Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Arizona Historical Society Meeting

The Arizona Historical Society has absorbed the Arizona Mineral and Mining Museum. Although the mineral museum remains open as of this date, its future looks bleak.

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

Governor Brewers Halloween

Trick and Treat

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

Governor Brewer mistreated volunteers

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

Governor Brewer jeopardizing Arizona’s future

When Governor Brewer succeeded Governor Napolitano, she also became cochairman of the Arizona Centennial Commission. The Arizona Centennial Commission had already planned Arizona’s centennial celebration. Whether Governor Brewer supported any existing centennial celebration projects is not know known, but it is now apparent that she quickly began planning her own pet project; the Arizona Centennial Museum.

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 Arizona’s vast mineral resources that was collected for over a century. This data, combined with mineral samples in the AMMM, was an invaluable resource to prospectors and miners attempting to locate new mineral deposits. The ADMMR was forced out of the building, and most of their budget was transferred to the AHS. The data files are now stored in two different locations because the new ADMMR quarters are totally inadequate. Because of the severe budget cut, the ADMMR will not be able to provide service to the mining industry for much longer. Future development of Arizona’s minerals resources will be greatly impaired. The security of the mineral data is threatened, and the data has been separated from the mineral specimens which are now under the control of the AHS.

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. Arizona has only one earth science museum, the AMMM. It currently has many history museums, and adding another will have little value. However, the loss of the earth science museum and its education programs can cause serious damage. If future earth scientists are not inspired and trained, the future economy and standard of living will be threatened.

Arizona is currently ranked last in science education (out of the 50 states) and the USA is ranked 48th in science education. This is a very dangerous time to convert the only earth science museum into another history museum. Scarce resources should be shifted to science education, not from it if the future Arizona and American economy is to recover and prosper.

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

Economic Damage & the Arizona Centennial Museum

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

Cost Cutting Hoax: the Arizona Centennial Museum

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

Dear Tim
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

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Challenge via email from Bob

On October 10th, the following appeared on the Arizona Republic Opinions page under the heading: Jan Brewer, with friends like these …

As the MoveOn.org-style liberals have demonstrated to President Barack Obama, your friends often can be lots more vicious than your enemies. Case in point: the libertarian Cato Institute, a shrine of sorts for fiscal conservatives, just savaged Gov. Jan Brewer's fiscal policies (they gave her a "D"), mostly for backing the temporary sales-tax hike.
Doug McEachern)

Wishing to provide the Governor with as much recognition as possible for the 5C Arizona Centennial Museum, I posted the following comment on www.azcentral.com.

She didn't even deserve a D. She is still squandering millions on her own pork projects: millions for her Arizona Centennial Museum and 7 million for the sidewalk to nowhere on Centennial Way.

Someone identified as Bob8930 then responded with:

Arizona Centennial Museum is privately funded. You forgot to mention that - or perhaps you didn't forget.

And Centennial Way? That is a boondoggle created by Mayor Gordon and funded by federal and city funds.

You get a Zero on your report and an F for your grade.


Bob is misinformed about the funding for the centennial museum. The Governor did promise that “no public funds” would be used, but it is not true. The Arizona Centennial Museum will cost taxpayers millions every year. This is explained in the prior July21 post “Who will pay for the Arizona Centennial Museum?

Centennial Way is a bit more complicated. Since the street is city property and the city is administrating the contract, Mayor Gordon probably has some involvement.

My comment on Centennial Way was based on a Sep. 9th article in the Arizona Republic that was discussed in the prior Oct 8 post:" Are misappropriated funds being used for Centennial Way?. The Republic said that the Centennial Way project “is a collaboration of the Arizona Centennial Commission and other public and private groups”. This implies that the Arizona Centennial Commission is the lead entity. Governor Brewer is cochairman of the Arizona Centennial Commission and therefore has at least some responsibility.

The Republic article does not quote Mayor Gordon as it describes the project. It does quote Karen Churchard. The following information about Karen Churchard is posted on the internet:

Director, Arizona Centennial Commission and
Asst. Deputy Director, Arizona Office of Tourism
1110 W. Washington Street, Suite 155
Phoenix, AZ 85007
(602) 364-4158
(602) 364-3701 (F)

Karen Churchard is the Assistant Deputy Director of the Arizona Office of Tourism (AOT), the state agency charged with branding Arizona on a global scale, positioning Arizona as a premier leisure travel destination and bringing new dollars into the state. Karen’s primary responsibility is serving as the Director of the Arizona Centennial Commission (2012) as well as overseeing AOT events and sponsorships.

