Saturday, October 30, 2010

Latest Ed Foster radio interview links

We laughed until we cried! This one really is a must listen interview. And a special shout out to Ernie for linking back to this blog!

Mayor Ed Foster is witty, charming, and will give you a sound lesson in town government with his well researched talking points. Also featured is resident Michael Roth, former La Paz County Board of Supervisors candidate and local patriot.

part one

part two:

Sorry it took so long to post these! The antics at Town Hall have had me preoccupied.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Quarzsite Council declares ANARCHY!

We are no longer a nation of laws was the message conveyed last night by all six members of the Quartzsite Town Council. They have now officially  placed themselves above the authority of the State of Arizona, the United States Supreme Court and the even the Supreme Law of the Land, the United States Constitution. It's as if they have anointed themselves as gods.

After being told repeatedly that Councilman "Dirty Laundry" Lukkasson's agenda items were in violation of numerous laws and published court rulings, as supported by documents personally submitted to them, the council members shrugged off the repeated warning that they had waved "executive protection" and were now personally liable for their actions. In a horrifying display of contempt after the meeting ended, Councilman "Machine Gun" Joe Winslow stated "I guess I'm just getting sued", as he laughed heartily with friends.

The bad news for both citizens and visitors is that with Mayor Foster as the only dissenting vote, your council voted to restrict citizens' free speech, and revoke business licenses without due process. So incoming vendors should be aware that a new legal aid coalition is being organized to provide assistance to any vendor or businessperson whose license is revoked while a paid member of said coalition. More on that subject as details become available .

Because Town mismanager Alex Taft had threatened the mayor with a $500 fine for allowing  citizens to speak "off topic" of things deemed to fall under the description of "town business",  Mayor Foster used his executive privilege to bypass both "reports and announcements" and "call to the public" until such time as he could consult with his attorney. Hey Ed, we don't have any confidence in Pamela Walsma's legal advice either. Isn't she being sued through her law firm for a million dollars for malfeasance in a private case not related to Quartzsite Town business? Where does Ms. "Graft" find these people anyway?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Quartzsite Vendors Under Attack!

Well, you had to see this coming...after the last minute "work session" when Mayor Foster was out of town, the new punitive proposals for this seasons incoming vendors was placed on tonight's agenda. Be there at 7:00 pm and see for yourselves what your Town Council thinks about "due process" and the Constitutional  "rights of the accused".

Also on tonight's agenda, a proposal to hijack the Mayor's lawful control of the meeting and give the invocation to a rotating list of local clergy. Like it or not, the law on this is clear and any request for "divine guidance" must be non denominational to the point that a "Christian" prayer which mentions "Jesus" is over the line. A brief moment of silence is acceptable, so here's a novel suggestion to our self serving officials, don't break the law on this one folks!

Our Police Chief has placed an item on tonight's agenda to put you in prison for 4 months, if you feed the wildlife. I wonder how he intends to collect the evidence required for a image of Jeff crawling around the desert with a plastic baggie picking up coyote and hawk droppings for forensic analysis of "people food" does bring a smile to my face though. Way to earn that huge salary Jeff! By the way you overpaid moron, we already have a state law that says this is a "petty offense".

And topping my list for exposing the Town to another lawsuit is a proposal for your council to usurp the Mayor's authority and remove their critics from future meetings. The arrogance of this is beyond comprehension as the law is not only very clear, but the recent "training session" reinforced the rights of the citizen to protected "political speech" at  the meeting from which no citizen may legally be barred from attending. Even "disorderly conduct" under this limited forum may not exceed a $20 fine, according to "Decorum of Council Meetings" on the website for the League of Arizona Cities and Towns. I hope everyone is paying attention to the law - just bring $20 to the meetings in case you have to post your bond! See you tonight!

Decorum of Council Meetings

Each month, Jeri Kishiyama Auther, League staff attorney, will answer different legal questions that she receives from cities and towns. These questions are for general information only. If you, as a city or town elected official and employee, have a specific legal question, always check with your city or town attorney.

A frequent question from council members has to do with decorum and control of council meetings. Council members inquire about proper conduct at meetings, and whether the Council may sanction another Council member if a Council member disobeys parliamentary procedure or becomes disorderly during a meeting.

Surprisingly, an Arizona statute addresses this particular issue. A.R.S. § 9-234, originally adopted in 1901, states:

A. The common council shall judge the elections, qualifications and returns of its members. It may prescribe rules for the government of its proceedings, may punish any member or other person for disorderly conduct at any meeting of the council by a fine not exceeding twenty dollars, and by imprisonment until the payment of the fine, and with the concurrence of four councilmen may expel any member, but not a second time for the same cause. Emphasis added.

