do. And let’s hope they will soon announce they have real commitments for substantial private support for the project. Even though a corporate technology partner, Siemens, was named in May, no information about a financial contribution from that company has been made.

"Let’s also hope the folks in Pella are going into this relationship prepared to hold Earthpark officials accountable and to demand that they be treated as real partners.

. . .

"Skepticism about the project has been earned by its leaders. Its name, what it will include, how many visitors it will attract, the economic impact it will have, how much private money has been contributed, where it will be, when it will open — all these factors and more have been in a constant state of change.

. . .

"Pella officials should take the lead in determining how and how often progress reports should be made to Iowans. Because so much public money is involved . . . Iowans have the right to know in great detail what is happening with Earthpark.

"Earthpark officials should understand, too, that what many Iowans want to hear is them talking about what they can do for Pella and the state, and not just what they expect from the community of Pella. . . . Earthpark officials must show that they understand that the development of this project is a two-way street."

Editorial, "Earthpark Trying This Again," The Gazette, September 29, 2006.

It's never too late, I guess, but if only the media had provided their audiences with more of this kind of skeptical reporting and analysis during the past 10 years -- instead of playing the cheerleaders' role of uncritically repeating the project promoters' news releases, and leaving their assertions unchallenged -- they could have saved a lot of wasted motion, time and dollars for everyone.

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Anonymous said...

Where are the Democrats? They are being hammered about CIETEC. Earthpark is just as bad, or worse. Could it be the crabgrass has spread into the Democrats "YARD" also? Could the AG have connections to Oman? Wondering & waiting.

Nick said...

Tom: It's hard to control crabgrass; see, Nicholas Johnson, "It's Getting Harder to Be a Democrat," September 1, 2006,
-- Nick

Anonymous said...

The more dumb things the Republicans's actually EASIER being a Democrat, I think.