By Elisha Dorfsmith
DISCLAIMER: The views expressed on this blog are my own and they do not necessarily represent the views of the groups I work with.
Authoritarians and people in powerful positions often have an agenda that is very different from the one they display for their supporters to see. They give lip service to an idea while planting seeds of division and manipulating the message behind the scenes. Their goal is to keep us fighting and separated so we can’t see through the facade.
But what happens when people step out of the boxes that they are put in and start working together as individuals toward common goals? What happens when support for a cause comes from people who those in power believe should be in a separate box? The following examples hint at the answer.
Salon Columnist Tom Watson recently chastised progressives for wanting to join with Libertarians to protest the NSA. He argued that joining together in protest would convey Libertarian legitimacy:
Rights groups and progressive leaders came out swinging at an equal marriage effort put forth by Libertarians and Log Cabin Republicans in Arizona earlier this year:
Hitting even closer to home, former Flagstaff City Council candidate Dan Frazier spoke earlier this month against Flagstaff Liberty Alliance and their food freedom resolution (local food is one of his pet issues) in front of the Flagstaff City Council saying:
“(if you pass this resolution)…you are giving that group some voice, some power and I question whether or not we really want to do that.”
Read the above articles and watch the video and let me know if you see the trend here.
This trend has to stop and we have the power to stop it.
Regardless of where you place yourself on the political spectrum, if we are going to accomplish common goals and protect our freedom we all have to look for common ground and start working together on issues we can agree on. No more unnecessary roadblocks.
By Elisha Dorfsmith
Thanks to Joe Harting for inviting me to co-host the Joe Harting Show on The Big Talker 105.1 FM this week. We touched on a lot of issues from a liberty perspective from the local to the national level. You can watch the entire show below.
By Elisha Dorfsmith
Vice Mayor Coral Evans put the final nail in the coffin of Flagstaff Liberty Alliance’s food freedom resolution last night when she announced that she was no longer interested in crafting a new resolution with Councilmember Jeff Oravits. The Vice Mayor said she was willing to move forward and find a compromise until she read my blog after the October 8th Council meeting. In that post I called her an “obstructionist” for fighting the FLA resolution every step of the way and helping spread misinformation about the intent of the resolution.
Trying to prove that she’s not an obstructionist by being an obstructionist seems a bit silly to me but that’s her prerogative.
Evans also printed copies of my blog for Council and stated that my article was written by the Flagstaff Liberty Alliance. I want to clear up any confusion she and others may have about the Flag Liberty Blog. The Flag Liberty Blog is the Elisha Dorfsmith blog and only the Elisha Dorfsmith blog. Readers can click on the “about” tab to understand that. The views presented on my blog should never be considered the official word from Flagstaff Liberty Alliance.
I am very disappointed that Vice Mayor Evans, Councilmember Celia Barotz and their friends at F3 fought so hard against a resolution supporting local gardens and food. The failure of this resolution means that Flagstaff residents will have to be extra vigilant when local food issues come before council to make sure that our rights and healthy food options are protected.
March Against Monsanto Protestors pose for a photo at a recent rally at Flagstaff City Hall. The freedom to grow healthy food, save seeds, and eat what we choose is being threatened by giant corporate interests and their friends in government. This is an issue many people in Flagstaff are very concerned about.
By Elisha Dorfsmith
My weekly update is a little late this week but I have a good excuse. A large part of my week was spent focusing on Flagstaff Liberty Alliance’s Food Freedom Resolution which was a big issue at City Hall last Tuesday. For those who missed that story, you can find more details here:
Other stories I’ve been focused on this week:
California Nullifies The NDAA
Earlier this month California Governor Jerry Brown signed AB351, a bill that nullifies the indefinite detention section of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The bill bans all State cooperation with Federal officials who try to indefinitely detain people without charges or a trial.
The California bill is very close to SB1182, a nullification law passed by the house and senate in Arizona and vetoed by Governor Jan Brewer. All I can say is that it’s a sad day when California understands basic Constitutional rights and Federal overstretch more than Arizona does. What is wrong with our Governor?
On a local note, Flagstaff City Councilman Jeff Oravits tried his best to get a resolution passed supporting the Arizona NDAA nullification bill. Not one other council member was willing to support it and it never moved forward. You can read more about that heroic effort here:
Speaking of California Governor Jerry Brown, this week he vetoed several tough anti gun bills saying they infringed on gun owner’s rights. If any of my readers live in California, you may want to send him a big thank you email.
Would An Article V Convention Open Pandora’s Box?
There has been a lot of hype recently about the possibility of an Article V Constitutional Convention where the states get together and add amendments to the United States Constitution. This effort received a big boost in August when Conservative talk show host Mark Levin published his newest book The Liberty Amendments.
