TCS Daily

Heritage For Sale

By Cheryl Chumley - June 22, 2009 12:00 AM

A good brainteaser to describe land preservation, 21st century style, could go like this: When does a conservation program not put conservation as its top priority? Answer: When there's money to be made.

So goes the latest National Heritage Area to grace the congressional list of up-and-coming NHAs: the Columbia-Pacific site that would run through portions of Washington and Oregon.

NHAs, according to the National Park Service that oversees the program, are supposed to be voluntary designations that confer honorary titles on properties that are judged crucial to the storytelling of America's past. The tag comes by way of Congressional legislation that also includes approximate appropriations of $1 million annually for 10 or 15 years to develop and manage the site. The enabling legislation further establishes a management entity -- a volunteering partnership of government officials, preservationists, and other interested individuals -- to create and implement a management plan of recommended land use so that future developments in the area of the NHA don't trample its historical aspects.

The 40 NHAs currently in existence haven't come absent opposition. Some claim private property rights are infringed upon because the management entity -- which is a quasi-government body, but unelected -- pressures local government to implement land-use changes that amount to regulatory zoning. Some agree with Government Accountability Office studies that find the NHAs are lacking accountability and clear performance measures. Some question the logic of the program's premise, and wonder, for instance, why the entire state of Tennessee is an NHA, given that the point of NHAs is to highlight only select areas of historical significance for purposes of promoting tourism. And still others see the whole NHA system as pork-barrel waste. In the Wheeling National Heritage Area in West Virginia, taxpayers paid $16,000 to archive a postcard collection to advance tourism efforts; the public paid another $10,000 for Blackstone Valley Paddle Club to foster river tours to the John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor through Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

But forget all that for the moment. The worst is the potential for these NHAs to morph into money-making ventures for the few (the special interests) at the expense of the many (the unwitting taxpayer). It's going on right now in Washington and Oregon, the site of the developing Columbia-Pacific National Heritage Area.

Two key proponents of this NHA are Mike Dickerson and John Berdes, Executive Vice President and President, respectively, of the non-profit ShoreBank Enterprise Cascadia. ShoreBank will serve in part as the management entity for the NHA once it's declared. That's where the story gets interesting.

ShoreBank Enterprise Cascadia, with offices in Ilwaco, Washington., and Astoria, Oregon, has roots in a bank in Chicago that began in the mid-1960s to combat redlining, an illegal practice that denies financial services to communities that are heavily populated by poor minorities. Through the years, the bank grew and created offshoot foundations to help fund its social justice causes. In 1994 the bank saw real potential for profit in the Green movement and partnered with a group called EcoTrust to focus on "environmental lending," which included the establishment of a couple of foundations committed to this cause, according to the corporation's web site. From that effort, ShoreBank Enterprise Cascadia was born.

Dickerson and Berdes see the Columbic-Pacific NHA as a natural means of furthering the environmental agenda of their business, while at the same time generating sizeable profits. In the words of Berdes, the NHA is "full of profit making business opportunities," and ShoreBank's goal is to use the NHA as a jumping point to loan capital for environmentally friendly developments within the boundaries of the heritage area. The success of this NHA would be measured by the amount of money ShoreBank gains from its investments.

The problem with that plan is not with the money-making venture itself, but rather that it's set to commence under the premise of an NHA system that was sold to the American public when it was first created in the 1980s as a program of historical preservation and tourism. Using taxpayer dollars for personal gain is, of course, never an ethical plan. Worse, the double-whammy of ShoreBank's service as the management entity, along with the fact that this places environmentally-conscious group in a position to influence local government policies that could lead to its own financial gain, only adds to the bitter taste.

Property owners in the area have caught wind of the plan, and formed the Landowners Against National Heritage Areas organization. As member Bob Rose of South Bend, Washington says, it seems as if "the National Park Service puts control of land into this non-profit, ShoreBank, and they're going to be controlling land they don't own."

Dickerson and Berdes refute that characterization. But at the same time, their profit-making goals still stand, and if this is the new face of heritage preservation, the people who pay -- the taxpayers -- ought to at least be fully informed of what they're buying.

Cheryl Chumley is a 2008-09 journalism fellow with The Phillips Foundation and spent a year researching National Heritage Areas. She is also a member of the Board of Scholars for DC Progress, a group committed toward the advancement of free market principles in Washington, D.C.

