Friday, October 15, 2010

Town Hall meetings recap - a whirlwind week!

Well, where to begin? Chronologically, I suppose.

Tuesday afternoon there was a work session to discuss paying for yet another study of the Town's water and sewer rates. The most important thing you need to know is that Town mismanager Alex Taft did  not draw up a specific proposal for what exactly what was to be studied and put it out to an open bid. So what you had was the representative from with an impressive powerpoint presentation and bid of $23,000, and the shady Town Engineer PBS & J with a bid of $71,000. After a vigorous round of questions by the public, and Mayor Foster's stated desire for a flat rate usage billing system, the work session ended with a promise that it would someday come to pass! Later that evening, at the regular meeting, the council voted to go with the rate study by (the group that created the convoluted mess we are currently paying for). Best quote of the work session goes to Vice Mayor Barbara Cowell who said "I'm not that smart - you'll have to spell it out!" Second place goes to the rep from, with talking points like "financial disincentive", "rates accomplish more than just raising revenues", and "it is important to review this data in light of your very aggressive hook up plan". He also confirmed that when they did the $25,000 study in 2009, the Town was "insolvent" and borrowing money from HURF and the General Fund.

Also at Tuesday evening's regular meeting, everything on the agenda passed. Jennifer "Jade" Jones was the first to enter the political fray and announced that she would run for Town Council, but did not state which recall candidate she would take on in the upcoming election. Jones also announced the tentative December debut of her "free community newspaper" (rumor has it that Mayor Foster may have licensed The Quartzsite Mineshaft" to her) Advertisers wishing to get in on the deep discounts available for the premier winter season should stop by her grooming salon located this year at  J & S Covers on Hwy 95.

Thursday was a very busy day with a special meeting, a work session and training from the League of Arizona Cities and Towns.

The special meeting saw the appointment of Doug Ross to the Planning and Zoning Committee. Barbara Bowman's appointment to the Municipal Property Corporation will complete the term of Nella Shaw. In what seemed like an intentional oversight by the Town mismanager, all members of the Council except the Mayor were on the agenda to approve themselves and Alex Taft as "account/check signers for the new Horizon community Bank accounts". An oversight Taft wisely chose to rectify.

The work session had Quartzsite's vendors squarely in the cross hairs of Taft and the (trained at Town's expense) "Building Official" Al Johnson. Talk of changing the business license code, proposals for new County health regulations for mobile kitchens, reducing the vendor permit to 180 days, new ideas for revocation of permits, and other nightmare scenarios are not yet a done deal and changes will NOT affect the current season. However, vendors who want to return next year should attend the next meeting on this topic, the date of which is yet to be announced.

The League of Cities and Towns came to the aide of Mayor Foster and put his critics in their place last night! By the end of the "training", Vice Mayor Cowell's voice was quivering as if on the verge of tears! Police Chief Jeff Gilbert was warned that he had no authority to control the meeting unless ordered to do so by Mayor Foster, and that if he asserted himself in such a manner it could result in a lawsuit. (The warning was overdue, because it already has!). Town Attorney Pamela Walsma was instructed that she works for us, the citizens, through our Mayor and Council. A reality that had apparently not occurred to her as she is dangerously unfamiliar with this legal specialty. At every turn, it seemed as if our Mayor had been correct all along.


  1. Desert Messenger?....Oh I thought it was the Desert Mendaciter.......Arfighter keep up the good work....there is something seriously wrong in this town.

  2. WHAT ARE THEY HIDING??????????

  3. They can hide, but they can't hide forever!

  4. But have the sitting Council Members seen the light and have come to Jesus? The next few meetings should tell and maybe we will see the reversal of Town Manager Alex Taft’s unlawful removal of Mayor Elect Ed Foster’s powers. It would be better if the full six Council Members move to and voted to removal all restrictions placed upon Mayor Elect Ed Foster before he was sworn into office before the recall.

