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Highlights From The February 22nd FUSD Board Meeting

February 22, 2011 Leave a comment

By Elisha Dorfsmith

When I first started attending FUSD board meetings, I really didn’t plan to write a blog after each one. As time went by, I received a lot of feedback from people who told me that they look forward to my FUSD board meeting blogs and use them to stay up to date with what is going on in the district. Tonight’s blog post is for them.

There was not a whole lot on the agenda tonight. The meeting only lasted for about an hour. Mr. Bavasi was absent.

Only one member of the public (Mr. Hood) addressed the board about an item that was not on the agenda. He expressed concern over the proposed solar project at Cromer Elementary School.

Tonight’s full agenda can be found HERE. The board unanimously approved the following:

1. 2011-12 Calendar – The Board will consider and may approve a calendar for the 2011-12
school year. (B. Hickman)

2. Policy Revision: JFB and JFB-R Open Enrollment – The Board will consider and may
approve administrative recommendations concerning the second reading of revisions to the
Board Policy and Regulation related to Open Enrollment. (B. Kuhn)

3. Dedication of Right of Way to City of Flagstaff for 4th Street Traffic Improvements – The Board will consider and may approve administrative recommendations concerning
dedication of right of way to the City of Flagstaff for traffic improvements on 4th Street. (B.Kuhn)

4. Purchase of New Boiler for Cromer Elementary School – The Board will consider and may
approve administrative recommendations

There was some discussion over which calendar should be approved. The state has rules in place that put restrictions on how many days can be taken off in a row during winter break. Ms. Hickman wanted the board to approve two different calendars while she clarified some confusion with the Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction’s office.

In a classic quote that all too often seems to sum up the attitude of FUSD, Board President Kulpinski said “I say we move to approve the calendar until someone tells us it’s illegal”. To their credit, the calendar they approved was the more student friendly calendar so I’ll give them points for that.

Some final thoughts that are slightly off topic…

When I was campaigning against the FUSD override, I was told countless times by override supporters that if I would just attend FUSD board meetings I would have a better understanding of how the district worked, why they need more money, and why I was wrong to question them.

While I certainly do have a better understanding of how the district works, I still have the same concerns about the district that I have always had.

Here’s my question: I have attended every FUSD board meeting and some work sessions over the past several months and have not once seen any of the district defenders that criticized me for not attending board meetings. Could it be that they blindly supported the district without seeking out the details and facts? I don’t like to jump to conclusions so I’ll just pretend that Rick Krug and others stopped attending when I started going and are now getting all of their information from my blog.

For more Flagstaff education information and discussion, please check out:

Flagstaff Education Forum

flagstafflibertyalliance.com

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Categories: Education, FUSD

Rand Paul Goes To Washington

February 20, 2011 Leave a comment

By Elisha Dorfsmith

Thanks to the Flagstaff Hastings and their habit of putting books out before the release date, I now hold in my hands a copy of The Tea Party Goes To Washington by Senator Rand Paul. I have been highly anticipating the release of this book and when I heard that Jack Hunter played a big part in making this happen was even more anxious to read it.

The first half of The Tea Party Goes To Washington is very autobiographical and personal. Rand Paul reminisces about the primary, the general election, his childhood and his father’s 2008 Presidential campaign. Paul comes across as a very warm, likable, everyday guy who genuinely cares about America. A refreshing contrast to the perception the media and his opponents tried to portray when he was running for Senate.

It’s a sad fact that the term “tea party” has become so politically charged over the past couple years that it has lost much of it’s original meaning. In The Tea Party Goes To Washington, Rand helps show us the human side of the tea party as he reminds us that the tea party is really just loosely organized groups of average Americans who are frustrated with excessive government spending, debt, overstretch, and politics as usual.

The second half of the book focuses more on issues and what it means to be a “Constitutional Conservative”. Paul covers a wide variety of topics including constitutionally limited government, states’ rights, the Patriot Act, and military spending.

There were some in the liberty movement who were afraid that Rand Paul would not be as principled as his father when he got to Washington. While Ron and Rand do disagree from time to time, I think this book proves that Rand has every intention of sticking to his campaign promises and fighting for what he believes in. He’s not just “following in his daddy’s footsteps”, he is helping lead the charge for limited government and adherence to the Constitution.

To my friends in the liberty movement who may have reservations about the tea party and how this book seems to be written for the average tea party member and not the hardcore libertarian, please understand the importance of what Rand is doing. The Republican party has been trying to hijack the tea party for quite some time so they can use the movement to help promote the status quo. With this book, Rand Paul pulls the rug out from under the establishment’s feet and directs the tea party toward the issues that really matter.

