Dear Mr. Scarpinato,
In her May 23 article about SB1200 and mineral museum restoration, Mary Jo Pitzl quoted you as follows: “There’s been no discussion, there’s no plan.” However, there are in fact indications of ongoing discussions with someone in the governor’s office. Lines 25 through 27 of the May 9, 2015 Arizona Historical Society State Board meeting minutes read as follows (italics added):
Woosley also noted that she with the assistance of R&R Partners have been working closely with the Governor’s office to make the transition of the governance structure as well as the Shrine building as smooth as possible.
What the minutes refer to as “Shrine building” is formally the Polly Rosenbaum Building and informally the mineral museum building. The brief statement in the AHS minutes appears to follow up on action recommended by lobbyist Jim Norton at the April 17, 2015 Board meeting. Although his statements are not included in the public meeting minutes, witnesses heard him say that the building should become a “protocol meeting space or a reception area for the Governor.” He also urged taking action with the Governor’s office before the Legislature has an opportunity to act again in January of 2015.
Therefore, it appears that someone in the Governor’s office is indeed having ongoing discussions with lobbyists and the AHS in an attempt to subvert the will of the people and the Legislature. SB1200 received nearly unanimous yes votes in the Legislature, and the communications to the Governor’s office were 1376 for and only 5 against.
The unfortunate veto of budget neutral SB1220 has assured that a minimum of 200,000 children will now be deprived of the mineral museums K-12 science education programs. Furthermore, it enables continued illegal activity on the part of the AHS (See May 21 post on the blog Mineral Museum Madness for details – http://minmumad.blogspot.com/).
Please determine if there are in fact ongoing discussions about the mineral museum in the Governor’s office, and if the participants are giving lobbyists priority over children and education.