the Cochise County, Arizona,
Individual & Property Rights Association
editor: Mike Jackson,
last edited July 14, 2015
are some Danish cartoons of Mohammed
that fundamentalist Moslems kill people for. I think
American with a website should post them, because the only argument
that has a chance of working with those people is to prove to them that
killing achieves the opposite of what they want. Here's my
Click on the image you get, and it will expand to full size.
Americans have free
speech, with as few limits as possible. The recent creation of
categories like "hate speech" and "hate
crimes" is stupid; our basic rule is to
punish acts, not words or thoughts. There is no excuse for
killing others merely for what they say. If we let anyone scare
us into giving up free speech, we
lose. A superb column about the weak-brained weakening of free
speech by America's own press is at this
And hooray for Norway, which values free speech more than America
does. See this
Speaking of free speech, post your comments here:
CCIPRA exists to
oppose the forces which would take away your
rights. CCIPRA began by focusing on realtors, developers, and
their government enablers, but now the focus is broader. Ordinary
citizens working together can protect themselves.
-- In Apache County, ACIPRA, CCIPRA's cousin, is very
active. See its Facebook page here.
-- In Cochise County, David Morgan works hard to stay on top of our
secretive and slippery government. His Facebook
page is here,
and here is his email.
-- Another valuable source of local info is Chuck Alton, at websites
-- For dispassionately grinding out the real numbers about Cochise
County, I know of no better source than Robert Carreira's CER site here.
The four parts of this site, with links underlined
and blue and with new items or major rewrites in red,
-- a quick guide to local government is at the
bottom of this site including the most important things to keep
of: Board Of Supervisors meetings, and Planning &
Zoning Commission meetings. Links to those meetings are in this
section. You should check those links
regularly for items that concern you.
-- current events are here
including Federal courts differ about
Constitutional rights, in cases certain to go to the Supreme
Court /Double Pay Pat Call's
real motive about water exposed /Stubborn
ignorance by Cochise County Supervisors
-- lagniappe is here including Southrons being
more disgusting than usual /An attack on Hillar is an attack on
Pat Call /The clash of civilizations in a lawsuit arising in
Bisbee /A look at
old LIFE magazines 10/16/44
issues are here including Dump the
county Building Code /Should
every county have five Supervisors? /Abuse by helipad
courts differ about Constitutional rights, in cases certain to go to
the Supreme Court
A while back a federal court in Texas ruled that American
Constitutional rights do not extend to Mexicans in Mexico; now an
Arizona federal court has ruled that yes, American Constitutional
rights do extend to Mexicans in Mexico. The cases are about
Border Patrol agents shooting south across the border, and killing
people. Life along the border can be brutal. As everyone
living on the border knows, the Border Patrol has the right to enter
your property without a warrant, except for your main residence.
That's a clear violation of the Constitution's Fourth Amendment, which
didn't stop Congress from passing the law allowing it. And the
Patrol can stop and question all drivers for no reason. The
result is often called the "Constitution-free zone" along our southern
is an ACLU writeup about it. So it was funny to see an article,
quote an ACLU officer as saying "The court adopted a common-sense
approach and correctly held that there can be no constitution-free zone
on the border." Now, I'm a life member of the ACLU, and proud of
it, but the ACLU was wrong in calling this a common-sense approach:
-- Common sense says that America has its constitution, and Mexico has
a constitution, and each constitution applies inside its own country's
boundary. Mexican territory has always been constitution-free, as
far as American's constitution is concerned. And if America's
constitution extends into Mexico, does Mexico's constitution extend
into America? If so, I'll have to start studying up on my Mexican
rights, and suing for them in American courts. And, as of July
14, after the escape of "El Chapo," it's become very obvious -- follow this
-- how the Mexican "government" strictly
refuses to extend any American influence into Mexico, when it suits the
central "government's" purposes. I don't know that it's
completely fair to let Mexicans pick and choose between claiming that
our Constitution extends into their country, and rejecting any
influence of our government.
-- If the ACLU wants to start fighting the existence of a
constitution-free zone on the border, how about fighting for the rights
of the 200 million Americans who live in the zone where the Border
Patrol says it can override the Fourth Amendment? The ACLU
doesn't (unfortunately) have infinite resources, and to the extent that
the ACLU is using its limited resources to fight for Fourth Amendment
rights of Mexicans in Mexico, but not using its resources to fight for
the Fourth Amendment rights of Americans inside America, the ACLU's
priorities are out of whack.
The cases are certain to go the (American) Supreme Court, and when that
happens, perhaps the ACLU can litigate the entire matter of the
territory where the Fourth Amendment is supposed to apply.
Double Pay Pat Call's
real motives about water exposed
Three articles appeared online on June 7, about the water situation
around Willcox in eastern Cochise County, and water problems that are
on the way. These articles give good background for the
discussion below. The Arizona Republic has this
article, which includes some actual local reporting. From the
New York Times, here
is an article about what's happening in California and can easily
happen in Arizona. And from Reveal, here
is an article about the incredible subsidence of farmland in California
because of water use.
People on the east of Cochise County are working
hard to fix a river gets
little attention from the backroom boys who run the County. A
good update by reporter Carol Broeder is here.
It includes results from the Arizona Department of Water Resources that
are scary: in the Willcox Basin, groundwater levels are typically
declining at least 2' per year, and sometimes over 5'.
Results for the Douglas Basin (which includes Douglas, Bisbee, and
McNeal) and the San Simon sub-basin (including Bowie and San
Simon) will be published later this year. Meanwhile,
thanks to the Pearce/Sunsites Chamber Of Commerce for passing on the
December 2014 ADWR Well Report; I've posted it online here --
and its scariest page, showing the water level
dropping 300' in 60 years, is on this page.
That kind of drop in the water level can make water too expensive to
reach for many people, but 14 new
agricultural wells have recently been permitted. Is the eastern
side of the county to become populated by commercial
but emptied of families? This is a problem that local people have
known about, and tried to solve, for years. The
Arizona Department Of Water Resources
played games with water requirements to allow the giant Tribute housing
project -- until Tricia Gerrodette and Robin Silver sued and won to
make the ADWR "get real." Elsewhere in the county, people like
Randy Redhawk and Charles Tidd work hard to solve water problems that
the Sierra Vista clique has
let slide. For more information you can
email Tricia Gerrodette here
and Randy Redhawk here.
Add to the above the thorough, almost scholarly, reporting of Carol
Broeder in the Willcox Range News at this
article. And there's another Carol Broeder report, dated May
highlighting a basic split between people who oppose new regulations
because there is no present disaster and because new regulations would
decrease the price of land, and people who want new regulations
because the present regulations will allow uncontrolled growth which
will be a disaster and make the land uninhabitable and essentially
On June 8, the Sierra Vista Herald printed an article here
which was headlined "Arizona water outlook not as dire as neighboring
California," but whose text made clear that the headline was
wrong: Arizona's present
is not as bad as California's, but Arizona's outlook is just as dire as
On June 9, the Benson News Sun compensated a bit for the Herald's
flackery by posting, at
an article which closes with an obvious, indisputable truth stated by
Tricia Gerrodette: "Creating a water-intensive Tuscany in the
drought-stricken desert raises a red flag for the future of the nearby
San Pedro River."