So, directly or indirectly, Karen Churchard obviously reports to Governor Brewer, and the Governor is responsible for her actions. (note 2 below proves the Governor was at least aware of the Centennial Way project and was actively promoting it)

I am glad that Bob8930 recognizes Centennial Way as a “boondoggle”, and I hope to eventually convince him that the Arizona Centennial Museum is a boondoggle as well.

As to whether the Mayor or the Governor is primarily responsible for the Centennial Way boondoggle, we could use a little help. Perhaps someone out there could provide one or both of the following:

1. Arizona Centennial Commission Minutes involving Centennial Way
2. A copy of the application for the FHWA Transportation Enhancement funds

Note 1: The Centennial Plan is posted at www.arizona.org
Page 6 identifies Centennial Way as a signature project and describes it as follows:

WASHINGTON STREET (CENTENNIAL WAY) | This collaborative project between ADOT, City of Phoenix and the Arizona Centennial Commission includes new widened decorative concrete sidewalks, more highly defined crosswalks, ADA curb ramp improvements, bike lanes, enhanced pedestrian lighting, and additional street scape elements. Travelers will have the opportunity to enjoy the history of Arizona and beauty of Washington Street as a ―promenade‖ beginning at the historic Maricopa County Courthouse & Phoenix City Hall to the historic copper domed Arizona Capitol Museum. The first phase of this project, in collaboration with the Phoenix Community Alliance, includes Centennial Way signage and State Flag Banners.
Note 2: On Thursday, February 18, 2010, the Governor hosted the Governors Centennial Summit at the Orpheum Theater. According to Politico Mafioso, her presentation included the following:
Another Centennial project that is currently underway is the beautifying of the Arizona Capitol Mall –Washington Street from 7th Avenue to 17th Avenue – with projects such as the dedication of “Centennial Way,” the Phoenix Community Alliance’s “Arizona State Flag Walk,” and new landscape, sidewalks, etc.
Note 3: This blog has a 100% accuracy goal. Comments, criticism, and challenges are all welcome and will be used to clarify issues wherever and whenever possible.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

UPDATE to “What’s happening to the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum”, Oct 2010

The original June 5 blog post entitled “What’s happening to the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum” described preparation and passage of the bill transferring the mineral museum to the Arizona Historical Society (AHS) for them to decimate and convert into the Governors 5C Arizona Centennial Museum.

The bill became law on July 29, and the AHS has taken control of the mineral museum. Conversion to the centennial museum has not started because centennial museum fund raising has been unsuccessful thus far.

The long circulating story about Freeport donating a million dollars for the %C Arizona Centennial Museum appears to be only partially true. Apparently the commitment is conditional, requiring completion and approval of centennial museum plans.
No plan has been presented for the centennial museum. The sole source out of state contractor did circulate a questionnaire seeking input for new displays. The questions suggest that the centennial museum, if built, will be a social studies museum.

At the moment, the mineral museum continues to function as it did. Most of the volunteers are still supporting it and the earth science education educating programs. However, the volunteers are extremely apprehensive about the future, and the curator has resigned.
Though work cannot start on the centennial museum, millions of state tax dollars are being diverted to the AHS to administer and maintain it. The AHS budget increased over 50% in the last year.

The Governor committed 7 million dollars (federal pork) to replace the perfectly functional sidewalks on Centennial Way (in front of the museum) with wider ones including some extra frills. The contract has been placed, and this may now be the greatest threat to the functionally restored stamp mill front of the museum.
Even though there was no need to do so at this time, the Governors office spent tens of thousands of dollars in September to move the Arizona Department of Mines and Mineral Resources (ADMMR) out of the mineral museum building. They are now in temporary quarters in two different buildings. Offices are in one on Adams Street, and some of the mine and mineral records are in another on Washington Street. The public no longer has easy access to the department because the offices are in a health department building with controlled access. Their function is badly compromised. Personnel are in one building, data files are in a second building, and mineral samples are in third under AHS control.

