Monday, September 17, 2007

Belle Starr at your service

Belle Starr at your service

To begin with, we need to bring back the guillotine. Belle has begun knitting again. Her yarn is blood scarlet. As she knits in the names of the rich, venal and fatuous, she hums a tune. It is, of course, by that granite-faced old scoundrel, Van Morrison:

"How can you stand the silence
That pervades when we all cry?
How can you watch the violence
That erupts before your eyes?
How can you tell us something
Just to keep us hangin' on?
Something that just don't mean nothing...

That was a Wonderful Remark
I had my eyes closed in the dark
I sighed a million sighs
I told a million lies - to myself - to myself

How can we listen to you
When we know your talk is cheap?
How can we ever question
Why we give more and you keep?

That was a Wonderful Remark..."

As she works away, Belle glances at the words scrawled across America's future:

"An honest criminal,if s/he's caught and convicted, will abide by the fact s/he's broken the law and is gonna do time. I've learned that's how you get through life without punching walls and hurting yourself; you abide by the facts of the situation, whatever it is."
---Elmore Leonard

It is time for us to do time. Hard time. It'll be too late for the domestic bees and the polar bears and that horned toad that just got turned into infra-structure kill by a bull-dozer a little north of Anthem, Arizona. Nonetheless, the pain might clear our minds long enough to...
...what? Try the experiment. The answer might come to you.

Back to my knitting...

La Belle

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Chabin gets LD2 Seat

The Coconino County Board of Supervisors named former supervisor Tom Chabin to replace Ann Kirkpatrick as a representative for LD2 at the State Legislature.

While the other 2 candidates received much praise during the Board's deliberations, Chabin's experience working both in Flagstaff and on the Navajo Reservation seemed to be the key to winning the vote.

Khalsa resigns as PC Coordinator

There was a small ripple in the Coconino County Democratic Party leadership on Thursday when Avtar Khalsa resigned as the Director of Precinct Operations.

Khalsa, who came in a close second to incumbant Brian Kolb in a 4-way primary race for Justice of the Peace last fall, accepted the PC Coordinator job when Cathy Fine moved up from the Precinct job to a vice-chair position. Fine was recently accepted to law school at Arizona State and stepped down from the vice-chair spot last month.

Khalsa reportedly told County Chair Harriet Young that work and family responsibilities have kept him from doing a thorough job as the PC Coordinator. Khalsa is the director of the Coconino Council for Children, and also chairs the City of Flagstaff Planning and Zoning Commission.

It's probably just a coincidence, But Khalsa's resignation comes just two days Arizona DEQ Director Steve Owens complained that Khalsa forwarded an invitation to all the county Democratic PCs for a fundraiser for Congressional candidate Ann Kirkpatrick. Owens reportedly said that by Khalsa forwarding the invitation, the party was showing favoritism to a candidate in a contested primary.

Khalsa replied that he would do the same for any Democratic candidate, so he couldn't see where he demonstrated any favoritism. Young, the county chair, seems to have settled the matter by stating that from now on, all such invitations would come through her. Though it seems like shes going to do pretty much what Khalsa did -- forward them to the party faithful.

When a couple different people told me about this little intra-party brouhaha, my first question was why Steve Owens got his shorts all in a knot over the emailed invitation (one source said he was even CCing Howard Shanker and Mary Kim Titla, who are both running against Kirkpatrick for the Democratic nomination for the seat Rick Renzi is not going to defend.)

Then I stumbled upon this little tidbit. Maybe Big Steve wants to make sure that Kirkpatrick isn't tapping all his potential supporters before he even gets in the race. On Saturday, the Daily Sun listed Owens as a possible candidate. Word on the street is that Owens will make a formal announcement in the next couple of days.

When I spoke with Khalsa, he said the Steve Owens email had nothing to do with his decision to step down. He said Owens asked a valid question about favoritism. He just didn't think there was any favoritism involved.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Take a Stand in Flagstaff

Rally to end the War on Tuesday in Wheeler Park.

More info and sign-up info at
Take A Stand Rally is part of a nation-wide organizing drive to demand that members of Congress and the Senate take a stand with the vast majority of Americans who want a safe and responsible redeployment of American Forces from Iraq.
While I have come to expect the usual array of Dirty Fucking Hippies at these events, I'm always pleasantly surprised at all the good upstanding citizens who show up, too. Why not join in the fun!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Why City Council Salaries Matter

The City of Flagstaff has initiated its quadrennial review of salaries of the mayor and members of the city council. While barely on the radar of most citizens, this process and its outcomes are critical to Flagstaff and the kind of city it becomes.

Here's why. Currently city council members make about $12,000 per year. Think of it as $250 a week. But to really do the job right, it's a half-time job requiring a minimum of 20 hours per week.

Pay that low limits the pool of potential city council candidates significantly . It tilts the playing field to those who don't have to earn a decent living during those 20 hours plus each week.

Yes, there are exceptions. Al White is unable to work, gets monthly disability payments, and actually has to limit the amount of pay he gets from the city so as not to jeopardize his disability payments. But he wouldn't mind at all if he could get a salary that exceeded his disability amount. Then he would take the salary instead of the disability.

Rick Swanson has an employer (North Country Community Health Center), who grants him some flexibility so he can meet his council responsibilities. Even so, he ends up having to use vacation time when the council goes into a 3 day budget retreat.

Karen Cooper is retired, as is Joe Donaldson.

The point is that low council salary makes service on the council more accessible to those who can afford it. If we want city government to reflect the values of the people of Flagstaff, not just the development industry, then we need to pay our council members enough so that the average person can afford to be on the city council.

The city is currently forming a citizen commission, based on names submitted at a recent meeting of the chairs of the city's boards and commissions, that will study the issue and make recommendations to the city council. Their recommendations could determine the composition of the Flagstaff City Council for the next several years.

Remember, it's your town, too.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Drinking Liberally in Flagstaff

This Thursday from 6 to 8 at the Flagstaff Brewing Company.

If you're going to drink, don't drink with idiots and assholes. Come to Drinking Liberally and imbibe among friends. You'll be glad you did.

Friday, August 3, 2007

LD2 Caucus Recap

Looks like Kay covered to results pretty well.

I wasn't there (not being a PC or anything). But I ran into a few of the voting PCs at a downtown watering hole following the caucus.

There were a few overall impressions that seemed to be consistent across the board. The first was that it was a very friendly process, free of arm twisting, jockeying, and acrimony. Despite the wide range of opinion on a variety of issues, the Flagstaff Dems seem to get along pretty well.

The second common thread was that any of the four candidates to replace Ann Kirkpatrick would have done a good job representing the district at the legislature.

Finally, all the PCs really enjoyed being part of the selection process.

Now it's up to the Sups. I hear they'll be meeting on Tuesday to determine the process by which they will choose the winner (which will happen sometime after that). Everyone agreed that they want that whole process to be as transparent as possible. Good idea.