Thursday, December 23, 2010
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Fortunately, the Foundation owns many of the best mineral specimens currently in the mineral museum. They were considered too valuable to place under the control of politicians when the collection was begun 5o years ago.
The Foundation recently paid $2,000 for an appraisal required by the AHS for a loan agreement. However, a satisfactory load agreement has not been negotiated with the AHS thus far. The Foundations is considering offers from other museums to house the collection.
Monday, December 20, 2010
According the the grapevine, the money will be used to install solar panels. That raises a question.
The building is on the National Register of Historic Places. Can solar panels be installed on a historic building? More specifically, can the exterior appearance of a registered historic building be changed to that extent?
Does anyone out there know the answer?
Friday, December 17, 2010
Yesterday, December 16, the Arizona Centennial Commission hosted an “Informational Summit”. The event was held at the Arizona Historical Museum at Papago Park in Tempe. Attendance was by invitation only.
Attendees were told that Gallagher and Associates is the designer for the Centennial Museum, and that the museum will open in November of 2012.
The opening date of November 2012 is consistent with the information posted yesterday from the Prescott City Council meeting. That permits ample time for repairing and installing used displays from three prior events.
The information about the designer is not. The grapevine says that Gallagher and Associates has been replaced with a designer from Tucson. The Prescott presentation named Entertainment Solutions, Inc, of Scottsdale, AZ.
So, there are many, many unanswered questions about the 5C Arizona Centennial Museum, and the list just keeps getting longer and longer. A few key examples are:
- Why will it be called a centennial museum if it will not open until 10 months after the centennial?
- Who is designing the displays?
- Where is the money coming from?
- Who is directing the planning of the “centennial” museum?
- Why has the Board of Governors for the 5C Arizona Centennial Museum (established by HB 2251) never met?
- Do the people that are involved (if any) have the authority to do so under the governing laws (HB 2251)?
- Why has there never been any public presentation or meeting concerning the 5C Arizona Centennial Museum?
- Will centennial museum planners preserve a separate Arizona mining and Mineral Museum, as prescribed by HB 2251?
- Who’s on first?
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
This blog began last spring as Governor Brewer introduced a multimillion dollar project of questionable value. That project is her proposed 5C Arizona Centennial Museum. At the time, the new museum looked like a waste of money. That problem was compounded by the fact that the new history museum was to displace an existing top rated museum, the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum. Many believe the proposed museum has less merit than the existing one, and millions of dollars should not be spent to degrade a state museum.
The controversy now has a new and more profound basis. The Governor said she had to terminate coverage for organ transplants because Arizona simply does not have the money. Surgery has been cancelled for at least one 32 year old patient at this time. The Arizona Republic has estimated that Arizona is saving 1.3 million dollars (per year) in state funding by canceling transplant coverage. Prior posts on this blog show the Governor is spending more money than that to support her new museum. The money has been transferred to the Arizona Historical Society, and is clearly shown in the FY 2011 budget summary.
Despite her obviously flawed priorities, the Governor appears defiant in the face of criticism about funding cuts for transplants. A recent article in the Arizona Daily star quotes her as saying:
Bickering and ankle biting is very unfair and not solving the problems of the state of Arizona.
Apparently the Governor does not appreciate hearing whining from the “little people”.
Paul Davenport, The Associated Press, Arizona Daily Star, Rhetoric grows heated over transplant eligibility,
Posted Saturday, December 11, 2010
Note: See the July 21st post on this blog: Who will pay for the Arizona Centennial Museum
Saturday, December 11, 2010
The recent debate over organ transplants in Arizona is asking an important question. Exactly what is money being spent on that has a higher priority than organ transplants?
In fact, the Governor is squandering millions of dollars on completely useless projects. She is doing this with both federal and state money. Millions are going into her pet project, the 5C Arizona Centennial Museum, and the associated Centennial Way project.
The 5C Arizona Centennial Museum is getting $400,000 in stimulus money for solar panels. It is also getting supported by a very recent $2,200,000 increase in the stage budget for the Arizona Historical Society (centennial museum administrator). She used state money that she could have used for anything.
Centennial Way is getting $7,000,000 in federal stimulus money. This useless project replaces the side walk passing in front of the Arizona Centennial Museum with a new one including art work. The existing side walk is in perfectly good condition, and is not used anyhow. Few pedestrians or vehicles are ever seen on this street (formerly West Washington Street). A few winos do sleep on the side walk now and then. Perhaps they will appreciate the art.
The Governor added 2.2 million dollars to the history museum budget in July. In October, she said the state could not afford 1.4 million for organ transplants.
She squanders tax dollars on new toys, but does not pay doctors bills. Is that a Governors perk?
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
The Arizona Centennial Museum Begins to Take Shape
The former Arizona Mineral and Mining Museum became part of the Arizona Historical Society at the end of July 2010. The Governor’s Office of Strategic Planning and Budgeting and the Arizona Department of Administration are working with AHS to sort through all of the issues regarding personnel, budget, procurement, and the infrastructure. The Governor’s Centennial Commission will hire a dedicated fundraiser and approximately $400,000 of stimulus funds are available for the environmental infrastructure of the building.
