Saturday, September 11, 2010

Why did Senator John Nelson rubber stamp Governor Brewer’s bad idea?

Governor Brewer appears to have hatched the idea for the 5C Arizona Centennial Museum all by herself. If she had funding, she could simply have built it. If she absolutely had to have the building at 1502 W. Washington, she could have simply displaced the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum that currently occupies that building. Any mineral specimens or mining artifacts to be displayed in the 5C museum could have been easily placed there on loan from the Department of Mining and Mineral Resources. Instead, she determined to make a real mess.

Somehow she got the idea that the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum had to be reassigned from the Department of Mines and Mineral Resources to the Arizona Historical Society. Then, she could have the historical society decimate the mineral museum and include a few left over pieces in the 5C museum. To do it the hard way, she had to have Arizona statutes revised. As they were, maintaining and operating the mineral museum was the responsibility of the Arizona Department of Mines and Mineral Resources.

So, she had Representative Russ Jones attach and amendment to a water resources bill to implement her wishes. When a large group of mineral museum supporters assembled to speak at the hearing, he pulled the attachment. He then used a bit of legislative trickery to avoid a house hearing on a stand alone bill including the governor’s wishes.

That bill then had a public hearing in only the Senate where the committee chairman was Senator John Nelson. A large group of people appeared to speak against the bill, and there was standing room only in the hearing room. Senator Nelson obviously already knew how he would vote, and did not want to listen to all of the speakers. When they protested, he reluctantly gave each of them just two minutes. Then, he allowed the director of the Arizona Historical society to drone on endlessly in support of the bill. The bias was blatantly obvious. At the end of the hearing, he ignored all of the many problems posed by the opposition speakers and cast the deciding vote in favor of the bill.

We are supposed to have a government of checks and balances. In the case of the 5C museum bill, it failed completely. Why was Senator John Nelson in the Governors pocket? What political machinery or party chicanery made him rubber stamp and obviously flawed bill for the governor? Why did he place the Governors wishes over the best interest of Arizona and Arizona students?

The damage done by Senator John Nelsons biased vote may never be repaired. A scientific mineral collection painstakingly gathered and preserved for over a century is now in the hands of the historical society that lacks the scientific skills to properly care for it. Many specimens came from mines and geological deposits that no longer exist. They cannot be replaced.

Senator John Nelson failed in his duty to act in the best interest of the citizens. For reasons still unknown at this time, he rubber stamped a Governors ill conceived whim.

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