Thursday, January 08, 2009

Once again propaganda nudges out the truth


It would be nice to start the new year with something positive to say, or at least something true. Unfortunately, the Jan. 3 article about Harbor Shores did not live up to this goal. Once again, whoever wrote the Associated Press article has revived all the misleading propaganda supporting the developer's unsubstantiated claims while continuing to vilify those opposed to forfeiting irreplaceable public land for private gain.

Anyone who believes that an exclusive and redundant golf course is the best way to help the poor people of Benton Harbor probably also thinks that Sarah Palin would have made a great president. They also no doubt believe Harbor Shores' promise to restore what they have already destroyed, should developers lose in court. How do you rebuild a dune after the sand has been taken away to fill in wetlands, thereby destroying both? That is what they are up to right now, despite their assurances that further work would be suspended until spring.

It is not hard to see why they are in such a hurry, considering how fast the economic and political winds are changing. What if, by some miracle, the leaders of Benton Harbor suddenly decided to actually read the proposal and start asking questions about such things as nonexistent jobs, benefits and actual control, before it's too late? It's not likely, but I suppose it is possible.

It is no secret, despite their ingenuous and roundabout denials, that Harbor Shores has a perfectly viable contingency plan in case it fails to get its hands on JKP. The Plan B might crimp someone's short-term profits a bit, but in the end it could save Benton Harbor from irrelevance. Not many people would argue in favor of an affluent community giving up control of its only public land connecting it to Lake Michigan, especially in a time of unprecedented economic uncertainty. So why would it be good for a poor community?

Scott Elliott, Benton Harbor