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Is There Room For Pure Democracy In A Representative Form Of Government?

February 14, 2017 Leave a comment

By Elisha Dorfsmith

Arizona has a very progressive constitution that allows citizens to sidestep their representatives and pass their own laws. Currently, the Republicans in the legislature are trying to put a stop to this (mainly because they are terrified of legal weed). There are good arguments on both sides of this issue and the question “should pure democracy be allowed in a representative form of government” is a legitimate question.

Interestingly, Flagstaff’s progressives take both sides in this issue. I was once chastised by former Mayor Sara Presler for saying I would start the referendum process if a Property Maintenance Ordinance became law. She told me that I needed to respect our representative form of government by supporting the laws council passed.

Tonight’s Flagstaff City Council Meeting also comes to mind. There is a process in place for citizens and groups to put their own laws on the ballot and sidestep their representatives. Flagstaff Needs A Raise did it last year and Elevate Flagstaff is doing it now. Unfortunately for Elevate Flagstaff, their effort is running into possible roadblocks set by representatives on Council.

Would this whole thing be avoided if we did away with the citizen initiative process? A lot to think about. For now, here’s what the State Legislature is doing:

http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/legislature/2017/02/10/wake-minimum-wage-vote-arizona-lawmakers-look-limit-ballot-initiatives/97581064/

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Flagstaff March Of Love Not Quite So Groundbreaking

January 29, 2017 Leave a comment

By Elisha Dorfsmith

Sometimes it is fun to take a little trip down memory lane. With the Women’s “March Of Love” bringing 1,500 people out in Flagstaff, a Democratic town, the left’s tea party is saying “the anti-Trump/GOP movement is becoming a force.”

But what about 2009 when over 1,000 people came out in Flagstaff to protest the Obama/DEM movement? This is what the left had to say back then:

“They’re just posturing because they’re upset that they lost the election,”

I personally am not a fan of the tea party in 2009 or the left’s tea party now but I will argue that bringing over 1,000 right leaning people out in leftist Flagstaff is a much bigger feat than bringing 1,500 left leaning people out.

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Over 1,000 people rallied against the policies of Obama in Flagstaff, AZ in August, 2009. Photo SOURCE.

Josh Collier Speaks About Liberty, Transparency and Fiscal Responsibility

June 21, 2016 1 comment

By Elisha Dorfsmith

Coconino County Board of Supervisors District 4 candidate Josh Collier spoke to Flagstaff Liberty Alliance about his platform of liberty, transparency and fiscal responsibility at FLA’s June 2016 meeting.

I live in District 4 and am happy to support and vote for Josh Collier. Check out his facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/josh4district4/  and be sure to give the video below a view.

Drone Bill Exempts Law Enforcement And Raises Concerns

February 16, 2016 1 comment

By Elisha Dorfsmith

A bill introduced by Republican State Senator John Kavanagh seeking to regulate private drones easily sailed through the Senate Transportation Committee at the Arizona capital this afternoon. SB1449 should clear the Senate Judiciary Committee later this week and is quickly heading for a full vote in the State Senate in the coming days.

While there are some decent arguments on all sides of this bill, the biggest concern I have with it is that it exempts law enforcement from having to follow the same rules that drone hobbyists will have to obey.

The bill summary makes this very clear:

“Allows a law enforcement agency to operate an unmanned aircraft for an investigation or a search and rescue operation.”

Digging deeper into the details, this bill says that if you fly your drone over someone’s private property without permission you are committing a misdemeanor. If you film certain facilities (prisons, hospitals, water treatment plants etc.) without written permission you are committing a felony.

On the other hand, if law enforcement is flying over and filming your backyard (or any other place) for any reason, they get a free pass to do so.

Yesterday I was interviewed by Cronkite News (Arizona PBS) about this problem and today they published a paragraph about my concerns:

“It’s not just hobbyists who would feel the impact of new regulations. Elisha Dorfsmith, a Flagstaff resident and Flagstaff Liberty Alliance board member, said he opposes Kavanagh’s bill because it doesn’t explicitly prohibit law enforcement officers from using drones without a warrant.”

