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Ed Foster, Mayor
September 22, 2012 -- I had hoped that this post would not become necessary.
Like you, I can only watch from the sidelines as the town makes the most ridiculous of mistakes, taking actions they know are completely unreasonable -- actions they know will cause more problems for Quartzsite.
People we had hoped we could trust are showing their true colors, and the citizens of Quartzsite are reeling at what has transpired over these last few days.
Despite the 'wording' of the agenda for Tuesday's meeting, it's true that the council is slated to reinstate Jeff Gilbert as police chief.
In light of the termination letter published here and in light of the many accusations that have been made against Gilbert in the letter Johnson posted publicly, it's more than apparent that the rehiring of Gilbert is at best premature -- and, at worst, absolutely reckless.
That they would even CONSIDER this action in light of the way the citizens of Quartzsite feel about the police chief and the way he has run his department is unbelievable. That Letter of Termination shows clearly that the council knew what was happening. Look at the evidence of wrongdoing! And they also knew there was absolutely no truth to the Gilbert's claims that he had been exonerated.
We're losing our insurance in January. The insurance pool is a shared entity. We have overstepped -- greatly -- the liability risk that we are entitled as participants in that pool. The League of Cities and Towns has taken a very hard stance and rightfully so. In fact, even the municipalities sharing that pool have demanded that Quartzsite be removed.
This tells you something. It tells you that Quartzsite is seen as a rogue entity among other municipalities. People whose job it is to properly run a municipality. People who understand what corruption looks like.
Have you followed Quartzsite's 'election fraud investigation?' Do you know it was only me and one other person that they actually investigated? And do you know they spent in excess of $70,000.00 on that investigation?
Do you think they hired the most qualified individuals to do their investigation? No. They hired people who only intermittently had the credentials to even call themselves private investigators.
Don't miss this letter from a Monroe, Wisconsin Alderwoman who has pointed out just how ridiculous the actions taken by Alexandra Taft have been deemed to by true professionals.
It's an eye opening letter.
Quartzsite's officials were wrong to assume that they could target so many citizens and litigate against them. For this reason, the pool is releasing us and refusing to 'cover' our potential liabilities.
We cannot operate without that insurance. We're over $5 million in debt to the HURF funds which were never meant to function as 'operating capital' to cover for poor -- even incompetent -- financial management. Ms. Taft and her staff borrowed against these funds, using them in ways they were not to be used -- and then made not even a plan for repayment, which broke every conceivable rule concerning those funds.
They must now be repaid. The town is already known to be insolvent and facing bankruptcy. Grant monies are withheld from municipalities where town administrations have shown themselves to be unable to govern themselves properly and, for this reason, Quartzsite is now known to be a very poor risk, indeed.
I've still been prevented from taking my seat on the council. I know why, of course: I ask too many questions. I stand for open books and accountability in office.
And so those people 'in control' of Quartzsite are now working to change the forum to a Chairman and Vice Chairman and, when they're finished, a Mayor will not even have the power of the gavel.
This would be fine -- if it were the will of the people. But it's not, and they know it.
I believe there is a purpose to the way the town is being run. If I'm right -- and after a great deal of research I believe I am -- the actions of this council will be the end of Quartzsite.
We're already broke. The town is barely surviving. Vendors are abandoning Quartzsite in droves. Shows have dwindled to nothing and the 'season' is a few weeks of activity and traffic, after which everyone leaves as quickly as they appeared.
The outrageous utility bills I and others attempted to warn people would be coming are now showing up in people's mailboxes. Kenny King's was over $30,000,00. How do you think you would handle it if that bill was suddenly yours?
Just ask Norm Simpson at Quail Trail Mobile Home Park, who was penalized thousands of dollars because he had one tenant who was staying at his park year 'round. Ask Chaunce Hamilton [Rice Ranch] whose bills quadrupled -- while business fell off to a tiny fraction of what it had been when Quartzsite's 'glory days' allowed him to enjoy months of having a packed showground. Now, he considers himself fortunate to be full 6 weeks out of the entire year. Yet, his bills continue as though nothing's changed. Chaunce is not even in a position to sell -- he can't even show a profit margin to a potential buyer.
Many, many people are suing the town -- because they have to. Because the town's administration won't listen to reason.
And they know what they're doing, they know their actions will be the end of Quartzsite.
Do you know what will happen if Quartzsite isn't able to continue?
Let me begin with a related issue, and bear with me while I share with you a bit about what's happening at the county level.
People are beginning to realize the fallout from the county's incompetent dealings with Yakima. The $20 million dollar burden the supervisors unloaded onto the taxpayers might seem like 'business as usual' to them -- but it represents taxation that will eventually if not immediately cause many people to forfeit their homes.
Though the supervisors [who, like Quartzsite's administrators, have very nice compensation packages,] might not be noticing the highly publicized financial burden most citizens currently carry, each of them lined up to place the Yakima judgment squarely on the backs of the citizen taxpayers of La Paz County.
But here's something you might not know: they're getting ready to do it again!
You are about to learn that landfills -- historically -- are top earners anywhere they exist. This is what was happening when the Supervisors cut their deal with Yakima and brought wreaking, leaky, dripping trucks loaded with questionable amounts of sludge from questionable locations [reportedly in California] into La Paz County for dumping at the landfill here. No one even really know what was on those trucks or how much was coming in. No one know what was paid or to whom, specifically.
And, true to form, no one yet knows what the Supervisors made on the deal they all lined up to sign.
But when Yakima sued over that deal, the County barely made any defense in court at all. And the county's own citizens serving on the jury showed their distain for the case and the county when they awarded Yakima a fat judgment of $9.3 million, which quickly escalated to $12.7 million while Dan Field pushed to appeal the decision. That didn't work, of course, and the financial burden now stands at almost $20 million dollars.
And yet -- a new deal is underway and the county's supervisors are concerned about one thing only:
CLOSING THIS NEW DEAL BEFORE THE ELECTION IN NOVEMBER.
By waiting until now to invite
bidders and then placing all viable bidders under such an
unrealistically restrictive timeline, the Supervisors are
creating a situation in which only their 'associates' will put
through their proposals -- sealing the deal in a 'Fast Track'
fashion that will allow these same Supervisors to 'obtain their due'
before they face defeat in the coming election.
And as they rush to secure their own deal, the taxpayers are once again getting the shaft in the process.
The truth is this: the landfill operation that cost the taxpayers of La Paz County so much in the past owes those monies to the taxpayers and should now be forced to pay up.
A new bidder, a new company will have to pay those monies and they will not be concerned with to whom they're paid -- just that they're paid -- and control of the landfill is transferred to them as the new manager.
The only 'new deal' that should be allowed is one that is above board and done with proper and professional behavior on the part of our Supervisors. No more should 'back room deals' be done -- and the taxpayers should not be held liable for the reckless mistakes of our Supervisors with no means of recovering those funds.
The landfill is a lucrative operation, done correctly. But then the Supervisors have always known that. How, after all, would Yakima have been able to get a judgment of over $9 million as a beginning figure?
It would be very easy to secure a deal with a new company whose goal is the proper managing of the landfill and the repayment of the debt that was created by the Yakima judgment.
Feel free to research this for yourselves. You will readily find that an 'unregulated' landfill outside the state of California is of top value in the marketplace.
That said, I would like to return to the issue at hand which is Quartzsite.
The end goal for Quartzsite is to render it bankrupt so that it cannot continue. When it is finally and completely financially destroyed, it will be handed over to La Paz County and all of the resources, tax dollars, projects, grants -- everything that is Quartzsite and all that belongs to Quartzsite, will be handed over to these Supervisors.
The debt that Quartzsite's administration so recklessly acquired will simply be passed on to the already overburdened taxpayers of La Paz County. And those that sought the end of Quartzsite will finally have achieved their goal.
This is what is really happening, people. As this 'game' unfolds over these next few months, you will see that I was right.
If this is what the citizens of Quartzsite wish to happen, they can stand by and watch it occur. It is, after all, already underway.
If this is not what they want, then now is the time to turn the tide. We can stand against the bankrupting of our town and demand the leadership we voted into office be allowed to take their seats and work to right the wrongs that we've all lived with over these last years.
We can stop the current regime who has launched legal battles with so many citizens as to render our insurance pool unwilling to allow us to remain part of the pool. We can make the competent decisions the League of Cities and Towns requires and, in so doing, can work toward the reinstatement of our insurance. We can save our town if enough people care enough to do it. Time, though, is growing very short.
There's always been a plan behind destroying this lucrative and successful 'hub of activity' in the desert. I would urge you to do your homework and see for yourself what is happening. This is one of the reasons the books are closed: so we cannot see the real financial picture that is Quartzsite.
I can tell you this: We will not save this town without a fight. As Mayor, I thought it my duty to tell you, while there's yet time.
Mayor Ed Foster
September 11, 2012 -- For anyone that doesn't know, the Chief of Police was fired for cause today. CLICK HERE to read this 'most telling' report that seems to raise more questions than it provides answers. [Note: The town has now backed away from the firing, saying Johnson wasn't 'authorized' to do it and removing the Termination Letter from their site. It's included here, though, and the documents speak for themselves.]
Why was all of this allowed to happen? We knew, when 80% of the police force exposed these issues, that there were problems that could only be addressed by removing Gilbert from active duty.
Only today, over a year later, do we finally learn the extent of these problems. And this is why is why we need to have accountability and open records. This is why we need to have a system whereby FOIA requests are answered in a timely and professional manner.
Our citizens and our police labored under the burden of these questionable policies for far too long without the safeguards that should have been available to them.
Even I was arrested.
And yet when I asked -- on behalf of myself and my constituents -- for comprehensive investigation, intervention and assistance we were ignored and for all intents and purposes abandoned by the State of Arizona while Jeffrey Gilbert continued to insist that he'd been exonerated of any wrongdoing.
This is only the beginning. There is more evidence soon to surface of some of the things that have been done to citizens that is equally as outrageous as the information presented in the Press Release from Town Hall.
It's important that people know that this was not presented to the council but was done by 'Assistant Town Manager' Al Johnson [whom, I might add, explains himself and his name on this Press Release as the 'designee of the acting town Manager Terry Frausto,] and neither of whom, I am certain, actually authored this Press Release signed by Al Johnson.
Johnson, in my estimation, is as culpable as anyone. I can only imagine what outside influences forced this issue and precipitated this action. Without the protections of Alex Taft, this situation could never have escalated to the point that it did.
I am reminded of those days in the not so distant past when the actions of these individuals were applauded by a [very] few of Quartzsite's citizens. There were efforts to allow the malicious and deceptive practices to continue no matter what evidence was presented.
People -- especially those who would stand to voice their opinions -- must also show themselves willing to listen to reason and to review significant evidence.
That didn't happen when it should have happened. No one, it seemed, could comprehend what the real damage corruption can do.
We are now losing our insurance because the town's officials overextended their litigious reach. The ramifications of this one facet of our plight represents a wide range of problems for Quartzsite. We could find ourselves bearing the burden ourselves, forcing our taxpayers to shoulder a burden they should not have had to pay because of the reckless decisions of those who sought to maintain control via whatever means necessary.
And it gets worse. There are court battles on every front as multiple reciprocal lawsuits from a wide range of citizens have been launched against the town. There will be court cases. And there will be judgments. The vast repercussions of these expected actions have not even been broached. Even efforts to settle them could easily reach many millions of dollars.
Think about the damage done by one single similar suit in La Paz County when the actions of the supervisors brought about such a case: that single judgement along was over $9 million and attempting to avoid paying it caused the debt to balloon to over $12 million.
The town's government is in shambles and we face a tremendous struggle to rebuild our town as well as our community.
Perhaps worst of all -- we don't even know the extent of the damages incurred, the amount of the suits pending against our community. In fact, we don't even know the true financial condition of the town because these records have remained hidden for so long.
Thankfully, the majority of the citizens of Quartzsite have prevailed in electing new councilmen who have promised to be public servants instead of tyrants.
Ed Foster, Mayor
September 3, 2012 -- We're so close. Things have improved to the point of seeing Alex Taft removed [placed on administrative leave] from her office and the police chief placed in similar straits and removed -- via administrative leave -- from his position of authority.
At last, we are on the very verge of seeing this town moving toward positive change and for accountability to at last become a reality in Quartzsite.
And yet, we need to be watchful that we don't return to those days when some worked to undermine the concerted efforts of those who would ensure open books and financial accountability. We need to make certain that the voices of the people who live and work and retire in Quartzsite aren't ignored -- or, worse -- silenced.
We need to move toward a Quartzsite where all are welcomed and appreciated for the diversity that they bring to our town.
I am asking for the people involved in Quartzsite's government to work together to make certain that the government in Quartzsite once again represents the interests of the people.
To make sure that the laws of open government and open records are obeyed -- that FOIA requests are promptly fulfilled according to the requirements of the State of Arizona and the laws of the state are applied -- fairly and equitably -- to all without regard to political position. To make certain that people who come to Quartzsite to open businesses or earn a reasonable wage aren't prevented from doing so based upon criteria that holds them to a different standard than other, more politically connected individuals, might find.
We're almost there. The majority of this council is showing itself to have more than 'mild interest' in bringing together the people of Quartzsite on common ground.
Together, we can move the mountains that have prevented Quartzsite from moving forward. With new 'forward motion' and the dedication of people like Mark Orgeron, we can make great strides toward the creation of a Quartzsite of which we can all be proud.
I expect to soon take my position at the helm and thank everyone that has been with me through this long and arduous process. Your support and the concerns you have voiced have truly been appreciated and, like you, I will be most grateful when this trial is behind us.
I am looking to the future with great anticipation and hope that you, too, are expecting great things! Remember -- together, we can make a difference! -- as has been proven time and again in Quartzsite.
Ed Foster, Mayor
READ THE LETTER TO THE EDITOR FROM CANDIDATE FOR COUNCIL [NOW HAVING TO DEFEND HIS WIN IN COURT] JOHN PRUTCH
The confused and befuddled Ex-Councilmen of Quartzsite
Barbara Cowell: You don't get to tell anybody anything anymore.
You have been DIS-ELECTED.
2012 3 May -- This is it! They're out of office! They've run out of time! They're out of here! The poor, confused and befuddled dis-elected officials who are making the ridiculous mistake of attempting to RETAIN their seats by PRETENDING that they have the RIGHT to sit in judgment of the newly elected are about to discover there's no law to protect their nonsensical attempt to retain control.
It's an embarrassment that they continue to do what no ethical official would do even as the voters have told them to get out, relinquish their seats and go home.
Led to believe they have this right by their ethically-challenged attorney that Taft hired, the council of spineless followers are finally and officially out of office.
Those that continue to follow Taft's directives will soon join them, the outcasts who refuse to understand they've been found unqualified to serve, unqualified to hold public office.
Who did not see this coming?
Town Hall looks like a fortress! The ever shrinking gallery now contains a wooden divider between the dais and the people. A hallway that once allowed overflow crowds to still listen from that recessed area is now closed off by glass and doors. The Assistant Town Manager, a party to this nonsense, is now frequently walking around armed.
It's commonplace for elected officials to lie, cheat and degrade people -- treating the citizenry as though they need permission to co-exist in a desert town that's populated primarily by retired senior citizens!
In order to attend a public meeting, citizens are forced to walk through metal detectors. Town council meetings amount to little more than a public 'rubber stamp' party with a bunch of adults sneering at the citizens in the gallery, voting 'Yes!' to every ridiculous project Alex Taft puts on the table, while the bills mount and the debt level -- already at an astronomical figure -- continues to rise.
They are spending huge amounts of money to harass, intimidate and then to try to protect themselves from the citizens.
The town's officials are going to extreme lengths to try to prove election fraud in the last election.
Reportedly, they have
entered peoples' homes without a warrant to obtain 'proof' that
certain individuals were living in the home and other, sometimes
very aged, individuals have been visited in an effort to determine
something was amiss in the election.
What this amounts to is that the Town of Quartzsite is 'spending money like drunken sailors' trying to prove that something -- anything -- might keep them from having to tolerate the THREE NEWLY ELECTED OFFICIALS that just might open those books.
