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Archive for June, 2011

Read The Draft Minutes Of Tuesday Meeting

30 Jun

Here – READ THE MINUTES FOR COUNCIL MEETING JUNE 28 2011

These minutes are not official. The town clerk was kind in sending me a draft. Please offer any input to the town clerk.  The town attorney will now review and edit these minutes of the meeting. These things are worth mention:

In an unusual event, during the announcements, Councilwoman Anderson read: “A.R.S. 9-240. General powers of common council 13. To prevent, suppress and punish any riot, rout, affray, disorderly noise or disturbance in any public or private place within the town.”

Dean Taylor stated that many people are unable to hear at the meetings, not just himself.

Councilman Joe Winslow did seem to begin his interruption of public comments with: “point of order” but did not state the nature of the rule violation.

The town attorney states that the council has a right “statutorily” but does not cite the statute.

There is no mention of arrest of a citizen speaker.

 
 

For The Record

29 Jun

This complaint was filed today.

Regarding unreasonably restrictive Town Council meeting access by the public and meeting safety issues:

  1. Police, council, town officials, staff, and town attorney, have together given the appearance of conspiring, by the use of hand and thumb signals and head nods, during a council meeting, especially in regard to effecting the ejection of a citizen from a council meeting.
  2. A host of new rules were implemented at the most recent meeting of the Quartzsite Town Council of June 28 2011. They were confusing to the public. The new rules were not published in any substantial manner to give the public some notice that in order to even enter the building, an earlier arrival time must be planned. Many meeting visitors were not able to enter after 100 persons had taken seats. No public address system exists outside the meeting room doors. By being denied access to the room, some citizens were denied to hear or address the council (at the podium). Citizens were reprimanded by the assistant town manager for moving their selected folding chair – a few inches.
  3. While standing in the aisle, waiting my own turn at the podium, the chief of police approached me and insisted that I could not carry my snapshot camera sized video camera there, and should give it to someone else to operate. I complied by handing the camera to a woman in the front row. It is my belief that such personal recording is legal at any time and must be permitted.
  4. On multiple occasions, the public is denied the right to address the council at the appropriate time during “call to the public”. On these occasions, council members left their seats and effectively terminated meetings, without regard to citizens desiring to share information from the podium.
  5. Council is inconsistent in their interest in meeting rules. At a recent meeting, Councilman Lizzaraga left his council seat during “call to the public” to use the public podium to speak. He chose to face the public, rather than follow the rule requiring speakers to face the council only.
  6. The police department and town officials are inconsistent in their interest in public safety. Rules were not applied consistently. The chief of police first announced that the new rules were for public safety, due to the behavior at the June 14 meeting. For that reason, people were to keep the aisles clear, and were instructed not to stand around. Nonetheless, at times, that was permitted, and as many as 4 people were lined up in the side aisle while waiting to use the podium.
  7. The police department and town officials are inconsistent in their interest in public safety. At a prior meeting, I questioned police Sergeant Frausto why one side of the double glass entry doors was locked during that meeting. (This door has signage above it indicating that it must always be unlocked). He said that it was to be kept that way to avoid a loud noise that the door makes when someone passes through it. I inquired what would happen if there was a panic or emergency during the meeting? The assistant building official, nearby, then volunteered to stay near the door, and quickly release it, should that occur. The sergeant concurred. Later during the meeting, I took note that the door had been unlocked. I decided not to make a complaint at that time.
  8. The police department and town officials are inconsistent in their interest in public safety. The meeting room occupancy limit was enforced for the first time in memory, at the meeting of June 28 2011. Was public safety not important before this date?
  9. New surveillance was installed but not announced.

10.  A citizen, while speaking during the “call to the public” segment at the end of the meeting was ordered by council members to be removed, and was in fact arrested, for no apparent reason. Of particular interest was the town attorney’s statement of opinion regarding the council’s unusual motion to eject the citizen. That opinion could not be heard. Please reveal the contents of that opinion.

11.  A citizen was accosted and questioned by the chief of police for merely walking through the main aisle from his seat.

12.  Citizens with good hearing and bad were unable to hear many of the council’s statements. This occurred in spite of a reasonable sound system. Council members, staff members, the town attorney, and the town managers have for months refused to properly use the microphone provided for each of them. Earphones are said to be available in the quantity of 1 or 2, but are not brought to the meeting for use by any person.

13.  The police department and town officials are inconsistent in their interest in public safety. A fire door appeared to be propped open during the meeting of June 28 2011. This was the door between the council area and unoccupied rear offices.

 
 

Crazier & Crazier – 1 Arrest

28 Jun

The Quartzsite Town Council met at 7 pm this evening.

TONIGHT’S ARREST: Jennifer “Jade” Jones – for who knows what, from the podium, while holding the microphone, presiding officer of the meeting objecting loudly. SEE VIDEO OF ARREST OF JONES 

The Choreography:

It was as though Ms. Jones was expected. It is unclear what Ms. Jones did or said to cause Councilman Winslow to go into high gear. He now suddenly seems to be in charge of the meeting.