And there's more simple truth from Gerrodette in a fact-filled opinion
piece in the SV Herald at this
It could be almost fun, if the public interest weren't being so
mangled, to watch Doublepay Pat Call weep and moan about conserving the
San Pedro near Fort Huachuca, in order to keep the fort from shutting
down and letting Sierra Vista revert to its natural state -- a cluster
of bars, pawn shops, and hook shops near the fort's gate -- while
encouraging a giant house tract 35 miles away, on the same San Pedro
River, which won't influence
any decision about closing down the fort. The goal of Doublepay
Pat's crowd isn't to save water, just to suck the big bucks
into a narrow corridor in the west side of the county, and keep the
double paychecks coming.
by Cochise County Supervisors
A Board Of Supervisors has strong jaws and sharp teeth.
A BOS can
require any elected county officer to report under oath about anything
connected with his job, and post a performance bond; and if the
officer won't make the report or post the bond, the BOS can fire him
and appoint a replacement.
But in Cochise County, those jaws have turned into jowls, those teeth
the denture glass, and the BOS gums along to "duh dumb, duh dumb, dumb
dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb." Our Supervisors won't supervise
Part of the problem is built into some of the Supervisors. One
Supervisor, Pat Call, is in
thrall to people who want to build giant house tracts. Another
Supervisor, Ann English, has a do-nothing and learn-nothing
reputation. Call and English take full pay regardless.
ridicule such well-paid public disservice, and if Call and English
don't like being ridiculed, they should start
representing taxpaying citizens, and stop representing special
interests or their own vanity. There's an old saying, "Every
saint has a past, every sinner has a
future." Why, oh why, do our County Supervisors insist on
wallowing in political sin, and refuse to lift their snouts out of the
muck and trot toward a better future? I've been to lots
of BOS meetings, and a lot of
times they looked like this
tv show, where overpaid talent doesn't know anything about the
Another part of the problem is resistance to being supervised, even by
county officers who should know that being supervised is part of the
job. On January 20, 2015, I emailed open letters
to two County
employees: Sheriff Dannels and County Attorney McIntyre.
Both letters are posted here.
Here's a discussion of them.
The letter to Sheriff Dannels asked if he acknowledged that he is
subject to ARS
-- that is, if he acknowledges that the County Supervisors can
supervise his department. It seems strange to ask a public
officer if he acknowledges state law, but I was following up a hearsay
allegation that Dannels emphatically said the Supervisors
had no authority over his office except for the budget.
On January 21, Dannels' office mailed a response. One word --
"Yes" or "No" -- would have
sufficed. I got a 446-word gas leak, consisting of two paragraphs
from the Sheriff's homepage here and the "To
All" paragraph from this
page, which said nice things about motherhood and apple pie, but
didn't come anywhere near to answering my question. I
tried three more times (January 21, January 22, and February 13) to
get an answer, but all I got was "Per Sheriff
Dannels, the answer to the first question was previously
What to conclude? Well, anyone willing to answer Yes
would do so; Sheriff Dannels won't do so; therefore, his answer must be
No, he doesn't acknowledge that he's
subject to ARS 11-253. That's
worrisome, and some "dog whistle" language in his 446 words
engenders more worries. The "dog whistle" is his saying
"constitutionally elected office." That echoes the
"constitutional sheriff" movement, which is pseudo-legal gobbledygook
to let crazy sheriffs feel good about seceding from the Union.
When I see our sheriff anywhere near that path, I want our Supervisors
to step in and prevent the County from starting down a long, expensive,
and embarrassing path of litigation.
I think there's an obvious lesson here for elected
you insult citizens and lose votes when you dodge questions, especially
when you pretend not to be dodging. But if you answer questions
in a plain and forthright way, while you may lose some votes on a
particular issue, you
will gain votes for being honest in general. As to Sheriff
Dannels in particular, I think everyone in
Cochise County wants him to be so good that we vote for him another
five or ten times. So when he gets off-track a little, as he did
with answering my question, we want to see him get back on track.
And if we don't tell him what we want, we can't complain if he doesn't
My other January 21 email was to County Attorney Brian McIntyre.
His system instantly replied "sender denied," and he has never answered
my email -- I guess my taxes don't contribute to his salary. I
emailed McIntyre because he signed an illegal subpoena to get a
journalist's emails, supposedly in an investigation. The
subpoena's two pages are here and here. The subpoena cites a law
which says a subpoena may NOT be used to get emails. Did McIntyre
read what he signed? Citizens need to know if their County
Attorney intends to follow the law. My email to McIntyre
suggested that the County could avoid spending huge amounts of time and
money if he would simply withdraw the illegal subpoena. But
McIntyre clammed up.
McIntyre inherited a dysfunctional
predecessor Ed Rheinheimer, and the Supervisors languidly accepted bad
legal work. For instance, a
once told the BOS that they had been violating an important law
for eight years, but he wasn't losing sleep over it -- after which the
Supervisors kept on disobeying the law while they
tried to get the legislature to change it; and when that effort
failed, they didn't start obeying the law for over a year. That
thing gave both the CAO
and the BOS a bad name. Now, McIntyre has missed a chance to
improve the department's reputation by clearing up his "illegal
scandal, and the BOS seems to be coddling him the same way it babied
David Morgan, the journalist whose emails were subpoenaed,
sent a Public Records Request to the County for documents from the
A deputy attorney answered "there are no available
public records responsive to your request." That's playing with
words, and it violates the Public Records Law. A recent case says
"reports of ongoing police investigations are not generally
exempt from our public records law, [so] it was incumbent upon [a
attorney] to specifically demonstrate how production of the documents
would violate rights of privacy or confidentiality, or would be
'detrimental to the best interests of the state.'" You can see
the case here
and you can see the Public Records Law here.
Remember that ARS
11-253 lets County
Supervisors supervise other elected officers. When a
Supervisor asked McIntyre about that, the answer ignored ARS 11-253,
and merely asserted that ARS 11-251
doesn't let Supervisors supervise other elected officers. Wrong;
11-251 says a BOS's first power is to "Supervise the
of all county officers and officers of all districts and other
subdivisions of the county charged with assessing, collecting,
safekeeping, managing or disbursing the public revenues, see that such
officers faithfully perform their duties and direct prosecutions for
delinquencies, and, when necessary, require the officers to renew their
official bonds, make reports and present their books and accounts for
I've heard a Supervisor argue that ARS 11-251 only lets a BOS
check county officers' finance records. That's nonsense; just
statute lets the BOS
do one thing, it doesn't prohibit them from doing anything else.