The foregoing statute allows a number of things, including adopting rules of procedure, punishing not only a Councilperson, but any "disorderly" person, by assessing a fine and imprisonment, or expulsion of the Councilperson from the meeting.

Some cities and towns have adopted ordinances for rules of procedure for public meetings. Examples include:

• No Council member may interrupt another Council member, except to make a point of order or of personal privilege. If the Council member continues to "break the rules" the presiding officer may call the Council member to order, at which time the Council member shall cease speaking, but may "appeal" the presiding officer's decision immediately to the entire Council. If the appeal is denied, the Council member shall remain silent. Further, the Council member is subject to censure "or other punishment as the Council, by a three-quarters vote, deems just and proper under the law." City of Phoenix Municipal Code, Sec. 2-60, Rule 6.

• The Mayor or Mayor Pro Tempore "shall preserve order and decorum, decide all questions of order and conduct the proceedings of the meetings … ." City of Scottsdale Municipal Code, Sec. 2-37.

• The Mayor shall preserve strict order and decorum at the meetings and may appoint a sergeant-at-arms at the Council meetings, whose responsibility is to carry out all orders and instructions given by the mayor for the purpose of maintaining order and decorum. The sergeant-at-arms has the authority to remove any person (including a Council member) who violates the order and decorum of the meeting. If a member of the public makes "personal, impertinent, or slanderous remarks, or who becomes boisterous while addressing the council, or who interferes with the order of business before the council, and who fails upon request of the mayor to cease the activity, shall be barred from further audience before the council for the remainder of that meeting unless permission to continue is granted by majority vote of the council." Official Code of the Town of Marana, Sec. 2- 4-3 and Sec. 2-4-7.

• The Mayor may assess a fine of not more than $25.001 upon any Council member for disorderly conduct at a Council meeting upon a concurring vote of three Council members, and the Council member may be imprisoned until payment of the fine. Additionally, any Council member may be expelled for any cause determined sufficient by the Council upon a vote of five Council members and the judgment of the Council as to the causes for fine or expulsion shall be conclusive (nonappealable). Official Code of the City of Mesa, Sec. 1-5-5

These examples range from "preserving decorum," to censure, to fines and imprisonment of both Council members and members of the public. Some municipalities allow appeals of the punishment, or punishment only upon vote of the Council, and in some ordinances, super majority votes. Short of adopting an ordinance, a Council could also choose to initiate a set of rules or Council procedures that would be agreed to by all members.

Common Council municipalities, which are the smaller municipalities, have A.R.S. § 9-234 as an available tool to preserve decorum of Council meetings without any implementing ordinance. Arizona case law does not exist regarding this particular clause of the statute. If your Council is unsure of how to exercise this statute, please consult your City or Town Attorney.

A.R.S. § 9-234 limits the fine to $20.00.

League of Arizona Cities and Towns

1820 W. Washington St.

Phoenix, AZ 85007

Phone: 602-258-5786

Fax: 602-253-3874

Friday, October 22, 2010

Desert Messenger defames pet groomer AGAIN (and again, and again...)

And Mayor Foster too!

After a restraining order hearing that lasted over three hours on Thursday afternoon through evening in the La Paz County Justice Court, Quartzsite Division,  Judge Newman announced that he would not rule on the evidence presented or motions made until next week because of the amount of material to be reviewed (including this blog). So, let's all give a warm welcome to our newest reader, Judge Newman! (sound of applause...we "may be seated".)

Claimant Shanana "Rain" Golden-Bear's most recent issue, page 4 which can be viewed online at: features a libelous and defamatory letter to "The People's Voice" by Violet Kiss' husband,  "Proud Quartzsite Resident" Ron Jones.

The letter states "People were appalled at the unacceptable behavior that was allowed from the podium at the last Town Meeting by Jennifer 'Jade' Harris [Jones]. Shame on her for that reprehensible behavior and shame on Mayor Foster for allowing it. By allowing this behavior, it appears the Mayor wants to incite hatred and anger. Since my wife and I heard Mayor Foster strongly encourage Jade Harris [Jones} to sue the town and town officials at a coalition meeting, it appears there is a conspiracy between those two and others to make things so bad that our Town and Police force are disbanded. Is lawlessness what the good people of Quartzsite want? Why should the good people of Quartzsite allow bullying and vicious, slanderous venomous hatred from the podium and from internet blogs? Are we going to allow a few anarchists take over our town and make it a miserable place to live?...Jade Harris [Jones] was not discussing town issues, she was promoting her business, bullying and spewing vicious hatred. This is not her first time. The good people of Quartzsite need to band together and make sure this is not allowed. The Town Council should vote to bar her permanently from Town Meetings."

