Does Ken Avidor Profit Financially from his anti-PRT Propaganda?
Ken refuses to respond.
Why is this relevant? Well, for weeks now, Ken himself has been asking pro-PRT people if they make money to promote PRT - on Wikipedia he tried (and failed miserably) to imply David Gow (Mr Grant) had a financial conflict of interest, and he's also aggressively questioned other pro-PRT people.
So certainly the question is relevant for Avidor himself.
But unlike Avidor's fishing expiditions, I have actual evidence to back up my question:
- Roadkill Bill ran for almost 4 years in Pulse of the Twin Cities during which time I assume Avidor was paid for producing it. (How much, Ken?)
- Roadkill Bill is aggressively anti-highway, and Ken has repeatedly tried to link PRT to highways but has never provided shred of evidence to support that bogus claim. Could there be a financial reason for Ken's persistent attempts to associate PRT with highway promoters?
- At some point (right around the time he stopped getting paid for producing Roadkill Bill), he produced this anti-PRT Roadkill Bill comic - pretty strange considering that PRT doesn't run on roads. This was right around the time PRT was being discussed heavily in Minnesota and he was ramping up his anti-PRT propaganda campaign. Could it be that Ken used PRT to revive his Roadkill Bill cartoon?
- Later, in the context of his never-ending attack on the Wikipedia PRT article, he posted another Roadkill Bill comic - this one critical of Wikipedia. What possible link could there be between an online encyclopedia and a cartoon about roads?
- Ken's anti-PRT pages are located on his Roadkill Bill website - so people searching on PRT are directed to roadkillbill.com.
- There is a Roadkill Bill paperback listed at Amazon. Does Ken continue to make money by keeping Roadkill Bill in the spotlight?
Is Ken Avidor's anti-PRT campaign nothing but a tool to promote his cartoon? It's a valid question.
Here's a very plausible scenario: in 2003, as Roadkill Bill was running out of steam, PRT was a big topic in Minnesota. Everyone was talking about this new exotic form of transportation that rode above the streets, but few people had any concept of how such a system would work or how much it would cost - it was a complete unknown for the general public.
In other words, PRT was ripe for attack - especially by a train advocate who was looking for new ideas for his floudering cartoon. Unlike the anti-highway movement, which is always battling against the huge majority that is the car-driving public, attacking PRT was a piece of cake.
But, how can an anti-highway cartoon like Roadkill Bill be used to attack a new form of public transit? Easy - just tell everyone that PRT is a tool of the highway lobby! It's really brilliant: you scare the left by linking PRT to highways, you scare the right by calling it a tax boondogle, you scare everyone else by linking it to terrorism - and all the while you revive your failing cartoon!
So here we are, several years later. Ken Avidor has kept PRT (and therefore Roadkill Bill) in the limelight for several years after the last Minnesota PRT bill was defeated. He's splashed his Roadkill Bill anti-PRT and anti-Wikipedia cartoons all over the Internet. He even got an article on Roadkill Bill at Wikipedia. And web searches on PRT direct you to... roadkillbill.com.
Indeed, PRT has gained Roadkill Bill much more exposure than the anti-car movement ever could - and I assume the royalties are still coming in from his paperback.
How much of this scenario is true? Who knows? It seems we'll never know, since Ken refuses to answer any questions about his profits from Roadkill Bill. But look at all the evidence above and judge for yourselves. I think it's a very safe assumption that Ken Avidor has benefited handsomely from his anti-PRT crusade. The only remaining questions are: how much has he made so far, and how much more business does he drum up every time he posts a new PRT smear?