So far, a Constitutional convention of the states has never occurred but a lot of different people are pushing for it for a lot of different reasons. Mark Levin to overturn Obamacare, fiscal conservatives to create a balanced budged amendment and Progressives to overturn Citizens United or clarify the 2nd Amendment.
It could potentially bring about good results but it could also destroy everything that is good about the Constitution.
I understand that it’s a Constitutional concept but I don’t trust the safeguards preventing a runaway convention. I don’t trust the people in power. I do trust the states more than Congress but do any of these guys have our best interests in mind? That’s the big question.
I’ve seen people I respect say that negative things won’t be allowed to get through in an article V convention because of procedural safeguards. As someone who has seen first hand how people in power cheat and don’t follow the rules and procedures, I don’t think counting on safeguards is a safe bet.
Arizona Congressional District 1 candidate Adam Kwasman is a big supporter of Mark Levin and an Article V Convention.
State Forces City To Move Election To November
The Arizona Legislature recently passed legislation that forces Cities across the state to break their charters and hold their City Council elections in November of even years.
The Arizona Daily Sun had a very interesting editorial last week suggesting that this election law change will cause local races to become more partisan. They could be on to something. Flagstaff’s currently registered “Independent” mayor is now listed as a Republican on the Coconino County Republican website.
March Against Monsanto Take Two
I was happy to be the official organizer of the Flagstaff March Against Monsanto event on October 12th in front of Flagstaff City Hall. We had about 30 people show up to wave signs and educate the public about the massive push by giant companies like Monsanto (with help from their friends in government) to control the world’s food supply.
Thanks to everyone who showed up and everyone who honked and waved as they drove by to show their support! It was also great to have local media stop by to photograph and report on the event.
A little video we put together for youtube. Have you subscribed to the Flagstaff Liberty Alliance Youtube channel yet?
Cronyism = Government Protecting Monsanto
By Elisha Dorfsmith
October 22, 2013 UPDATE: Reason Magazine published an article yesterday that pretty much sums up everything I tried to say in this post. In an article titled Better To Not Protest the NSA Than To Hold Hands With Libertarians, Says Progressive Scribbler they quote columnist Tom Watson who has this to say about an anti NSA protest that includes Libertarians:
“Yet my progressive friends would take the stage with the representatives of this political movement? Why? The loss is much greater than the gain. Organizers trade their own good names and reputations to stand alongside – and convey legitimacy to – a party that opposes communitarian participation in liberal society, and rejects the very role of government itself.”
Did you catch that? “Convey legitimacy” This is almost exactly what Dan Frazier said (see video below) at the Flagstaff City Council meeting where he opposed FLA’s food freedom resolution. These comments give validity to my statements below. This is about progressives refusing to work with anybody who is not in their club.
October 15, 2013 UPDATE: At tonight’s Flagstaff City Council meeting Councilmember Evans told Council that this blog is put out by the organization that presented the resolution. I’ve put a disclaimer in my blog many times in the past but I guess it’s time to post it again:
THIS BLOG IS MY OWN AND DOES NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF FLAGSTAFF LIBERTY ALLIANCE.
Here is the post in it’s original form:
In an age of political polarization it is rare for people and groups to look for common ground with those who are not ideologically or politically connected to themselves. If by some strange chance people with different perspectives and backgrounds do start working together on an issue, those in power rush in to tear them apart and make sure they get back in their own neat little line on the far side of the field.
I have talked about this observation several times on my blog. I am disappointed to say that this spirit of divisiveness became very apparent just days before the October 8th Flagstaff City Council meeting where a food freedom resolution was discussed.
Those following along closely know that Flagstaff Liberty Alliance spent a full year reaching out to the community and collecting signatures in support of a statement from Council encouraging local food. Originally an ordinance was considered but ultimately the group decided that a non-binding resolution had a better chance of getting through council. FLA collected over 400 signatures from the public at farmer’s markets, First Friday Art Walk, the County Fair, Flagstaff Pride and many other events.
Councilmember Barotz will point out that some of the signatures were collected when we were working on an ordinance. Yes, some were but the only feedback I’ve received from people who signed the petitions early on is that they were disappointed that we switched to a resolution because a resolution would not go far enough.
The majority of the signatures were collected while we were promoting a resolution and we always had copies of the resolution for people to read before they signed. Just about everyone we talked to in the community supported the resolution…regardless of their political views or background.
Just some of the signatures FLA collected supporting the resolution (click to enlarge)
On Monday I excitedly announced on facebook and twitter that Friends of Flagstaff’s Future had endorsed our resolution on their website. Within hours, key individuals pulled the necessary strings to get Friends of Flagstaff’s Future to withdraw their endorsement and condemn the resolution.