What did she really say in that two minutes and twenty six seconds that was allegedly such "vicious hatred" deserving of permanent banishment in violation of AZ law? This:
"Good evening. Tonight I have three brief announcements and one short report. The first announcement, I'm going to indulge myself in a personal nature and I'd like to say that my dog 'Jade's Dynasty Kennels Butterscotch Sundae' took first place at the national specialty last weekend. So, I just had to brag a little bit. The second announcement that  I would like to make this evening has been something that has not been an easy decision to come to. I've served this community for ten long years and I've loved every minute of it. You guys have been wonderful to me and it is not without some serious thought, as a matter of fact, I even went out in the desert and prayed on it. But I have decided that I would like to continue to serve this community and I would like to announce that I am going to run for one of the open seats on the Town Council. I look forward to debating all of you on the issues, and keeping it to the issues and doing the business of the people. The next announcement that I have is because I have been grooming for so long and I can't do it forever with this back, it's not going to hold out , I will be grooming this year and I look forward to being open soon but I am starting a new business venture. I am going to be starting a free community newspaper. I anticipate that I will have the first issue on the stands on the first week of December and I've got some great specials. And the last thing that I have is a report. I would like to give my report on the update of the restraining order filed against me by Shannana "Rain" Golden-Bear and Starr BearCat. And let the community know that even thought I don't like to start my candidacy...(big, rude interruptions by "Machine Gun" Joe Winslow and others) I would like (more interruptions) I would like the community to come to the hearing on this. (Councilwoman Anderson interrupts with "I would like to ask our Town Attorney is this permissible?" Then Mayor Foster states "It's a report" To which attorney Pamela Walsma replies "This section is designated for announcements, typically it's public announcements.") Harris-Jones continues "Reports and Announcements. I'm inviting everyone to come to the hearing on October 21st at the magistrate court across the street at 3 pm to hear for themselves why Ms Golden-Bear and Mr. BearCat think that they need to be afraid of me. And I have all of the evidence that was submitted on that claim and if you'd like, after the meeting, you are more than welcome to approach me and I will let you read all of it. Thank you"
As you can see, Ron Jones' letter, like so many others published in Ms. Golden-Bear's paper was just another gross misrepresentation by the small group of nasty people who seem to believe that the truth is what you can get enough people to believe and was clearly printed with malice and intent to diminish the public reputation of a popular voice of opposition in the community.

Ms. Golden-Bear has a "policy" for "People's Voice", which forbids "letters considered libelous, in poor taste, on a personal issue, mean spirited...", yet she gleefully violates this "policy" in every issue. Although she attempted to play the role of frightened victim in court, her hypocrisy and inflammatory publication clearly show that she is the perpetrator of the  hate and divisiveness that is tearing apart our community. From the very first issue with her name listed as "publisher", Golden-Bear went on the attack against then rival news publisher Bob Miller, devoting two full pages to defaming him! She set the bar for journalistic standards very low to begin with, and as you can clearly see from her recent issues, it has declined from there. The message seems clear, opposing voices must be silenced. Here's a letter she refused to publish:

It was interesting to note that Town mismanager Alex Taft went scurrying out of the hearing to procure additional documents for Golden-Bear's claim against Harris-Jones. Hey Alex, where's the open records request for those police reports? The gallery was also filled by the usual suspects with Councilpersons Winslow, Anderson, Lukkasson and wife Michelle, former "acting" Mayor Wes Huntley and wife Mary, Police Chief Jeff Gilbert and wife Sondra and the rest of their usual "cheering section". One thing is for certain, after the masterful defense by Quartzsite pet groomer Harris-Jones, they were NOT cheering as they left the courtroom.

Stay tuned for more on this story and Judge Newman's ruling, as it becomes available.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Vendor Meeting at Town Hall - 1:30 TODAY!

Attention vendors and swap meet owners - there is a work session scheduled for TODAY 
at 1:30. BE THERE!
We can thank Councilman "dirty laundry" Lukkasson and Town Manager Alex Taft, because it was scheduled AFTER Mayor Foster informed Ms. "Graft" that he had a doctor's appointment and would be out of town today...

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.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Same shit, different hard drive...

Well,, I must apologize to those of you who check in to get the real news that isn't printed in that free paper nobody would pay for anyway. My computer crashed and I had to have the hard drive replaced, so I have been busy reinstalling everything and apologize for the delay in posting all those comments. Keep em coming!

As to the part about the "same shit", well, after spending all that money to study and then raise the rates for water and sewer, a work session has been called for 3:00 pm tomorrow at Quartzsite Town Hall to discuss paying for yet another study of the rates! As near as I can figure, it may cost taxpayers another $71,000 to study what we all believe was wrong to begin with. I hope to see a packed house tomorrow afternoon...