April 27, 2022
Hello Mayor Simpson, Vice Mayor Warner, Council Members Amon, Saxton, Schue, Bearcat, and Goldberg, Town Manager Ferguson, Town Clerk Abriani, and Town Attorney Estes,
Unfortunately, Tuesday night’s Council meeting regarding agenda item #4, repealing or amending Quartzsite Town Code 30.09(B), clearly showed that our town government SUPPORTS election meddling and is NOT committed to strong election integrity and free elections, but instead we saw government holding on to the status quo, and pushing to expand and grow government power and control, meddling in local elections, all based on mere opinion.
The Council was also a bit myopic in its perspective on this particular ordinance and it seems to refuse to see the potential for the ordinance to be used against political opponents, resulting in existing candidates holding their power by keeping those opponents off the ballot.
The prevailing perspective for the preservation of 30.09(B) last night came across to the general public that it, 30.09(B), is some kind of litmus test, a reflection of candidate’s level of responsible, financial aptitude, and their ability to govern the town wisely… yet, not a shred of evidence was given to support such a claim.
What PEER REVIEWED STUDY, or other evidence was presented by the emotionally impassioned Council Members and Vice Mayor present that supports the notion that those who have their town bills paid exactly on time and do not owe any fines, fees, etc. make better leaders of a town?
This would seem to indicate a clear and present bias of those in power in our town.
While the town’s leaders are claiming to be working to ensure the Council only gets “qualified” and “responsible” candidates on the ballot, to protect the town from its citizens being able to choose the wrong candidate(s), maybe the town council should write additional litmus test type ordinances, similar to 30.09(B)?
For example, many claim that those who keep a clean and tidy house, like Bev Cunningham did, are the only “qualified” and “responsible” people who should hold council positions, because we know they would be most organized, responsible, and push for a clean town… right?
You could mandate home inspections for all potential candidates to be sure they keep a clean and tidy home before they can be deemed “qualified” and “responsible.”
Maybe the council should require ALL council candidates to submit full Federal and AZ tax returns to be sure they are honest, take drug tests to make sure they are 100% drug free. How about psychological evaluations for ALL candidates to be sure they are of a sound mind, or require candidates list all the charities they have given time and/or money to so we know they are committed to helping people.
There really is no limit to these opinion based, litmus test types, “added qualifications” you folks can cook up to be in control and lord over the elections and try to prevent your citizens from getting on the ballot… What are you afraid of?
Do you not trust the electorate to choose who they believe should be on council?
Reflecting on principles and ideals… Ordinance 30.09(B) would ABSOLUTELY be considered election meddling by our nation’s Founding Fathers.
Another scenario the council completely overlooked on Tuesday night and failed to consider and reflect upon, was the use of 30.09(B) as a political weapon…
For example: Let’s say a Quartzsite business owner feels unjustly attacked and fined by the town… so, this business owner decides to run for office to help fix the local government and prevent it from abusing businesses… but this business owner, in protest… standing firmly to principles… refuses to pay the unjust fine(s).
Ordinance 30.09(B), the ordinance adored by the majority of the council, is NOW a clear political weapon preventing a form of redress and correction this business owner seeks by trying to let the people vote for adding a different voice on the Council… a voice that reflects the business community in particular in this example… BUT your demand would be for the business owner to pay the fine so they could run and challenge your power.
Ordinance 30.09(B) is a bad, emotion based policy and should be fully repealed… it is NOT on par with minimum age requirements, residency requirements, et al… those qualifications are Constitutional types of requirements.
Under the ordinance you want to keep… and now even expand, talking of adding additional language… MORE GOVERNMENT… a Hitler, Mao, Stalin, or a Pol Pot, so long as they were caught up on their bills with the town, paid their fees and fines to the town, they could get on the ballot…. But you want this unproven, biased, litmus test type ordinance in place… it is mere opinion that those who are fully caught up on their bills to the town or are fighting fines and/or fees to the town are not “qualified” and/or “responsible,” and not good for town government.
A primary reason for FREE AND OPEN ELECTIONS is to be able to have people that have been, or feel they have been, mistreated or misrepresented by the existing elected government, the ability to challenge those in power, and ALLOW THE PUBLIC to choose… your goofy, unique to Quartzsite, opinion-based ordinance can and is preventing one of the fundamental forms of challenge to power in our system of elections (a fundamental right that you swore to uphold and defend)… it is SHAMEFUL and EMBARRASSING… and the sad fact is most of you were VERY PROUD of it and passionately defended it!
I personally think you should all be recalled/voted out for supporting this election meddling authoritarian power control ordinance! Oh, but oops, you made it VERY difficult to challenge your power with this ordinance… Nice job!
Maybe you should actually focus on FREE AND UNFETTERED ELECTIONS and ALLOW THE PEOPLE TO DECIDE who they want in office… NOT elected and unelected town officials employing litmus tests for getting on the ballot.
On another note, the majority of council members were merely parroting what town attorney Estes regurgitated from his colleagues past paperwork, with only one perspective clung to regarding my situation (and Sam Saxton’s) with regard to the $100 fine… please stop spreading the half-truths and misinformation because you are bordering on defamation.