I'm Ed Foster,
Mayor Elect of Quartzsite
The games continue in Quartzsite
Alex Taft is not a law unto herself
2012 30 May -- The game of cat and mouse continues. Ms. Taft, terrified over what will happen when the books are opened in Quartzsite, continues her dance of 'election irregularities.' But the burden of proof is, actually, upon THEM -- the people of Quartzsite HAVE SPOKEN and the ELECTION results will see the three new councilmembers seated.
There are so many rumors circulating -- many of which are actually true -- that it's difficult for citizens to keep up with what's been happening.
Let's start with this matter: Was Lizarraga assaulted? The answer to this question appears to be a resounding, "Yes!"
Let's take a quick look at an excellent de-construction of the online video pertaining to the altercation between Mayor Jose Lizarraga and the town's attorney Martin Brannan.
This new site takes a critical view of the videos from the meeting in which Mayor Lizarraga properly and swiftly took control of a meeting in which Alexandra Taft DICTATED to him what would and would NOT be included on the agenda.
Again -- and again and again -- we have explained to Ms. Taft that SHE is NOT the MAYOR [much as she would like people to believe otherwise.]
It is NOT her
meeting and SHE is not the one choosing which items can be DELETED
from the agenda without permission from the Mayor.
But that didn't stop the council's dis-elected cronies [those doing her dirty dealing and protecting her] from RECONVENING the meeting Mayor Lizarraga had ALREADY ADJOURNED and voting Taft a FAT contract with a GOLDEN PARACHUTE at their illegal meeting. These people aren't officially IN OFFICE. They've usurped the powers of those who were -- by Quartzsite's own Town Code -- to be installed at the next meeting following the election.
Interestingly enough, Martin Brannan's position on this issue [and by that I mean his attacks against Lizarraga as he tried to justify his own actions] went so far beyond what could be construed as 'normal' or 'reasonable' that we can once again rest assured that he has again, in fact, outed himself as the blogger known as the 'Quartzsite Bagger' -- something he's been trying to disavow since it was noted and has been investigated. An attorney, you see, is supposed to behave himself in an ethical way. Ethics, however, are not Martin Brannan's strong suit.
As you can easily see from a visit to his blog, he's pretty much a legend in his own mind. Only a few comments are ever posted and his visitors only check his blog to see what libelous statements he's making that they might need to forward to those monitoring his posts for reasons far beyond the realm of Quartzsite's political climate.
Despite the reasons Brannan might be what he is, the assault of Mayor Lizarraga is indicative of behavior as outrageous as it is improper -- and something needs to be done.
His letter to state officials is actually welcome as it asks what we've been asking for all along: AN INVESTIGATION INTO QUARTZSITE. Of course, our side wants more than a simple investigation -- we want an investigation that is CONCERNED with ALLEGATIONS OF FISCAL MISMANAGEMENT AND MALFEASANCE if not OUTRIGHT FRAUD.
Can you hear me now?
I'm Ed Foster,
Mayor Elect of Quartzsite
The 'cat' -- among other things -- is 'out of the bag' in Quartzsite
Well, at least it's now obvious that Alex Taft is running the town and the councilpeople sitting on the dais are there only to protect her and do her bidding.
Ms. Taft, who came to Quartzsite in an RV telling people's fortunes, is now the second highest paid person in Quartzsite. She is also easily the most unpopular person in Quartzsite. She doesn't want to lose that position, of course, that affords her so much personal gain. Where, after all, can a largely unemployed fortune teller scoop over $80,000. per year wrecking a town? That's over $1,500. per week, folks, for someone who was shown to be not qualified enough to hold the position of town librarian.
Mr. Brannan, hired as the town attorney can now add town prosecutor [they fired the capable and qualified Matt Newman to drop Brannan into that slot] and then appointed him the town's parliamentarian for good measure.
Don't know what that is? Well, we haven't had one for awhile -- but it's something akin to being a mayor. Could Brannan call himself Mayor at will? Probably. If there's a power to usurp, you can bank on Brannan finding a loophole to exploit.
It's interesting to note that it was ALEXANDRA TAFT that actually hired Brannan -- with the stipulation that SHE ALONE had the power to fire him. You read that right: her and no one BUT her.
It would be laughable if the stranglehold on Quartzsite couldn't be felt closing around our throats. Brannan, though, answers to Taft and only to Taft. He is her direct underling and has no allegiance to anyone but her. As evidenced by his treatment of Mayor Jose Lizarraga. Does Brannan owe one ounce of loyalty to the man that is supposedly his boss? Absolutely not.
In a normal town under normal circumstances, things like this would not be allowed to happen. But, as we all know, Quartzsite is anything but 'normal.' For years there has been no accountability and no transparency in the town's government. Taft, invited to be trained by the League of Cities and Towns turned a deaf ear to their insistance that she be proeprly trained -- showing that training never was the problem. Accountability was the problem then and it's the problem now. There is none.
And our council isn't normal, either. It doesn't consist of people who have come to Quartzsite and gone through what is known as 'the vetting process' which means getting to know people then running for office and getting elected. In Quartzsite, you show up one day and are magically appointed to its governing council.
In other words, you come in through the 'back door' and avoid all of those pesky 'requirements.' And if you don't pay your taxes or your water bill, all the better -- you can count on the town of Quartzsite to allow you and your business to skirt the rules there as well.
Thus the term you hear so frequently in Quartzsite -- back room deals.
And so now that Mr. Brannan stands accused of assaulting Mayor Jose Lizarraga and Mayor Lizarraga [rightfully so] is asking for Brannan to be immediately placed on administrative leave, it isn't happening -- because that would be the sole decision of Alexandra Taft.
What? Assault on an elected official is a felony office! How can it be that Martin Brannan can be accused of assaulting Mayor Lizarraga who has significant evidence that this incident did occur -- and not face swift efforts to remove him from duty so that the details of the incident can be fully investigated.
Especially in light of the fact that Mr. Brannan is known to be under the care of physicians for issues that may well affect his ability to maintain and control his temper and relative outbursts?
In fact, Mr. Brannan is believed to be the author of the most vicious and obscene website imaginable under the name 'Quartzsite bagger.' In it, he attacks everyone -- by name -- with apparently little concern that he is bound by the rules and regulations of the Arizona Bar to behave himself in a civil and ethically correct manner.
Does the assault of a sitting Mayor fall under the heading of civil and ethically correct behavior?
But Brannan seems to have powers that exceed the limitations of the titles he now holds. While he is the Town Attorney, the Town Prosecutor and the Town Parliamentarian, Brannan has openly lied, manipulated and even circumvented the elections and the will of the people of Quatzsite.
And yet he enjoys the full protection of one Alexandra Taft, the fortune teller turned town manager.
Just how did we get here?
The favorite line of these people is 'We were elected to do this job.' That's the line they've been using for years whenever someone asked them about some aspect of the town's governance that they appeared to be doing incorrectly. The longer they've been there the less is known -- and the more secretive the council has become.
Community funds? Forget it. Not only are there no new projects or resources in store for the community, they've taken for themselves what buildings did exist. Nothing is improved or created in Quartzsite but concern for the community on the part of the onlookers.
Amidst many, many allegations that money was 'disappearing' over these many years, what would cause the council to fall silent? What could they possibly have had to gain? And why do these same people continue to talk endlessly about what should be done now that they're out of office?
Do you want to know what should be done? OPEN THE BOOKS. Quit talking about things no one wants to hear about and OPEN THE BOOKS. Stop blaming everyone for everything you don't like and OPEN THE BOOKS.
If you're NOT GUILTY, then OPEN THE BOOKS and PROVE you are innocent!
But that's not happening, is it? What do we hear? Not even a whisper. Because the last thing in the world these people are ever going to willingly do is OPEN THE BOOKS.
All the past councilmen and all of the present ones together clinging to each other and trying to present a consistent story ALL WHILE LISTENING to ALLEGATIONS of MISCONDUCT and NOT ONE OF THEM WANTS TO OPEN THE BOOKS AND PROVE US WRONG?
And who among the towns people would DEFEND CLOSED BOOKS, UNACCOUNTABILITY, a TOTAL LACK OF TRANSPARENCY and the SILENCING of anyone that attempts to speak out concerning these issues?
You just have to ask the question of anyone that DOES attempt to defend what is quite literally the DEFINITION of MALFEASANCE IN OFFICE: What's in it for them? Are they on the receiving end of some of those missing monies?
It would be giving this council a tremendous amount of credit to indicate that they were doing these things of their own volition --they are obviously merely taking orders from others. But why? How involved are they? What's in it for them?
Everything -- all business -- is done behind cloesd doors. Now they knew, of course, that they should not be holding secret meetings but, for Quartzsite, that, too, is normal. Under the current directives, of course, they were answerable for nothing and to no one -- spare Ms. Alexandra Taft, who seems to be leading their little band.
Why do you think they try to justify this ridiculousness? Do they think everyone is as mathematically challenged as themselves? Why do you think they're so adamant about silencing the voters? Why try so diligently to micromanage elections? Why dodge their constituents? Why make enemies of press people? Why arrest people -- on camera -- while the entire world screams, "FOWL!"
Why are they so red-faced under fire from the audience members?
Why do you think it was that when Wes Huntley refused to give up his seat when I was elected the first time, he said openly and on tape -- "It's not my choice, fella, it's not my choice."
It's not? Then whose choice was it? Whose orders were you taking when you refused to get up and remove yourself from that seat the voters themselves asked you to vacate? Yet you sat there, under orders, and rescinded the powers of the Mayor elect.
Ms. Taft -- The people of Quartzsite want their town back.
When these people continue to sit in seats they've been asked to relinquish -- when the voters themselves have SHOUTED that they don't want YOU REPRESENTING THEM any longer -- when the town attorney assaults the Mayor then parks himself BACK at the desk and oversees a meeting whereby a meeting without the Mayor is RECONVENED to provide for you a fat new contract and a golden parachute in spite of the fact that you are without a doubt the absolute worst town manager the town has ever seen -- then it's OBVIOUS what is HAPPENING and these are ILLEGAL actions and activities no matter how much money Brannan is paid to condone and defend them.
There you sat, head down, looking like the desperate person the people of this town believe you to be.
You can't open those books -- not even temporarily -- because they paint a picture for anyone interested in looking. And you can fire everyone you think will turn against you, Alexandra Taft, and the electronic records far beyond your ability to destroy will still be seen.
There will be a forensic audit. The truth will, finally, come out, in spite of the fact that you're willing to do ANYTHING to keep them hidden. It will be known who has been receiving all of those extra paychecks month after month, year after year, thousands upon thousands upon hundreds of thousands of dollars now into the millions of funds you are so desperately afraid will come out.
Who took those monies? And who received them? Who allocated them and why?
Do you know how guilty you look?
I'm Ed Foster,
Mayor Elect of Quartzsite
So... How Dirty ARE they?
After everything I've seen these people pull on the public over the last few years, I didn't think I could BE surprised at anything they might do. Well: I was wrong.
Only their cronies know how they plan to proceed with this ridiculous ploy they've cooked up -- they think they can actually occupy their seats against the will of the people.
At today's meeting, Ex-Mayor Jose Lizarraga and councilwoman Pat Anderson sat alone on the dais, the only ones willing and able to face their constituents. Alexandra Taft was there with Albert Johnson, the so-called assistant town manager. They basically kept their heads down, something Taft seems to do a lot of the time.
Town Attorney Martin Brannan was a no-show, even though he called this meeting and was more than likely paid to attend it. Also missing in action were Carol Kelly -- whom people were hoping would be a real councilperson -- she seemed so intent upon taking the seat of her deceased husband, Robert Kelly, days after his demise.
Joe Winslow, Jerry Lukkasson, Barbara Cowell [voted out but refusing to vacate her seat] the newest illegal 'appointee' to the council -- another unknown -- all somehow unable to make themselves available at this meeting to seat the newly elected Patricia Workman, Mark Orgeron and myself, Ed Foster, back in as Mayor.
The fear on the part of these people is almost palpable. The entire sequence is outrageous. And the thing that makes it so unbelievable is that they are so willing to be seen as ridiculous and even laughable -- but the joke they've made of Quartzsite -- again -- is quite sad.
I can only ask myself what it is that they're so intent upon covering that they're willing to risk everything in an effort to continue hiding those books.
Here's what we do know:
The accountant stood at Tuesday's meeting and openly said that they've got problems with the HURF funds -- and he's talking about them borrowing monies they've failed to repay that they're now on the hook to pay back beginning immediately. They have not these monies to pay.
We know they're deeply in debt. At least $24 million dollars in debt -- and gaining more debt. But the decisions to spend are made without even so much as a discussion in front of their constituents. And the decisions on what to purchase are ludicrous. To spend the money of the people keeping the people the people elected from taking their rightful places at the dias? Unfathomable.
We also know they've systematically fired everyone that they felt could damage them and immediately after, they tore through the town hall, shredding documents and replacing computers. We know that Albert Johnson took trunk loads of unidentified records from town hall while the clerk -- Karen Norris -- was out of town. It's her job to manage records -- not Albert Johnson's. When asked, Taft said they were being taken to California for 'recycling.' This, while recycling bins are within two blocks of town hall buildings.
We know they've used every excuse imaginable to prevent documents from being seen that are supposed to be open and available for public purview.
We know they've hidden records and refused FOIA requests that should have been presented without delay, while telling the Ombudsman's office outlandish excuses for their mishandling of the public trust.
We know they've been violating Arizona's Sunshine Laws and meeting secretly and we know that this practice is continuing. Take today, for instance. How was the decision made to refuse to show up at the meeting this afternoon to install the newly elected? Just look closely at who didn't make it and you'll have a comprehensive list of those who intend to defraud the public of the opportunity to choose their leaders.
We know that what they're doing is illegal. It clearly shows they have no regard whatsoever for the rights of their citizens.
Yes, We know. People know. And, fortunately for all of us, the authorities know.
Mayor Elect of Quartzsite
A Fat Contract and Golden Parachute for Taft
in the Midst of this Firestorm? Only in Quartzsite...
All things continue as usual [for Quartzsite] as town's structure collapses, and even Mayor Jose Lizarraga is assaulted.
Once again Quartzsite's officials show their utter contempt for the law.
I am now the Mayor, however offensive that may be to those ousted from office by voters.
Evidence that a backroom deal occurred here, Mayor Jose Lizarraga opened the meeting by stating that he had asked for the Canvass and Return as well as the seating of new council members to be placed on the agenda. Taft, he said, refused to do that. Subsequently, the ousted council members refused to vacate their seats and, instead, gave Alex Taft a new fat contract and a golden parachute!
When he adjourned the meeting, ousted Vice Mayor Barbara Cowell -- one of those who had refused to relinquish her seat on the council according to the law -- REOPENED the meeting and continued 'business as usual' which, for Quartzsite, always consists of lots of money for themselves and their pals while the will of the people is ignored.
Jose Lizarraga deserves to be recognized and even admired for his willingness to abide by the law. Even, it would appear, in the face of a threat to his own safety. Can the problems get more obvious that this? The people vote to remove this cabal from office and they refuse to relinquish their council seats while openly padding the bank accounts of their cronies.
And you thought life in a small town would be boring.
The battle has only begun.
Ed Foster, Mayor of Quartzsite
More of the Same from Quartzsite's 'Leaders'
Still hiding the financial condition of the town, spending continues.
There has been a tremendous breakthrough for 4 of the 8 officers we proudly call Quartzsite's Finest: Police Officers who refused to compromise their principals and, instead, courageously stood their ground -- they've been rewarded! I have always -- and will always -- support the brave and dedicated officers that compromised Quartzsite's Police Force and hope that they will one day be able to return to their positions. We miss them.
For the second time since losing their jobs and facing the denigrating statements made by their former superiors, 4 of Quartzsite's 8 QPD officers have been rewarded for their determination and dedication: they've been allowed to maintain their credentials and obtain employment with other police departments.
Following their successful interviews with lie detection equipment they were found to be telling the truth about the events and activities surrounding the alleged corruption happening in Quartzsite and have obtained positions in law enforcement in spite of the efforts of Quartzsite officials who sought to see them blacklisted from law enforcement, destroying careers many of them spent many years creating.
Interestingly, it's now reportedly the police chief who is out job hunting -- and unsuccessfully at that. Unsubstantiated reports indicate that the insurance pool has taken issue with the risks presented by the widely known to be 'out of control' Quartzsite, and has determined that assuming that level of risk cannot continue.
