Parks For Special Interests, Collier For The People

August 9, 2016 Leave a comment

By Elisha Dorfsmith

As early voting begins in the August 30th primary, the difference between the two candidates vying for the Republican nomination for Coconino County Board of Supervisors District 4 is becoming abundantly clear. One is going all out for the lobbyists supporting his campaign and one is working hard to address local issues that local citizens are concerned about.

Here are some of the differences between the candidates that voters should keep in mind as they prepare to vote.

Jim Parks has thousands of dollars from outside special interest groups, including the mining industry, pouring money into the race on his behalf. When your campaign is funded by special interest groups, that means they own you. Josh Collier has, for the most part, only spent around $500 of his own money.

Jim Parks is not responding to any local candidate surveys. Josh Collier has responded to each and every local organization that reaches out to him. How you respond (or not respond) to your constituents during a campaign speaks volumes about how you will represent your constituents if you are elected.

While mailers from a mining industry PAC say Jim Parks is “fighting for Coconino County taxpayers”, Jim Parks supports raising County property taxes by the maximum allowed 2% each year. If Jim Parks is elected, his first priority is to build a taxpayer funded monument. Josh Collier is opposed to new tax increases and he will work hard to ensure the County approves a budget that spends taxpayer dollars in the most efficient and economical way possible.

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Jim Parks did not respond to the Flagstaff Liberty Alliance candidate survey and so far has not responded to several other local organizations including Coconino Coalition For Children & Youth.

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Josh Collier has laid out in clear detail his plan to represent and be accountable to the people of Coconino County.

Oravits Provides Facts To Prove Divided Council Myth Wrong

August 7, 2016 Leave a comment

By Elisha Dorfsmith

A big myth being perpetuated by critics of the Flagstaff City Council got some real push back in today’s edition of the Arizona Daily Sun. Is there a lack of consensus on council? Is the gridlock as bad as people say?

In less than 150 words Councilmember Jeff Oravits broke down the votes over the past year and showed that out out of 239 votes, only a handful of votes were split. Here are the facts that destroy the myth:

“To say Council has “seen many recent 4-3 votes” is inaccurate.

Of the 239 votes cast this year, ONLY 6%(18 votes) were 4-3, five being multiple reads of the same ordinance. 81% unanimous votes and 94% 5-2 or greater is a LOT of consensus.

The 13 4-3 items voted on: Eliminate specialty appointments, removing CUP requirement for student housing (unanimous vote later reversed this), recess into executive session, carbon tax resolution, request to rearrange agenda order, request to end lobbying efforts to change a state law, 1 board of adjustment appointment, HUB, Water rates, Budget & tax levy.

And it’s not the same three on the opposing side each time. Detailed info@ www.Jeff4Flagstaff.com.

I strive for consensus and collaboration and argue these numbers show a great deal of consensus amongst Council. We represent a constituency of nearly 70,000. Surely 70,000 people do not agree on everything.”

If the Daily Sun cared about accurate reporting they would write an editorial apologizing for helping perpetuate a myth with the wording of this week’s question…but I won’t hold my breath for that.

You can read the other candidate responses here:

http://azdailysun.com/news/opinion/columnists/candidate-question-should-there-more-consensus-on-the-city-council/article_7086da61-5c75-512f-acb6-9be117ee2034.html

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My son and I getting ready to canvass a neighborhood for Councilman Jeff Oravits, Mayor Jerry Nabours, Councilmemeber Karla Brewster and City Council Candidate Charlie Odegaard. Oravits, Nabours, Brewster and Odegaard have my full support in this election.

 

Flag PD Has Double Standard On Body Camera Footage

July 15, 2016 2 comments

By Elisha Dorfsmith

THIS STORY HAS BEEN UPDATED AT THE END

When Flagstaff Police officer Tyler Stewart was tragically shot and killed last year, some in the public raised concerns that the graphic body camera footage had been released and a Phoenix news station had put the unedited video on YouTube. The Los Angels Times explained that Arizona law requires the footage to be public:

“We have to abide by the Arizona state law when it comes to releasing public records information,” said Flagstaff Deputy Chief Walter Miller, who said officials sought legal advice before determining that they had to release the video under Arizona law.”