Lisa Rayner calls the document a “Tea Party resolution” and “scam to banish all food safety regulations.” (click to enlarge)
Local activist Lisa Rayner (wife of former City Council Candidate Dan Frazier) led the charge on facebook to smear the Food Freedom Resolution by telling people it’s a tea party resolution and that it would work to repeal existing health and food safety laws for grocery stores and restaurants.
This is untrue and anyone who actually read the resolution knows that it only applied to people growing food for “themselves and their families”.
Fearful people who had never read the resolution for themselves responded with the expected knee jerk reaction and said oh, so that’s what this is all about.
The lies and misinformation spread like wildfire while leaders and those in power laughed behind the scenes. People who dedicate their lives to local food and gardens prepared to fight against a resolution supporting the very goals they work so hard for.
The disinformation continued at the Council meeting.
The head of the Flagstaff CSA and Local Market stood before Council and told them that her organization had never heard about or been contacted about the resolution until Monday when FLA President Cindy Dorfsmith called her to discuss it.
When I spoke to Council I pointed out that I had contacted the CSA a couple months ago and received a very positive response. Here’s the screenshot I mentioned when I spoke at the meeting (click to enlarge):
Even before August, I contacted as many local food groups in the Community as I could find to let them know a resolution was being worked on. The Resolution has been on the City Council agenda several times. The Flagstaff Sustainability Commission unanimously endorsed it and this information was made public. Local food organizations were very aware that this was coming together. To say they had no idea that the resolution existed and were never contacted about it is completely false.
Former Flagstaff City Council Candidate Dan Frazier (husband of former Friends of Flagstaff’s Future board member Lisa Rayner) had the most telling comments of the night though. His uncontrollable hate for people who do not think exactly like he does filled the room as he ranted about Flagstaff Liberty Alliance not being a group that should be given a voice:
“I prefer Coral Evans’ version myself, mainly because it comes from Coral Evans. I do feel that we must look at the source of any resolution or ordinance for that matter that comes before the Council. This group that is bringing this to you tonight is not a food group, this is a rights group. And so let’s say for instance, I don’t really know much about this group that we’re talking about here tonight, I’ve heard that they might have some tea party like affiliations, and based on the wording of the resolution that focuses on rights, I feel that that could have some truth to it though I don’t know that.
But I think we have to consider where an ordinance or a resolution is coming from. If I came to you tonight wearing a hood and said there should be rights to grow your own food and that should supersede any rules on the books you might well wonder if I was proposing that I use slaves to grow food in my back yard and I think that might be a valid thing to think about and to wonder.
I think this is a Trojan horse and that this group is bringing to you a rather meaningless resolution. They might as well say let’s all resolve that Flagstaff is beautiful and the sky is blue and if you pass that and if you agree to that you are giving that group some voice, some power and I question whether or not we really want to do that.”
Ahhh, I get it Mr Frazier. It’s not really the text of the document that bothers you. It’s the fact that it comes from a group that is not your own. The fact that it wasn’t your idea. The fact that it came from somewhere other than your far side of the field. Even if you agree with the ideas you won’t support it. In a few words you spoke volumes!
UPDATE: here’s the youtube video of Dan Frazier speaking to the council last night.
The link below has the entire video of last night’s council meeting. Click on item 6. Dan Frazier’s comments start at 46:10:
Mr Frazier has very close ties to Councilmember Barotz and Councilmember Evans but I’m sure we’ll never hear them condemn his slanderous and hate filled statements for people who are different from him.
There was not enough support at last night’s Council meeting to move any version of the resolution forward. A new resolution will be drafted by different groups in the community and who knows what it will look like in the end. Hopefully it still contains the spirit of the resolution Flagstaff Liberty Alliance proposed.
Below is the updated text of the resolution Flagstaff Liberty Alliance proposed last night. Keep in mind that Councilmember Barotz, Councilmember Evans and Friends of Flagstaff’s Future fought viciously against this text. What could they possibly have against it?
A RESOLUTION RECOGNIZING THE RIGHTS OF INDIVIDUALS AND GROUPS TO GROW AND CONSUME THEIR OWN FOOD
WHEREAS, the people of the City of Flagstaff historically have maintained and enjoyed the right to raise food for themselves and their families; and
WHEREAS, family farms, community gardens, sustainable agricultural practices and food processing by individuals, families and small, locally based firms offer stability to our City by enhancing the economic, environmental and social wealth of our community; and
WHEREAS, as part of the right to raise food for themselves and their families, the people have and maintain the right to raise such food on their own land, subject to applicable laws, to contract with others to rent sufficient land for the growing of that food, for boarding their poultry and livestock, and for hiring services related to its care, maintenance, raising, and harvesting; and
WHEREAS, in the interests of a vibrant local economy, it is important that the rights outlined above be maintained and that City officials encourage a healthy and environmentally friendly form of small scale agriculture.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Flagstaff City Council supports, endorses, and encourages the recognition of the right and freedom of people to raise their own food, including food derived from agricultural animals, for the enjoyment of themselves and their families, either by their own investment and labor or through the assistance of others and consistent with the law.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Flagstaff City Council supports laws that support and encourage people to continue the activities of raising food for themselves and their families.
