By Elisha Dorfsmith
On January 8, 2013 the Flagstaff City Council decided not to move forward with a proposed Property Maintenance Ordinance. The previous council had unanimously supported a PMO but with new members and new information available, it was decided a PMO was no longer needed. The public, who overwhelmingly opposed the PMO, believed the issue had been put to rest for good.
Jump forward to March 28, 2013 and the release of the Flagstaff Regional Plan. At 338 pages the plan is intimidating to the average Flagstaff Resident. Very few people will read the whole thing before the public comment period ends on May 31, 2013. Flagstaff residents would be wise to take some time to scan through the plan and pay special attention to Appendix B which shows the strategies for implementing the goals and policies. Mentioned among these strategies several times is implementation of a “Property Maintenance Ordinance”.
The concept behind a PMO seems to be reinforced again (page 329) in a reference to CPTED in the Police strategies section. CPTED stands for Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design. Part of the CPTED philosophy says that broken windows, peeling paint or a nuisance, if not taken care of, will lead to crime and will eventually destroy an entire neighborhood.
When concerned Flagstaff residents joined together last year to oppose a PMO, one major concern was City officials being allowed to go on private property and inspect it for PMO violations without a warrant. Now I’m sensing that the line between your average City official and a police officer is being blurred. CPTED says that police have in interest in well maintained properties. Will police be enforcing the PMO?
Increased police presence is a very big part of the regional plan and reading through that section (pages 328 and 329) throws up a red flag for those of us concerned about the growing police state in America. Neighborhood police substations are encouraged, an effective, visible police presence in the community is called for and the plan also asks for law abiding citizens to step up and help the police with crime prevention. I read this and see an Orwellian vision where neighbors turn in neighbors for the slightest infractions and are rewarded.
The City of Flagstaff legal department has explained to Council that existing laws already apply to health hazards and the worst unmaintained properties. The City can take action in these situations without a PMO in place. Flagstaff does NOT need a PMO.
One other major concern for people in the region:
On page 7 the plan says who it is for. In addition to Flagstaff it mentions Bellemont, Winona, Kachina Village and Mountainaire as well as the San Francisco peaks. It also says the plan is for County departments. Only Flagstaff residents will be allowed to vote on this plan in 2014. The plan does not explain why County residents don’t get to vote on the plan even though the plan will impact them. In fact, the plan doesn’t even let County residents know they won’t get to vote.
Growing Smarter Statutes adopted by Arizona in 1998 and 2000 require that a plan of some kind be adopted and updated every 10 years. It’s important that all who will be impacted by this plan provide feedback during the public comment period.
The text of the Regional plan can be found here:
The previous version of the PMO actually called for “weather tight” window screens.
By Elisha Dorfsmith
On January 23-29, organizations and individuals across the country will be shining a light on the many different educational opportunities available to parents. National School Choice Week is something we are very excited about at Flagstaff Liberty Alliance. School choice and competition lead to innovation and success! Flagstaff offers some incredible alternatives to the status quo with several new options being added for the 2011-12 school year. Whatever educational route we choose for our children, it is always comforting to know that so many options exist. Here are just a couple examples that I would like to highlight:
Today, the Arizona Daily Sun had a fantastic article about the new BASIS charter school:
I attended their first public meeting at the Orpheum on May 24, 2010 and was very impressed with the presentation. The theater was packed with excited parents who were all enthusiastic about giving their children an exceptional education. Their new campus will accommodate 650 students, with 550 being the ceiling for the 2011-12 school year. Be sure to check out their website: BASIS Schools.
Arizona Connections Academy
Arizona Connections Academy is a home school charter that has really taken off over the past year in Flagstaff and across Arizona. Not every parent can stay home and be their child’s learning coach but for those who can, this is an excellent choice. I have attended their science camp in Prescott and been on several of their field trips and have nothing but good things to say about them. Unlike most charters, Arizona Connections Academy does not have a waiting list. Very convenient for parents who are in a hurry to improve their child’s learning experience.
Many other public, charter, private, and home education choices exist. National School Choice week is about encouraging parents to look into all options before choosing which school to send their child to. All kids are different and learn in different ways. Finding a school that works best for each individual child is essential. It is exciting to see school choice take priority as it becomes a mainstream movement.
Over the week of January 23-29, there will be many events planned across the country. You can find some of them listed on the School Choice Week website. For those of us in Arizona, there will be a screening of the film The Cartel on January 25th in Phoenix. More info HERE.
