NEWS
-- April 10, the funeral of Rob Krentz
-- April 15, another rally against the Carondelet/Sierra Vista Community Health Center merger
-- April 28, the Benson Food Pantry to close?
UPCOMING
-- April 6, County Supervisors, back to Animal Control Ordinance
-- April 14, Planning & Zoning Commission
-- -- Hazard Abatement Ordinance "work session"
-- -- New Tribes wants to expand; is it safe?
-- -- goats, wind, and private border-watch airplanes
TOPICS
-- Will the Faria Dairy case be reversed by a new state law?
-- Is Commissars coming to the Sunsites-Pearce Fire District?
-- "Sexting" and stupid "public servant" tricks


>>


NEWS



The obituary for Rob Krentz -- murdered by scum -- is at
    http://www.douglasdispatch.com/articles/2010/03/30/obituaries/doc4bb26c81cb22a151717157.txt
The obituary includes "A Rosary will be recited at St. Luke's Catholic Church, Douglas ... on Friday, April 10, 2010 at 6:00 p.m.  A Memorial Mass will be celebrated on Saturday April 10, 2010, at 10:00 a.m. also at St. Luke's Church.  A Celebration of Rob's Life will be held at the Gadsden Hotel following the services.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to"
    the Rob Krentz Memorial Fund, via The Cowbelles, c/o Carol Riggs, 4466 N. Brooks Road, Douglas AZ 85608
or
    the Arizona Cattle Growers' Association's Litigation Fund, c/o Patrick Brey, 1401 N 24th St #4, Phoenix AZ 85008-4638.

The obituary adds that "Brown Page Mortuary is in charge of arrangements, 364-3434," and they can surely supply further details.


April 15, a rally against the "affiliation" of the Sierra Vista Regional Health Center with Carondelet.

Chuck Alton, at
    http://cochisetalk.com
which has online audio of events around Cochise County, emails that there'll be an online petition against the merger.

There was an anti-merger rally last Saturday, March 27.  The Sierra Vista Herald article is online at
    http://www.svherald.com/content/news/2010/03/28/120-vent-their-frustrations-hospital-deal

For that rally, Chuck sent around an email including:
    "Reproductive and end-of-life policy changes at local hospital startle local women and the elderly.
    "Sierra Vista hospital faces mounting opposition to signed merger deal with sectarian church-based Carondelet Health Care Network....
    "... a growing number of locals are becoming more and more intent on stopping the hospital's merger with Carondelet Health Network, however difficult that may be.
    "It is quite obvious that hospital administrators and board members would rather not talk in public about this issue of concern to so many."

By sectarian, Chuck means Roman Catholic.  I haven't seen any anti-Catholicism, as such, about this; I do see worries that Catholic dogma will be applied to everyone at the hospital, including non-Catholics.  That's a thorny problem.

An earlier SV Herald article on the subject is at
    http://www.svherald.com/content/news/2010/03/11/hospital-deal-stirs-emotions

It quotes a letter from the Bishop of Tucson, including:
        "... there has been some miscommunication about the
    Church's end-of-life teachings from persons in your
    community who are not aware of what the Church really
    teaches about the end of life.
        "Please be assured that when it comes to the agonizing
    decisions that families and individuals are faced with at
    the end of life that Catholic affiliated health care
    institutions, including hospitals, are dedicated to
    providing compassionate care that respects a person's
    dignity and the person's right to make decisions.
        "I encourage you to read the Church's directives and
    guidance that specifically relate to end of life decisions
    ...."

However, despite the bishop's letter, the issues aren't only about "end-of-life teachings," they're also about the actual implementation of policies about pain relief, abortion, contraception, and sterilization.

Here's a website with the directives that the bishop mentions:
    http://www.usccb.org/bishops/directives.shtml#partfour
    
That site includes, as to partnerships with non-Catholic hospitals:  "Any partnership ... must respect church teaching and discipline."  In other words, the Sierra Vista facility must follow Catholic rules, or the deal couldn't have been made.