And the Arizona Supreme
Court has affirmed that a BOS's "powers include supervising county
officers ... levying taxes ... maintaining and
controlling public roads, ferries and bridges ...
providing for county hospitals ... erecting jails and
courthouses ... '[making] and enforc[ing] all local,
police, sanitary and other regulations not in conflict with general
law' ... purchasing real property ...
[and] to '[d]irect and control the prosecution and defense of all
actions to which the county is a party, and compromise them....
the board of supervisors has general
supervisory powers and policy-making responsibility for the county;"
see the Falcon case here.
The answer also misread the leading Arizona case, Hounshell,
which says "the legislature has, in some limited circumstances,
specifically granted the county boards of supervisors the authority to
supervise and/or discipline county officers.... the Arizona
legislature knows how to expressly grant a board of supervisors the
power to supervise and impose discipline when it wishes to do
so." In Santa Cruz County in 2005, the BOS ordered
school superintendent Robert Canchola to post bond.
I've also heard a Supervisor argue that a Board can
elected county officer, but not an employee hired by an officer.
So what? When a county officer does a lousy job of running
his department, the BOS can fire him. But I've never seen the CAO
remind a Supervisor that if he "neglects or refuses
to perform any duty imposed on him without just cause, or who wilfully
violates any law ... relating to the office of supervisor,
or fraudulently or corruptly performs any duty imposed upon him by law,
or wilfully, fraudulently or corruptly attempts to perform an act as
supervisor unauthorized by law," then besides other penalties, he
"shall forfeit to the county five hundred dollars
for every such act ... and is
further liable on his official bond to any person injured thereby for
all damages sustained." See ARS
11-223. Nor have I seen the CAO mention the law -- ARS 38-341
to 38-345, available via this
-- that lets a grand jury take the initiative and accuse county
officers of "wilful or corrupt
misconduct in office."
McIntyre is off to a bad start in another way, too. He
just lost an appeal in a case he should never have pursued.
Arizona law lets a person with a debilitating medical condition use
medical marijuana, but a person on probation was forbidden to use
medical marijuana. McIntyre preferred to see the probationer in
constant pain, rather than take medicine that state law specifically
allows -- and in that bad cause, McIntyre made bad legal arguments,
which you can read in the case at this
McIntyre's work here, added to his stonewalling about his issuance of
an illegal subpoena, and violating the law in the mock "search" for a
new County Administrator, make us wonder if the Supervisors made a bad
choice in picking this unelected
-- Ann English, for instance -- seem to want to be misled
I have years of reasons for using Ann English as my exemplar of
laziness, ignorance, and contempt for the public. My experience
is well summarized in this
cartoon, and this one
For example, here
are emails about the County Attorney's illegal subpoena.
I made them extra-clear for English: "Here, Ann, just for
state law lets you supervise and even fire elected county
officers / The Board can haul any elected county officer
in, put him
under oath, question him about anything related to his job, make him
put up a bond, and fire him if he won't. That's ARS 11-253, which
gives a Board sharp teeth when it supervises other County
officers. Here's a link to 11-253(A):
It says: 'The board may require any county officer
to make reports under oath on any matter connected with the duties of
his office, and may require the officer to give such bonds or further
bonds as may be necessary for the faithful performance of his
respective duties. An officer who neglects or refuses to make the
report, or to give the bond within ten days after being so required,
may be removed from office by the board and the office declared
vacant. The board may then fill the vacancy.'"
No answer, no apparent change in English's position, so no doing the
tough part of her job. On the bright side, she once ran a contest
for a new County flag! That solved our problems, all right.
More will happen in
An illegal subpoena for snooping into people's emails --
illegal stonewalling of a public records request -- a Supervisor's
ignorance of her basic job -- the BOS asking for legal advice
from people who have committed the illegal acts being investigated --
whatever new issues County officials generate. If just one
Supervisor would stand up in favor of honesty
and obeying the law, wouldn't it be wonderful? Until that
happens, new information is bound to come out. For instance,
Morgan was on the Forrest Carr radio show, 1210 am, on Thursday
December 30, 2014. Carr has posted a description of the scandal,
recording of the interview, here.
And Morgan has a pretty active Facebook page at this link,
which you need Facebook to see.
To return to the top of this site, click here.
Southrons being more
disgusting than usual
In 1789, the Constitution said "Congress shall make no law respecting
an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise
thereof." The state can't make you follow your neighbor's
religion, nor make your neighbor follow yours. Easy.
In 1858, Abraham Lincoln called slavery the "spirit that says, you toil
and work and earn bread and I'll eat it.... whether from the mouth of a
king ... or from one race of men as an apology for enslaving another
race, it is the same tyrannical principle." Lincoln understood
the Southron sense of entitlement.
In 1883, Mark Twain wrote about Southrons' love affair "with decayed
and swinish forms of religion; with decayed and degraded systems of
government; with the sillinesses and emptinesses ... of a brainless and
worthless long-vanished society.... but in our South they flourish
pretty forcefully still." Eye witness.
In 1917, H. L. Mencken wrote that Virginia politics "are cheap,
ignorant, parochial, idiotic ... a Washington or a Jefferson, dumped
there by some act of God, would be denounced as a scoundrel and jailed
overnight." And Virginia was a bright spot compared to places
like Georgia, "little removed from savagery.... the home of the
cotton-mill sweat[shop], of the Methodist parson turned Savonarola and
of the lynching bee." Eye witness.
In 1956, after the Supreme Court outlawed racial segregation in public
schools, many Southron politicians signed a "Manifesto" attacking "the
Supreme Court's encroachment on the rights reserved to the States and
to the people, contrary to established law, and to the
Constitution." Southron entitlement again.
Now, in 2015, most Americans are moving ahead. Many evangelicals
have abandoned racism, and some are ending gay-bashing. Last week
many Americans protested a racist murder in South Carolina, and
celebrated the Supreme Court's allowing gay marriage everywhere.
The best of the local Christians forgave the killer, and the best
Americans everywhere showed revulsion at Southrons' sick racism and
fascination with the sex lives of others.
But the worst Southrons, even some candidates for president, are
fanatically clinging to their sense of entitlement, and promising to
disobey the Supreme Court about gay marriage. Louisiana's Jindal
said the decision "tramples on states' rights," and Arkansas's Huckabee
said "I will not acquiesce to an imperial court" -- as Southrons shout
every time common decency is imposed on them. Oh, shut it.
An attack on Hillary is
an attack on Pat Call
TIME magazine, for June 1, 2015, has an article "Ready
For Speaking Fees: Hillary Clinton made millions from groups she
could help if elected". It reports that Hillary "agreed to answer
questions onstage" at events from groups "looking to shape policy on
issues as varied as taxes, trade policy, financial regulation[,] and
health care" who paid her $4.6 million dollars in 2014. Hillary
will doubtless face attack from almost every Republican, and from other
Democrats too, for taking money from groups whose programs she may
promote if elected to President.
