Our Capitol Reporter, Rob Nikolewski, has uncovered a disturbing and highly-questionable use of taxpayer dollars — the naming of public buildings after sitting legislators. He uncovered two such buildings, the “Sheryl M. Williams Stapleton African American Performing Arts Center and Exhibit Hall” and the school gymnasium at Pojoaque which is named after House Speaker Ben Lujan.
Of course, this isn’t all, visitors to the UNM Children’s Hospital may notice that there is a pavilion at the medical center named after Richardson and his wife, Barbara. It is unseemly for sitting elected officials to name buildings (or any other public works) after themselves. This has not previously been done in New Mexico, but under Richardson the attitude has been more permissive. Perhaps some legislators might consider changing the law to prohibit this practice?
Of course, as most New Mexicans know, the issue is also pervasive at the federal level with several buildings named after Pete Domenici throughout the state. That said, New Mexicans really only have control of how our own tax dollars are used. Can’t we stop politicians from naming buildings after themselves?