Saturday, March 1, 2014
Who is really responsible for the Arizona mineral museum mess?
When the seriously flawed 5C Arizona Centennial Museum plan was unwrapped in early 2010, Governor Brewer was the spokesperson. Therefore, some of the posts on this blog are very critical of the Governor. However, was this foolish plan really the Governor’s idea? If it was, why was the AHS chosen to administer it rather than the nearby Capitol Museum? The timeline of related events from 2009 through the present now make it appear unlikely that the Governor initiated this mess.
In 2009, the AHS was being squeezed for cash. Their multiple million dollar boondoggle at Rio Nuevo was abruptly cancelled. The state budget developed during the state financial crisis prescribed a 20% per year cut in their normal baseline state budget over a period of 5 years. They were to be weaned of the tax dollar trough, and were expected to become self-supporting except for their free use of government buildings.
They appealed directly to the Governor to restore their annual budget. They also had access to the Governor due to their position on the Arizona Centennial Commission. Soon, they and their favored Rio Nuevo contractor were engaged in secret meetings at the Governor’s office planning the centennial museum. Such planning went on for about six months before the Governor announced the “birthday gift to Arizona” in early 2010. It included an inspection of the mineral museum physical facilities without any regard for the children’s K-12 education programs.
The AHS claimed the 5C Arizona Centennial Museum was a “mandate” from the Governor. Perhaps it was in 2010, but, in 2009, where did the idea of a centennial museum come from? Also, why was the mineral museum the only site considered for it?
Did the AHS and their sole source, out of state, high dollar contractor develop the centennial museum plan and pitch it to the Governor to save their financial hides? The AHS had motive, and they had opportunity. The case is circumstantial, but it is a strong circumstantial case. Is the AHS guilty?