So, after over a year of preparation, the Governor appears to have accomplished absolutely nothing except to push through the bill inappropriately transferring the mineral museum to the AHS, to squander 7 million dollars on a sidewalk to nowhere (no one will use it), and to make an absolute mess out of the ADMMR. Which centennial is the 5C Arizona Centennial Museum being prepared for?

Friday, October 8, 2010

Are misappropriated funds being used for Centennial Way?

The existing and more than adequate sidewalks along West Washington Street (Now Centennial Way in Phoenix) will be torn up and replaced with wider decorative sidewalks. This project was described by Lynh Bui in the Arizona Republic on Sep 9th (Phoenix’s Washington Street will receive centennial face lift). This article was discussed previously in the Sep10th post “Governor Brewer to spend $7,000,000 on an unneeded sidewalk”. Actually, as described by Bui, the project includes some new features in addition to the sidewalk. It includes “widening sidewalks, planting hundreds of palm and shade trees, and installing shaded bus stops”. It also includes “commemorative and informational displays ---- and more lighting and shade structures”.

Is this a legitimate use of Federal transportation funds? Given the near total absence of foot traffic (or any traffic actually) on this street, how can it be useful? Certainly it will do nothing to reduce traffic congestion or to repair an essential existing transportation corridor.

Phoenix recently placed contract ST85140038-FHWA (Centennial Way Federal Aid-Transportation Enhancement 2 Step Design build Services). If the money is mostly Federal highway Administration (FHWA) money provided under the Transportation Enhancement program, then it is presumably subject to the restrictions in the following document:

FHWA Guidance

Transportation Enhancement Activities

US Department of Transportation

Federal Highway Administration

Mar 25, 2010 update


The document reveals that, like many federal programs, the Transportation Enhancement (TE) has a deceptive name. The program does not do basic traffic enhancement like reducing congestion. It is a pork program providing funding for non essential frills along transportation corridors. Nevertheless, there are specific and (for a government document) rather succinct limitations on the use of the money. The following list of eligible activities is listed on page 4 of the FHWA document cited above. Note that the items on the list are not examples. The money is only for those items on the list.

Eligible Activities [Revised January 19, 2006]

The list of qualifying TE activities provided in 23 U.S.C. 101(a)(35) is intended to be exclusive, not illustrative.

That is, only those activities listed therein are eligible as TE activities. They are listed below. [This paragraph and the list below were revised on November 4, 2005]

TE Activities Defined-

A. Provision of facilities for pedestrians and bicycles.

B. Provision of safety and educational activities for pedestrians and bicyclists.

C. Acquisition of scenic easements and scenic or historic sites (including historic battlefields).

D. Scenic or historic highway programs (including the provision of tourist and welcome center facilities).

E. Landscaping and other scenic beautification.

F. Historic preservation.

G. Rehabilitation and operation of historic transportation buildings, structures, or facilities (including historic railroad facilities and canals).

H. Preservation of abandoned railway corridors (including the conversion and use of the corridors for pedestrian or bicycle trails).

I. Inventory, control, and removal of outdoor advertising.

J. Archaeological planning and research.

K. Environmental mitigation

i. to address water pollution due to highway runoff; or

ii. reduce vehicle-caused wildlife mortality

Comparing the preliminary Centennial Way plan (as described by Bui) to the list of acceptable uses of the “Transportation Enhancement” money:

1. trees – this matches item E on the list, and is acceptable

2. bus stops – not on the list

3. lighting – not on the list

4. commemorative displays – not on the list

5. wider sidewalks (discussion follows)

Some might argue that a wider sidewalk is a “facility” for pedestrians. No other item on the FHWA list of approved items can possibly be interpreted to mean wider sidewalks, or even sidewalks.

However, consider the phrase “provision of”. If something is “provided”, then it was obviously not there before. The existing sidewalks along Centennial Way are more than adequate for the sporadic pedestrian and bicycle traffic.

FHWA provides the following examples to explain the "provision of facilities"

Provision of facilities for pedestrians and bicycles. New or reconstructed sidewalks, walkways, or curb ramps; wide paved shoulders for nonmotorized use, bike lane striping, bike parking, and bus racks; construction or major rehabilitation of off-road shared use paths (nonmotorized transportation trails); trailside and trailhead facilities for shared use paths; bridges and underpasses for pedestrians and bicyclists and for trails.