Be sure to check out the recommended reading list in the back of the book!

Rand Paul speaks at CPAC:

flagstafflibertyalliance.com

Flagstaff City Council Stood Up To The Federal Government In 2002

February 19, 2011 3 comments

By Elisha Dorfsmith

In 2002, the City Of Flagstaff took a stand against the federal government and opposed the Patriot Act. Flagstaff City Council Resolution No. 2002-91 not only rebuked the federal government for their unconstitutional activity, it told the federal government to respect the Constitution when they come to Flagstaff.  Here is a sample:

“Whereas, several actions recently taken by the federal government, including the adoption of the USA Patriot Act, several Executive Orders, and the Homeland Security Act may allow the federal government, when pursuing matters of security, to sacrifice fundamental liberties protected by due process and “probable” cause including freedom of speech, assembly, and privacy; the right to legal counsel and due process in judicial proceedings; and protection from unreasonable searches and seizures, all of which are guaranteed by the constitutions of Arizona and the United States.”

It goes on to say:

“2. Any federal or state law enforcement officials acting within the City of Flagstaff work in accordance with the policies and procedures of the City of Flagstaff and when cooperating with City Departments, continue to guarantee the fundamental constitutional rights of all Flagstaff residents.”

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been hearing a lot of talk in Arizona about Nullification and states’ rights as Arizona takes steps to stand up to the federal government. A lot of my progressive friends have been writing the newspaper and posting on social networking sites saying that anyone who questions the Federal government is an anarchist or someone who wants to secede from the union.  The AZ Daily Sun went so far as to write an editorial suggesting that those who want to stand up to the federal government are “loony” and “over the top”.

When I defended the idea of Nullification on State Representative Tom Chabin’s Facebook Page, someone said the following:

“If your argument works for the individual states, then it should also apply to us as individuals. Because we are actually the source of all authority in the states, we should be able, as individuals, to nullify any law in a state that we don’t agree with. Perhaps it’s Anarchy that you are promoting.”

This got me to thinking. In 2002, when the Flagstaff City Council passed a resolution saying that the unconstitutional parts of the Patriot Act did not apply to Flagstaff, were they being anarchists?

My friend on Tom Chabin’s facebook page closed with the following:

“…the end result of what you suggest is anarchy. Every individual becomes his own sovereign…following the lead of the states…denying any law he doesn’t agree with…anarchy.”

States have the 10th Amendment to help back them up but the Flagstaff City Council was standing alone as a small city in Northern Arizona against the Patriot Act. Clearly, according to the logic of my progressive friends, the Flagstaff City Council in 2002 was filled with anarchists!

Here is the full text of Resolution No. 2002-91:

A Resolution Reaffirming the City of Flagstaff’s Commitment to Civil Liberties

Whereas, the City of Flagstaff has a long and distinguished history of protecting the civil rights and civil liberties of its residents; and

Whereas, the City of Flagstaff houses a diverse population, including students, working people, and non-citizens, whose contributions to the community are vital to its character and function; and

Whereas, the City Council of Flagstaff is committed to upholding the human rights of all persons in Flagstaff and their free exercise and enjoyment of any and all rights and privileges secured by our constitutions and laws of the United States, the State of Arizona and the City of Flagstaff; and
Whereas, effective means of ensuring the security of our people must be balanced against the reductions in basic civil liberties; and

Whereas, several actions recently taken by the federal government, including the adoption of the USA Patriot Act, several Executive Orders, and the Homeland Security Act may allow the federal government, when pursuing matters of security, to sacrifice fundamental liberties protected by due process and “probable” cause including freedom of speech, assembly, and privacy; the right to legal counsel and due process in judicial proceedings; and protection from unreasonable searches and seizures, all of which are guaranteed by the constitutions of Arizona and the United States; and

Whereas, national responses to extremist threats can be both effective in reducing such threats and still respect our Constitution’s most basic and treasured freedoms;

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF FLAGSTAFF:
Section 1. That the City of Flagstaff, acting in the spirit and history of our community, hereby requests that:
1. All City Departments continue their strong commitment to preserve residents’ freedom of speech, religion, assembly and privacy; the right to counsel and due process in judicial proceedings and the protection of unreasonable searches and seizures.
2. Any federal or state law enforcement officials acting within the City of Flagstaff work in accordance with the policies and procedures of the City of Flagstaff and when cooperating with City Departments, continue to guarantee the fundamental constitutional rights of all Flagstaff residents.
3. Our Congressional delegation monitor the implementation of the Acts and Orders cited herein and advocate for the protection of fundamental rights and liberties guaranteed by the United States and Arizona Constitutions.