Before I wrap this post up I want to thank Mayor Nabours, Councilmember Oravits and Councilmember Brewster for being very positive and open to this resolution. The three of them have acted in a very professional manner throughout this entire process.
Friends of Flagstaff’s Future, Councilmember Barotz, Councilmember Evans and other obstructionists fought hard to ensure that the local food resolution would NOT pass.
By Elisha Dorfsmith
I took a few days off from politics last week and spent some time in Pinetop and the surrounding area hunting for used books and other treasure. Visiting thrift stores and swap meets is part of my business but I also give away hundreds of liberty books every year and was happy to find some good liberty books to give away at future Flagstaff Liberty Alliance events.
Since I was out of town I may have missed a few local stories here and there but this is what has my attention this week:
City Seeks New Airline For Pulliam Airport
Last month the City of Flagstaff sent out an RFP seeking a new airline for Pulliam Airport. The RFP offers an $800,000 incentive for an airline to fly two round trip flights a day to a hub city for one year. After one year the Airline is free to leave.
The money comes from a Federal grant and as we all know grant money is free and is grown on the lovely grant trees in Washington DC so it’s not like it’s your tax money or anything being used for this big gamble.
A concerned friend had this to say about the proposed airline:
“I spoke with an administrator of the airport. He said the growth of the airport is quite slow and regarding an increase in air traffic (why I called) it would take 20 years to see a significant increase. In fact the business has been less lately than the slowly increasing graph of growth would lead you to expect… So, not only is the demand not increasing very fast, it has tapered off.
There is no reason to throw money at an airline if the airport is not a booming business. I bet no one living near the airport wants to see an increase in air traffic either. With the money they were going to spend on bribing an airline to operate here they could finish up all the half started projects I see everywhere.”
I agree. This promises to be a disaster just like Horizon Air was. Government cannot create a market that doesn’t exist.
Local Gambling Ring Busted
This week the AZ Daily Sun reported that the Flagstaff Police Department broke up an online gambling ring organized out of a local Fourth Street business.
While congratulating law enforcement for their efforts, Officer Cory Runge of Flag PD told the Sun:
“Typically, with these types of operations, they target the elderly, minorities, low-income communities and women, they have them come in and gamble. Then, because the win ratios are so low, they almost never win. It’s basically a big scam. They target the poor.”
Wait a minute…didn’t officer Runge just describe the government run Arizona Lottery?
Knorr Appointed To The BPAC
Congratulations to longtime Flagstaff Resident and local businessman Jeff Knorr for his appointment to the City of Flagstaff Beautification & Public Art Commission (BPAC) tonight!
Council member Coral Evans and Council member Celia Barotz both voted against his appointment which is an extreme rarity. Usually recommended candidates receive unanimous support. Knorr is in good company though. Barotz and Evans both voted against me for the Sustainability Commission last year even though I was the recommended candidate. They knew I would bring balance to the commission and they wanted it to remain one sided.
Tonight Evans and Barotz have proven once again that their agenda is more important than representing all of their constituents and making sure a variety of viewpoints are heard.
Flag Liberty At First Friday
Flagstaff Liberty Alliance will once again have a booth in Heritage Square for this month’s First Friday Art Walk (October 4th from 6:00 – 8:00 pm).
This month we’ll be focusing on a variety of liberty issues including our food freedom resolution and our March Against Monsanto event on October 12th. We’ll also be handing out lots of literature and free liberty books. Be sure to stop by and say hello!
Flag Liberty table at First Friday.
Flagstaff Shelter Services Fundraiser
In preparation for the winter season, Flagstaff Shelter Services will be holding a fundraiser and donation drive on Saturday, October 5th from noon to 2:00 pm. The shelter is in desperate need of everything from socks to towels to jackets and warm clothing.
It’s always great to see people voluntarily coming together to support a good cause and this is a cause I strongly support.
More information on Flagstaff Shelter Services can be found HERE.
March Against Monsanto Take Two
On October 12, 2013 food freedom activists across the world will once again join together to protest Monsanto and the push by companies and governments to control the world’s food supply.
Flagstaff Liberty Alliance is organizing the local protest in front of Flagstaff City Hall starting at 2:00 pm. We hope to send a strong statement that cronyism between big business and government will not be tolerated. It’s time to stand up and support food freedom and local gardens and farms.
Like our “No War In Syria” protest, this is an issue that concerns people across the political spectrum. Please help spread the word about this event.
Protestors at the last March Against Monsanto event at Flagstaff City Hall.