Charlestown, doesn’t seem so crazy anymore Quartzsite, AZ
By Will Collette
|Jennifer Jones arrest in Quartzsite|
Last July, when I wrote an article about the City of
Quartzsite, Arizona (population 3692), I thought it might help to know there is a place even crazier than . After recent actions by the Town Council to pass the first in the nation total ban on wind energy and their attempt to ban the Charlestown Democrats from speaking before the Council, I’m not so sure Charlestown
In Quartzsite, the town is divided among three main power brokers – the City Council, the Mayor and the Police Chief. Each has been hammering away at each other, sometimes literally. Quartzsite drew national attention after one local critic was arrested and busted up while trying to speak at the podium during City Council public comments and the video of this sorry event went viral.
For the benefit of the Charlestown Town Council CCA-dominated majority, who seem to be searching for more extreme positions every passing month, here’s a Quartzsite update.
After the June 26 arrest and roughing up of local journalist Jennifer Jones for criticizing the City Council from the podium, Quartzsite Police Chief Jeff Gilbert declared a “state of emergency” and told the media Quartzsite was under martial law.
He retracted that within days when his own police refused to enforce the “state of emergency” and instead, 80% of them signed a no-confidence letter.
Chief Gifford is not one to tolerate insubordination, so he placed all of the officers (10 of them) on administrative leave. The officers responded with a yet unresolved federal lawsuit.
|Ex-Mayor Ed Foster|
A recall election was launched against Mayor Ed Foster and on August 30 and Foster lost to a former member of the City Council by 10% of the vote. In the past three years, Quartzsite has had six mayors and three recall elections.
But on September 9, the first lawsuit enjoining the winner, Jose Lizarraga, from assuming the mayorship was filed in the La Paz County Superior Court by Jennifer Jones, the woman whose arrest and mauling put Quartzsite on the national radar.
Meanwhile, the guy who shot the video of Jones’ arrest, local realtor Doug Gifford was jailed for a string of 13 misdemeanor charges of harassing the local public officials he had been videotaping. He was arrested while standing at the counter in town hall, filling out an open records request form.
There seems to be something about small towns that makes every issue more intense, every insult more mortifying, every scandal more shocking and every grudge more bitter. With Jim Mageau’s apparent interest in making a political come-back and the more reactionary the Charlestown Citizens Alliance becomes, the more we should study Quartzsite to see our future.