Friday, November 29, 2013

Former Quartzsite police officers win court fight

Editor's note:
So many people have asked what the other two counts are that Judge Aspey has yet to rule on, and since  I did not have room in my article. They are claims under state law (not federal law - as this was originally filed in Superior court, not federal court) defamation, and whistleblower retaliation, although given the wording in the 60 page ruling and the fact that councilmember Crooks called them "liars" from the dais these two unresolved charges seem to be a foregone conclusion.
Posted: Friday, November 29, 2013 12:01 am

PHOENIX — A group of former police department employees in Quartzsite had their free speech rights violated when they were fired after accusing the town police chief of misconduct, a federal judge has ruled.
The decision by U.S. District Judge Mark Aspey found that former police Chief Jeffrey Gilbert, former Town Manager Alex Taft and former Assistant Manager Albert Johnson are personally liable for damages along with the town. An amount will be determined later.
The Arizona Republic reports ( ) that nine police officers and a civilian employee sued after their firings, which came following a contentious period in the western Arizona town that saw townspeople divided into camps split between the Town Council and the police chief.
"Truth for the most part has finally come out," William Ponce, one of the plaintiffs and a former sergeant on the police force, told the Republic in a story published Thursday. "We finally get some kind of vindication."
The officers complained about Gilbert in 2011, filing complaints with the Town Council, the state Department of Public Safety and the state's law-enforcement certification agency. They alleged that Gilbert unlawfully used national crime computers to investigate political foes and violated the civil rights of dissidents by making arrests without probable cause. They also alleged that Gilbert failed to document vacation and leave time.
The 60-page ruling Aspey issued last week found that Gilbert falsely asserted that he had been cleared by a DPS inquiry and sought to intimidate the employees, threatening them with dismissal for exercising their First Amendment rights. The two town administrators carried out Gilbert's threats as retaliation.
Members of the political-minority group have said they were arrested on false charges at Gilbert's direction. Prosecutors threw out all charges against them and publicly decried the abuse of police authority in Quartzsite.
But the two town administrators concluded that police employees made false accusations against the chief, thereby discrediting the community and disrupting police services, and the employees were fired.
Laura Bruno, Quartzsite's current town manager, said she hasn't evaluated the ruling or spoken with attorneys about a possible appeal.
Gilbert, Taft and Johnson no longer work for Quartzsite. Neither they nor their lawyers could be reached for comment Wednesday.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed

Monday, November 18, 2013

Vol 3 Edition 18

Important: BLM meeting Thursday, November 21st. See pg 1
Also, don't forget to ask how the proposed trail closure and RS 2477 will be compatible.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Volume 3 Edition 17

Yes, I know the pages are out of order, but I've been fighting with Blogger for 3 days and it just isn't working right. Maybe it's Blogger. Maybe it's my back up computer. Maybe it's the ghost of laptops past that called my primary computer into the light. I don't know and at this point I don't really care. I've wasted too much time fighting it. So happy reading anyway!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Quartzsite Police Chief Jeff Gilbert TERMINATED

At this morning's regular meeting of the Quartzsite Town Council, sitting members convened in executive session to discuss the contract of controversial Police Chief Jeff Gilbert. They reconvened and voted to terminate his contract without cause, and pay the provisions of his severance. A reported buy out of $116,000. Vice Mayor Jewitt abstained from the vote, because his step son Tim Ryder is the paid assistant to Chief Gilbert. Councilwoman Carol Kelley abstained, which counts as a "yes" vote. Remaining Council voted unanimously.

No mention was made of who will lead the Department as Interim Chief, or to begin advertising for a replacement, leaving many wondering whether council members thought the decision through, or if those things had been discussed in a Councilman Orgeron orchestrated secret meeting. It is anticipated that the Arizona Department of Public Safety may send someone, and Sheriff John Drum appears willing to negotiate an intergovernmental agreement to take over services permanently.

In other news, School Board Member Monica Timberlake was appointed to fill the council seat vacated by the resignation of Patricia Workman.