Some of the rules with the Sierra Vista facility must follow are:
    Living wills:  "a Catholic health care institution will
... not honor an advance directive that is contrary to Catholic teaching...."
    Pain before dying:  "Patients experiencing suffering that cannot be alleviated should be helped to appreciate the Christian understanding of redemptive suffering."
    Abortion:  "Catholic health care institutions are not to provide abortion services ...."
    Contraception:  "Catholic health institutions may not promote or condone contraceptive practices but should provide ... instruction both about the Church's teaching on ... natural family planning."
    Sterilization:  "Direct sterilization ... is not permitted in a Catholic health care institution...."

There's no point in arguing religion, and as religions go, Roman Catholicism has satisfied more people, for a longer time, than almost anybody else.  Nobody wants to change the Catholic church's rules for Catholics.  But no matter how satisfying those rules are to Catholics, it's unlikely that many Protestants, Jews, Mormons, etc., want to follow them.  The Bishop of Tucson hasn't addressed that issue, and the Sierra Vista facility's directors (those who haven't resigned) are dodging too, so it's no wonder that there are protests by people who want to be allowed to practice their own religious beliefs.  It's a "Community" hospital, and people feel that Sierra Vista shouldn't have an "approved religion."


The Benson Food Pantry to close on April 28?

It sure would be nice if the following email weren't true:  "The Benson Food Pantry will close its doors April 28th.  We do not have a new location.  Larry is in Colorado looking to relocate himself and his family there.  I'm not on the board of directors and don't want to step on any toes but by the end of next month, there won't be any toes to step on.  What a loss for the community of Benson and the people who really need our services.  I'm not sure what can be done at this point unless we had a building.  We could just let the county know another promise from Richard to get votes but no real action.  No Building.  No Food Pantry."

Back in 2006, the San Pedro Valley News-Sun ran a squib about the Benson Food Pantry that said "Boxes for diabetics are available ... each Wednesday ....  One box per month."  One hopes that as a public health measure, that service, at least, has found a home; if it's already moved elsewhere, great.


>>


UPCOMING


The ANIMAL CONTROL ORDINANCE will be polished off by the County Supervisors at the 10 a.m. meeting on April 6.

A long writeup on the subject is at
    
http://littlebigdog.net/AnimalControlForApril6.htm

That page goes into great detail on the following specifics in the new Animal Control Ordinance "sort of passed" on February 23.

The County's rewrite following up the Feb 23 meeting is online at
    
http://cochise.az.gov/uploadedFiles/Main_Page/News/Draft%20Animal%20ordinance%2003%2004%2010%20post-hearing%20greenline%20version.doc

It's not clear whether the Supervisors will, on April 6, discuss the many issues that they didn't take time for on Feb 23.  In any case, here's a short list of BAD THINGS in the new ordinance, followed by GOOD THINGS, then a list of UNUSUAL THINGS about the timing of the ordinance.

BAD THINGS in the partially-considered ordinance
-- deputy county attorney Britt Hanson has to settle down and cite a state statute properly.  Correcting this error would take two seconds.  Hanson has a law degree, why won't he use it more?
-- For cats, "colony caregivers" get special status, and parts of the law are essentially "outsourced" to private organizations.
-- Animal Control Officers have too much power and discretion, in light of the ongoing scandal and federal lawsuit based on improper Animal Control Officer behavior.
-- County Supervisor Pat Call should address the possible conflict of interest between his having an interest in a pet shop, and voting for an ordinance that caters to local dog clubs whose attitude toward his shop may depend on his vote.  Perhaps there is no conflict; Call should explain, to put everyone's mind at ease.
-- Sloppy definitions for "Destructive Animal," "Owner," and "Provoke"
-- Sloppy ordinances about keeping dogs under control, vicious dogs, supplying water to animals, impoundment and euthanization
-- A mistake about noisy dogs.  Section 8.1 doesn't allow a dog to "bark or howl unrestrained or excessively."  However, ARS 11-1005.A.5 lets a BOS forbid excessive AND unrestrained barking, not "OR."  The oral discussion used "and," but when Searle made a motion, he said "or;" at least, that's what this writer heard, and asked Searle about immediately after the meeting.  Deputy county attorney Britt Hanson jumped in and said "I heard 'and'."  Reporter Shar Porier evidently heard the same as Hanson, because her article in the Sierra Vista Herald stated that Searle's motion "to follow the state statute of 'excessive and unrestrained barking' was OK'd."  But Hanson's draft doesn't follow what he and Porier heard.  This section should say "and," in accord with state law.