Taking Shape. Really?
In December 2010 the Governor is planning to hire a fundraiser. Exactly which centennial is she planning for?
February 2012 or February 2112?
Monday, December 6, 2010
A recent editorial in the Arizona Daily Star stated that from 2002 to 2008 educational funding increased in Arizona but the graduation rate dropped significantly. Clearly, something is very wrong.
Over that time period, high school graduation rates dropped significantly in 3 states: Arizona, Utah, and Nevada. In Arizona, total spending per student increased from $4,941 to $5,391 (adjusted for inflation). The graduation rate dropped from 74.7 to 70.7.
So, the problem is not money, the problem is how the money is being used. Perhaps Arizona schools are no better than Governor Brewer in identifying proper priorities.
In 2010, the Governor pushed through House Bill 2251 to convert the top rated Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum into the 5C Arizona Centennial Museum (yet another history museum). Over seven million dollars of state money are now used to support history museums across the state. Few people visit these museums.
The top rated Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum is the only earth science museum in the state. Operating on a small fraction of the budget for history museums, it actively supports K-12 students and teachers. Students remember their class field trip to this fascinating museum for a lifetime. It inspires the careers of earth scientists and engineers.
Bored students drop out of school, even if they are brilliant. History museums are boring, and do not have economic value. Future scientists and engineers are needed to support a future technology based economy. There is no market for historians. History majors that do manage to stay in school and graduate become food servers, tree trimmers, and sanitation workers. The public funds used to subsidize their education are wasted.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Previous posts on this blog documented the plight of the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum. The states other mineral museum (University of Arizona Mineral Museum at Flandreau Science Center) is also in trouble.
The UA Mineral Museum can trace it roots back to at least 1892. Mineralogy was one of the original subjects taught at the university. For over a hundred years, it has served as an educational tool for mining engineering and geology. It also serves K -12 students on field trips, and has undoubtedly sparked the careers of many scientists and engineers.
In 2009, faced with budget cuts in a failed economy, the university cut off funding for the museum. It was saved, at least temporarily, by Freeport McMoran Copper and Gold, Inc.
Freeport provided a $250,000 grant to at least keep the museum open several days a week. Ironically, Freeport had provided a one million dollar endowment to support he mineral museum just the year before the university decided to close it.
Curiously, while attempting to save one mineral museum, Freeport may at the same time be killing another. Rumors persist about Freeport providing a one million dollar grant for the 5CArizona Centennial Museum. As reported in prior posts on this blog, that new history museum will displace the top rated Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum.
Freeports apparently contradictory actions continue to bewilder mineral museum supporters.
$1,000,000 donated to UA mineral museum, Renee Schafer Horton, Tucson citizen, February 14, 2008
Flandrau center’s doors aren’t completely closed, Aaron Mackey, Arizona Daily Star, July 21, 2008
Mineral Museum continues to be open to the Public, Sam Kane, UA News, June 29, 2009
UA Mineral Museum saved – for now, www.allbusiness.com, July 1, 2009
Freeports $1 million donation to UA Mineral Museum, www.arizonageology.blogspot.com, March 14, 2008
Major contribution to Centennial Museum reported, www.arizonageology.blogspot.com, August 4, 2010
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Correspondence (email) with the Governors office (from last spring) about converting the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum into the 5C Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum is included in the appendix to this post. The Governor’s office claimed the change was primarily motivated by a need to cut cost.
The Arizona Department of Mines and Mineral Resources (ADMMR or DMMR) has now been moved out of the museum building and the entire building has been assigned to the Arizona Historical Society. ALL of the rent money from ADMMR was transferred to the AHS so that they can maintain the building for Centennial Museum use. The ADMMR budget problems are now even worse than they were. They do not have enough funding to pay the remaining 3 employees for the rest of the fiscal year.
So, was the change really motivated by a need to cut cost? Or, was the plot to convert the mineral museum into another history museum just a hoax cloaked under the guise of cost reduction?
Correspondence with the Governors office about the mineral museum (italics added):
February 27, 2010 email to Governor:
I really wish you would spend one hour with the curator at the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum and ask her to explain how the museum helps teachers meet state mandated standards for earth science education. Then, you would understand how the Centennial Commissions current plan to use that building for the Centennial Museum will be so devastating to K-12 education.
Response from Governors office:
Thank you for your email. We would like to provide further explanation as to why Governor Brewer and her staff are proposing a Centennial Museum. As you know, like all state agencies, the Mining and Minerals Museum (MMM) which is under the Department of Mines and Minerals Resources (DMMR) has been hit hard by the budget cuts and cannot afford its rent in a rather large facility and still have sufficient staff to accomplish its mission. The rent on the facility is currently $524,700 per fiscal year. The State owns the building, but rent is still paid by all agencies because the State has debt payments for sale/lease backs, build to own, and other borrowing over the years and the Legislature has established a means to appropriate rent for each facility and then collect the money back to pay its obligations. The rent issue is
primarily one of the reasons DMMR and Governor's office started looking at moving the staff and records of DMMR to less costly facilities, and re-purposing the MMM. That is where idea of the privately funded Centennial Museum was brought forward.
