By Elisha Dorfsmith
On June 19th the Flagstaff City Council voted to keep the property tax rate flat and save taxpayers an estimated $10 per $100,000 on their property tax bill.
The Arizona Daily Sun responded by saying that fiscal conservatives were now in control and running the show:
“The Flagstaff City Council’s newly elected fiscal conservatives flexed their political muscles on their first night in office.”
Read full article HERE.
The story sparked outrage among some Daily Sun readers and within hours there were calls online to recall Jerry Nabours and Jeff Oravits.
A few days later the story was followed by an editorial tearing apart the council for keeping the tax rate flat. It included this little gem:
“New Councilmember Jeff Oravits got the new council off on the wrong foot by calling for a freeze on the property tax rate, as if the rate had something to do with the ability of residents to afford their taxes.”
Read the full editorial HERE.
Here’s where the hypocrisy comes in:
On the same night the City voted to keep taxes flat, the Democrats (not considered by the Daily Sun to be extremist evil fiscal conservatives) on the Coconino board of supervisors also voted to keep the tax rate flat and save taxpayers around $10 per $300,000. This is what the Daily Sun had to say:
Am I the only one who thinks the difference in tone and presentation in the Daily Sun is deafening?
By Elisha Dorfsmith
The City of Flagstaff updated their website today with a completely new look and a more user friendly layout including a “Report A Concern” button on the front page.
For those living in the City limits, now would be a great time to familiarize yourself with the website and the many opportunities to make your voice heard and have an impact at the local level. Many boards and commissions are currently accepting applications and a lot of the policy that the Council votes on comes out of those groups.
Also, be sure to bookmark the “Streaming City Council Meetings” page. For those who can’t attend meetings, this is a great way to follow the discussion and keep tabs on what our city officials are up to.
By Elisha Dorfsmith
The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Obamacare this morning and the implications of what this means could be huge.
The Court says:
“Our precedent demonstrates that Congress had the power to impose the exaction in Section 5000A under the taxing power, and that Section 5000A need not be read to do more than impose a tax. This is sufficient to sustain it.”
So it seems congress can choose to call forcing you to buy electric cars or solar panels or a new home or whatever they want you to buy a “tax” and it’s all good.
This is a very very dangerous precedent to move forward.
Michigan Congressman Justin Amash posted the following on his Facebook page along with his official public statement:
“Today’s ruling shows why it’s more important than ever to have congressmen who believe in limiting the federal government. The Court decided that the individual mandate is a tax, which means Pres. Obama and the Democrats are responsible for one of the largest tax increases on Americans in history.
It’s also important to recognize that there is a big win for liberty and the Constitution embedded in this decision. The Obama administration’s Commerce Clause justification was struck down. That means that any similar future mandates will have to be presented to the American people as a tax. Members of Congress can no longer take political cover behind the Commerce Clause.”
Ron Paul weighs in:
Gary Johnson weighs in:
By Elisha Dorfsmith
Last week the Arizona Daily Sun reported that the new Flagstaff City Council had voted to decrease property taxes in Flagstaff by 3% causing a $270,000 budget gap.
Their misleading title Tax Cut Passes at Flagstaff City Council and false information in the article caused the kind of knee jerk hysteria you would expect from the tax and spend types and within hours there were calls online to recall the newly elected council.
What the article glossed over is the fact that no tax rate decrease was ever on the table and no tax rate decrease ever passed. The tax rate was kept flat.
Since when is keeping the tax rate flat considered a tax cut? Property values have fallen in recent years but would the Daily Sun consider rising property values a “tax hike”? I don’t think so.
Time to set the record straight:
FACT: The new council simply voted to keep the tax rate at 2012 levels rather than approve a 2% tax rate increase.
FACT: The City of Flagstaff has $8,157,759 in reserve to cover any possible shortfall in the upcoming budget.
FACT: Flagstaff’s bond rating will NOT be negatively affected by keeping the tax rate flat.
I think Councilmember Woodson put it best at last Tuesday’s meeting:
“I think it’s a little inflammatory to talk about cuts in fund balance when we’re talking about $270,000 in a general fund budget of roughly $50,000,000. I think when we look at the end of the year, I’d almost guarantee that we’ve had $270,000 excess of expenditures not spent every year since you’ve kept records. I’ll guarantee that. We don’t spend up to the last dollar. So when we start talking about cuts to the fund balance we’re not going there. We’re not going into the fund balance. We’re not going into cuts.”