Furthermore, to settle the claims currently pending against the town -- many of which include issues brought about or involving the Chief of Police -- the man holding that position has to be removed from in order to actively pursue settlement options. Another individual, said to be leaving soon, is his hand picked accomplice.
It's welcome news for the many people who claim to have been victimized by Quartzsite's controllers. Stay Tuned... there's more to come.
What does a bankrupt municipality look like? READ MORE And More
Friends and supporters... Quartzsite Thanks You!
Thanks to the wonderful, professional, kind-hearted and concerned people that visited Quartzsite over the weekend -- The world looked on while corruption faltered.
Our policemen got the support they deserved. Our nation found solace in knowing that good men do not intend to stand aside and stay silent while our cities and towns face massive corruption.
And thanks to those that stood -- Things are changing and will continue to change!
Some were surprised to be handed an official letter from the Chief of Police in Quartzsite. I've included that letter here. Notice the section circled in red.
You will note that, according to Police Chief Jeff Gilbert, we are NOT in a state of emergency.
This is incompatible and inconsistent with statements made by police officers who, immediately after their briefing following that illegal and secret meeting came forward to state that they were advised the town was in a state of emergency.
Since that time, Gilbert has repeatedly stated that people have been lying about this issue -- that we are not now and never have been in a declared state of emergency.
Now I would like you to click here and listen to the comments of 'Machine Gun Joe Winslow,' the councilman that attempted to have activist Michael Roth barred from council meetings, from town hall, and further requested that Roth's weapons would be removed from his possession. In this clip, he states that 'we declared a state of emergency.' The truth prevails.
You see, of course, that the truth simply refuses to be hidden. That someone, somewhere always seems to 'uncover' it and carry it boldly into the 'light of day' where it can be celebrated -- openly -- as the truth that it is.
The truth is coming out in Quartzsite.
Thanks to the elected representatives that came and stood with the people, faith in higher levels of government was restored.
People BELIEVE that the TRUTH will ULTIMATELY PREVAIL and that it will take more than one confused group of town officials to destroy what's left of this great nation's Constitution.
The people that visited Quartzsite this weekend are the best Americans can be. They were respectful and professional, they dropped what they were doing and came here to stand with the QUARTZSITE10 to stop this from continuing to occur. They were not fooled by propaganda without proof, nor accusations without evidence.
They set a standard by which people can begin to see the truth in a place mired in lies.
THANK YOU, THANK YOU our visiting friends for defending the QUARTZSITE10 and standing for the truth yourselves. Among those to whom we owe a debt of gratitude: Stewart Rhodes and Oathkeepers, Arizona's Sons of Liberty, Arizona Campaign for Liberty, Greater Phoenix Area Tea Party, COPWATCH.ORG, Arizona R3volution, Sons of Liberty Riders and USA Riders as well as many people who came on their own to defend liberty and truth.
Thank Yous are also in order to Representative Carl Seel, House District 6 (Chairman of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee) and Representative Judy M. Burges, House District 4 (Chairman of the House Committee on Government) who headed the march Saturday morning.
God Bless You All.
Quartzsite welcomes its friends and supporters...
This is it. The moment we've all waited for. Quartzsite is at the center of the storm of the controversy over corruption and how it should be handled.
How did we get here? And where are we going?
We in Quartzsite have seen a 'perfect storm' develop during the brief time I've been in office -- and it happened because the council in Quartzsite was so egregious in their operations that the situation could no longer be ignored.
As a Mayor, I have my own ideas about how things should be done. But this was so much more than that. This was a situation in which the council sought to withhold information -- and, yes, evidence -- concerning how funds had been spent and expenses had been paid, up to and including to whom those funds had been paid and under what particular set of circumstances.
I set about the business of finding out why.
So I asked to see certain records. It was easy to ascertain that I had struck a nerve.
I was promptly stonewalled, attacked, accused, maligned, insulted, reviled, berated, slandered and vilified at every turn.
I was even arrested by the Chief of Police in town.
They, in fact, did everything under the sun BUT give me the records that might have vindicated them, had they indeed been innocently accused of creating checks that were going to UNidentified people.
My arrest was quickly followed by the now famous actions of the Quartzsite10. These fine, highly regarded, Quartzsite officers -- and an evidence clerk -- promptly vacated their positions of allegiance to the Chief of Police and made some accusations of their own against him.
Those accusations verified the suspicions of those looking on in Quartzsite. It was disclosed by these officers that there were criminal actions taking place within the police department itself. These officers indicated that they essentially had no choice but to point out these indiscretions [and infractions] or risk that their careers would be destroyed by the actions of the police chief overseeing their department.
And they stood, as a group, to point an accusing finger at Jeff Gilbert, the police chief.
The OATHKEEPERS organization has come to Quartzsite to honor the commitment of the Quartzsite10 and to impugn the actions and activities of a town council run amok.
One has only to watch the arrest video of Jennifer 'Jade' Jones to see that this situation has escalated far beyond anything that could be considered 'reasonable' on the part of the town council.
That video was just one of many shot by Doug Guilford and he is making a difference here because those videos have been created. Each video stands on its own merit and by creating them in spite of the opposition offered by the police chief, the assistant Town Manager Al Johnson and our Town Manager, Alexandra Taft, Doug has done a fine job illustrating just what is happening in Quartzsite.
That's what it takes -- TRUTH.
Quartzsite IS the Poster Child for Corruption throughout the United States.
Now that is probably something that could be considered unfortunate. But, in truth, it is an unfortunate consequence of actions that the council KNEW were against the law.
And it was pointed out to them, repeatedly, and there was no response.
And then there were those events over which public concern escalated: people found themselves being 'selectively audited.' In fact, auditors were being 'turned loose' on taxpayers in 'bounty hunting' style.
Auditors were presenting themselves as employees of the town when they weren't. Some people were getting hammered by the so-called 'Building Inspector' Al Johnson [people here have yet to see any credentials that may have qualified him to hold this position of authority] while other people had issues that were being ignored because they were supporters of the town hall 'bunch.'
One man was challenged by the town over his airstrip. When he hired a lawyer, the Chief of Police and two pieces town hall owned earthmoving equipment were promptly dispatched to destroy his runway before the case could even make it into court.
The airport watchman at the scene [who was expecting two planes to land there] reported that when he approached the Chief of Police, that Chief of Police told him that if he called 9-11 he would be arrested.
These incidents and many others have been reviewed with legal recourse in mind, and Freedom of Information Act requests have been made for documentation surrounding these incidents.
These, and other FOIA requests for related documents at town hall have repeatedly been ignored or, in some cases, denied altogether.
Documentation is frequently missing. Witnesses have discovered situations where documents have been taken from town hall under suspicious circumstances. Key pieces of documentation have also reportedly 'gone missing' from the town's files.
The result has been an embattled and embittered town population and a situation at the town hall that brought 80% of the police themselves to say that illegal things have been occurring and that the police chief is a large part the problem.
So why does the town keep him in his position? Their own rules stipulate he should have been removed from his position and placed on administrative leave while investigations are made.
But he's not been removed, of course, because his presence serves as 'protection for those in need of protection.'
And, the town has suffered immeasurably as a result of all of this.
And what will it take to change that?
ADMINISTRATORS that THEMSELVES OBEY THE LAW.
This doesn't begin and end with Quartzsite -- which bears a lot of resemblance in people's minds of late to Buford Pusser reruns.
How did we get here? What causes corruption?
All over the country, people are being similarly challenged. What do you do when your own officials won't obey the laws?
When people are themselves attacked for standing up and trying to ensure that their own municipalities operate within the law -- and within their budget -- then changes must be implemented.
Right now, people are forced to pay ridiculous sums into municipalities that are making separate laws for separate people. They're often being run by people who have no expertise in handling money -- people for whom bankruptcy is considered a 'management tool.' Unfortunately, they handle the public's money much the same way they handle their own.
Too often they are handing funds to their friends and jobs to their relatives with no oversight from anyone.
When I was elected, Ms. Taft, the town manager, was writing checks by herself with no accountability. Ms. Taft was a fortune teller when she came to Quartzsite just a few years before. She had to resign her position as the town librarian because it was discovered that she didn't even have the credentials to hold that position.
So -- Who handed her such authority as she has today? Who gave her such carte blanche control?
More than a few of them are the very same people who now scream for my removal from office.
Do the math.
I'm Ed Foster. And I Am Still the Mayor. Welcome, friends, to Quartzsite.
NOTE: This is from STEWART RHODES --
If Chief Gilbert wants to label us “terrorists” simply for keeping our oaths to defend the Constitution, by using our natural right of free speech in support of good police officers who refused unlawful orders, and if he is going to label us “terrorists” for simply exercising our First Amendment protected right to peaceably assemble and petition government for a redress of grievances, -- all rights that GOOD MEN fought and died to preserve - well then, all I have to say is “we’re your huckleberries” Chief. See you in Quartzsite folks! Our forefathers are watching.
Founder of Oath Keepers
It's True -- the QUARTZSITE 10 have been removed from the police force pending a hearing and, then, it is anticipated that they will be dismissed from duty -- unless an intervention occurs.
The NOTICE is here, in PDF form.
This is, indeed, disappointing for all those following this issue.
Many of the police of this great nation strive to live lives worthy of distinction. We depend upon our police officers.
This is one of those rare occasions in which they depend upon us.
The idea that people in positions of authority could effectively turn their backs on individuals who have so bravely stood up to corruption and taken a stand against the erosion of our rights only to be persecuted like this is, of course, greatly disconcerting.
I want to clarify a few issues for the thousands of people watching Quartzsite and hoping for a resolution that will make some amount of sense.
Corruption isn't unusual. In fact, it's commonplace.
The people in Quartzsite have been pressed into silence for far too long. While they complained about things -- and even pressed to get rid of ex-town manager -- they were forced to watch helplessly as an unqualified Alexandra Taft was pushed into the town manager position.
Pamela Walsma was installed as town attorney -- despite clear evidence that she did not have the background nor the qualifications to fill that position, and was struggling in the position.
She did help them perform a variety of 'special' tasks -- she helped them attack me for asking for things [documents, records] that were rightfully mine to review, as Mayor, without interference.
We all know the books that are supposed to be public aren't being opened for the public to see. We all know that many, many laws are being openly broken. That Taft herself is attempting to muddy the issue by saying the 'opposing side is interested in 'disincorporating the town' -- that 'they [the dissenters, as those who stand in opposition to what's been happening in Quartzsite are often called] 'don't like the oversight and are targeting the police because of it.'
She said that. In spite of the fact that even a cursory review of the evidence readily available clearly shows that there is no group -- large or small -- that favors the disincorporation of the town -- and the allegations against the police chief have been documented by his own men. As in policemen. Men with lives, reputations, careers on the line, fighting for this town and the citizens in it -- all of them -- including those they say have been targeted by the police chief for political purposes.
Anyone with the slightest understanding of research can quickly allay any concerns they might have that these statements are true.
When they came forward with allegations of extreme abuse of power and names, dates and places to back up their allegations, the 'game changed.'
The town is being run by someone. We all know that.
An untrained and incompetent Alex Taft would not be in her position of authority were it not for that fact.
What is happening in Quartzsite? How is it that a Mayor can be ousted from an elected office by declaring a bogus emergency in the Town of Quartzsite?
Let me share with you some facts and figures.
Ms. Taft was a fortune teller when she came to town not all that long ago. That's not conjecture, that's fact -- as is the fact that there are laws pertaining to the qualifications a librarian must have to hold the position of librarian.
Taft was hired as the librarian in Quartzsite. She didn't have that level of education and so lost her position as the librarian and soon enough -- under the tutelage of the ex-town manager -- she was put in the position of Town Manager.
Ms. Taft has never presented herself to the League of Cities and Towns to be properly trained for this position, in spite of the fact that this is one of the primary purposes of the League -- and this training for Taft has been repeatedly suggested by the League of Cities and Towns.
Her lack of willingness to be properly trained is still a point of contention among those reviewing this situation.
Now, what possible reason could Taft have for avoiding this training? Why can't the officials at the Town of Quartzsite run the town according to the rules? Why are they so interested in refusing to subject themselves to any level of scrutiny by those qualified to offer it?
Instead, they've appointed Al Johnson, the wearer of any and all hats -- interchangeably -- to 'investigate the police' who have asked for an investigation of the police department as operating under the direction of Chief Jeff Gilbert.
Johnson, whose title is subject to change as deemed necessary at any given moment, seems to require no special level of education and, certainly, never an application.
Taft has handed Johnson the responsibility [privilege, even] of investigating the policemen who have given a vote of 'no confidence' in the Chief of Police.
Once again, we are being led by the unqualified to do -- what? What possible reason could Taft have for appointing building inspector turned assistant town manager turned special investigator Al Johnson into the person tasked with investigating our policemen who have made allegations of corruption against her and the chief of police? What possible qualifications could he have in order to even be considered for this position?
Ms. Taft only recently -- at my insistence -- shared access to the check writing for the Town of Quartzsite. That means that Ms. Taft has been the only person writing checks.
And, of course, we have missing checks. Constantly, consistently, missing checks -- many of them. At the rate of 8-10 each pay period, that's 208-260 'secret checks' each and every year -- for many years.
When someone that has the potential to have something 'to hide' is in the position of deciding whether or not people affiliated with her should or should not be investigated -- or if this person should 'interject herself' into the equation when deciding whether or not these 'associated' should be investigated, it's called a 'conflict of interest.'
If you are suspected of doing something illegal, should your friends -- who may well have accompanied you or even been involved -- decide whether or not you should be investigated?
Of course not.
And for officials to do this is also absurd. And those that post endless messages as to why this should be considered 'acceptable' only implicate themselves.
Intelligent people would see the writing on the wall and sit quietly by, waiting for people with the credentials to properly evaluate this situation to do so.
I'm Ed Foster,
Mayor of Quartzsite
to all those people following this issue -- THANK YOU for your
support and encouragement! You have made all the difference in this
battle for truth!
I want to take this opportunity to introduce you to Stewart Rhodes, the founder of OATHKEEPERS.ORG.
Stewart is a Yale graduate and attorney specializing in Constitutional law -- a Yale award winner, recognized for his writing on the Bill of rights. The Oathkeepers website is an amazing work in itself.
Stewart will be representing both myself and Jennifer Jones.
Please read and consider this story, from the OATHKEEPERS site and think again about our QUARTZSITE 10 -- 10 fine and courageous officers who stood up for the truth -- and recognize that they should be commended.
Theirs is a rare combination of strength and bravery-- and we salute each and every one of them for their dedication as law enforcement officers -- and for their loyalty to our citizens, as well.
I'm Ed Foster, Mayor of Quartzsite
July 12th, 2011
Full disclosure -- I am now the
official legal counsel for both Jennifer Jones and for Ed Foster,
the Mayor of Quartzsite, Arizona, regarding all of the many well
documented abuses of their civil rights, and in particular, their
First Amendment protected rights of free speech, assembly, as well
as their rights to take part in the political process, by the
Quartzsite Chief of Police and Town Council.
This is in my individual capacity as a lawyer, not as the President of Oath Keepers. I want to make that clear.
But I do see this as part of my responsibility to keep my oath, and in particular the oath I swore as a lawyer, to defend the Constitution.
Sometimes the law can indeed be used as a sword of justice, so please wish me luck in helping them hold the town council and the Chief of Police accountable!
Oathkeepers -- You may have heard about the situation in Quartzsite, Arizona.
The town council and the Police Chief there are now in full spin more in reaction to the national media attention being focused on their well documented pattern of silencing political opponents by means of intimidation and false arrest, including at public meetings.
Now they are claiming that there is an "emergency" which requires them to cancel normally scheduled and open public meetings, by claiming that they are in danger -- claiming they have received threats.
An easy way to cut through all the spin is to read the written report submitted by ten of the police officers in the Quartzsite Police Department, expressing their vote of no confidence in the Chief of Police, and requesting an independent investigation of misconduct by the Chief.
Their letter lays out many violations of the law and of the rights of the people. This is from the men and women who work in that department, who feel compelled to step up and speak out, at risk of their jobs.
These officers are a stellar example of what all police should be doing when unconstitutional behavior happens in their departments, and they are keeping their oaths.
