By Elisha Dorfsmith
I was happy to join the Oracle Inn Podcast tonight for a discussion on the many aspects of local food and urban farming. Topics covered included local rules and regulations, challenges to local food production, food education and competing with large corporations. You can watch the entire show here:
By Elisha Dorfsmith
Last month when the Daily Sun published an article about a party at the Grove Student Housing Complex that was “totally out of control” I knew that there had to be an ulterior motive behind it. After all, the moment police showed up the party dispersed and only a handful of drunk in public arrests were made. No force was used to break up the party. Hardly sounds uncontrollable to me.
Adding to the misinformation was a report released by Flagstaff PD that said 750-1,000 students were at the party. My sources (students who were at the party who asked not to be named) tell me that in reality there were only 200-300 people there. The extent that Flag PD and the Daily Sun were going all out to villainize The Grove had me scratching my head for a reason.
I believe I found the motive when I attended last night’s Flagstaff City Council meeting. One of the items on the agenda was a discussion for another student housing complex. During the presentation from City Staff it was disclosed that The Grove has been approached multiple times and asked to participate in the Flagstaff Police Department’s Crime-Free Multi-Housing program. Each time they have declined. I am convinced that the villainization of The Grove by Flag PD is an attempt to bully them into participating in a program that they don’t want to participate in.
At the meeting it was also brought up that Cheba Hut had been singled out for harassment by City code enforcement for having a vehicle at their business with their logo on it. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see why the City is singling out Cheba Hut for their vehicle. They have to protect what you see and what you think. Who cares if Cheba Hut is in compliance with the law. They’re going to make life miserable for them because they don’t like the message that the business is sending.
Control control control.
Cheba Hut’s marijuana themed logo makes them a target for government nannies (click photo to enlarge).
By Elisha Dorfsmith
“It (the regional plan) is guiding not only government agencies but everyone else.”
— Eva Putzova (Friends of Flagstaff’s Future Board Member. Regional Plan Advisory Committee Member)
The Flagstaff Regional Plan is being touted as a plan created by the people of Flagstaff for the people of Flagstaff. What we’re not being told is that this document was created by a one sided Citizen Advisory Committee of only 15 people along with City and County staff.
Public input was taken and community outreach was done but it was done in a way that only put a very positive spin on the plan and discouraged people from sitting down and actually reading the whole thing.
A simple way to test people’s knowledge about the regional plan is to ask them what they think of it. About 99% of the time they will look at you with a question mark on their face and ask what the regional plan is. When someone does recognize the name of the plan ask them how they like it. They will tell you that they have not read it and don’t know much about it. This has been my experience over and over and over again.
Still, we are being told that this is “our plan” and that it’s what everyone wants for Flagstaff. Manufactured consensus created the illusion that this plan is the vision of Flagstaff Residents and the community as a whole. Did you help write the plan? Did you have a say? Did you voice your opinion on the plan? If you’re an average Flagstaff resident, the answer is no.
At last Tuesday’s City Council meeting certain council members and Eva Putzova of the Citizen Advisory Committee and Friends of Flagstaff’s Future said that enough public input has already been compiled and the current draft should be the final draft. Any future changes and amendments were strongly discouraged.
Reading through the document I was shocked to see in the Open Spaces section of the plan (page 4 of that section) where it says Friends of Flagstaff’s Future will be a non-profit partner with the City. Wow, wouldn’t it be nice to sit on the advisory committee and be able to write my organization into the plan and tell Flagstaff Residents that it’s what they want.
Many Flagstaff residents consider Friends of Flagstaff’s Future to be a bit on the extreme side of things, politically or otherwise. Are they sure this is our plan? Could it possibly be that this is Friends of Flagstaff’s Future’s plan and they think we’re too stupid to realize that?
We are also being told that people with concerns are reading too much into the Regional Plan and that it is simply a guide or vision for the City to casually consult. We are being told that if it is passed it won’t be equivalent to laws or rules that we have to follow.