Winslow “moves” that “Ms. Jones be removed from … this meeting”. There is an immediate second by another council member, then “all those in favor”, and a fast majority vote by the rest of the council.

[This sort of unorthodox but smooth action may never have been witnessed of any council in history.  The speed of these actions suggests rehearsal by all involved. Winslow seems to have had a Roberts Rules epiphany, because he has never previously demonstrated mastery of those rules.]

Winslow: “She has violated the procedures”

Revision: At that moment, Nora Yackley, building department assistant, is seen to give a nod to a nearby police sergeant.

Winslow:  “We have passed it … I believe we have a majority … you may leave, or you may be escorted out”  . Winslow now signals toward the podium with one hand in a chopping motion. Immediately, a police sergeant seems to understand the mission, and is upon Jones, trying to force the microphone from her hand. A second officer assists.

Winslow: “… do I hear a second? … all those in favor? … what about the rest of the audience and …”

Mayor strongly objects to the police disrupting his meeting. Police retreat from Jones, who continues speaking.

Winslow: “the council will not sit here being insulted all night” … “ the majority of this council has moved that [unintelligible] …

Mayor: “you can’t make a motion during the call to the public”

Voice: “yes you can” [this unknown speaker has apparently done some research]

Town attorney Walsma now gives an unsolicited opinion to the Presiding Officer of the meeting. “ … statute …”

Town manager Taft gives a clear triple nod and possibly a hand signal in the direction of Police Chief Gilbert. Almost simultaneously, assistant Town manager Johnson gives his own thumb signal in the direction of Police Chief Gilbert. Again, the police then immediately advance on Jones and force her into submission and remove her from the building. End of choreography.

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NEW RULES: At 6:30 pm, the chief of police was found at the podium speaking to a small number of citizens about new rules. It became clear through the course of the meeting that new rules for meetings have been implemented, but it was not learned where they could be reviewed. At 7 pm the meeting commenced.

SEE PART 1 OF FULL MEETING VIDEO

SEE PART 2 OF FULL MEETING VIDEO

SEE PART 3 OF FULL MEETING VIDEO including THE BOO-BOO:  Town prosecutor contract hastily voted in (6 to 1). Then the council realized that they had not looked at the rates for compensation which were submitted. Therefore, they had hired an attorney on a contract without asking what it would cost. Clerk Norris pointed out to the council that the attorney’s submittal of his qualifications had referred to the separate rate schedule. Vice-Mayor Cowell  stated that council are “lay people” and need to have their job explained to them.

 
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Quartzsite Man Faces Manslaughter Charges

24 Jun

According to The Daily Courier’s story, William Swaggerty (57) was arrested for fleeing the scene of a fatal accident and suspicion of manslaughter and other charges related to a car wreck Wednesday evening.

 
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Al Johnson Accused

22 Jun

Town of Quartzsite Arizona Police Report

 On June 14 2011, approximately 7:40pm, at the Quartzsite Town Council regular meeting held within town hall, Assistant Quartzsite Town Manager Albert Johnson committed disorderly conduct.  Evidence in the form of video with audio recording is offered, online at

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mle8sEMm4jA . Minute markers exist within the video, referred to in text below. Substantial other video recording was done by other independent attendees at the meeting.

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A.R.S. 13-2904. Disorderly conduct; classification

“A. A person commits disorderly conduct if, with intent to disturb the peace or quiet of a neighborhood, family or person, or with knowledge of doing so, such person:  … 4. Makes any protracted commotion, utterance or display with the intent to prevent the transaction of the business of a lawful meeting, gathering or procession; or …”

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minute 5:30: The Presiding Officer had not adjourned the meeting, and in fact had declared that the meeting would continue. 

minute 10:25-11:30: Mr. Johnson showed disregard for the order of the meeting in progress by repeatedly walking back and forth in the area between the Presiding Officer and the speaker at the podium.

minute 12:50: Johnson uttered “This meeting is over” from the podium microphone, during the lawful public meeting which was still in progress. Additionally, Mr. Johnson then unilaterally decided to and did then intentionally disable the podium microphone. He then rolled up the microphone cord and removed it to the rear. This act demonstrated his clear intent to stop the meeting. All subsequent speakers were thereby denied access to the podium, during the allotted meeting time for public comments.

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The town of Quartzsite Council Procedure Manual states:

“The Presiding Officer shall preserve order and decorum, decide all questions of order, …”

Therefore, the only person who can end such a meeting is the Presiding Officer. Mr, Johnson is a town official and is fully familiar with all meeting rules. There is no provision in the manual for an assistant town manager to terminate a meeting.

June 22, 2011

Respectfully submitted, Douglas C Gilford

 
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DPS Investigating QPD – Confirmed

21 Jun

A reliable source has just reported that the Arizona Department of Public Safety has opened an investigation. The subject is the list of charges brought by 10 employees of the Quartzsite Police Department against their department’s leadership. Current Chief Jeff Gilbert is named in most of the complaints which were recently released to the public. The Quartzsite Police Officers Association issued a letter, signed by 9 officers and 1 evidence technician, stating they have  “no confidence” in the chief of police.

