Monday, November 1, 2010

Arizona rest stop closures unnecessary

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.


  1. The one thing that agencies like AHS dislike the very most is public exposure and bad press.
    The second worse thing is for the board of directors to have public exposure and bad press.
    The board would have had to vote for this problem. What was the vote, who voted for what? Hold their feet to the fire. Only a couple of days left. If you want your Mineral Museum fight for it. Dont be a pawn.

  2. No, the board apparently did not vote on this. Look through the AHS board meeting minutes. According to them, their director met in secret with the Governor and the sole source out of state contractor for about half a year to plan this disaster. When the board did find out about it, the director told them it was a "mandate" from the governor.

  3. Then pass that to the press. The only people who can vote to get rid of the director is the board. Only 24 hours left! Fight for what you believe! Send all of the volunteers to the meeting. Print out what you stated here into a short report and mail it to the board and pass it out to the membership. It will be a meeting to remember. Show them they cant screw with innocent people.
    Dont forget that they will now have to pull this off. In this economy there is no way they can raise that kind of money. And there is little time left to build the five "C"s exhibit. That is if they dont go to sleep doing it.Fruit picking and tourism Zzzzzzz....

  4. Unfortunately, the "press" seems to be brain dead. We have to use the internet to spread this sad story.

    The AHS board can fire the director, but they do not have the authority to stop the ridiculous 5C Arizona Centennial Museum. That became law when the Governor signed House Bill 2250. The law must be repealed to get the AHS board out from under the 5C centennial museum. The problem cannot be solved at an AHS meeting.

  5. One additional point: As noted on the home page, this blog is the sole effort of one person. It does not represent the position or opinion of any group. If mineral museum supporters want to stop the 5C Arizona Centennial Museum nonsense, then they need to organize in some way to make that happen. A state wide coalition of clubs, foundations, schools, and corporations might be effective.

  6. Then the board does not mean anything. They have no power or authority over the AHS. Why would they even exist. I hope that they are reading this. The Gov and Woosley just made them disappear. Maybe they better change th by-laws!!! LOL What fools.
    The AHS spent 1.4 million for exhibit designs for a non-existant museum that will never be built for the Tucson Rio Nuevo boondoggle. The audit just came out. Two boondoggles in a year. I winder if the AHS Board even knows or cares.

  7. Were they using the same sole source out of state contractor (Gallagher and Associates) for Tucson Rio Nuevo?

  8. Thanks for the tip on Rio Nuevo. See the November 5th post.