Lopez statue great idea, with private dollars

Government should spend public money on projects that benefit the public — not on monuments honoring iconic sports figures.

We're not sure what our Legislature was thinking when it allocated $150,000 to build a statue honoring golf legend Nancy Lopez in her hometown of Roswell.

We're glad Gov. Susana Martinez was thinking, and watching out for the public interest, when she vetoed the project, along with about 70 other "capital improvement" projects totaling $4.4 million.

As popular as Nancy Lopez is and the standing she enjoys among New Mexicans — not to mention millions of golf fans worldwide — a bronze statue in her honor needs to come from private donations, not taxpayers.

And that brings us to a point about how irresponsible government at many levels has become. As Martinez said in a statement regarding the legislation she approved, and vetoed: "I am still disappointed that so many legislators continued to use a grab bag approach to capital outlay."

New Mexico history is full of individuals who have contributed much in many endeavors. Lopez is one of them. She won 48 golf tournaments, including three major events in her storied career. She learned how to play golf at the municipal course in Roswell, where the statue was supposed to be placed.

But building statues with tax money is not government's role, by any definition.

We were glad to see Martinez take the time to lecture lawmakers about their irrational spending.

"Despite all the talk about 'shovel ready' projects during the legislative session," she said, "legislators still included local projects in the bill that are anything but 'shovel ready.'" She cited projects that were "funded at far less than 10 percent of their total cost, meaning the funds could not be used in any useful way."

Thanks for watching our wallets, governor.

Legislators ought to concentrate on matters that bring a tangible benefit to all New Mexicans.

Unsigned editorials are the opinion of the Clovis Media Inc. editorial board, which includes Publisher Ray Sullivan and Editor David Stevens.

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