Monday, April 4, 2011
Arizona's 'Five C's' ignores crime and corrections?
Guest post by Ted Rushton
Ted Rushton, now retired, is a former reporter, photographer, columnist and editor for newspapers and magazines in Canada, New Mexico and Arizona.
"If something cannot go on forever, it will stop," is how the famed economist Herb Stein once explained an attitude that sums up the constant expansion of Arizona government programs, services and benefits. Surely this applies to the proposed $15.5 million Arizona Centennial Museum, a project launched a year ago that is intended to dismantle one of America's finest museums and to build a new "Five C's Museum."
The intent is to raise construction funds from private sources; donors will be suitably recognized for helping destroy the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum. So far, $1.75 million has been pledged but not received. No mention has been made of how much the new museum will cost to operate, or who will provide those funds. The present Mining and Mineral museum is self-supporting, due in part to annual contributions of about 10,000 hours per year of suitably skilled volunteer work. Arizona legislators talk a lot about "cutting" government programs; but no mention has been made about the annual state funding level needed for a museum to replace a facility that now receives no state support (other than use of a historic state owned building).
Gov. Jan Brewer already has her name included on a plaque as one of the advocates of county funding to build the covered ballpark for the Arizona Diamondbacks; that project opened on time for the new ball club. The Centennial museum however, is not scheduled to open until late in the year following Arizona’s centennial observances.
One suggestion is for the new museum to operate a snack bar selling products related to the 'Five C's' theme. Hamburgers, for example, to recognize the cattle industry; cotton candy, in recognition of cotton growers; orange juice, in recognition of citrus growers; to be cooled by "swamp coolers" in recognition of Arizona's 110-degree summer heat; with discounts given for purchases paid for with pennies, in recognition of Arizona's copper industry.
The museum is not expected to feature a "Sixth C" of Arizona history, either "crime" or "corrections" as represented by the Yuma Territorial Prison which has been featured in a number of books, films and television dramas. Adding this "Sixth C" in years to come would mean funds could come from the Department of Corrections, perhaps even using inmate "trustees" for staff.
Another suggestion is to wait a few years after the Centennial, then when private funds run out pay for it with state appropriations paid through state parks, tourism, and historical society funding.