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Money Making Ventures

Dear Rick,

Good job on your editorial re: Deep Hollow Ranch. A few clarifications: the owner, Rusty Leaver, in a letter to The Star last week, boasts of all the events he's hosted at the ranch. What he doesn't say is how much he made on these ventures. For example, the Back to the Ranch concerts it is said Leaver made a pretty penny on each. His 100th anniversary of the Rough Riders? Another money making venture. I also recall him leasing the grounds, to Reader's Digest, for one.

Why is this relevant? There seems to be a consensus of opinion that the ranch is there for the public good. Not so. The development rights to the ranch were sold, that's all. Only Leaver uses the land and makes the money. All these events, by the way, were held on the "picturesque" pastures everyone is so concerned about all of a sudden. Where were the concerns when thousands of people were trampling about? Where were the horses that need so much grazing land? How is staging a half-dozen rock concerts an allowable use for an agricultural reserve?

There's more manure coming from Leaver and his lawyer than there is on the pastures.

Leaver plays the sympathy card a little too much for my blood, as well as "the oldest ranch in the U.S.," which I bet is baloney if someone were to do the research. Leaver is already making dough off the public, using state reserved areas and the beach for his horseback riding business. How does that benefit the public, by letting us see his horse manure rot on the beach and wash into the water?

Visit the Deep Hollow website to see how willing the ranch is to host your event and your wedding. Read about the fun barbecues. How does the public benefit from these? Can we eat for free? Can we get married for free? Can we ride a horse for free?

His rationale for trying to take a neighbor's land is that his ranch will go out of business otherwise. You know what? It seems to me he's making most of his money doing things that shouldn't even be allowed on reserved land to begin with.

March 14, 2006

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