"New sidewalk obviously implies that no existing sidewalk is there, and "reconstructed" obviously implies the existing sidewalk is not safe or usable.

Therefore, it appears that the planned Centennial Way project is mostly a misappropriation of FHWA Transportation Enhancement funds.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Arizona State Flag: Did Governor Brewer ever look at it?

West Washington Street in Phoenix, which leads to the State Capital, is currently decorated with Arizona Flags in preparation for the centennial. At the center of the star is a two foot copper star, representing the pride that Arizona once had in being the nation’s number one copper producer. Presently, the copper stars on the flags are nicely complimented by the Arizona Mining Mineral and Museum at 1502 W. Centennial Way. The museum features copper products and copper mining, as well as the unique Arizona geology that includes extraordinarily rich copper deposits.

However, Governor Brewer and the Arizona Historical Society (as explained in prior blog posts) plan to dismantle the mineral museum and replace it with a 5C Arizona Centennial Museum featuring cotton, cattle, citrus, climate, and copper. The motivation for this change is unknown, but cannot be based on Arizona history. At the time of statehood, Arizona was proud of being the top copper producer, and the flag was designed accordingly.

The flag has no cotton balls, no cows, and no grapefruit. The Governor should look at the 2 foot tall copper star on one of those flags, and think about why it is there.


From www.azgovernor.gov (facts about Arizona)

The lower half of the flag is a blue field, the upper half divided into thirteen equal segments, six light yellow and seven red. In the center of the flag is a copper-colored five-point star. The red and the blue are the same shades as the flag of the United States of America, and it measures four feet high and six feet wide. The flag was designed by Charles W. Harris and first sewn by Nan D. Hayden. Blue and yellow are the Arizona colors, and red and yellow the colors of the Spanish Conquistadores headed by Coronado who first came to Arizona in 1540. The copper star represents Arizona as the largest producer of copper in the nation.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Some Birthday Present: the 5C Arizona Centennial Museum

Suppose that, on you birthday, a friend gave you the keys to a new little Chevy Aveo. However, after the party, they quietly slipped you a booklet of payment coupons. They actually bought the car on credit using your identity. And, oh yeah, they used you six month old Lincoln Town Car for the trade in.

Would you be happy?

That is about what Governor Brewer did to Arizona when she presented the 5C Arizona Centennial Museum (see the following online news release):

February 12, 2010 (602) 542-1342

Governor Announces Centennial Birthday Present

Privately-funded museum dedicated to telling Arizona’s remarkable story of growth

State of Arizona

Janice K. Brewer Office of the Governor Main Phone: 602-542-4331

Governor 1700 West Washington Street, Phoenix, AZ 85007 Facsimile: 602-542-7601

CONTACT: Paul Senseman psenseman@az.gov, Karen Churchard (602) 364-3723 kchurchard@azot.gov

How she slipped the taxpayers the payment book is explained in the July 21, 2010 blog post entitled “Who will pay for the Arizona Centennial Museum”.

The press release says: “The Governor also explained that no public funds will be used to build this new museum”.

Unfortunately, that’s not true, unless possibly if there is total emphasis on the word “build” as opposed to maintain and operate. The latter is costing taxpayers millions of dollars per year.

And what was the trade in (your Lincoln)? Why that is the top rated and internationally recognized Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum that you already have and have had for over a century and which is a vital part of K-12 earth science education in Arizona. The Governor is putting her “gift” in the very same building. The preliminary plans for the Arizona Centennial Museum that the Governor presented on February 12 show no remaining features of the existing mineral museum.

This “gift” has such a bad odor that thousands of students signed petitions stating: “Governor, please take this gift back”.

Unfortunately, the legislature brushed aside the students’ petitions and accepted the payment book by passing House Bill 2251.

Note: The nine million dollars to be given to the sole source contractor for the interior centennial museum displays will supposedly be paid for with corporate and federal grants. However, as explained in the July 21 post, providing for the facility and administration is going to cost Arizona taxpayers much more than that.

Comment: Apparently centennial museum fund raising efforts have been completely unsuccessful thus far, so there will be great temptation to “borrow” some public funds to finish the “gift” in time for the centennial. Taxpayers need to watch their money closely.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Who tampered with House Bill 2251?