Our hats are off to them! The whole document is worth reading, but the following quotes are particularly valuable in understanding what is going on there:
From page 4 of the document:
We feel it is our duty to inform the citizens of this community and the rest of the public that we do not stand behind Chief Gilbert, or condone any of his criminal actions, nor will we jeopardize our own careers by following orders we know are unconstitutional, or by not reporting his criminal behavior. As it is apparent to us that a vote of No Confidence in Chief Gilbert is not enough to ask for his resignation with cause, we feel that notifying your constituents of the kind of man and officer that is being allowed to run the Quartzsite Police Department is the only avenue left to convince you to start an honest investigation into a serious matter. [emphasis added.]
From page 7 of the document:
Over the last two years the problems have continually got worse. Chief Jeff Gilbert is fixated on the politics of this town. He is personally involved in them and all his time and attention is directed towards political gain to benefit of himself. He is obviously biased towards certain council members and is against and outspoken to other candidates and council members.
He runs license plates just to find out names of people whose vehicles are parked at businesses/residences of people he doesn't like. Not for an investigation, but to gain personal information about people for his political benefit. He runs criminal history reports through NCIC to try to find "dirt" on candidates or citizens supporting the candidates he does not like.
Our policy clearly states that we are not to get involved in politics and must remain unbiased at all times. He orders officers to pull over and arrest/cite violations of citizens he feels are against him or he doesn't like. Not because they have committed a violation that he wants enforced equally, but because it is someone he doesn't like. Clearly this is a misuse of his power.
He will target officers and go after them if he feels they are going against him. Candidates, supporters of him or friends can be in the same violation, even have outstanding valid warrants and officers are told to leave them alone. He caused the firing of the town prosecuting attorney because Chief Jeff Gilbert felt the Town Attorney would not follow through on or file ridiculous charges against people involved in a certain political group, he practices selective enforcement in the community against people who do not like him, or may go against him. He also directs the officers to do the same.
This selective enforcement by Chief Jeff Gilbert can influence decision and can initiate negative actions with highly negative results; this practice can also leave the Quartzsite Police Department employees and the City of Quartzsite open to accusations and lawsuits and liability. This also gives Law Enforcement, as a whole, a bad image.
Additionally, Chief Jeff Gilbert has made it clear that he does not have the time to be involved in the daily operations of this department. His attention is diverted to his involvement in politics. He is not involved with the department and is hardly ever present.
He takes no interest in those he commands. It is perceived that Chief Jeff Gilbert is oblivious to the decisions, actions and day to day operations of the department, unless it involves politics or someone involved in politics. [emphasis added]...
In closing, we would like to remind you that we are not troublemakers, malcontents or disgruntled employees. We are employees of the Quartzsite Police Department who have given our hearts and souls to serve the citizens of Quartzsite.
Our dedication to the citizens of Quartzsite and the other employees of the Quartzsite Police Department gives us the courage to write this very difficult letter. Our agenda is strictly based in the well-being of the Quartzsite Police Department, and Town of Quartzsite so we may provide the greatest level of service to the much deserving members of this community.
We salute these officers for their courageous stand. They serve as an excellent example of what needs to happen all across this nation, and they serve as an example of the truth that there are good police officers out there.
We Oath Keepers already know that, since we have many great officers within this organization, but the stand by these ten fine Arizona peace officers now serves as a clear example for the whole nation to see.
For those who are not up to speed on this situation in Quartzsite, here is the video that sparked national attention. In this video, a local activist and alternative media journalist, Jennifer Jones, is arrested at a town council meeting during a Call to the Public (open public comment time) for no apparent reason other than the city council members not liking the content of her speech.
The council members order the Police Chief to arrest Mrs. Jones over the objections of the Mayor, Ed Foster, who stated “the lady has the floor. She’s exercising her First Amendment rights …. You are in violation of my rules of order.” She was arrested anyway:
Jennifer Jones has, in fact, been arrested three times by the Chief of Police, in similar incidents. And the Mayor of the town, Ed Foster, has also been arrested twice by the Chief of Police, simply for speaking his mind and expressing his official opposition to the Chief’s actions. Quartzsite, Arizona is now ground zero in the fight for free speech, the right to peaceably assemble and petition government for a redress of grievances, and the fight against abuse of power and corruption in local government. Stay tuned! -- Oath Keepers
ADDITIONAL NOTE FROM STEWART:
Both Jennifer Jones and Mayor Foster (a Marine veteran) should be commended for their courage, as should the officers who are standing up against their own Chief of Police. What is most disturbing is that this is simply a particularly visible example of the kind of corruption that is absolutely pervasive across the country. I have seen it over, and over, all across America, whether it be GOP central committees (and the Dems are the same, but I don’t go to those), city councils, county commissioners, police chiefs, sheriffs, judges, legislators, you name it, it is the same, with few exceptions -- the rule of men, rather than the rule of law (the Constitution), and a sense of entitlement to rule that will use any and all dirty tricks against anyone who stands up to them.
What I have seen down at the local level is every bit as corrupt and totalitarian minded as anything that comes out of the US Congress or the White House. Just petty little tin-hat versions.
It’s enough to make a person just throw up their hands and give up. But, the answer is that we need to take our city halls, our county buildings, our local courts, our police departments, and our Sheriff Department BACK and kick out the corrupt career political hacks. The same goes for your local political party. Take it back. That is where the real battle ground is, right there in your home town and country, rather than Congress.
There are a few notable exceptions to this pattern, such as Sheriff Mark Gower, and Sheriff Palmer of Grant County Oregon (as Sheriff Mack noted in his article on our main site) and we should not forget that.
But we also need to see clearly how bad it really is. Nearly every single community suffers from willful, corrupt politicians who care not a whit for the rights of the people or for the Constitution, caring only for their own naked power. They are oath breakers who should be seen as a cancer on the body politic, and rooted out before they kill the host.
The exceptions show us what is possible. The rule shows us what must be corrected. The politicos have been left alone to run things so long they begin to have the delusion that they are above us, as a superior class of rulers. It’s time to wake them up with a bucket of cold reality and kick the bums out.
The people of Quartzsite are showing what needs to be done everywhere in the United States. Remember how the politicians freaked when us commoners called them on the carpet at town hall meetings across the country in 2009? Well, that hasn’t stopped. People are finally waking up to their responsibility to go to those meetings and actually participate, to keep an eye not just on their Congresscritters, but also on their local politicians. And the politicos don’t like it, hence reactions like we see in Quartzsite.
We need to kick out the career and patronage good ol boy networks that act like petty organized crime families and replace them with average folks who have not intent to stay in there for life. Run, serve a term or two, and get out! Let some other patriotic civic minded citizen take their turn, serve a term or two, and get out. Rinse and repeat.
We are heading for some seriously hard times, and the character, constitutional knowledge, and courage of those in local office will be pivotal in whether we slide into tyranny or see a renaissance of liberty rise up from the ashes of the coming hard times. We will see hard and dangerous times. It is coming. But how we handle it, and whether we come out the other end free, will depend on what we do right now, and that includes most especially who we put into positions of leadership at the town and county level.
Look what one good, principled, knowledgeable, brave Sheriff can do, such as Sheriff Palmer of Grant County Oregon, and imagine what we could do if we had more men like that, or MORE PEOPLE LIKE YOU, OR YOU YOURSELF, in office.
If we all sweep our own political “porch” clean, the whole nation will be swept clean, from the bottom up.
For the Republic,
Quartzsite officials admit what it was they did, behind closed
doors, without a Mayor present while citizens were locked out of
SUNDAY 10 JULY 2011
It's true -- Quartzsite is officially in a State of Emergency. According to most police, this would indicate that normal law is suspended. WORLD NET DAILY STORY HERE. Channel 5 Phoenix
What is not so clear is why this declaration was made on Sunday morning -- nor why the situation has been veiled in secrecy and even untruth.
Following a meeting Sunday morning at which Jennifer Jones [The Desert Freedom Press] reported that she could hear enough of the meeting from outside the closed and locked doors of the town hall gallery to know that attorney Martin Brannan indicated that the town was in a state of emergency, Vice Mayor Barbara Cowell reported to reporter Doug Guilford that there was no emergency status. Their propaganda newspaper clickHERE, wasted no time in calling everyone that reported this incident liars for alerting the public that there had been just such an action taken.
Cowell subsequently refused to state what the meeting was about, and later stated that she was confused about 'what the meeting was for.'
Perhaps I can shed some light on this issue.
The declaration of a state of emergency is a very serious undertaking. Not only are laws temporarily suspended, so, too, are the rights of the people. Until 1983, the declaration of martial law was all that was typically implemented -- but even then only in situations of grave danger. In other words, there was no real difference between declaring a state of emergency and what was commonly referred to as 'martial law.'
Even now, the two must be interpreted according to what is transpiring using what is intended to be accomplished as a guide. A law enforcement official -- in this case Police Chief Jeff Gilbert -- can essentially dictate during such a situation. Again: the rights of the people are actually suspended.
Quartzsite is not in grave danger and to hold a special meeting to address such a falsified threat and misrepresented level of danger is to greatly over exaggerate what is transpiring here . Obviously, they wanted to prevent the Mayor from having any authority -- but what else are they trying to accomplish?
To so abuse whatever power by which such a state is declared is indicative of very large problems indeed.
The right to declare a state of emergency is a state mandated right that is held only by the elected Mayor of a municipality. [County situations are governed by the reigning official there.]
Quartzsite, however, has attempted to suspend that right in order to specifically prevent me from having any power whatsoever. This concerned a question about water safety that happened when I was running for office. Typical for Quartzsite, no officials were on duty -- or could even be reached -- during that incident to properly respond. This story is located here.
I and others were ultimately accused by these same two people -- town manager Alexander Taft and police chief Jeff Gilbert -- of intentionally attempting to create a panic in an effort to discredit me. There was absolutely no foundation for such an accusation.
In the Arizona Independent story today, Gilbert is quoted as having said that Jennifer Jones has been attempting to incite riots in the wake of the video of her arrest during a Town Hall meeting becoming a sensation on the Internet. The AZ Central story makes no mention whatsoever of the QUARTZSITE10 [ten police officers representing 80% of the police force] who have accused the Chief of Police with criminal activity -- while providing over 200 pages of documentation to substantiate those claims.
There is, you see, a pattern of behavior here. They try to discredit those that are exposing them -- and, more often than not, they use entrapment to accomplish that goal.
If you muddy the water enough can the public be so confused they'll be afraid to render a judgment?
While the Mayor's official duties were immediately restricted as I took office in an unprecedented incident in which the 'acting Mayor' Wes Huntley refused to vacate the Mayor's seat [while being booed by a large audience of people] until most of the duties and responsibilities of the Mayor's office were effectively rescinded by votes of the sitting council, I was finally sworn in.
I was then not allowed my badge for an extended period of time and was never allowed to utilize the Mayor's office at the Town Hall facility.
When I attempted to speak to Alexandra Taft at her office at Town Hall, I was met by an angry Joe Winslow [now infamous in the Quartzsite video in which he similarly attacks Jennifer 'Jade' Jones.]
Winslow charged towards me yelling, "You get the hell out of here -- you're not wanted here!"
This is a pattern of behavior with them. The council people are all hand picked. They are the 'easily controlled. The gentleman orchestrating all of this has bragged that he handpicked each of them -- including Taft. His name is Dan Field and he now works at the county after people in Quartzsite were demanding his ouster from here.
This council would never continue hiding these books in the wake of all of this media attention and public outcry if there were not damning evidence in those books.
Taft and her relative, the newly appointed 'Assistant Town Manager' Al Johnson, have been accused of removing [and allowing to be moved]books from the Town Hall while the Town Clerk was on vacation. Johnson was seen and there was a demand letter sent to the town for information related to the witness' account. They responded that these were books being taken to California for recycling. There's a recycling bin less than a block from Town Hall. Citizens know they are hiding what will prove the case against them -- this is a pattern of deceit.
I fully expect these people to continue their illegal activities in the wake of the national media attention they are now receiving.
We will continue to expose these acts and report their illegal meetings, demanding accountability and an independent audit of the financial records to determine the extent of the crimes in committed in Quartzsite.
Unwarranted accusations and attempts to confuse the issues will not be useful to them in their plight.
They're still going to have to open the books and they're going to be exposed, no matter how many crises they attempt to manufacture in an effort to avoid disclosure.
And there's one significant difference now --
The world is watching.
I'm Ed Foster, Mayor
wouldn't they stop before this?
2011 -- 8 JULY -- Quartzsite is in the national media focus once again. Why did it have to escalate to this point? They've lost all credibility and the town is getting so much hate mail they've removed the names of our elected officials and their e-mail addresses from the town's website -- along with any financial information that had been published there.
[Throughout the Internet, though, publishers have chosen to publish the information the town took down -- like the names of the council people and their e-mail addresses -- even pictures.] There are hundreds of them -- and the list is growing every day.
Could it be possible that the Quartzsite officials can't strike fear into the hearts of the people of the entire world the way they have the citizens of Quartzsite by attacking them, their properties, their businesses?
Why, I wonder, can't they send their henchmen to silence and intimidate the masses the way they've done the rest of us over these past years?
Why couldn't the town's officials have just stopped their patently illegal activities before an incident of this magnitude had to occur?
In an interview this morning with Freedoms Phoenix's Ernest Hancock, I listened as Mr. Hancock described -- practically play by play -- the activities of the 'rulers' in Quartzsite -- and described other similar situations in other Arizona towns. And it's not just Arizona, either. This is a nightmare happening from coast to coast.
People understand that Quartzsite is corrupt -- that's not even in question any more.
We have a situation wherein I was elected to office and immediately prohibited from looking at any of the town's financial records. I was also forced to sit silently by and watch as the council immediately moved to restrict my activities and actions as Mayor until there were quite literally none left.
I cannot say that I did not see this coming.
The infamous Mr. Winslow is now 'the face' of this government in Quartzsite. He actually intentionally caused the incident that has brought this entire house of cards down on their heads just by escalating the situation with Jennifer Jones until it brought about a public relations disaster that has now focused the entire nation on the issues in Quartzsite.
For anyone that doesn't see the 'big picture' it is this:
The council has abdicated their office and their responsibilities as councilmen to hide behind the skirts of this so-called 'town manager,' Alexandra Taft. Now, just for the record, no one believes that Alexandra Taft is running this show -- the woman was fired as the town's librarian because she didn't have the qualifications to be a librarianmuch LESS a Town Manager. She came to Quartzsite as a fortune teller not that long ago, as the people who rented her a spot in their RV park have frequently described.
Ms. Taft thinks nothing of refusing legitimate FOIA requests and has repeatedly refused to provide the documents the law says she MUST provide.
Documents have 'walked out the door' under Taft's 'watch' at town hall -- and she frequently just refuses to answer her phone. She's operated a phony church [with one of the appointed Mayors of Quartzsite] and a phony animal rescue operation [still going but not effective] during her 'employ' here. These documents can be provided upon request -- but not from her. Just one more of the many services Ms. Taft is paid to administer but does not provide.
In fact, Ms. Taft has flatly refused to allow anyone to see any of some 8-10 checks that have been cut every two weeks for many, many years.
These checks total about $200,000.00 every year. In the last five years, they represent ONE MILLION DOLLARS in secret checks going to UNIDENTIFIED people.
This, in fact, is what the councilmen are preventing the citizenry from knowing: The identities of the persons who have received those monies and probably a lot more.
Remember when Steve Bennett took office and said, "We're paying $350,000.00 a year in 'engineering fees' and there's no WORK being accomplished?" Well, that turns out to be another 'tip of the iceberg' as well. Just as these checks have proven to be.
Who is getting all these secret monies?
Elmer London said it best this week in an effort to prevent the truth from being told. He wrote, 'The Mayor and his backers are going to continue with their devious plans, regardless of whose reputation may be destroyed."
Here, London is openly admitting that 'the Mayor's agenda' is threatening the people who have done something illegal.
Elmer London is a strong supporter of the old council just recently replaced -- and of this one, hell bent on continuing to conceal these facts from the public.