What a difference a year makes.

Last Wednesday’s shooting of an unarmed (although reportedly seen with a gun) suspect had the Flagstaff Police Department taking a different direction on the only body camera that actually worked during the incident. From today’s press release:

“Due to the graphic nature of the video and the privacy rights of the suspect and his family the complete video will not be released.”

So which is it? Arizona state law requires police to release the footage or police can pick and choose which footage they want the public to have access to? Body cameras work great to protect the public and the police if they are used properly but what happens when the police police their own footage and decide what we are allowed to see and what we are not? How do we know we are getting the whole story?

Arizona Central has a great article on the topic of public records and they say:

“A court case, meanwhile, has held that a record may only be withheld if a countervailing privacy or confidentiality interest or the “best interests of the state” outweigh the public’s right to know – and the burden is on the party trying to withhold documents to prove the harm that would follow release.”

The Flagstaff Police Department needs to tell us what the harm would be.

As for the other body cameras mentioned above that were at the scene of the shooting, they all failed to work properly. The same Flag PD press release stated:

“Due to technical issues no footage was recorded of the initial contact at the car; Ofc Syers’ camera malfunctioned due to a battery issue and Ofc Seay’s connector cable became detached prior to the incident. Due to the intensity of the moment, Cpl. Lavelle did not activate his camera prior to the shooting. After he fired his weapon, he realized his camera was not operating and immediately activated the camera.”

Really? for those of us who advocated for body cameras for Flagstaff’s police department this is a huge disappointment. We expect them to not only work but be used on the job…especially during high profile cases such as police shootings that leave suspects dead.

Even while taking Flag PD at their word, which many don’t in this case, this whole situation is an embarrassment that fosters distrust and a lack of faith in our local law enforcement.

UPDATE:

About 45 minutes ago The Flagstaff Police Department responded to concerns from citizens including some of the concerns posted in this blog. That response can be found here:

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Josh Collier Speaks About Liberty, Transparency and Fiscal Responsibility

June 21, 2016 1 comment

By Elisha Dorfsmith

Coconino County Board of Supervisors District 4 candidate Josh Collier spoke to Flagstaff Liberty Alliance about his platform of liberty, transparency and fiscal responsibility at FLA’s June 2016 meeting.

I live in District 4 and am happy to support and vote for Josh Collier. Check out his facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/josh4district4/  and be sure to give the video below a view.

LP Loses My Vote With A Johnson/ Weld Ticket

May 31, 2016 Leave a comment

By Elisha Dorfsmith

This week’s Libertarian National Convention reaffirms that I made the right decision to register as an Independent (or party not declared) rather than a Libertarian when I left the GOP after joining the Republican Party to support Ron Paul.

The Libertarian party is supposed to be the party of principle and that means their candidates are held to a higher standard than other candidates. A Johnson – Weld ticket is not a principled ticket and does not meet my criteria. If the Libertarians had picked a principled VP I may have considered voting for Johnson but Weld’s record on a range of key liberty issues is very disturbing.

Libertarians have told me that they need Johnson and Weld to ensure that they receive enough support to have a voice in the debates…but at what cost to libertarian values? If the Libertarian Party gets into national presidential debates but does not promote the philosophy of liberty in those debates, what have they gained?

Trampling the rights of small businesses, supporting the Iraq war, defending the Patriot Act, and opposing gun rights are positions libertarians have taken a stand against for years. Why embrace candidates with those positions now? Even Donald Trump is more libertarian on issues like the 2nd Amendment.

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At a Gary Johnson rally at ASU in 2012. Gary Johnson of 2012 sounded much more libertarian than Gary Johnson of 2016.

 

County Meetings Will Now Be Streamed

May 23, 2016 Leave a comment

By Elisha Dorfsmith

A few years ago Flagstaff Liberty Alliance met with Coconino County Supervisor Art Babbott to discuss streaming county board meetings in the same way the City of Flagstaff streams all of their council and commission meetings. Myself and others also had discussions with Supervisor Mandy Metzger and staff, encouraging them to do this.

Sounds like the work by FLA and concerned residents is finally paying off and the county will be setting up a streaming system! This is a win for openness, transparency and liberty.

