FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
RE: Tomorrow morning's Council Meeting
Quartzsite Town Hall
May 21, 2012
Quartzsite Town Officials Reveal Intent to Prevent Canvass & Return of Election Results in Final Bid to Refuse to Relinquish Control of the Town to Voters
For over two years, the town of Quartzsite, Arizona has been embroiled in a political controversy that -- while already underway -- escalated to far greater proportions following the election of Mayor Ed Foster, elected to address those issues and who ultimately brought national and even international media attention to the battles over Quartzsite's local government.
While Foster's election was clearly a choice of the majority of the people, having won the Mayoral seat in two record-breaking elections where voters twice turned out in record numbers to show their support for his candidacy, a controversy ensued as officials of the town [specifically Town Manager Alexandra Taft as well as councilmen [some elected and some appointed] openly conspired to remove the powers of the Mayoral position before allowing Foster to take his seat at the dais.
The decision lent credence to the claims of Foster and others concerning corruption at Quartzsite's highest levels of accountability and fueled a flame of discontent that was already smoldering. Foster, it seems, was specifically elected to discern and discover what issues rumored to be plaguing the town truly existed and, if so, why they were being allowed to continue.
The financial position of Quartzsite has long been in question and Foster's facts and figures show that the town has acquired a massive $24 million dollars of debt as well as uncovering the town's lengthy history of making payments to unidentified persons the totals of those payments now reaching into many millions of dollars. Quartzsite's officials have resisted all efforts to see these persons identified.
Foster also questioned the town's inability and deliberate refusals to answer FOIA requests and when he provided evidence that officials were openly disobeying Arizona's Sunshine Law and holding secret meetings, the fact was admitted and the practice continued. Quartzsite's officials are under sanction and their meetings are being monitored by the Attorney General's office for these open meeting violations.
For Immediate Release
To: All Parties Public, Political and Private
La Paz County, Arizona
State of Arizona
United States of America
Believing that the willful violation of Arizona's statutes could be rectified, Foster sought to see that Quartzsite's Town Manager be retrained under a program offered by Arizona's League of Cities and Towns. In spite of those efforts, Taft has continued to refuse to be properly trained.
On Tuesday, May 15, the voters of Quartzsite made their voices heard when they voted to remove from office completely Mayoral candidate Jerry Lukkasson [who had relinquished a council seat to run for the Mayoral position] as well as replacing Vice Mayor Barbara Cowell who had been instrumental in removing the powers of Foster's newly acquired Mayoral seat and removing completely ‘Machine Gun Joe’ councilman Joe Winslow who had made a reference on an open microphone to machine gunning the entire ‘front row’ of spectators.
Following Tuesday's election, the council has made known their intent to refuse to allow or participate in the Canvass and Return process which would have placed Foster back into his position as Mayor as well as seating two new councilpeople, Patricia Workman and Mark Orgeron. The process was directed to occur this Tuesday morning under Quartzsite's Town Code.
If, in fact, those new councilmen are not allowed to take their positions, Quartzsite's Town Manager and all councilmen who vote in accordance with efforts to prevent these events are in violation of Quartzsite's own Town Code.
Interestingly, these types of events are specifically the reason Quartzsite is at the center of a political storm of controversy. Who, after all, controls a town? The Town Manager? The Council who hires the Town Manager? The Mayor? The Mayor and the others are already elected and awaiting their chance at the dais. John Prutch, also the popular candidate, has been forced into court to secure his victory but he soon will be added to the council and, at that point, the town’s beleaguered ‘crony council’ is finally and officially outnumbered. It is simply a matter of time.
If the reasons behind the issues plaguing Quartzsite are important to you, plan to attend and watch as the town’s officials attempt to avoid the will of Quartzsite’s voters. This is why the world is continuing to monitor Quartzsite – it’s to watch as democracy is finally served.