Friday, June 22, 2012

"Town Hall" meeting quotes

Aside from the shocking announcement that the CDBG grant funded community center that was promised not to cost the town a dime is now going to cost us an undisclosed amount (because the project costs far exceed that grant) are some fascinating quotes from the little cards filled out by incumbent supporters as a premise for organized, town supported opposition bashing:
"Moderator" MICHELLE LUKKASSON: "Could the people of the Town take Desert Freedom Press and its contributing writers to court for

driving away vendors and winter visitors?'
TAFT: "okay, um..generally speaking public monies

are not used to pursue people as much as they are to

defend. If somebody attacks the town, uh files a

lawsuit,then we use public money to defend this; but

the uh, in terms of that situation, that's a good

questions. I don't have a definitive answer for

you; but, if you could measure it, if you could

measure just how much damage they have done, then I

would say it's probably able to be taken to court.

It would take a resolution by the Council,

(DFP - Funny that the council and staff are on video stating that vendor permits were up this season, that vendors were reporting good sales etc. and now that say we have done "damage " simply by reporting the actions of council and staff.)

LUKKASSON: "What is the status of the election, and for how long will Jose Lizarraga and Barbara Cowell sit on the Council?"

"I'll take that. Um, the status of the elections is

that, um, the people that, Ed Foster and mark

Orgeron, um, have appeared in Court. Mark Orgeron

filed a claim in federal court stating that the

state statute regarding requirements for residency

wasn't appropriate and he also stated that he felt

he had an expectation of serving with Mayor Foster,

the elect-Mayor Foster,and therefore, uh, he thought

that that he should receive some damages for that.

Um, so far the Court has reviewed the issue and made

some preliminary findings, but a final ruling is not

in place yet. He asked for a temporary restraining

order to keep Barbara Cowell, the vice-mayor, and

Mayor Lizarraga from serving. Uh, I believe they're

going to be submitting paperwork on Friday, a review

on Wednesday of next week, and then after that the

judge will rule finally. But the preliminary order

we saw, so far, is very positive about, uh, not

feeling that the arguments made by Mr. Orgeron for

himself and Mr. Foster were cogent. Um, they also

stated that they didn't feel Mr. Orgeron had any

standing to file on behalf of Mr. Foster.Um, so,

that's that. Um, too is the Quo Warranto action in

Superior Court that was filed by Mr. Vederman and

Mr. Buckalew County Attorney and the Civil

Attorney for the County, uh, in Superior Court; and

uh, that is like, that doesn't have a short time

window the way an election contest would, so I

believe there's twenty days before anybody needs to

respond. Um, both this and the federal case are

being handled by our risk pool, our insurer. Uh, so

uh, some of the arguments are the same, because the

same people are basically bringing them; even though

it's Mr.Vederman from the County Attorney. The

County Attorney, he's still is making similar

arguments because he's basing them on the same

paperwork that, uh, that's been submitted to the

federal court; so there's a lot of overlap there. Two

separate situations entirely, nothing is finally

decided. So it's a process that's probably going to

take a little while longer. The federal court will,

oddly enough, I believe move faster, because they

did it under an (unintelligible) election. Quo

Warranto, you can do a Quo Warranto on any seated

person at any time if you feel you have reason to.

The more obvious reasons are things like any

felonies, or something like that. That has to do

with removing somebody from office. Uh, this one is

a charge of usurpation of office, in other words,

they're using that office when they're not entitled

to it, because the election has been

(unintelligible). So, there are a lot of arguments to

it, they're not done arguing, that's the best I can

tell you."

(DFP - Taft was not in Federal Court, only Brannan and Johnson and the risk pool attorney. The truth is Judge Silver did entertain hearing the case on the federal issues, and allowed the attorneys a couple of extra days to find additional case law and resubmit their briefs.)

LUKKASSON: "On that same note, what is the status of the voter fraud investigation?"

"Interviews have been made, and accomplished. There

are many more to go. Uh, We started out with a

premise of 168 votes, we're working our mid-way

through that. Um, some of the issues fall under what

is known as Title 28, which I'm sure the chief can

explain, has to do with saying you're living in one

place; but you haven't gotten your, is this right

Chief?, the licensing, the Arizona, the vehicle

license plate, is that correct? "

CHIEF: "Yeah, it kinda falls on the, you know, basically

the, your intent. I mean, if a person says that

they're a resident, they're claiming to be a

resident of Arizona, or they moved to Arizona, or

they've set up residency here, then they're required

by statute to do certain things; change their

registration, uh, uh, get a driver's license, if

they're a registered driver. So the issue, some of

the voter issue to that, we've experienced this over

the past few years, you know. Where you have people,

you have people claiming to be a resident of the

State of Arizona and or Quartzsite and yet they've

failed to do these other things, change the

registration on their vehicle, their camper,

motor-home, their driver's license, those kind of

things. In some cases, maybe even their voter

registration. So it's uh, certainly if a person has

the intent of being a resident of Arizona, they're

required to do certain things under those statutes."

TAFT: "Also, there are people in outlying areas, that used

local addresses inside the town of Quartzsite, and

voted, and you can't do that either. That's serious

(unintelligible) and that's, we've discovered that.

So,um, we're just working our way through 168 names,

and in the process some of them have been eliminated

and are not going to be a problem, and others are;

and it's a research and interview process and it's


(DFP - Taft and Gilbert have both been told for the last 2 years that there is no voete fraud, according to County Recorder Shelly Baker. To use the power of their office for political activities is a violation of the Personnel Manual and probable grounds to break their contracts.)

LUKKASSON:"Would Foster be seated if he had, if he was paid in full?"

TAFT: "uh, I asked that question, too, of our Attorney, and the key is he was not qualified when he ran,

when he got the number of votes to, what he does to

amend later is a separate issue. Hope that answers

your question, so he couldn't come in Town Hall

tomorrow and pay it all up, then all the sudden the

rules are changed because he had to do it when he

ran. So that that I would say is probably not too


CHIEF: "Just a quick observation, uh, I noticed on one of

his interviews, when they did the protest at the

state capital, on one of the news stations he made

the comment that he owed the money and that he would

never pay."

(DFP - When Mayor Foster challenged the recall petitions on the basis of not having a clear notary stamp as required by state statutes Judge Burke allowed the conflict of interest when Town Attorney Pamela Walsma represented defendant and then Town Clerk Karen Norris. Burke agreed that the original petitions could be photo enhanced before being entered into evidence, and dismissed the recall election challenge without ever hearing the merits of the case. Then Burke awarded Walsma attorney fees. Because Walsma's appearance violated the cannon of ethics, and because she had previously given him legal advice and he was the signator of her paycheck, Foster does not believe he owes the town or Walsma in her capacity as a private attorney.

Pursuant to the illegal town ordinance, the town would have had to disqualify Foster before they contracted with the county elections department to put him on the ballot, but then they would also have had to disqualify Lukkasson, Winslow, and Cowell as well.))

LUKKASSON: "DOES DESERT FREEDOM PRESS HAVE A BUSINESS LICENSE, if not, why are they allowed to continue?"

"The answer is no, they do not have a business

license. Um, they have been cited, we have taken

them to court, the case is pending and that's all

that I can say."  

(DFP - Blatant lie. That charge was dismissed in August of 2011, and a license is not required to give away a free newspaper. The town had previously tried to maliciously prosecute Desert Star Publisher "Big John" and that fact was established with assistance from the Goldwater Institute.)

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