London's daughter, Caroline Guthrie, was one of those council people -- recalled and removed from office. Whose 'reputations' is London referring to and what does Elmer London know about those missing checks? If they didn't go to people who did not have those monies coming -- and if those monies were earned and taxes paid against them as required by law, don't you think Taft would be forthcoming in providing the information related to that secret $1 million dollars in undocumented expenditures?
Who is it she is protecting? Think about those 8-10 checks for an average of $$800.00 to $1,000.00 each -- going to unidentified persons every two weeks and see what names come to your mind. Those checks represent expenditures of about $8,000.00every two weeks.
Isn't it amazing that $200,000.00 could literally be missing from the town's coffers every year, going out at the rate of around $16,000.00 per month and no one ever thought it would be caught-- much less questioned?
And yet, all you've heard week after week and month after month is that I am somehow damaging the town because I have repeatedly asked to see an accounting of where these monies have gone.
Isn't it interesting how past town officials stay engaged in this game, insisting that I must go? What are they hiding? Why would they care so much when the citizens bounced them out of office? Why would they keep writing things in an attempt to vilify my simple request for the records?
Why is Ms. Taft so upset about this website that they have repeatedly censured me for writing to my constituents? Surely releasing those records and proving me wrong would work much better to vindicate these people.
Many of the townspeople have pointed out various areas of incompetence concerning Ms. Taft and her obvious lack of ability. However, she refused to be properly trained for the position she currently enjoys -- even when the League of Cities and Towns administrators virtually insisted she do so. It is the League of Cities and Towns that offers such training for town administrators.
YET Ms. Taft has been handed one responsibility after another -- many of them the actual forte of the Mayor -- and others the responsibilities of other officials -- such as those who suddenly discovered that their job descriptions had been altered to suit the whims of Ms. Taft.
When they complained they would be threatened with firing.
Ms. Taft, in fact, has ruled this town with an iron fist, empowered by, among others, the police chief, who is always somehow on hand to do her bidding and to enforce her rules. He has functioned as the 'enforcement arm' of a town run amok.
But -- looking at this situation purely from an analytical perspective, could she have made that incredible leap to an $80,000.00 per year position as a 'Town Manager' on her own? Of course not. Especially when she's never even subjected herself to being properly trained for the powerful position she has been holding -- fearlessly threatening the livelihoods of anyone unfortunate enough to find themselves within the realm of her employ.
No, she's been 'enabled' by someone a little above herself in this 'food chain' of parasites who have been feeding off the people in this once prosperous town.
And that person has been enabled by someone a bit above them and the 'big question' is how far up the ladder will these investigations go?
Because there's far more at stake here than just another bankrupt little community with a few caught 'red-handed' with their hand in the proverbial cookie jar.
No, Quartzsite's officials wouldn't stop until they got to be the shining example of just what a corrupt community looks like. Theirs are the faces of people who are an embarrassment to our nation -- the ones people use to illustrate their headlines blaring, 'corrupt -- crooked -- dirty -- and Nazi-like.'
Theirs are the actions described as 'illegal -- unjust --shameful -- despicable.
I am still proud to be the Mayor of Quartzsite with its wonderful mix of kind and decent citizens. I am proud beyond words of our fine police officers who stood -- before any of this happened -- to proclaim their loyalty to those same citizens as they demanded the ouster of one that was not similarly dedicated to say that such abuse of power can never be tolerated.
I would like to close with this comment from a woman in Great Britain who wrote:
"How can America be a shining beacon for democracy in the world when freedom of speech cannot be respected in Quartzsite, Arizona?"
How, indeed. Let's clean up this mess and dedicate ourselves to making sure such a disaster never befalls our peaceful little community again.
And to the good people of our great country, THANK YOU for your dedication to the preservation of our civil liberties and support for facing down what we have encountered in this battle.
I am both humbled and revitalized by the outpouring of your many letters of encouragement and I hope to respond to each and every one of you. I owe you all a debt of gratitude.
I am proud of my countrymen. Semper Fi.
I'm Ed Foster, Mayor
QUARTZSITE: Real Town or Circus Circus?
2011 -- 27 JUNE -- Proving once again that the town's officials will do anything to see that your eyes aren't on the ball, 'Starr Bearcat' showed up at a difficult and properly publicized meeting to hear Quartzsite's policemen and a high ranking official from a popular and well-respected police organization looking like this. [See photo, right.]
The issues facing Quartzsite are anything but funny. We have a police official accused ofcrimes -- including crimes against the people of this community. These matters are not funny, it's not a joke.
Bearcat calls herself/himself a photojournalist. You can click here for a PDF of a police report that Bearcat filed and see for yourself if you think that this person could ever qualify for a position as a photojournalist anywhere on this planet.
Bearcat also claims to be a woman. And Bearcat also claims to be a Navy Seal.
This came to light recently when someone more knowledgeable concerning Naval affairs discovered that this 'woman' attended the VFW ceremony held in Quartzsite on Memorial Day wearing a Navy Seal cap. Women, you see, cannot be Navy Seals -- not even today. You can't have it both ways, Bearcat. One of these statements is a lie. Either you're not a woman, or you're not a Navy Seal. Would you like to enlighten Quartzsite's citizens?
He/she was immediately contacted concerning this more than apparent conflict. Needless to say, the Navy frowns upon people masquerading as a member of the U.S. Navy's most highly distinguished area of service and, most especially, doing so while wearing a dress.
The officials to whom this was reported had no problem convincing Bearcat to 'cease and desist' in his/her impersonation. It's safe to assume we will never again see Bearcat donning a Navy Seal hat -- at least not while dressed as a woman. My guess would be that we have likely seen the last of the Navy Seal cap since this person has been wearing dresses since his/her arrival here.
You see, someone used the truth to prevent a lie from continuing to stand.
The frightening aspect of all of this is that this represents the level of deception happening in Quartzsite.
Bearcat, GoldenBear and the publication handed over to them by 'acting Mayor' Walt Akin have all been utilized to publish the propaganda so necessary to the continuation of exactly this level of deception -- one that must remain in place if the agenda currently underway in Quartzsite is to be continued. People like this do what they're told when they're told. They publish things with no foundation in truth hoping that the public will be deceived into thinking it's real. Why would they do that? And who has a vested interest in seeing that the truth never sees the light of day in Quartzsite?
The people in charge didn't invent this strategy -- the tactics they use are actually commonplace. It's simple 'sleight of hand.'
They try to keep you looking in the other direction while they run amok. They stonewall. They lie. They hold secret meetings and make secret plans -- like the one for them all to follow Lizarraga out of the room when he held up his council notebook.
They refuse to allow a forensic audit of the records. They put a 'patsy' in place to shut down meetings that would require they give citizens legitimate answers. They 'strongarm' anyone that gets in their way using 'authorities' or 'officials' that target people and, if available to them, they target the businesses or properties of those citizens demanding accountability.
They misrepresent what is happening and call those who question them 'troublemakers.' They try to polarize [divide] citizens so they won't organize themselves against them.
They misquote, misspeak, misreport, misinterpret, mangle, malign, distort, disguise and adulterate the truth at every opportunity.
They make the usual 'smoke and mirrors' look like child's play.
They abdicate their responsibilities in the offices they hold [see Lukkasson's explanation of same] and place those responsibilities with -- or upon -- others in an effort to avoid responsibility for anything that happens. They hide behind the unscrupulous and the ethically-challenged 'professionals' who assist them in avoiding public scrutiny and it will continue -- but only as long as the citizens will tolerate it. And when the citizens won't tolerate it anymore -- and when their own subordinates begin standing up for the truth -- then the investigations begin.
In the same way, once people understand how these things occurit's a matter of time until they use the laws to demand an end to it. And it's when their constituents begin communicating with each other that their power is initially threatened. Soon after, their crimes are uncovered.
It might be a bit of work to educate oneself to these tactics but, once you've done it you will never look at deception the same way again. There are many links on this site [and others] that will provide a free education in how and why this occurs. There is an easily identifiable pattern to these abuses and one the 'average citizen' is fully capable of discerning. That is why they do so much to stop the 'average citizen' from getting interested -- and especially from getting involved.
They can't stand up against the citizens.
In fact, this is why so many are working to take control of the Internet. See the list to your right? I'm not the only one reporting these issues. I am, however, one of the honest politicians living under the level of attack reserved for those trying to clean up the mess. Deception is not limited to Quartzsite, deception by leadership is commonplace. It's up to the citizens to discern it [usually from what they read about it or witness in council sessions.] And it's up to the citizens to demand a stop to it. Sometimes it's up to the citizens to help expose it.
A good example of this tactic is the way the situation was handled when I attempted to explain how the investigation of Gilbert needed to be accomplished -- and why. The gallery audience became quite irate when I raised Dan Field's name -- and for good reason, I understand -- and I could not be heard above the noise. I then published an explanation that outlined these various areas of concern and explained the proper rules of procedure in this instance. [It also explains why I raised Field's name and clarifies this often falsely reported incident.] That document isHERE.
HERE is their most recent effort to prevent me from publishing my writings. And here, for the information of anyone so inclined to want to read it, is the First Amendment to the Constitution of these United States:
"FREEDOM OF RELIGION, SPEECH, AND THE PRESS; RIGHTS OF ASSEMBLY AND PETITION
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people to peacefully assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
And there you have it: I have the right to write and to publish what I write and you have the right to read what I write if you desire to do so.
And the Constitution still stands -- much to the consternation of the Quartzsite Town Council's councilmen.
Exposure, of course, is everything. When the truth is finally uncovered, this community can finally be repaired. We don't need many hats and we don't need anyone attempting to make our town look like a circus.
We need honesty in government. We need open government. We need the truth.
I'm Ed Foster, Mayor
Oldham bail out La Paz County?
21 JUNE -- Just as people were losing hope that anything could or would happen to prevent La Paz County from sinking into the muck of MORE TAXES AND LESS SERVICES, a truly interesting option has been presented. A Public-Private Partnership with $ 15,000,000.00 at the ready could, essentially, be the solution. Let me know what you think! Read this: LAPAZDISPOSAL.COM
I know that Oldham attempted to get the Supervisors to listen to a proposal concerning this issue about a year ago -- only to have the offer ignored -- and he was prevented from speaking to the Supervisors at an open meeting.
Why would this be?
We need assistance. There are only so many options available when you're as far down as La Paz County has been allowed to sink. This debt was $9 million when this began and now the debt is at $14 million! Oldham has excellent credentials and he's widely regarded as being a forward thinking individual. We, the people living in La Paz County, have seen no other offers -- or options -- on the table as the issue was stonewalled from the beginning, leading to nightmarish events at the county when it was threatened with locking down its funds -- and STILL there were no solutions forthcoming.
I see this as a great thing and hope that the details will be scoped out in a public meeting in the very near future.
I'm Ed Foster, Mayor of Quartzsite
When is Enough Enough?
17 JUNE -- I am so thankful for Quartzsite's fine police officers and for Quartzsite's citizenry.
I can tell you that from where I sat at the head of the room, the audience was virtually a sea of red -- and this indicates thatthe MAJORITY OF THE PEOPLE are in FULL SUPPORT of our fine police officers and all they stand for.
This has been a tough, tough week. We are making news for the out of control antics of our council and their blind determination to plunge ahead -- when everyone but them seems to understand they're heading straight over a cliff.
They are determined to continue attempting to defend the indefensible in spite of the fact that it causes them to look not only ignorant but complicit. WHY would they ALLOW the hiding of the books to continue? Their protectors stand by with so much mud on their faces they're virtually unrecognizable. These people have become the running joke of not only Quartzsite but surrounding communities.
It's not as if people don't see through what's happening. Propaganda is something that is easily recognized no matter how often it's used to try to thwart real reporting of the truth.
At least one county reporter is now being openly criticized for refusing to print that truth and for twisting the stories in an attempt to use the false charges filed against myself and others to effect public opinion.
Why would that be? Because public opinion matters. Because YOU matter. Because when people understand they've been played, they will effect change.
Who is controlling this reporter from the Parker Pioneer? Answer that and you have put your finger on just who is responsible for the financial and ethical disaster facing Quartzsite -- and quite likely for a good percentage of the one at La Paz County.
It's time the truth was told. The entire truth.
Similar to La Paz County, Quartzsite is broke. Flat broke, in fact, with little information as to how it came to be this way. Because we're on I-10, we enjoy a tremendous income stream because of the truck stops and tourism our location affords our small community. This community should be thriving! Yet those monies have somehow magically disappeared and we're on the verge of bankruptcy. AND YET our town manager who seems to insist she is answerable to no one is somehow allowed to continue -- by our council -- as she literally HIDES the records and books and continues smirking at the officials in the State of Arizona Ombudsman's Office who have told her in no uncertain terms that she is to produce those records forthwith! Their letter HERE.
Similarly, Goldwater Institute has criticized Quartzsite's officials for making rules and regulations that, in effect, attempt to circumvent those already in place and overseen by the State of Arizona concerning candidates for elections and what the criteria to run for office should be. The Town of Quartzsite is vested with what powers it hasBY THE STATE OF ARIZONA and it cannot simply choose to act outside that scope of power designated for it by the state!
Shortly thereafter, the Policemen's Association of our town came forward, risking their entire careers and their own reputations to point out that the many accusations against the town's Chief of Police absolutely have merit and that they, themselves, fully 80% of the police force, have given a vote of NO CONFIDENCE in this man and his abilities to properly oversee the department or handle the tasks entrusted to him.
And what did the council choose to do? Ignore them. Pretend their accusations were not made. Hire a private law firm to 'investigate' the officers instead of Gilbert -- instead of turning it over to the Department of Public Service as the law dictates in allegations of criminal activity.
Now comes the Vice President ofAZCOPS.ORG who took the time to come to Quartzsite to see for himself the disastrous situation that exists here. READ HERE his comments concerning Quartzsite and what is transpiring.
This is a MUNICIPALITY -- not a private club. And, as our officers have pointed out, this isn't a popularity contest!THIS is how a professional investigation is to be conducted.
Morale at the police department has plummeted because there are things happening in our community that should not occur anywhere. All the politically motivated rhetoric that's being put into the public forum [and all the unbelievable things that are happening in our community] are only indicative of a larger problem -- one they're hoping won't be investigated.
But the citizens themselves have been writing letters, talking to officials, demanding an investigation -- and it's all, of course, about to happen because the charges are so egregious and the evidence is so clear it demands investigation.
And yet the council continues to block all efforts to discover WHY we are broke, WHERE those monies have been paid and to WHOM, FOR HOW LONG this has all been allowed to occur and WHEN it to be corrected.
And what is their priority? Blocking off as much of the gallery as possible so as few people can be in the room to complain about their activities as was possible.
To better accommodate this agenda, first they removed many of the chairs -- then they installed a banister in our already space compromised gallery, and then an additional barricade in the alcove to dissuade people from watching the proceedings. PICTURES HERE
In the meantime, we're losing our CDBG grant of $250,000.00 because the work they needed Quartzsite's personnel to do somehow never quite got accomplished. In fact, neither the necessary personnel nor the equipment was assigned to accomplishing this very important task so critical to the long term success of our community.
Is there NO ONE that seems to have any remaining confidence in Quartzsite?
might be a reason for that.
Since the day that I was elected, every effort has been made to undermine my leadership. At Tuesday evening's meeting, Jose Lizarraga jumped from his seat, waving his council binder toward the door, motioning his fellow councilmen to abandon their seats and refuse to allow Quartzsite's police force to stand in solidarity with the AZCOPS Vice President.
How and when was councilman Lizarraga voted in as Mayor? By what -- or by whose -- authority is he acting? The picture of this event is here and the video will be made readily available -- for free -- to whomever would like to review it.
This council immediately moved to strip me of whatever powers the seat was intended to hold, circumventing the will of the people who elected me as Mayor -- and the resulting lack of leadership has damaged all of us.
And by that statement I am not saying that I am a brilliant leader -- I am pointing out that when the people within make an open joke of our government and work openly to circumvent the will of the people, how are people outside expected to respond? Can any of us undermine those about us without it reflecting upon all of us?
This is, in fact, the reason Quartzsite is in the position in which we currently find ourselves.
Government is for all the people -- not just a select few. Justice is to be equitably applied. The monies that come into government are to be allocated for the good of the citizenry -- not used for self-aggrandizement. These people were not voted in to 'rule' over you -- they were elected to represent you!