There is no single private entity funding the museum. The Centennial Commission will raise funds from any and all public and private sources to pay for the museum and other Centennial projects. In addition, the Governor has asked the modern day representatives of the original 5Cs to raise the money specific to their museum exhibit. There also is planned a rotating exhibit which will high light modern day industries important to Arizona, and funds should be collected from them as well. There will be a non-profit foundation formed to collect all funds received and pay for the various projects. The mineral collections and all other exhibits will be owned by the State, and the Centennial Museum will be under the direction of the Arizona Historical Society. The museum is intended to be a permanent museum and as long as the Legislature appropriates funds for that purpose, it will remain permanent.
The current minerals collections will be incorporated into the mining related exhibits and the outside equipment will be utilized as well. The Museum responsibilities will be transferred to the Arizona Historical Society, which administers many museum collections. The Museum will not close, unless for remodeling purposes, we will close it for short periods over the course of the next two years. The Centennial Museum
will be a permanent museum and will be state of the art and a big attraction for the public. We believe visitors will have a wonderful experience visiting the Centennial Museum which is expected to open in time for Arizona's 100th birthday!
We trust we have adequately addressed your concerns. Thank you again for your message.
Office of Constituent Services
Governor Janice K. Brewer
Response to Governors office on March 5, 2010
Your statements about the rent are not true, and we have proof. Lyn White admitted, as over a dozen witnesses listened, that you are transferring the entire mineral museum budget (rent and salary) to the historical society to operate the 5C museum. There are also statements out or you office, now posted on the internet, which says the same thing. You are actually increasing the total expenditure for rent after you pay for the new office space for Madan Singh and his remaining staff.
I had hoped that you cared enough about Arizona children to at least listen to how you 5C plan will damage K-12 science education. I see that you do not.
I am the volunteer that has been traveling around Arizona promoting the mineral museum. I will now continue my travels around Arizona telling people about your Clinton speak, explaining why the mineral museum must "re-purposed", and about your willful disregard for K-12 education.
Response from the Governors office on March 6, 2010:
Mr. Zimmerman, your e-mail to Constituent Services was forwarded to me for further comment. The rent for the museum space will be transferred to the Historical Society so they can continue to pay rent on the building. The Department of Mines and Mineral Resources will be moved into available space, hopefully, already being paid for by another agency. With all the budget cuts, there are many agencies with fewer staff and available space. I understand you would like to see the Minerals Museum continue as is, but with the enormous budget reductions we have seen in the past couple of years, and with more coming, The Department and of Mines and Mineral Resources has been so significantly cut that I believe it is now down to three employees (paid for with State funds). The agency can no longer adequately fulfill its statutory mission, of which the museum is only used as a tool to educate the public. Rather than close the museum and eliminate the agency, the Governor sought private sector donors to replace what is essentially a publicly funded special interest museum, with a privately funded broader spectrum special interest museum. The State's Centennial seemed a logical event to rally a fundraising effort. We hope donors will be generous so we can actually have a museum at all. The Director of the Arizona Historical Society has stated that she believes the entire minerals collection can be incorporated into the new exhibits, which will occupy both floors, not just the 1st floor. I personally hope that I can find adequate space for the Department of Mines and Minerals Resources in already rented space where it can have a public library and perhaps a smaller minerals museum, but rent could still be an issue in some locations, and obviously we don't have money to increase rent payments. I am also working on a plan to digitize all of the paper records of the agency so they will be backed up and would be available online, however that comes with a cost as well. While I understand your convictions and probably can do little to convince you to think otherwise, I did feel I should offer some additional information for your consideration. I hope this helps in some way.
Michael E. Anable
Natural Resource Policy Advisor
Office of Governor Janice K. Brewer
State Of Arizona
Thursday, November 18, 2010
This blog was inspired by House Bill 2251 which the Governor pushed through to authorize her pet project, the 5C Arizona Centennial Museum. This blog is critical of that bill, because it does not just create another history museum. It replaces the existing and top rated Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum with another history museum. Many believe the existing mineral museum, the only earth science museum in the state supporting K-12 education, is a greater asset than another history museum (centennial museum). Also, it will cost many millions of dollars to downgrade the museum to a history museum.
However, the human suffering associated with the prolonged, severe recession raises another question. Is spending tens of millions of dollars on a non essential museum at this time immoral?
Take the recent example of 32 year old Francisco Felix of Laveen, Arizona. As reported by Michelle Ye Hee Lee in the Arizona Republic, Felix needs a replacement for his damaged liver. A dying family friend donated a liver for Felix, but he did not get a transplant. After being prepared for the transplant operation, he was discharged from the hospital without surgery. That happened because his Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System insurance quit covering transplant operations on October 1st.
