It's so quiet you can hear the chirping of crickets.
A reader wrote to us remarking upon the silence of the local media since the Mystery Development became not so mysterious. Indeed, we now know that Duane Faust's River Grand project for the southwest corner of downtown G.R. was in fact a plan to gain control property that could then be flipped to developers with the real cash and means to remake that part of town into a residential-commercial complex. So much for the knee-jerk boosterism of the local media.
Well, of course, the Mystery Development was a genuine story to be reported by the Grand Rapids Press, the Business Journal, and the local news shows. But where was the clarity that comes of skepticism? Remember the tales of the billions to be invested and 10,000 new jobs that would result? Or how Grand Rapids was to become the new music recording mecca of the Midwest? Where was the gimlet eye of business reporting that pierced through the P.R. and the hype? Where was the number-crunching to show how much financial sense the Mystery Development made? Where was the serious analysis of the impact upon G.R. taxpayers if the City Island was sold?
Yes, there was some good reporting that touched upon some of these topics, but nothing in depth. And now no follow-ups. Yet there remain questions about Mayor Heartwell's commitment of his public office to Faust's project while keeping the nature of that commitment secret. The same with public employees City Manager Kimball and Deputy City Manager Delonge. What public policies have been affected as a consequence of the secrets these public officials have kept from us?
This tale merits a solid review by the local media, including their own role in it.