My Statement Opposing 1/8 Cent Sales Tax Hike For Parks & Open Space

July 6, 2017 Leave a comment

By Elisha Dorfsmith

This afternoon the Flagstaff Sustainability Commission voted 5-1 to support a proposed 1/8 cent sales tax hike for open space on the November, 2018 ballot. I was the lone NO vote. The Flagstaff City Council will be voting to put this proposal on the November, 2018 ballot in the coming months.

Below is my statement to the Commission explaining my vote:

“Studies by a number of non-partisan think tanks like the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy have concluded that a sales tax is the most regressive of the three main forms of state and local taxes. When looking at sales, property and income taxes, the sales tax disproportionately impacts the poor the most by taking a bigger chunk of money from people that have smaller sums of money and slower income growth.

As our commission works to expand our scope to include social and economic justice, this sales tax proposal will conflict with our new goals. It will push the sales tax above 9% making Flagstaff one of the highest taxed cities in the state.

This tax hike will add to an increased cost of living for everyone, especially our low income friends and neighbors. Those who will have a much more difficult time finding the funds they need for the increased cost of basic taxable items.

Some might argue that it is only a few dollars a month. I would ask them to talk to those in our community who live paycheck to paycheck and still struggle to purchase necessities. Can they afford additional monthly costs?

While I believe parks and open spaces are something our community highly values, (with the exception of the City Owned Schultz Pass parcel that Council and some special interest groups are pushing to develop) I cannot support increasing a regressive tax that penalizes those in our community who can least afford it. I will be voting NO.”

Here’s the official literature from supporters of the the 1/8 cent sales tax proposal.




Flagstaff Climate Action Plan Meeting Notes And Commentary

June 13, 2017 2 comments

By Elisha Dorfsmith

Last night the Flagstaff Sustainability Department sent out an email to interested parties asking for applications to serve on the City’s proposed Climate Action Plan Steering Committee. This committee will help put together the goals and objectives for the CAP, working alongside a third party consultant that the City is in the process of hiring.

Those interested in joining the Climate Action Plan Steering Committee can find more information at the surveymonkey link here:

Last week I posted on Twitter my concern that the public and local business community was being brought into the process a bit late. This was met with a critical response from the City, who said I was not adequately representing the public participation opportunities in the plan.

My concern stemmed from the fact that a private stakeholder meeting and two private scoping committee meetings had already been held. The scope of the plan, centered around “social justice”, has already been outlined.  I have been told by City staff that the scope of the plan can change with public input, but I would have liked to see that public input happen before the scope had been put in place.

Since the details of this plan will impact every resident and business within the City limits, I encourage my readers to pay close attention and make your voice heard at every opportunity.

For now, here are the meeting notes from the stakeholder and scoping committee meetings. This is an opportunity for you to read for yourself what has already been discussed and come to your own conclusions:

March 27th Stakeholder Meeting notes: stakeholder meeting

April 17th Scoping Committee notes: Meeting One

April 19th Scoping Committee notes: Meeting Two

I talked about this in a little more detail last week on the Jeff Oravits Show. You can listen to that entire show here:

DISCLAIMER: I currently serve on the Flagstaff Sustainability Commission but all of my opinions here are mine and mine alone.


The Flagstaff Sustainability Commission discusses Flagstaff’s proposed Climate Action Plan at their May meeting.

Does Free Speech Exist In America Anymore?

May 18, 2017 Leave a comment

Does free speech really exist in America anymore? You be the judge…

(Audio) Guest Co-Hosting The April 19th, 2017 Jeff Oravits Show

April 19, 2017 Leave a comment

By Elisha Dorfsmith

I had a great time guest co-hosting the Jeff Oravits show on 97.1 FM, The Big Talker today. We discussed the roving Flagstaff City Council Meetings, taxes, the Federal Reserve, the 17th Amendment, downtown parking meters, war in Syria, concerns about North Korea and much much more. You can listen to the entire show here:



Thanks to John Kistler for putting this picture together on “roving council meetings”.


My son Adrian and I at a “No War With Syria” rally in 2013.

(Audio) Guest Co-Hosting The April 5th, 2017 Jeff Oravits Show

April 5, 2017 Leave a comment

By Elisha Dorfsmith

I had a great time guest co-hosting the Jeff Oravits show on 97.1 FM The Big Talker today. We discussed this week’s Flagstaff City Council Meeting, the border wall, robots in the workplace and much much more. Check out the full audio of the show here:

On the show it was mentioned that I live tweet the Flagstaff City Council meetings. You can follow those tweets at:

(Audio) Guest Co-hosting the March 8th, 2017 Jeff Oravits Show

March 9, 2017 Leave a comment

I had a great time guest co-hosting the Jeff Oravits Show yesterday.  We discussed Tuesday’s Flagstaff City Council meeting, $15.50 minimum wage, privacy issues and local ID cards. You can listen to the entire show here:



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:


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