The phrase "poor sport" doesn't do justice to controversial
Quartzsite Town Attorney Martin Brannan. Beginning 49 seconds into the
outgoing Mayor Jose Lizarraga states "On Friday, I asked Alex Taft to
put a couple of things on the agenda. These items were not put on the
agenda and I feel this that they are detrimental to some decisions that
need to be made today. Um, I 'm asking for a special meeting tomorrow
at 1 o'clock with these items on this, placed on the agenda. They were
canvas of the vote, swearing in of new elected officers. It's something
that needs to happen, I believe prior to making any decisions on today's
meeting. With that being the case, this meeting is adjourned.
Then, at 1:47 on the first video, as Mayor elect Ed Foster stands
to leave, Brannan can be seen to the right of Foster's head running
after Lizarraga. At 1:54, Lizarraga exits the side room and aggitatedly
points to the police officer and then to Brannan who is still inside.
Lizarraga repeadly gestures with his head and finger and a Quartzsite
Police Officer and Town Manager Alexandra Taft enter. Within a few
minutes, a member of the La Paz County Sheriff's Office arrives, and
enters the back room.
According to witnesses, Taft and Gilbert were overheard telling the sitting mayor "it wasn't really an assault" but locals who listen to the police scanner disagree. It
has been reported that Mayor Lizarraga called for a sheriff because QPD
refused to take the report, and the responding Sheriff was alleged to
have said "It's under investigation." on his way back to his patrol car.
After illegal quorums in the back room with the town manager, town
attorney, and even former councilman Jerry Lukkasson, the Vice Mayor
called a meeting to order and conducted the scheduled business of
appointing someone to fill Councilman Lukasson's vacated seat and renew
the town managers contract early, with "amendments" that may include a
severance package increase.
Mayor Lizarraga (who is also the town's fire captain) had declined
to run for his seat in the spring election, after stepping down from the
council to run against then Mayor Ed Foster. Foster had been
recalled due to a concerted effort by Councilman Jerry Lukkasson and his
supporters. Foster beat Lizarraga at the polls, but when the mail in
ballots were added to the totals, the August recall election went to
Lizarraga by a margin of 57 votes. Then in November, Lukkasson stepped
down to run for mayor, but Foster defeated him in the March Primary
Election by a 70 vote margin. However Foster fell a few votes short of
the 50% + 1 vote required to avoid a run-off. In the May 15th General
Election it wasn't even close with Lukkasson losing by 97 votes.
Challengers Mark Orgeron and Patricia Workman defeated incumbents Joe
Winslow and Vice Mayor Barbara Cowell by a similar margin.
Now, incumbents and town staff are doing everything in their power
to keep the duly elected candidates from taking their seats. At
Wednesday's special meeting to canvass the vote, only Mayor Lizarraga
and one other member of the council showed up. No action could be taken
or certificates of election could be issued due to a lack of Quorum. Say
tuned. Anything can happen in Quartzsite, and it usually does.