State Senator will introduce a bill outlawing public buildings named after sitting politicians
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The practice of having public buildings named after politicians who are still in office will get a frontal assault in the upcoming 60-day legislative session in Santa Fe. Sen. Mark Boitano (R-Bernalillo County) says he not only plans on introducing a bill that would outlaw the practice but will also look into seeing that existing buildings bearing the names of current public officials wipe off their names.
Boitano says he’s responding to anger from constituents who have seen an increasing number of public buildings, structures and other objects named for so-called public servants. “It’s free advertising, 24/7,” Boitano says, “and it’s not right.”
We here at Capitol Report New Mexico have pointed out numerous examples (here, here and here for example) of what we call “Monuments to Me” and Larry Barker of KRQE-TV aired a similar story that generated a lot of attention. Then, last month, a campaign contributor and Gov. Richardson appointee Johnny Cope helped spearhead an effort to name a section of I-40 in Albuquerque the “Gov. Bill Richardson Interchange.”
At roughly the same time, individual cars on the Rail Runner Express were named after Richardson and former and current members of state government.
It all got too be too much for Boitano, who says his constituents really seem to hate the idea of politicans getting buildings named after them:
Boitano says there are guidelines across the state for naming public facilities but they have been ignored in recent years. Boitano says he is still working on the bill’s wording but once he he has ironed out the details, he’ll start shopping it to other legislators.
One would think that once the bill gets introduced, it will be very difficult for a lawmaker of either party to stand up in front of God, the legislature and the webcasted session and say, “I’m against a measure that will keep us from getting buildings named after us.”
But a wry smile crossed Boitano’s face. “Unless you’re one the elected officials who has a public building named after themselves,” he said.