Friday, July 29, 2011

AG Tom Horne press release on Quartzsite

Friday, July 29, 2011

Contact: Amy Rezzonico (602) 542-8019

Attorney General Horne Finds Reasonable Cause to Believe Open Meeting Law Has Been Violated in Quartzsite

PHOENIX (Friday, July 29, 2011) – Tom Horne, Arizona Attorney General, today released partial information regarding the Attorney General’s Office investigation of events in Quartzsite. Horne stated:

“Normally, we do not release the results of an investigation until it has been completed. However, because this is a matter of unusual public interest, we are prepared to say that, based on review of a video of a July 10 meeting, there is reasonable cause to believe that there has been a violation of the Open Meeting Law, inasmuch as the public was excluded. The meeting was held under the misconception that an emergency meeting can be conducted without the public present. Independently of the question of whether the Town Council had a legitimate reason to hold an emergency meeting, even proper emergency meetings must allow the public to be present. The exception is if there is a legitimate basis for an executive session, and the City Council did not attempt to hold a proper executive session during the emergency meeting. The investigation of this and other alleged violations of Open Meeting Laws is ongoing.”
It's the small Arizona town getting national attention for all the wrong reasons.
Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne said his office is now investigating allegations of corruption, harassment and secret meetings in the town of Quartzsite, located west of the Valley.
Earlier this month, activist and local newspaper publisher Jennifer Jones was arrested at a public meeting while trying to address the Quartzsite Town Council.
Horne told CBS-5 News Friday that the meeting on July 10, may have been illegal and violated the state's open meeting law.
"If what's involved is an innocent misunderstanding,then probably training is the remedy," said Horne. If there were meetings done deliberately to withhold information from the public, then there's the possibility of people being removed from office."
The AG's office has been flooded with calls and e-mails recently from Quartzsite residents complaining that their town is out of control.
The mayor, town manager, police chief and town council members have all been accused of misusing their power and conducting meetings without public notice.
Horne's office is now investigating all allegations, including some "so called" emergency meetings that may have been held behind closed doors.
Government agencies are required by law to make the public aware of all meetings and provide an opportunity for public comment.
According to Horne, emergency meetings are not exempt from notifying the public.
"Open meeting laws are based on the premise that sunlight is the best disinfectant, and if people can see what's going on and participate, we'll get better discussions," said Horne. "If people meet in secret and the public is not there, it violates the law and its our job to enforce it."

it even made !

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Shocking QPOA Officer Statements reveal cover up by Quartzsite Town Manager

It appears there has been a "Q-wiki" leak. Actual unredacted statements from eight of the "Quartzsite 10" police officers recently placed on administrative leave for "defaming" the town, have been posted by persons unknown. Read them here:

It is uncertain why statements by Officer Herlen Yeomans and former Administrator Linda Conley were not made public. However, it is reasonable to assume that it has something to do with the ongoing criminal investigation by DPS. Conley was just hired by La Paz County Prosecutor Sam Vederman's office.

These sworn statements are in stark contrast to the front page story on the Parker Pioneer
and the official town "report"

An excellent new article is on The Intel Hub

Another good one here:
Follow CBS in Yuma's coverage here:
KSWT-TV 13 (put "Quartzsite" in Search...they have 14 stories right now.)

Ruth's KSWT Bio (contains Facebook and Twitter links)

Ruth's Facebook Page

KSWT-TV Facebook Page

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Councilman Joe Winslow v Michael Roth- Exactly who was threatening who?

Go to the power and politics blog to see the actual injunction against harassment documents.

And check out World Net Daily!

Governor Brewer fiddles while Quartzsite burns

Two months after Quartzsite police requested a criminal investigation into Police Chief Jeff Gilbert, Quartzsite residents are still living in the twilight zone, and not a word from AZ Governor Jan Brewer or Attorney General Tom Horne.

Although town code requires regular meetings of the Common Council to be held at 7pm, today's irregular "regular" meeting was held at 9am, and with the addition of a metal detector at the front door to town hall. The members of council enter through the back door, and no metal detector has been installed there. Sgt. Fabiola Garcia was videotaped text messaging on her phone, while several citizens walked around the metal detector, however. While the council may be arming themselves with guns, the citizens continue to arm themselves with cameras. This appears to be a more effective approach.

 Despite Mayor Foster's refusal to call the potentially illegal meeting to order, the council proceeded anyway. They approved a zoning change for the property adjacent to Vice Mayor Cowell's property, so that a gun shop and shooting range may be built 372 feet from the Scholar's Academy. They passed the transaction priveledge tax of 2.5% (3.5% for licensed contractors) This expands the scope of business to which the Transaction Priveledge Tax applies, from the 16 categories currently paying for the priveledge" of doing business in Arizona. Council also moved the appointment of a councilperson to fill Jose Lizarraga's vacant seat to a work session (TBA).