While they tell us this, Friends of Flagstaff’s Future is already looking at how they can use this plan to change laws they don’t like and force things like a stricter energy code. The following is from one of their recent newsletters:
“The City Council unanimously voted to update the Energy Code to 2009 standards with some amendments. This happened after weeks of opposition from Mayor Nabours and Councilmembers Oravitz and Brewster. F3, along with other citizens concerned about energy conservation and costs in our community, supported updating to the 2012 standards, but due to the opposition supporters of the 2012 code were forced to compromise. The proposed Regional Plan, however, has strong Energy Conservation language. If this section passes intact after council review and voter approval, we may be able to revisit this issue next summer.”
Oh, I guess the regional plan DOES have the force of law. I’m so surprised.
The Devil Is In Appendix B
Guess what you won’t find on the Regional Plan website? You won’t find a direct link to Appendix B which has the strategies for implementing the plan. In order to find Appendix B you will need to download the whole plan and go to page 278. This is where the really good stuff is. We’re told that this list is unedited but Eva Putzova (Friends of Flagstaff’s Future) and a couple council members prefer that it remains unedited. They have opposed any changes to the Regional Plan document and that includes Appendix B.
There are 242 strategies to implement the plan listed in Appendix B. Above is a screen capture of 6 of them. (click to enlarge)
I have picked out a handful strategies in Appendix B that really throw up red flags for me:
“Continue to educate the public on issues of personal safety and crime prevention by emphasizing that all citizens need to play a part in crime prevention, in partnership with their police, in order for it to be effective.”
Don’t you just love the police state? Don’t you love spying on your neighbor? I know you’re anxious to turn in that little neighbor kid who rides his bike without a helmet and breaks the bike helmet ordinance that was passed a few years ago. Cops couldn’t bust that kid without your help!
“Emphasize the role of law abiding community members, governmental agencies and the private sector in the development of successful crime prevention efforts.”
You’re a cop, I’m a cop, we’re all cops!
“Allow and use neighborhood police substations.”
Sweet, we all want a police substation right down the street from us. It will make life super easy for cops who want to fly their spy drones around the neighborhood making sure that our weeds are cut and not violating the property maintenance ordinance (which is also in the plan) and we’re not washing our car on a day we’re not allowed to.
Police departments across the country are anxious to get their hands on drones to patrol neighborhoods.
“Create area plans and neighborhood plans; support these plans with regulatory techniques.”
Get with the “plan” or pay a fine or go to jail!
“Implement a general public education campaign for basic preservation achievement and appropriate remodeling techniques for the average homeowner.”
What exactly does it mean to do an appropriate remodel? My friends at the City and County and Friends of Flagstaff’s Future…I’m so happy you want to spend my tax dollars on programs to teach me how to do my remodel appropriately.
“Direct walkway and bikeway routes to schools, parks and community facilities shall be provided.”
Shall? Do you know what shall means? Shall means SHALL! What if the City can’t afford it? What if it’s not practical. What if whatever. This kind of language does not work for me.
I could go on and on but you get the idea. This is not the kind of stuff I would put in MY plan.
While some kind of “plan” is mandated by law, I think I can say with confidence that this plan as it is currently written, is not a plan that accurately represents the majority of the people of Flagstaff and it must be changed. I encourage you to read the plan and contact the Flagstaff City Council and County Board of Supervisors with your suggestions and concerns.
You can read the proposed plan here (be sure to check out Appendix B):
Below is my letter to the Flagstaff City Council about the public input process:
Thanks for your time.
By Elisha Dorfsmith
Every election cycle we see candidates pander to voters with the promise to fix every conceivable crisis or problem with new laws and legislation. Fear mongering and scare tactics are often used to ensure that no good crisis ever goes to waste and no police department ever has to downsize due to a lack of criminals or funds from tickets and fines. Somebody has to keep all the lawyers and private prisons in business and lawmakers take that job very seriously.
