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Props and Disses: 1.9.13
Bases loaded, two out, bottom of the ninth – PROP
Open letter to J. Joseph Ricketts: Mr. Ricketts, you are my new hero. What you did makes me want to root for the Cubs. Well, almost. I mean, you understand: the Cubbies, the curse, the losing, and what’s with all that ivy?
As the 95-percent controlling interest owner of the sorry Chicago Cubs, I am happy to see what you’ve done since 2009.
The organization is making $200 million worth of improvements to legendary Wrigley Field. You opened the purse strings and lured the Red Sox GM and allowed him to spend money on new players. You introduced bison burgers to Chicago fans, imported straight from your ranch in Bondurant.
Just when it seems there is nothing else left to impress folks with, you bitch out Congress for special-interest earmarks and wasteful spending in 2010. You founded your own film company in 2008 and told them to make nothing but stories about true American history.
Is there nothing you can’t do?
Your latest gallant bid is enough to make me overlook the fact that you are the man behind TD Ameritrade – a truly dreadful idea that allows any moron with a laptop to lose his shirt in the market, and contributes to the volatile nature of Wall Street with its billions of pre-programmed standing orders to sell or buy, triggered by CPUs instead of level-headed men like yourself who can see a crash coming.
Anyway, a big “atta boy” to you for ponying up $1.75M to help buyout PXP’s oil and gas leases. You salted the mine with a million dollar kickoff the day the deal was announced and when we got close, you stepped in at the eleventh hour and threw another $750,000 into the pot. ‘Couch cushion’ change for a guy like you, but a noble deed just the same.
Sure you had a dog in the fight: your ranch is practically on the frontlines. Yes, Wilson’s Hansjorg Wyss contributed more ($4.25M) – and thank you, too, Mr. Wyss – but you started it and by-god you finished it.
You’re the kind of well-off folk we need around these parts as opposed to, say, a certain sand-for-brains with more ego than sense at the old Puzzleface Ranch.
Mo’ money, less problems – PROP
When I had the chance to chat with GTNP’s Mary Gibson-Scott a few weeks ago about hunting, we hit on a few other subjects as well. I asked her if she was at all worried about the “fiscal cliff” and park funding in general. Gibson-Scott said she accepted tight budgets as a way of life. “I’ve worked for the federal government for 32 years,” she said with a knowing grin.
I asked Scott what was on her dream wish list. If money was no object, what are some of the major capital improvements she would make to Grand Teton. She offered a few pet projects and then stopped, lost for a moment in sudden awareness, and said, “If I had all the money in the world I would buy the state lands.”
She’s halfway there.
The second of four state-owned parcels was purchased by NPS to the tune of $16 million. Who knows where Scott found the money or what she had to do to get it, but GTNP is that much closer to buying out the entire 1,406 acres of inholdings and avoiding a potential auction of the property to a developer – something once threatened by then-Governor Dave Freudenthal when he sensed the feds weren’t moving very quickly to snatch up the land.
The National Parks Conservation Association applauded the deal and so do we.
Parks & Rec softens the blow – PROP
Teton County/Jackson Parks and Recreation spent $4,000 and padded the walls of its gymnasium. It left it up to participants of the indoor co-ed soccer league as to whether they wanted to finish out the season after the tragic accident and death of Nick Izard last month.
No sense can be made of something like that. No words of consolation can suffice and no action taken by Parks and Rec would have seemed appropriate, really. But under the leadership of Steve Ashworth and a competent board, the joint agency said and did all the right things in a tough spot.
The State-Lands Blackmail is a joke. The State never wanted to sell the land to a private party nor did it need to. The State of Wyoming has 15 Billion in the bank. The Feds are broke. This was an attempt to blackmail the FEDS and it worked. If the State needs a better return on its State Land, sell the property on hwy 390 or at least put the land up for lease through an auction open to any party for any purpose.
The State has pulled in billions over the years through tourism directly related to gtnp & ys. AAnd it has pulled in billions from Federal land leased to the extractive industry. It seeems to me that the State should have put up the money for the Nobel Basin and given the State Lands to the NPS like Rockefeller did. The Mead family has no sense of history or legacy.
Thank You Mr Ricketts