Nobody in authority has expressed an official interest, nor offered any advice beyond a mandamus or federal injunction to stop the bizare and shocking actions by Quartzsite officials after declaring that an emergency exists, and basically abdicating any responsibility to the town manager Alexandra Taft, and her employees the police chief, town attorney, and building official. Mayor Foster had previously tried a mandamus, but La Paz County Superior Court Judge Michael Burke dismissed the demand, ruling that a citizen had no standing to request his or her elected officials obey they law. Jones filed an injunction in pro per last December, but did not respond to the motion to dismiss filed  by the town's insurance lawyers, in order to refile with legal council. She is asking any attorney familiar with federal law to assist in refiling immediately.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Meet Quartzsite Officer Rick Patterson - with illegal gambling photo?

The man with the mustache  in the dark gray shirt on the left is Quartzsite Officer Rick Patterson. Patterson, who was fired from the La Paz County Sheriff became infamous as the officer who "frog marched" advocate Jennifer Jones out of a town council meeting that was video taped and went "viral" on Youtube. That appears to be real money on the table at a private facitlity.

Officer Patterson has his own page on the MancationNation website:
Where you will find this photo:

Rick Paterson - MCN Firearms Instructor/Range Master

Rick Paterson was born in Sinton, Texas in 1952. He grew up nearby in Taft, Texas and as a young boy was almost immediately exposed to the shooting and hunting sports by a large, immediate and extended family whose roots came from ancestors of Scottish and Spaniard lineage. Some of Rick’s ancestors were decorated Civil War, World War I and World War II veterans.

After moving to southern California with his family in 1963, Rick attended grade and High school in Carlsbad before entering military service with the Army National Guard. Following his military service, Rick worked briefly in retail sales and for the telephone company before becoming a Reserve Police Officer for the City of Oceanside, California for about two years. Rick then became a regular Police Officer for the City of Escondido between 1978 and 1980, serving with the Oceanside Harbor Police, thereafter. Rick attended college at MiraCosta College in Oceanside, California, achieving a Certificate of Competency with highest honors in the Administration of Criminal Justice.

Rick had also begun his martial arts training in Oceanside in 1972 and became internationally certified as a “Black-Belt” Instructor in the classical Korean martial Art of “ Soo Bahk Do-Moo Duk Kwan”. Rick relocated to Parker, Arizona following the death of his father and was hired as a full-time Deputy Sheriff for the La Paz County Sheriff’s Office. Rick has served since the birth of La Paz County in 1983 and has risen to the current rank of Major, as its Chief Deputy/Undersheriff.

Throughout Rick’s law enforcement career, he has distinguished himself as a leader of men, an expert marksman, defensive tactics Arizona P.O.S.T.-Certified Instructor and tactician, receiving extensive formal training in firearms instruction and special weapons and tactics, as well as leading tactical operations as a Tactical Team Leader of over 100 missions and supervising the county’s Drug Task Force. Rick regularly trains members of his own Sheriff’s Office, as well as Officers of surrounding law enforcement agencies in these areas of high liability proficiency, specializing in instruction of revolver, semi-automatic pistol, semi-automatic rifle, precision rifle and sub-machine gun.

Rick has also developed his own, off-duty consulting firm: “Paterson Tactical Consulting” and since 1991 he has regularly provided training to the private sector in the Arizona Concealed Weapon Permit Training Program, as well as basic-to-advanced firearms proficiency skills. He has also regularly consulted to the area Tribal Casino and trained its management security and surveillance personnel in areas of proficiency relating to defensive tactics, leadership and supervision, drug and drug paraphernalia recognition, to highlight a few. Rick has regularly appeared on local television stations as a speaker and has also taught classes for Arizona Western College for over twelve years.

Rick enjoys competing in N.R.A. High Power Service Rifle shooting matches which involve the use of military-style service rifles such as: the “M-1 Garand”, “M-14” and “AR-15” rifles in courses of fire at 200, 300, 600 and 1000-yard distances. Rick has earned the current rating of “Distinguished Expert” in this particular form of shooting competition, however he has also engaged in shooting competitions over much of his adult life such as: “P.P.C.”, “I.P.S.C.”, “Action Pistol” and “Cowboy-Action Shooting”.

Rick invites you to enjoy an exciting, yet safe and goal-directed, rewarding shooting experience, while at ManCation Nation!
There are many more photos in the Mancation Nation gallery:

OMLET arm of the AG's Office investigation update

I, Jennifer Jones,  had an important phone conversation earlier today. I was informed by Mr. Christopher Munns, of the Attorney General's Office, Open Meetings Law  Enforcement Team (OMLET) that his office was expediting our complaints. Please thank him for that.

However, after I discussed the evidence I wanted to email him, he informed me that they did not have authority to rule on the investigation. Basically, the OMLET department is a "toothless tiger" as Mayor Foster likes to say. In other words, their standard operating procedure is to contact the town and attempt to bring the council into compliance with open meetings law. If the town fails to comply, then a court action may proceed. Eventually, the courts will intercede. In the mean time, AG Tom Horne could look into issuing a legal opinion on action taken by the council, but has not indicated any interest in doing so.

So you see, as of this date, both Governor Brewer and Attorney General Horne have avoided any responsibility for Quartzsite's open ended "state of emergency" and subsequent lawlessness of it's officials.

