Friday, March 30, 2012

Quorum of council approves election results, legal challenge expected

After reviewing additional documents related to interpretation of Arizona election statutes, Quartzsite Councilmembers Joe Winslow, Patricia Anderson, Carol Kelley and Barbara Cowell voted to approve the resolution declaring a "special - winner take all" election instead of a primary, and declaring appointed incumbent Mike Jewitt the winner this afternoon. Jewitt was not sworn in however and illegally seated Mayor Jose Lizarraga was not in attendance, having previously recused himself due to conflict of interest. Candidate John Prutch is on the Fire Department Board where Lizarraga is  employed.

Ellen Van Ripper, attorney for candidate John Prutch is expected to file a challenge in La Paz County Superior Court by April 4th. This will be a precedent setting court case, as the amendment to state law regulating the filling of council vacancies enacted last year has not yet been challenged. The council is betting taxpayer money on Town Attorney Martin Brannan's interpretation of the statute, despite Brannan's legal opinion being in direct opposition to the interpretation provided to Quartzsite and other municipalities by the Arizona League of Cities and Towns last October.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Resolutions, or recipe for disaster? 3-27-12 council meeting
Despite being told repeatedly that there was a primary election, not a "special" election on March 13th to fill the council seat of Jose Lizarraga, who resigned to run for mayor last summer, it seems clear that the Quartzsite Town Council intends to defiantly seat incumbent Mike Jewitt tomorrow morning under Resolution 12-08. Jewitt was appointed to fill Lizarraga's seat, but had to run for it at the next regularly scheduled election, pursuant to Arizona Revised Statutes.
Read the warning letter to Quartzsite Town Attorney
Official write in candidate John Prutch has retained legal council, and is expected to challenge Jewiitt's usurpation of office before weeks end.

The town is making some pretty wild allegations regarding registered voters in the primary election in Resolution 12-07. It seems clear that they do not believe incumbents can survive the General Election in May. The cost of compiling these statistics at tax payer expense is currently unknown, and no documentation or evidence in support of the claims made in the  Resolution were included. If the councilmember vote in favor of 12-07 without any serious discussion, it must be assumed that they vetted this agenda item in yet another secret meeting.

Both resolutions were placed on the Agenda by Town Manager Alex Taft.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Quartzsite Chevron part 2

March 21st, 2012
Quartzsite, AZ--The Chevron station in question gets a passing grade by the Arizona Department of Weights and Measure (ADWM), indicating a maximum of 10% ethanol was tested by a third party laboratory in Phoenix. This was confirmed in a taped phone conversation today with Dan Egge, an investigator with ADWM.
But not so fast...says Dave Bertrand, after $1,500 dollars of chasing a mechanical problem for approximately three months as income allowed!
Engine acceleration problems, known as "stumbling," kept the local repair shop mechanics puzzled as computer tests did not pinpoint the reasons. From (2) fuel filter changes to oxygen sensors replaced and every other temperature sensor tested, including fuel pressure testing, the result was the same...very poor acceleration.
Just short of trashing the Tahoe for a replacement, my last option was a full diagnostic check with Bradley Chevrolet in Parker Arizona.
Jim Burdette, the Service Manager assured me they would find the problem. Leaving the vehicle overnight, I was hoping the $100 test would not reveal an engine overhaul was due or something similar.
The call from Jim sounded bad, but only because he said the complete test was negative, nothing out of the ordinary, but added..."We only had one last option and that was to test your fuel."
He asked where I was getting my fuel and you guessed it! The Chevron station in Quartzsite.
During the previous months of having acceleration problems, my paranoia of using cheap gas caused me to fill-up at the Chevron station, thinking that I could clean-out any dirty fuel that might be causing the problem. my astonishment, the knock over my head was worse than the $100 diagnostic test at Bradley.
Jim Burdette informed me that my fuel tested greater than 20% ethanol and that Bradley Chevrolet just had at least three other vehicles in the shop with similar problems and those customers said  they used Chevron in Quartzsite. One other customer with the same problem used Chevron and other stations.
The solution and advice was to drop the fuel tank and replace the fuel with non-ethanol rated fuel for a while. Parker Oil on 95 north in Parker is the only station with non-ethanol fuel.
About $400 later, tank dropped and drained, I replaced the fuel with non-ethanol and the Tahoe did not miss a beat. My only mistake was not spending the $100 at Bradley for a full diagnostic check.
By now I was wondering if Chevron in Quartzsite was in-fact selling contaminated fuel. Were all the customers (I heard about) wondering as well? Then my Quartzsite mechanic began having engine problems and only used that Chevron...which prompted me to get a sample of fuel and take it to Bradley Chevrolet for testing.
On March 9th, I collected .633 gallon(s) from pump 5 and sealed the screw cap with tape and attached the receipt to the side of the container. The gas was tested by Bradley Chevrolet in three different beakers, using an approved testing method, and the lowest ethanol level was 17% and the highest 20%. The maximum allowable by any state is 10%, except for E85 fuel which is not sold at the Quartzsite Chevron.
The phone call from Jim Burdette set the stage for a series of events...
I contacted Dan Egge at ADWM and nearly had to threaten media action to get the state agency to return my calls. Finally, an inspector on a fuel testing assignment in Parker was re-directed to Quartzsite immediately.
I was waiting at the Chevron station as he pulled-in with his testing trailer tanks. He indicated to me that his findings would only be preliminary, but also stated the same directive that Dan Egge stated to me...if the sample taken on March 20th was over the ethanol limit, he would have the inspector drive the sample to Phoenix. Note: The fuel inspector (Bill) was originally heading to Yuma.
After taking a fuel sample from pump no. 1, he conducted an onsite assay test which a receipt type tape, printed the results.
I asked if the ethanol level is above 10% and he kind of smiled, but could not tell me the level. I asked if he was taking it to Phoenix and he said, "I'll know in a minute!"
I asked him, "I guess you can't tell me the ethanol level because it's now part of an investigation?" He replied..."Yes, you can assume that."
He was ordered to Phoenix and I was provided the lab tech's name and phone number before he departed.
Again, after several phone calls to ADWM for the results, Dan Egge called today, stating that a contract lab reported no more than 10% ethanol in that sample taken yesterday.
The third party laboratory that took the sample from ADWM was INSPECTORATE a subsidiary of Bureau Veritas Group Company, a world conglomerate with very close ties to BP, Texaco and Chevron.
They have over 600 laboratories around the world and offer quality control services to most every petroleum company, testing and preparing official reports for government(s).
Their contracts equate to the FDA relying on the pharma companies to do their own testing of the product they intend to get approval for!
Or...let's put it this way! Putting the fox in-charge of the hen house.
Will we ever know if the fuel sample is really tainted? Or do we accept what Dan Egge stated to me today, the fuel turn-over at many stations can be as much as three tankers arriving in a single day...therefore, any tainted fuel may not be detected.
Should we assume that Bill the fuel inspector needs glasses and or his testing equipment is faulty?
In today's world of corruption and corporate monopolies, the citizen is the last hope of justice, and because we were vigilant, and I was financially challenged in this event, the big corporation wins and ADWM gets-a-pat on the back by those (behind the scenes) right up to the main offices of Chevron and Shay Oil (station owner).
They dodged a bullet this time, but it's the last time I ever buy fuel at this Chevron in Quartzsite Arizona.
Dave BertrandNewsThatMatters@Live.Com