Compare that to Cochise County Supervisor Pat Call's $75,833 for one
year's work, halftime, for The Cochise Water Project -- whose programs
Call gets to vote for at Supervisor meetings. Here's a link -- follow
-- to the newest available salary figures for Call at The Cochise Water
Project. That $76 thousand is in addition
to his pay as a County Supervisor. Call's pal
Tim Cervantes, whom Call designated for the county Planning &
Zoning Commission, made $65,000 from The Cochise Water Project that
Question, how does a private citizen's making money by speaking at
company events compare to a public official making money by working for
a private company whose projects come up at official meetings?
Anyone who doesn't think much of Hillary had better take a close look
at Pat Call.
Stories about conflicts of interest by
County officials (see this wrapup),
or the Supervisors refusal to supervise other elected officers (see
Current Events near the start of this page),
are rarely or never discussed by any of the local dead-tree
newspapers. A British
publication reports, in the article headlined "Peter Oborne blows the
the Telegraph," that a newspaper "commits 'a form of fraud on its
suppressing or downplaying stories, such as [a] tax avoidance
scandal." See the story here.
The clash of
civilizations in a lawsuit arising in Bisbee
A lawsuit filed recently in Bisbee inclines me to post my
premature musings on why human beings were around so long before we
developed science. Basically, lying around doing as little as
possible, with your main mental activity being gossiping about your
neighbors, is a very attractive life. I call that village
living. Technology requires a very different kind of thinking,
which couldn't develop until hundreds of thousands of years of village
living had accumulated a few useful facts. Eventually, technology
improved enough so that just a few more discoveries would lead to a
different kind of thinking, scientific thinking, and that threshold was
met just a few hundred years ago. The technology which resulted
made scientific thinking very attractive, and elite thinkers in
non-technological fields adopted it. And here we are today.
The number of people who want the benefit of technology far exceeds the
number of people with brainpower and training enough to develop
technology. Most people can piggyback on the work of smart
people, but their goal is still to lie around gossiping about their
neighbors. Hence, the content of most new publications in any
media, and especially the gossip magazines at supermarket checkout
lines. The consumers of mass-market crap far outnumber the
producers of anything useful.
The scientific way of living is gradually making
progress, but it involves dropping the ancient nonsense that appeals to
village gossips. Often the two kinds of living get along well --
for instance, the attacks on science by fundamentalism seem capable of
lasting for thousands of years, because they're fun for village
gossips, and they're only minor fleabites to the scientifically
educated -- but
sometimes the village lifestyle really scrapes up against the lifestyle
that science has made possible, and that seems to be what's happening
in the Bisbee lawsuit. When gossip results in a lawsuit that
depends on gossip being transmitted by modern technology, the process
is going to be ugly. Without regard
to the merits of either side of the case, and with regard only for the
rationalistic process the combatants are now in: the combatants
will be sorry.
How can local citizen
journalists better replace dead tree media?
For citizen journalists, here's
a link to the newest online Arizona Reporter's Handbook On Media
Law -- FREE! -- which covers --
-- Access to the news, including media access to court proceedings,
public records, governmental meetings and facilities, and private
-- Interference with the news gathering process, such as subpoenas,
search warrants and gag orders;
-- Limitations on the content of communications, including prior
restraints and the laws of defamation and privacy;
-- Promises of confidentiality to sources; and
-- Copyright and trademark law.
This has already been a bad year for public access to information in
Arizona. I wonder what politicians would do if citizens
started exercising their own rights to information, instead of relying
on dead trees like the SV Herald. Using the FREE
Handbook On Media Law is a good way to scare the backroom gangs.
Here's a page that can give you some very interesting, very
customizable maps of the states, ranked on scales that you
hand-pick. It's amazing what you can learn if you play with all
the choices on this page.
The site leans toward conservatism, but it lets you learn what's what,
state by state, even if you don't like their slant in presenting it.
A map of America's loud & quiet areas, with the louder areas
brighter, is here.
shows how many men in their "prime age" are not working. In a
big census tract east of Bisbee and north of
Douglas, there are 5010 men between 25 and 54, and 94% (!) of them are
not working. I asked Cochise
County demographics guru Robert Carrerira, the Director of the Center
For Economic Research at Cochise College, what he thought. He
answered that "'not working' ... is a broad category. Counted in
this number would be
proprietors of business, to include farms. I suspect the large
number of independent farmers/ranchers and independent business owners
would be heavily influencing the numbers (since they're not counted as
'working' because they're not technically 'employees'). Could
also be considerable undocumented work. Also, census margins of
error are calculated at only 90% confidence so could be some
statistical errors, as well." Thanks a lot to Carreira for his
input, which does a lot to explain a number which simply cannot be
Other maps I've posted include
people around the country support Democrats
the people living in each state were born
hard it is to live in each county in the US
Heading Off Prejudice
surprise us with their goodness
Every day, people we may be predisposed to think badly of will
astound us with their goodness. For instance, this
from Norway about Moslems protecting Jews, headlined "More Than A
Thousand Muslims Form Human Shield Around Norwegian Synagogue After
Copenhagen Attacks". And from America, this
entitled "Millennial Evangelicals push for full inclusion of LGBT
Christians" -- not all Evangelicals, but a movement. It's very
hard for most people to change their beliefs about the world, no matter
how much the world changes. But modifying our old beliefs by
incorporating new information is worth the effort: it makes life
easier, and keeps us from fighting in already-lost crusades. One
could say that modifying our beliefs by incorporating new information
is being precisely opposite to ISIS.
The lynching belt
A scholar writes about decades of lynchings of Mexican-Americans
I do not know how the scars from this kind of thing can ever heal,
except by realizing that the world isn't "Us v. Them," it's "Some of us
v. Others of us."
The lynching belt
The "lynching belt" of the old south is chock full of monuments to
Southrons, but a new group, the
Equal Justice Initiative, wants to put up memorials to some black folk
lynched by Southrons. On this
of the EJI website, you can read about "3959 racial terror lynchings of
African Americans in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky,
Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee,
Texas, and Virginia between 1877 and 1950.... African Americans
who were never accused of any crime were tortured and murdered in front
of picnicking spectators (including elected officials and prominent
citizens) for bumping into a white person, or wearing their military
uniforms after World War I, or not using the appropriate title when
addressing a white person. People who participated in lynchings
were celebrated and acted with impunity.... No prominent public
memorial or monument commemorates the thousands of African Americans
who were lynched in America.... 'We cannot heal the deep wounds
inflicted during the era of racial terrorism until we tell the truth
about it,' said EJI Director Bryan Stevenson."
Some white folks say that black folk were content until liberal
Democrats got them all riled up. Clearly, that
viewpoint is not susceptible to disproof by mere facts. But I
hope that viewpoint will disappear naturally, if only because of the
growth of interracial marriage.
As old racists die off, and more family trees include somebody killed
for "living while black," families will probably not accept that it
was right to lynch great-great-grandfather for living while dark.