I suggest that we may contact:
United States Attorney 
District of Arizona
Two Renaissance Square
40 N. Central Ave, suite 1200
Phoenix, AZ 85004
FAX 602-514-7693

You can request a "Citizen Complaint Form"

9 am tomorrow - Council to raise tax and appoint new member


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Meet "Machine Gun Joe Winslow" - under oath + TERRORIST ALERT?

Quartzsite Councilman Joe Winslow earned the nickname "Machine Gun" after he was caught on the town hall microphone before the March 23rd, 2010 town council meeting was called to order saying "I think if we could get all five of them in the front row, we'd just machine gun 'em" Councilman Lukkasson replied "Damn fine idea!"

"And they're contacting people all over the country with similar political beliefs, and that's why we had to DECLARE A STATE OF EMERGENCY"

"Based on my history, 24 years in the service, I'm more concerned about my reaction to his aggression"

"I've been diagnosed with PTSD and I'm a member of the DAV (Disabled American Veterans). And it is, that's what I'm concerned with, that he's going to get so far into my personal space that I'm going to react, and without thinking. It's just, I'm not making threats or anything like that...I'm not proud of that but It's just the way I am."

"I'm in a position where I felt it necessary for me to go out and purchase a gun, and I did. I went out and I bought a 12 gauge shotgun."

"If nothing else I would like to see him (Roth) disarmed."

Now read The 'sane' person in the room can be a matter of perspective
by Doug MacEachern, columnist - Jul. 24, 2011 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic


The Greater Phoenix Tea Party has  posted the following notice:
Attention: You can help the Quartzsite officers, secretary, and Jennifer Jones by making a donation to the "Quartzsite Citizens Donation Fund" at any Wells Fargo Bank. Please spread the word, as these folks are going to need financial support.

Quartzsite puts most of its police officers on house arrest

Posted: Jul 22, 2011 3:33 PM MST

Quartzsite, Arizona July 21, 2011 - Many folks living in Quartzsite say the town is in a state of emergency. Sgt. William Ponce of the Quartzsite Police Officers Association says most of its officers are on administrative leave for telling the truth. Ponce is one of nine officers listed that are or will be placed on administrative leave.
"We are tasked with maintaining peace and order in our community, says Ponce, who is currently on vacation and has yet to receive the administrative leave notice. "And we took an oath as law enforcement officers to uphold the Constitution and follow the laws of the State of Arizona and that's all we want to do. And from what you can see right now, the Chief [Gilbert] himself is not creating peace in the community. He is creating chaos and disruption and only making things worse. And we just want to be able to go to work, do our jobs and not be under duress anymore."
The town's complaint says officers have defamed the town of Quartzsite, Police Chief Jeff Gilbert, its town manager and the town council. Mayor Ed Foster says Police Chief Gilbert worked under directives from some members of the town council, which he termed as "selective enforcement".
"There was a council candidate that had warrants out on her and the Chief [Gilbert] told the officers to ignore it," says Mayor Foster. "And later, she got picked up for D.U.I. and the officers got in trouble for that. And she screamed and shouted that the Chief had her protected and that they couldn't do anything. The [video from the] bodycam of the arresting officer that he turned in, it disappeared from the file."
As of 1 p.m. Thursday, Mayor Foster says the Arizona Department of Safety (DPS), the agency that is investigating the officers' allegations against Chief Gilbert, has yet to see their statements and evidence.
"I don't know why and what their procedures are, but a month later, I would have thought they would have had some investigative processes going on with the [DPS] field officers and have some preliminary look at this evidence that they turned over," says Mayor Foster. "And the Head of the investigation had no idea that this evidence existed."
DPS issued a statement Thursday, which states: "The Major Crimes Bureau of the DPS Criminal Division is involved in an on-going investigation of allegations made against the Quartzsite Police chief." The statement also acknowledges that it will assist the La Paz County Sheriff's Office in responding to calls for law enforcement in Quartzsite.
The four QPD officers that aren't on administrative leave include Police Chief Gilbert. And with only four officers to serve the town of 3,500 residents, Mayor Foster says that's unacceptable.
"You know, we're in trouble out here and I can't get anybody in state government to do anything, you know," says Mayor Foster. "I mean, I get more support from the New York Times and from people all over the world than I'm getting out of Phoenix right now."

View leaked Quartzsite document 1
View leaked Quartzsite document 2
View leaked Quartzsite document 3

In a related statement, Councilman Lukkasson comments on the current situation.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011


About 5 pm PST, The Desert Freedom Press learned that under the current "emergency", Police Chief Jeff Gilbert has suspended ALL officers who filed criminal and ethical complaints against him. This leaves only the four officers who chose to stand with the Chief, despite the controversy and ongoing investigation by DPS. La Paz County Sheriff Don Lowery told the Parker Pioneer Newspaper last week, that he had provided back up units to patrol the perimeter of Town Hall during the June 12th council meeting. Quartzsite Police Chief Jeff Gilbert and Sheriff Lowery served together as officers on the Colorado Indian Tribes Reservation.

The Whole World is Watching Quartzsite - FOX "Freedom Watch"

Also, check out Players in the Quartzsite Feud

Sunday, July 17, 2011

AZ Republic exposes all

Dennis Wagner's in depth story makes front page.