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

State investigates Quartzsite Chevron

The Arizona Department of Weights and Measures was sampling the gas being sold at Quartzsite's only Chevron Station, today around noon.

Several people who have purchased gas there have had engine problems with vehicles that were still under warranty, and James Burdette, from the service department at Bradley Chevrolet in Parker, AZ told the Desert Freedom Press that Chevy requires them to test the fuel. It was discovered that multiple vehicles whose owners had gassed up at the Chevron in Quartzsite tested out with higher than legal levels of ethanol in their fuel tanks. 

A local man whose vehicle may have been affected then purchased a gallon of gas and sealed it up, along with the receipt from Chevron. Bradley Chevrolet tested the sealed sample three times and it averaged out to about 20% ethanol. The state allows no more than 15% ethanol (for flex fuel vehicles only) and most stations sell fuel with no more than 10% ethanol. The Quartzsite Chevron does not sell E85 fuel with 15 % ethanol. According to Burdette, "The procedure is to fill a 100 milliliter beakers to 90 mil with the fuel sample, then add 10 mil of water, shake and let stand for 3 to 5 minutes. The water will mix with the ethanol in the fuel and settle to the bottom. the amount of ethanol will be seen and relates to the percentage in the fuel. As seen in the pictures this fuel has about 18%. The max is supposed to be no more then 10%."


Burdette further states, "  GM recommends that a customer use what is know as TOP TIER fuel to verify drivability issues, such as poor fuel economy and lack of power. If a vehicle is a flex fuel vehicle then high ethanol content will not be a factor, but if the vehicle is not made for flex fuel many problems can happen. Top tier fuels are normally found at a corporate station such as Chevron, Shell, Texaco etc. The problem is that just because a station shown to be one of these stations does not mean that it is a corporately operated station. Independent stations are owned by individuals and can purchase some of there fuel from an outside source, and this fuel source can be the reason for high ethanol in the fuel.  

The State Department of Weights and Measures was notified and sent their Parker investigator out to sample the fuel today. He immediately took the evidence to their Phoenix Office and we are currently awaiting further information as to the results of this investigation.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Voters want Ed Foster as Quartzsite's mayor again!

Quartzsite voters turned out in record numbers yesterday to send a message. And that message was "NO" on Proposition 1 (444 votes to 149), meaning 75% 0f voters wanted an elected not an appointed mayor. The mayor they chose was Ed Foster.

At odds with the rest of the council before he even took office in 2010, Foster had lost a recall election to Fire Captain Jose Lizarraga in August by a narrow margin. That recall was spearheaded by then Councilman Jerry Lukkasson and his wife Michelle. Lizarraga refused to run again for his expiring mayors seat and Lukkasson resigned from the council for a chance to  wield the gavel. Now, the voters of Quartzsite have put Foster back in as the town CEO, and by a respectable margin. At least according to the unofficial results.

Two expiring seats on the town council will go to a run off election in May, with incumbents Barbara Cowell and Joe Winslow facing off against Pat Workman and Mark Orgeron.

Provisional ballots and late mail in ballots have yet to be added in to the totals, but write in candidate John Prutch was trailing appointed incumbent Mike Jewitt by 19 votes in the "special" election contrived through fraud by town officials. Poll workers reported the the layout of the ballot had many people confused and it's believed that the twenty two write in votes in the regular election were meant to be cast for the special election. That would likely have put Prutch over the top. It is anticipated this may go to a run off as well as not enough people voted in the "special" election to secure the required number foe either candidate.