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Over the last week or so, the town of has been catapulted into the international spotlight, and for all the wrong reasons. What is happening in my town, could happen in your town. From the responses I have received, it appears to be happening in other communities.
So what's going on in Quartzsite? Well, it's hard to sum it all up briefly, so I'll start with rumor control about what isn't happening. We are not technically under "martial law" as reported by some, but the town council did hold an illegal, secret meeting on a Sunday, wherein they declared "the existence of an emergency" and several sections of town code and policy were suspended "until (date) or until two-thirds of the Council determines that an emergent circumstances no longer exist which create an imminent risk to public safety and the safety of elected and appointive officials, whichever occurs first."
What caused this alleged "emergency"? Angry emails from around the world, after members of our council and senior staff basically staged a "mutiny" on Mayor Ed Foster, and usurped his authority to chair the June 28th Council Meeting. This was videotaped by local realtor Douglas and the video was posted to his Youtube internet channel where it went "viral". Despite claims by the police chief and town manager, nobody has actually seen any of the emails supposed to contain "death threats" that were the stated cause for the drastic and possibly unlawful actions.
During the agendized open "Call to the Public", Councilman Joe demanded I 'be quiet" or "I could be removed." Over the strenuous objections of the mayor, Police Chief Jeff Gilbert, Sgt. Fabiola Garcia and Officer Rick Patterson wrestled the microphone from my hand and physically removed me at the insistence of all present members of council, with the support and encouragement of the town manager and town attorney. My elbow was injured in the scuffle, and although I was never told that I was under arrest, or read my rights, I was handcuffed and given a traffic citation for "disorderly conduct" before being released to the ambulance and taken to the hospital in .
If not for the internet, occurrences such as these would probably go unnoticed in a community of 3,600 people. The media has been calling town officials for their statements, and they have been back peddling and making excuses rather quickly. This has probably prevented them from acting upon whatever powers they believed they had anointed themselves with. Calls for intervention by the governor and the state attorney general have been made. Now, we are waiting to see what action they will take to restore sanity and the rule of law.
This could happen anywhere. Especially when the citizens do not attend local government meetings, and hold their elected officials accountable. Will you let this happen in your town?
Jennifer "Jade" Jones, Publisher
The Desert Freedom Press
Bullhead City Bee
1905 Lakeside Dr.
Bullhead City, Arizona 86442
Phone: (928) 763-9339 • Fax (928) 763-1510
Shirin McGraham, Editor: firstname.lastname@example.org