to Nicholas Johnson's Coralville Rain Forest Web Site
Weasel Grassley Defends Rainforest Pork Change
December 13, 2005
Note: Original at http://state29.blogspot.com/2005/12/weasel-grassley-defends-rainforest.html
Critics are questioning the timing and motives behind Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley's move to change the wording in a spending bill so an indoor rainforest and educational center may be built not just in Coralville but anywhere in the state. Grassley will not comment about what he called "anonymous" critics on web-logs or "blogs" on the Internet, but he defends the 50-million dollars in federal funding for the project -- which still has no home.
Grassley says: "Where the rainforest was going to be was never an issue about the Congressional appropriation. That obviously came because of the strong support the project had in Iowa and the value of the project to economic development in Iowa, the creation of jobs, the educational benefits of it and the environmental benefits of it." Developers of the rainforest project broke off negotiations last week with Coralville leaders and are considering other locations. Grassley's changes in the bill were made and signed by President Bush last month, before Coralville was out of the running.
Grassley explained why he made the changes. "I wanted to make sure that the private money was going to be raised and so recently, I put restrictions on the use of the federal tax dollars to make sure that there (were) incentives and people would follow through with the promise of donating of private funds," Grassley says. Under those restrictions, backers of the rainforest project have to raise 50-million dollars over the next two years or they'll lose whatever remains of another 50-million being put up by the federal government.
Grassley says: "My relationship
with it has been entirely related to the wise expenditure and the matching
expenditure aspect of the federal dollars." Rainforest project officials
say as many as nine Iowa communities are now in the running for the proposed
200-acre, 180-million dollar facility. Former Iowa Governor Robert Ray
and Ray's former chief of staff, David Oman, are leading the push for the
rain forest project. Ray, Oman and Grassley are all Republicans.
Naturally, Radio Iowa is talking about us and this post which featured the change in language that Weasel Grassley engineered for Con Man Oman and Filthy Ray:posted by Editor at 2:24 PM
Isn't it strange that no major media outlet in Iowa had a story about the language change by Grassley? It took this blog to carry on about it until anybody noticed. And thank you, Radio Iowa, for noticing.
As for fauxscal conservative Grassley's comments about it being a big economic development and job creation vehicle, that's simply a joke. This project won't be built for $180 million and it won't get over a million visitors a year. Good luck with them ever raising any private money, since Oman and his gang of fraudsters have had six years to raise money and done jack squat. It's going to be a giant boondoggle for all taxpayers in one form or another, but Grassley seems hell-bent on padding his buddy David Oman's pockets. A hungry reporter or two needs to find out why.
The Quad City Times also harshly questions the continuation of this project.
And also note that Waterloo can't do a minor stadium upgrade without a 75% cost overrun. What happens when you apply that to a $180 million project?