Watch the trailer:
During school choice week, please consider tracking down one of my favorite documentaries: The War On Kids. It’s available at Netflix and you can buy it HERE.
Watch the trailer:
Keep up on Flagstaff education news and local schools by joining the Flagstaff Education Forum on Facebook. All are welcome and discussion is encouraged.
Our children deserve the best education possible. We can’t let them down!
By Elisha Dorfsmith
I finally got around to listening to Showroom Of Compassion, the new Cake album. Overall, it is a mediocre CD but I really appreciated the opening track Federal Funding. It’s rare when a popular band (Showroom Of Compassion is currently #6 on Amazon) writes a political song that speaks my language. What a pleasant surprise to find Cake ranting against federal grants and those who receive them.
In the past, I have railed against everyone from Snowbowl to NAU for seeking federal funds. The federal grant/bailout mentality has to stop. The National debt has soared past 14 trillion and still people want to get their hands on more federal cash. Everyone likes to pretend that grant money is free. They can’t be that naive. We’re all paying a heavy price for excessive government spending.
I don’t know the political philosophy of Cake but I always like to bring attention to liberty lyrics. I think I will dedicate this song to North Country regional medical director Dr. Eric Henley, a man with giant federal $$ signs in his eyes.
“You’ll receive the federal funding, you can have a hefty grant
Strategize this presentation, make them see that you’re the man”
(Note: you may have to click the “watch on youtube” link on the video).
By Elisha Dorfsmith
This week, Republican Chairman Michael Steele was replaced by former Wisconsin Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus. Steele always had an unusual knack for attracting controversy and my Republican friends were always in a tight spot when it came to supporting him. If they said they liked him they were accused by the left of supporting lesbian bondage clubs and if they said they didn’t like him they were called racists. He did score some points with me when he questioned the war in Afghanistan and even received some praise from Ron Paul. Unfortunately, he quickly recanted and renewed his support for the war after a Republican establishment backlash.
Reince Priebus has his work cut out for him and if he plans on being successful he needs to reach out to younger voters. That means he must question the wars, oppose the Federal Reserve, fight to cap the national debt, and avoid getting bogged down on social issues. I truly believe that if the Republican Party is to have a future, they must lean strongly toward libertarianism.
Michael Steele visited Flagstaff last October. Since he is such a controversial figure, I wanted to meet him. He was super friendly and seemed like a genuinely nice guy.
At the Michael Steele event, several protesters from the Progressive Democrats Of Northern Arizona showed up. Most were respectful but one woman kept yelling and aggressively jumping in front of the cameras with her sign. Steele’s people were very patient with her…more patient than I would have been.
My wife and I walked down to the highway where the other Progressive protesters were and it turned out that some of them were people I frequently talk to on Facebook. They recognized us right away and we started talking about the things we agreed on (ending the wars, ending corporate welfare, etc.) rather than our disagreements.
Progressive Democrats Of Northern Arizona showing some love.
More Progressive love at the Michael Steele event.
A couple days ago, I was personally invited by the Progressive Democrats Of Northern Arizona to their M.L.K. /events in Tucson vigil. I plan on attending but if at any time they start attacking the right and blaming the tea party or whoever else they want to blame, I will leave. The left/ right paradigm nonsense needs to stop.
I was very encouraged this week when I heard Ralph Nader on Freedom Watch talking about a progressive libertarian coalition. Gerald Celente has been talking about this for a while and I think it is something we should embrace. We the people must start working together and look at the big picture. It’s not you against me. It’s us against those who want to control us. Yes, we will disagree but we have to find common ground whenever we can. That was my goal when I created the Flagstaff Liberty Alliance. Let’s all work together on the issues we can agree on rather than fighting each other every chance we get.
By Elisha Dorfsmith
When Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) was recently “discovered” and set to be published in the DSM-V it sent a wave through the blogosphere as everyone realized it defined them as a child. Questioning everything, standing up for themselves, challenging authority and thinking outside the box.
Anyone who believes that the medical world is coming up with all these new disorders and treatments out of the goodness of their heart can find the disturbing truth with minimal research. Drug companies are pumping billions into studies that conclude we have new behavioral problems and need new behavioral drugs. Follow the money. Drug companies spend $19 billion a year on promotions in the United States alone.