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If the public believes that preserving these sites is of value, the public should pay to do it.
Instead, they do it on the cheap. They demand that someone else bear the price for the things the public wants to enjoy.

Why didn't someone say so earler?
"Using taxpayer dollars for personal gain is, of course, never an ethical plan."

If only someone had told us that before that whole military industrial complex had gotten started! We'd have had many fewer wars, less expense.. and look how many more people would have gotten to live a little longer!

And Al Gore would be broke, too.

It'll take more explaining than that
Cheney made billions for his company, KBR-Halliburton. In fact he collected pay from them while in office. THAT is your classic conflict of interest, starting a war on pretenses that proved bogus, and then giving no-bid contracts to manage it to your own firm.

So explain to us how Al Gore, after he left office, profited at the government's expense. That was your allegation, wasn't it?

If it doesn't make money for someone...
All initiatives, however well intended, must generate more money than they spend or they will eventually be stopped. Because someone will not see the value in them during a budget tightening period and the funding will simply be pulled.

Fact of life. If government programs are temporary then NGO's must take over the funding or someone else must figure out a way to turn a buck within the context of the original motivation.

Otherwise, some other agenda will be served...and you can be certain that whoever is making the money will control the deal.

Right now the government can throw its cash around to underwrite almost anything it fancy's. That might not always be the case.

If you really believe that "using taxpayer dollars for personal gain is unethical ", you wouldn’t
support laws such as the SS Act.

ShoreBank Enterprise Cascadia
I see no one has yet seen fit to comment on the actual content of the article.. a venture capital firm specializing in green projects.

At first glance it looks to me like a classic example of someone doing well by doing good: providing financing for innovative projects that improve the landscape, in line with broadly accepted values.

Check this out, and see whether you agree:

Hmmm.. it looks as though a government initiative has actually created an area for new opportunities to do business. Certainly doesn't appear like hogs at the government trough to me.

No explanation is needed
"Using taxpayer dollars for personal gain is, of course, never an ethical plan."

Al Gore and his buddies will make BILLIONS from cap & scam. That's the whole point of it.

These folks will make billions from the government
I'm afraid I don't see Al Gore on this list anywhere. It's a list of interest groups that have each contributed over a million dollars in bribes to their legislators during the first quarter of 2009.

The Million Dollar Club

Health Care, Health Insurance, &Pharma
3. Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America: $6,910,000
6. Pfizer, Inc: $6,140,000
12. American Medical Association: $4,240,000
18. American Hospital Association: $3,580,000
19. Eli Lilly and Company: $3,440,000
37. America's Health Insurance Plans, Inc: $2,030,000
39. CVS Caremark Inc: $2,005,000
47. Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association: $1,800,000
49. GlaxoSmithKline: $1,780,000
63. Merck &Co: $1,500,000
65. United Health Group, Inc: $1,500,000
69. Sanofi-Aventis U.S. Inc: $1,460,000
76. Novartis: $1,347,134
87. Abbott Laboratories: $1,260,000
89. Astrazeneca Pharmaceuticals, LP: $1,250,000
92. Medtronic, Inc: $1,238,000

2. Exxon Mobil: $9,320,000
4. Chevron U.S.A. Inc: $6,800,000
7. Conoco Phillips: $5,980,935
16. BP America, Inc: $3,610,000
20. Marathon Oil Corporation: $3,380,000
45. American Petroleum Institute: $1,810,000

5. Lockheed Martin Corporation: $6,380,000
11. General Electric Company: $4,540,000
28. Northrop Grumman Corporation: $2,570,000
30. Boeing Company: $2,410,00
51. Honeywell International: $1,760,000
73. Raytheon Company: $1,360,000

10. AT&T Services, Inc: $5,134,873
14. Verizon (excluding Verizon Wireless): $3,760,000
21. National Cable and Telecommunications Association: $3,370,000
23. Comcast Corporation: $2,760,000
68. Motorola, Inc: $1,470,000

22. General Motors: $2,800,000
27. United Services Automobile Association: $2,590,244
52. Ford Motor Company: $1,750,000
84. Toyota Motor North America: $1,290,000
86. Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers: $1,264,400

