OFFICIALS ‘NEVER AUTHORIZED’ SPENDING OF $70k ON VOTE FRAUD INVESTIGATION
Investigators hired by Town Manager Alex Taft were not properly authorized to conduct an investigation and — as private investigators — could not have acted had they discovered evidence of fraud.
Further, Taft did not have proper approval to spend taxpayer monies on the endeavor — an investigation which targeted specific individuals with whom Taft has been engaged in an ongoing battle over the lack of transparency at Quartzsite’s town hall and books that are not allowed to be seen even when property demanded under FOIA laws.
County Election official Shelly Baker had already admonished Taft and others in Quartzsite’s administration that there was absolutely no evidence of vote fraud in spite of their insistence that there be an investigation following the election of individuals with whom Taft had had numerous disagreements.
Taft is currently on administrative leave but it still collecting an $80K salary, despite the fact that she has been repeatedly documented violating the terms of her agreement to remain at her home[s] during business hours and to refrain from discussing town business with anyone.
QUARTZSITE’S COUNCIL FACES SANCTIONS FOR OPEN MEETINGS LAW VIOLATIONS
Investigators from the Attorney General’s office have issued a ‘preliminary finding’ in at least one case concerning Quartzsite’s open meetings law violations.
A video of a quickly convened Sunday meeting of Quartzsite’s officials shows the exclusion of the public — an illegal action improperly handled that has been the catalyst for making a case against Quartzsite’s officials who proceeded — against the advice of the Mayor who refused to participate — to hold a meeting to declare a ‘State of Emergency’ in the town, the intent of which still remains unclear.
Sgt. Will Ponce and Mayor Ed Foster have been providing interviews to various news organizations. LINK
“QUARTZSITE OFFICIALS SPENT OVER $70,000 IN TAXPAYER MONIES IN AN ATTEMPT TO CIRCUMVENT THE WILL OF THE VOTERS.”
— ED FOSTER
Quartzsite officials — as explained by Alexandra Taft — have indicated they’re conducting an investigation into what Taft described as ‘irregularities’ in May’s election. But is it their responsibility to do that? Officials higher up the chain of command reject that notion and are stepping in to review the election results which have largely been ignored to this point, with only Patricia Workman being allowed to take her position on the dais. Is an allegation of vote fraud reason enough to dismantle election results?
Arizona Senator Don Shooter [R] responded to a request for review, and posted a note to his constituent on Foster’s Facebook page, Supporters of Mayor Ed Foster.
“I received your email on Tuesday about vote disenfranchisement and corruption in the Quartzsite community, I am very concerned. Though I saw that he was included in the email, I sent an additional email to Attorney General Tom Horne requesting action. Keep me posted,” he wrote.
OFFICIALS UNDER FIRE NATIONWIDE FOR ABUSES OF CITIZENS’ RIGHTS
HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of people are following what’s been happening in Quartzsite this week as civil rights abuses have been illustrated in Jones’ arrests. The web has been ablaze over the treatment of Ms. Jones, Quartzsite’s DESERT FREEDOM PRESS blogger and publisher. The blog currently contains the video: Click HERE. As Jones’ case plays out throughout the nation, literally tens of thousands of people have registered their disgust and dismay over the abusive treatment of Jennifer Jones, who has been interviewed by the most popular media people in the country.
The resulting stories have created an Internet sensation including a video that ‘went viral’ over the activities of Joe Winslow, the councilman that ‘called for restricting Jones free speech rights, Town Manager Alex Taft who set her arrest in motion with three nods to the Chief of Police, and the Chief of Police Jeff Gilbert along with the two officers who carried out the forced and ‘overtly rough removal’ of Jones’ from the microphone during call to the public, Officer Fabio Garcia and Officer Rick Patterson. Town Manager Alexandra Taft hurried to blame Town Attorney Pamela Walsma for advising her that they could have Jones removed from the gallery — and a special meeting was immediately held to replace Walsma with a new attorney — Martin Brannan.