    It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that the next subject to come up on the plate is Chief Jeff Gilbert. We are seeing a grassroots Tea Party growing right here in Quartzsite and they are mad at what they view is criminal corruption and violation of their Constitutional and Civil Rights. This has already led to civil action being taken against the Town of Quartzsite with more in the works. It looks as though the Town Attorney Pamela Walsma has failed to protect the Town of Quartzsite from civil actions, only the Town Manager Alex Taft and Chief Jeff Gilbert while giving questionable legal advice to the Town Council.

    For Chief Jeff Gilbert we are looking not only at violations of Arizona State Law and U.S. Code violations that can place Chief Jeff Gilbert in both State and Federal prisons for a very long time. As I understand the statements from the League of Cities and Towns, employees are NOT covered under the High Risk Insurance policy. This can place an undue burden on the Town of Quartzsite. We should look for our Mayor and Council Members to move and place Chief Jeff Gilbert on Administrative Leave pending a full F.B.I. investigation into Civil Rights Violations and other criminal activities. Now if he is clean by their investigation he goes back to work. If not, take the investigative report to both Arizona State and Federal Grand Juries and allow it to run it course.

    At this point in time, the Town Council should be moving to correct the problems coming from Town Hall and make things right before the Town of Quartzsite if buried in Civil Litigation and such a high amount of civil obligations from lost court cases that we will never be able to get out of the hole!

  5. Hey D.w.,
    Wouldn't it just be better to shut down the entire joke of a town and scrap this dumb idea that we need a town government here? I mean really, from day 1 this town has only gone downhill. Unplug it and bury it!

  6. If the truth be know, I’d rather see an attempt at saving it before I would scrap the town. If a proper management team were in place working for the positive side for the residents, business, venders, and snowbirds we could start the slow road back to recovery…

  7. I was startled when our “save the town” efforts (getting Ed Foster elected) when I realized that they have apparently backfired.

    Setting aside that the fact that may or may not be any better or worse than PBSJ, we STILL have no business allowing bids to be rigged in the manner that this one was apparently done.

    I would not be complaining if Mayor Foster had taken the time to explain proper bidding procedures before our narrow minded and self-centered council voted to accept the likely rigged process. He didn't do so! Instead, he actually went along with them!

    There should be a legitimate process for granting a bid. It should include defining the project in a proposal letter, publishing a public notice of the bid, then allowing adequate time for legitimate bid proposals to come from anyone who might want to submit a bid for the project. We will never know who might have bid on the project, for we didn’t follow the above procedure. Again.

    Should we allow adequate and proper procedures to work, we might very well find even better bid offers popping up from most anywhere!

    Mayor Foster, actually made the motion to accept the bid from the only outfit who even made a bid - even though the bidding process was not offered publicly as it should have been. One must ask, has he joined them?

    Instead of taking the opportunity to expose the woefully inadequate (and likely illegal) bidding process, Mayor Foster, did not make the effort to explain to the council or to the public how faulty the bid process which was offered by town manager Alex Taft was. He simply ignored the obvious lack of due process. The bid process appeared rigged because it did not come close to an honest bid proposal process. Yet, Mayor Foster’s response was to actually make the motion to accept the bid! He got in line with the opposition team on the council! Right in line. How very sad.

    Don't get me wrong, I am not supporting PBSJ, or any one single bidder, just exposing what appears to be a dishonest and the likely rigged manner in which our council has chosen to do business - and, unfortunately, one in which our mayor apparently now agrees with. After all, he was the one that made the motion to accept the bid!

    One must wonder if we gained anything by replacing the old mayor. I must ask, where's the accountability when we allow this nonsense to happen with no public exposure of the apparent dishonesty within the process created by Alex Taft and obviously supported by our town council - and now, with our newly elected mayor going right along with them.

    Russell Sias

  8. The mayor didn't know about PBS&Js background until recently. If the mayor voted no, it would have been pushed through anyway. Don't forget, the others had been strong arming him, but hopefully not any more after the League of Cities got involved.