Tuesday, March 9, 2010
ED FOSTER AND SUPPORTERS BRAVE WIND AND POLICE HARASSMENT...
As expected, "Quartzsite" Charlie Kukral split the reform vote, forcing a run off between incumbent "mayor" Wes Huntley and Ed Foster.
It looks like Foster will win by a landslide if Kukral's frustrated supporters fall in line behind the only viable (and educated) candidate. Yellow and red "Ed Foster for Mayor" signs seemed to be blowing in the icy wind all over Town, and at the polls, while signs showing support for the status quo were noticeably few and far between. Ed Foster and a group of supporters with signs for Foster, Hamilton and Moore, as well as "NO INCUMBENTS" were harassed repeatedly by Police Chief Jeff Gilbert (reportedly at the behest of the election sergeant). A source stated that Gilbert was later instructed to run off the protesters by Town Manager Alex Taft, or at least that's what allegedly came over the police scanner. Gilbert's bluff was called and the frustrated Chief was forced to back down by Elections Board Supervisor Donna Hale because the crowd was peaceably and legally assembled 75 feet from the door. Officers Yeomans and Star were assigned by Chief Gilbert to babysit the assembled reform supporters - bill to the taxpayers for about 8 hours...and the polls closed at 7pm without incident.
Final score: Free Speech 1 - Gilbert's "gestapo" tactics 0
The race for council seats was tight with only Jose "I did my homework" Lizarraga securing enough 50% +1 or more votes to keep his seat. (Imagine how well he might have done if his name had been marketed independently of the PAC funded election banners which touted an all incumbent ticket.)
Incumbents Patricia Anderson, Bob Kelley and Jerry Lukkasson will face top vote winning opposition candidates Chaunce Hamilton, Russell Sias and Bill Moore in the May run off.
Papers were filed to recall sitting councilpersons Joe Winslow and Barbara Cowell...
More election coverage here:
The evening was capped off with another drama filled meeting of the current Town Council. Holt Engineering Group and Kennedy Jenks tried to shake down the Town for more money on the contract for waste water treatment expansion. Perhaps feeling the pressure to please voters in the upcoming run off, the Council said "nay" to throwing more money into a project that has already cost taxpayers about a half million.
When Michael Roth tried to give input during "discussion"on a grant proposal for digital dashboard cameras placed on the agenda by Police Chief Gilbert, the packed room witnessed the Police Chief motion to "mayor" Huntley to cut him off by drawing his finger repeatedly across his throat. Huntley responded by ordering the Chief to physically remove Roth from the PUBLIC MEETING! All of this was caught on video...Since we are all pretty sure the "mayor" can't spell l-i-t-i-g-a-t-i-o-n, he may be surprised when their legal blunder comes back to haunt them. See:
In another fiscally irresponsible move, the council unanimously approved renewing a contract with Town Manager Alexandra Taft's "charity" Willpower Inc. for animal shelter services.
It's no accident this website uses "Town of Quartzsite" and "Willpower Incorporated" interchangeably. Alex Taft runs them both. Can you say "conflict of interest"?
Although "discussion" pointed out that the contract requires the TOWN to provide a "certified" animal control officer, Ms. Graft, I mean Taft sidestepped potential cost issues by saying that her "no kill" shelter volunteer was certified in euthanasia. Taft and Council members ignored concerns that the length of the Willpower contract would encompass not only the current cobbled together "temporary" facility, but roll over into a planned future facility of undetermined expense.
It is a matter of public record that the original Willpower "Membership Invitation" states:
"We are negotiating with the Bureau of Land Management to lease land for a large, permanent facility."
The Town Council are on record discussing purchasing land for the animal shelter and a rodeo grounds at the east end of Town. And that the BLM representative discussed the upcoming land AUCTION, tentatively set to take place in a year or so...the real question to taxpayers is:
HOW MUCH OF YOUR MONEY HAVE TAFT AND THE INCUMBENTS EARMARKED FOR THE TOWN MANAGER'S DREAM "NO KILL" SHELTER, WHILE THEY CURRENTLY PAY THE COUNTY TO KILL QUARTZSITE'S PETS?