32. Financial Services Roundtable: $2,260,000
33. Prudential Financial, Inc: $2,180,000
41. American Bankers Association: $1,890,000
61. Visa, Inc: $1,540,000
74. Investment Company Institute: $1,359,917
75. Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association: $1,350,000
82. J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, N.A.: $1,310,000
90. Citigroup Management Corp: $1,250,000
90. Credit Union National Association: $1,250,000

36. Monsanto: $2,094,000
40. Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO): $1,920,000
44. Bayer Corporation: $1,843,672

24. Association of American Railroads: $2,759,545
54. Union Pacific Corporation: $1,717,108
71. BNSF Railway: $1,400,000

Life Insurance
42. American Council of Life Insurers: $1,867,075
44. New York Life Insurance Company: $1,840,000
64. State Farm Insurance: $1,500,000
93. The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company: $1,237,000

1. Chamber of Commerce of the U.S.A.: $9,996,000
8. National Association of Realtors: $5,727,000
9. U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform: $5,480,000
13. AARP: $4,090,000
15. Southern Company: $3,650,000
17. Altria Client Services Inc: $3,580,000
25. Amgen, Inc: $2,750,000
26. National Association of Broadcasters: $2,600,000
29. Edison Electric Institute: $2,550,000
31. Fedex Corporation: $2,370,000
34. Textron, Inc.: $2,140,000
35. General Dynamics Corp: $2,101,945
38. International Business Machines (IBM): $2,030,000
43. United Technologies Corporation: $1,860,000
46. Recording Industry Association of America: $1,810,000
48. CTIA-The Wireless Association: $1,790,000
50. Time Warner Inc. $1,780,000
53. The Dow Chemical Company: $1,735,000
55. American Electric Power Company: $1,716,913
56. Microsoft Corporation: $1,650,000
57. Qualcomm, Incorporated: $1,620,000
58. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc: $1,600,000
59. L-3 Communications: $1,580,000
60. Exelon Business Services, LLC: $1,540,000
62. Johnson &Johnson Services, Inc: $1,530,000
66. Norfolk Southern Corporation: $1,485,026
67. Koch Companies Public Sector LLC: $1,480,000
70. American Airlines: $1,450,000
72. Oracle Corporation: $1,390,000
77. Air Transport Association of America, Inc.: $1,340,000
78. Disney Worldwide Services, Inc.: $1,330,000
79. Sepracor, Inc: $1,324,157
80. National Association of Home Builders: $1,320,000
81. UPS: $1,316,426
83. Siemens Corporation: $1,300,000
85. Duke Energy Corporation: $1,282,770
94. Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S., Inc: $1,230,000
95. Business Roundtable: $1,220,000
96. Wellpoint, Inc: $1,220,000
97. American Wind Energy Association: $1,212,504
98. F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd: $1,206,427
99. National Rural Electric Cooperative Association: $1,200,000
99. CBS Corporation: $1,200,000

So if you didn't pay your legislator a million bucks this year, he's probably not listening as closely to you as he is to them. (Note that the American Wind Energy Association barely made it into the club. Compare their bribes to those of the oil companies they compete with.)

He doesn't need to be on the list
He's got Google fronting for him, mostly.

But he doesn't NEED to be on the list. He is High Priest of the Global Warming Sham and that is what is really pushing for cap & scam.

And Cap & Scam will impact us far, far more than all the special interest breaks of all those folks on your list combined.

[off topic but germaine to these forums] Barney Frank leans on Fannie, Freddie to loosen lending st
(Reuters) - Two U.S. Democratic lawmakers want Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to relax recently tightened standards for mortgages on new condominiums, saying they could threaten the viability of some developments and slow the housing-market recovery, the Wall Street Journal said....In a letter to the CEO's of both companies, Representatives Barney Frank, the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, and Anthony Weiner warned that a 70 percent sales threshold "may be too onerous" and could lead condo buyers to shun new developments, according to the paper.

But let us all beat Roy to the punch and chant: "It's all Bush's fault! The Republicans are all behind this! The Banking Queen (Barney Frank) is totally innocent of causing the mess we are in when he pulled this before!"

That's not an answer
You said Al Gore was making a lot of money from the government. Who pays him? What gets him money from the government?

Everyone on the list, in contrast, gets money directly from actions they pay the government to take. They get to write their own legislation and to benefit from it.

sure its an answer
...despite the fact that you haven't read what I wrote.

"You said Al Gore was making a lot of money from the government."

