By Elisha Dorfsmith
Free speech is under fire once again and this time it’s being attacked by the Arizona legislature who recently passed a bill known as House Bill 2549. HB 2549 takes existing rules for telephone harassment and applies them to the internet and all electronic devices. Of course, anybody with a basic understanding of the internet and technology knows that there is a huge difference between using a telephone to annoy and offend someone and posting an “offensive” or “annoying” link on a social networking site.
As seems to be the case with many laws and ordinances being passed these days, the language is very vague and open to broad interpretation.
Here are a couple great articles explaining exactly how this bill could affect you:
Many people find the Flag Liberty blog to be annoying and offensive and I hate to think of how this law would impact me and other Arizona bloggers if it was broadly interpreted and enforced. Please contact Governor Brewer and ask her to veto this liberty trampling piece of legislation.
My State Representative Tom Chabin voted for this bill and he does NOT like to be questioned on his votes (click picture to enlarge).
4-30-2012 UPDATE: Thanks to your emails and calls and a wave of opposition by 1st Amendment groups, this bill was temporarily halted and never made it to Governor Brewer’s desk. This week the state legislature will be voting on an amended version of the bill. I believe it still goes too far and continues to trample free speech. Existing laws already cover stalking and threats. Please keep calling and emailing your representatives to let them know that Arizona does not want or need this bill.
By Elisha Dorfsmith
Over forty concerned members of the public attended an unadvertised Property Maintenance Review Group meeting last night to learn more about how it would affect them. Zoning Code Administrator Roger Eastman said that no open meeting law applies to a group like the PMO Review Group and there was no need for them to announce it publicly.
The Review Group went over the proposed PMO section by section and some of the members said they had major concerns that the PMO was going beyond health and safety. One member asked if pine needles in gutters would be a problem. Another was concerned that the term “untended growth and vegetation” would impact their wildflower garden. Several members agreed that the ordinance needs checks and balances to make sure the PMO does not go too far.
Eastman reiterated his confidence that the proposed document reflects the Council’s wishes. He said that the PMO is vague for a reason and was never meant to be a black and white code. He is convinced that City staff will always use their best judgement when enforcing the law.
“It comes down to reasonableness.” He said.
The meeting ended before the group got to the Administration and Enforcement aspect of the PMO. They will be scheduling another “private” meeting for next week.
A public meeting on the PMO is scheduled for Thursday April 5 at 5:00 pm in the Council Chambers. Please attend this meeting and voice your opinion, either verbally or on a comment card. The City needs to hear from as many concerned residents as possible.
You can read the current version of the proposed PMO HERE.
Concerned residents pack the Staff Conference Room at City Hall.
Zoning Code Administrator Roger Eastman openly admitted that the small staff conference room was filled beyond capacity and was breaking fire codes.
By Elisha Dorfsmith
“The PMO is NOTHING like the posts that I have read regarding individuals being fined for chipped paint on fences…” — Flagstaff Councilwoman Coral Evans
“Conditions of (fence) disrepair are inclusive of, but not limited to; Peeling Paint, deteriorated paint or materials…” — Proposed PMO (7-01-002-0001)
Over the past few months I have been trying to warn Flagstaff residents about the far reaching consequences of a Property Maintenance Ordinance. I knew it was going to be bad but I had no idea how bad until I acquired a copy of the Final Staff Administrative Draft for the Flagstaff PMO Review Group. Every home and business in the City of Flagstaff is in violation of one or more of the rules in the proposed ordinance.
Flagstaff City Council candidate Jeff Oravits does a great job of explaining just how much this proposed ordinance will affect you in his must read article titled:
Flagstaff Proposes Far Reaching Property Maintenance Ordinance
Flagstaff’s proposed PMO is part of a much larger national agenda to implement the International Property Maintenance Code. Cities and towns around the country are busy writing and passing IPMC laws which have zero respect for private property and personal freedom.
Thankfully, citizens across the country are fighting back and while it’s often an uphill battle, there have been some victories.
Last week, residents in Upper Tyrone Township in Pennsylvania showed up in force to protest implementation of the International Property Maintenance code there and the town backed down and decided not to move ahead with their PMO.
These residents said they were concerned that the ordinance could fine them for not having screens on their windows, having bedrooms that were too small, or not setting their thermostat at the right temperature. Most importantly, they were furious that their private property rights were being taken away in the name of health and safety (even though there are already laws on the books that protect them from health and safety concerns).
I have talked to several people in Flagstaff who told me that the text of Flagstaff’s proposed PMO is the last straw and they are now ready to get involved and try to stop this anti freedom ordinance…even if it has to be taken to referendum. I hope my readers will contact the Council and Mayor and tell them not to pass this monstrosity.
For further reading, please see:
Visit the Flagstaff Liberty Alliance Website:
By Elisha Dorfsmith
Today’s edition of the Arizona Daily Sun reports that the Flagstaff Police Department will soon be implementing a new program at downtown bars called Operation 86. This program will have cops and bar owners seeking out people who “might” be a threat to public safety later on in the evening. These potential criminals will be told to go home.
The article is not clear on the kind of profiling techniques bar owners and officers will use. What exactly will throw up the red flag that makes a bar patron suddenly turn into a suspect who police believe may commit future crimes?
I realize that Flagstaff has occasional problems at downtown bars but is profiling and assuming guilt really the solution?
Are random New York City style “stop and frisk” tactics coming next?
By Elisha Dorfsmith
The City of Flagstaff held their much anticipated mayoral primary yesterday. After the dust cleared, two finalists emerged to compete in the May 15th general election. Retired attorney Jerry Nabours received around 39% of the vote and long time Councilman Al White received close to 35% of the vote.