Parents, teachers and anyone else concerned about children should be extremely worried about the push to diagnose every kid with a behavioral disorder. Is it really “for the children”? This is not a game. We’re messing with the minds of the future.
The newest edition of the DSM-V adds many new behavioral diseases and even includes a chapter that says spending a lot of time thinking about sex is a disorder. As a writer over at Natural News pointed out, this immediately paints every teenage boy as “diseased.” Might as well put them all on prescription drugs just to be safe.
Since the vote to consider a mobile health van at FUSD schools is coming up on January 11th, I hope someone from the district will step up and answer the question I asked in my previous blog: If North Country Health Care will not have anything to do with behavioral drugs or diagnosing students with behavioral problems (as some FUSD staff claim), what exactly will they be doing in regard to the “Behavioral Health” mention in their slide show?
By Elisha Dorfsmith
At last night’s Flagstaff Tea Party meeting, the question came up: What position should the tea party take on raising the debt ceiling?
If the three core values are any indication, the answer should have been obvious. The tea party defends Constitutionally Limited Government, Fiscal Responsibility and Free Markets. After a little discussion, the consensus of the group seemed to be that the debt cap should NOT be raised. I have to admit that I was worried there for a second when the question was asked.
As the new congress is being sworn in today, we are starting to hear some funny things from the “conservatives”. Some are saying they need to temporarily raise the debt cap. Their fear is that the U.S. credit rating will fall through the floor if they can’t borrow money to make interest payments. Others are saying that they need to raise it just one more time, permanently. They must really think we’re gullible.
John Boehner, the new Speaker of the House, is telling freshmen Republicans to grow up and vote for the debt cap increase:
“Whether we like it or not, the federal government has obligations and we have obligations on our part.” He recently told reporters.
Of course, what he really means is that we must raise the debt limit in order to keep our unconstitutional undeclared wars going. We must raise the debt limit so we can continue nation building around the world. We must raise the debt limit to keep U.S. troops in over 140 countries as we maintain and grow our empire.
Cut spending and follow the Constitution??? Are you kidding? We just said we would do all that to get elected you silly tea partiers.
I know it’s a little soon to jump to conclusions but I think it’s a safe bet to say that the majority of the “conservatives” who were elected to congress will vote to raise the debt cap. If I’m wrong I’ll post an apology blog and send them some nice thank you letters.
After attending last night’s tea party meeting I have to say that I am a little concerned about the mood. While most members did oppose raising the debt cap, the passion was gone. I thought I sensed some trust. I hope that trust goes away when congress votes to shovel more debt on our kids. I am still as angry and upset as I ever was about the economic issues that are destroying our country. I am starting to notice a disturbing trend in the local group. I hear more talk about morality and religion (another rant for another time) than the core values that brought the Flagstaff tea party together in the first place . I don’t sense the anger anymore. Are members pacified because Republicans were elected? I sure hope not.
Please call your representative and tell them that now is the time to cut spending. Now is the time to shrink the size of government. Now is the time to follow through on those campaign promises.They probably won’t listen but we have to keep applying pressure.
I close with an excellent article by Ron Paul:
By Elisha Dorfsmith
I recently had a couple conversations with friends who claim to lean “libertarian” but also believe that legislating morality is essential to solving our current political and economic problems. Apparently the word means many different things to many different people and it seems the definition is continually evolving. Even neoconservatives like Sean Hannity have started calling themselves libertarians. I can say with absolute certainty that Sean Hannity is NOT a libertarian in the true meaning of the word. Neither are those who want to use the state to force people to live a certain way.
A few weeks ago, one of Congressman Gosar’s supporters called me a “Loony Libertarian” for suggesting that the congressman needs to be consistent. Loony is one of the nicer things I have been called. A long time ago I realized that defending freedom and liberty for all often puts me at odds with both Republicans and Democrats. Too many people want to use the government to force their personal views on the rest of the country. It sometimes feels strange to fight for the freedom of people who want to take my freedom away but I do it because it is the right thing to do. I have no intention of ever using the state to force my beliefs on anyone. Hopefully the links in this blog post help answer any questions my friends have about my political philosophy and what it really means to be a libertarian.
What Is A Libertarian?