The country has seemed to embrace Ms. Jones as the ‘new face of the defender of liberty’ for standing up against what is being described as ‘tyranny and injustice’ since she has been jailed and repeatedly arrested in an effort to silence her criticism of the town’s officials. As their efforts against her have escalated, she — and even the Mayor — have been arrested, causing 80% of the Quartzsite Police force to publicly call for the firing of the police chief, Jeff Gilbert, with a vote of no confidence on the part of those officers against Gilbert. Investigations are said to be underway.
Stories describing the incident are overwhelmingly supportive of both Quartzsite’s Mayor, Ed Foster, and Ms. Jones,THERIGHTSCOOP.COM INTERVIEW FREEDOMS PHOENIX.COM FOXNEWSPHOENIX ABOVETOPSECRET.COMWORLDNETDAILY.COM
The world at large is discussing detailed reports of the filmed incident appearing on YOUTUBE.COM that showed clearly what happened when Jennifer Harris Jones stood to speak and incurred the wrath of Councilman Joe Winslow at the council meeting.
Posts are replete with negative comments criticizing the council for their actions as well as those of the police involved. [Incidentally, that meeting is soon to be declared illegal along with all the others that have happened since some of the town’s officials began efforts to intentionally limit seating space for citizens in what has been described as an effort to avoid public scrutiny at the town hall meetings.]
According to published reports, the Town Manager and town attorney reportedly conversed before Town Manager Alexandra Taft motioned for Jones to be removed and Taft has indicated that the Town Attorney Pamela Walsma advised her this was legal. Walsma is now leaving Quartzsite for reasons yet unreported, slated to be replaced by Attorney Martin Brannan at a special meeting scheduled for Thursday morning at 10 a.m.AGENDA HERE.
“This may not deflect the attacks currently aimed at Taft by Quartzsite citizens who insist that she — under the direction of Dan Field — has orchestrated this entire series of disasters in Quartzsite: hidden payees on the town’s payroll, [$1 MILLION paid to these 8-10 straw men over the last five years alone!] the strong arming of citizens and town hall employees — even attempts to use the town’s police force to control citizens who were trying to stand up for their rights and demand some level of accountability,” stated Quartzsite Mayor Ed Foster.
“Instead they’ve been shouted down, slammed, attacked, accused and maligned, hauled into court for civil infractions that the town is pursuing as criminal — even arrested which should happen to no one under these circumstances — when they’re being targeted for not obeying the orders of the tyrants in charge and basically told they have no voice. In the meantime, property values are falling, morale at town hall and in the police force are at an all time low, and people are just basically fed up with being treated like they have no rights,” he concluded.
Online, Foster is being lauded as a hero among people watching the events in Quartzsite unfold while the councilmen are being lambasted for their inability to properly govern their town — and for abusing their constituents.
Councilman Jerry Lukkasson was the first to indicate he wanted his e-mail account turned off so that the public could not continue to contact him with their comments.
FLURRY OF PAPER
As the public’s attention has focused on the issues facing Quartzsite, so, too, has pressure mounted on officials to step up and accept responsibility.
Foster’s Facebook fans [Supporters of Mayor Ed Foster of Quartzsite Arizona] are sharing information online for those watching the situation unfold — as are people throughout the world via the thousands of stories and articles the situation has generated online, as well as in print and television media.
“I am absolutely amazed,” Foster stated Sunday “at the level of dedication and concern demonstrated by the people — literally of the entire world — for the free speech and openness in government that people recognize this battle represents.”
“Quartzsite is at the ‘center of the storm’ in a country the world believes exemplifies human rights. Whatever other questions exist for citizens, nothing can be made right without these most basic rights.”
“Dragging a citizen from a microphone where they have been invited to speak should not happen anywhere in the world — and most certainly not in a country founded on the principals set forth in the Constitution — principals for which generations of men and women have fought and died,” he said. “This country has stood as a beacon of hope for those who suffer oppression — and I think this is the reason this battle has struck such a chord with the people of the world.”