In a statement to supporters, Nabours thanked everyone and wrote some kind words about his opponents:
“Thank you everyone, thank you. What a terrific boost of encouragement you gave me tonight. Obviously our message of fiscal responsibility is what people want. Now the battle is with Al White and I welcome some debates. Al White and Paul Kulpinski both called me with congratulations. They are good people. Al and I just disagree on many things. The general election ballots will be sent out on Apr 19. Once again this is a mail-only election. Thanks again. carry on. Jerry”
White’s message briefly thanked supporters and then went straight to attacking Nabours:
“Thanks to everyone who posted congratulations last night and this morning, and of course a huge thanks to everyone who supported me during the campaign and voted for me in the primary. Now that it’s down to just two candidates for mayor the choice is crystal clear. Do we want the City of Flagstaff to continue to progress by being collaborative and inclusive, or do we want to regress to an era of litigiousness and divisiveness? I’ll be posting regularly in the next few days with details on how you can help keep us moving forward. Remember, Flagstaff is OUR city, and TOGETHER we make it work.”
Keeping things interesting, Al White’s daughter felt the need to find my facebook page today and defend her father’s record:
“Al is anything but big government. His preferences are dictated by the masses.”
Hmmmm, his voting record doesn’t back that up but we’ll let the voters of Flagstaff decide.
It’s pretty obvious to me that the Al White campaign is getting a bit nervous about the general election.
As I have said before, the groups that I work with do not endorse candidates but I do. Mayoral candidate Jerry Nabours and Council candidate Jeff Oravits have my full support in the May 15th general election.
I encourage you to research all the candidates and to especially pay close attention to the incumbents’ voting records before you cast your vote. We have a chance to bring some very positive change to Flagstaff and every vote is going to be critical.
By Elisha Dorfsmith
Arizona Blue Stake, the ACC, and even the Department of Homeland Security appear to be on the warpath against campaign signs in the City of Flagstaff.
Yesterday, I was contacted by a local candidate who told me that someone with ELM Locating pulled up while they were installing a campaign sign on their own private property and said that he was going to report the candidate to the ACC for putting up a sign without permission.The ELM employee demanded information and flashed a ticket pad like a law enforcement officer. The candidate had to ask the ELM employee to get off the property 5 or 6 times before he finally left.
It would be easy to dismiss the above incident as an overzealous ELM employee overstepping his authority and looking for some job security, but there’s more.
This afternoon I acquired a copy of an email sent out by the City of Flagstaff to local candidates saying that Arizona Blue Stake was threatening candidates with $5,000 fines, Department of Homeland Security violations and felony charges for putting campaign signs in the ground with fence posts or rebar.
Here’s the email from the City:
Good morning, All,
I’ve twice been contacted by an individual representing Arizona Blue Stake. According to the representative, signs are going up in City right-of-way without blue stake authority and are hitting, so far, some underground power lines and cable lines.
This individual says that Blue Stake has the right to pull up and destroy the signs and levy fines up to $5,000. In fact, he was citing Homeland Security laws and possible prosecution for felonies. I am unfamiliar with federal and state laws dealing with blue stake and homeland security as these are not associated with election laws.
I have a number of blue stake booklets that the representative left with me. When you are at City Hall, would you stop by and pick one up? In the meantime, please be sure to obtain blue stake approval for the locations of your signs if you are using rebar or fence posts. I can assure you that it is the safest course to follow.
I certainly understand the need to protect utilities and underground lines in City right of ways but I sure would like to know what the Department of Homeland Security has to do with local campaign signs.
By Elisha Dorfsmith
Today’s edition of the Arizona Daily Sun contains a letter submitted by Matt Capalby praising Flagstaff Mayoral candidate (and current Flagstaff City Councilman) Al White for his record. For the most part, the letter contains the same old tired rhetoric that we don’t need any change at City Hall and that our current council is making great choices. All stuff that you would expect from a supporter of an incumbent.
Usually a letter like this would be nothing to write about but Capalby takes the argument to the next level and really grabs my attention. He says that Al White is the only Keynesian running for Mayor and then compares White to FDR and President Obama.
Having debated local progressives for years on economic theory (especially Keynesianism vs. the Austrian School) this is a subject that I feel very strongly about and something I must weigh in on.
Keynesians argue that markets cannot be trusted to work correctly. In a nutshell, Keynesianism promotes the idea that government knows what’s best and has the solutions. It teaches that government and the central bank must control and guide the private sector.
Keynesianism in practice props up failing businesses and banks (too big to fail), creates bubbles, and tramples market forces and the will of the people. It encourages corruption and lobbying and special interests looking for a monopoly.
Simply put, Keynesianism has been the cause of our economic problems. The cause of a problem is never the solution.
Capalby praises FDR and Obama for being Keynesians but he doesn’t paint the bigger picture. In 1971 Nixon proudly proclaimed that he was a Keynesian. George W. Bush, who progressives consider the cause of the current recession, was also a Keynesian (anybody remember TARP?). In fact, every president in recent history was a Keynesian!
Democrats love to blame Republicans for economic trouble and vice versa but the truth is that both parties embrace Keynesianism and both parties are at fault.
Capalby is blinded by his partisan agenda and unfortunately, progressives with no sense of history will follow his words.
I think we should take a look at a few well known examples of Al White’s “Keynesian” track record:
Auto Mall = FAILED EXPERIMENT
Horizon Airlines = FAILED EXPERIMENT
Aspen Place/ Sawmill = FAILED EXPERIMENT
As I have said before, the market knows more about what Flagstaff needs or doesn’t need than our council and mayor ever could. Keynesianism has never been and will never be the answer.