Obviously there will never be enough money to provide all possible desired medical service. However, is it ethical to withdraw previously covered care while there is still fat in the Arizona budget?
The sole source and out of state contractor for the Arizona Centennial Museum estimated it will cost 9 million dollars. A completely nonessential associated project (Washington Street – Centennial Way) to be built past the front of the museum is costing 7 million dollars. In addition to that, the Arizona Historical Society will be provided millions of dollars a year to operate and maintain the museum. The AHS state budget was to be phased out because of the budget crisis. To support her pet project, the Governor not only restored their full budget, but increases it by over 50%. The AHS will now get at least over 6 million dollars of state money each and every year. Granted, the Centennial Way project is using Federal stimulus money and must be squandered on something useless, and private funding is being solicited for the 9 million dollar centennial museum. Nevertheless, do such nonessential expenditures in such a time of desperate need represent responsible leadership?
According to Lee there are about 100 patients in the same desperate situation that Francisco Felix is in. Sixty of them are also in need a liver transplant that costs $200,000.
If the Governor had not decided to keep the history museums open and to even add a new one, half of those 60 patients could receive the needed liver transplants. If the Governor and the community would ask private industry to help the underinsured like Felix, rather than support a completely unnecessary capital mall monument, all of them might be treated and there might even be 3 million dollars left over.
Yet, according to Lee, the Governors spokesman (Paul Senseman) said that the AHCCCS cuts will not be reconsidered. Apparently, another history museum has a higher priority than the life of a 32 year old man.
Francisco Felix and others will die not because there is a lack of money, but because of priorities within the Governors office that will not be reviewed or reconsidered.
Note 1: Based on the attendance of existing history museums, few Arizonans are ever likely to visit the planned 5C Arizona Centennial Museum.
Note 2: How many other multimillion dollar pork projects remain in the Arizona budget as essential services are being cut?
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Each year, the Citizens Against Government Waste publishes their annual Pig Book. It identifies particularly egregious examples of money wasted by the Federal government. In 2002, CAGW teamed with the Goldwater Institute to produce the 2002 Arizona Piglet Book.
Eight years ago, the authors recognized that Arizona’s budget was a train wreck looking for a place to happen. Among the waste they identified was the then $4.5 million dollar budget for the Arizona Historical Society. Their explanation was as follows:
This program is a membership-supported, nonprofit state trust agency that gives money to preserve and maintain museums pertaining to the history of Arizona. This program can proceed without support from government, and a nonprofit foundation could accomplish the same task and collect the same dues from its members without a commitment by the state government.
So what did Governor Brewer do in 2010 as the cars from the long predicted train wreck began piling up? Why she INCREASED the Arizona Historical Budget by over 50%. Why did she do that? She wanted to Arizona Historical society to build yet another history museum. That was to be her pet project, the 5C Arizona Centennial Museum.
Prior posts on this blog explain how, as part of that plan, she pushed through a bill that transferred the Arizonan Mining and Mineral Museum to the Arizona Historical Society. They also explain the many serious problems associated with that very unfortunate bill.
The Goldwater Institute also recommended eliminating the $800,000 budget for the Arizona Department of Mines and Mineral Resources (former home of the mineral museum). Their comments on the department were as follows:
This non-regulatory agency provides technical assistance to mining companies at taxpayer expense and runs the Mining and Mineral Museum. The technical and economic development assistance provided by state government to miners amounts to corporate welfare. That function, which subsidizes a remarkably small portion of the state economy, should be funded by voluntary fees or eliminated. The museum could be privatized and run by a nonprofit foundation.
Rather than implementing the above recommendations, the Governor transferred over a half million dollars from the Department of Mines and Mineral Resources to the Arizona Historical Society. Then, she added even more money to inflate the historical society budget to its current level.
Note 1: A February statement from the Governors office says that money will be added to the historical society budget “as necessary” to enable it to operate the 5C Arizona Centennial Museum.
Note 2: This blog is not promoting restoration of the Department and Mines and Mineral Resources budget. It is promoting repeal of the bill that transferred Arizona’s irreplaceable mineral collection to an organization without the training to properly care for it.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
This blog has been documenting the extremely misguided changes the Governors office is making to the Arizona Department of Mines and Mineral Resources and the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum.
As stated in the Aug 17th blog post, the only significant publicity this has attracted is a single article in the Arizona Republic. Shortly after that article was published, the reporter no longer worked for the Republic. No other reporter has picked up the story.
The typical news reporter may not appreciate or understand the value of the mineral museum. However, there are aspects of this story that should be easily understood and of interest to every Arizonian. These have been discussed individually in prior blog posts:
The Governors office misrepresented the change as cost cutting. That was a hoax.
Although she said she would use “no public funds” the Governor is actually spending millions (during and economic crisis) to support her pet project, the Arizona Centennial Museum. The money is being funneled through the Arizona Historical Society, which got a 50% budget increase.