8:42 am | 92°
July 17, 2011 |
Quartzsite's bitter political feud continues

QUARTZSITE - The mayor called a Town Council meeting, but five of the six council members didn't show up.
So the mayor denounced them as cowards.
The town manager was inexplicably absent.
Several police officers attended the meeting in May to read a statement asking that the police chief be investigated. They alleged abuse of authority, including the arrests of numerous political enemies.
They never got a chance to speak, however, because the building inspector who recently had been promoted to assistant town manager suddenly made an announcement:
"City Hall is closed, and this meeting is over."
About 120 concerned Quartzsite residents, as colorful and raucous as a "Jerry Springer Show" audience, were brusquely ushered outside under threat of arrest.
Such scenes are becoming commonplace in Quartzsite, "The Rock Capital of the World," where the old saying "you can't fight city hall" is being severely tested.
In the past two weeks, more than 85,000 people have watched a YouTube video showing a local newspaper publisher handcuffed and hauled out of the council chambers as she talked about free speech. Council members, who said they received death threats, convened a secret meeting and declared a state of emergency. The mayor and other critics condemned those moves as illegal and pleaded for state investigators to intercede.
But long before the video went viral and the media trained a spotlight on Quartzsite, town government here was already helter-skelter.

Raucous infighting

There may be debate as to who is right or which side is winning. But it's undisputed that municipal business has become a sideshow to infighting that disrupts nearly every town department and meeting.
Mayor Ed Foster, newspaper publisher Jennifer "Jade" Jones and most of the police officers in Quartzsite say the Town Council and police chief ignore Arizona's public-records law and misuse police power to silence their critics.
"There's a cabal running Quartzsite," Foster said, "and I'm about to take it down."
Council members and the police chief, in turn, say their critics are simply a bunch of agitators trying to stir up trouble.
By last Sunday, six days after the video was posted on YouTube, the political firestorm was so heated that council members announced plans to conduct future meetings without public notice and to prohibit comments from citizens.
Foster said that decision was made in violation of Arizona law. "I refused to be a part of an illegal meeting behind closed doors," he said. "I announced the meeting was canceled, but they went right ahead."
The incident is just the latest in a circus act that for years has paralyzed the town: dysfunction and distrust fueled by a historical feud, recall attempts and allegations of public malfeasance, abuse of power and government secrets.
In the past three years alone, Quartzsite has been through five mayors and a trio of recall elections. (Foster, who has been mayor since 2010, is facing a recall vote next month.) The municipal government is buried in costly lawsuits.
And at least 10 Quartzsite activists, including the mayor and four past council members or candidates, said they were charged with petty crimes after criticizing the Town Council and Police Chief Jeff Gilbert.
Foster, who leads the anti-establishment group, has asked the Arizona Attorney General's Office, the state Department of Public Safety and the Arizona Ombudsman's Office to investigate public malfeasance. A DPS probe is under way. The attorney general closed one inquiry but has been asked to take on another. The ombudsman found that the Town Council violated state public-records laws.
"They make up laws as they go," Foster said of council members. "They think they're a kingdom here, and because we're a small town, they've gotten away with it.
"I've been trying to find out where all the money goes in this place. But the town manager won't even speak with me, . . . and the council passed a law that says I can't get any reports." The resolution passed by the council instructs town staff members not to give the mayor any documents unless the entire council approves the release of information.
Jones, who publishes a newspaper known as the Desert Freedom Press, has been arrested four times on at least a dozen charges. In one instance, she was jailed for disturbing the peace after flipping her middle finger at rivals in Town Hall.
Last month, as Jones attempted to make a statement about freedom of speech during the council's public-comment session, she was handcuffed and hauled out of the chambers.
Video of that incident has been viewed by thousands on YouTube. While the mayor insists that Jones is authorized to speak, council members vote to silence her. Police move in, pry the microphone from her grip and drag her away.
"They put me in some kind of police hold with my arms in the air like chicken wings, and they jerked me up in the air," said Jones, who was taken to a hospital for an elbow sprain. "It's absolutely crazy. Finally, someone outside of Quartzsite is seriously looking at this," she said of recent media attention.
Even most of the police force balks at such arrests. In May, 10 of the town's 14 sworn officers passed a no-confidence vote against the chief, alleging in a written statement that he uses "bully tactics" to intimidate members of the community "if they disagree with his methodology and political affiliation."
The Quartzsite Police Officers Association asked the state Department of Public Safety and Arizona's Peace Officer Standards and Training agency to investigate. In a written statement, association leaders alleged that the chief uses restricted justice-system computers "to find 'dirt' on political candidates." They also said that officers are "ordered to make traffic stops and arrest/cite citizens who the chief believes are against him."
Chief Gilbert would make only a brief statement to The Arizona Republic: "I will certainly be cleared of any of the allegations, any of the criminal allegations."