In Cochise County
On the morning of December 19, I saw a piece of racism circulating from
a Cochise County group. Now, I believe racism is buried in
everyone, and the director of the FBI says so too, in this
article; and I know that in me, it's as deep as language, because I
and racism at the same time, 70 years ago. I've largely, but not
perfectly, outgrown it. I also believe that
every non-white person in
this country has ingrained expectations of, and reactions to, white
racism. Complications ensue. It's a sick country, and all
we can do
is try to heal ourselves and not pass on the sickness to our
If THEY talked to US
the way WE talk to THEM
Black women/white men here
Geek girls/geek guys here
and on every one of those Youtube pages, the recommendations down the
right edge of the page are good too.
The same idea in another context: according to the anti-immigrant
right, Mexicans have no respect for our laws, because we don't really
respect our own laws: witness our "catch and release" policy for
illegal immigrants. What a disgrace our policy is! But
there was a time in American history when we loved a "catch and
release" policy. When we white folks discovered gold in the Black
Hills, over 10,000 Americans rushed into the Hills in violation of our
treaty with the Lakota. "The army was directed to expel
trespassers, but ... [s]ince the punishment was usually no more than
expulsion, many of the miners escorted from the Black Hills merely
turned around and headed back. The soldiers sympathized with the
prospectors, and some of Custer's men ... even deserted to join
them." That's from page 33 of "A Terrible Glory: Custer And
the Little Bighorn," by James Donovan, 2008. So let's not
criticize our "catch and release" policy as to Mexicans; we loved it
when it was our policy as to Americans.
Four Stories About
Border Life are here.
American English is changing, and here's a great example: a
table of gender neutral pronouns. Follow this link.
My favorite choice is the top line, giving e/ey, em, eir, eirs,
and eirself to replace he/she, him/her, his/her, his/hers, and
himself/herself. The new words are easy to say, and they sound
vaguely Irish, not a bad thing to be. While benighted parts of
the world are killing anyone with the wrong shape of earlobe, the
American people are busily including everybody in our national
community. It may be slow, but the tide of history has been
running that way for 60 years, and the old ark's a-moverin.
are clever analogies to help your writing not be as bad as, like,
Plagiarism: Don't do it! I have a page about local
is an article with example after example of Tea Party poser
Allen West getting caught with his plagiarizing pants down.
Remember, plagiarism is both theft and fraud -- stealing other people's
work, and lying about your stealing. If you had West to tea, his
first lie would be "hello," and you
would count your spoons after he left. Why take him, or any
plagiarist, seriously in
Comments on LIFE
magazine from 10/16/1944
All my earlier notes about old LIFEs are here.
Here, from October 16, 1944:
. cover story, the new acting sensation, Lauren Bacall. She
was 20 years old when she made the cover. She was at the top of
show biz for 70 more years, until she died, in 2014. The story
begins on p. 77.
. by this issue, we were pretty sure that we would soon war (as we did
ten months later). The issue is full of stories and ads about
what happens when "our boys come home."
. p 6, a rather racy cartoon that was used to decorate a B-26.
Fodder for Amy Schumer.
. p 7, an ad for Stromberg-Carlson radios, showing how good music made
the the crew of a battered bomber feel as they returned to base.
. p 27 begins the lead story, of Americans on the home front who have
made big money during the war and are spending it wildly
. p 43 the Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, and
Constitution had been hidden away after Pearl Harbor. On October
1, 1944, they were returned to public view.
. p 61 a childhood mystery explained. We always pounded our beef
with a tenderizing hammer, and now I learn that was because it was
grade C beef, which was from free-range cows who had fed only on wild
grass. Poverty, it turns out, has its points.
. p 67, a long story on William Penn's 300th birthday. This was
apparently long before the singing commercial that said William Penn
cigars were a friend that was never fickle, for only a nickel.
. p 85, an ad for airplanes showing an injured pilot being carried back
to civilization by a "primitive brown man." No colonialists we.
. p 89, a long story "How Will Negroes Vote?" The answer appeared
to be, over great opposition and obstruction by "the people," i.e. the
white people, of the South.
Some math you have to
know when reading medical and social predictive tests
Let's start with medical tests. Even if you take the best test
available, and test positive for a disease, you may not have it; and
the rarer the disease, the more likely you don't have it.
Here's why: every medical test sometimes finds a disease that
really isn't there. Let's say you have a very accurate
test: only once in a thousand times does it say you have a
disease when you don't have it. Then, if you test a million
people, the test will tell a thousand people who don't have the disease
that they do have it.
Let's look at the consequences of such an accurate test. Say a
disease occurs in one in a thousand people. Out of a million
people, a thousand will have the disease. The test will find them
all, but will also find a thousand people who don't have the
disease. A thousand right tests, a thousand wrong tests -- if you
test positive, it's even money that you don't have the disease.
Now say a disease is really rare, one in a million people. When
a million people are tested, the test will find the one person who does
have it, but will also tell a thousand people who don't have it that
they do have it. So if you test positive, the odds are still a
thousand to one that you don't have it. That's why you get a
second or third test, especially with really rare diseases.
Social tests follow the same rule. Here
is a Manchester Guardian article which includes "[Here's] what would
happen if someone could create an
algorithm the correctly identified a terrorist from their
communications 99.9% of the time -- far, far more accurate than any
real algorithm -- with the assumption that there were 100 terrorists in
the [United Kingdom]. The algorithm would correctly identify the
terrorists. But it would also misidentify [60,000] non-terrorists
as terrorists ...." So it would be 600 to 1 against an
"identified person" being a
terrorist. Mathematical illiterates -- "innumerates" -- shouldn't
be allowed to set up programs than are bound to ruin innocent people's
As a sort of lagniappe upon lagniappe, here's
an inside story
about a hoax that mocked the scientific process and was accepted
unquestioningly by a lazy press and ignorant readers. It doesn't
take much math to make you astoundingly smarter than most products of
For me, education on
current issues --
-- includes daily reading of these two legal websites, and
following their links:
Here's a new site that looks promising, as of 2/12/15: click on this link.
If you are bombarded with the kind of emails that appeal to prejudice,
and finish by telling you "if you agree, pass it on" -- but never
asking for negative feedback -- some ways to fact-check them are at
The world is more
interesting than lies about it
All kinds of mass emailings purport to !expose! lies by the mass
media. Usually, the exposure is the lie. For instance, on
2/18/15 I got an email purporting to expose lies about the Social
Security system. It turned out that the email was a mass of lies
that was first detected back in 2005. That's an example of the
"hall of mirrors" effect of the internet; entertaining lies to the
gullible never stop circulating. There's an old saying (ascribed
variety of scientists)
that "the universe is not only stranger than we imagine, it's stranger
than we CAN imagine." The world itself is more interesting than
even the most entertaining lie about it. So I've
never understood why people don't do their own fact-checking, to learn
things more entertaining than lies.
a bunch of new essays plus old essays I wrote for Charles Tidd's
lamented Sunsites Sun website, and here are a bunch of very
short reviews of books I've read.
