By Elisha Dorfsmith
Is Coral Evans misleading when it comes to property taxes? Check out the latest video by Stephen Pelligrini and let me know what you think:
By Elisha Dorfsmith
(NOTE: This post is the second and final part in my November 8th, 2016 General Election recommendations. You can find my take on the candidates here: https://flagliberty.wordpress.com/2016/09/06/authoritarians-vs-representatives-my-take-on-the-2016-general-election-candidates/)
Every election year we are inundated with ballot initiatives and propositions. Often, the arguments in the ballot pamphlet plead with us to cast our vote one way or another because its for the kids. Putting “children” into the argument is a proven technique that helps special interest groups on all sides of the political spectrum tug at your heart strings in the hope that they can sway your vote and get you to react emotionally on election day.
The purpose of this post is to remind you not to fall for the “do it for the children” line while at the same time letting you know my recommendations for election day.
Proposition 205 (Recreational Marijuana)
Arizona State Senator Sylvia Allen has been sending out a lot of emails lately about Proposition 205. If this prop passes and things turn out the way she expects them to, your kids will be injecting themselves with heroin within days after passage. If for some reason the little ones don’t find the gateway to harder drugs right away, they will still be walking around stoned because they accidentally ate marijuana candy. In her view, we must vote against this because…THE CHILDREN.
While Allen’s fear mongering is laughable, I do have some very big concerns about this particular proposition. For one, I am a supporter of complete decriminalization of cannabis. If we are not free to put what they want into their own bodies, how can we claim to live in a free society? Unfortunately, this proposition has major limits and excessive taxes attached to it and puts larger production in the hands of a select few. There is a lot of cronyism here.
For those who think this proposition will allow them to grow up to six plants of their own without being harassed by the police, just keep in mind that you’re walking a fine line. Seven plants will be a felony and if together they weigh over two pounds you’re looking at mandatory prison time. This proposition also allows cities to put restrictions on recreational marijuana and leaves room for local bans if a council feels cannabis is detrimental to the community.
I certainly understand the argument from some marijuana activists who plan to vote no on this in the hope that a decent proposition makes the ballot at a future date. Still, I will be voting YES, partly because I believe that it will keep a few people out of prison but also because if it passes it will be eye opening to watch elected officials and law enforcement argue on the record that we must keep putting people with a few plants in prison.
Side note: I believe opponents of legal marijuana are on the losing side of history as one state after another practices nullification and guts federal drug laws. Eventually, cannabis will be legal everywhere.
Proposition 206 (Statewide Living Wage And Mandated Paid Sick Leave)
Proposition 206 will raise Arizona’s minimum wage to $12.00 an hour over the next couple years and will also require employers big and small to offer paid sick leave for all employees, including part time employees. While this may sound great on the surface, the unintended consequences of this proposition are far reaching. Entry level jobs will be impacted, costs will increase and many of the people this law is supposed to help will be impacted.
There are those out there who think all businesses, big and small, are greedy and evil and need to share the wealth. I would like to remind these people that many of their friends and neighbors who are business owners are struggling just to get by and forcing them to raise prices, lay off employees or shut down completely is not the answer.
As Flagstaff City Council Candidate Jamie Whelan said at a recent debate:
“I have to go off my personal experience,” Whelan, who co-owns the Old Town Creperie, said. “I’m a small business owner, and we employ four other people. We could not make it doing $15 an hour.”
Many many other business owners across Arizona won’t be able to make it on $12 an hour. I will be voting NO!
Proposition 414 ($15 Living Wage In Flagstaff)
A few Flagstaff activists worked hard to one up the state living wage initiative by proposing their own $15 an hour living wage proposition. The incredible thing about this proposal is that it delves deeply into uncharted territory by not including any exemptions whatsoever.
Entry level jobs, part time high school students, restaurant workers who get tips, all will be making $15 an hour if this is approved on election day. That is, if they still have jobs. No employer is going to hire a part time high school student for $15 an hour when they can hire someone with experience for the same position. This proposition prices many entry level employees right out of the workforce.
Flagstaff Needs A Raise, the group behind Prop 414, is really laying the “for the children” propaganda on thick. They have been posting various memes all over social media to drum up support. Here’s an example:
How can I vote NO after seeing that? Do I even have a soul? I will be casting a “heartless” NO vote.
Proposition 413 (McMillan Mesa Open Space Initiative)
Trust me, I love open space as much as the next guy but there are some things you should know about proposition 413 also known as the McMillan Mesa Open Space Initiative. First, the people pushing hard for this live right up against the open space they want to protect. They want you to vote to ensure they have a bigger back yard. Secondly, proponents are using fear tactics and false information to sell their proposal by claiming it is part of Buffalo Park. Its working! I cannot count the number of people who have told me I have to vote for this to protect Buffalo Park. Even the Daily Sun ran an inaccurate letter saying the funds from this prop should not only be used to protect Buffalo Park but to improve it (thanks for making sure the facts are intact Randy Wilson).
The deception and misleading agenda behind this ballot measure ensures a giant NO vote from me. To the organizers of this proposition, next time you want something and you want my vote, try to be halfway honest when you advocate for it.