Political intrigue

Motorists might avoid Quartzsite completely if Interstate 10 didn't cut right through its barren heart on the way to LA.
The town, 130 miles west of Phoenix, is a retirement haven with one of the nation's most geriatric populations, a place where abundant idle time may contribute to political intrigue.
In the summer, heat mirages shimmer over empty RV parks and the population dwindles to about 3,600.
In the winter, more than 200,000 snowbirds flock to town for a few weeks of sunshine, swap meets and gem shows.
There's a local bookstore where the male proprietor wears nothing but a G-string. At the political hot spot, known as "Main Street Laundromat and Eatery," you can get a shower for an extra six bucks.
That business is owned by Councilman Jerry Lukkasson and his wife, Michelle, who directed the most recent recall campaign, targeting Mayor Foster. Councilman Lukkasson acknowledged that endless political wars interfere with town business and cost a fortune.
"I'm so tired of the negativity," he said, "but I know I'm part of it."
In fact, municipal politics got nasty almost as soon as the town incorporated two decades ago: Rex Byrd, who would become the town's second mayor, was accused of a 1993 murder-for-hire plot against his political rival, Richard Oldham, the first mayor. Byrd was found guilty and spent six months in prison before the conviction was overturned because of contradictory witness testimony. Then he resumed his post at Town Hall.
Councilman Jose Lizarraga, a longtime resident, said that incident drew early battle lines in Quartzsite's otherwise non-violent version of the legendary Hatfield-McCoy feud.
"You have such a long history of hate in this town between one side and the other," Lizarraga said. "It was the Byrds and Oldhams, and that division line is still there."
Today's council meetings, often packed with colorful residents aiming video cameras at one another, resemble Jerry Springer shows.
Warring newspapers and Internet blogs mingle factual reports with rumors. Jones' competitor, Shanana "Rain" Golden-Bear, puts out a publication known as the Desert Messenger. The rivals have vilified each other in print, spied on each other, filed criminal complaints with police and obtained orders of protection in court.
Their spat, and the town's other high jinks, might seem comical except that people are going to jail, reputations are getting ruined and public money is being squandered.

Citations, warnings

Foster, a former Marine who became a snowbird after retiring as an engineer at the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co., got his first criminal citation in 2009, before he became mayor.
He says he was accused by police of disorderly conduct after a verbal disagreement with a Town Council candidate. Charges were dropped by the prosecutor.
Chief Gilbert initiated another case against Foster in March 2010 for "false reporting of an emergency" because Foster's newspaper, the Mineshaft, questioned the quality of local water. The prosecutor again refused to press charges.
A month later, police investigated Foster for allegedly campaigning too close to a polling site. He denied the allegation, and charges again were dropped.
Foster ran for mayor as a reform candidate last year and won. Before he took office, incumbent council members so distrusted him that they adopted an ordinance wiping out his powers as the top elected official. They also began holding sessions away from Town Hall, which earned a letter of warning from the La Paz County attorney for violating Arizona's public-meeting law.
In March, a recall campaign was launched against some incumbents. Prior to the election, council members adopted an ordinance banning candidates who owed money to the town. Christina Kohn, a staff attorney for the Goldwater Institute, a Phoenix-based government watchdog organization, said town leaders other than Foster simply ignored letters warning that the ordinance is unconstitutional.
"It didn't seem to matter to them," Kohn said. "That seems to be part of a larger pattern of lawlessness going on in the town."
Foster, the mayor, said Alexandra Taft, the town manager, refused to give him basic information on expenditures and employee salaries. He complained to the state Ombudsman's Office, which investigated and agreed that Quartzsite was in violation of the Arizona public-records laws.

Harassment alleged

Publisher Jones' battle with the town began three years ago and stemmed from a series of disputes with zoning officials and police over her pet-grooming business, A Fur Salon, located at a swap meet.
Jones says town inspectors and police trespassed, assaulted her husband and launched a harassment campaign. Police reports dispute those allegations and accuse Jones of instigating confrontations.
As a series of follow-up incidents escalated into criminal charges, Jones pursued a federal restraining order that says police made false arrests "as a tool for political retribution." One day after municipal officials were served, Jones was arrested as she arrived at a meeting in Town Hall, charged with obstructing governmental operations and making a false report to law enforcement.
"I just kept pushing, and they just kept pushing back," Jones said. "None of the charges against me have come to court."
Numerous other activists tell of being cited or arrested for minor offenses after taking sides in the political feud. For self-protection, they began monitoring police radios, carrying video cameras and dialing 911 to request sheriff's deputies as witnesses whenever they were confronted by town officers.
Former town prosecutor Matt Newman said he refused to press charges in many of the misdemeanor cases and was summarily dismissed by the council without explanation. "I was saying that the criminal law is too important to use for political purposes," Newman said. "There were several cases where I said, 'No, I'm not going to file complaints.' "
Robert Wechsler, director of research for City Ethics, a non-profit group that advises local governments on ethics issues, said there is a "serious disrespect for laws and rights" going on in Quartzsite. "Outside authorities will have to be brought in to investigate what has happened and to get the town government working," he said. "It's important to recognize that this is an institutional problem, not an individual problem. For example, if it were simply an individual problem, the police chief would be long gone."

