There won't be any ruling from the Federal Judge Roslyn Silver on Quartzsite's jilted elections for at least another ten days, until lawyers brief the judge on one last point of law.
An evidentiary hearing was held today in the matter of Orgeron v. Quartzsite. This is where Mark Orgeron ran for Quartzsite Town Council, received the most votes of the four town council candidates in the General Election (with a 47% voter turnout to boot) but the incumbent cabal refused to seat him. They also refused to seat Mayor -elect Ed Foster, claiming both men were "unqualified."
At issue today was whether Orgeron was, and is, really a resident of Quartzsite. I'm sorry to report that Mr. Orgeron will make a lousy politician. On the witness stand he was thoughtful, intelligent, and honest. Orgeron will however probably make a great public servant.
Both Mark and his wife testified today. They demonstrated they were salt of the earth people. The Town's attorney tried to pepper them a bit, but his bumbling detective Columbo act was cheesy at best. I don't think there's any question in the judge's mind - or anyone's mind, including the cabal in attendance - that Mr. Orgeron is a bona fide resident of Quartzsite. The Town should concede.
It was fascinating to learn that an innocent mix up on Orgeron's driver's license is what the incumbents are seizing on. The last two digits of his zip code had been accidentally transposed. But the incumbents knew all this because Mr. Orgeron had shown them the same evidence that was entered in as court exhibits today.
The only new issue, one that Mr. Orgeron had just resolved, what that someone had changed his MVD mailing address without his knowledge.
Instinctively, we suspected someone in the cabal, maybe with a computer background. But it turned out to be less sinister - just an innocent mistake by someone in the MVD when they tried to consolidate Mr. Orgeron's old records, which coincidentally happened three days after the election.
After today's testimony and this new evidence, town leaders really should roll on their backs, flail there legs around in submission and urinate on themselves. But now the legal resolution is down to technicalities.
Judge Silver read, and reread Town Code 2-1-3 that essentially says "shall assume the duties of office at the next regularly scheduled council meeting". She stated that the federal court could resolve the state issues and that not seating Orgeron and Foster was unfair. It was hoped that she would issue the temporary injunction today. However, a legal point added to the ammended complaint filed by Orgerons attorney had not been addressed by the town.
Now, legal council for the Town must file a brief by July 18th and attempt to argue why the federal court would not have jurisdiction over the Federal Voting Rights Act which the town violated by acting on Ordinance 9-15 without the Justice Department's approval. Mr. Orgeron's attorney must respond to that brief by the 20th, which is a Friday. Although she could electronically file her ruling over the weekend, it doesn't seem likely Judge Silver would rule until at least the following Monday, July 23rd. The next regularly scheduled town council meeting is July 24th. Will Jerry Lukkasson have to borrow the back hoe from public works to get Barbara Cowell out of her seat?
Meanwhile, the voters of Quartzsite watch the cabal spending their money fighting to keep the voter's choice out of office.