To return to the top of this page, go here .
Some of these discussions, especially if they're very old, may have
links to subsidiary pages that I've taken down. If you want to
see a page and I've already taken it down, email me and I'll put it
back up for you.
Dump the County
bureaucrats and the County Building Code
a Dilbert cartoonthat
is especially applicable to the bureaucrats who
administer the County's excrescential Building Code. More Dilbert
cartoons point out, as if by magic, flaws with Cochise County
and here and
here; here's a
cartoon about our bloated Planning Department (under whatever
"friendlier" name it's cooked up now); and here
a Savage Chickens cartoon showing how silly Sierra Vista-style
regulations look to people who live on a few acres of their own.
Objective reasons to
dump the Code
The Sierra Vista Herald recently ran this
editorial concluding "Get ready to see fewer county employees
providing fewer county services." I violated the commandments of
religion to email in this comment to the editorial: "Good -- and
place to start is at the Planning Department, by repealing the Building
Code. It wasn't passed until just over 10 years ago; we got along
without it until then, and we can get along fine without it
was passed as a way for the County to leech money off of a housing boom
in an expanding economy. It never made money, the idea of a
boom is a joke, and the economy is shrinking. It was never
administered properly or competently, from the Supervisors down to
inspectors who acted like thugs in rural areas, so the Code's "needless
nannyism" generated dislike among people in rural areas. Getting
of the Building Code's salaried drones has always been a good
Why wait? Just do it now." Here's an expansion of those
The Code was pushed through in 2004 by a small clique of County
officials led by Pat Call, the Supervisor from Sierra Vista. The
county had got along fine without it. Call's main helpers were
James Vlahovich, at that time boss of the Planning Department (the
Department's name keeps changing to something that sounds friendlier; I
just call it by its original name), and a Department employee who's
The clique, using two years of data, predicted a real estate boom from
Sierra Vista to Benson. But the real estate market collapsed soon
after the Code was passed. County population continues to
is Robert Carreira's latest piece about County population.
The clique made false promises to get the Code passed. They
promised evaluations of the Code's delivery of benefits (increased home
safety, lower home insurance rates, and so on) and promised that the
Code would make money for the County. The evaluations have never
happened (Supervisor Searle, whose district includes Benson, even told
me after the Code took effect that the evaluations never would happen),
the promised benefits haven't happened, and the Code has always been a
money-losing drag on the County budget.
Also, the Code has been administered poorly by the Planning Department,
from thuggish inspectors on the ground, to incompetent and dishonest
administration at the top. The Code has been used to suppress
small businesses in rural areas. The Code has made County
officials into criminals: the Supervisors knowingly violated
state law for almost 10 years rather than obey state law and form an
advisory board, and the County Attorney's Office knew and didn't
care. A lawyer might well decide to sue the County, and demand a
refund of all fines and fees that county residents paid during the ten
years before the County followed the applicable state law.
No wonder ordinary citizens -- not big builders or people whose job
depends on big housing projects -- have always been unhappy with the
The Code should be repealed, but County functionaries love their tiny
empires, paid for by squeezing more money out of ordinary citizens who
need neither the Code nor the empire builders.
A handy site from 2009 for background info is here, some
more recent history is here,
and here's an eloquent email from 2014, to all three Supervisors from
excellent citizen Will Jakobek:
. "soon, you will go through the formality of ... transferring
more money from citizens to county government. You will increase
Building Code fees. It won't take much time, because the
fact-finding that is needed to make an informed decision won't be
done. You won't adequately represent your constituents. You
draw a paycheck regardless....
. "Lately, inflation has been negligible, demands for services
could not have increased, and a fee increase won't very much
affect the deficit that administering the Building Code causes.
How many millions is it behind being self sustaining? I've
previously addressed the inadvisability of maintaining a
department like this on the backs of the county taxpayers, and I know
you are tired of my insistence that the Code should be eradicated as
just one more bad idea....
. "Here's a true story. I was in the permit line, waiting
to talk with the official at the window.... A lanky, hard man
laid out his plans for a pole barn, nothing exciting, just a place to
store his bales so his hard work would not lose value. A few
phone calls, and the rep airily quoted him a permit cost: about
half of his building labor and materials cost. Imagine
that. Two years earlier, he could have built that pole barn with
less interference and at 2/3 of the cost. He looked shocked at
first, then he turned away shaking his head in disgust. His wife
at his side looked sad, took his arm, and they walked away.
. "Then more things happened, invisibly. The man didn't buy
materials or hire help to build a pole barn. He didn't buy more
fuel and plow up more ground, or use more electricity to run the pump
to water a thirsty patch of alfalfa. Seeds were not bought and
fertilizer didn't get applied, so suppliers made no money. No
crop was ever harvested, so no profits were ever made, that would
have been spent on shoes, or groceries, or dental work.... The
foolish cost of a permit found many silent ways into everyone's
pockets. And less taxes were paid.
. "County government has bean counters who could calculate the
damages produced by this permit requirement.... Why not do the
right thing and shut down this money sucking valueless entity? ...
. "Soon we'll be a one horse county, beholden to Fort Huachuca,
which already pretty much calls the tune. You will have driven
every other industry out. But nobody will blame you in the end
... because nobody will remember you. And it will cost you
nothing to accomplish this."
county have 5 Supervisors?
Concurrent Resolution 2032, at this
(thanks to a friend for emailing it), is about making every county have
five Supervisors and ten Planning & Zoning Commissioners. If
the Resolution passes, citizens can vote on this in the 2016 general
election. Supervisors would have a
two-consecutive-term limit, plus a little allowance for
(One question about timing: Resolution paragraph 1 section
6 says "a county that is governed by an existing board of
supervisors consisting of three members shall elect two additional
supervisors at the 2016 general election" -- but what if the election
went against switching to five supervisors?)
Right now, seven of Arizona's fifteen counties have three
Supervisors: Apache, Cochise, Gila, Graham,
Greenlee, La Paz, and Santa Cruz counties. For those counties,
the law would double the taxpayer burden for
paying supervisors. In 3-Supe counties, each supe now makes $63,800
a year, plus benefits. In 5-Supe counties, the pay is $76,600
plus benefits. So the total burden on the taxpayers would double,
from $191,400 to $383,000, plus benefits. In Cochise County,
the pay is already too much: the Supes are half-time employees,
who have two general meetings a month
Also, instead of the present practice of each supervisor naming three
Planning & Zoning
Commissioners, each supervisor would name two. If all ten
Commissioners attended a meeting,
passing an item would require 6 votes out of 10, not 5 out of 9, as is
presently the case. I have no problem with that.
