Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Riverside: "Thanks But No Thanks"?

Gregg Hennigen has an Iowa Rain Forest story in this morning's (September 20) Gazette worthy of page one treatment. Why? It's "news." (Compare yesterday's, Nicholas Johnson, "Rain Forest's Big News: 'Nothing to Announce,'" September 19, 2006.)

Yesterday's story in the Press-Citizen repeated the rain forest's mischaracterization of "16 communities" having been involved in the "bidding process." (a) If there ever were anything like 16 communities the names of at least half of them were kept secret and never revealed by the rain forest's promoters. (b) The notion that there was a "bidding process" suggests that the project was evaluating the communities. In fact, just the opposite was taking place -- the communities were evaluating the project. (c) There have been very good reasons why, after that evaluation, all but two of the "sweet sixteen" have told the project's promoters: "Thanks, but no thanks."

Now it appears that the Riverside City Council may have the sense to do the same, making it 15.

See, Gregg Hennigan, "Riverside Unsure on Rain Forest; Will long-awaited answers erase unease about communication?" The Gazette, September 20, 2006.

For over a decade this project has been unfocused, unfunded, unsupported, and unresponsive. It has not banked a dime beyond founder Ted Townsend's original pledge for what its consultants say must be at least a $220 million project to attract enough tourists. Since then the proposal has been cut to $180 million, and now $155 million.

As State 29 put it a little more directly this morning regarding The Gazette's story,

"I don't think there could be any bigger litmus test for politicians than sticking the Earthpork project in front of them and seeing how they react. If you're for a project that has no financing other than tax dollars, has already angered officials other towns, and has wildly grand projections of attendance figures, you're a retard who should never be allowed to hold elected office ever again."

State 29 even offers all of us rain forest watchers the "Official Song for the Earthpork Project." Check it out at, State 29, "Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before," September 20, 2006.

For the Internet's largest collection of links to the full text of 100s of articles, and over 125 single-spaced pages of analysis and commentary pro and con, see Nicholas Johnson's Iowa Rain Forest (Earthpark) Web site. For the best collection of biting humor about the project see Iowa Pork Forest. For a review of the project's "business plan," such as it is, see Nicholas Johnson, "Earthpark Business Plan: A Review," August 12, 2006.

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