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Archive for November, 2013

Coconino County Board Set To Vote On Regional Plan

November 22, 2013 2 comments

By Elisha Dorfsmith

On Tuesday, December 3rd the Coconino County Board of Supervisors will vote on the County version of the Flagstaff Regional Plan. With only minimal public input from County residents, every indication points to the County Board approving the plan as written with no changes or corrections.

This is very bad news for all of us in the County, especially residents of Doney Park, Kachina, Mountainaire, Bellmont, Timberline, Fort Valley, etc. who will be directly impacted by the plan but will not have the opportunity to vote on it like Flagstaff residents will.

While there is talk about changing the law at the State level to ensure that County voters will get to vote on these issues in the future, these changes will not be completed in time for the December 3rd County Board vote. If County residents have concerns about the plan it’s going to come down to contacting the County Board and asking for changes. If they hear from enough people they may listen.

Read The Plan

Yes, the plan is long and it will take time to go through but it could potentially impact every part of your life. Everything from how long you wait in traffic during your commute to work to what you are allowed do with your own private property.

This plan was written by a very one sided committee who has a vision for the region that could drastically change everything we love and care about in our community. Be informed and aware of what they have planned for you.

You can read the entire Regional Plan here:

http://www.flagstaffmatters.com/

Contact The County Board

Speaking at the County board meeting on December 3rd is key but I know many County residents are working or busy at 3:00 pm on a Tuesday. If you cannot attend and speak in person, please consider contacting the County Board and expressing your concerns.

You can find contact info for the County Board here:

http://www.coconino.az.gov/index.aspx?NID=104

Attend The Meeting

There will be a public comment period at the December 3rd County Board meeting. The meeting starts at 3:00 PM and will be held in the County public meeting room at 219 E. Cherry St.

Attending in person will have the biggest impact. If you are able, please make your voice heard.

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Concerns Grow Over Implementation Of Food Safety Modernization Act

November 11, 2013 1 comment

By Elisha Dorfsmith

“I’m disappointed to report that, according to decidedly nonparanoid, noncrazy observers, the proposed rules as currently written represent a significant and possibly devastating burden to small and midsize players.” –Tom Philpott (Mother Jones)

“They will over-regulate local food. The rules could consider farmers markets, roadside stands, and community-supported agriculture programs “manufacturing facilities” subject to additional regulation.” –National Sustainable Agriculture Commission

For years, the Flag Liberty Blog and Flagstaff Liberty Alliance have been warning about the potentially devastating impact the Food Safety Modernization Act could have on local organic food and small farms. Today the window for feedback closes and soon we will get to see just how far the FDA will go with their excessive rules and regulations.

I have often felt that the many warnings I posted on my blog fell on deaf ears. Especially the ears of those who should be paying the most attention. It was sad to see local food activists and certain Flagstaff City Council members join together to fight a recent food freedom resolution supporting local food and organic gardens. The resolution put forth by Flagstaff Liberty Alliance was created in part to fight the excessive restrictions in the Food Safety Modernization Act.

Thankfully, some Councilmembers did get the spirit and message of the resolution. Councilmember Karla Brewster mentioned multiple times during council meetings that a resolution was needed to combat companies like Monsanto (who helped write the FSMA). Mayor Jerry Nabours and Councilmember Jeff Oravits (who introduced the resolution) also made statements standing up for food freedom. In the end, the resolution died with only three of the seven council members willing to publicly support local food and small farms.

Now that the deadline for public comment on the Food Safety Modernization Act has arrived, people and groups across the political spectrum are waking up and sounding the alarm about the dangers of the FSMA. Better late than never. Last week Mother Jones published an excellent article titled 4 Foods That Could Disappear If New Food Safety Rules Pass. Will you miss your organic spinach and pickles? You can read the full article here:

http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2013/11/will-new-food-safety-law-small-farms-organic-FSMA

The National Sustainable Agriculture Commission has also voiced major concerns on their website in an article titled Top 10 Reasons for Farmers, Consumers, and Organizers to Weigh in on Proposed Food Safety Rules. That article can be found here:

http://sustainableagriculture.net/blog/food-safety-comments-top-10/

While the deadline to weigh in on the new FSMA regulations passes today, the fight for local, organic food and farms has just begun. Please do some research about how this law will impact you and let us find common ground and try to work together to protect food freedom in Flagstaff.

Disclaimer: The views represented in my blog are mine and mine alone and do not necessarily represent the views of the groups I work with.

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Republicans Rush To Blame Libertarians For Loss In Virginia

November 5, 2013 3 comments

By Elisha Dorfsmith

Republicans wasted no time blaming Libertarians for their loss in Virginia’s Governor race Tuesday night. The moment the Democrat took the lead, Facebook and Twitter erupted with anger at the Libertarian Party.

As we’ve seen time and time again, Republicans are always anxious to blame anybody but themselves for their failures.

I have always argued that a third party candidate doesn’t pull votes from anybody. Voters vote for the candidate they like best. That vote belongs to no other candidate. Republicans should be happy that they did so well in Virginia. The race for Governor wasn’t even supposed to be close.

Let’s look at the whole picture here. If the Libertarian candidate is to blame for the loss of the Governor’s race in Virginia, why did the Republican Lieutenant Governor candidate do so poorly with no third party candidate on the ballot? I encourage everyone to look at this data and chew on it for a while:

http://electionresults.virginia.gov/resultsSW.aspx?type=SWR&map=CTY

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Virginia election results (click to enlarge)

The Republican candidate for Governor lost fair and square (assuming there was no voter fraud but that’s a completely different story).

Republicans are also whining and complaining that Democrats funded the Libertarian candidate in the Virginia Governor race. Are Republicans now suggesting that they would like to see new campaign finance laws? Last I checked, anybody was allowed to fund any candidate and campaign that they wanted to. It’s a free country.

Disclaimer: as always, my views on my blog are my own and don’t necessarily reflect the views of the groups I work with.

City of Flagstaff Website Lists A Property Maintenance Ordinance

November 5, 2013 Leave a comment

By Elisha Dorfsmith

In the WTF (Welcome To Flagstaff) category, a friend just sent me a screen capture of the City of Flagstaff website showing a Property Maintenance Ordinance in the drop down menu.

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PMO on the City website (click to enlarge)

As I have reported several times in the past, the Flagstaff City Council voted to reject a Property Maintenance Ordinance at their January 8, 2013 Council Meeting. Opponents believed it was dead but that turned out not to be the case.

The PMO reared it’s ugly head again in the first draft of the Regional Plan. I brought this up at council meetings and had several discussions with City staff and was told that this language was an oversight and would be removed.

When the public review draft was released a couple months ago, the PMO language was still there. I was told last week that this language would be removed in the final draft.  I’ll believe it when I see it.

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Public review draft of the Regional Plan includes PMO language (click to enlarge)

With the PMO now showing up on the official City of Flagstaff website, I think the City owes us an explanation. Why do they insist on pushing a Property Maintenance Ordinance on us when residents have made it clear that they don’t want one?

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Property Maintenance Ordinance meeting packed with residents opposed to a PMO (click to enlarge)

Disclainer for the easily confused: the views on MY blog are mine and mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the groups I work with.

Ron Paul Speaks At Ken Cuccinelli Rally

November 4, 2013 Leave a comment

By Elisha Dorfsmith

It’s been a while since I’ve heard Ron Paul give a full length speech and I have to say that I miss his honesty and willingness to take on any issue, no matter how controversial. Below is video of Ron Paul speaking at tonight’s Ken Cuccinelli rally. Fantastic as always!

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