See also:

Monday, October 14, 2013

Church of the Isaiah 58 Project of Arizona v. La Paz County update

To book an interview, click on the "Book an Interview" button on any page at
Thursday, October 10, 2013

Description:  Alliance Defending Freedom filed suit against La Paz County, Ariz. in March 2011 for hitting a rural Arizona church with a $50,000 tax bill that the state agrees the church does not owe. The bill has resulted in a tax lien on the church’s property which could result in foreclosure and an end to the church’s ministry, including its outreach to the needy—a program praised by the Quartzsite mayor and police chief.

Ariz. church appeals to state’s high court over $50K tax bill

Alliance Defending Freedom represents Quartzsite church being taxed out of existence
Thursday, October 10, 2013

Attorney sound bite:  Erik Stanley
PHOENIX — Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys asked the Arizona Supreme Court Thursday to hear the case of a Quartzsite church facing an illegally assessed property tax bill that would force it to shut down.

“Churches shouldn’t live in fear of being punished by the government when they’ve not done anything wrong, but that’s precisely what is happening to this church. If government officials have their way, this church will lose everything,” said Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley. “The county assessor illegally levied more than $50,000 in taxes against the church even though the Arizona Department of Revenue provided a letter stating that the church should owe no taxes. We are asking the Arizona Supreme Court to right this wrong.”

A September decision from the Arizona Court of Appeals in Church of the Isaiah 58 Project of Arizona v. La Paz County upheld an earlier Tax Court ruling that said the church should have paid the tax bill before challenging it as illegal. Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys argue, however, that state law does not require the church to do so when it is challenging an illegally assessed tax so high that the congregation can’t pay the bill and ask for a refund later.

The tax bill of more than $50,000 is approximately equal to the church’s entire annual budget. Paying the tax before filing suit would have required the church to close its doors, sell off its assets, and end its ministry.

The bill has resulted in a tax lien on the church’s property which could result in foreclosure and an end to the church’s ministry, including its outreach to the needy--a program which the Quartzsite mayor and police chief have praised.

Under state law, the church qualified for an exemption from property taxes and filed the appropriate paperwork with the La Paz County property assessor. The assessor sat on the church’s paperwork for three years before granting a tax exemption and then only granted it for the years 2009 and later, leaving the church with back-taxes for 2007-2008 that it should not owe.

Steven D. Keist of Glendale and Andre E. Carman of Prescott, two of nearly 2,300 attorneys allied with Alliance Defending Freedom, are co-counsel in the case.
Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.
# # # | Ref. 25178

Additional resources: Church of the Isaiah 58 Project of Arizona v. La Paz County

Scroll down to view additional resources pertaining to this case and its surrounding issue
Thursday, October 10, 2013

Previous news releases:
  • 2012-11-26: Rendering unto Caesar?
  • 2011-03-17: ADF files suit to protect Ariz. church from foreclosure based on $50K illegal tax bill
  • 2010-11-10:  Bureaucratic error results in $50K tax bill, possible foreclosure on rural Ariz. church

Legal documents, related news, and other related resources available in the right panel when this page is viewed at

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Copperstone Mine suspends operations

October 11, 2013
American Bonanza Suspends Operations at Copperstone Mine
October 11, 2013 - American Bonanza Gold Corp. (TSX: BZA) ("Bonanza" or the "Company") is placing the Copperstone Mine in Arizona on care and maintenance status until further notice. The Company has made this decision in order to cut costs while it reviews operations with a view to improving operational efficiencies, and while it seeks additional capital to fund performance improvements in order to meet designed capacity of the Copperstone Mine. Declining gold prices also factored in the Company's decision to suspend mining and milling operations at this time.

While the suspension of operations may be considered a setback in the Company's goal of achieving commercial production at Copperstone, the Company believes it is necessary in order to achieve that goal. Operating costs have reached unsustainable levels for various reasons. The Company believes that with additional capital, upon the resumption of operations the mine will perform at a consistent mine output rate and mill throughput rate which will help reduce overall costs as the Company moves forward to bring the Copperstone Gold Mine to design operating rates.

The Company is in discussions with a number of potential financing sources which may result in one or more financings in sufficient amounts to enable the Company to bring production at the Copperstone Mine up to design rates. The Company intends to continue these negotiations.

A longer-term objective of the Company remains the substantial increase in mine production upon the resumption of operations and delineation of the significant exploration potential at Copperstone. The Company will endeavor to keep our shareholders fully informed, on a timely basis, of our decisions and activities.

