7/5/2011 5:00:00 PM Another arrest at Quartzsite council meeting
John Gutekunst Parker Pioneer
QUARTZSITE - Quartzsite resident Jennifer "Jade" Harris-Jones was arrested at the June 28 Quartzsite Town Council meeting after she declined to leave the podium during Call to the Public after council members voted to have her removed.
Jones was speaking out against what she described as new rules regarding Call of the Public, claiming there had been no council discussion or vote on these rules.
As she was speaking, Councilman Joe Winslow made a motion to remove her from the podium. This was seconded by Councilman Jerry Lukkasson. With the exception of Mayor Ed Foster, the council members voted to have her removed.
Foster protested the vote, telling the council members Jones had the floor and she was exercising her First Amendment rights.
Town Manager Alex Taft told the Pioneer she quickly asked Town Attorney Pam Walsma if removing Jones was legal. When Walsma said it was, she motioned for police officers to remove Jones.
A scuffle ensued when officers attempted to remove Jones. On a tape of the incident posted on the Internet, Police Chief Jeff Gilbert can be heard asking Jones not to resist. Foster can also be heard telling Gilbert not to arrest Jones.
"You are in violation of the Mayor's order!" Foster told Gilbert.
Another voice on the tape can be heard saying, "Jade! Let it go!"
Jones was cited for disorderly conduct and released.
Jones was injured in the incident and transported to La Paz Regional Hospital, where she was treated for a sprained elbow.
Taft said the rules Jones criticized were nothing new at all. One of the rules was state law, ARS 9-240.13, which states a common council has the power, "To prevent, suppress, and punish any riot, rout, affray, disorderly noise or disturbance in any public or private place in the town."
Taft said the rules regarding Call to the Public were adopted by town ordinance some years ago, and are posted with every council agenda. Rule 6 states, "Citizens shall observe rules of propriety, decorum and good conduct. Profanity, threatening or personal attacks and slanderous remarks are not permitted. If such behavior does not cease at the request of the Mayor, the individual may be barred from further audience before the Council, unless permission is granted by a vote of the council."
This was the second arrest in June at a Quartzsite council meeting. At the June 14 meeting, resident Michael Roth was arrested for disorderly conduct. He has since filed criminal complaints against Barbara Bowman and Steve Bennett. Bowman allegedly shoved Roth, and Bennett allegedly grabbed him by the collar.
In another matter, the council announced they would be accepting letters from residents who want to fill the council seat vacated by the resignation of Jose Lizarraga. Lizarraga resigned so he can run for mayor in the recall election scheduled for August. The council will be accepting letters through July 25.
Posted: Friday, July 22, 2011
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I watched the video and it is appalling how this whole situation was handled. Though I don't recall anyone being arrested at Blythe City Council meetings, I know personally how the Mayor and Council talk down to the public, respond to public comments after you leave the podium and then don't want to give you a chance for rebuttal and don't want you to answer a council member who responds to your comments by keeping eye contact with you the whole time (even moving their head to do so). At the last council meeting I attended I enlightened them on the Brown Act which covers public meetings and none had any response to the facts I stated. Until you are willing to gain knowledge to defend your position and back it up you will be at the mercy of those who have been allowed to run rampant. This is not an issue confined to Arizona, but to many governments that have let the power bestowed upon them go to their heads. Remember the City of Bell anyone? Hopefully, the upcoming elections in both towns will usher in new blood and usher out old blood and those who set their personal agendas above what is best for their cities. Time will tell.
Posted: Wednesday, July 20, 2011
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clear violation of her 1st amended rights!! just like blythe city counsel and police these people are only worried about themselves and thier own dictations of the law, i think mabe people in the community should get up off their (deleted) and do somthing rather than procrastinate about it.......just saying. If it looks like poop, smells like poop than there you go thats your answer.......POOP and you have to step in it eventually and be held acountable for your own actions
Posted: Monday, July 18, 2011
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C. F. Dunbar
The type of things happening in Qz are just symptomatic of the bad stuff brewing thru that whole state. In just 50 years a state that once was seen as the epitome the American spirit has gone from being desired to despised. From Wild West to a breeding ground for neo-facist thinking, complete with it's own Adolph wannabe. The stuff that comes out of Sheriff Joes' mouth could come right out of Mein Kampf. Establish fear of the 'undesirables'. In Arizona it's anyone not white, in Germany it was anybody not ...well, white. Very, very white! The Poles are coming, the Poles are coming! The Mexicans are coming, the Mexicans are coming!! Very soon....VERY soon...Az will consist of mostly thugs and people too old to rein them in. Pathetic! Truly pathetic! You see, it's not always true you 'get what you pay for'. It's also true you 'get what you cower too'. You have a serious illness, Arizona. Very serious. Fear is the Thugs greatest weapon.
Posted: Sunday, July 10, 2011
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For those that live in Quartzsite I feel bad that you have a calous Council and a unethical, maybe corrupt police department.
I really wish I lived within your corporate/municipal limits so I could help.you.