You can read the entire article here:

http://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/2016/02/16/proposed-senate-bill-regulate-drones-prohibit-city-ordinances/

There are legitimate concerns that individuals may use drones to invade people’s privacy but many of these concerns are already covered under existing law. The bigger concern is passing laws that limit individual rights while exempting government from these same laws.

I would argue that government snooping is a bigger threat to my privacy than my neighbor flying his drone over my backyard.

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Liberty For Flagstaff: Elisha Dorfsmith

December 3, 2015 Leave a comment

By Elisha Dorfsmith

NAU student Ashley Besing recently interviewed me about Flagstaff Liberty Alliance and put together a great video for a school project. Check it out here:

 

Thorpe Takes Lead On Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform

September 29, 2015 4 comments

By Elisha Dorfsmith

Having been a critic of Arizona State Representative Bob Thorpe and many of the bills he has proposed over the past several years, I have to say I am surprised and happy to see him taking up the very important cause of Civil Asset Forfeiture reform. At least for now, Thorpe is starting off January’s legislative session on the right foot.

I don’t have access to the exact language of the proposed bill yet but from what I have seen, Thorpe wants people to be found guilty of a crime before their property is seized and kept. He also wants law enforcement to report exactly what they seize and who they seize it from.

While these changes seem like common sense protections to ensure checks and balances in the system, yesterday the AZ Capital Times reported that Thorpe’s bill is already getting a lot of push back from prosecutors. There is also a good chance that Speaker of the House David Gowan will refuse to give the bill a committee hearing. If the bill does not get a hearing it will die.

Public awareness of Civil Asset Forfeiture is at an all time high. People are shocked as they realize that property can be seized and kept by law enforcement without the targeted party ever being charged or convicted of a crime. Due to public outrage, much needed reforms are gaining traction across the country.

Liberty minded Arizonans need to tap into this momentum and make sure that the AZ Legislature knows we are paying attention when the next session starts at the beginning of the year.

For more information on Civil Asset Forfeiture see:

Governmental Highway Robbery: Asset Forfeiture and the Pillaging of the American People

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Swords Into Plowshares: Ron Paul Takes On The War Party

August 3, 2015 1 comment

By Elisha Dorfsmith

“Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations; entangling alliances with none.” —Thomas Jefferson

Many years ago Ron Paul published a collection of his speeches to Congress regarding foreign policy in a book titled A Foreign Policy Of Freedom. That book illustrated Paul’s unique consistency as a Congressman to stand strong against the military industrial complex during his many years as a representative. Time and time again when the hawks would sweep in banging the drums of war, Ron Paul would stand up and refute their arguments with common sense and wisdom from our nation’s founders.

A Foreign Policy Of Freedom was always my key go to reference for arguments with people asking why I “oppose the next war before it starts.” I have always said that a little history goes a long way and showing how the same manipulative tricks and propaganda have been used over and over by the “War Party” (Democrats and Republicans) over the years illustrates just how important it is to have a big picture perspective of current events.

The only problem with A Foreign Policy Of Freedom is that, being a collection of speeches, it was choppy and not well organized. Now, Ron Paul has taken all of the experience and wisdom from his previous works and years in Congress and released a very articulate and cohesive case for peace and freedom with his newest book Swords Into Plowshares.

Why are we continually involved in conflict after conflict? Why do people blindly support each new war that comes our way? Who stands to profit and benefit from perpetual military intervention? These questions and more are all addressed as are the unintended consequences of empire and trying to be the world’s police. If my war loving friends don’t get it after reading this…they never will.

Swords Into Plowshares is not only Paul’s clearest argument for a non-interventionist foreign policy, it is also his most autobiographical book to date. Stories about growing up during WWII and serving in the military provide a window into his past and help to further illustrate Paul’s grasp and understanding of the causes and consequences of war.

With the first Republican presidential debate of the 2016 election cycle coming up next week, I expect to see candidates falling over themselves to show who loves war more and who wants to start or escalate wars with the most countries (Iran, Syria, and Russia just to name a few). With Ron Paul’s approach to foreign policy highlighted over the past two election cycles, his common sense arguments are going to be sorely missed on the debate stage this year. Fortunately, we have Swords Into Plowshares to help cut through the fear mongering and lies and remind us what a truly liberty minded foreign policy looks like.

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