However, the law would also do away with the requirement that a
majority of Commissioners live outside of cities -- that is, live
inside areas regulated by the Commission. Under present law, each
may appoint only one Commissioner who resides in an "incorporated
municipality" -- a city, but the
proposed law would let every Commissioner live in a city. It
seems to me that there should be a limit to city residents on the
Commission. The limit for each Supervisor could be "only one
commissioner from a city" or "no commissioner from a
city." I'd prefer "no commissioner from a city," because P&Z
Commissions only have jurisdiction outside of cities, and I think
Commissioners should live in the areas affected by their vote.
The Resolution also weakens the Open Meeting Law. The OML allows
less than a quorum of Supervisors to discuss public business outside of
a public meeting. In a 3-Supe county, this means that two Supes
can never discuss public business in private. But in a 5-Supe
county, two Supes can discuss public business in private. So
converting 3-Supe counties to 5-Supe counties would weaken the OML in
those counties. This problem could be solved with legislation
that did not let less than a quorum of a public body discuss public
business in private. Getting rid of the "less than a quorum"
loophole might be a good change to the OML anyway.
As to Cochise County in particular, if the voters approve the
Resolution, we would likely have four
Republican supervisors and one Democrat. Sierra Vista would
probably be split into two safe Republican districts (that's my guess;
I've heard three), leaving Benson, Willcox, Tombstone, Bisbee, and
Douglas to be distributed in two or three districts. My
for honest, competent public servants, but neither party has lately set
a good example on that scale, so even though I'm a lifelong FDR
Democrat, I can't get very excited about a Democratic supervisor being
outnumbered 4-1. Besides, the lone Democratic supervisor is
already outnumbered 2-1.
I'd be happy to see a term limit placed on supervisors. I'm sure
there'll be people who approve the
Resolution just to get the term limit. As to me, even though I
have a very low opinion of some of our present public "servants," I
don't think it's a good idea to re-shape our government just to get rid
of people whom I consider bad apples; my motivation is just, I like
There's another major part to the Resolution, Section 5, about the
board of directors of a regional public transportation authority.
The change seems to be a minor matter, but I'm open to being educated.
In fact, I'd like to hear from anybody with opinions about this
Resolution. It's hard to argue that the people should not be
allowed to vote for themselves on a matter like this -- but by the same
token, it's hard to argue that if the people of a county are happy with
three supervisors, a state law should override local wishes.
Whose business is it how many supervisors a county has, except the
of that county?
Abuse By Helipad
If you want more background on the County's abuse of some citizens
living near a helipad on the south end of St. David, Anna Lands is the
single best source of information. Here's
County Supervisor Richard Searle is in the middle of this fight between
the abused citizens and the Planning Department. It's his
position that what happened to the citizens was wrong, but that it
happened because County Zoning Regulation 2002.02C was ambiguous, and
that the best the County can do is see that the abuse never happens
again, by amending 2002.02C.
However, contrary to Searle's position, old 2002.02C was not
ambiguous. Here's what it said: "Essential governmental
services of public agencies (local, state and federal) and special
districts such as drainage, flood control, irrigation, fire, school and
sanitation, and including facilities, attendant appurtenances and
accessories used by such agencies. Shared uses by public agencies
and private parties shall not be exempt unless determined by the Zoning
Inspector that the proposed use by a public agency meets the intent of
an essential governmental service."
New 2002.02C, as amended by the Supervisors on December 2, 2014,
says: "Essential governmental services of public agencies (local,
state and federal) including schools and special districts such as
drainage, flood control, irrigation, fire, and sanitation, and
including facilities, attendant appurtenances and accessories used by
such agencies. Shared uses by public agencies and private parties shall
not be exempt unless determined by the County Zoning Inspector that the
proposed use by a public agency meets the intent of an essential
governmental service. Only public agencies shall be deemed essential
government services. The building code does apply to this class of
The first sentence (really just a phrase) in each version is merely a
list of the subjects of the regulation. All the new version does
is move "school districts" to a different place in the list, a change
which has nothing to do with the St. David situation. There is no
difference in the meaning of the two versions.
In substance, each version is the same. The new version says
"Shared uses by public agencies and private parties shall not be exempt
unless determined by the County Zoning Inspector that the proposed use
by a public agency meets the intent of an essential governmental
service." The old version is identical, except that it omits the
word County in front of Zoning Inspector. This makes it clear
that the use that mattered was by a public agency, and that the use by
a public agency had to "meet the intent of an essential governmental
service." If the use by a public agency didn't meet those
criteria, it didn't matter what the use by a private party was.
There is nothing unclear or vague in this wording.
The new version adds two sentences to the end of 2002.02C: "Only
public agencies shall be deemed essential government services. The
building code does apply to this class of uses." But those two
sentences add no substance. The old wording made it clear that
the proposed use was by a public agency, and that the public agency's
use must meet the intent of an essential government service, and the
new wording's two additional sentences add absolutely nothing to
that. The new additional sentences merely restate what was
already clear. And when a sentence is already clear to a normal
person, it doesn't become ambiguous or vague merely because a careless
reader chooses to read it sloppily.
In short, the rewrite of 2002.02C is eyewash. To what end?
The only reasons I can see are to come up with a plausible-sounding
excuse for the injustice, and to divert argument away from the
to the pointless rewrite of 2002.02C.
How I wish Searle would one day just stand up on his hind legs and
honor his office, not just enjoy its status. He seems to so love
with "triangulating" between opposing viewpoints that he will never get
out in front on any issue and fight for it -- but what a force he could
be if he would just change!
A private foundation, the Howard G. Buffett foundation, has made
of about a million dollars, maybe more, to a few local public entities,
including the Sheriff's Department. I believe the sheriff money
went for a helicopter and a Bearcat. A Bearcat is the armored
vehicle shown in pictures from Ferguson, Missouri, with a policeman on
top holding a fully automatic weapon aimed at citizens. The
Bearcat's presence made the situation worse in every way. It's
not clear why the Buffett foundation would help militarize Cochise
County law enforcement. The foundation's website says
it's "working to improve the standard of living and quality of
life for the world's most impoverished and marginalized
populations." Buying a Bearcat for Cochise County doesn't seem to
fit those words. Perhaps something is going on behind the scenes,
out of public view.
(Incidentally, if you go here
you'll see an article about the Department of Defense's finally
releasing information about its giving military weapons to local law
enforcement. The article includes a searchable list by state, and
if you look up Cochise County, here's what you'll find about the value
of weapons giveaways to our police departments and the sheriff:
$2,824 to the Willcox police; $2,994 to Benson; $65,070 to Douglas;
$83,214 to Huachuca City; $121,450 to Sierra Vista; $447,267 to
Tombstone; and $1,412,938 to the sheriff.
Bearcats, like any shiny military toy, encourage mission
an article from Lowering
The Bar about a sheriff who is finding novel uses for his
Bearcat. In short, a Wisconsin sheriff sent 24 armed officers
plus a Bearcat to
collect on a civil judgment that an old man owed to the county.