Section 2. This resolution shall become effective upon adoption.

flagstafflibertyalliance.com

They Desperately Want To Spy On Your Kids

February 14, 2011 10 comments
By Elisha Dorfsmith

At a recent FUSD board meeting, Superintendent Hickman and members of the board were bemoaning the fact that they cannot snoop through information on student’s cell phones without permission. The general consensus was that they need to know what kids are up to in order to “protect them”. I got the impression that at least a couple members of the board feel that students are second class citizens and shouldn’t have the same rights as adults. I find that very disturbing.

Since when do teachers and staff need to know the intimate details of every student’s life in order to protect them from bullies and from themselves? Just because we live in an age of technology does not mean that students should give up their freedom and 4th Amendment rights.

Have you ever wondered how far schools will go to spy on your kids? Anybody remember this story:

School Spies On Students At Home With Webcams

No matter how low schools stoop in their intrusive behavior, they always seem to have their defenders. When the above article came out, I tried to talk sense to a guy on Facebook for over an hour while he argued that schools should have the right to spy on students in their bedrooms. We have a society of mind numbed robots who will accept anything if it’s in the name of protecting our children…even if it does the OPPOSITE.

I recently learned that Knoles office staff want the PTO to fund surveillance cameras for their school. In my opinion, this is just another step toward a complete surveillance society where big brother can do whatever he wants and we have to accept it because it’s for our “own good”.  If you complain, school surveillance defenders will often throw a guilt trip on you and suggest that you don’t care about your child’s safety. I’ve heard it countless times. “You’re overreacting” they say, “everyone’s rights are being protected”.  Are they really? Do schools actually care about the rights of their students?

I’ll let you decide:

In a recent AZ Daily Sun article titled Flag High Aces Drug Sweep, we find once again that the police state is alive and well in Flagstaff.  Kids are being treated like criminals before they ever commit a crime and at the same time conditioned and brainwashed to not stand up for their rights.  If you have nothing to hide you shouldn’t worry kids,  we’re doing this for your own good. We’re the good guys so it’s cool.

Even more frightening, the article says:

“Had the dogs alerted on a location — like a backpack or a locker — Needham said he would first have attempted to receive consent to search the location. If the student had refused, he would have requested search warrant approval telephonically from a judge.”

Interesting how underage students are considered old enough to consent to a police search. You would think the police would need a warrant regardless. Are underage students legally able to waive their rights? If so, we’ve got a major double standard on our hands. Kids are protected from everyone but the government.

The way I see it, all of these students were considered guilty until proven innocent.  There was a police dog sniffing around their personal property looking for an illegal substance.  The fact that nothing was found at the school proves that there was absolutely no probable cause and the cops should not have been there. What kind of message does this send to our kids?

Just when you think the insanity can get no worse, a story like this comes out:

Officials Pull Plug On Website Promoting Hidden Cameras For Principals

Here we have a school district  promoting hidden cameras in everything from teddy bears to pencil sharpeners! Parents are outraged right? Think again, the article closes with the following quote from a parent defender of the policy:

“Bosses have cameras on their employees all the time. This is no different,”

Really, so you’re just going to sit there and let somebody secretly film your unsuspecting child? Is this what we’ve come to as a society? Is this the kind of “safety” and “security” we want?

When FUSD started talking about an anti bullying policy, I did quite a bit of research which included talking to friends and asking if they were bullied in school. Most said they were bullied at one time or another…mostly verbally.  Then I asked where the bullying took place. Nearly all of them said the bus, the gym, and the bathroom.

How long before someone gets the bright idea to start putting cameras in bathrooms to “protect the kids”?  At what point will parents say enough is enough!

Time to stand up for the rights of our children!

flagstafflibertyalliance.com

Ron Paul Wins CPAC Straw Poll!

February 12, 2011 Leave a comment

By Elisha Dorfsmith

The news that many of us have been breathlessly anticipating all morning has officially been announced! Ron Paul pulled off a first place victory in the CPAC straw poll (for the second year in a row) with 30% of the vote!

I want to give a huge thank you to everyone who attended and supported the “Champion of the Constitution”.  Also, a very special thanks to the NAU Conservatives who attended. From what I hear, it sounds like everyone had an incredible time!