'Nothing invested'

In interviews, two council members said Foster, Jones and other critics are just naysayers out to wreck Quartzsite.
"All they're trying to do is stir trouble," Lukkasson said. "They have nothing invested in this town. After they've created all of the havoc, they can just pull up their sewer hoses and move out."
Lizarraga, who was appointed to the council, said he despises Foster because the mayor criticized incumbents during an election campaign and previously tried to remove Lizarraga from his position. "I'll tell you straight out: I don't like that man," the councilman said. "I believe his ethics are questionable."
In interviews, Lizarraga and Lukkasson said they do not care if some council meetings are deemed unlawful or if public-records laws are broken. Nor do they believe accusations against the police chief. In February, they extended the police chief's contract and increased his pay.
Dissidents and police-association leaders said they want an independent state investigation.
Foster answered the Town Council's emergency declaration with an editorial in his newspaper that says the council members "are 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."

Read more:

Saturday, July 16, 2011

New York Times coverage

Quartzsite Journal

Kicking Up the Dust in an Arizona Desert Town

Joshua Lott for The New York Times
Mayor Ed Foster of Quartzsite, Ariz., is at odds with most of the other officials in town. He calls the police chief “a corrupt thug.”

QUARTZSITE, Ariz. — Like many folks in this blink-and-miss-it town on the western edge of the state, Ed Foster moved here to escape the hustle and bustle. He is delighted that the main drag is just a couple of miles long, bookended by gas stations. It doesn’t take much more than a working sewer and water hookup to make him happy.
Joshua Lott for The New York Times
Chief Jeff Gilbert and Town Manager Alex Taft who says Mr. Foster is “just being Jerry Springer, but without the humor.”
A couple of years ago, Mr. Foster, 69, a retired engineer for the Wrigley chewing gum company, began wondering what was happening to his tax money. So he ran for mayor, shaving off his long, scraggly beard when one supporter suggested it might not help his image as a politician.
But the clean-shaven Mayor Foster loves to raise a ruckus. For months, he has accused town officials of hiding money and called the police chief a “corrupt thug.” He has tried to persuade the attorney general’s office to step in, and is pressing for a criminal investigation of the chief.
In the past month, two of Mr. Foster’s allies have been arrested during Town Council meetings and led out in handcuffs. Saying that they fear for public safety, the Council members have declared an emergency, stopped public comment at their official meetings for the next month and brought in a police officer to keep guard at the Town Hall.
Mr. Foster calls this martial law.
“They are just insane. They think they can do whatever they want, take control and not have to do what people want,” the mayor said during an interview at the local Subway, tucked inside a truck stop at the edge of town. “They won’t talk to me, won’t look at me, nothing.”
Mr. Foster and his supporters have taken to the Internet to gather support, posting videos of the Council meeting and several clips showing officers escorting one woman from a meeting last month.
Suddenly this town, once known as a haven for RVs, gemstones and sprawling swap meets, is becoming a symbol for those who say government is filled with power-hungry bureaucrats, bent on spending too much public money.
But Mr. Foster’s detractors — the six other members of the Town Council, the town manager and the police chief — say that it is Mr. Foster, more interested in destroying the town than in focusing on the often mundane tasks of governing it, who has stepped over the line. He has filed several complaints and lawsuits against the town, which has a population of 3,600 in the summer. And he has been censured twice by his Council colleagues and arrested by the chief on disorderly conduct charges. He faces his own recall next month.
“He’s got these ideas that have nothing to do with the truth,” said Alex Taft, the town manager. “He says we are lying, stealing, harassing, anything you can think of. He’s just being Jerry Springer, but without the humor.”
Ms. Taft said that the mayor had enthusiastically “stirred up discontent” every chance he had gotten. But it was not until the meeting in June that she began to get really nervous.
More than two-thirds of the town’s 14 police officers showed up to complain about the chief, and Council members said they could not hear their statements because of a continuing investigation of a complaint filed with the state. One of the mayor’s supporters was arrested and several others in the crowd began shouting. “That was about as close to a riot as we will hopefully ever get,” Ms. Taft said.
Two weeks later, the Council was scheduled to discuss the municipal tax code.
Jennifer Jones, a local activist, supporter of the mayor and owner of a kennel she runs out of a trailer, rose to speak against a fee increase for merchants who rent space here in the winter, when the population can swell to the hundreds of thousands. Soon after she began her allotted four minutes, Ms. Jones turned her back to the Council and began speaking to the crowd. The Council voted to have her removed, and within moments officers were holding her by the wrists, escorting her out the back door.
Ms. Jones, who also publishes a newspaper and blog about the town, said her elbow began to burn after a few minutes. After she complained to another officer, Ms. Jones was released and took an ambulance to the nearest hospital, 35 miles away, where she said doctors told her she had probably sprained her elbow.
“We’re an example of everything that is wrong with small-town government,” Ms. Jones said, wearing a button reading “Clean up Quartzsite” and featuring a large broom and the Web address for the state’s Tea Party chapter. “People come here to live cheaply; they know how to live within their means and they want their government to do so, too.”
A vast majority of homes here are mobile homes, and the residents are not the sort to embrace bureaucracy. With open desert as far as the eye can see, it is about as close as they can get to the Wild West these days.
After the video of Ms. Jones’s arrest spread on the Internet, the Town Hall and Police Department began to receive threatening phone calls and e-mails. Ms. Taft had any pictures of the Council and staff members removed from the town’s Web site, which had been overloaded with traffic. On one site, people spoke of the state’s laws allowing guns to be carried without a permit.
“We know everyone in town; I don’t think they have the guts in them to do anything like that,” said Jerry Lukkason , a councilman who owns an RV park, Laundromat and diner in town. “But this is going all over the place now, and with other people, you never really know.”

