By Elisha Dorfsmith
Before any public input and before a final vote on a special tax deal for a new Chrysler/ Dodge dealership could be passed, a strange thing happened. The City of Flagstaff erected a massive auto park sign that included the Chrysler logo.
Now, maybe I’m just not used to thinking the way government thinks but isn’t it a bit presumptuous to use taxpayer money to install a sign based on the assumption that a proposed deal will go through? Then again, maybe they know something we don’t. I suppose it’s possible that the deal has already secretly been approved. Perhaps the public comment period and final vote are simply smoke and mirrors to give the illusion that the council actually gives a damn about what we think.
Public input and a final vote will take place at the October 4th Flagstaff City Council meeting. I encourage those of you who cannot attend to contact the council by email or phone and voice your opinion on the matter.
10/03/2011 UPDATE: I just drove by the auto park sign and the Chrysler signs are covered up. Guess my blog got the attention of somebody.
10/04/2011 UPDATE: After public backlash and pressure from the citizens of Flagstaff, the council voted 4 to 3 to reject the Chrysler deal. Presler, Brewster and White voted for the deal. Overton, Evans, Babbott, and Barotz voted against it.
Did the City of Flagstaff jump the gun by including a Chrysler logo on their sign?
View from the highway.
Your tax dollars at work.
10/03/2011 UPDATE: After this blog was written, the city covered all the Chrysler signs.
By Elisha Dorfsmith
On 11/29/2007, Flagstaff Live published a cover story about me and some friends titled The Dangerous Desperation Of The Moonbats. The piece was written by Avtar Khalsa and it was a full out assault on Flagstaff Ron Paul supporters.
Khalsa accused Ron Paul supportes of being “neo nazis” and ” white seperatists” and claimed that even Ron Paul himself is a racist. He bemoaned the fact that Ron Paul voted against federal funds for “population control” and introduced legislation to “gut the Labor Relations Act” among other things.
He went on to say:
“Free to pick and choose which libertarian causes he promotes, Paul champions those that run the gamut from mean-spirited to outright scary.”
The article closed with:
“There he is, folks, in black and white. The only hope to save our nation? Wrong answer.”
Flagstaff Live has since pulled the article off their website and they never responded to my requests for permission to reprint it. I encourage my readers to try to track down a copy. I’m sure Flagstaff Live has it in their archives and if they won’t give it to you, the library may have it.
This morning, Avtar Khalsa announced that he is running for Flagstaff City Council. He instantly received support on his page from members of the Progressive Democrats of Northern Arizona and F3. This is not surprising since he was a former head of the Coconino County Democratic Party and has been a big player in local partisan politics.
I have been told by people who have lived in Flagstaff longer than me that Khalsa’s attacks on Ron Paul were not the first time he had resorted to strategic character assassination to take down political opponents. I’m sure it won’t be his last.
Avtar Khalsa seems to be more interested in attacking liberty than defending it. I hope you will keep this in mind on election day.
By Elisha Dorfsmith
Yesterday I was killing some time at the Old Town Shops in downtown Flagstaff. While I was sitting there I started flipping through the current edition of the Lumberjack and came across another article on the recent free speech incident at NAU.
This seems to be a story that won’t go away. Hardly a day goes by where there is not at least some mention of it in the AZ Daily Sun or other local media. Yesterday’s paper was no exception as a letter to the editor was published supporting the students. While I take some exception to the author labeling them as tea party students (I have no idea if these students consider themselves to be part of the tea party or not) I do appreciate his thoughts.
One thing that all of the articles, letters, editorials and of course the youtube video have in common is lots and lots of comments from people (many of them leaders in local education and government) saying that rules are rules that must be followed even if we disagree with them. Some have even said that we should not question rules because even if we don’t understand them they are there for a reason and exist with our best interests in mind.
As I was sitting in the Old Town Shops reading the Lumberjack article, “Save The Peaks” activists walked through leaving a trail of anti Snowbowl leaflets.
This got me to thinking. I read lots of local political blogs, message boards and facebook pages and some of the most vocal critics of the NAU students are strongly supporting the Save The Peaks activists who are going way beyond questioning rules and are actually breaking countless laws and vandalizing public and private property to get their message across.
Furthermore, many of those critical of the free speech incident at NAU (including teachers) encouraged and even facilitated civil disobedience by staging a massive walkout of middle and high school students to protest SB1070 in front of Flagstaff City Hall. Many rules were broken and leaders at NAU and Flagstaff Unified School District (not to mention several local activist groups who are now attacking conservative NAU students) applauded these kids for taking a stand and questioning the law.
In addition to local issues, some of the same groups who are attacking the free speech defenders at NAU for possibly “blocking hall traffic” or “violating fire codes” held solidarity protests at Flagstaff City Hall supporting the Wisconsin union protests. Protests that included teachers illegally pulling kids out of school and breaking into the capital building. Apparently, damaging and breaking into a public building and violating every fire code on the books qualifies as an appropriate “time, place and manner” if it’s for the right cause.