I fully expect these results to help convince Ron Paul to run for President in 2012. My wife and I plan to be very involved (either officially or unofficially) with his campaign in Northern Arizona.  To start with, we would like to begin compiling a list of local volunteers. Even if you are registered Dem, Independent, Libertarian etc. and won’t be able to vote for Ron Paul in the Republican primary, we still need your help. Ron Paul appeals to people of all parties!  If you would like to join the volunteer list, please send me an email at:

flaglibertyalliance@yahoo.com

During the 2008 presidential election, most of us were new to campaigning. I think we’ve learned a lot since then and are ready to have a huge impact on the outcome this time around. Sign waving is fun but our time would be much better spent knocking on doors and focusing our efforts on those who will actually be voting in the Republican primary. I have lots of ideas and will be planning meetings for brainstorming sessions within the next few months.

In addition to campaigning, I think it will be very important for us to use this opportunity to educate the public on the ideas of liberty that make Ron Paul’s platform so popular with so many. No matter what the outcome in 2012, thousands will  be exposed to the philosophy of liberty through our efforts and I call that a huge win for the freedom movement and worth every second of our time.

Keep fighting the fight!!!! We are gaining more and more ground every day.

Ron Paul speaks at CPAC:

Ron Paul supporters in front of Flagstaff City Hall in November 2010.

flagstafflibertyalliance.com

Welcome To The Libertarian Party Jim Deakin

February 10, 2011 5 comments

By Elisha Dorfsmith

Jim Deakin ran for U.S. Senate in 2010 on the Republican ticket as a tea party candidate. This week, he sent out a press release saying that he was leaving the Republican party and registering as a Libertarian. The Republican establishment has been trying to get rid of Deakin for quite some time and it seems that their wish has now been granted.

During the 2010 primary, Deakin spoke at many Flagstaff Tea Party meetings and events and even attended a small States’ Rights Coalition of Northern Arizona meeting at the Flagstaff Bookmans. He had a sincere desire to represent the people of Arizona and defend the Constitution.

When J.D. Hayworth jumped into the race, his campaign claimed that Deakin was a spoiler. They even spread rumors that Deakin was working for McCain to split the tea party vote and ensure a McCain win. Nevermind the fact that Deakin was running for U.S. Senate months before Hayworth ever announced his intentions to run.

At the height of the campaign, I received dozens of emails from Hayworth supporters attacking me for endorsing Deakin. Some Hayworth supporters even sent me threats saying that the Flagstaff Tea Party better endorse Hayworth or they would come up and physically shut us down. The hate for Deakin by many in the Republican establishment goes very deep. Sounds like Jim finally had enough!

I think it’s safe to say that the Republican party in Arizona is slowly but surely driving away anyone who thinks for themselves or questions the party line. If you don’t like the wars, if you hate the patriot act, if you question anything, they obviously don’t want you in the club. So be it.

Welcome to the Libertarian party Jim Deakin!

As a registered Libertarian, I could not vote for Jim Deakin in the 2010 Republican primary. Still, I spent a lot of time campaigning for him and got a lot of heat from the Republican establishment for it.

Cindy (my wife) campaigns for Deakin at an event at the Flagstaff Radisson in 2010.

flagstafflibertyalliance.com

Highlights From The February 8th FUSD Board Meeting

February 8, 2011 Leave a comment

By Elisha Dorfsmith

Tonight’s Flagstaff Unified School District board meeting was fairly short compared to most recent meetings. Things got started at 5:30 and we were out at 7:00. I have started to notice that more and more people are attending. I hope this trend continues. District residents need to get involved and become more aware of where our tax dollars are going and how our children are being educated.

The only major presentation was by teachers from Mount Elden Middle School who shared a plan to start a magnet program called Alpine Leadership Academy. ALA would offer a two year experiential learning program which would connect classrooms to natural spaces and communities. This would be accomplished through learning expeditions to wilderness areas and through community service projects in Flagstaff.

During Superintendent Barbara Hickman’s report, she mentioned an article she included in tonight’s packet for the board. The article addresses school bullying and has some interesting results from a recent study.  You can find it here: Most, least popular kids less likely to bully, study says.

All action items on tonight’s agenda passed unanimously.

The board approved changing FUSD’s wireless phone program. Currently, the district provides wireless phones to qualified employees who use them for school business purposes. The new program gives qualified employees a wireless phone allowance. This change will save the district $23,481 per year. More information on the new program can be found on page 35 HERE.

The board also approved new boilers and a generator for Sinagua Middle School. More details on the boiler situation can be found in this Daily Sun article.

Before concluding, the board decided to resume discussion on a proposed school bullying policy at their March 29th meeting. They will be giving community members a chance to weigh in. PFLAG may also be speaking at that time. If you have strong feelings one way or the other about a new bullying policy, I would encourage you to attend and make your voice heard.

flagstafflibertyalliance.com

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