No I didn't. I said he and his buddies WILL be raking in the billions. Right now, Gore is making money off the Global Warming Scam directly.

Gore's 'writing' the biggest special interest payoff in history right now.

Off topic, but. It's happening sooner than expected, and from the mouth of BHO himself, no less
“At a healthcare town hall, he says stopping futile procedures for the terminally ill can lower costs. In a nationally televised event at the White House, Obama said families need better information so they don't unthinkingly approve "additional tests or additional drugs that the evidence shows is not necessarily going to improve care." He added: "Maybe you're better off not having the surgery, but taking the painkiller."”,0,1978875.story

So THAT's what all this is about
Good lord. You articulate your argument so poorly that it took me FOUR exchanges with you before I could get enough information out of you to guess what your real problem is.

Here.. this is what you should have said, if you could put ten words together to make a complete sentence:

"Last Friday, Gore was the star witness at the hearings on cap-and- trade legislation before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Blackburn asked Gore about Kleiner-Perkins, noting that at last count they "have invested about a billion dollars invested in 40 companies that are going to benefit from cap-and-trade legislation that we are discussing here today."

Blackburn then asked the $100 million question: "Is that something that you are going to personally benefit from?" Gore gave the stock answer that "the transition to a green economy is good for our economy and good for all of us, and I have invested in it but every penny that I have made I have put right into a nonprofit, the Alliance for Climate Protection, to spread awareness of why we have to take on this challenge."

"It's a scheme that will make traders of this new commodity rich and Bernie Madoff look like a pickpocket. The other founder is former Goldman Sachs partner David Blood. [my emphasis]

"As Stephen Milloy, author of "Green Hell," points out, Goldman Sachs is lobbying for climate change legislation and is part owner of the Chicago Climate Exchange, where carbon credits from cap and trade would be traded."

Your thesis seems to be that Gore set all this up merely so Goldman Sachs could make a pile of money on the trading floor. And I suppose part of the plot would be for them to give him kickbacks.

Here's a flash for you: carbon exhaust fumes are cooking the earth. The first time around, the responsible parties in government came up with the Kyoto Agreement as a way of addressing the issue. It was YOUR team that scuttled that, because they were going to be losing money on the deal.

So Gore went back to the drawing board.. and came up with a scheme where you could trade credits for carbon not emitted.. and thus get some reward for being a good citizen.

The sole reason this business was cooked up was so YOUR team could still make some money for doing the right thing. And if you can figure out some way to do your carbon trading without using an exchange, you won't even have to pay Goldman Sachs anything. Okay?

If you have any spare time, you should go to a nearby community college and take a freshman course in composition. You are utterly poorly expressed. And very few people will do what I did, which was to research and express your dumb argument for you.

Generation Investment Management
Actually you've offered me a bit of a payoff, for toiling in the barren fields of TCSDaily. I'm finding Al Gore invested in the same kind of venture capital fund (Generation Investment Management) that George HW Bush became invested in (the Carlyle Group) after HE left office. It looks like when all these guys leave office they figure out which side of their bread the butter is on.. and either become introducers, lobbyists or the next grade higher up: gurus.

Al Greenspan appears to be headed in this direction, if history will have him. Henry Kissinger, of course, is the Grand Master of post-office positions of influence. And even Bob Dole, once he hung his presidential aspirations up on the wall of memories, found work writing legislation for lobbyists, to give to the various state legislatures.

So thanks for bringing the subject up. You were actually worth something today.

Here's the pertinent reading matter:

roy's ethics end where his ideology begins. And his checkbook

These guys never learn
It was pressure to provide loans to people who didn't qualify that started this mess.

From the future
Replublicans 'accidentally' issued cyanide capsules instead of painkillers

(Reuters from the Future)

Rush Limbaugh Pirate Radio has reported that Health Czars had required that painkillers meant for Republican patients under Messiah-God-For-Life Obama's Health Care Plan instead be replaced with cyanide capsules but still labeled 'Demerol'.

Reuters has not been able to confirm this because the illegal ship-based radio pirate vessel transmitting Rush Limbaugh's broadcast was sunk by a North Korean Scud missile before Rush could reveal his source.

Medical tourism 'cruise ships' that offer Americans surgery instead of the painkillers have likewise been targeted for scud attacks, it has been learned...

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