Previously,  the Town Manager and the Quartzsite Town Council were insistent that a private investigation be done.  The town would have to bear the expense of such a private investigation. 

Mayor Foster

Mayor Foster

 

Mayor Ed Foster was the sole dissenter. He insisted that the town follow the law and allow an outside police agency to investigate, which has now happened. The mayor pursued an investigation of the Quartzsite Police Department shortly after he entered office 13 months ago. Results of that investigation here:  

2010 Report from DPS regarding Quartzsite Chief of Police Gilbert – requested by Mayor Foster

 
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Quartzsite Sets World Example

17 Jun

A political science teacher in France sees Quartzsite as an example to show his classes. He refers to the Town Council meeting that took place June 14. The teacher sent me this message:

==========================================================================

(YouTube logo)

drvigidasea has sent you a message:

quartzsite council To:1qtown     

Hi,I’m french teacher of politic science & teach Tocqueville & illustre it with US local democraty It would be so great if you could got for me a better quality video of your 2 videos from 14 june : part 2/4 & 3/4 of Quartzsite June 14 2011 Council Reg Meetg. Thankyou so much to let me know.
Best regards
.

==========================================================================

See the original message

 
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Quartzsite May Lose Arizona Grant Funding

15 Jun

Click below to view a letter from the Arizona Department of Housing to the Town of Quartzsite. It indicates that the town is threatened with possible loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant money. Arizona demands in the letter that the town keep up with the grant process. To qualify for this grant, the town must meet deadlines, which are soon to pass.

Letter from Arizona Dept of Housing to Quartzsite – default – June 2011

 
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Watch Video Of Last Night’s Council Meeting

15 Jun

The Quartzsite Town Council held a regular (but not ordinary) meeting last evening.

Watch Video part 1  : Appointment of D. Mallette to MUAC.
Watch Video part 2 : Council agress to seek towing contracts. Lukkasson tries to attack mayor, but can’t get the censure process right.
Watch Video part 3 : Police officers’ attorney speaks, is shown great disrespect by town officials.
Image quality will be improved in a subsequent update to this page. This was a “fast” upload. Thanks for visiting.
 
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Roth Roughed Up At Meeting

15 Jun

Watch Video of Incident and Arrest

Another Quartzsite Town Council meeting, and another citizen arrested last night. Former mayor Steve Bennett pulled on Mike Roth’s shirt, so Mike Roth was arrested. The sergeant who grabbed Roth is accused of 2 potential felonies by another Quartzsite officer. That sergeant has not yet been suspended.  (See story and view letter, just below)

 
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Letter Requests Sergeant Frausto Suspension

04 Jun

Yesterday, Mayor Foster delivered a letter to the office of the Quartzsite Arizona town manager, Alex Taft, asking for the suspension of Xavier Frausto, QPD Sergeant. Click to view the letter:

 View the Letter from Foster to Taft

 
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Shame On Quartzsite’s Town Council

01 Jun

First, let’s thank Mayor Foster and Council Member Jose Lizzaraga for taking their seats to do the town’s business at 6 pm tonight. The remainder of our council disgraced themselves by not appearing at all. Their excuses are listed in a separate report, below.

See Video of Roll Call for Meeting                  See Video of Town Hall Meeting

No meeting could be held without at least 4 of the 7 Council Members present. The meeting room was packed, crowded standing room only. Everyone was disappointed that their elected representatives had not arrived. Most who came did not know anything about serious turmoil in the police department. They had hoped to learn something.

The Mayor then opened the floor to discussion with the public, as a “Town Hall meeting”. This was not just a meeting – this was an historic Quartzsite event. The primary agenda subject was to address a crisis which has developed in the police department. Many of the Quartzsite Police officers and sergeants appeared at the meeting, willing to answer questions posed by the public. The officers have presented to the town council an extensive list of issues in a written complaint and request for the resignation of Police Chief Jeff Gilbert. It was  signed by 10 courageous officers from a staff of 13. The council was not there to listen. In open discussion, the town people expressed strong support for the officers. Police chief Jeff Gilbert requested that his rights to due process be honored.

 
 

TONIGHT 6pm – Special Council Meeting & Press Conference

01 Jun

Today, each Council Member was interviewed and asked “Will you be there tonight for the meeting?”

Council member Jerry Lukkasson:   “No. I have to work”

Council member Joe Winslow:         “I can’t make it”

Council member Barbara Cowell:      “I’ve been very sick”

Council member Bob Kelly:              “I have a nosebleed”

Council member Jose Lizzaraga:       (Unavailable – not on duty today or tonight at Fire Dept.)

Council member Pat Anderson:        “I have to work tonight”

             Summary of Agenda Items:

  1. Investigation in Quartzsite by Arizona Ombudsman’s Office
  2. Problems in Quartzsite Police Department
 
 
 

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