People are not to be singled out for retribution using the powers granted to government because of their political beliefs or activities. In Quartzsite, this is commonplace. And the people singled out to be targeted, maligned, attacked are those that would have been unlikely to have complained at all about government had they not, themselves, been targeted.
But once they were drawn into the fray-- and spoke to others who were -- an ominous picture began to emerge.
And those with the courage to ask a few questions suddenly found themselves in possession of some most distressing information.
They had challenged the 'status quo.'
They wanted to know why Quartzsite was broke in spite of the phenomenal amounts of money the town generates. Why water and sewer rates were being raised exorbitantly high -- and why certain places and people were 'exempt' from those rate increases. Why certain people were forced to 'hook up' and others were left alone.
Why Quartzsite's officials weren't following the rules for properly running a municipality.
Why people were being paid -- and what they were being paid for -- and who those individuals are -- to this day -- is being kept secret. Fully $200,000.00 each year has gone to these 'unnamed' individuals!
Why viable business people are driven from town before they can establish the business they came here to build -- usually under very suspicious circumstances. Some of these are world class businesses who were attempting to build things like hotels! Their stories are shocking.
Why have so many different people reported that they were solicited to pay 'certain monies.'
Why are some individuals treated so differently than most? Why have Quartzsite's councilmen allowed or even encouraged the town manager, Alexandra Taft, from honoring legitimate FOIA requests?
Why has Quartzsite's reputation diminished so drastically publicly.
Why people aren't friendly or nice at Town Hall. Why officials are purposely refusing to answer their phones or take calls from concerned constituents or those attempting to properly handle their responsibilities.
Why 'corrupt' is the most common adjective used to describe Quartzsite.
Why people are hired whose applications seemingly don't exist. Why 'qualifications' don't seem to matter when hiring these individuals.
Why records were being carried out the back door by a person not designated as the clerk. Why the records of certain citizens are no longer in their files -- in this person's office.
Why people are criminally charged with crimes who have never, ever had any record of criminal activity -- and why, when the town's excellent, longterm and widely respected prosecutor refused to prosecute these individuals for such ridiculous 'crimes' he was promptly terminated by our council.
The list goes on, and on, and on.
Quartzsite is a town. These people cannot forever remain in control. These questions are not going to go away -- they are going to be answered. These issues are going to be corrected because they must be. An audit will not be avoided for years into the future, it doesn't matter who attempts to block it.
Our councilmen are in those seats to do a job. That job demands to be properly accomplished.
It's time professionalism and accountability return to Quartzsite and I intend to do my part to see that I am part of that solution.
I'm Ed Foster, Mayor
Is the 'End of the Road' approaching?
As Quartzsite faces the culmination of a series of events, it looks as though the 'end of the road' for those that have consistently misled the public about what is -- and isn't -- happening in Quartzsite may finally be called to task.
It's easy for people to bask in denial -- they can postpone the inevitable for only so long, though, before the truth is known. We face just such a situation today. It's not that they don't know what's happening -- it's that they hope you don't. And a simple assessment from those whose hands they forced into action will now turn a difficult situation into an impossible one.
The fallout has only begun.
In the case where Oldham's airstrip was decimated before a court could hear [or rule on] the matter at hand, Oldham's attorneys have taken a hard line against the town.
Oldham tolerated a great deal before taking this measure. He had consulted attorneys and there were letters between Oldham's attorneys and those the town had hired specifically to address the Main Event issue. He quite obviously did not want battle the town head-on and, instead, worked to establish the true position of the Main Event property and the runway that has so long been a part of that property. There was research that had to be done by Oldham and his attorneys. He left no question in the minds of the town's officials that this research was underway.
Then, without prior warning, he found the destruction of the runway by two of the town's graders underway. The police chief was on site. A statement has been made that a witness was prevented from calling 9-11 to report the incident to county officials under threat of arrest.
The runway was decimated. The town has now been notified by Oldham's attorneys that they, themselves, are responsible for any accidents that occur at that site and not Oldham -- since Oldham did nothing to endanger lives at the Main Event property.
When a report was made to the Town Council about the runway, Mr. Bertsch, who was in the past the manager of the Main Event airstrip property, was forced to wait until the call to the public portion of the Town Council meeting before he could even speak.
He warned the audience that night -- the council included -- that to fail to properly mark the runway to warn people driving onto the airstrip was a clear threat to life. Yet that was not enough. The town's officials -- yet un-named -- chose to destroy the airstrip.
The council cannot jump in and act before a court has a chance to hear a case. What if you were notified by the town that they were laying claim to a piece of your property and they bull-dozed a strip through the center of it without allowing you the opportunity to first go to court?
Citizens have the right to defend their own property. What happened to Oldham was a violation of his rights. It should not have been allowed. When Oldham asked for the records via an official FOIA request-- his right as a citizen -- to know who issued the order to send those bulldozers to the Main Event property to destroy the runway, he was told there was no such document.
Al Johnson, building inspector, remarked to Oldham when he requested the documents in question, "We were just maintaining our roadway."
As Mayor, I am here to tell you that there was a work order created to order those bulldozer operators to take Town of Quartzsite equipment to that private property to bulldoze a strip right through that runway. Now, the people that did it are obviously afraid to reveal themselves, aren't they? They are, in fact, admitting that they don't want to admit it was they that acted so unfairly and so outside the realm of exercising reasonable judgment -- and acted to intentionally and deliberately destroy a person's private property before the court could rule on the matter.
What they did was inexcusable. Someone will, ultimately, be ordered to admit what they did. Someone will be held accountable for not allowing the case to proceed through court the way proper handling of the matter required. Someone acted outside the realm of their authority.
While we're on the subject, let's briefly address the issue of Richard Oldham.
There is a group of people in Quartzsite that use Oldham as their excuse for everything they do.
They say they don't want 'certain people' to get into office because they're reportedly 'friends of Oldham.' They don't want anyone to listen to this person or that one, citing the same excuse. I've studied this matter and I can tell you that any time an issue comes up that would require they follow 'proper rules of procedure' they use Oldham as an excuse to exercise poor judgment.
This is a very transparent agenda for anyone that cares to do the math.
Oldham is not in office and is not running for office. Oldham is not involved in politics except to follow what's happening. He is just another businessman who oversees his investments -- and some of those just happen to include property in Quartzsite.
Now let me tell you what other pretty well grounded businessmen have to say about Quartzsite.
"Those people at Town Hall act like they're doing you a favor just by showing up."
"Some Town Manager they have here -- that woman is never in the office and does not return calls."
"I've never seen more disgruntled town employees -- what is wrong with these people?"
"I would have liked to have purchased property here but this place scares me. If they think you're on the side of so and so you're marked."
"Quartzsite used to be such a fun place to hang around."
"They don't seem to want winter visitors in Quartzsite anymore."
"I was going to put in a permanent business here but I picked a safer location."
"I don't think we will be coming back to Quartzsite. We're looking for a new destination."
There are many, many more I would like to report to you but cannot because they refer to easily identifiable town employees that have been accused of overt harassment.
If these comments don't concern you, they should. Quartzsite is suffering from a common plight. There are too few people wielding too much power.
I'm Ed Foster
Mayor of Quartzsite
Yes, the rules apply to Quartzsite!
With Quartzsite's reputation for political wrangling and serving up something 'less -than-the-truth' to citizens and voters alike, it appears we need to remind the 'status quo' that there's an easy solution to this dilemma -- it's called telling the truth.
January 17, 2010 -- QUARTZSITE, ARIZONA -- When the citizens lose faith in their government, it is a tragedy for all concerned.
And when we can only stand by and watch while the problem is exacerbated by an abject refusal to tell the truth in spite of the evidence readily visible to all that indicates there are many and varied problems pertaining to issues of trust, then nothing short of a thorough review of all of the facts available is in order.
Quartzsite is known throughout the State of Arizona for being a difficult municipality, full of angst and unprofessional conduct.
Many times, the council meetings themselves dissolve into pandemonium, further lowering the opinions the people hold of their elected officials.
Most towns do not have the problems Quartzsite seems to embrace. There is a 'right' to all of this -- and right is not determined solely by which seat you are setting in, or which side of the wall you occupy. Right is definedhere and is in a league of its own.
The Town of Quartzsite is frequently accused of being corrupt. You will find corruption definedhere. Corruption is defined as the antithesis ofgood governance.
Open government is necessary -- as is a free and accurate press -- to maintain positive, effective and honest government. This has been true throughout the centuries as people have sought to maintain a proper relationship between the people and the government that would represent them.
There is nothing wrong or evil in seeking to keep the government transparent, honest and open.
The budget -- and all other financial reports -- are to be a matter of record and available to our citizenry for review.
If the Town of Quartzsite has been borrowing from the HURF fund for operating capital, our elected officials need to admit that fact and invite public discourse concerning how this occurred, how these funds were spent and how they will ultimately be repaid -- as they must be -- before we are penalized for these activities.
Yes, friends, the borrowing of $2.7 million dollars from the HURF fund was improper. And to make no effort to repay those funds is also improper. Perhaps worse, we don't know how those funds were allocated or how they were ultimately used.
And yes, it was grossly improper for the Town Manager, Alex Taft, to attempt to mislead those questioning the financial status of Quartzsite by transferring HURF balances into the Water and Sewer fund so that the general fund would appear to show a surplus, causing the Town to appear solvent when it wasn't -- and allowing the use of these funds for whatever they might now deem necessary -- and, as if that weren't bad enough, the true financial status of the Town of Quartzsite would continue to be concealed from the people.
And, yes, there has been some conversation about the financial condition of several of our councilpeople.
While it should go without saying, it appears that this reminder is important for Quartzsite's officials as it is crucial that elected people do not bring bad financial habits to bear on the handling of the public's money.
Who is really running Quartzsite?
One thing is certain -- certainly many things pertinent to this issue are being hidden from view.
At one point, I made a FOIA request to view the [electronic mail] e-mails sent and received by Town Manager Alexandra Taft.
Ultimately, the stack I received was nowhere close to the stack I requested and subsequently viewed sitting on a Town Hall desk. The stack went from something near 16-18" down to 3".
Why wasn't I allowed to view all of these e-mails? Who is hiding what documents and why?
In an honest and open government, there is no reason for such juggling of the public's property. According to the law, any and all such documentation is to be provided upon demand as upheld by the courts when the FOIA laws were created and subsequently adopted.
Building Inspector Al Johnson was seen taking a trunkload of documents from Town Hall and, when questioned, the town's officials indicated that he was hauling them to California to be recycled.
As anyone in Quartzsite knows, there's a recycling bin less than two blocks from the Town Hall property.
For what possible reason would the town's building inspector be moving these documents? Also of vast interest to investigators is that these documents were removed from Town Hall while the person legally responsible for them -- the Town's Clerk, Karen Norris -- happened to be out of town.
As you can see, the problems plaguing Quartzsite's town officials are largely the fault of Quartzsite's town officials and not the perceived 'trouble makers' that have been pointing out these many and varied discrepancies and indiscretions that point to -- you guessed it -- accusations of corruption!
Whatever has happened in the past, the people of Quartzsite are demanding -- and deserve -- an open and honest governmental body which will respond to the will of the people and not seek to quash public discourse, public enlightenment, public accountability.
Blaming past employees has become 'status quo' for Quartzsite's officials -- and for members of the audience to stand and berate those who have worked here before while excusing those who have held the same steady corrupt course is an absurdity of the highest sort.
Which brings us to another question -- Why is it so many people are absolutely convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is an unseen 'third party' running Quartzsite?
If so, who is running Quartzsite? Could it be the one so often publicly blamed for the town's current 'insolvent' status?
Remember when we first used those words and we were first admonished and then accused of lying by Ms. Taft?
Let the lies end. Leave the excuses behind. We need to know where we stand so that we can budget for the future and correct the indiscretions of the past.
The time has come for open government -- and open books -- in Quartzsite.
I'm Ed Foster, Mayor
California has nothing on Quartzsite!
Amidst concerns over a projected deficit, our Town Manager told the council and our citizens that the town actually had a 'surplus' for the year. When the audit was complete, the truth was that there is at least a $1.4 million deficit that was then borrowed from the HURF funds, which now total $2.7 million deficit in monies borrowed from the HURF fund.
January 03, 2010 -- QUARTZSITE, ARIZONA -- While the battles continue to rage in Quartzsite, we can only watch as the parallels between this municipality and the one in Bell, California, continue to be drawn.
Bell's administration, for instance, has been attempting to avoid audits -- as has Quartzsite's administration -- almost as vehemently as they resist efforts to FOIA any information -- and Quartzsite is known for exactly the same tactics.
When the audit of Bell was allowed to occur and the numbers were finally tallied, we were surprised to discover that Bell has actually done a bit better than Quartzsite, since they are only $2.2 million in total debt.
Quartzsite, we learned December 28, 2010, is over $2.7 million in debt -- and that figure reflects only the monies owed to the HURF fund, which is supposed to be utilized only for road related expenses.
While this, in and of itself is an atrocity, it is even more egregious because I and others asked -- repeatedly -- about the true financial status of the town, only to be told by our Town Manager that there is 'no problem' and that we were in 'fine' condition.
How is it that the truth seems to be such an elusive target?
There is only one way to handle issues in a municipal environment. Towns are to be governed according to the will of the people. [The new agenda public comment rules here.] They are to be able to elect their leaders, and work with them accordingly.
The Mayoral position was defined -- specifically -- to be the liaison between the people and their council. The council's efforts to disempower the position of Mayor cannot change the fact that this post has a specific purpose, and that a specific person was elected to that post -- and it was not one of the sitting councilmen who have sought to rescind the powers originally assigned to that post.
The people continue to take their concerns to the proper authority and that authority is the Mayor.
Is it any surprise that the citizens of Quartzsite have repeatedly voiced their opinions and concerns over such issues as nepotism and suspicion that orders are taken -- often seemingly without question -- because of relationships between officials?
Upon inspection of the facts, there does seem to be a consistent failure to properly bid projects and, in situations where competing bids are offered, there is a failure to explain why Quartzsite so frequently chooses companies with significantly higher bids over those who present lower ones.
"Would it hurt the town to allow another company the opportunity once in awhile?" one resident asked, "Especially when there are often tens of thousands of dollars involved in the difference in price in even one of these projects!"
The battles continue to rage in spite of some of our best efforts to restrain -- and retrain -- some of the authorities in question.
Again, our Town Manager clearly [and frequently] is acting outside the scope of her authority as witnessed by her incurring this huge debt to the HURF fund with no notification -- much less request for permission to borrow said funds -- from the council -- and I remain hopeful that she will submit herself to the League of Cities and Towns and allow herself to benefit from their expertise by taking them up on their efforts to see her become properly trained.
This, in fact, would seem to lend credence to the accusations frequently being leveled in Quartzsite that people are being hired not for their education or professional background but that certain individuals -- unqualified and undereducated -- are being selected to hold positions far beyond their capabilities based upon someone's hidden agenda, rather than properly advertising these positions and selecting the most qualified candidates.
How, in fact, has Al Johnson -- widely known to be related to Town Manager Alexandra Taft -- obtained the various powers now assigned to him? Mr. Johnson is also widely known to be a resident of California and not Arizona, and the Town Code has consistently and specifically prevented out of state residents from holding any paid municipal post.
Upon review of this information, those inquiring have been advised that the Town Code was changed to allow this to take place. But even this excuse leaves four very important questions to unanswered -- when was the Town Code altered, by whom was it altered and by whose authority was this accomplished -- and for what purpose?
Did someone alter the Town Code to specifically allow Mr. Johnson to hold his position? Was this done earlier to accommodate others? If so, how many out-of-state residents are holding positions in Quartzsite's municipal structure -- and why?
It has widely been held that people that are employed in [and collecting a check from[ any Arizona entity must obtain an Arizona Driver's License and declare their residency to be here. Is Mr. Johnson somehow exempt from that law as well?
Mr. Johnson's intent was on clear display recently when his suggested changes to the requirements of the Town Code were widely ridiculed and, thus, were unceremoniously dumped by Johnson himself when a large number of business owners and vendors stepped up to make themselves heard at the town Council meeting held on December 28, 2010.