The changes (which do not cut cost) jeopardize K-12 science education. Fieldtrips to the mineral museum are an experience remembered for a lifetime. Governor Brewer plans to deprive 3rd graders of that experience, and is not doing it to cut cost.
Arizona’s last place in science education makes spending money to reduce science education particularly foolish.
The new museum planned for the same building (5C Arizona Centennial Museum) is irrelevant in 2010.
The Governors treatment of museum volunteers was shameful
The Governor is jeopardizing other worthy centennial celebration projects.
The Governors actions will damage the Arizona economy by harming the mining industry
Hundreds of tips on these various angles of the story have been sent to various news media across the state. None have been interested.
Do today’s news reporters do nothing but listen to the police scanner for stories?
Are journalists and investigative reporters extinct?
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Pothunters are people who pillage archeological sites for artifacts that they add to their personal collection or sell for profit. They are generally regarded as looters and vandals. Unless they collect on private land they own, their activity is illegal. Pot hunting on public land, state of federal, is illegal and frequently prosecuted.
Archeologists despise pothunters because they destroy contextual information. Artifacts that are removed from an archeological site without detailed study and documentation are useless except as souvenirs or collectables. Any scientific information that might have been gained by studying the artifact in the context in which it was found is forever lost. Disturbing the site in a haphazard way as they look for valuables or collectables, they also compromise the context of less valuable artifacts left behind. An item moved to a different archeological layer can never be properly interpreted. The opportunity to gather scientific information about an ancient civilization is forever lost.
Even the collectible value of the artifacts may be compromised. They may be traded or sold to people not having the knowledge or interest to properly preserve them.
Governor Brewer vandalized the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum in much the same way that pothunters vandalize archeological sites. In this case, the items (rock mineral specimens) had already been carefully collected and documented. The Governor, either unwilling or incapable of understanding the mineral museum, ripped artifacts out of context.
The Governors Arizona Centennial Museum bill transferred the mineral collection to the Arizona Historical Society. However, neither the Governor nor the AHS was interested in preserving the items in context with supporting documentation. The documents remain in the possession of the Arizona Department of Miners and Mineral Resources. They have been moved to two different locations where there security is compromised. Because all of the ADMMR rent money was transferred to the AHS along with the mineral collection, the ADMMR has no viable budget and will probably cease to exist. The future security of the documents is very much in question.
Furthermore, the AHS is not qualified to preserve the mineral collection. Some are not chemically stable, and many are very fragile. The collection is subject to serious damage as it is handled and stored by untrained personnel.
The Governor has behaved exactly like a pothunter, and deserves the disrespect normally directed toward pothunters.
Friday, November 5, 2010
According to an October 30, 2010 Arizona Daily Star article by Rob O’Dell:
“Tucson’s Rio Nuevo downtown redevelopment district was beset by mismanagement and lack of financial oversight and internal controls that led a majority of its projects to remain incomplete despite more than $230 million being spent.”
The article goes on to report that the mess was so bad that the State of Arizona became involved. The Auditor General had an out of state auditing firm prepare the following report (online PDF file):
Performance and Financial Analysis of the Rio Nuevo Multipurpose Facilities District
October 29, 2010
Submitted to Debbie Davenport, Auditor General, State of Arizona
Submitted by: Kevin W. Smith, Crowe, Horwath, LLP
AHS involvement in Rio Nuevo apparently began with Rio Nuevo Board of Directors Resolution No: 2005-007 dated July 13, 2005. That document states that the ASM and the AHS were given $110,000 to have the firm of ConsultEcon perform an economic feasibility analysis regarding the relocation of their museums to Rio Nuevo.
Information on AHS involvement is Rio Nuevo is included in Table 1 and Appendix H of the Crowe report.
Arizona Historical Society
Estimated cost: $12,000,000
Actual cost: 1,467,183
J021 Arizona History Museum
Design and develop a building program, site plans, and cost estimate to relocate the Arizona Historical Society exhibit halls to the cultural plaza that will be located on the west side of the Santa Cruz River.
Expended through FY 2010: $ 1,467,183
Status: Design Complete. In 2008 the District anticipated its Participation at $45 million
The information is sketchy, but it looks like AHS started with a 12 million dollar budget and spent 1.5 million of that. For that they got “a building program, site plans, and a cost estimate”.
Did the AHS get competing design proposals (normally provided no cost)?
Why did they prepare a 45 million dollar design if they were given a 12 million dollar budget?
Was their Rio Nuevo contractor the same contractor they selected as the sole source contractor for the 5C Arizona Centennial Museum?
Note 1: The Rio Nuevo management report shows 4 payments in FY 2009 and 1 payment in FY 2010 totaling $1,467,182. It does not indicate who the payments were made to. The report does not show the $110,000 for the 2005 feasibility study, indicating the Rio Nuevo records may be incomplete.
Note 2: According to the article cited below, some of the history museum money may have been spent on construction drawings. The 2009 annual AHS report does claim construction drawings were completed.
