When I first heard that state assemblyman, Mike Davis had proposed that Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch be turned into California's newest state park, I thought it a joke. I know that I'm in a vocal minority that thinks Michael Jackson will be a forgotten figure in 30 years, (Remember Eva Tanquay? Fame is fleeting. Look her up, she's a great story.) but shouldn't we wait awhile to see if I'm wrong. Too, while Michael Jackson's supporters seem to attribute a god like quality to the man, the taint of possible child molestation can stink up the place.
But, then I began to give the idea some thought. The first thing I did was look up Neverland Ranch. Its 2, 676 acres is a significant piece of open space in a state that has a habit of putting real estate development on a sacred plane. Turn the house into a Michael Jackson Museum and restore the remaining 2, 670 acres to it's natural state. Hiking, bridal, and perhaps some bike paths, crossing a near natural bit of the Santa Ynez Valley sounds like a pretty good thing to me. Paying to buy the land could be problematic, but not impossible. Rather than pass a bond initiative, take out a bank loan, slap a $10 admission fee to the museum, and tell the bank all the money is theirs until the loan plus a reasonable amount of interest is paid. I would be surprised if initial visitation was under a million visitors a year. I'm willing to put up with crying Michael Jackson idolaters in the parking lot if I can walk away and into a piece of old California landscape in 10 minutes.