Please keep in mind that there were only three (3) NAU students standing against a wall on 9/11 handing out flags. Keep in mind that the students were NOT being disruptive or disturbing studies. Keep in mind that the video of the incident clearly shows plenty of room as foot traffic flows smoothly through the hall. The fire hazard claim by NAU staff does not hold up and no matter how you look at it, spontaneous free speech was suppressed.
NAU Dean of students, Rick Brandel, is quoted in the Lumberjack article as saying:
“In this case, it sort of became the issue of free speech, my right for that, versus does the university have the right to say, ok here’s where we would like you to facilitate that free speech.”
That statement alone throws up all kinds of red flags for me. I am very thankful that some NAU students are taking a stand and questioning policy that restrict free expression on a public campus paid for with my tax dollars.
Regardless of how you feel about any of the above examples of rules being questioned and laws being broken, you have to admit that there is a massive double standard. Those who are complaining the loudest about conservative NAU students defending their rights often encourage and support the breaking of rules and policy when it comes to promoting their own agenda.
By Elisha Dorfsmith
Yesterday, I finally had the chance to hear Flagstaff mayoral candidate Gerald (Jerry) Nabours speak and answer questions about local issues at an event at the Radisson. I had semi high expectations knowing that out of the three announced mayoral candidates, Nabours is clearly the most liberty oriented.
What surprised me was just how much he spoke my language and how many liberty issues and concerns he addressed.
Mr. Nabours started his speech by naming off a long list of failed city experiments including Horizon Air, the auto mall, and the Aspen Sawmill project and said that the city should not be involved in these types of deals. He mentioned the new Chrysler Deal as yet another example of the city meddling in the marketplace and trying to pick and choose winners.
During the question and answer session, a member of the audience asked how he felt about a proposed property maintenance ordinance and he explained that there are already enough laws on the books to deal with health hazards and other concerns. He said that there is no reason for Flagstaff to have a PMO.
As many of you know, I have been very vocal in my opposition to a PMO (David Arendt lost my vote in the last council election when he called for a PMO “with teeth”). As soon as Nabours voiced his opposition to a PMO he secured my vote.
Flagstaff Liberty Alliance and other groups that I work with do not endorse candidates but I do. After hearing Jerry Nabours speak and address a wide variety of liberty concerns and issues, I can now say that he has my full support.
Find our more about Nabours at www.naboursformayor.com
Jerry Nabours discusses city issues at an event at the Flagstaff Radisson.
By Elisha Dorfsmith
I was unable to attend Tuesday’s Flagstaff Unified School District board meeting and apparently I missed a couple big stories. Today’s edition of the Arizona Daily Sun includes an article covering two major topics that I have written about extensively in the past.
FUSD Suddenly Finds Over $116,000 In Override Money For “Mini Buses”
Yes, you read that headline right. While FUSD has given us every imaginable financial gloom and doom scenario they could think of, they now suddenly have enough money to buy extra buses for trips! We were told that overrides had to be passed to save teacher’s jobs, keep class size down, save school librarians and nurses, and insure that art and music programs would not be cut.
As usual, the fear didn’t equal the facts and the money is hardly being used for critical education. Sports programs are the big winner AGAIN. Those of us who opposed the overrides knew this would happen. Hopefully everyone keeps this in mind the next time FUSD tries to get us to open our wallets through fear mongering and scare tactics.
FUSD Picks Schools For Mobile Health Van
Kinsey, Killip, Thomas, and the alternative and social programming building (the old Christensen school) are set to have the North Country Healthcare mobile health van parked outside when the program starts next year.
Services the van may offer include primary care, sports physicals, immunizations, risk behavior, acute illness, minor trauma, chronic disease care, routine physicals, health education, behavioral health, and reproductive health (including referral and prescriptions, STI screening and contraception counseling).
Below are a few of the articles I have written on the health van:
Other Flagstaff education news:
NAU To Hold Meeting On Free Speech Rules
Northern Arizona University will hold a special public meeting on Friday, September 16 to discuss speech on campus. The meeting starts at 10:00 a.m. in the Agassiz room in the High Country Conference Center. This is in response to the national attention the university received after staff gave students a hard time for handing out American flags on 9/11.
You can read more about the incident here:
I have been somewhat amused and frustrated at how many people on all sides of the political spectrum have said that rules are rules and we should never question or resist them. We are told that we should be obedient little sheep blindly following whatever our masters tell us to do.
I came across an editorial in Northern Arizona News by John Westover that perfectly illustrates the idea that we should never question authority. He says:
“Rules exist for a reason, even if we do not understand or agree with them.”
In other words SIT DOWN, SHUT UP, and BEHAVE!!! The government always knows what’s best for you.