Tonight the Flagstaff City Council will be discussing this issue more at their 5:30 pm work session. Last week Councilmember Barotz expressed concern that the City was counting on a 2% property tax increase each year for the next five years even though none of those increases had been approved by the council. Hopefully the subject comes up again tonight.
That kind of budgeting is what gives the Daily Sun the opportunity to use 2+2=5 math in order to cause a public reaction in favor of tax rate increases. What they don’t realize is that most of us are not falling for the scare tactics anymore.
By Elisha Dorfsmith
In recent weeks there has been an interesting trend across the country as newspaper editors and journalists go out of their way to try to justify their own existence. The fact that they feel the need to address the topic in the first place is very telling and shows just how afraid the mainstream media is of becoming obsolete and irrelevant.
I first noticed this topic being addressed locally when Don Rowley, publisher of the Arizona Daily Sun, wrote an editorial titled Most Still Ringing The Bells For Community Newspapers. In that piece he asks his readers to think about what life would be like if the Daily Sun and other community papers didn’t exist.
Who would let the public know about fraud and dirty politics and shine the light on corrupt elected officials? Who would expose the kind of fraud that the City of Bell in California has had in the past? (At this point he unnecessarily goes out of his way to interject his opinion that Flagstaff City Manager Kevin Burke’s $170,000 a year contract is a “pauper’s” salary).
His conclusion: the end of community newspapers would have a “potentially disastrous outcome.” In other words, without the Daily Sun, Flagstaff residents would be completely in the dark when it comes to what our elected officials are doing.
Interestingly, some of the biggest stories of fraud, corruption and conflict of interest that the independent media in Flagstaff has focused on have been completely ignored by our community paper that pretends to work so hard to get the truth to the people.
Case in point, the Arizona Daily Sun recently admitted that they were aware of a very clear conflict of interest at City Hall and were following it closely but an article never materialized. Last Tuesday, Councilmember Celia Barotz hinted that she was ready to address the issue head on. At some point the Daily Sun will be forced to cover it but please remember where you heard about it first: from the independent media in Flagstaff.
Democracy Will Die
Leonard Pitts is the most recent journalist to try to justify his job and his newest article attacking independent media was picked up by large and small newspapers across the country. The Tennessean published his article with an extremely alarmist headline:
“What’s at risk if newspapers die? Just democracy”
It’s not often that I champion something Sarah Palin says but Pitts focuses his article on a statement Palin made that actually had me enthusiastically cheering when I read it. Palin said:
“Every citizen can be a reporter, can take on the powers that be.”
Yes, yes and more yes! This is something that I have been saying for years on my blog and it is something that every American should think about. Don’t complain that the truth is not getting published. Instead, become the media and publish the truth.
Pitts goes on to mock the very idea that the average person is capable of writing anything intelligent or of importance. In his elitist opinion:
“Palin’s sin — and she is hardly alone in this — is to consider professional reporters easily replaceable by so-called citizen journalists like Drudge. Granted, bloggers occasionally — and only occasionally — originate news.”
The tone Pitts portrays throughout the article, much like Don Rowley’s editorial, seems to have an undercurrent of desperation. The old media is becoming antiquated and is starting to crumble before their eyes. The days of being able to frame the discussion and manipulate public opinion are about over. The new media has become competitive enough to show the dinosaurs that they are on the road to extinction.
The Battle Ahead
It is no surprise that lawmakers around the world have increasingly been calling for a crackdown on bloggers and new media sources. Supposedly free countries like Spain are now asking search engines not to show results for blogs that talk about politicians or criticize the status quo.
Even in the United States with our First Amendment guaranteeing free speech, we are under attack. Google alone received 187 requests from the United States government to remove perfectly legal content last year. Much of this content was from bloggers and new media sources.
I expect the attacks to get much worse in the future as media elites and status quo politicians unite in their attempts to silence the voices of the people. Those in power are fighting to maintain their control and they are getting desperate.
This is why it is critical that we expose and fight every attempt to silence us! They’ll use every trick in the book to say that we must be silenced for security reasons or to protect the children or to keep people’s feelings from getting hurt (cyber bullying). The laws are showing up everywhere and they will be showing up more and more often!
We Need More Writers
All it takes is one good blogger at each School Board, City Council, County Board Of Supervisors etc. meeting to completely take the power away from the community propaganda papers and get the truth out. When was the last time the Arizona Daily Sun consistently covered Coconino County meetings? The County has been getting a free ride, passing whatever the board wants while the Daily Sun turns a blind eye or defends their wasteful spending and tax increases. A good blogger could put a stop to it and good bloggers have been putting a stop to corruption in towns and cities across the country simply by reporting what goes on at public meetings.