About Bonanza

Bonanza is owner of the newly constructed Copperstone Mine in Arizona. For more information please visit Bonanza's website at

Thursday, October 10, 2013

No commerce for 3 days?

Tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday, there is a political event taking place wherein truckers will stop delivering goods and consumers will stop buying them for 3 days. Those who cannot attend the national event are asking that you support the Arizona event at the capitol or show support and encouragement of truckers on these days. 

As Democrats and Republicans dig in their heels for what appears to be trench warfare over the federal budget, Americans are beginning to get restless and Europeans are publishing disturbing information the local media is not reporting

According to the Facebook page
"Arizona supporters of Truckers Ride For The Constitution will be backing the truckers on October 11th - 13th with no work, no buy, no sell for those three days. We demand Obama be removed from office and all that he has enacted undone as unconstitutional!!! If you can't go to DC (company owned rigs), break down at our AZ State Capitol. We're planning to get together at our capitol so please check this event page regularly for updates and share this page with people you know. We hope that other states will join us by creating an event page and organizing locally to help show these truckers support across our nation."



Phoenix Valley ~ 11th Ave Pedestrian Overpass over I-10. Park on the North side of I-10 as this is a nicer neighborhood than the South side. There is a local market and some street parking.

Yuma ~ 4th and 16th Kingman ~ I-40 and Andy Devine.

Quartzsite ~ Quartzsite Pedestrian Overpass I-10 between exit 17 and Hwy 95

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

District 3 Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva arrested

District 3 Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva (D), along with Representatives Green, Crowley, Lewis, Schkowsky, Rangel, Ellison, and Gutierrez. were arrested in Washington, D.C. today during a "planned civil disobedience" demonstration that took place on the “legally closed” National Mall, but was allowed by the National Parks Service because it was considered a rally guarded by the First Amendment

The rally was organized by a group called Camino Americano and was aimed at urging Congress to pass immigration reform allowing individuals who are illegally in the U.S. to apply for citizenship.

Grijalva was booked around 1:45 p.m. Arizona time and is expected to be released this evening,  according to Grijalva's spokesman Adam Sarvana. It will remain to bee seen if he is actually prosecuted.

See also:

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

BLM closes due to federal shut down

BREAKING NEWS - Quartzsite Mayor Ed Foster reported that the BLM Long - term visitor area has been closed because of the federal government shut down. It has been confirmed that camp host volunteers have been asked to turn over their keys, rangers have been issued pink slips and no new permits will be issued at this time. Incoming campers are being directed to 14 day areas. See pg 7 of the current issue for that list. Unofficially, campers who have purchased a winter permit may stay put as there are no rangers left to remove the public from public lands. A letter posted on the door of camp host offices does state that "visitors should vacate...", however it does not say they must.

Foster had asked Town Manager Bruno to contact BLM last week, but he is unaware of any negotiations between the Town and the BLM at this time. La Posa North and La Posa West are within Town limits. Quartzsite Police are not authorized to respond to calls for service on BLM unless requested by BLM to assist, and the notice clearly states that, "emergency services will not be available", so camp at your own risk. The Contingency Plan Fact Sheet states that Law Enforcement and Emergency Response will "remain operational." but it does not specifically refer to any particular area as it relates to the BLM in a broad sense, and on a national level. The Facebook page for BLM Arizona directs you to the Department of the Interior web site, and the Yuma Field Office has a phone message that states they are closed.

This post will be updated as events unfold.

See also: 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Police Chief Rodney Mendoza update

It has been reported that the Arizona Department of Public Safety has cleared Parker Police Chief Rodney Mendoza on allegations of evidence tampering and trying to influence a prosecutor.  Mendoza had reportedly asked the prosecutor to not press charges against former Miss La Paz County Leean Hendrix, who eventually became his wife.

However, DPS has initiated a new investigation against Mendoza for tampering with emails while using town equipment.

He also faces an internal investigation for alleged sexual harassment against the wife of a Parker Police Sergeant.

The Parker Town Council convened an executive session to discuss Mendoza's employment on Sptember 24th, but no additional action has been proposed and Chief Mendoza remains on paid administrative leave.

Rodney Mendoza has been Parker Police Chief since 2004.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013