Teya Vitu, "Rio Nuevo works banks on big revenue hike", Tucson Citizen Morgue, August 7, 2008
Thursday, November 4, 2010
The Arizona Republics photo of Governor Brewer’s election win shows her with a pointy head. What is that point?
As explained in the Oct 6th post, the Arizona Flag has a large copper star at its center. In the election win photo, the upper point of the star can be seen above the Governors head (Arizona Republic photo).
That’s the star showing that Arizona was proud of its mining heritage when it became a state. It is also the star that the Governor clearly does not understand as evidenced by her 5C Arizona Centennial Museum project.
The photo suggests the governor will never destroy Arizona’s mining heritage, no matter how hard she may try. She may succeed in destroying the current Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum, but it may reappear after she is gone.
Note: The Governor cannot run for reelection in 2014.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Governor Brewer herself appears to be the prime threat to the Arizona mineral collection and the historic mining artifacts, and she easily won the election. However, two propositions that she desperately needed to pass went down in defeat by over a 2 to 1 margin. Those were propositions 301 and 302.
With that kind of a major budget problem, how long can she keep hiding the millions she is funneling to the Arizona Historical Society to support her pet pork project, the 5C Arizona Centennial Museum? The money is actually hidden in plain sight. The budget of the Arizona Historical Society (administrator of the centennial museum) is a separate line item in the budget. As reported in a prior post, the Governor increased that budget by over 50 percent even as she allowed rest stops to be closed. The AHS budget is now over 6 million dollars. How long before someone figures out we don’t need to keep supporting 50 paid employees in history museums with little attendance while we lay off teachers, firemen and, and even rest stop janitors.Sooner or later, some one has to spot the recently bloated AHS budget. Then, the Arizona Historical Society will be history. True, six million dollars is small compared to the deficit. However, the expenditure is so obviously unnecessary that it should attract attention. Undoubtedly, it is also still not the only pork left in the budget.
If the Arizona Historical Society is eliminated, as it should be, then the mineral collection will have to be assigned to another agency or department. Hopefully, the collections new home will then be at least somewhat qualified to properly preserve it.Such a scenario will by no means preserve or bring back the existing mineral museum as is. There is no way a mineral museum is going to be funded again either in the near future. However, the collection could at least be safely stored under competent oversight until the budget crisis passes.
Reference 1: Mary Jo Pitzl, “2 programs spared, but Arizona budget hole grows”, the Arizona Republic, November 3, 2010
Note: Governor Brewer cannot run for reelection in 2014
Monday, November 1, 2010
Arizona motorists were subjected to the ultimate inconvenience when ADOT closed 13 of the 18 Arizona highway rest stops. ADOT figures it costs and average of $320,000 per year for utilities and maintenance for each rest stop. They were supposedly closed because there were insufficient funds to operate them during the financial crisis.
However, that is not true. There was enough money; it was just spent on the wrong things. Thirteen rest stops at $320,000 each is 4.16 million dollars. Where could that money have been found?
The Governor could have closed the Arizona Historical Society museums instead. If she had been exercising responsible leadership that is what she would have done. Is there a taxpayer or voter anywhere in Arizona that considers access to a historical society museum a more essential service that a rest stop? The Arizona Historical Society Budget was 4.2 million dollars at the time, exactly what was needed to keep the rest stops open.
The historical society budge was in fact scheduled for 20% per year reductions over five years due to the financial crisis. The Governor did not even make that planned cut. She restored all of their funds and then implemented a budget transfer to increase their budget by an over 50%. That transfer of funds happened while the rest stops were closed.
Why did the Governor do something to apparently irresponsible? Because she is using the Arizona Historical Society to support her pet project, the 5C Arizona Centennial Museum. That’s the one she promised, last February, would use “no public funds”. To fund her pet project, she allowed the rest stops to be closed.
That’s worse than mismanagement of public funds. That’s selfish and mean.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
The AHS normal monthly Board of Directors meeting is being held in Tempe in November rather than in Tucson. This is because it is scheduled in conjunction with the annual membership meeeting. The following is on the board meeting agenda:
Call to the Public – Consideration and discussion of comments from the public. Those wishing to address the Board need not request permission in advance. Presentations will be limited to five minutes.
The meeting will be held on Saturday, November 6. The member ship meeting begins at 8:30 and the board meeting begins at 9:30. The meetings are being held at 1300 N. College Ave in Tempe. Details are available at www.arizonahistoricalsociety.org
Monday, October 25, 2010
TRICK the children of Arizona out of a lifetime experience by eliminating the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum
TREAT herself to her own pet pork project, the 5C Arizona Centennial Museum, featuring cows, cotton, etc.
Last spring, Governor Brewer had the Arizona legislature rubber stamp House Bill 2251. This allows her to decimate the top rated and existing Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum and use the building for her centennial museum.
Middle age adults fondly remember their grade school field trip to the mineral museum. How many learning experiences are vividly recalled decades later?
This may well be the meanest trick ever played on children by and adult.