As the Arizona Republic story has clearly illustrated, Quartzsite’s officials have been less-than-forthcoming with clear explanations of why the town has continued to operate behind a veil of secrecy and unaccountability — in spite of public outcry. The Attorney General’s Letter outlines the intent to press forward and other professionals [the Ombudsman’s office —AZCOPS.ORG Goldwater Institute City Ethics.Org OATHKEEPERS.ORG] have shared their concerns with the level of disregard for the law as well as the violations themselves. The League of Arizona Cities and Towns director, Bill Sims, warned Quartzsite months ago of the potential for problems and asked — again — that town manager Alexandra Taft allow the organization to properly train her for the position she currently holds.
Neither Taft nor her recently appointed counterpart Assistant Town Manager Al Johnson [another unadvertised position appointed by the council] have been properly trained. Sims also warned of the ramifications of arresting people at town council meetings at that time.
Abuse of Process?
ASKS QUARTZSITE COURT TO REEL IN ROTH
Embattled councilman ‘Machine Gun Joe’ Winslow is asking the council to intervene in what has been described as a fundamental difference of opinion between the two.
Activist Michael Roth, though, has been vacationing out of state and denies having had any contact with Winslow and does not know why he has been targeted by the ‘angry councilman.’
“I called him a turd once,” Roth stated in an interview Wednesday, “Other than that I have no idea why he would be in court, asking for a restraining order. I haven’t contacted him.”
Winslow may have a difficult time getting the court to intervene on his behalf since, as Bill Sims of the League of Cities and Towns pointed out in a training session with Quartzsite councilmen, they can expect to be subjected to criticism as public officials.
Winslow’s comments — shared with the world via the Internet — have sparked international media attention as well as incurring the angst of outspoken political activists who have indicated their shock and contempt over Winslow’s treatment of Jennifer Jones in the Quartzsite video footage shot by Doug Gilford June 28.
Winslow has also been seen as the primary spokesman in efforts to harass and intimidate Foster since his election as Mayor of the small desert town, using ad hoc committees and censures — primarily over the Mayor’s MINESHAFT publication.
Reports have indicated the case is already in the hands of the Supreme Court.
QUARTZSITE10 REMOVED FROM DUTY AMIDST FRAY
The ‘Quartzsite 10’ — 9 police officers and a police clerk comprising 80% of the police department personnel — [all of whom have been involved as ‘whistleblowers’ alleging impropriety in the police department] have been removed from duty pending an ‘internal investigation’ that is being handled by some of those the officers have accused.Read Notice READ MORE
MEDIA DESCENDS ON QUARTZSITE
Mayor Ed Foster was on the Judge Napolitano show. Those that are coming to Quartzsite to see the strange methodology utilized by the council have not been disappointed. The once quiet little town has been the focus in the midst of a media blitz unrivaled by those in the largest — becoming a catalyst for change in the process.
Left, right, libertarian: no one, it seems, approves of what is happening in this small town. All have resoundingly weighed in to say that what has happened in Quartzsite should not be tolerated anywhere. All have stood up for the rights of Jennifer Jones who is representative of all citizens of all towns throughout this nation — she, like them, deserve to be heard.
At least 167,000 people have viewed the video of Jones’ arrest according to online statistics — and that doesn’t include the times it’s been shown on national television and international television. Foster’s website has had visitors from every corner of the globe. Even Keith Olbermann pointed out the ridiculousness of what’s been happening in Quartzsite with his parody of the town’s problematic behavior.
Things seem to remain largely the same at Town Hall, however, where Alexandra Taft oversaw [and assisted in] the placement of duct tape in the lobby behind which all cameras and videographers must stand. WATCH NOW
“They’re so concerned about cameras because of what? I wonder who it is they think they’ve fooling,” Foster said.
Foster further charged in an interview on popular talk show INFOWARS.COMthat he has been reading the e-mails sent to the council and other officials and that they were all legitimate efforts to communicate with the town and its representatives. “There were no threats,” Foster stated.
