Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Will there be a Goldwater bobble head in the US Capitol?
Many curious bills appear in every session of the Arizona Legislature. However, the 50th legislature’s Senate Bill 1506 is probably the most ludicrous. The bill, in its entirety, reads as follows:
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Arizona: Section 1.
Arizona historical society; funding Barry Goldwater statue.
The Arizona historical society shall organize a solicitation for monies for the creation of a statue of Senator Barry Goldwater. The monies shall be used to select and contract with a gifted and experienced sculptor to create a suitable statue of Senator Barry Goldwater and to make the statue available for placement in the National Statuary Hall, or in the Old Hall of the House, in the United States Capitol.
The Arizona Historical Society might not be able to raise funds in a room full of lottery winners. They have possession of Arizona’s historic documents and artifacts. They have the use of of 19 state owned buildings with a total of 208,000 square feet. They are permitted to rent some of those to private groups for fees. They receive a $4 million dollar per year subsidy from the state. Yet, with all those resources, they have not produced a top rated museum. They are not even keeping Arizona’s historic documents available to the public as required by Arizona statue (Marley Center library is closed).
The Arizona legislature built the enormous Marley Center Museum for the AHS. All the AHS was expected to do was raise funds for the displays. According to Auditor General reports, they failed.
The AHS spent $1.5 million of public money designing their Rio Nuevo museum in Tucson, but did not raise funds to build it.
The AHS has been working on the 5C Arizona Centennial Museum project for over a year now, but has not raised the required funds. Now, that museum can never be open before the centennial is long over.
A couple of years ago, as the financial crisis struck, they were given a very generous budget offer. Rather than having their budget zeroed out (as it should have been when state parks and rest stops were closed) they were to have just a 20% per year budget reduction for five years. That budget was designed to give them time to establish public support to continue their mission.
The AHS panicked at the thought of having to be self supporting, and ran to their political supporters. They recovered their full budget and more. The AHS cannot and does not want to do fundraising. It has gotten way to comfortable in the public trough.
Yet the senate writes a bill stating “the Arizona historical society shall organize a solicitation for monies …”
Will the Arizona Senate be happy with a two inch tall pewter likeness of US Senator Goldwater?