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Cal Pol: Turn Jacko's ranch into state park

The got to be there tourist attraction

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Wide-eyed children could once again be roaming free around Michael Jackson's Neverland ranch if a California lawmaker gets his way.

California assemblyman Mike Davis has suggested the state should consider taking over the singer's old digs in Santa Barbara County.

Neverland became notorious as the singer became increasingly detached from reality. He had his own private zoo and playground rides, where he famously entertained disadvantaged children, as well as his pet chimpanzee.

The ranch, not far from the almost as barmy faux-Danish settlement of Solvang, became even more notorious when the singer was accused of child molestation. Jackson was acquitted but left the 2,000 acre estate in the wake of the accusations.

It is currently owned by the Jackson family and a private equity firm.

However, Davis has suggested the state should take it over as part of a public private partnership. It would be a draw for tourists around the world, he argued.

He added, quite correctly, that public disquiet over Elvis Presley's private life had not dented Graceland's status as an attraction.

Of course, another tourist draw is just what California needs - LA, Hollywood, the Golden Gate, Yosemite, Death Valley and the Burlingame Museum of Pez Memorabilia no longer being the attractions they used to be.

According to the Associated Press the plan is unlikely to go down well with locals, who have already organised themselves against any attempt to turn Jacko's former crib into a tourist magnet. ®

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