The meeting today brought reporters from throughout the area and there was a strong police presence — apparently due to the allegation that the town has been receiving threats. This, too, was the justification used to declare a ‘State of Emergency’ to remove Foster from his position of authority as Mayor.
Sgt. Will Ponce, the spokesperson for the Quartzsite Police Associationelaborates on the investigation requested before the story broke in the national media.
QUARTZSITE’S FINANCIAL PROBLEMS MAY BE ONLY BEGINNING
Quartzsite is already at the limit of spending [and debt] set by the State of Arizona. The council is requesting the state adjust their limit by almost $8.5 million. [$8,465,210.00] Quartzsite officials need to get this past the voters, however — and Quartzsite’s voters are educating themselves in droves. These numbers also directly effect the amount of monies that may be borrowed — possibly by bond, and usually at a high rate of interest — to be repaid at a future date. Quartzsite’s candidates for office are condemning the move. DEBT LIMITS
PROPOSITION 100 READ MORE
STATEMENT from BILL MOORE
QUARTZSITE POLICE ORGANIZE TO REMOVE POLICE CHIEF
Following the arrest of Mayor Ed Foster on May 10th, a litany of new allegations against QPD Chief Gilbert have led to a demand for his ouster by almost all the police under his command.
“We feel it is our duty to inform the citizens of this community and the rest of the public that we do not stand behind Chief Gilbert or condone any of his criminal actions nor will we jeopardize our own careers by following orders we know are unconstitutional or by not reporting his criminal behavior,” the officers wrote in a 12 page document [click to read] submitted to the Mayor and all 6 councilmen.
The council first moved to prevent Foster from calling a meeting in response to the complaint in which officers indicated they had previously attempted to notify proper officials regarding their concerns about Gilbert — only to be ignored. When it became apparent Foster could go forward with his meeting, he was notified that ‘the plan’ was to have only a few councilmen present — not enough for a quorum.
The police [including those in administrative positions] also cited their concerns regarding impropriety [efforts to block the investigations of the police chief] on the part of Town Manager Alexandra Taft — already under fire for withholding information concerning how eight additional payroll checks have come to be paid each two week pay period to eight unknown individuals. To date, the beleaguered Taft has refused to divulge to whom these checks are being paid and for what purposes — in spite of very strongly worded directives issued by the state Ombudsman’s office that promised an investigation would be forthcoming.
Upon learning of the police officers’ plan to demand the investigation of the police chief, Taft had indicated it was her intent to hire an independent investigator to investigate the policemen who had organized themselves against the Chief of Police.
This council could hardly be considered strangers to controversy.
When the town’s longstanding and well-respected prosecutor, Matt Newman, refused to participate in prosecuting citizens facing questionable charges in unusual cases, the council fired Newman — a move strongly criticized by La Paz County Attorney Sam Vederman.
While Foster, as Mayor, called for a special meeting slated for Wednesday at 6 p.m. to address the officers’ concerns — he was promptly advised that four councilmen intended to refuse to appear in a concerted effort to prevent a quorum from attending, thus thwarting the investigation. Those four were Jose Lizarraga, Barbara Cowell, Joe Winslow and Jerry Lukkasson. The meeting is still scheduled to continue, with Foster promising to hold a press conference and open forum if councilmen do, indeed, refuse to attend, and Doug Gilford of QTOWN.UShas indicated that he has been spoken to five of the councilmen who have indicated they do not plan to attend the forum scheduled for this evening.
A story in the Parker Pioneer also reiterated the concerns of the Quartzsite police — and indicated that neither the Police Chief nor Town Manager Alexandra Taft were available could be reached for comment.
ENTIRE TOWN COUNCIL [EXCEPT MAYOR] WALKS OUT ON AZPOST SPEAKER AMIDST OUT OF CONTROL MEETING Quartzsite’s reputation for dubious activities was only further illustrated by the actions of the council all of whom walked out on the Arizona Conference of Police and Sheriffs Organization Vice President John Stair and other representatives of AZCOPS.ORG. The Mayor remained seated.