In actuality, this changed nothing -- Mr. Johnson's intent is still clear. Given the same set of circumstances, which -- if history is any indication, will occur when the vendors are not in Quartzsite to represent themselves en masse -- will again be on display. It is unlikely he will fail a second time to place his will above that of the people once more.
Johnson is currently at loggerheads with several businesses in town, most of whom have not yet relinquished control over their properties in a manner consistent with Johnson's expectations. Where did this man of dubious distinction obtain such broad and far reaching powers? For whom does he really work? If Johnson is not related to Town Manager Alexandra Taft it certainly could not be proven by the history of his actions against certain residents and businesspeople of the town.
We need -- and should want -- to be seen as forward thinking and capable people, working for the betterment of all of our citizens -- not just a select [and politically connected] few. We should not be setting an example of infighting and pettiness, where people openly describe certain acts of certain officials as a 'vendetta' -- which is the way our town manager described an unusual, unadvertised tax burden that was placed on one taxpayer. [Letter regarding this issue HERE.] Of course, it was not enough to simply pursue the tax matter -- instead, certain officials brought the matter forth publicly at a public meeting with no right to do so, and this businessman was [again, publicly] held up as guilty when the matter has not been properly settled before the courts even now.
Another area of great concern are the liberties being taken to rewrite the Town Code to suit the needs of the sitting officials. We must remind them that they are temporary officials and that the existing code is there for a reason.
If every town rewrote their laws every time new officials were elected to office, there would be no continuity of government with which to base the expectations of the citizenry and all of us would be under the control of those 'temporary' seats of power -- an impossible position, at best.
Quartzsite's leaders should be focused on growth and need to put forth a reputation for going that 'extra mile' to make people feel welcome -- so that we can not only survive but thrive in the weeks and months ahead. These are perilous times and it is imperative that people work to support each other, fostering a community built upon professionalism and mutual respect.
Recently, when I spoke at the Citizens Coalition meeting in Quartzsite, there were two full groups of people and standing room only at each of those meetings.
I can tell you that the focus of these businesspeople is the success of this municipality and the success of their businesses here.
I respect and support their position -- and I hope that the council will take steps to do the same.
I'm Ed Foster, Mayor of Quartzsite
No Rate Increases? According to Whom?
Local businessman accused of arbitrarily raising rates -- evidence tells another story
December 12, 2010 -- QUARTZSITE, ARIZONA -- When a local park owner raised rates in accordance with the water and sewer rate increases recently adopted by the town, he found himself accused of raising rates without justification -- and park residents threatened to move from his park believing he had misrepresented the reason for the rate increases.
According to residents -- the information they obtained came from town officials whom, they say, told them there had been no significant rate increases by the town.
What is the truth? This document shows the water and sewer rate increases using the revenue report provided to the town -- according to the town's own figures. Clearly, these large rate increases -- water rates by 247% and sewer rates by 297% -- placed a larger burden on park and show owners, because they received a larger increases than other customers -- which represent a large percentage of the tax base in Quartzsite.
In fact, business owners throughout the community are complaining that they are literally being driven out of business or out of Quartzsite by huge increases in overhead expenses driven by the town's council officials, while trying to maintain business during an economic downturn unrivaled by anything since America's last depression.
Quartzsite's traveling business base -- its vendors -- are finding it difficult to find businesses able to provide affordable rents and reasonable contracts, citing the rising taxes and unreasonable demands placed upon property owners under the current council.
The research that I have been able to obtain clearly proves that complaints of this kind are more than groundless accusations -- and a comparison study of where we were one year ago in comparison to today is an indication that we must reach a turning point soon if we are to maintain Quartzsite as a popular tourist destination and strong supporter of small business. Quartzsite and places like it have provided a starting point for new small business ventures for many years.
Historically, these businesses eventually grow into larger companies and often become the independent businesses from which successful companies grow. Without a starting point, entrepreneurs are driven into debt early on, often creating a burden that business owners are reluctant to bear.
Already, 50% of most new business endeavors fail the first year, with 92% failing to survive beyond the five year mark. From where, then, is Quartzsite's vending base going to continue to come?
These are questions that must be raised if we are to continue a tradition of the solid business practices that made Quartzsite what it is.
I'm Ed Foster, Mayor
Peace Allowed for Quartzsite's citizens?
Working on putting differences aside is no small feat in Quartzsite
October 22, 2010 -- QUARTZSITE, ARIZONA --'Despite the best efforts of some wonderful, dedicated people, there appears to be no dedication to any 'peacemaking' efforts on the part of the sitting council.
For those that were not able to attend, the League of Cities and Towns came into Quartzsite to facilitate an excellent training session, designed to settle some of the disagreements between the council and those of us who have been trying to point out that some of their actions have been -- well -- unorthodox.
The League of Cities and Towns Director, Ken Stroebeck, and the attorney for the League of Cities and Towns, offered clarification and answered questions pertinent to the applicable rules and regulations that provide direction to those newly elected to office as well as to those not familiar with the rules of procedure.
It was a good meeting and most appropriate, in light of the struggles this council has faced.
Some 11 points were brought forward by Quartzsite's councilmen and Police Chief Gilbert, asking for clarification.
The League's director and attorney were able to offer clear and concise direction -- not just advice -- for how meetings are to be conducted.
It was not news the council members seemed to appreciate hearing.
They learned that the council meetings are to be handled according to the direction of the Mayor. They learned they had no right to attempt to disempower me, as Mayor, and that they could not usurp the powers they had attempted to take from me.
They learned that the police
chief cannot arbitrarily take control of the meeting from the Mayor.
Immediately after this meeting, I asked for a meeting with Ms. Alex Taft, Town Manager. Ms. Taft wrote -- in a memo to me -- that there would be no meeting. She indicated that she is not answerable to me.
Then, on the one point that the League's representatives had mentioned concerning not allowing any 'guest' speakers from deviating from the subject at hand, I received a notification from Ms. Taft that this matter will be of concern to her. [It allows the council to report me to the County Attorney -- and then for the County Attorney to fine me $600 per incident if I have allowed speakers from the community to leave the topic at hand and bring up other issues.]
I will be consulting with my attorneys concerning this issue before I can allow speakers during Town Council meetings. But it is only to counter Ms. Taft's warning that I believe they will abuse in order to fine me over some future 'infraction' however real or imagined.
Quite comparable, it seems, to some of the taxation issues that have happened in Quartzsite over the past few years. More on this topic later -- but I am sure it will be of vast interest to many of my readers.
In fact, most people complain that this
is more of the same 'Abuses of Power' that we have watched over the
Thursday’s harassment hearing turned out to be another attempt by town government to restrict the use of freedom of speech. It appears that Quartzsite officials have no problem supporting restrictions on freedom of speech," one person stated, "When it involves expressing opinions unfavorable to them."
The Desert Messenger representative, Shanna 'Rain' Goldenbear, charged Jennifer 'Jade' Jones with harassment for comments made on Jones' blog.
Was this a real claim against Jones? While it now falls to the judge to determine that question, to many onlookers it simply seems that Ms. 'Rain' doesn't appear to appreciate being treated the way she treats others. For months, Ms. 'Rain' has been selectively publishing derogatory letters to the editor, while allowing no one to publish responses to them. When people are accused -- particularly when they are falsely accused -- they should be able to defend themselves.
I testified that public figures 'have to smile and take it' when unfavorable comments are made about them. Ms. 'Rain' has allowed everyone to denigrate others in her 'paper,' but she doesn’t appear to appreciate the same treatment she allows in her forum.
I maintain my original position -- public figures must expect a certain amount of public criticism. They should be able to handle minor abuses or stop placing themselves at the center of public attention.
What was very interesting about the procedures involving this case was the stunning evidence of involvement in this case by the Town Manager Alex Taft.
When Ms. 'Rain' recognized late in the hearing that she had failed to bring portions of her documentation to the courtroom, Alex Taft left the courtroom [and a large group of the town's councilpeople along with Quartzsite Police Chief Jeff Gilbert, all of whom were in attendance at this hearing,] to obtain the documentation then provide it to Ms 'Rain' for inclusion in the case.
It is disconcerting to see the level of involvement of these councilpeople and Ms. Alex Taft.
If this was a simple matter of bringing papers from town hall to support Ms. 'Rain's' case, 'Rain' apparently didn’t have copies of police reports she required -- and yet these were supplied to her during the presentation of her case by Town Manager Alex Taft.
If you -- as a citizen -- were involved in a court case, do you think the Town's officials would all stop what they are doing to appear on your behalf in a case in which they [supposedly] have no involvement?
The question is this -- was a proper document request filed for these papers or was this in explicit support of the charge againstMs. Jones?
Why didn't Ms. 'Rain' have to obtain a document request as has become standard procedure for any and all document requests in the town of Quartzsite for nearly ALL residents?
This is exactly the kind of abuse of
power for political purposes that need to be eliminated in
These officials have called me 'evil' for questioning this kind of behavior. They want people to accept the fact that they run this town the way they see fit -- and they don’t want anyone questioning how they do it.
And it amazes me to see to what lengths they will go to preserve their power.
Rest assured, this will not stop others from holding them to a higher standard of behavior-- nor will it further the efforts of the council in attempting to keep their positions.
It's disconcerting to watch what is happening to Quartzsite and to the great citizens that make this town their home.
I'm Ed Foster, Mayor
Quartzsite among those at the center of the storm?
Some of the biggest organizations in the country are checking out the Mineshaft
October 15, 2010 -- QUARTZSITE, ARIZONA -- 'Thanks to the Internet, some of the largest organizations in the country are following what's happening with Quartzsite's political issues. We have followers from colleges, anti-corruption organizations, and some of the largest media groups, both mainstream and alternative, both Internet and public.
While it's true that Quartzsite is a small community, its problems have reached far beyond Quartzsite and even farther than the State of Arizona. I believe this is primarily because of the methods utilized by those that were hoping there would never be a 'changing of the guard' in Quartzsite.
There should always be room for political discourse, and no one should ever attempt to destroy their political rivals -- yet there is reason to believe that this is what's happening here. Should lying about political groups be tolerated? Should misrepresenting any group's activities be allowed to occur? When private citizens form groups in order to be heard, should they be penalized for their activities?
Should innocent citizens be maligned for being politically active?
If statements are made from the Council seats that are designed to 'plant' information in the minds of people watching, should they go unquestioned?
Sheriff Arpaio seems to find himself in similar straits. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]
What are your thoughts? What should happen if the reports are proven correct?
Quartzsite to lose the airport at Main Event? If the Town of
Quartzsite resident Richard Oldham again under fire as town attacks airport property
October 5, 2010 -- QUARTZSITE, ARIZONA -- 'The ownership of the road property in question that they say effects the airport has not been established." -- Richard Oldham, Property Owner
The Main Event property developed over twenty years ago in Quartzsite has included the airport there for that entire time.
Howard and Marilyn Armstrong donated the properties now in question when they left Quartzsite. The property that encompasses the airport was sold to Oldham in 2005 by Norman McGuinness. McGuinness also recently sold Oldham more property running the length of the airport to better accommodate the fliers coming to Quartzsite from around the country.
Oldham had requested the town allow the airport to be advertised as an 'emergency landing site' last year -- a move the town approved at an open meeting. But the airport property has been consistently utilized throughout the history of the community and was there before the town was incorporated, allowing it protections under Arizona's Proposition 207 which protects the property rights of landowners.
Further, airport properties are considered desirable as 'green' entities that offer a service to the community without the problems industrial properties commonly bring.
Oldham's airport issue promises to be a ' hot button' issue for months to come and carries with it a potential liability the town should carefully consider with proper legal representation. Walsma, having once been employed as an attorney by Oldham, is conflicted and cannot advise the town in areas involving Oldham.
The airport property has been repeatedly visited by Town of Quartzsite employee Al Johnson, and Johnson was there on October 4, 2010, with a Quartzsite police officer, taking pictures and observing the property. At one point, Johnson removed the cover from the electrical box [pedestal] in question and complained about the color of wire inside.
This box does not belong to the town -- it is the property of the Arizona Power Service or APS.
Town employee Al Johnson at the APS owned power box near Oldham's airport.
Al Johnson at the APS owned power box near Oldham's airport.
It has long been rumored that Quartzsite employee Al Johnson is the relative of Quartzsite's Town Manager, Alex Taft. Johnson, still living in California while coming to Quartzsite to do his job, he holds a position that -- again -- was not advertised locally nor, apparently, anywhere else.
Why, we ask, is this allowed to continually occur under the watch of the Quartzsite Town Council?
While Johnson appears to have the necessary credentials to hold the position he's been given, he has an apparent inability to properly handle [or not handle, as it were] property that does not belong to him -- or the town.
And if Johnson is a relative of Alex Taft, then it is illegal for him to hold the position he does in the hierarchy of the town and all decisions rendered during an improper liaison can be declared void.
Johnson has no credentials which give him permission to tamper with the box on Oldham's property -- or any other APS box, for that matter.
This matter should be under review by
those that are now coming in to evaluate some of the Quartzsite
council's more 'colorful' decisions of late.
Who should decide?
Generally, many towns have an ethics commission, especially if ethics become an issue. Some utilize state known entities to facilitate oversight on particular issues such as the Goldwater Institute or League of Cities and Towns. Others employ outside assistance where necessary.
One thing is certain -- Quartzsite desperately needs assistance in these areas.
I'm Ed Foster, Mayor
County Board of Supervisors meeting resembles Quartzsite?
Quartzsite's problems aren't the only ones happening in La Paz County
October 4, 2010 -- PARKER, ARIZONA -- 'We want answers now.'
The concerns of La Paz County citizens was apparent Tuesday as unhappy constituents lined the Board of Supervisors chamber. Escalating voices and displays of tempers -- including that of County Administrator Dan Field -- were apparent.
At one point in the meeting, when a Deputy stood to comment, Field immediately asked the officer if he was 'on the clock.'Arpaio's Sheriff's Office is currently under fire for being improperly managed. Click to View.
"Are we now changing the rules to accommodate Field?"one witness asked. "Who is this guy -- he was fired from La Paz County as the attorney and now he's been hired back as Administrator and our county is in the worst shape it's ever been!" Salaries of municipal attorneys throughout the nation are being questioned as citizens face a failing economy and financially strapped municipalities that don't offer the services citizens expect because these monies have been allocated toward what appears to be ever burgeoning salary and benefit packages for municipal officials.
As County Sheriff Don Lowry is facing recall, the question of whether or not he is refusing to take calls from citizens in Quartzsite has become a key factor in the recall effort.
Quartzsite Police Chief Jeff Gilbert appeared to defend Lowry saying Lowry responded to his requests for assistance. This, however, is not the question -- people in Quartzsite pay for services of the County Sheriff and have a right to expect that they would respond in certain situations.
Lowry has not answered the question directly, instead offering that he would be willing to take over the responsibilities of the Quartzsite Police Department via the La Paz County Office of the Sheriff if that becomes necessary.
the Sky the Limit in Small Town Corruption?
The Sky Falls in Bell, California as Corrupt Officials Are Arrested
September 21, 2010 -- BELL, CALIFORNIA -- 'Many More Municipalities Soon to Follow Suit' says Brown
The 'misappropriation' of $5 Million dollars in public funds has resulted in all of Bell's officials -- the councilmen as well as the Town Manager -- were arrested today as allegations concerning fiscal irresponsibility and malfeasance lead to an investigation by Attorney General Jerry Brown. Focusing on the pay records of local officials and a Town Manager that Brown said 'caused him to review what statutes had been violated,' Brown stated: "We quickly concluded that officials violated their trust -- their fiduciary obligations. They've engaged in waste of public funds and they violated their own city charter which says that salaries must be commensurate with the work to be performed."
"They didn't do any of that and based on that our actions are civil fraud and waste of public assets and I intend to get as much of that money returned and therefore get as much of their future pensions stopped and rolled back. That is civil," Brown stated. "The District Attorney is going by the way of criminal indictment. He's doing his thing based on criminal statute. I am proceeding under the authority of civil law that bans that kind of activity these officials have engaged in."
CNN's reporter further denigrated Bell's officials for the pensions violations that occurred in Bell, the financial burden for which reaches far beyond each town and is a large portion of the fees paid for municipal expenses throughout the state.