GOOD THINGS in the partially-considered ordinance
-- Merely leaving an animal alone for 24 hours is no longer considered abandonment.
-- Animal Control Officers authority to impound animals has been slightly reduced.
-- DOG LICENSES ARE ABOLISHED, and along with them went all references to kennels.

UNUSUAL THINGS:  Comments have come in about the County's recent purchase of the old Ames veterinary building in Douglas.  They can be boiled down to one question:  Did the owner first move his operation from that building onto land owned by the County, and then sell the building to the County?  There'll be followup on this.


The HAZARD ABATEMENT ORDINANCE will get a work session at the Planning & Zoning Commission meeting on April 14

A work session was ordered at the December 9 meeting of the Planning & Zoning Commission.  Citizens asked questions which the Planning Department staff tried to ignore.  The Commission, to its great credit, followed up the questions, and was unhappy with the Planning Department staff's, and deputy county attorney Adam Ambrose's, inability to address the issues in a meaningful way.  The result was, the Commission ordered a work session to be held within 90 days.  In March, the work session was delayed until April 14.

The new draft is a big improvement over what flopped on December 9.  The new draft is posted by the County at
    http://cochise.az.gov/uploadedFiles/Planning_and_Zoning/hazard%20abate%20revised%203%2024%2010%20version%20%282%29.pdf
The prompt posting is due, I believe, to Planning Dept. employee Susana Montana, who promised to have a new draft posted at least a week before the meeting.  She did much better than that, thank her very much!

A text version of the draft, easier than .pdf to work with, is at
    http://littlebigdog.net/HazOrdMarchDraftAsText.htm
That text version, with citizen comments added, is at
    http://littlebigdog.net/HazOrdMarchDraftComments.htm
and will be updated with new comments from time to time.

Although the new draft is an improvement, many concerns still haven't been answered, and nobody from the Planning Dept. has contacted any of the citizens who spoke up on December 9.  Imagine how much more could be accomplished if the Dept. worked with citizens instead of treating them like intruders.

A good example occurred on March 29.  This writer sent deputy county attorney Adam Ambrose an email complimenting his work and pointing him to the two littlebigdog.net pages mentioned above,
    http://littlebigdog.net/HazOrdMarchDraftAsText.htm
and
    http://littlebigdog.net/HazOrdMarchDraftComments.htm
and closing
        "We'd really like to discuss those issues with you, so
    feel free to email back at your convenience...."

About an hour later, attorney Ambrose answered, including
        "... I really don't have time to both serve my clients
    and debate this with you between now and April 14 (although
    I want the benefit of any comments I can get).  That's why I
    hope you'll show up at the April 14 work session and share
    your comments then (I will ask that the chair recognize
    you).  I'm glad you're interested.  I hope you'll still try
    to email me your substantive comments before the April 14
    meeting."

To which this writer answered, including:
        "As to 'debate,' I was hoping to 'discuss;' ... I don't
    see it as very productive for you to ask for citizen
    comments, but refuse to discuss them before the work
    session.  That would limit discussion of citizen comments to
    the short duration of a work session, and it's obvious that
    citizens' concerns deserve a lot more time than that hour or
    two to discuss.  See
            http://littlebigdog.net/hazardfinal.htm
    for the kind of work that citizens did before the December 9
    meeting....  It was the Department's inadequate response to
    those issues that led the Commission to require a work
    session....  And now, for you to only 'let citizens in' at
    the last possible time doesn't look like it can produce the
    best possible ordinance.
        "Hoping you'll change your mind & discuss some issues
    in time to work them out before the meeting ...."

