BREAKING: Tombstone Courthouse Closure Proposed

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The following is not a cheap trick to run yet the same clip from Tombstone!  I swear it is not.  Right now the clip rather expresses how I feel about the Governor of Arizona who is playing chicken politics with valuable historical property.

The Governor of Arizona is proposing draconian budget cuts, the worst of which will include closing the state park that manages the courthouse in Tombstone.

Photo copyright 2008 by SJ Reidhead

Evidently in Arizona, history is not as important as recreation.  When it comes to the thought of closing state parks, the ones that are being closes appear to be the ones that are of historical and cultural importance.  That’s okay.  Governor Jan Brewer is in a game of chicken with the state legislature.  She is making the following proposals that include closing the courthouse in Tombstone.

“...Gov. Jan Brewer is proposing to empty state facilities of juvenile offenders, repeal a mandate to care for the severely mentally ill, kill state funding for full-day kindergarten, eliminate free health care for more than 300,000 low income people, sell off more state buildings, borrow more money and cut state employee pay by 5 percent to balance the budget for the remainder of this year and the next one.  And even with all that, the governor still wants an immediate hike in state sales taxes, higher fees for businesses a new levy on labor costs for repairs on everything from automobiles to home appliances. Of potential note is Brewer’s demand that lawmakers enact those higher taxes and fees themselves so that retailers start collecting the extra 1-cent levy on the state’s 5.6 percent sales tax on March 1. That would require a two-third vote of both the House and Senate. But Brewer could not even convince a simple majority of senators to support just sending the issue to the ballot. Gubernatorial press aide Paul Senseman said, though, lawmakers are going to realize the financial situation is worse than they thought. And he said if they don’t go along, then the cuts to state programs will be even worse.  Brewer’s proposed budget does not cut basic aid to universities, community colleges or public schools, beyond killing the funds for full-day kindergarten programs.  But that is only because she cannot: Once the state took federal stimulus funds it committed not to slash funding below 2006 levels. Prior cuts have put financing there.  That doesn’t mean there won’t be hits to education. By keeping funding the same, it reduces the amount of state dollars schools get on a per-pupil basis. For K-12, the figure for the coming year will be about $3,370; it was close to $4,000 two years ago….”

Picacho Peak is scheduled to be closed.

The Pink Flamingo has no sympathy for cowering Republican officials who are so lacking in common sense and stability that they allow the sniviling Tea Party “patriots?” to call the shots.

“...Several board members, given the news, lashed out at lawmakers for taking the funds, even after being told at hearings last month that it will mean shutting parks. “We have people in the Legislature who don’t believe state parks should exist,’ complained Tracey Westerhausen. She said the best thing that those who want the parks system could do is go out this year and elect different people….”

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer may be one of those individuals.  Granted, Arizona has some serious financial difficulties.  One of the ways she is considering cost saving measures is to close a number of State Parks, many of them actually making money for the state.

“...But Senseman said Brewer is unwilling, at least at this point, to endorse the recommendation of a task force she formed to create a “sustainable’ park system: Put an optional $15 surcharge on the registration fees for all vehicles in this state. The fees would raise enough to keep the system operating, with motorists who paid the extra cash getting free admission all year to every state park….”

The historic courthouse in Tombstone is one of those that is a money maker.  Not only will the state lose that specific revenue flow, but ownership of the courthouse and parking lot revert back to the original owners.  The Pink Flamingo seems to remember that it was originally owned by either the town or by Cochise County.

“...TOMBSTONE, AZ (KOLD)–The original Cochise County courthouse in Tombstone has been part of the Arizona State Parks system since 1959. Since then, nearly 4 million visitors have come here to pay homage to the greater Tombstone community and its history. As many of us know, Arizona Parks are going through a financial crisis right now. And this building and everything inside are likely among the biggest casualties. From Tombstone’s rich history in silver mining to Wyatt Earp and his legendary gunfights at the O.K. Corral, it’s all documented here inside Tombstone’s original courthouse.  Built in 1882 and serving as the Cochise County seat until 1929, this is a profound piece of American history. It’s been called a living museum, but one that might die due to the dwindling pockets of our state legislature.  “March 29th at 5 PM would be the last day that we receive civilians in this building.”…”

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