Monday, April 20, 2009

Tower of Power

Did anyone predict otherwise?

This just in:

SANTA FE—State Cultural Affairs Department Secretary Stuart Ashman announced today that he will respect the decision of the National Hispanic Cultural Center board of directors to remove former state Sen. Manny Aragón’s name from the center’s torreón.

“The NHCC board and its naming committee have studied their clearly defined policy and made this decision based on serious deliberation,” said Ashman. “It was the board that voted to put Mr. Aragón’s name on the torreón, and it has now voted to remove it. The department will honor the board’s decision.”

The NHCC Naming Policy Committee met to discuss the Aragon-Torreón matter on March 26. The committee reviewed the board’s official naming policy as well as a series of phone and written correspondence from the public, press articles, the plea agreement in the United States v. Manny Aragón, the Oath of Office mandated by Article XX, Section 1 of the New Mexico Constitution and a list of NHCC funding bills sponsored by Aragón. After hearing the committee’s recommendation at its April 16 meeting at the NHCC in Albuquerque, the board voted 7 – 2 to remove Aragón’s name from the torreón and to leave the building unnamed at this time.

“This is an awkward and unfortunate situation for the National Hispanic Cultural Center, its board of directors and the people of New Mexico,” said Ashman. “As we follow the board’s direction, it is important that visitors to the NHCC – and all New Mexicans – never forget the many contributions that Sen. Aragón made during two decades of service to their state and to this beautiful cultural center.”