Ambrose has replied that he will consider what he sees; he hasn't said he'll stoop to discussing things with mere citizens.

Ambrose's idea -- for citizens to tell him what they think before the meeting, and for him to do what he wants with citizen input, but not discuss it or even tell citizens whether he favors it or not -- would keep citizens in the dark until the meeting, and maximize their work in preparing for the meeting.  Citizens would not know which ideas Ambrose had completely rejected, and if Ambrose accepted some ideas but modified them, citizens would not be able to have a discussion about the modification.  That is NOT the way to use citizen resources, that is a way to exclude them.  It is an odd choice for Ambrose to make, given how the Commission reacted on December 9 when neither the Department nor Ambrose was able to handle a real discussion.  You'd think Ambrose would now be working to enable a real discussion, instead of hampering one.

Ambrose's comment about serving his "clients" brings up another issue:  Ambrose is confused about who his client is.  His client is, ultimately, the voters, not mere temporary officeholders chosen by the voters, or appointed employees chosen by temporary officeholders.  When temporary officeholders, or appointed employees, act as if they own the office they work in, then Ambrose's job is not to confirm them in their comfort, but to disabuse them of their illusions.


NEW TRIBES WANTS TO EXPAND:  IS IT SAFE?
The April 14 P&Z Commission meeting will consider the New Tribes airport application for expansion

The New Tribes airfield in McNeal, Arizona, has applied for a Special Use Permit to add a 6-bedroom "guest house that will be available to visiting friends and families of" New Tribes, a gymnasium "for interior recreation for [New Tribes] personnel and their families," and "6 new homes for staff families in addition to the 25 homes already on the property."

CCIPRA opposes the permit, and has a very long discussion why at
    http://littlebigdog.net/NewTribesMcNealAZExpansion.htm

The reasons discussed at length on that page include, but are by no means limited to --
-- allegations of child abuse at New Tribes boarding schools, and other misconduct by New Tribes employees at the HQ in Florida, and an apparent coverup by the organization
-- New Tribes attacks on Mormonism, Roman Catholicism, Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh-Day Adventism, Christian Science, and other religions which are not unknown in the Sulphur Springs Valley
-- New Tribes "missionary work" that amounts to genocide
-- differences between what New Tribes says its mission is, and what New Tribes actually does
-- differences between why New Tribes said it came to McNeal, and what New Tribes now wants to do
-- New Tribes harm to its neighbors in McNeal
-- New Tribes in McNeal constantly pushing the limits of its permit to operate the airfield


Two other items for the April 14 P&Z Commission meeting:

-- Inspiring, about goats and wind power.  See
    http://www.co.cochise.az.us/LegalNotices/SU-10-07.htm
J. C. Mutchler wants "to establish and operate a goat cheese making operation ... and to supplement on-site power needs with two additional 55' wind turbines".  The address is 11432 S. Triple R Ranch Road, Palominas.

-- Controversial, about private border patrolling.  See
    http://www.co.cochise.az.us/LegalNotices/SU-10-04.htm
"Glen Spencer of Alan Nelson, LLC" wants "to legitimize an existing ... private airstrip and ... hangar" at 11647 S. Apache Sky Road, Palominas.  And here, thanks to Keith Dennis via Susan Ostrander, is a link to the "packet" accompanying this application:
    http://littlebigdog.net/SpencerAirstripPacket.pdf
There's a huge controversy over this application.  Many of the applicant's neighbors appear to be totally disenchanted with him.  The recent murder of Rob Krentz by someone -- quite possibly a Mexican drug smuggler -- who fled to Mexico may be a factor in the argument.