This could all change if voters started looking at candidates in a different light and voted for candidates who promised to repeal laws rather than pass new laws. Imagine a debate where candidates tried to outdo each other by saying how many laws they would get rid of. It would be a game changer.
Some may say that this is just wishful thinking on my part but I find encouragement in towns like Glendale Colorado who have recently made national headlines for systematically repealing the ridiculous nanny laws on their books. I would like to see their example catch on across the country and lead to much more freedom and liberty for you and me. You can read more about Glendale, CO here:
August Flagstaff Liberty Alliance Meeting
On the subject of candidates and elected officials, Flagstaff Liberty Alliance will be hosting Arizona State Representative Bob Thorpe (LD6) and Flagstaff City Councilman Jeff Oravits at our August FLA meeting. This meeting will be held Thursday, August 15 at the Weatherford (23 N. Leroux St. in Flagstaff) on the second floor (Mezzanine room) starting at 6:30 pm.
Both elected officials will speak and take questions from attendees. Might be a great opportunity to ask them which laws they would repeal and maybe give them some suggestions.
By Elisha Dorfsmith
If there is one thing I CANNOT tolerate it is being lied to. Especially when someone looks you in the eye and lies right to your face.
Those of you who attended the Flagstaff Liberty Alliance meeting several months ago where the Flagstaff Regional Plan was discussed may remember me asking Zoning Code Administrator Roger Eastman why the rough draft of the plan included a Property Maintenance Ordinance as a solution since the Flagstaff City Council had previously rejected it.
Eastman told me that including the PMO in the rough draft was an oversight and any mention of it would be removed from the public hearing draft.
Several days later I was at a Sustainability Commission meeting and I asked Eastman again to confirm that the public hearing draft would NOT include the language “Property Maintenance Ordinance”. He assured me that it would not.
Well, tonight I went through the public hearing draft and guess what, Page 191 says part of the revitalization toolbox includes a “Property Maintenance Ordinance (PMO).”
How can you trust a plan that is being pushed by people who will look you in the eye and lie?
Public hearing dates for the Flagstaff Regional Plan can be found HERE. I encourage my readers to speak up and voice their concerns.
For Further reading see:
“Property Maintenance Ordinance (PMO)” in the right column (click to enlarge).
By Elisha Dorfsmith
Arizona Republicans pushed through legislation this week that will make it extremely difficult if not impossible for Libertarian and other third party candidates to qualify for ballot access.
In the past, third party candidates had to collect a percentage of signatures from people registered in their respective party. With the new changes they are now required to collect so many signatures that the requirement often outnumbers the number of people registered Libertarian or Green or whatever in a district.
Republicans say the measure is needed to combat scenarios were Republicans lose to Democrats by a few thousand votes. They’re still upset that Jonathan Paton lost to Ann Kirkpatrick in the CD1 Congressional race last year. Republicans insist that all the votes that went to the Libertarian candidate would have gone to Paton (a complete MYTH).
No voter who voted for the Libertarian candidate was forced to do so. If Republicans think their candidates are so weak that simply having other names on the ballot will drain GOP votes then maybe they should run better candidates.
This new state law is just as bad as “Top Two” and any other piece of legislation that limits ballot access and voter choice. It essentially tells YOU that you’re too stupid to mark the correct box on your ballot so they’ll do it for you.
Republicans who support this new law say they lose elections because Libertarians steal their votes. Maybe the real truth is that they lose elections because they’re corrupt and will cheat and scheme every chance they get and people are sick and tired of their dirty tricks.
I have put a lot of thought into this over the past 24 hours and I believe this will backfire on Republicans. Libertarians are determined to get ballot access and in the process they now have to reach out to thousands of Independents to ask for signatures. They will turn it into a giant Libertarian outreach program and Libertarian candidates will benefit.
Also, according to Capital Media Services this change was pushed by the National Republican Party. Libertarians nationwide are furious and they will take that anger out on Republican candidates.
Lastly, I have heard that this is the last straw for some Republicans with a conscience and they are leaving the Republican Party and registering Libertarian.