You can read more about these changes here:

http://m.azdailysun.com/news/local/county-meetings-will-be-streamed-online/article_be4d4f22-258e-58f0-92af-cf89b9838961.html

For further reading see:

Time For Coconino County To Stream And Post Their Meetings

https://flagliberty.wordpress.com/2015/01/20/time-for-coconino-county-to-stream-and-post-their-meetings/

 

 

Liberty Candidates Pull Papers In Coconino County

May 10, 2016 Leave a comment

By Elisha Dorfsmith

Many election cycles voters are forced to choose between the lesser of two evils or write in “None of the Above”. I am happy to say that this election year Coconino County residents will have some real liberty choices on the ballot that we can be proud to support. More liberty candidates may be announcing in the coming weeks but for now, in no particular order, here are some of the great choices you should see on your ballot in November:

Jonathan Apirion For Coconino County Attorney

Flagstaff Liberty Alliance member Jonathan Apirion has announced a run for Coconino County Attorney as a Libertarian. Today’s edition of the AZ Daily Sun has a great article covering his campaign HERE.

Apirion’s website has a long list of issues with well thought out perspective in the context of libertarian minded policy. Check it out and support his campaign. His website address is: apirion.org

Josh Collier For Coconino County Supervisor District 4

Flagstaff Liberty Alliance treasurer Josh Collier has announced a run as a Republican for Coconino County Supervisor District 4 which will be vacated by Mandy Metzger at the end of the year. Collier is a true liberty candidate with a focus on transparency and fiscal responsibility. Getting more citizen involvement in County issues is a priority:

“I am running for Coconino County Board of Supervisors District 4. One of the main issues I see is lack of transparency within government, and I don’t feel as though the county has made any effort to increase transparency through video and audio recording of meetings. As County session meetings are often held midday on Tuesdays, many citizens are not able to attend. For this reason, I believe increasing access to that information may increase citizen participation. The Flagstaff City Council meetings, as well as the city commission meetings, are all video recorded and I see no reason why the county should not do the same.”

Collier’s facebook page can be found HERE. Check it out and support his campaign.

Christine Gannon For Coconino County Supervisor District 3

Former Flagstaff Liberty Alliance President Christine Gannon has announced a run as a Republican for Coconino County Supervisor District 3. She will be running against four term Democrat Matt Ryan. Gannon’s campaign is also focusing on transparency as well as getting back to the basic functions of government:

“I believe that it’s time for new faces and new ideas on the County Board of Supervisors. The County needs to refocus its efforts and get back to the roots of government – road maintenance, utilities & services improvement, and creating an atmosphere that allows for sustainable economic growth.”

Gannon’s website can be found HERE. Check it out and support her campaign.

Re-elect Jeff Oravits For Flagstaff City Council

Since he was elected to the Flagstaff City Council four years ago, Councilman Jeff Oravits has worked tirelessly to ensure that issues and concerns relating to liberty are addressed. His lone vote against Flagstaff’s overreaching party ordinance is just one example of the many times he has been the single liberty voice on council.

Regarding other issues that you have read about in my blog, Oravits was the driving force at the council level for changes to the Animal Keeping ordinance that encourage and legalize urban farming in Flagstaff. He also advocated for streaming and posting all public city meetings including budget and commission meetings.

Oravits is a strong proponent for government transparency and publishes all of his council votes on his blog so the public can see how he and other council members voted. You can find his blog HERE. Check it out and support his re-election campaign.

Meet The Candidates

The candidates mentioned above, along with other candidates for local and statewide races, will be in attendance at a legislative update event hosted by Flagstaff City Councilman Jeff Oravits.

When: Monday, May 16th from 5:30 PM -7:00 PM

Where: 2501 N. 4th Street in Flagstaff

Legislative RECAP from Speaker of the House David Gowan. City update from Mayor Jerry Nabours.

FREE event, includes pizza and soft drinks.

Legislative Recap: Speaker of the House David Gowan

City Update: Mayor Jerry Nabours

Brief introduction of City Council & County Board of Supervisors Candidates by Jeff Oravits.

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Flagstaff City Councilman Jeff Oravits (second from left) takes time for a picture with Flagstaff Liberty Alliance at the Coconino County Fair.

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