>>


TOPICS


-- The County Supervisors Association's latest weekly update is at
    http://www.countysupervisors.org/email/email.cfm?id=289
and as always, is worth a look.  This week's discussion of legislation includes a mention of HB 2428, about Boards Of Adjustment and county zoning hearings.  See the bill at
    http://www.azleg.gov/DocumentsForBill.asp?Bill_Number=2428


-- THE FARIA DAIRY CASE is over, and the Farias lost, but there's a pending bill to reverse the outcome.  The Farias could then revive their feedlot.  The latest info on the bill is at
    http://www.azleg.gov/DocumentsForBill.asp?Bill_Number=1412
As of March 31, that page shows the bill still "held," but any citizen who wants the Court decision to stand should be working to keep that bill from moving ahead.  Here's the page for the legislature
    http://www.azleg.gov/
and here's a page with legislators and contact information:
    http://www.azleg.gov/MemberRoster.asp
You can use that info to contact your representatives from the 25th District:
    Senator Manny Alvarez
    Representative Pat Fleming
    Representative David Stevens


-- Is Commissars coming to the Sunsites-Pearce Fire District?  Here
    http://littlebigdog.net/SunsitesFDGag.jpg
is a written order, apparently from Sunsites-Pearce Fire District Chief Martinez on February 4, 2010, stating "From this day forward no personnel shall have any Department Business conversations with the Fire District Board.  By having these conversations, is considered conflict of interest.  It will not be tolerated."

Da, tovarishch.  But what about forbidding firefighters to speak to Fire District Board members?  Is considered violation of free speech?

I emailed spfd@vtc.net on March 15 and 16, asking if the message was genuine.  No response of any kind, so it's safe to conclude that the message is genuine, and that Chief Martinez has put a gag order on his subordinates.  Can that be legal?  If Martinez has researched the law, he might tell the public what he found.


-- Sexting and stupid "public servant" tricks

The case of Abuelhawa v. US, decided by the US Supreme Court on May 26, 2009, has a lesson for politicians who "don't have time" to consider legal issues; and recent developments reinforce that lesson.

In the Abuelhawa case, a government wiretap of a drug dealer caught six phone calls between Abuelhawa and the dealer, in which Abuelhawa arranged two 1-gram purchases of cocaine.  Abuelhawa was convicted of two purchases and six felony "facilitations" of sales to himself.  The Supreme Court reversed his felony convictions, reasoning that "Where a transaction like a sale necessarily presupposes two parties with specific roles, it would be odd to speak of one party as facilitating the other's conduct."  One lesson:  government employees should not turn their brains off when they read or write statutes.

A similar "I'm at work, so turn off my brain" problem led to the case of Miller v. Skumanick, which involved "sexting," that is, sending sexually suggestive images via cell phones.

In this case, Marissa Miller was a high school student.  George Skumanick was District Attorney of Wyoming County, Pennsylvania.  Wyoming County has 1/16 the area of Cochise County and 1/5 the population.  It's a hilly, isolated county.  Skumanick had been District Attorney for twenty years -- but after filing this case, he lost the next election.

In 2008, high school administrators found "sexting" photos of students on about 20 students' cell phones.  Skumanick said he could file charges of pornography against the girls in the photos.  A girl convicted would probably have to register as a sex offender for ten years, with her name and picture posted on the state's sex-offender website.

Skumanick told the parents he would not bring charges if the girls accepted six months of probation and drug testing, and successfully completed a "re-education" program, covering "how their actions were wrong," "what it means to be a girl in today's society," how to "identify non-traditional societal and job roles," an essay on "[w]hat you did" and "[w]hy it was wrong."

Miller and others sued Skumanick in federal court, alleging that the girls have a Constitutional right to avoid Skumanick's idea of "re-education," that parents have a Constitutional right to direct their children's education, and that Skumanick could not possibly win the pornography case, so that any prosecution would be mere retaliation against girls for exercising their rights.

The judge granted a restraining order against Skumanick, who immediately appealed.  During the appeal, Skumanick lost his bid for re-election; the new District Attorney took office by the time for oral argument in appeals court.  The new D.A. hired another attorney to do his argument.  On March 17, 2010, the girls won; see
    http://www.ca3.uscourts.gov/opinarch/092144p.pdf
which notes that the County's "counsel could not make a representation to us as to whether [Skumanick] had ... any evidence of [Doe's] transmission of the photo....  Despite ample opportunity, the District Attorney has failed to present any semblance of probable cause."

