April 13, 2007

LinkNews Digest [04/13/2007]

Deceptive Pricing in Grand Canyon Skywalk

Over break, my family and I decided, for the last leg of our trip, to drive out to Grand Canyon West and see the new Grand Canyon Skywalk there. We saw the $25 per person fee (plus fees to get on the reservation, which was probably about $10 per car) and thought it was a little high, but figured it would be a fun end to our trip and decided to go anyways.

We drove down Thursday morning, which included 15 miles of bumpy dirt roads before coming to a small airport on the edge of the canyon which consisted mostly of temporary buildings.

Line to get tickets. We walked in to get the tickets and met a very long line of people waiting to do the same. After 10 minutes of waiting, a "Question Answerer" came by and made it clear why it was taking so long: the sales people had to explain the "packages" and pricing to each and every person in the line. This was not because the package was that complex, but because each person in the line thought they were going to be paying $25 per person. In reality, the tribe was charging another $50 on top of the $25 for each person. You read that right, 75 bucks a pop. The "Question Answerer" explained it to us:

"The investor wants to get his, that's the $25. But it's our land, and we don't get any of that $25, so we have to get ours too, you know?"

It seems what happened is that the tribe got trounced in the contract negotiation, and were left to come up with their own source of revenue. Now, to be completely honest, the $75 got you more than just the Skywalk. It got you a bus ride to the Skywalk, then to Guano Point, another nice view which also had a "buffet" meal, and then another bus to a ranch which had a petting zoo. Not that anyone had come to see any of those things, or to eat at a buffet.(LINK )

Florida Gov't Punishes U of FLA for Jeb Bush Jab

Two weeks ago, the University of Florida voted to deny Jeb Bush an honorary degree. By a 38-28 vote, the faculty Senate rejected the former governor’s nomination, citing concerns about some of Bush’s education initiatives, including his dismantling of affirmative action programs in the state:

In higher education circles, Bush’s greatest criticism came over his "One Florida" plan, which ended race-based admissions in state universities. Black enrollment dropped at UF and statewide after the change took effect, as critics predicted.

Bush’s policies of "rewarding and punishing schools according to students' standardized test results and using vouchers to send certain students to private schools at public expense" also contributed to the rejection of his nomination.

Upset by this lack of Jeb Bush adoration, the conservative-controlled House Schools & Learning Council voted yesterday to force the university to rename its education school the "Jeb Bush College of Education."

Over the faculty’s opposition, the school will now have "to erect 'suitable markers' noting the college’s new name and include the revised name in all university documents, including catalogues and brochures." The lawmakers acknowledge they "came up with the idea as an answer" to the faculty’s denial of Bush’s honorary degree.(LINK )

Tip: Don't Advertise Your Party on MySpace

A girl's party was advertised on MySpace and hundreds of gatecrashers wrecked her family home causing £20,000 damage.

Rachel Bell, 17, planned a bash for 40 friends when her mum went away for the night, reports The Sun. But more than 200 turned up after an invitation was placed on MySpace website under the heading "lets all trash the average family-sized house disco party". The ad promised a bash as wild as those on Channel 4 show Skins. Revellers came from as far as London, 300 miles away.

Rachel has stayed with a pal since Monday's party and is "too scared" to return to the £230,000 four-bed detached home in Woodstone Village, Co Durham. Rachel later told her parents she organised a party for just 40 pals - but someone else put the invitation on the net.

A neighbour, said: "There were so many people they couldn't all fit in the house. "Police tried to disperse them but they ran off into the woods. At one stage me and three blokes with golf clubs tried to keep kids away from the house. It was absolute bedlam." The family has been staying in emergency accommodation because their home is unfit for habitation.

A spokesman for Durham Police who sent a convoy of cars and a dog unit to the party said the trouble was difficult to contain as the guests were invited to the house.(LINK )

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