The old man wouldn't come out of his house, but when the Bearcat
arrived, he did, you betcha. The sheriff said that while the old
man "was never considered dangerous, he was known to be
argumentative." The article notes that if the sheriff is "saying
that cops need an armored vehicle so than can intimidate even people
they do not consider dangerous, well, that seems like a good reason
they shouldn't be allowed to have one at all." And in Columbus,
Ohio, when a thousand fans celebrating the Buckeyes'
national championship left the student union at once when it shut down
at 1 a.m., but the police hadn't been told that this would happen, the
police basically panicked, treated the fans as
terrorists, tear-gassed them, and mobilized a Bearcat on High Street to
intimidate them. Long municipal discussions have
ensued, to see how military toys can be used on civilians without
making the civilians feel like occupied natives. Answer, they
can't; but people who wear uniforms and have shiny toys will argue
forever to justify, at least in their own minds, mission creep.
To return to the top of this site, click here.
QUICK GUIDE TO LOCAL GOVERNMENT
The Cochise County gummint homepage is here and local gummint has several
pages on Facebook. If you want the
local government to mail you notices of many (but not all) public
meetings, go here.
1, Here's a little about local ordinances. To see state law, drop
down the page a little.
a, the Board Of Supervisors. Cochise County has 3 supervisors,
each representing a separate district. The Supes hire a County
Administrator to handle administrative matters. You can see the
and their districts by following the "Interactive Map Of Districts"
link, on this
page and you can see the month's scheduled meetings via this
THAT CALENDAR IS THE MOST
IMPORTANT PAGE IN ORDER TO PROTECT YOURSELF!
The Supes have the final word about most matters of County government
(because even if a county official is elected to be the head of some
other department, the Supes set most departmental budgets -- pay the
piper, call the tune!), and the Supes tend to favor big money from
outside the county, at the expense of the quality of life for people
who already live here. However, citizen action, by lawsuit or
referendum, has undone some of the things that the Supes have approved,
such as the giant Smith Ranch project near Benson, the Bachmann Springs
project near Tombstone, a tax district to support a golf course in
Sunsites, and the huge Tribute house tract near Sierra Vista.
Citizens have worked hard, and are still working, to keep the Supes
from selling the county out.
b, the Planning & Zoning Commission. Each Supervisor appoints
three members; they're volunteers whose job is to make recommendations
to the Supes when people request zoning variances, when the Planning
Department (see section iii below) wants changes to County codes, and
so on. The Commission members are listed here
and the Commission's meeting information, agendas and minutes, are
available by following the links on this page.
c, the Planning Department (whose name changes every now and then, for
public relations purposes). Its employees are paid, and their job
is to advise the Supervisors and the Planning & Zoning
Commission. The Department is there to help the Commission, not
the other way around, though the arrangement of the County's website
implies the opposite. The Department tends to be under the thumb
of the "sell out the citizens" faction on the Board Of
Supervisors. The Department's page is here.
Much of the work of the Department is about variances from zoning
requirements. The zoning ordinances were massively changed in
2013; see this
document, and Arizona's Commerce Department puts out a "Planning
& Zoning Handbook" whose Chapter 8 concerns zoning; see this
document. Variances are discussed in section 4 of chapter
8. I've been to
many county Planning Department meetings, but have never heard that
The Department also spends a lot of time administering the county
building code -- which ought to be dumped. Here's a basic writeup
from 2009 and here's an update
d, The County Attorney's Office (CAO) gives advice to the Supervisors
and other public officials who ask for it. The advice is supposed
to be legal, but during the reign of Ed Rheinheimer as elected County
Attorney, CAO attorneys got into the bad habit of sticking politics
into their advice. I think that tainted the reputation of anyone
working for Rheinheimer. Rheinheimer resigned just after serving
half his latest term, so the Supes got to pick his successor (instead
of the public getting to vote). His successor is Brian
McIntyre. He has a chance to rebuild our disgraced CAO, if only
he would take it.
e, Meetings of public bodies in Cochise County generally have three
kinds of items to vote on: Consent, Action, and Public Hearing
items. Consent items are supposed to be so noncontroversial that
nobody, including Supervisors or Commissioners, needs to discuss them
before approving them. At Action items, Supervisors or
Commissioners may speak, but not members of the public. During
Public Hearing items, members of the public may speak. However,
no matter what the agenda of a meeting says, our Supervisors or
Commissioners often move a Consent item to the Action item so that they
can talk about it, or move an Action item to the Public Hearing even
though the general public didn't come to the meeting because the agenda
said they wouldn't be allowed to speak. Such actions may be
violations of the Open Meeting Law, and in any case they obviously tend
to chill the free speech rights of citizens, but local gummint will
pull such stunts if they think they can get away with it.
Citizens can protect themselves only by watching public officials
f, County meetings also generally include a Call To the Public
a link about speaking at a C2P. There are always people on
public bodies who are so unAmericanly anal
that they will interrupt and try to muzzle any citizen who uses a C2P
to criticize a member of the body. Well, the law says citizens
can use the C2P to criticize board members. Read the Open Meeting
Law, discussed in Section 2.c a few inches below, and you'll see that a
board member who objects to being criticized during a C2P has the right
to answer the criticism -- after the speaker has finished. Of
course, tantrums are disfavored, and if you commit slander you may have
to answer for it outside the meeting, but in a C2P, honest criticism is
allowed, and no petty bully has the right to stop you from merely
criticizing a board member.
g, Obviously there's more to County government, and I'll be adding
h, No matter what's on this site, you should dig dig dig into all the
original material you can find. If you think I might have some
old material you need, you can email me at email@example.com
2, State laws affect local gummint too. You can see every state
are the general laws governing counties, but other state laws can
affect county government too, of course.
b, Arizona's Attorney General, and Ombudsman, publish an incredible
amount of good solid guidance about state laws. You can access it
all by going through the Ombudsman's page here.
c, The Open Meeting Law, or OML, is the single most important
protection for Arizona citizens who want honest government. It
begins at ARS 38-431 in this
set of statutes.
Little, or petty, bureaucrats, hate the OML. Cochise County
gummint has been incredibly resistant to the OML. For instance,
it took a huge amount of work just to get the Supervisors to post
minutes of all their public meetings, including work sessions.
But hard work in this area can pay off. I hope you will love the
OML and make it your own.
d, Another important protection you have is the Public Records Law, the
PRL. You have the right to see every public record, and if you
can't afford to pay for copies, you can take your own photos of
documents (the County tried to charge for taking your own photos, but
they backed down on that one pretty fast!) You have the right to
see more than paper records, you also have the right to see electronic
records, like email and files on computers, including "metadata."
Added on May 10, 2015: Amazingly, an employee in the Attorney
General's office itself refused to let reporters take their own photos
of public records! The employee, one Terry Harrison, wouldn't
follow the law until the reporters phoned their attorney, who
presumably phoned the Attorney General, who presumably used appropriate
language to make Harrison stop embarrassing his employer. See the
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