Commentary: Camp Verde Republicans need to go back to drawing board on candidates forum
It’s been said that an election season is the time of the year when the brains of many people turn to Jello.
Jello should not be so insulted.
A good case in point is the on-again, off-again July 31 Camp Verde mayoral and town council candidates forum planned by the Camp Verde Republicans.
Already, Mayor Charles German and council incumbent Robin Whatley have said no thanks to participating in the gathering, with the mayor bluntly saying, “I am no longer willing to put myself in situations that have the probability to become hostile and/or dangerous.”
Council hopeful Bruce George also will be a no-show, citing a prior public service commitment.
The forum originally was to take place at Camp Verde’s Parkside Community Church, but church officials have since decided the Camp Verde Republicans need to find a new venue.
So who’s to say if there even will be a forum?
All things considered, the Camp Verde Republicans probably should go back to the drawing board on this event … and the first place to start should be with the questions they plan to ask of the candidates.
Some of those questions legitimately address Camp Verde community concerns. Residency requirements for the town manager and marshal. Tax and spending issues. The town’s purchase of private water companies. Those are all fair questions to be asked of someone wanting to serve on the Camp Verde Town Council. They directly relate to the responsibilities of the job.
Many others do not. They deal with constitutional, federal, state and county issues over which the Camp Verde Town Council has absolutely no authority.
Who in the heck came up with these questions?
Consider the following:
• “What entitlement positions of government exist that damage funding to communities and communities services? State & County Education supervisors all of county government that is not state or federal government related, communicable disease, health posts related to insurance ... Posts whose purpose is to come between state government and local administrations to hide trains of abuses and usurpation.”
• “The land from Camp Verde (3 miles south of I-17) to Cottonwood is US property, signs saying do not remove under penalty of law we boldly placed and legible in November/December of 2014, now those signs have been illegally removed. County buildings on Cherry Road, once a US Forest Road were illegally established, as well as all of the other business & buildings there. Hayfield Draw being consumed by roads not planned or developed by a Constitutional authority ... What risk do these acts of defiance to federal authority, to protection of our land, resources & native species pose to the Constitutional protection of US & US citizens?”
• “Planning and Zoning is not a legislated aspect of government, they should be subject to the state established zones and limits ... Does Camp Verde City Council made decisions for our community or does Planning and Zoning in collusion with county officials ... County practices illegal seizures through non state regulations. What will you do to correct these constitutional violations?”
• “ADOT per county is an usurpation, removing decisions & expense from their constitutional place in legislature ... County ‘government’ is unconstitutional, favors foreign and national investment, has damaged our forests, native species, local economy, our justice system and more, what will you do to dissolve this unconstitutional organization?’
• “How many pockets of development exist in Yavapai County that have no Constitutional organization to uphold state and federal statutes? Are these crimes of stealing land with signs?
• “Are you for or against legalization of marijuana for recreational use in Camp Verde? Is marijuana a gateway drug? If it is a gateway drug how can legalizing it help the drug problem in Camp Verde?”
The questions are littered with references to county, state, federal and constitutional concerns – imagined or otherwise – that have absolutely nothing with the scope of authority given to an elected town council.
The folks that crafted the questions for this forum are sadly lacking in the understanding of the role of local government.
If you want to take on the federal government and constitutional abuses, you need to take it up with the Federal Court System, not the Camp Verde Town Council.
If you want to combat the legalization of marijuana in Arizona, take it up with the State of Arizona, or better yet, vote “No” the next time the question shows up on your state election ballot. For the record, the Camp Verde Town Council has absolutely zero influence on whether marijuana will become a legal recreational drug in Arizona.
If you want to combat unregulated development issues in unincorporated Yavapai County – again, imagined or otherwise – start by giving your local county supervisors Randy Garrison and Tom Thurman a phone call. There’s this thing called jurisdictional boundaries and concerns such as this fall outside the territory governed by the Camp Verde Town Council.
But, if you want to responsibly grow and develop and make Camp Verde a better place for future generations, then ask the folks who want to be on the Camp Verde Town Council legitimate pertinent questions that address such concerns.
In other words, keep it real.