“lib•er•tar•i•an: One who advocates maximizing individual rights and minimizing the role of the state.” – American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language
The Libertarian Party’s 2010 Platform is a great place to start for those who are unfamiliar with basic libertarian thought. While I don’t agree with the Libertarian Party on every single issue and feel that their message has been watered down over the years, I do agree with the majority of what is written here:
In 1979, Murray N. Rothbard wrote a fantastic essay called Myth and Truth About Libertarianism. The myths are as prevalent today as they were then. This article should clear up a lot of misconceptions:
Those looking for a simplified, condensed version of libertarian philosophy should watch this video:
I am not a huge fan of political labels and would rather be known as a freelance liberty activist or liberty lover but the term “Libertarian” works just fine in the context of the above links.
Where do you fit in the political spectrum? The Advocates For Self Government have an excellent quiz based on the Nolan Chart. You can take it here:
By Elisha Dorfsmith
In our unusual quest to watch every science fiction film ever made (we’re gluttons for punishment), my wife and I often stream obscure sci-fi films through Netflix. On Christmas Eve we enjoyed Metropia and on Christmas Afternoon we decided to see if anything new had been added to “watch it now”. The first one we found had a cheesy cover and name: Eyeborgs. Sounded like a perfect film for a holiday afternoon so I hit the play button.
Eyeborgs instantly had the B Movie feel that we expected but what we didn’t expect was all the relevant discussion and liberty symbolism sprinkled throughout the film. The only thing missing was a Gadsden.
The movie takes place in the not too distant future where the Department Of Homeland Security has more than just the “Patriot Act” to work with…they also have the “Freedom of Observation Act”. Cameras are not just everywhere, they are mobile and can follow people wherever they go. The 4th amendment is still given lip service but it only takes 5 seconds for a warrant to be issued through a computer. Most people have accepted the surveillance society as necessary for their safety but a few rebels (think Constitutionalists, Libertarians, maybe even tea partiers) are not buying the government story.
An upside down American flag (a symbol of distress) is found in the home of a man suspected by DHS of being a terrorist and his walls are covered in words of warning. “G Man”, a guitar dealer/repair man has a “Spirit Of 76″ flag on his wall and he also has the text of “The Freedom Of Observation Act” which he actually read (it’s several inches thick) and found serious threats to civil liberties throughout. Viewers are continually reminded that their liberty is going down the drain as the writers relentlessly drive their point home.
The Nanny State is also referenced. Early in the film, tobacco (which is illegal) is being sold like heroin by drug dealers. Later, a DHS agent brings in a couple coffees and tells his partner that she should enjoy it because that will be the next thing they make illegal.
The idea of demonizing security cameras by turning them into killing machines is pretty clever and takes George Orwell’s nightmare to a whole new level. The question is implied over and over throughout the film: How far are Americans willing to go before they say “enough is enough”?
While the film does have it’s flaws and often gets bogged down, we thoroughly enjoyed it. If you don’t go into it expecting anything great like 1984 or the Matrix and you pay close attention to the dialogue and message, you will be rewarded.
With federally funded ICX Skywatch Towers showing up at Wal-Mart stores and other locations across the country, the surveillance theme continues to hit closer and closer to home.
By Elisha Dorfsmith
As another year comes to a close, we would like to give a special thanks to all the wonderful people we have had the opportunity to work with over the past year. It has been an incredible 12 months filled with rallies, meetings, canvassing, and public awareness. The liberty movement in Flagstaff is getting stronger each day and we are excited about the opportunities that will arise in the coming year.
Some of the things we would especially like to focus on in 2011 include:
Flagstaff needs more alternative news sources. We need bloggers to attend City Council, Coconino County and FUSD School Board meetings and report what is really going on. We need people to go to public forums where our elected officials speak and ask tough questions and demand straightforward, honest answers. We need to engage the community and encourage individuals to get involved. This week we were informed of two new liberty blogs that will be starting up in the Flagstaff area. We have also been hearing exciting things about the Free Flagstaff Podcast possibly expanding to a wider audience. Don’t wait for the mainstream media to pick up a story. If you hear something important, spread the word. We are the new media.
Contrary to what the “experts” are saying, we believe that the economy will get worse and people should start getting prepared. Self sufficient communities with strong local economies will fare best in an economic meltdown. We must start finding and creating local food sources and encouraging people to look at ways to become more self reliant. The majority of Americans never stop to think about where the food on the store shelf comes from. The frightening truth is that most communities are just a truck driver strike away from mass panic and starvation. We would like to see more community gardens, food co-ops and seed exchanges. We would love to see more people taking an active interest in where their food comes from and what is in it.