Even elected officials are embracing the new media and bypassing the community newspaper spin.
Newly elected Flagstaff Councilmember Jeff Oravits has started a new blog to keep Flagstaff updated on important issues.
Michigan Congressman Justin Amash has made it a big priority to write about every piece of legislation and explain every vote he makes in Congress to his followers on Facebook and Twitter.
This kind of communication and transparency throws another monkey wrench in the mainstream media’s attempts to control the dialogue and tell you what and how to think. It’s a lot harder for the media to defend Constitution trampling laws like the NDAA when a Congressman is pointing out exactly why it tramples the constitution and exactly how it could affect the average American if the government suddenly decided to use it to silence criticizing voices.
By Elisha Dorfsmith
As if we really need more proof that the massive and ever growing nanny state is out of control, today’s edition of the Arizona Daily Sun contains an article about people with clutter in their home and the need to force these junk collectors to get mental health treatment.
Linda Buscemi, chairwoman of the Arizona Hording Task Force (yes, they actually have a task force for this), doesn’t even try to sugarcoat her goals. The article puts it this way:
“Buscemi wants the state Legislature to pass laws forcing hoarders to get mental health treatment, much like authorities force convicted drunk drivers to get alcohol-abuse counseling.”
The article never goes into detail on how the task force plans to find the “pack rats” who crossed the sanity line and slipped into serious mental illness. I suppose if there is a knock on the door you should just let the junk police come inside your home without a warrant so they can go through your stuff and make sure you don’t have one too many somethings.
Which leads to the question, how do you know if you’re a hoarder? How much is too much?
The task force defines hoarding as:
“The acquisition of, and failure to discard, a large number of possessions that appear to be useless or of limited value.”
Like it’s close cousin the property maintenance ordinance (currently being passed by cities across the country), the definition of hoarding is vague and open to interpretation and it just may or may not apply to you. You’ll never know until the junk gestapo knock on the door and check things out.
Do you own more stuff than you need? Are there things in your house that are not put away? Do you have a few too many somethings?
Time for an intervention from our beloved nanny overlords. Safety and forced mental health treatment for all.
By Elisha Dorfsmith
Top Two was sold to the voters in California as a way to get “extremists” and people outside the mainstream out of politics, increase voter turnout, and give voters more options (at least in the primary).
Many voters bought the propaganda and jumped on board and I’m sure that when they looked at their primary ballot with dozens of choices they felt that they had more choices than they knew what to do with. But a primary ballot with lots of options says little about what a general election ballot will look like.
Now the reality is starting to sink in. After results from Tuesday’s primary election were tabulated, Mercury News reported the following:
“In about one-sixth of the state’s legislative and Congressional races, either two Democrats or two Republicans will be on the ballot as a result of Tuesday’s primary that sent the leading two vote-getters into a November runoff. Democrat will face Democrat in 18 races, and Republican will battle Republican in eight more”
So much for voter choice. But it gets even worse. The article continues by pointing out what I have been warning about in this blog since Top Two started picking up steam. You will never see third party candidates on a general election ballot again in California!
“As expected, though, the biggest casualty from Tuesday’s foray into a top-two primary were third-party candidates: Not one made it through to November’s ballot in the 153 state and federal legislative races.”
California has succeeded in effectively silencing dissenting voices and candidates who think outside the box.
Keep all of this in mind when you see Top Two on the Arizona ballot this year.
I can assure you that State Representative Tom Chabin and others who fought so hard to get Top Two in Arizona do not have your best interests at heart.
June 9, 2012 UPDATE: Last night State Representative Tom Chabin deleted and blocked me from his Facebook page after I brought up the Mercury News article. Today he issued a statement that reads in part:
“I blocked E Dorfsmith from posting on my facebook page because of the hostile attacks against me personally.”
Chabin has not been able to provide any evidence of hostile verbal attacks from me because they simply do not exist. I find it underhanded of him to attack me by name on his page knowing full well that I cannot defend myself there. But that’s pretty typical of the way he treats those who disagree with him.
I also have to laugh at his pretense of being willing to discuss controversial issues after banning me from his page (see photo below).
Tom Chabin openly admits that he supports getting rid of third parties through the Top Two system. (Click to enlarge).