You ALL really should perform your due diligence research on this… you should read ALL the documentation regarding Starr Bearcat’s apparent politically motivated initial complaint against myself, Mike Roth, and the three write-ins for the 2020 election cycle, Don Day, Amber Myers, and Sam Saxton… a frivolous and petty half-baked complaint that COST THE TOWN OF QUARTZSITE $4000…
You should read ALL of the response letters I wrote to the town attorney at the time… and you should seek the rest of the story before insinuating, claiming, or suggesting that Sam Saxton or myself are “irresponsible” and “ignored” the violation and failed in our obligations… This is not an accurate accounting of events.
You all act as though Sam Saxton and I should have known we owed money to the town for the alleged campaign finance violation resulting from the Starr Bearcat complaint culminating in an evidence deficient investigation from town attorney Andrew McGuire.
Sam Saxton and I wanted our day in court and I personally wrote this very clearly and distinctly in the letters the current attorney said didn’t exist, challenging the violation… I have all the letters time stamped so if you actually want the full picture for a more
accurate understanding of the situation I can send them to you… because it would seem the law firm did NOT give those to the council to help them understand the situation more fully.
All Saxton and I are guilty of is not understanding the appeals process and thinking the town, based on evidence, did NOT pursue the violation with the court… I personally called the La Paz Superior Court several times shortly after receiving the violation notice from the town attorney.
I discovered the appeal would cost $195 for court filing costs, and then, on principle I decided to fight it and asked the La Paz Superior Court if the violation was in their system yet so I could appeal it… I was told each time there was no violation in their system with my name attached to it.
So, like the average citizen, it was reasonable to think the town’s attorney, Andrew McGuire, decide not to pursue the matter any further… and here is why:
My Counsel, prior to my call to the La Paz Superior Court, said in her experience, looking at all the evidence, there is not a single court in AZ that would convict me, or the write-in’s, for the alleged violation… so, I believe, anecdotally, that the primary reason the Town’s Attorney did NOT submit the violation to the La Paz County Superior Court is because he too knew that if he had to prove his case, that he would not win in a court of law.
Unfortunately, I was NOT able to continue getting legal counsel because my law firm, because Davis, Miles, McGuire, Gardner in Phoenix determined midstream that there was a conflict of interest and they were no longer able to help me… they could NOT tell me what it was, but it is my understanding that Starr Bearcat also has the same legal membership that I do and it would seem that is where the conflict landed… so, the timing was poor because that was just prior to being told what the appeals process was for this type of violation.
In the Special meeting on April 7th, Council Member Schue asked if anyone knew what the special appeals process was for appealing an alleged violation from the town’s attorney… NOBODY in the Council Chambers knew the process, except for town attorney Estes who declined to provide any details of the appeals process claiming that would be providing legal advice.
So, the appeals process remains esoteric in nature.
In the same Special Meeting on April 7th, Attorney Estes said that Sam Saxton and I should have hired an attorney to review the appeals process… Hmmm, so apparently justice in
America is GREEN after all… and the justice system prevents the average citizen from seeking and obtaining justice in many cases… like this one.
∙ Alleged violation fine was an arbitrary $100
∙ $195 initial court appeals cost plus
∙ $300 average hourly rate of an attorney X at least 6 hrs = $1800
∙ Time out of work for court, 1 day
So, really, attorney Estes knows, as did attorney McGuire, that it’s not realistic for the average person to be able to dish over $2000 to fight an arbitrary $100 fine.
Fact: The violation against Sam Saxton and I was NEVER submitted into the court system, and apparently it did disappear because we never heard anything again (for 1.5 years)… until Mike Roth put his name in the ring to run for council… so, right out of the gate this looks like the ordinance was used politically to try and prevent a known activist that the town clearly does NOT like from getting on the ballot.
It was ONLY when Roth pulled nomination papers that my name was researched and then upon turning in properly completed nomination papers the old laid to rest fine was brought up against my elector status.
NOTE: Maybe one of the new litmus test type ordinance’s you could pass would be to DISQUALIFY ANY candidate who submit improperly completed and/or completed with misspellings in their nomination packet!
From two good sources, two different council members, it was communicated to me that Karey Amon had her appointment paperwork given back to her several times for corrections resulting from improperly completed paperwork.
SURELY a “GOOD FIT” for council would be a “RESPONSIBLE” and “QUALIFIED” person would know how to fill out simple nomination/appointment type applications! I’m sorry, but this Council seems very arbitrary and emotional regarding what they think are “responsible” and “qualified” candidates for council.
Anyway, it was at this point, April 4th about 4:30pm in the Town Clerk’s Office, after Mr. Ferguson informed me of the old, town-forgotten, $100 fine. I told Jim that the Town then had another problem, because Sam Saxton also refused to pay this unjust fine from 2020… which brings us to where we are now.