Prior posts have described how House Bill 2251, establishing the Arizona Centennial Museum and transferring the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum to the Arizona Historical Society, was pushed through the legislature in spite of public protest. One lone Senator did attempt to limit the damage caused by the bill, and prepared an amendment. Four provisions of that amendment are described and explained in the August 15 post (Will the Arizona Centennial Museum comply with the law?)

The original bill, drafted by the Governors staff or by a lobbyist supporting the Governors project, politicized the Arizona Department of Mines and Mineral Resources. Previously, the Director of ADMMR reported to a five member board of governors, thus insulating the department’s activities from political manipulation. The original bill changed that, making the director report directly to the Governor, and opening the door to political mischief.

During Senate meetings preparing the amendment to the bill, a majority of participants agreed that the portion of the bill politicizing the ADMMR was not appropriate. There fore, there was a fifth provision in the amendment that eliminated this inappropriate change to the law. The Governors representatives objected, but the majority, and the Senator, insisted that the board retain control of ADMMR.

Somehow, this agreed upon 5th provision of the amendment was never integrated into the amendment document that was voted on by the Senate. As signed by the Governor, the law effectively eliminates the ADMMR board. The Director of the ADMMR is now subject to the whim of the Governor.

Who made this unauthorized change in the bills amendment?

What was their motive?

Were they acting under the Governors direction?

What mischief is the Governor planning?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Will the Arizona Historical Society defy the Judge?

Note: See 10/3 correction at end of post.

The Historic League, Inc. is a fund raising arm of the Arizona Historical Society. On September 30th, they posted the following on www.tastestreasures.blogspot.com

October 14th Tour Planned

“Join the League for the first tour of the season when we visit the Arizona Mining and Minerals Museum. The museum houses a collection of more than 3,000 gemstones, rocks, minerals and numerous exhibits which highlight the mining industry that helped build Arizona. It traces its origins back to the first Arizona Fair held in November of 1884. Under the direction of the Arizona Historical Society since July, it will soon be transformed into the Arizona Centennial Museum spotlighting Arizona’s five C’s. This is your opportunity to see the “before.””

The photo above accompanied the post.

This is not one of the architectural illustrations prepared by the sole source centennial museum contractor for the Governors February presentation. The source is unknown, but the content (or lack thereof) arouses concern.

Someone has edited a photo of the existing mineral museum, and taken out all of the historic mining artifacts that currently surround it. That is consistent with the intent of the Governor as stated in her February presentations and as illustrated by the contractor.

However, as explained in the August 15th post (Will the Arizona Centennial Museum comply with the law?), one of the provisions in the amended centennial museum bill was that:

  • All existing mineral museum items and artifacts would be retained, including the outdoor displays.

Furthermore, retired Arizona Supreme Court Judge and Arizona Centennial Commission co chairman Charles Jones promised that “the historic pieces of equipment and world class mineral and gem collection will remain prominently displayed”. (See July 30 post entitled “Was the Judge mislead about the Arizona Centennial Museum?)

Clearly, the above photo is not consistent with either the centennial museum law or Judge Jones promise.

Who prepared this edited photo?

Why were the “historic pieces of equipment” removed?

Does the History League intend to help the AHS and the Governor defy the Judge?

What is the basis for the History Leagues apparent assumption that the "transformation" will be an improvement? Have they seen plans for the Arizona Centennial Museum?

Correction: After this post was published, a long time mineral museum supporter identified the origin of the photo. It is from about 10 years ago, before historic mining artifacts were placed in front of the building. Trees in the photo but no longer on the site date the photo. The photo has not been edited.

Therefore, the appropriate question is not: why was the photo edited? The question is; why was a photo not including the items the Governor wants to remove chosen for the Historic League post? Was the selection of the old photo innocent, or does it reflect an intent to remove the mining equipment?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

An international embarrassment: the 5C Arizona Centennial Museum:

The 5C Arizona Centennial Museum will be an international embarrassment no matter what the quality of its displays may be. That is because of the loss of the existing top rated mineral museum it is displacing and because of the annual Tucson Gem and Mineral Show.

