Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Seven to One

The Senate Appropriations Committee passed SB1200 with little discussion and a 7 to 1 vote.  A dozen mineral museum supporters were present and 5 of them spoke briefly. The AHS lobbyist opposed the bill with AHS standard talking points 3 and 6. All seven of the talking points were used in the prior Government Committee hearing and in several committee hearings in 2015.

List of standard AHS talking points used to oppose reopening of the mineral museum:

1.      1. AHS Claim: The mineral museum is closed because the recession defeated the fundraising effort for the centennial-experience museum
Comment: The recession began well before the AHS ever began planning the centennial-experience museum.

2.      2. AHS Claim: The museum building has structural problems and requires extensive renovation to be habitable.
Comment: Arizona spent $1.5 million upgrading the building in 1990, and an engineering study determined that it was in an excellent state of structural preservation. No evidence of a structural problem has been presented at this time.

3.    AHS Claim: It would cost $2.1 million to reopen the mineral museum 
Comment:  The mineral museum could be reopened for far less utilizing existing improvements made in 1990. Most of the line items in the $2.1 million AHS estimate are discretionary

4.      4. AHS Claim: If the state provides funds needed to reopen the museum, it should be managed by the AHS because the AHS excels at museum management
Comment: While the AHS does have five museums in Arizona, they are not successful museums. For example, the extravagantly expensive museum in Tempe has such low attendance that each visitor costs taxpayers hundreds of dollars.

5.      5. The mineral museum should not be transferred to the AZGS because the AZGS may be consolidated with the UA.
Comment: Is the Geology department of the UA any less qualified to manage a mineral museum than the AZGS?

6.      6. The mineral collection is now effectively displayed in Tempe and other locations.
Comment: That is an admission of guilt rather than a statement of accomplishment. Arizona statutes clearly required the AHS to continue operating the complete mineral museum and K-12 education programs at the Phoenix location. It also required the AHS to preserve the historic mining equipment which is now abandoned at the Phoenix location.

7.      7. If the building is transferred to another agency, they will not be able to accomplish anything either until the State provides the millions of dollars needed for any project using the mineral museum building.
Comment: The fact that the AHS cannot raise funds (Experience Museum, History Museum at Rio Nuevo, Marley Center Museum) does not prove that another agency cannot. Only10% of the AZGS budget comes from State taxpayers.


  1. So Dr. Woosley did not testify? And the "Lobbyist" used the same,old,tired points? Guess you get what you paid for.

  2. The input from the AHS lobbyist also slipped in a new take on why AHS was not at fault--the plan for the Centennial was always to get rid of the Mining and Mineral Museum! Whose plan was this? It had to come from AHS and the Governor. However, they needed a bill, and when the legislative process proceeded, the MMM supporters launched a solid case for keeping the financially efficient and hugely successful MMM. The final disposition of the bill was an amended one which shared the building and mandated that the MMM and its educational programs and displays would remain. Gov. Brewer's 5C's Centennial displays would also be in the building. At that time each of the 5C's were asked to donate a million dollars (to honor themselves!)
    and only copper (Freeport) had that kind of money. The next events were truly amazing, and a flat out violation of the amended bill--AHS fired the MMM staff, closed the building, and removed the displays and minerals, without a proper inventory. They had not raised enough money to even remodel. But no one could give AHS the right to violate their own statutes. Closing the MMM would have necessitated further legislation. Somehow, AHS refuses to address the real issue and lobbyists speaking for them only cloud rather than clarify. and here we are 5 years later trying to fix their mistakes!

  3. Great points, and in addition we got another lobbyist reason for closing the MMM. It was always the plan!! Now whose plan do you suppose that was? Then why did they end up with their own statutes mandating that the MMM and its displays and educational programs were to stay. The legislative process worked, MMM supporters also had a say and won! Perhaps it's time for AHS to go back to history--they even have trouble with that!

  4. So I'm gathering that Norton bailed when the questions were too tough, and let another lobbyist give his "spiel".
    He did that last year too. Taxpayer dollars at work! Of course we do know whose plan it was--AHS's and Gov. Brewer's and they tarnished our centennial with self-interest and gimmicks like a birthday present at the expense of science students. Talk about priorities. And when they failed at 5 million for a 5C's museum they planned a 15 million wonder instead. And then have the gall to blame the recession they ignored for their failure. This deserves a full page in Ripley's Believe It Or Not!

  5. The stand-in lobbyist for Norton also bragged that the state minerals were now in all of their museums so the public could enjoy them. But she forgot to give us the poor attendance numbers for their museums--AHS no longer reports them to the legislature either. Breaking up the scientifically and financially valuable state collection was an early issue. Judge Jones of the Centennial Foundation even promised that it would not happen. Of course it did, so now it AHS, has the money for a curator of the MMM but there is no mineral museum. We need to pass SB1400 and return this valuable treasure to an agency with a scientiic team. AZGS is a great choice--read their Sunset Reviews and then read AHS's. It's a no-brainer.

  6. From what I could see it's a lame mineral exhibit in some exhibit cases at the Papagp Park AHS museum.
    Maybe AHS could tell the world just how many people actually sees those exhibits. For that matter how about telling us how many people go through ALL of it's facilities. Be brave Ann Woosley tell us! It won't hurt. Just shameful for what the taxpayer pays for all of this.

    1. when last reported, the attendance at that museum was only about 3,000 visitors per year and dropping. When both direct and hidden costs are considered, that museum costs taxpayers hundreds of dollars per visitor.

  7. Some comments about the scientific use of the state mineral collection when it was in the MMM are needed. The minerals were organized by scientific classes and were used by college students and geologists and mineralogists. In addition, files on AZ mines were easily available to researchers. AHS spread the minerals across the state making the scientific use more difficult or impossible. AHS obviously knows nothing about this. They have one geologist in a history museum rather than an experienced one with museum experience, plus a great team of scientists. Pass SB1400!!!

    1. The AHS never had a "Geology Curator" in their entire history since 1884. (Yes, 1884---not the stupid lie of the earlier date that Woosley cooked up!)
      The first geology curator the AHS had quit and became a rep. for an insurance company. The AHS is a history museum and research library. Not a geology facility.
      Bring the minerals back--re-establish the Mineral Museum--fire Woosley. Get the AHS back to their proper role.

    2. The research value of the collection has been completely compromised by inappropriate (and even illegal) relocation and reorganization on the collection. Te AHS does not understand the difference between a scientific mineral collection and a baseball card collection.

  8. U would love to know why Dr. Ann Woosley came up with this stupid idea of taking over the Mineral Museum. All of the waste, the destruction of a successful program, wasted resources, deflection of mission of a history museum, Boards never voting on this issue. All from a director who never leaves her office. What stupidity and arrogance. Not a good combination.