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Archive for June, 2014

Recording Not Allowed At Tonight’s LD6 Townhall Meeting In Flagstaff

June 24, 2014 10 comments

By Elisha Dorfsmith

What do Bob Thorpe, Brenda Barton and Chester Crandell (all LD6 incumbents) have in common with Flagstaff City Council candidate Eva Putzova? All have recently refused to be recorded at public meetings as this year’s very bitter campaign season starts to heat up.

Putzova refused to be recorded at a Flagstaff Liberty Alliance meeting where she knew her responses may be criticized by the liberty minded people in the group. I suppose this is somewhat understandable but not necessarily forgivable.

On the other hand, the LD6 representatives did not allow recording at tonight’s Townhall meeting which was widely promoted and advertised as a “legislative update”.  Apparently, only constituents attending in person were special enough to be privy to this “update”. This is completely unforgivable and in my opinion shows that our current LD6 representatives cannot be trusted.

But who are they kidding? Anybody who did attend knows that this “Townhall” was more of a campaign opportunity than a chance for constituents to hear what is going on at the state capital. The candidates were in full campaign mode as they touted their accomplishments over the past two years and attacked their critics.

I was tweeting from the event and for a while one of the guys from event security stood over my shoulder and watched me. Then he questioned if I was recording the event. When I said I was not recording anything he said well, recording is NOT allowed.

Maybe it was not allowed but unfortunately for them, writing about it after the fact is allowed and here it is. Something to keep in mind on election day when you vote for your LD6 choices.

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For a while this guy stood behind my chair looking over my shoulder watching me post on twitter from the LD6 Townhall in Flagstaff tonight. Then he asked if I was recording the meeting. He said recording was not allowed at the townhall. What kind of public townhall meeting does not allow recording? How can you trust Thorpe, Barton and Crandell if they refuse to be transparent to their constituents?

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Hess Thwarts 2nd Republican Attempt To Bump Him From The Ballot

June 21, 2014 1 comment

For Immediate Release
Date: 6-18-2014
Contact: Hess For Governor Campaign
E-Mail: AZGovernor@Earthlink.Net

Hess Thwarts 2nd Republican Attempt To Bump Him From The Ballot.

Arizona’s Republican leadership just got another black-eye, in their relentless attempts to keep Libertarian candidate for Governor, Barry Hess, off of the ballot. In a series of shady middle-of-the-night dealings last year, Republican leaders pushed HB 2305 to the Governor’s desk with exclusively Republican support; to make it almost impossible for Libertarian candidates to get on the ballot. In many instances, HB2305 required Libertarian candidates to gather more signatures for their nomination than there were members of the Libertarian party.

In September of last year, Hess led the largest and most diverse coalition in Arizona history to send HB2305 to the ballot, instead–by Citizen’s Referendum. It was the first successful such effort in almost 30 years, with almost as many attempts. Republicans were set back on their heels and scrambled to repeal their own legislation in an effort to hide the issue from the Voters in November.

Last week, the GOP funded a challenge to 37 of Hess’s nominating signatures which would have left him 5 short of the required number needed to appear on the ballot to represent the Libertarian Party. Hess’ legal teams immediately found no less than 12 of the disputed signatures were in fact valid, and today, the County Recorders weighed in to verify 20 of the disputed signatures as valid. The suit was dismissed.

Hess commented, “We were never concerned about the numbers not being there, but now we’re concerned about the obvious frivolousness of the challenge, and the potential of fraud on the Court having been committed by only identifying the ‘throw away’ member of their club who agreed to be the Plaintiff; and not the real party behind the scheme.

It seems the goal is to shield GOP candidates from having to actually address the issues, and defend their positions on the campaign trail. Maybe the problem is my polling ahead of most of their candidates; whatever the case they must have wanted me off the ballot pretty badly to put up big money for a frivolous suit. What surprises me the most is that Snell & Wilmer would lend their credibility to these grade-school attempts to avoid having to compete for elected office.”