The annual Tucson show attracts over 50,000 visitors a year from around the world. They come from Thailand, China, Brazil, Poland, Italy, Africa, Australia, Indonesia, Canada, Russia, and many other countries. Depending upon which review you read, the Tucson show is either the largest gem or mineral show in the USA, or the largest in the world. Since fossils were added to the agenda, it has been described as the largest natural science show in the world.

The “show” is actually over 40 different shows scattered over the city of Tucson in two dozen different locations. Virtually every hotel and motel is filled with mineral dealers or buyers. Dealer’s rooms become shops by day. Various surveys place the impact on the Tucson economy between 75 million and 110 million dollars. It is the largest annual event in the city of Tucson.

Visitors coming to the two week show spend and average of 20 days in Arizona. About 50 percent take extra time to sight see and take tours. About 20 percent visit museums.

Now, just what might type of museum might attract this international crowd? The existing Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum in Phoenix is an obvious choice, and is closely associated with this international Tucson event. For Arizona to eliminate the mineral museum in favor of another history museum will appear ludicrous.

Each year, the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum has placed a guest display in the 180,000 square foot main show in the Tucson Convention Center, as do other museums from around the world. Prestigious museums such as the Smithsonian and the Sorbonne have participated in the Tucson show.

Eliminating the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum will appear incomprehensible to this large crowd of international visitors, especially since Arizona is the number one mining state for non fuel minerals. The huge Tucson show, begun is 1955, is in Tucson because of Arizona’s exceptional mineral resources. Many of Arizona’s mines are world famous among mineral collectors because of the prized specimens those mines have produced.

Why would you close a top rated and internationally recognized mineral museum to build another history museum?

Arizona will suffer international embarrassment.

Note: Statistics for this blog currently (Oct 16th) show viewers in Canada, South Africa, Ghana, Brazil, Japan, Indonesia, China, India, and Vietnam.

Friday, October 1, 2010

58 Geese voted for the Arizona Centennial Museum

Ours is supposed to be a government of checks and balances. Whimsical or corrupt behavior by the executive branch should be held in check by one of the other branches of government. This is especially the responsibility of the legislature, where the combination of House and Senate should restrain bad behavior in the executive branch.

Unfortunately, this carefully designed system failed completely when Governor Brewer and the Arizona Historical Society hatched her pet project, the Arizona Centennial Museum. If the Governor could have attracted private money for her pet project, she could simply have built it. However, like an Egyptian Pharaoh, she wanted to obliterate former legislature Polly Rosembaums pet project (Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum, see Tuesday July 20 blog post) and build hers on the very same spot. To do that, she needed to change the law.

Unfortunately, with the help of Representative Russ Jones and Senator John Nelson, that was all too easy. Aware of public opposition, Jones used a House trick (strike all bill) to avoid a House hearing, and Nelson pushed the bill through he Senate hearing in the face of public opposition. Then, it was easy. On the last day of the legislative session, the rest of the geese simply ran with the flock.

Incredibly, the House vote on the Arizona Centennial Museum bill was 58 to 1 with one representative not voting. Why would such a flawed bill easily attract 58 votes? The apparent answer may be that no one read it. Except for one, the geese simply ran with the flock.

Every one of the 60 Arizona congressmen were provided with information on the serious problems with the bill. Apparently, only one read it or understood it, and voted nay.

Voting without understanding is apparently standard procedure for the Arizona legislature. Not only do they apparently not read bills, they also carefully make sure no one will read it to them. Every session of the Arizona legislature is an “emergency session” to avoid a constitutional provision that bills be read before voting on them.

The Senate did a bit better. There were 9 nay votes and one Senator did not vote. However, 20 non readers or non thinkers voted for the bill.

Senators and Representatives do no appear to be representing the people. Who tells the geese how to vote, and why do they listen?


The following is from page 36 of “From idea …. To Bill… To Law, The Legislative Process in Arizona”, by State Senator Randall Grant, 2000, available online at www.az/gov

Eventually, the legislature sought to get around the three readings.

The solution was again creative. They simply declared an emergency. (Remember the “unless in case of emergency” in Article IV?) Under this provision, instead of reading the entire bill three times, the legislature only reads the title of the bill three times. So, to this day, one of the very first items on the agenda at the opening of each legislature is to have an emergency declared. Put differently, every piece of legislation passed for a number of years has been passed under an “emergency”.