Friday, October 22, 2010
On January 15, 2010 Governor Brewer signed Executive Order 2010-5 extending the Arizona’s Governors Commission on Service and Volunteerism. It stated that “Arizona needs more volunteers to address many of the unmet social, educational, environmental and public safety needs” and that “building and encouraging community volunteer service is an integral part of the state’s future well being” ….
Those are nice sounding words, but the Governors actions betray her words. Her treatment of dedicated, long time volunteers at the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum was absolutely shameful.
The mineral museum has operated for decades supported only by a shoestring state budget. Only the ten thousand plus volunteer hours per year have made operation of the museum and its K-12 education programs possible. Many of the volunteers served for decades, and they have made the mineral museum one of the top rated museums in Arizona. People from around the world visit it, and Arizona teachers depend on it for assistance in complying with state mandated earth science education requirements.
When the Governor decided she wanted the building for her Arizona Centennial Museum, she began secret meetings with the Arizona Historical Society and their sole source, out of state contractor. Those secret meetings continued for at least six months. Then, the Governor entered the mineral museum with a small entourage she brought with her and presented the contractors plans. The mineral museum volunteers that happened to be present saw plans that completely obliterated their hundreds of thousands of hours of volunteer work.
Not only were the volunteers never thanked or even acknowledged, they were insulted. Next, the Governor had an attorney form the Attorney Generals office place them all under a gag order. The gag order prohibited from disclosing any of the information the Governor had presented to her entourage. Presumably, that was done because the Governor had not yet pushed House Bill 2251 through the legislature. That bill eventually transferred all mineral museum assets to the historical society.
The Governors behavior was completely insensitive and quite unbelievable. Surely no public official has ever been so callous toward dedicated volunteers. The completely uncalled for treatment was especially offensive in view of the great contribution this small group of volunteers has made to Arizona and Arizona students.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
When Governor Brewer succeeded Governor Napolitano, she also became cochairman of the Arizona Centennial Commission. The Arizona Centennial Commission had already planned
Planning for this museum began sometime in mid 2009. The Governors office held secret meetings with the Arizona Historical Society, a sole source out of state contractor, a lobbyist, and persons not yet identified. The Governor announced the plans in February, but only at two by invitation only events. The Governors office did issue a press release, but it was not published.
The Governor promised that “no public funds” would be used for the centennial museum, but apparently began diverting several million dollars a year to the Arizona Historical Society (AHS) to support it. As a result of the financial crisis, the 4.2 million dollar budget for the AHS was scheduled to be cut by 20% per year over a period of five years. Not only did Governor Brewer not cut the 2010 AHS budget by the planned 20%, she actually increased if by over 50%.
The unnecessary expenditure of funds during a financial crisis is a concern, but the Governors action will cause far more serious damage. The building she chose for her centennial museum is the one which was occupied by the Arizona Department of Mining and Mineral Resources (ADMMR) and the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum (AMMM).
The ADMMR maintained data on
Even more serious that that is the impending impact on K-12 earth science education. The Governor revised the law to give the AMMM to the AHS. Currently, the AMMM is still open and the earth science programs are continuing. However, that is probably only because the AHS does not have the funds to begin the centennial museum at this time. The Governor has “mandated” that they convert the museum to a history museum featuring cotton, cattle, citrus, copper, and climate. They are planning a nine million dollar conversion with their sole source, out of state contractor.
This conversion will be disastrous for the future.
All Arizonians, whatever their personal interests and political affiliations, should be concerned about the Governors actions.
Note: This post will be the first picked up by the Tucson Citizen, and was designed to succinctly summarize the sorry mess for new readers. There are 40 previous posts at www.minmumad.blogspot.com
Monday, October 18, 2010
The National Academy of Sciences recently released the following report:
Rising Above the Gathering Storm, Revisited: Rapidly Approaching Category 5
National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC, 2010-10-18
This is an update of a similar report published five years ago, and the conclusions are grim. Some of the highlights are:
- The World Economic Forum ranks the USA 48th in quality of science education
- The quality of science education is in decline; there has been noticeable deterioration since the last report was prepared five years ago.
- Jobs are no longer leaving the USA simply because of lower wages elsewhere. Companies have having trouble finding adequately educated employees in the USA. Therefore, they are importing foreigners, or exporting the jobs.
In this bleak and worsening environment, Governor Brewer is eliminating the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum because she wants to replace it with the Arizona Centennial Museum. Preliminary planning for the centennial museum suggests it will be another history museum, of which Arizona already has many. Any educational value it may have will focus on social studies and culture. The Arizona Historical Society will design and manage it.
The Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum is the only earth science museum in Arizona, and is one of the very few facilities assisting teachers comply with the state mandated earth science education curriculum. Now more than ever, a mineral museum and associated K-12 education programs are desperately needed to inspire and educate new earth scientists.
Governor Brewer is making the crisis worse. Her action will eventually contribute to further economic decline.
