By Elisha Dorfsmith
As information pamphlets and mail in ballots for the City of Flagstaff May 20, 2014 Special Election arrive in mailboxes this week, I have had several people ask for my thoughts on the one item on the ballot: the Flagstaff Regional Plan 2030.
Longtime readers will remember that I was strongly opposed to the original draft released by the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) months ago. The document threatened private property rights, encouraged a stronger police presence in every neighborhood, and focused on the wants of special interest groups rather than the needs of our City. I was extremely disappointed when the Coconino County Board of Supervisors approved that version (spelling errors intact) unanimously without any debate or discussion.
I have gone through the proposed Regional Plan plan with a fine tooth comb many times during each of its revisions, both officially (as a member of the Flagstaff Sustainability Commission) and unofficially (as a concerned member of the public). I made countless recommendations for changes and have been very pleased to see many of those changes included in the final draft.
I am especially impressed with the Flagstaff City Council and their line by line examination of the draft and the many revisions and corrections they made to the document to make it a balanced plan. There was compromise on both sides and when the final version came back to council for a vote, it was approved unanimously.
The plan now has a disclaimer attached explaining that it is a guiding document rather than an ordinance or law. Language has been included to explicitly protect private property rights. The section calling for a property maintenance ordinance has been removed. The recommendation for a police substation in each neighborhood has been eliminated. The list of positive changes goes on and on.
Many people don’t realize that Arizona law requires cities of a certain size (including Flagstaff) to pass a regional plan every 10 years or so. If this plan was not mandated by state law, I would be opposed to it out of principle because top down central planning tramples liberty and never works the way people expect it to.
The truth is, the new plan is a vast improvement over what we are currently living with and if it passes we will have more safeguards protecting liberty and private property. It is a good small step in the right direction. Rather than fighting this improved plan on principle, those of us against central planning should take that fight to the state legislature and push to get the mandate removed.
So, if you have not figured it out by now, I will be voting YES on the Flagstaff Regional Plan 2030 on May 20th. I encourage others to do the same.
Attention local urban farmers and gardeners: Flagstaff Liberty Alliance is happy to announce their 2014 Virtual Urban Farm Tour Contest! This contest is open to the public and it is free to enter.
To enter the 2014 Flagstaff virtual urban farm tour, submit pictures of your urban farm including: gardens, fruit trees, chickens/livestock, and harvest/preserves!
Go to flagstafflibertyalliance.com to submit your photos and vote on your favorite entry!
First place winner will receive a $50 gift card to Flagstaff Native Plant & Seed and be featured in the Flagstaff Liberty Alliance 2015 Urban Farm Calendar. Runner up will receive a $25 gift card to Flagstaff Native Plant & Seed.
Entries for the Urban Farm Tour will be accepted through September 15, 2014.
GUIDELINES Each entry consists of a single entry form, and an original image. Complete an entry form with the required information, including your name, email address, and phone number; and submit along with your photograph.
Photographs must contain some form of urban agriculture. Urban agriculture is the practice of cultivating, processing, and distributing food in or around a village, town or city. Urban agriculture can also involve animal husbandry, aquaculture, agroforestry, urban beekeeping and horticulture.
There is no limit on the number of entries per person. Each entry must comply with the following requirements: Photographs must be in digital format. All digital files must be 20 megabytes or smaller, and must be in JPG or JPEG format. Only minor color correction and editing is acceptable as is cropping.
WHO MAY ENTER Contest is only open to residents of Northern Arizona.
VOTING will take place between September 22 and October 20, 2014. Winners will be decided by number of public votes each photo receives. Winners will be announced at the Harvest Festival on November 1st.
Thank you Flagstaff Native Plant & Seed for sponsoring
The 2014 Urban Farm Tour.
(click flier to enlarge)
By Elisha dorfsmith
“What would happen if these services were reduced because of a cut in funding…a reduction in funding would result in fewer meals served…Fewer meals served means children and families go hungry”. — United Way Representative at the April 8th Flagstaff City Council Meeting
Nonprofit funding is once again making headlines as the Flagstaff City Council examines the merits of taxpayer funded charity. At the Council work session earlier this week, the room was packed with concerned individuals and groups as representatives from United Way defended the nearly $300,000 the City gives to the organization each year.
During the plea for funding, United Way explained that even small funding cuts would undoubtedly lead to children going hungry.