Mr. Westover is a perfect example of what our public education system produces. Cookie cutter clones who all march to the same beat refusing to think outside the box or question the status quo. We are creating followers who jump through hoops, embrace red tape, line up in nice straight rows and are programmed to report anybody who steps out of line to the proper authorities.
History shows us that the great thinkers, artists, inventors and leaders all challenged authority and questioned laws. Those who believe in freedom and liberty go out of their way to push back against unjust policy and regulations. The freedom you enjoy today is there because of people who questioned rules! If we take our freedom for granted we will wake up one day and realize it’s gone.
By Elisha Dorfsmith
Local liberty activist Don Peavey announced today that he is joining the race for Flagstaff City Council. Don has been very active in the local liberty movement and over the past five years has worked with a wide range of liberty oriented groups including the Ron Paul 2008 grassroots and the States’ Rights Coalition of Northern Arizona. He has recently spent a lot of time and energy focusing on independent media.
Flagstaff Liberty Alliance and other groups that I work with do not endorse candidates but I do. Don Peavey understands what true freedom and liberty is all about and he has my full support!
You can find his campaign website and facebook links below:
My son Adrian hanging out with Don Peavey at Flagstaff Brewing Company.
By Elisha Dorfsmith
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
–Bill Of Rights
The First Amendment states “Free speech in a designated time, place and manner.”
–Kristine Koehler (Office of Student Life at NAU)
Freedom of expression has been attacked and whittled away to the point where free speech is all but nonexistent at our public universities and schools. Free speech zones and designated speech areas are now commonplace as the powers that be try to systematically crush unapproved and spontaneous expression. Those in charge hide behind “policy” but in reality they are afraid to let you exercise your rights because they know that freedom and liberty threatens their ability to control you. It’s all about control.
I was recently contacted by a friend of mine at Northern Arizona University who is dealing with this issue firsthand. She gave me permission to reprint her blog in full:
NAU Student Life Against 9/11 Commemoration
By Beth Baumann
The following event took place yesterday – Friday, September 9, 2011:
In order to commemerate 9/11, two individuals and myself handed out American flags (with pins that read “9/11 Never Forget” attached to the flags). We started out our small event outside on the pedway (just outside Starbucks). It started raining and thunderstorming so we decided to move inside the union. We took the small table we had and set up against a wall. All of the booths in the union were taken, with the exception of the booth near Denny’s and the Info Desk (that sees little to no foot traffic).
The three of us handed out flags and saw an amazing response from students. They were more than happy to take the flags in rememborance of 9/11. At one point, a girl who works at the info desk came and asked us if we had scheduled a booth with Student Life. One of the other individuals explained that NAU is a public university and is paid for by taxpayers, therefore we’re allowed to hand out flags, ect. The girl went to get her boss.
Another lady came out and told us we had three options – to go outside, to leave or to be scheduled another day. We explained to her that 9/11 is on Sunday and therefore we couldn’t schedule another date and time. We wanted to reach ALL students while they were on campus. We also explained to her that this is our First Amendment right. When asked if she knew what the First Amendment stated, she said “You’re allowed to express free speech at a particular time, place and manner.” WRONG!
We had another lady who came out to tell us our same options, only before she did this, she TOOK a flag and a bumper sticker! When she realized we weren’t going to leave, she had ANOTHER person to come and try to kick us out.
Here’s my problem with the whole thing – I don’t mind scheduling a booth with Student Life. I find it ludicris that STUDENTS (who PAY the university) are put on the back-burner to NON-students who pay to use a booth. The same two guys are always at the SAME booth EVERY day! Why can’t they be put in a booth down the hall? Why do THEY get first priority? Is it because they PAY to use the booth? Is it because they book out the SAME booth EVERY SINGLE DAY for the school year?! Not ONCE have I EVER seen anyone else in that booth. Not once.
Now the three of us have a hearing against us. Student Life is claiming we broke the Student Code of Conduct. Here is part of the letter we received:
“Failure to comply with the directions of university officials or agents, including law enforcement or security offices, acting in good faith of their duties.
Interfering with University Activities, interfering with or disrupting university or university-sponsored activities, including but not limited to classroom related activities, studying, teaching, research, intellectual or creative endeavor, administration, service or provision of communication, computing, or emergency services.”
Also, because the three of us are in NAU Conservatives, they threatened to disban our group and prevent us from holding events on campus.
A large group of students saw some of the altercations. They expressed to us their concern, saying things like “I can’t believe they want you guys to leave. We need things like this! It’s for 9/11!” The support we saw was overwhelming.
We have the entirety of the conversations on video. Once they’re uploaded on CampusReform.org, we will have them posted on Facebook.
The main administrators harassing us were Deb Harris, Kristine Koehler, and Amanda Loveless, as you will see in the video. The staff member in charge of the misconduct proceedings next week is Art Farmer, also listed.
If you find what happened outrageous, feel free to contact NAU Student Life at (928) 523-5181
Video of the incident.