Note: As reported in the Sep 17th post (Science education threatened by AHS and Arizona Centennial Museum), the National Association of Education Progress ranked Arizona last (50 state comparison). Arizona is dragging the county down, and the Governor is making it worse.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
One of the most frustrating aspects of the Governors attack on the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum is that, in the midst of the fiscal crisis, it is so easy to fool people into thinking it is a cost reduction. This is true even though the Governors office was very clumsy in presenting the deception. For example, within days of the Governors February 16 press release about the Arizona Centennial Museum, the Governors office released this statement in response to questions (bold italics added):
Note: ADMMR is the Arizona Department of Mines and Mineral Resources, of which the mineral museum was a part until July 29, 2010.
Plans for the Centennial Museum began many months ago and were born out of the fact that ADMMR was losing ability to deliver on its statutory mission after the series of budget cuts over the last year. The budget cuts necessarily came out of personnel and other non-rent funds, resulting in the loss of significant staff and program capability. It was clear ADMMR needed to find a cheaper facility, which led to the concept of re-purposing the facility into the Centennial Museum. As far as rent, the AHS will receive through a budget transfer the amount of money currently allocated for rent in the ADMMR budget. In future years, the AHS budget will increase by the amount necessary to cover rent. Additionally, the employee position and funds for the curator currently budgeted in ADMMR will be transferred to AHS to assist in managing the new museum. As far as the question of title, that was one of the first questions asked of the Arizona Department of Administration (ADOA), and we were assured that the new concept would cause no concern. The plans for the future of ADMMR are still ongoing as the original concept of moving them into empty space at the Governor's Offices with a mineral museum on the 1st and 2nd floors was ruled out due to the metal detectors which could not be relocated. The ADOA is examining other State owned office space where rent is currently being paid by some other agency where we can relocate ADMMR. We have some period of time while the Centennial Museum is being designed to find a new location for ADMMR, so the move is not imminent.
The logic in the bold type can be summarized as follows:
- The rent for the mineral museum building was no longer affordable
- All of the currently budgeted ADMMR rent money was transferred to the AHS. In future years, the AHS will be given whatever money is required for the building rent.
- The ADMMR now occupies space paid for by another agency.
Isn’t third grade arithmetic sufficient to determine that total cost increased?
Note: There is actually a hoax within a hoax. As explained in the original June 5th post, the state of Arizona owns the building and there are no liens. Yet, ADMMR was charged market value rent, as if the State had no equity in the building. Most of the rent money became pork in another department.
Appendix: Other messages from the Governors office
Feb 24,1010 - to Tim in England
The Mining and Minerals Museum (MMM) which is under the Department of Mines and Minerals Resources (DMMR) has been hit hard by the budget cuts and cannot afford its rent in that rather large facility and still have enough staff to accomplish their mission. For that reason, we started looking at moving the staff and records of DMMR to less costly facilities, and re-purposing the MMM. That is where we came up with the idea of the privately funded Centennial museum. The minerals collections will be incorporated into the mining related exhibits and the outside equipment will be utilized as well. The Museum responsibilities will be transferred to the Arizona Historical Society, which administers many museum collections. The Museum will not close, unless for remodeling purposes, we need to close it for short periods over the course of the next two years. DMMR will probably not move until July, and we are still looking for appropriate space for them. The Centennial Museum will be a permanent museum and will be state of the art and a big attraction for the public. I hope this helps.
ends (apparently the initials of sender)
March 12, to Paul in Arizona
Your e-mail to Constituent Services was forwarded to me for further comment. I understand you would like to see the Minerals Museum continue as is, but with the enormous budget reductions we have seen in the past couple of years, and with more coming, The Department and of Mines and Mineral Resources (which must pay the rent on the building)has been so significantly cut that I believe it is now down to three employees (paid for with State funds). The agency can no longer adequately fulfill its statutory mission, of which the museum is only used as a tool to educate the public. Rather than close the museum and eliminate the agency, the Governor sought private sector donors to replace what is essentially a publicly funded special interest museum, with a privately funded broader spectrum special interest museum. The State's Centennial seemed a logical event to rally a fund raising effort. We hope donors will be generous so we can actually have a museum at all. The current minerals collection is only housed on a portion of the 1st floor. The agency will move its library collection and staff to another location, which will free up additional space. The Director of the Arizona Historical Society has stated that she believes the entire minerals collection can be incorporated into the new exhibits which will occupy both floors. I personally hope that I can find adequate space for the Department of Mines and Minerals Resources in other State owned space where it can have a public library and perhaps a smaller mineral museum, but rent could still be an issue. I am also working on a plan to digitize all of the paper records of the agency so they will be backed up and would be available online, however that comes with a cost as well. While I understand your convictions and probably can do little to convince you to think otherwise, I did feel I should offer some additional information for your consideration. I hope this helps in someway.
Michael E. Anable
Natural Resource Policy Advisor
Office of Governor Janice K. Brewer
State Of Arizona
1700 W. Washington
Phoenix, AZ 85007