Let’s be CLEAR… if I only owed a small past due fee on a library book at our town library… I would have received a reminder… maybe late fees and other penalties… YET, there was this alleged election law violation that town attorney McGuire NEVER forwarded and filed with the La Paz County Superior Court… violations YOUR TOWN LAW FIRM CHARGED OVER $4000 FOR FROM THE TOWN COFFERS to “investigate”… and:
∙ NO FOLLOW UP/REMINDERS,
∙ NO LATE FEES,
∙ NO PENALTIES,
∙ NO COLLECTIONS AGENCIES TO COLLECT THE FINE,
∙ NO WARRANTS ISSUED!!!
∙ NO NOTHING… IT WAS AS IF THE TOWN LOST IT!
I’m sorry, this is asinine and does NOT follow ANY standard, fair, and equitable protocols… THE TOWN FAILED TO FOLLOW THROUGH PROCEDURALLY and this was and is a complete pissing away of the taxpayer’s money… a direct and indirect attack on innocent local citizens… ALL WHILE YOU COUNCIL MEMBERS POMPOUSLY AND PROUDLY SIT ABOVE US SAYING WE SHOULD HAVE OBEYED THE LAW AND PAYED YOUR FINES…. YOU PORTRAY US AS “IRRESPONSIBLE,” “NOT QUALIFIED,” AND “UNFIT” FOR COUNCIL BECAUSE OF THESE ARBITRARY FINES AND ESOTERIC APPEALS PROCESS… SHAME ON YOU!!!
As Thomas Jefferson said, and this is part of the basis of nullification… a protective procedure the town attorney Estes continues to prove he does NOT understand…but holds himself as the authority on, that “If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so.”
Some council members are asserting the candidates are communicating that ANY law they don’t like, or the council doesn’t like, should be ignored… THIS IS A MISUNDERSTANDING AND MISINTERPRETATION of what was communicated, or intended to be communicated.
The Founding Fathers fully supported nullification of UNJUST laws… we are NOT referring to any law, but unjust law…. And yes, those laws can be and should be challenged via nullification or civil disobedience.
La Paz County Superior Judge Burke wrote that Ordinance 30.09(B) was unlawful (unjust)… the ordinance can and is a political tool to hold power and prevent qualified people from getting on the ballot, the ordinance is steeped in mere opinion for its support,
the ordinance meddles with elections… the ordinance is unjust… the Town Council should treat it as such!
The PEOPLE, NOT elected and unelected officials should make the call about the financial habits of candidates!
And you should all know another part of this story… the other two write in candidates that paid the $100 fine in protest… Do you know why they paid it? Because it was cheaper to pay the fine than to fight it! And, the attorney knew that fact well.
2020 Write-in Don Day, homeowner and his wife, Lois, was a business owner here in town… Don had lived in Quartzsite many years, and raised his family here… his ex-wife Karen owns Karen’s Café…
2020 Write-in Amber Myers and her family owned a home here and both she and her husband were active at the VFW.
These two write-in candidates were also victims of Bearcat’s false, half-baked, seemingly politically motivated, (Bearcat was a council member up for reelection in 2021) complaints of election law violation. These two ran as candidates because they had frustrations with the town and the direction it was heading, so they ran for office. Instead of them being free to run and do good for the town they loved so much, they were kicked in the teeth by their government!
They paid their $100 fines in protest, sold their homes and moved. Business owners, home owners, families, volunteers, prominent members of our community, gone, as a direct result of the half-baked, seemingly politically motivated complaint from Starr Bearcat followed by the abusive treatment by the town government. This was the final straw and they kicked the dust off their shoes and left.
The cost of this petty and trivial half-baked complaint from Starr Bearcat had cost far beyond the $4000 in attorney’s fees that the town law firm charged for the investigation…
We also lost good citizens, both homeowners… and confidence in the political process. The AZ Citizens Clean Elections Commission states on their home page:
“Clean Elections was founded in 1998 after Arizona voters passed the Citizens Clean Citizen Elections Act (A.R.S. Title 16, Chapter 6, Article 2) to root out corruption and promote confidence in our political process.[Emphasis mine]”
The purpose of election laws, according to what the people of AZ wanted and voted for in 1998, is “to root out corruption and promote confidence in our political process.”
The Town Ordinance 30.09(B) is NOT about rooting out corruption, nor is it promoting confidence in the political process.
Town Ordinance 30.09(B) is NOT in the spirit or letter of the legal purpose of fair and open, non-corrupt, elections that the people of Arizona want to see in their elections, in fact, it is having the OPPOSITE effect. It’s making the town officials claim they are acting justly by obeying an unjust law, which, I would say, is a form of official political government corruption that is an attack on the electorate and election integrity.
The elections law purpose of rooting out corruption and promoting confidence in the political process, along with Superior Court Judge Burke declaring the added qualifications unlawful, not to mention our Founding Fathers, and NOT having emotion based unsupported litmus tests, ALL stand in opposition in fundamental principle to Town Ordinance 30.09(B).
I once again, based on fundamental principles of freedom and election integrity, ask you to NOT take the authoritarian route, that you NOT, once again, increase government, but that you REPEAL, NOT AMEND, Town Ordinance 30.09(B)… and that is best for the Town of Quartzsite and her citizens.
For freedom, liberty, inalienable rights protection, and election integrity,
Dennis C. Vosper
Quartzsite Resident and unjustly disqualified council ballot candidate 202