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 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

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
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.


  1. Mr. Zimmerman:

    I have posted some earlier comments to you in this site. Its good that you got picked up in the Tucson Citizen. Its an election year but thr truth is the truth. Brewer just wants a party house for the grand Centennial! In this economy I dont see a snowballs chance in hell of the Centennial Commission raising the money for this museum. Why dont they put the 5C's exhibit in their empty museum in papgago Park. There are few visitprs in that museum anyway. They even closed down the gift shop there. Will the 5C's museum charge admission? And if they do what will it do to the attendance? The idea of a 5C's exhibit is so boring I almost feel asleep writing the words. Arizona has an exciting history, a 5C's exhibit will put even Phoenix residents asleep. Will the Arizona Historical Society suffer more budget cuts when the hammer falls again for the next budget?

  2. I wouldn't put too much stock in what anyone says in a comment section on the Arizona Republic website. Between the trolls, the teenagers, and the ideologically rooted, I have yet to see an informative, rational discussion amongst readers. I have always hoped that those comment sections are not reflective of Arizona as a whole, and that the "nonsense" you see is merely entertainment for most people. But then again, Arizona does not have a great track record, and frequently makes ideologic decisions without considering outcomes. "Bob" probably doesn't care. He likely has his mind made up because of one (probably unrelated) issue, and everything he says now must support that position.

  3. Reference Anonymous question about attendance at Arizona Historical Society museums. I am working on a future post which will compare their attendance to mineral museum attendance. Preliminary information shows the total annual attendance for ALL FOUR of their museums is just 53% of mineral museum attendance. Pitiful. That is most likely and indication of how successful a 5C museum will be. Many millions of dollars will be completely wasted.

  4. Be careful on what the AHS tells you what the attendance is at their museums. They lie a lot.

  5. Further:
    After they started charging for admission the attendance dropped in all of their museums except one.

  6. Attend the annual meeting of the AHS in their Papago Park Museum in a couple of weeks. Ask the same hard questions there as you do here.

  7. AHS may have lied about their attendance in the past, but they don't anymore. They now refuse to answer questions about attendance.

    The Joint Legislative Budget Committee reports show their annual attendance has plummeted to just 30.000 (total for ALL FOUR of their museums). They claim to have additional unpaid attendance, but refuse to provide numbers.

  8. They have six museums. Yuma, Flagstaff. Phoenix (Papago Park) Tucson and two branch museums in Tucson for a total of three there.

  9. The totals probably include the Riordan House Museum in Flagstaff. AHS is running that now. The attendance in Tucson is pathetic, 7,000 paid admissions.They have closed the Fremont House Museum, probably figuring this new Centennial boondoggle. The Wells Fargo Museum and Ft.Lowell Museums have just over a thousand each per year.Papago Park attendance is also pathetic with schoolkids being the majority of the visitors.Yuma is unknown.
    They are a tax supported facility, there should be an accounting to some higher agency. Unless they lie through their teeth!