"Anything from the point of illegality whether it was fraud or abuse of public trust, that's the point where their salaries will be rolled back," Brown said. "But I'm not stopping with Bell. I have subpoenas out for the City of Vernon, I have a further investigation looking at salaries in excess of $300,000 in dozens of other cities throughout California -- it's an outrage what happened in Bell but there are smaller outrages in many other communities I think we ought to reign this stuff in."
Former Bell City Manager Robert Rizzo was pictured being lead away in handcuffs from his home in Huntington Beach today as an investigation targeted him and all Bell's sitting councilmen for crimes ranging the gamut as corruption cases go -- misappropriation of public funds, conflict of interest, falsification of public records by an official custodian among others.
Rizzo is accused of conspiring to set his own salary and he had help from his assistant and six of the sitting councilmen. Those six current councilmen were arrested this morning as well as one former member of the council along with Rizzo and his assistant.
"Rizzo, acting as the unelected and unaccountable czar of the City of Bell secretly set his own salary, he misappropriated substantial pay and benefits by increasing each of them through a series of actions that no one approved of and few -- if anyone -- knew about." Quote from CNN Reporter
"They are asking for $3.2 million in bail money and -- if the embattled Town Manager is able to come up with the money, they intend to do an investigation to see how he came up with the money. By all accounts, Rizzo may be under investigation and in jail for some time unless he can come up with $3.2 million that isn't tied to his scheme -- his alleged scheme," the reporter said.
Attorney General Jerry Brown concluded, "They not only give themselves huge salaries that are paid for by others -- that's bad enough. But then they have these pensions that have to be paid for by all citizens of California for example." We are going to amend the situation -- Rizzo for instance is set to receive $600,000 per year for the rest of his life, basically -- there's a move to change that."
The problems facing Bell are truly reminiscent of the problems facing Quartzsite in that the Bell, California issues happened because the public was no longer allowed to see what was happening within the city government.
A Town Manager, in this case Mr. Rizzo, is an employee of the people -- not a self-appointed king, able to do whatever he wished.
Our councilpeople hire the Town Manager -- and the Town Manager is to be overseen by the Town Council.
If this fails to happen, then accountability has failed to occur.
What happened in Bell could happen anywhere. There are more than a few similarities to what is happening in Quartzsite. The people here no longer feel that they and their interests are represented by the existing officials.
It is for this reason that the recalls are proceeding, apparently with great fervor. While only 160 signatures were required, all of them received significantly greater than that amount in recall signatures.
I am very disappointed that our councilmen have failed to respond to the wishes of their constituents.
I know that we can build a solid foundation with responsibility in government on our local level and look forward to having a sound council in the future.
I'm Ed Foster, Mayor
Simple Questions, Simple Answers
The Purpose of a Mayor
September 14, 2010 -- I want my constituents to know that in spite of the emotional displays that occurred Tuesday evening, this town -- this situation -- is not beyond hope, nor that far from neutral territory. Certainly there is an effort being made to convince you, though, that that is the situation.
Freedom of speech -- and the freedom of speech in public meetings -- has been upheld by the Supreme Court of Arizona. They have ruled that a person could express their opinion without fear of retribution. Their position is that the fear of retribution would have the effect of restricting free speech.
When Vice Mayor Barbara Cowell ordered the Chief of Police to remove Resident Ron Burch, I guess she didn’t realize that she would be guilty of the same crime of which the ethics committee was accusing the Mayor -- depriving a citizen of his right to freedom of speech. A follow-through on this directive would have put the town in danger of yet another lawsuit.
The actions of the Chief of Police as well as the council members have already exposed this community to numerous lawsuits.
Early in my term of office, I attempted to change the law restricting who could run for office. This restriction resulted in three persons being denied the right to file papers to run for the last election and is already causing lawsuits to be prepared. Chief Gilbert's actions are also resulting in more lawsuits either pending or being prepared.
Currently, this has not resulted in any disciplinary action on the part of the council -- rather they took the Chief’s complaint about the Mayor to the limit of passing 'a resolution of censure.' Their claims of protecting the community from lawsuits ring rather hollow and really paints the action of the council as a politically motivated endeavor.
The council should follow the example the Mayor has set and sit quietly, listening when when citizens express opinions they don’t like. Their calls of “point of order” while interrupting people speaking from the podium are more that impolite -- they are an effort to restrict free speech.
First, point of order is to be used after everyone has had a chance to speak to the issue. It is not to be used to cut off debate and the audience is not allowed to call this from the floor.
It is time that Quartzsite's officials recognize that they are there to accommodate the voters and they are to represent their constituents who placed them into office to represent the body of people that make up the town's citizenry.
Instead, it's long been thought that Quartzsite operates as though these 'officials' are a force unto themselves -- that they are somehow 'above reproach' and that they should not be questioned.
In Bell, California, the situation was so grievous that the state is now changing the rules and regulations so that no other municipality should fall under the stern rule of just two or three people while the councilmen look on, unwilling to hold to any level of accountability nor to subject their leadership to the same.
The 40-page document HERE explains not only our rights but our responsibilities as citizens -- and addresses the critical issues facing Quartzsite today. Finally, the walls have to come down. I was elected because the citizens -- the majority of citizens in Quartzsite -- supported my candidacy because they felt shut out -- felt as though their voices were unwelcome and were not to be heard. Finally, they elected me because I promised there would be transparency and accountability in their local government.
It is this transparency that I am working to implement today -- in spite of the tremendous opposition I am currently encountering.
There are simple answers to the questions I am asking, and I have vowed that I will continue working for the right to review our current financial status. But I want you to know that the council is blocking every effort to allow me to do so -- and that is what has contributed to the current level of dissention many of you witnessed at Tuesday's council meeting.
Immediately upon my election when I attempted to see these records, the council passed a motion preventing me from seeing these records or asking for a report from the town's accounting firm, outlining our financial condition.
You will remember that in recent history the town manager indicated that the level of financial difficulty in Quartzsite warranted the town increase water and sewer rates -- promptly followed by 'Proposition 100' that would allow them to have 'immediate access' to these funds.
The people voted 'No!' on this issue and it failed outright.
So -- now -- the town has obtained $ 1 million dollars borrowed against the town's water system. This water system was paid for many years ago. The population of Quartzsite is anything BUT burgeoning -- in fact, little or no growth whatsoever is expected. Why and how were these funds obtained -- and what are they being used for? How are they being spent? My questions have been blocked and I am forbidden from obtaining this information by the six sitting members of the council acting in unison with the town manager.
I can tell you there are many rumors concerning these funds -- and I will continue searching for the truth. But this is one area of contention -- and they are effectively preventing me from doing my job under the current restrictions they've imposed.
To simplify this issue, I will say this:
Public offices are necessary for the benefit of the public. Public servants are so named because they are said to be working for the 'public good.' When corruption occurs, this equation simply shifts and public officials begin working for 'private gain' instead of serving the greater good.
Corruption is carefully spelled out on page 13 of the above mentioned document and you will likely immediately recognize several of these areas as 'problematic' in Quartzsite. Among them are such items as bribery, extortion, influence peddling and fraud. Sometimes you will hear the term 'empire building.' This is where people use their positions to take control of virtually everything to which they can gain access.
They typically close doors against everyone outside their core groups -- and do not hire outsiders.
Not only does the governing body damage the whole in obvious ways -- taking monies that should have been allocated for the good of the public and for facilitating public endeavors, the community suffers in other ways. There is a high level of incompetence that becomes a stone wall of indifference and inaccessibility. Communications can become virtually non-existent. The group in charge no longer responds to their constituents or the desire of the whole -- instead, they are loyal only to each other, because that is where the 'power seat' exists.
Again, outsiders need not apply. Should an outsider be elected, all efforts to keep them from accessing key areas of information must become the priority.
A great deal of effort must now go into concealing the true nature of the group -- and to avoiding detection. Time, energy, planning -- all are required elements that must be dedicated to maintaining the control that's been established. Corruption necessitates documents be withheld and 'altered' according to need -- so all transparency requirements are forfeited. Again, these are time-consuming tasks. They -- and not the 'jobs' for which the individual was originally hired -- become the focus and the time allocated to them restricts the level and quality of the work they should be doing -- and this can have a negative effect on all aspects of the function of government, especially when there can be many individuals that are so engaged.
Quartzsite's officials have repeatedly blamed the fact that I have been involved in facilitating recalls. They have said that each recall election costs in the neighborhood of $7,000.00 and blamed this for their dissatisfaction with my election to the position of Mayor.
However, when they discovered I had been elected, they tripled the amount of money allocated to Pamela Walsma from about $33,000.00 per year to $ 100,000.00. Interestingly, this month, Ms. Walsma received $ 15,000.00 for one month's salary alone. Thus, at the current rate of spending, Ms. Walsma will receive $ 180,000.00 for just one year's service. This is a ridiculously exorbitant sum for a municipality of Quartzsite's size to be spending for the services of an attorney -- and particularly for the services of a virtually untrained municipal attorney. This is what a larger city or town would pay to an attorney that has specialized in this area of law for approximately 20 years.
Ms. Walsma, on the other hand, is unskilled in this area of law and has actually been soliciting the advice of other attorneys via the use of of online message boards. She was told by several attorneys that this 'Ad Hoc' effort was unenforceable and futile. Yet she has received $ 15,000.00 and counting for facilitating this endeavor.
One of the statements by one of our councilmen made during Tuesday's meeting in reference to this fact [it was brought up during the meeting] would lead one to believe that the council did not know about Walsma's essentially improper use of online message boards.
Again, bearing the $ 7,000.00 recall figure in mind, consider this. When Bennett took office and began to review [as I did] the town's financial position, he immediately recognized that having $ 300,000.00 to $ 400,000.00 allocated for the town's 'engineering fees' was outrageously improper. So Bennett asked for and received guidance from other municipalities concerning the 'typical and reasonable' spending of funds for 'engineering' and discovered that a good 'rule of thumb' for a town the size of Quartzsite should be in the range of $ 50,000.00.
By whose authority were these hundreds of thousands more being spent? How and why did we obtain the services of Walsma when there were other -- more skilled [and experienced] -- attorneys vying for the position for a great deal less?
Actions like these are frequently the result of corruption and you -- the people -- are entitled to answers.
If Quartzsite's officials are not concealing corruption, then perhaps they will see that withholding valid information from their constituents gives the appearance of corruption and should therefore be eliminated.
It's time that these outrageous levels of spending stop and Quartzsite -- like other cities and towns in Arizona -- begin 'living within their means.'
After all, 'transparency'
takes many forms.
I'm Ed Foster, Mayor of Quartzsite
AUGUST 21, 2010 -- As we enter yet another phase of attack, I would like to take this opportunity to share with our friends and supporters you some of the results of our research.
Lest you believe that the 'Ad Hoc' effort currently underway in an effort to circumvent the will of the people that elected me, let me assure you that many professional people [lawyers and elections specialists] have weighed in on this issue and all of them -- to the 'last man' -- have said that this is a ridiculous attempt and cannot succeed.
In light of the fact that the Town of Quartzsite -- last month alone -- paid Pamela Walsma, the 'Town Attorney' in excess of $ 14,000.00, it is questionable how much of these monies were allocated to the effort to remove me from office.
A Mayor can be removed from office in three ways:
A. He can move to retire, resign or move away, thereby 'relinquishing' his position voluntarily.
B. He can be recalled.
C. He can die.
I have no intention of facilitating this effort by methods A or C -- and I hope to do such an outstanding job as Mayor that I will not be a candidate for Recall. But were I to ever to face the will of the people in such an effort, I would do so with dignity and not try to impugn those that did not agree with my position.
The truth is that Quartzsite is embattled, embittered and searching for a means of 'hanging on.' It's unfortunate that the situation is what it is and I hope to bring a sense of camaraderie and community back to Quartzsite -- for the sake of its future.
Sometimes, things must get worse before they get better. I would encourage those that want to understand better the issues facing our community to read this document I realize it's a bit long and somewhat tedious -- but in as clear and concise form as this issue can be addressed, this document does an excellent job -- and it clearly illustrates the issues facing us today.
Once the picture is clear, the solutions are evident.
Ed Foster, Mayor
Buried in the Dirt in Quartzsite
It's anything but a typical small town.
Quartzsite's embattled town hall has a reputation
for humiliating diatribes from the bench, unparalleled limits
to free speech, inaccountability to taxpayers, unqualified additions
to state law [to prevent people from running for office that are
accused of owing the town money,] nepotism [hiring relatives to paid
positions,] hiring the unqualified without putting positions out for
bid, slander of people that stand in opposition to their activities,
retaliation against those people attempting to hold them to some
level of accountability, back room deals, habitual and constant
violation of this nation's Sunshine Laws, raising fees [cap fees,
water and sewer fees] to compensate for missing funds on their
watch, and other activities that are not considered legal nor
'ethical' and more.
No one that cares about the Town of Quartzsite could subscribe to the actions of the sitting town council.
The town is insolvent [broke] and OVER $ 4 MILLION DOLLARS IN DEBT. They continue to spend money without accountability and have BLOCKED ALL EFFORTS TO AUDIT THE BOOKS to see what happened to all those missing funds. Yet many of these leaks have been exposed and are not stopping. What are they hiding and why?
The MINESHAFT came into being because only one side
of the story was ever being told.
The MINESHAFT is not affiliated with those in charge when missing monies became a problem.
The MINESHAFT is not affiliated with any of the relatives of those in charge when money went missing.
The MINESHAFT has an impact because it represents those who have had no voice until now - Our Citizens.
The MINESHAFT has not criticized law enforcement.
The MINESHAFT will continue to tell the truth, the complete truth, without exception, about what's happening in Quartzsite.
The MINESHAFT prints only what can be proven.
The MINESHAFT is not funded by the town and will take no funds from the town, ever.
The Truth About Recalls
The 'acting Mayor' of Quartzsite, Wesley Huntley, and others
that have [or have had] recall papers created or pending against them present
the 'fact' that recalls are costing the town money. How much is it costing
Quartzsite's citizens to leave these people in office when they WILL NOT BE
ACCOUNTABLE for MILLIONS IN MISSING FUNDS?
Quartzsite citizens repeatedly asked the council to:
1. ] Stop holding meetings away from Quartzsite's citizens where they cannot be attended BY CITIZENS as provided for under our LAWS;
2. ] Not appoint a Mayor but allow the ELECTION of one as provided for under our LAWS;
3. ] Honor the Sunshine law as written to prevent the council from engaging in secret meetings as provided for under the LAW;
4. ] Allow the citizenry to speak at public meetings without fear of humiliation or retribution as provided for under our LAWS;
5. ] Stop any and all CONFLICTS OF INTEREST as provided for under our LAWS;
6. ] Hire PROFESSIONALS who can do a PROFESSIONAL job as provided for under the LAW;
7. ] Determine established PROTOCOL and do as other municipalities do without malice or regard for particular persons or groups, treating all citizens equally as provided for under the LAW.
Since these matters were so insignificant as to be IGNORED by Quartzsite's sitting council, it is the RIGHT OF THE CITIZENRY to recall these elected officials.
No Recall is even remotely as expensive as having people in
office -- spending the public's monies -- while refusing to be accountable to
their constituents. Transparency in government was the platform on which I ran
my campaign -- and transparency in government is what I strive to accomplish.
Recall is also the only remaining recourse for the
election [or appointment] of officials who are unwilling to represent the
interests of their constituents.
There is a way for officials to avoid RECALL: LISTEN to the CITIZENS.
The Truth About FOIA Requests
Foster's use of FOIA document requests is PROTECTED UNDER the
Officials of the Town of Quartzsite have ignored many of
Foster's requests, which is AGAINST THE LAW.
Foster is entitled to the documents which he has requested UNDER
Foster's use of FOIA to request water related documents is
APPROPRIATE UNDER the LAW.
Officials of the Town of Quartzsite may refuse to answer which
is AGAINST THE LAW.
Foster is entitled to those water related documents which he has
requested UNDER THE LAW.
Edward L. Foster
Post Office Box 956
Quartzsite, Arizona 85346
Verifying the Facts:
In Quartzsite, when listening to complaints about the media, find out why they're complaining.
Then read whatever publication they've said they're reading and
make certain they are not misrepresenting the content. Compare facts
Then find out how they're related to the sitting town council or representatives of the sitting town council and ask them this:
Why are they afraid of The MINESHAFT?
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