Most of the 200+ crowd — standing room only — were pro Quartzsite’s Police Officers, proudly displaying red hats and bracelets that proclaimed, “Support QPOA – C.E.A.S.E.” The Quartzsite Police Officers Association has had a difficult time convincing the council to hear their complaints — and AZCOPS representative Stair appeared before the council in an attempt to convince them to immediately place Quartzsite Police Chief Jeff Gilbert on administrative leave until an investigation be properly conducted.
Amidst a chaotic session during which the council first walked out when Mayor Foster initially refused to allow the police chief to address the meeting concerning the town and Everett’s Towing, the Councilmen returned only to threaten to walk out again when the agenda called for the hearing of the ASCOPS Vice President.
When the Mayor offered to postpone that event until the Call to the Public portion of the meeting, the council again walked out when the Call to the Public began. Through it all, Foster remained seated, commended by many for his professionalism in the face of a very difficult situation.
Audience members complained about the repeated ‘walkout’ tactic — which only resulted in the meeting further deteriorating as it moved forward, with boos and jeering of the council and their actions frequently overtaking large portions of the meeting.
When the AZCOPS VP Stair was finally allowed to speak, he read out loud a statement from the Quartzsite Police Officers Association, explaining their position. A transcript of that document is HERE.
“Officers are keenly aware of how power can pervert justice,” Stair stated. “An example of this can be found when a town does not follow its own policy regarding placing someone on paid administrative leave when serious allegations have been brought against them.”
“If a patrol officer were placed on administrative leave given the same allegations against him, how much more is administrative leave necessary when allegations are made against a person who can most interfere with an investigation?” he continued.
“AZCOPS believes it is prudent and wise to place Chief Gilbert on paid administrative leave so that the allegations can be thoroughly investigated impartially by the Department of Public Safety,” he concluded.
During Stair’s presentation, Town Attorney Pamela Walsma repeatedly attempted to prevent the meeting from continuing, indicating that with the council having vacated their seats, the Mayor no longer had a quorum.
The meeting continued.
“These allegations are serious and the council has repeatedly been urged to address them,” Foster stated later. “They vacated their seats of their own volition. I was not going to disallow the police, the AZCOPS representative or the people of Quartzsite from finally being heard. READ MORE
THE WORLD IS TALKING ABOUT QUARTZSITE
“Quartzsite has again found itself been catapaulted into the mainstream media. It’s not as if it should have come as a surprise to people that sooner or later some level of accountability would have to happen,” Foster stated Monday.
“The problem is that the council didn’t see it and refused to support demands to see the books or properly respond to any other problems or issues brought by citizens.
“They just continued to run the town as if they owned it — unfortunately for our citizens — and making a mockery of the law in the process. People elected me to affect change.”
Foster’s outspoken approach and sudden Internet presence will likely enable the town to recover from the problems plaguing it — with the assistance of those in charge of the investigations. “The complaints are primarily that officials consistently treated the laws as though they were only for the citizens — and not something they needed to even consider for themselves. Over time it just became worse to the point of ridiculousness,” Foster stated.
“It is hard not to criticize the council when they were repeatedly warned to stop what they were doing — Foster had a right to demand those books, had every right to be treated with the respect and privilege due the position of a Mayor elected by his constituents,” Jennifer Jones, the woman arrested — and defended — by the Mayor, stated.
“They just wouldn’t play by the rules and they hide, have secret meetings, pander to Alex [Alexandra] Taft. This council went so far into sheer stupidity.” As the world looks on, the overall consensus seems to be that Jones she may have a very valid point.
Overwhelmingly in support of Mayor Foster, the ‘noise’ has reached an amazing crescendo as people who have watched the video have weighed in on the issue and have indicated the lengths to which the council went to quash free speech were outrageous.
“That, and the level of misconduct — on all levels — attributable to the sitting council is so egregious as to cause people to call for their resignations,” Foster said, “People seem to see Quartzsite as another Bell [California.] Maybe even worse.”