There was a time when Americans had a sense of community that, while encouraging rugged individuality, also allowed people to get together and solve their problems. These days, if an issue arises people call the first government agency that comes to mind. We have slowly been led to believe that government nannies will fix it all and that big brother must play a part in every aspect of our lives. This kind of thinking has to stop.
Our hope is that we can encourage people get more involved in their communities and neighborhoods. We would like to see people talking and listening to each other, attending community events and gathering together to discuss solutions. Most of us are not happy with the direction things are heading. Change can start right here in Flagstaff. A good first step is to actually meet your neighbors.
We must start looking at ourselves as teachers. It is hard to discuss issues that are important to the liberty movement when most of those around us are not even aware of what is going on behind the headlines. It’s time to share the philosophy of freedom with everyone we know. We can start by buying liberty books for friends and family, promoting liberty events, and sharing the Flagstaff Liberty Alliance website and other liberty websites with our email lists and on social networking sites. Throughout the coming year we will be focusing a great deal of energy on public awareness. We need your help.
We always welcome your ideas and feedback. If you have suggestions for events, blogs, public outreach etc. please contact us.
Look for some exciting updates to our website this week. We will be adding a blog section so we can link to local liberty blogs and we will also be posting information on our free liberty book exchange. If you live in the Northern Arizona area and have a blog that covers liberty topics, please let us know. We would love to link to it.
By Elisha Dorfsmith
Several people (including FUSD staff) have contacted me and disputed my claim that a mobile health van for district schools will lead to increased behavioral medicating of our children. While I cannot pretend to know the specifics of the plan (even board members are not clear on the details) This much is clear:
Dr. Eric Henley discussed at last week’s board meeting that the mobile van could be there for the following:
–Primary care for students
–Reproductive Health Options
–24 Hour On Call Availability
If North Country Health Care will not have anything to do with behavioral drugs or diagnosing students with behavioral problems, what exactly will they be doing in regard to the “Behavioral Health” mention in their slide show? The fact that an outside company (who will profit from this deal) wants to be there for our kid’s behavioral health in the first place really scares me. I think it is important to remember that the drug lobby poured millions of dollars into getting national health care passed and promoting programs like this.
If you’re wondering why I am so passionate about the subject, it is because my son was told by his teacher in Kindergarten that he may have behavioral problems because he could not sit perfectly still. He was one of the youngest students in the class. He is in second grade now and can sit better than most adults through a 4-hour school board meeting. I hate to think what would have happened if I had responded to his teacher’s concerns by taking him to a doctor and having him checked out. My fear is that the mobile health van will take the parent out of the picture and the teacher will send the student out there to be diagnosed before a parent has a chance to object.
I am not asking anyone to take my word for anything and I certainly don’t want to come across as a hyper-sensitive parent having a knee jerk reaction. My hope is simply that everyone who cares will look past the surface and take an honest look at what is going on in public schools nation wide. Start with the following and see where it leads…
Many medicated children are misdiagnosed:
“Part of the problem is that a lot parents are getting their child diagnosed because the teacher says he’s acting up in school so you have to ask, is the kid acting up in school because of this condition or is the kid acting up because he’s just young for the grade…”
Dr. Peter R. Breggin, former director of the International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology has spent a lot of time focusing on the issue of children being over-medicated in public schools. Here is an example of some of his work:
“Parents throughout the country are being pressured and coerced by schools to give psychiatric drugs to their children. Teachers, school psychologists, and administrators commonly make dire threats about their inability to teach children without medicating them…”
He has written several well researched books on the dangers and prevalence of over-medicating children with behavioral problems.
Many people dismiss Dr. Breggin as a “controversial figure” but he is just one of many who have been examining the topic.
Here is a more recent small study that I want to explore further in a future post. Very interesting findings:
“Research studies have regularly revealed that most children who attend a conventional school and are diagnosed with ADHD take stimulant drugs (dopamine reuptake inhibitors) as treatment.”
Several documentaries have been produced in recent years to bring awareness and balance to the policy of drugging kids.
Don’t stop here. I have barely scratched the surface on the subject. Dig deep and let me know what you discover. Dr. Henley specifically mentioned on site diagnosis during his presentation to the FUSD board. Will a mobile health van lead to more behavioral drugs? I will let you come to your own conclusion…