Land exchange is a boondoggle

  Thanks for printing a small article about the scandalous Yavapai Ranch Land Exchange (HCN, 3/1/04: Arizona land swap dogged by questions). You’ve written previous articles about owners of inholdings in federal lands leveraging excessive profits. Mr. Ruskin similarly wants to play profiteer against the wishes of several Arizona communities. And he wants to prevent an open, honest process by having Congress do the deed.

Early in Mr. Ruskin’s maneuverings, he made promises to local cities, who duly wrote glowing letters of support to their congressional delegations. Real estate agents in Williams are laughing about how dumb our city is to play along, even though Mr. Ruskin refuses to put any prices in writing. Our town is planning to buy golf course property (already developed) from him that we lease for free from the Forest Service. Of course, Williams has a history of such expensive boondoggles.

While many of us appreciate forest consolidation, there is a legal, accountable method in place to process land exchanges. Mr. Ruskin seems afraid of such transparency.

Kali Kaliche
Williams, Arizona