AZ Gubernatorial Debate Limits Participants And May Violate IRS Rules

June 4, 2014 3 comments

By Elisha Dorfsmith

Social media has exploded over the past few days with outrage by frustrated voters who feel Arizona’s upcoming highly publicized gubernatorial debate is leaving out several key candidates who qualify for the November ballot.

Libertarian candidate for Governor Barry Hess had this to say on his campaign facebook page:

“There are lots of sham events being set up specifically to deny YOU the opportunity to see/hear ALL of your choices for political office. That’s sorta like listening to the Kentucky Derby, but the announcer never mentions the other horses in the race. That’s just stupid! Who wants to see less than the whole field of candidates (there are 10 ballot-qualified candidates)? The leader of this group (Darcey something–602-496-0294) said that they “only wanted to focus on the two major parties”–what’s that tell ya? This group is promoting more of the same kind of people that put Arizona into a tailspin.

Einstein said, “You cannot possibly solve a problem with the same kind of thinking that created it”. The ONLY candidates who will stand up for YOU, are outside the Republican-Democrat scam…

This is what a sham election cycle “Forum” looks like…tell your friends, and ask Darcey to tell you why she thinks only the candidates she wants you to see count…

Looking into this issue further I have found that the event organizers seem to have crossed a fine political line and are breaking the law by not inviting the third party candidates. Here is the issue:

This debate is being organized by The Center for the Future of Arizona, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. From their website:

“Established in 2002, the Phoenix-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization is governed by a distinguished board of directors. It is privately funded through individual, foundation, corporate and community contributions.”

As a 501(c)(3) this organization is held to a much higher standard than other organizations when it comes to political debates and other events. Guidelines published by Venable Law Firm clearly explain how 501(c)(3) organizers must “Provide an equal opportunity to all candidates seeking election to the same office to speak or be a part of the debate.

While they are allowed to establish objective criteria to limit participants, they CANNOT keep people out of the debate who will be on the November ballot. This includes Libertarian candidate Barry Hess and Independent candidate John Mealer who have both qualified for the November ballot. From Venable Law Firm:

“Candidate Appearances and Debates 501(c)(3) organizations may sponsor nonpartisan and unbiased candidate debates and appearances. To minimize risk of violating the ban on political campaign intervention in connection with such events, the following guidelines should be followed:

Do not indicate support for or opposition to any candidate, explicitly or through biased presentation of topics or questions; Questions and topics should cover most major issues of interest to the entire electorate; Do not allow political fundraising to take place at the event; and Provide an equal opportunity to all candidates seeking election to the same office to speak or be a part of the debate. The organization may establish reasonable, objective criteria to limit the number of participants (such as a polling threshold or qualification to be on a ballot).

Also, even someone who is a candidate may address a 501(c)(3) if the address is unrelated to his or her candidacy. For example, a sitting official may be asked to speak in an official capacity, or an expert on a particular topic may be asked  to present to the organization. However, the candidacy and the election may not be mentioned by the speaker or by the organization.”

Failing to comply with these rules could mean that organizers will lose their nonprofit status.

You can find more information from the IRS here:

http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-tege/rr86-095.pdf

While I’m not an expert, it appears to me that the Center for the Future of Arizona is breaking the law by not inviting third party and independent candidates to this debate. I would encourage the affected candidates to look into this issue further and pursue legal action if deemed appropriate.

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Debate flyer (click to enlarge).

UPDATE: Barry Hess just posted the following on his Facebook page:

“FINAL FORUM UPDATE!!!
I just received a call from Darcey Renfro. She was very polite and accommodating and she invited me to participate in Friday’s forum. They were able to extend their time allotment to add candidates who were previously excluded. I assured her that she was doing the right thing, and accepted her invitation.

I am pretty sure that Darcey’s change-of-heart had something to do with the contact she had from many of my supporters, so Arizona owes YOU a great big “Thank You! For helping to keep our elections honest. (You know who you are!)”

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