Skumanick simply ignored the statute while threatening to charge girls for violating it.  Every attorney is a Juris Doctor, a J.D.; but a J.D. does not become a J. Deity merely by getting a county job.  Public servants should not blindly follow what county attorneys say, because sometimes county attorneys say dumb things.

That's true in Cochise County, too.  For instance, on March 11, 2009, I sent a County Supervisor an email including:
    "supervisors often get advice from the County Attorney's office that seems aimed at letting supervisors do whatever they want, never mind the law.  A deputy county attorney even told me years ago that that kind of enabling was his job....
    "Recently the supervisors allowed the Planning Department ... to charge citizens some fees that recover the general overhead of government.  State law forbids such fees, but the County Attorney's office gave advice which contradicted state law, and each supervisor voted for the illegal fees.  The next day, a different problem with the fees came out.  State law required 15 days' notice before the hearing on the fees ....  But the 'notice' doesn't describe the fees actually presented at the hearing.  Once again, the County Attorney's office gave advice that would let the supervisors evade the law.
    "You [that is, the Supervisor] & I traded emails ....  Your last comment was 'As a member of the Board of Supervisors, we are by law, represented legally by the County Attorney in our actions as a board member....  The Board has the ability to hire an attorney for counsel on special issues but this is not exercised very often.  An individual supervisor has no authority to hire counsel and we depend on the office of the County Attorney for legal advice regarding work done as a supervisor.'"

I answered the supervisor by citing and discussing four Arizona statutes, ARS 11-532, -251, -266, and -233.  This was evidently too much detail, because the supervisor responded "if I reply to your e-mail, you tear it apart and if I don't reply, you infer that I do not care.  I am not in a win or lose game with you.  I want to keep the lines of communication open with all my constituents.  In the future I will limit my responses to verbal.  I do not have the time to ... make sure I use the correct phraseology to satisfy a legal mind."

So a supervisor, ostensibly "to keep the lines of communication open," chose to allow only "verbal" (meaning oral) communication, which encourages citizens to feel that communicating is a waste of time, since the supervisor evidently wishes to have only shallow conversation, and leave no tracks of that.

Also, it's offensive for a supervisor to dismiss concerns about legality as a "game," and act as if "satisfy[ing] a legal mind" were too much to expect a supervisor to handle.   Supervisors make about $7000 a month; for that, they can strain their brain once in a while.

Another part of the case reflects on more recent conduct by the County Attorney's office.  CCIPRANs may recall the recent incident in which appointed deputy county attorney Britt Hanson didn't like a Public Records Request I filed, so he emailed special commands to me in particular about filing Requests, and said "We will advise all County employees of this directive."

For me to find out what County employees received from Hanson about me in particular, it took four tries.  First, Hanson didn't answer; he relayed his three answers answers through a County employee.  Second, he talked about what he had kept instead of what County employees had received; third, he talked about emails, and no other form of communication; and fourth, he finally admitted that he had sent nothing to County employees.  Perhaps Hanson intends to give oral advice to all County employees in person.  Or perhaps he has prudently backed down from threatening a citizen for exercising his legal rights.

By sheer good luck, Hanson's possible conduct is related to one of the cases cited in the "sexting" case:  Wilkie v. Robbins (551 US 537, 2007), quoted thus:  "In the standard retaliation case ..., the plaintiff has ... typically [said] something that irritates the defendant official; the question is whether the official's later action against the plaintiff was taken ... for the purpose of punishing for the exercise of a constitutional right (that is, retaliation, probably motivated by spite)."

That Hanson threatened a citizen for exercising his legal rights is a reminder that "a J.D. does not become a J. Deity merely by getting a county job."


>>


Please remember to drop by CCIPRA now and then, at
   http://littlebigdog.net/ccipra.htm
And the same for ACIPRA, in Apache County, at
   http://acipra.wordpress.com