Granted, some of the organizations that partner with United Way do feed hungry children and I applaud them for that but is it really fair to say that a small cut in United Way funding would come from that area? I have my doubts. Using Children to make your argument is an effective way to pull on heartstrings but there are other things that should be considered before falling for the scare tactics.
Brian Gallagher, President/CEO of United Way Worldwide brings in an annual salary of $1,035,347. United Way of Northern Arizona gives close to $20,000 a year to United Way Worldwide. The City of Flagstaff gives nearly $300,000 to United Way of Northern Arizona. Clearly, some of your tax dollars are being used to pay for that bloated salary.
The head of United Way of Northern Arizona only makes $97,000 (plus benefits) a year and probably feels it’s not enough but when those of us who don’t make nearly that much are told we’re not paying our fair share, it makes you wonder if these people even live in the real world.
When you hear United Way say that if their share of tax dollars are cut, children will go hungry, think of Brian Gallagher and his $1,035,347 salary and ask yourself how many children could be fed if his salary was cut. United Way is not starving for cash and feeding the children should be the last thing they threaten to pull funds from if taxpayer dollars are reduced.
By Elisha Dorfsmith
As you all know, I have been threatening to leave the Republican Party and register as an Independent for a long time. The only thing holding me back was waiting for my term as an elected Precinct Committeeman to end. I take my obligations seriously and didn’t want to quit before my term was up.
This evening Coconino County Republican Committee Chair Joy Staveley sent out an email saying I had already registered as an Independent. This information was false (what else is new) but I have decided that now is as good a time as any to leave the corruption behind and look to the future. After I post this I will be going to the Secretary of State website and registering Independent.
Here is the letter from CCRC Chair Joy Staveley:
“Dear Fellow PCs,
I was recently advised by one of our PCs, Hunter Kemmett (who will be re-registering in Maricopa County), that Cindy and Elisha Dorfsmith had re-registered as Independents. Elisha mentioned this on his facebook page, although I have not received word from Cindy or Elisha directly. By this email, I am requesting that if any of you have recently re-registered as an Independent or some Party other than Republican, or if you have moved out of the Precinct you were elected in, that you please send me an email notifying me of such change.The AZGOP has requested updated PC lists, and I would like to be sure I am sending them current information.
I do check the voter registration list on a regular basis, but they take a while to show registration changes.
Thank you for your help.
Coconino County Republican Committee”
I am still registered as a Republican and was planning on waiting until my PC term was over before re-registering as an Independent. I said as much in my Facebook posts. But since you seem to be anxious for it to happen sooner, I’ll be happy to officially resign now and re-register Independent tonight. Here’s my letter of resignation:
Dear Coconino County Executive Committee,
I am writing you today to officially resign my position as an elected Precinct 26 Republican Committeeman in Coconino County.
During the last election cycle I worked hard to elect Republican candidates. I knocked on hundreds of doors and handed out thousands of pieces of literature. I stood outside polling places and waved signs for Republican candidates. I spent hours at the Republican booth at the County Fair. I worked to register Republican voters.
Was it appreciated? No. You and others in the GOP blamed me (and other Ron Paul supporters) for Jonathan Paton’s loss in CD1 even though I voted for him and worked on his campaign. You blamed me for Romney’s loss even though he won Arizona AND my precinct. Your blind hate for Ron Paul and his supporters made it impossible for you to see reality.
I reluctantly stuck around as a PC when you held a secret vote recount and State Committeemen Drake Mitchell and John Kistler were replaced with State Committeemen from the establishment slate. This was in direct violation of Rule 14 which was approved unanimously at the statutory meeting.
I reluctantly stuck around as a PC when an attorney charged the CCRC $3,300 to tweak the bylaws and justify the removal of elected Treasurer Ray Jordan by the Executive Committee. Precinct Committeemen were never told why Ray Jordan was removed and Ray Jordan was never given the opportunity to defend himself before the group. (I have noticed that other organizations like Theatrikos are proud to have him on their board).
The last straw comes with the approval of bylaw changes that allow the Executitive Committee to remove any officer they find fault with. There is now no reason for anyone to run for an officer position if they are not satisfied with the status quo. If by chance they are elected, I am confident that the other officers will conspire together to remove that person.
There was a time when I thought there was hope for the Republican Party. I thought it could be fixed. I have learned that anybody who tries to make a difference in the GOP is seen as the enemy. I am convinced that the place for those who care about honesty, integrity and liberty is NOT in the Republican Party.
Thanks for opening my eyes and allowing me to see things for how they really are.