Proposition 412 (New City Courthouse)
The City had opportunity after opportunity to propose a much needed new courthouse near the police station off Sawmill. There were several pieces of land that were available. Instead, the City keeps insisting on building a new courthouse downtown where it is more expensive to build and less practical to use. Last time the City proposed a courthouse downtown it was voted down. I hope you will join me in voting NO once again since the City has a hard time getting the message sometimes.
Proposition 411 (NAIPTA Sales Tax Renewal)
Every government entity keeps knocking on my door asking for funding and this year NAIPTA is among them. While I appreciate the local bus service, I also feel they should look for funding sources outside of taxation. I would much rather see the bus service set up as a nonprofit accepting voluntary donations. Don’t force the taxes on everyone. I will be voting NO.
Proposition 410 (Coconino Community College Tax Hike)
A couple years ago Coconino Community College proposed a substantial property tax hike and voters gave it a resounding NO. At that time, even employees of the college cited waste and mismanagement as a reason for voting against it. This year CCC is at it again and it sounds like voters are leaning toward giving them the money. Of course, proponents say it will only raise your property taxes by a few dollars so you should pitch in “for the children” and “the veterans” and “the nurses” and probably the puppies. As I’m sure you guessed, I voted NO in 2013 and I will be voting NO this year as well.
By Elisha Dorfsmith
Rumors of a possible Flagstaff property tax increase of anywhere from 2-8% have been circulating around Flagstaff for quite some time. Now it sounds like the Flagstaff City Council is getting ready to act and they just might have the votes to move it forward.
The most recent push for an increase is a very real threat and was confirmed moments ago when Flagstaff City Councilman Jeff Oravits posted the following on his facebook page:
“PROPERTY TAX INCREASE?
For 3 years I’ve led the charge to keep the city portion of your property tax bill flat. That’s at risk at tomorrow’s City Council budget hearing.
Want to keep your property taxes from increasing?
Thanks for your support!
Councilman Jeff Oravits”
If you have an opinion on this, you can contact the entire Flagstaff City Council at email@example.com
By Elisha Dorfsmith
In the WTF (Welcome To Flagstaff) category, a friend just sent me a screen capture of the City of Flagstaff website showing a Property Maintenance Ordinance in the drop down menu.
PMO on the City website (click to enlarge)
As I have reported several times in the past, the Flagstaff City Council voted to reject a Property Maintenance Ordinance at their January 8, 2013 Council Meeting. Opponents believed it was dead but that turned out not to be the case.
The PMO reared it’s ugly head again in the first draft of the Regional Plan. I brought this up at council meetings and had several discussions with City staff and was told that this language was an oversight and would be removed.
When the public review draft was released a couple months ago, the PMO language was still there. I was told last week that this language would be removed in the final draft. I’ll believe it when I see it.
Public review draft of the Regional Plan includes PMO language (click to enlarge)
With the PMO now showing up on the official City of Flagstaff website, I think the City owes us an explanation. Why do they insist on pushing a Property Maintenance Ordinance on us when residents have made it clear that they don’t want one?
Property Maintenance Ordinance meeting packed with residents opposed to a PMO (click to enlarge)
Disclainer for the easily confused: the views on MY blog are mine and mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the groups I work with.
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
Last Thursday the long awaited draft version of the Flagstaff Regional Plan was released to the public. The plan now has a 60 day public comment period before it goes to the Flagstaff City Council and Coconino County Board of Supervisors for their approval. Once the City and County approve the plan, it will go to voters in a special election scheduled for May 20, 2014.
Before the plan was released, Flagstaff City Council member Jeff Oravits and many others raised concerns that the Regional Plan Citizens Advisory Committee was not balanced and was stacked with members of groups like F3 and other organizations with an extreme agenda.
Oravits fought to get more balance on the Committee during several council sessions but the majority of the Council said no and so the Committee remained one sided.
Now that the draft version of the plan has been released, I am receiving emails from concerned residents who say wording in the plan tramples individual liberty and private property rights. Of particular concern are the comments in the plan about social sustainability.
“Environmental, economic, cultural and social sustainability ensure that present actions are the basis for future health and prosperity.”
People are taking this to mean behavior control and the possibility of a Bloomberg style nanny state coming to the Flagstaff area.
Other concerned residents say that Smart Growth Principles which the plan is based on could hurt private property rights and even affect your right to build on property in the more rural parts of the region.
I have just started reading the plan and will be going through all 338 pages with a microscope. I strongly encourage everyone affected by this plan to read through it and provide feedback in the comments section of my blog below. I want to know your concerns and what you may like about it. I’m interested in hearing from a variety of viewpoints and opinions.
You can read the draft version of the Regional Plan HERE and provide feedback and comments through the plan website through May 31, 2013. This plan will affect every aspect of your life in the Flagstaff Area and residents need to be very familiar with it before they vote on May 20, 2014.
Draft Flagstaff Regional Plan Website:
Draft Flagstaff Regional Plan Facebook Page:
On Thursday, April 18 Flagstaff Liberty Alliance will be hosting a presentation on the Regional plan by Kim Sharp from the City of Flagstaff. This meeting is open to the public and will be held at the 4th Street Professional Building on 2501 N. 4th Street starting at 6:30 pm.
How will the 338 page Regional Plan affect you?