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Arizona Republic "Outside agency must help in Quartzsite"
Jul. 14, 2011 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic
Late Sunday night, the Quartzsite Town Council declared a "state of emergency" in the community as a series of conflicts, several of them long-simmering, came to a head. Some residents, including Mayor Ed Foster, fear the chief of police and others are targeting their political opponents with arrests and harassment.
On the other side, Police Chief Jeff Gilbert and some Town Council members say they fear reprisals following the release of a YouTube video depicting a local activist being arrested at a town meeting.
The video depicts the activist, Jennifer Jones, doing nothing more outlandish than exercising her citizen's right to petition the government. Yet she was arrested for "disorderly conduct." Numerous other Quartzsite residents, including Foster, claim they, too, have been arrested, some several times, on similar charges.
The controversy doesn't end there. The state Department of Public Safety says it is investigating Chief Gilbert, in response to a letter signed by at least 10 of his 14 sworn officers, declaring "no confidence" in the leadership of their boss.
Some of the concerns raised by the Quartzsite officers sound very much like those raised by Foster and Jones. They contend Gilbert is ordering his patrol officers to stop, cite and even arrest people who oppose his policies and political points of view, and that he has prevented allies from being served with court warrants. Those are serious charges.
In an address to the Quartzsite Town Council on June 14, an official for the Arizona Conference of Police and Sheriffs said it is standard procedure for a police official accused of such malfeasance to step down, on paid leave, until investigations run their course. That is the matter DPS is now investigating, yet Gilbert remains on the job. And that is a primary source of much of the tension in Quartzsite.
It's time someone stepped in.
The controlling authority would appear to be the La Paz County Board of Supervisors, which can direct the state police to assert some measure of civil order in Quartzsite. If the supervisors decline to take these simmering conflicts seriously, the governor's office needs to consider acting.
Some legitimate authority needs to enforce the peace in Quartzsite. And they need to act before somebody gets hurt.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

video exposes council & police chief knew better!

4:52 seconds in William Sims, lead legal council for the towns ins. pool tells Police Chief Jeff Gilbert “there will be the lawsuit…” At 10.02 he says that the MAYOR makes that call!

Please keep in mind, that this Youtube channel belongs to a friend of the police chief. Many false and defamitory video are on this channel and the former mayor, Wes Huntley posts as "Wilcoxfood"...

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Council Declares STATE OF EMERGENCY?

About noon today, the town council, at the request of the police chief, declared an official state of emergency. Sgt Xavier Frausto was dressed in tactical gear when he and the police chief demanded the mayor get in their car. Mayor Foster declined, and drove himself to town hall. Frausto unlocked the door for the mayor. Foster and others saw town officials convened for official business, with the town clerk and town attorney also present. "This is an illegal meeting!" said Mayor Foster. Sgt Frausto locked the door on him.  When asked later for a comment about what transpired, Concilman Bob Kelley said he couldn't talk about it, Barbara Cowell said she didn't understand who called the meeting, or what thay had done, and Jerry Lukkasson denied it. According to another news report "Taft told the Pioneer the meeting came about after discussions between Town Attorney Martin Brannan, Gilbert and herself regarding threatening e-mails sent to council members and town officials. She said they received advice from attorneys for the League of Arizona Towns and Cities that they should declare an emergency and call a special council meeting."

What a tangled web we weave...
See: Section 3-2-1 "Town Manager", E "Powers and Duties"
"In case of accident, disaster or other circumstances creating a public emergency, the manager may award contracts, and make purchases for the purpose of meeting said emergency"

What's the difference between declaring an emergency and martial law? See:

While the council can hold an emergency meeting, it MUST be open to the public.
38-431.02. Notice of meetings
A. Public notice of all meetings of public bodies shall be given as follows:
1. The public bodies of this state, including governing bodies of charter schools, shall:
(a) Conspicuously post a statement on their website stating where all public notices of their meetings will be posted, including the physical and electronic locations, and shall give additional public notice as is reasonable and practicable as to all meetings.
(b) Post all public meeting notices on their website and give additional public notice as is reasonable and practicable as to all meetings. A technological problem or failure that either prevents the posting of public notices on a website or that temporarily or permanently prevents the use of all or part of the website does not preclude the holding of the meeting for which the notice was posted if the public body complies with all other public notice requirements required by this section.
2. The public bodies of the counties and school districts shall:
(a) Conspicuously post a statement on their website stating where all public notices of their meetings will be posted, including the physical and electronic locations, and shall give additional public notice as is reasonable and practicable as to all meetings.
(b) Post all public meeting notices on their website and give additional public notice as is reasonable and practicable as to all meetings. A technological problem or failure that either prevents the posting of public notices on a website or that temporarily or permanently prevents the use of all or part of the website does not preclude the holding of the meeting for which the notice was posted if the public body complies with all other public notice requirements required by this section.
3. Special districts that are formed pursuant to title 48:
(a) May conspicuously post a statement on their website stating where all public notices of their meetings will be posted, including the physical and electronic locations, and shall give additional public notice as is reasonable and practicable as to all meetings.
(b) May post all public meeting notices on their website and shall give additional public notice as is reasonable and practicable as to all meetings. A technological problem or failure that either prevents the posting of public notices on a website or that temporarily or permanently prevents the use of all or part of the website does not preclude the holding of the meeting for which the notice was posted if the public body complies with all other public notice requirements required by this section.
(c) If a statement or notice is not posted pursuant to subdivision (a) or (b) of this paragraph, shall file a statement with the clerk of the board of supervisors stating where all public notices of their meetings will be posted and shall give additional public notice as is reasonable and practicable as to all meetings.
4. The public bodies of the cities and towns shall:
(a) Conspicuously post a statement on their website or on a website of an association of cities and towns stating where all public notices of their meetings will be posted, including the physical and electronic locations, and shall give additional public notice as is reasonable and practicable as to all meetings.
(b) Post all public meeting notices on their website or on a website of an association of cities and towns and give additional public notice as is reasonable and practicable as to all meetings. A technological problem or failure that either prevents the posting of public notices on a website or that temporarily or permanently prevents the use of all or part of the website does not preclude the holding of the meeting for which the notice was posted if the public body complies with all other public notice requirements required by this section.
B. If an executive session is scheduled, a notice of the executive session shall state the provision of law authorizing the executive session, and the notice shall be provided to the:
1. Members of the public body.
2. General public.
C. Except as provided in subsections D and E of this section, meetings shall not be held without at least twenty-four hours' notice to the members of the public body and to the general public. The twenty-four hour period includes Saturdays if the public has access to the physical posted location in addition to any website posting, but excludes Sundays and other holidays prescribed in section 1-301.
D. In case of an actual emergency, a meeting, including an executive session, may be held on such notice as is appropriate to the circumstances. If this subsection is utilized for conduct of an emergency session or the consideration of an emergency measure at a previously scheduled meeting the public body must post a public notice within twenty-four hours declaring that an emergency session has been held and setting forth the information required in subsections H and I of this section.
E. A meeting may be recessed and resumed with less than twenty-four hours' notice if public notice of the initial session of the meeting is given as required in subsection A of this section, and if, before recessing, notice is publicly given as to the time and place of the resumption of the meeting or the method by which notice shall be publicly given.
F. A public body that intends to meet for a specified calendar period, on a regular day, date or event during the calendar period, and at a regular place and time, may post public notice of the meetings at the beginning of the period. The notice shall specify the period for which notice is applicable.
G. Notice required under this section shall include an agenda of the matters to be discussed or decided at the meeting or information on how the public may obtain a copy of such an agenda. The agenda must be available to the public at least twenty-four hours before the meeting, except in the case of an actual emergency under subsection D of this section. The twenty-four hour period includes Saturdays if the public has access to the physical posted location in addition to any website posting, but excludes Sundays and other holidays prescribed in section 1-301.
H. Agendas required under this section shall list the specific matters to be discussed, considered or decided at the meeting. The public body may discuss, consider or make decisions only on matters listed on the agenda and other matters related thereto.
I. Notwithstanding the other provisions of this section, notice of executive sessions shall be required to include only a general description of the matters to be considered. The agenda shall provide more than just a recital of the statutory provisions authorizing the executive session, but need not contain information that would defeat the purpose of the executive session, compromise the legitimate privacy interests of a public officer, appointee or employee or compromise the attorney-client privilege.
J. Notwithstanding subsections H and I of this section, in the case of an actual emergency a matter may be discussed and considered and, at public meetings, decided, if the matter was not listed on the agenda and a statement setting forth the reasons necessitating the discussion, consideration or decision is placed in the minutes of the meeting and is publicly announced at the public meeting. In the case of an executive session, the reason for consideration of the emergency measure shall be announced publicly immediately before the executive session.
K. Notwithstanding subsection H of this section, the chief administrator, presiding officer or a member of a public body may present a brief summary of current events without listing in the agenda the specific matters to be summarized, if:
1. The summary is listed on the agenda.
2. The public body does not propose, discuss, deliberate or take legal action at that meeting on any matter in the summary unless the specific matter is properly noticed for legal action.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Power outage delays July edition while Quartzsite Council misbehavior makes international headlines!

High winds on Tuesday night caused a power outage in Quartzsite and the surrounding area. Reportedly, 17 power poles were down, but APS did an amazing job and the power was restored around 3am this morning. While internet routers in Quartzsite were unable to provide internet services to locals, the "World Wide Web" was buzzing about civil rights violation at the June 28th council meeting.

The July issue is currently being updated and expanded to cover these breaking events. It will be on the stands in a couple of days. In the mean time, read about it here: