editor: fred miller March 13, 2022 Wire#26 March/22
It looks as if there will be a ward 3 councilperson at the end of the council meeting on Tuesday if all goes well. Although it wouldn't seem to bode well for local governance when people have to be cajoled to step forward whether for a council seat, serving on standing committees, or just participating in the cultural life of the city. More on the possible hollowing out of the city at a different time.
The visitor center at the mining museum, the official tourism site, could use some attention. The Arizona Office of Tourism has a few specific things that are required for a city to have a destination tourism designation. Our center needs shelving for fulfill that requirement. The viz center does not have its own post office box, nor phone, nor computer. And signage aroudn town is woefully lacking directing visitors to the center. This is kind of no brainer stuff and needs to get done. Since tourism is the main economic generator, I would hope the city would be doing all they could to inform visitors where info is, how to get there, and ensure someone is there to answer questions.
The excellent Firewise organization is asking for volunteers. Fire awareness day is coming soon. They need volunteers to drop off info to homes. It is not a big time committment and is a good opportunity to walk areas and see the safety needs of the community. Go here for info: https://www.facebook.com/oldbisbeefirewise.
Rant Warning ....It's all about the agendas at the lege. And it has become clear that republican politicians' agenda is to overrule local control and abort many personal freedoms. The Arizona republican party is now composed of two kinds of republicans-those traditional small government/fiscal conservative/culturally cautious members that are heard from less and less. And those ascendant-that I call repugnicans-economically, scientifically, historically illiterate/culturally backward/intellectually bankrupt, and authoritarian. They live in a fearful world and their pathetic politics reflect it.
Look no further than the 80 bills submitted this session that aim to modify access to voting and elections. Or the many bills that have tried to gut public education in favor of private schools, tell local schools how to operate, and teachers what to teach.There has been no serious condemnation of white race supremacy, race baiting, and jew hating that appears frequently-in the house of the people! among some big mouth repugnicans.
These are just a few of the examples of the iron fist that feeble legislators are raising.
Democrats in the lege can't get anything even out of committee because of the vote imbalance. So they play defense. And that is a poor way to win.
I hope this legislative session will be a wakeup call for democrat politicians. They need to be affirmative; local control and personal freedom are among the planks that build a foundation for winning.
SPECIAL SESSION OF THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF BISBEE, TUESDAY, MARCH 15, 5:30 PM IN T 915 S. TOVREAVILLE ROAD
Background here but no info on agenda items: http://www.bisbeeaz.gov/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_03152022-399
Of Interest...There is no back ground, I do not know Ms Chafee, pronounced Chay-fee, I do know Andrea a bit and think she would do a good job. Just on that limited basis I would favor the scooter driving Ms. Cross (also known as Andrea magpie)
THE FOLLOWING ITEMS WILL BE DISCUSSED AND/OR CONSIDERED AT THESE MEETINGS:
1. Interviews by the Mayor and Council of the Candidates for the Vacant Ward III Council Seat.
Ken Budge, Mayor
2. Discussion and Possible Approval of a Motion to go into Executive Session Pursuant to A.R.S. § 38-431.03. (A) (3) for discussion or consultation with the City Attorney for Legal Advice to the Council concerning applications for appointment to the vacant Council seat.
Ken Budge, Mayor
3. Discussion and Possible Approval of the Appointment of the Council Member for the Vacant Ward III Council Seat.
Ken Budge, Mayor
REGULAR SESSION OF THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF BISBEE, TUESDAY, MARCH 15, 7:00 PM 915 S. TOVREAVILLE ROAD,
Background here: http://www.bisbeeaz.gov/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_03152022-398
#1 How your money is spent
#3 Righting a wrong...Chris Bovée filed a complaint with the city after she felt the city failed in rectifying a situation where a retaining wall collapsed on her house in OB and she was forced to leave and not allowed back. This is the agreement between the City and Ms. Bovée that resolves her complaint and admits the City did her wrong. She will be paid $55k for damages, a public apology from the city, waiver of four years of building permits on her current home, an input in the form of suggestions to improve the city's handling of infrastructure fails.
#4 A vote to put on the ballot an authorization to exceed the limitations of the home rule option. (If not passed the city would be limited to about 1/4 of the current budget.) And arcane rule that maybe will be changed by the AG.
#5-8 city selling some parcels
#9 A petition from Jeff Harris that continues his examination of the minutiae of beating of a dead horse. His was the only signature on the petition (The council has to hear a submitted petition within three meetings. It only takes one person to petition the council.)
#10 a petition from Peyton, owner of HIgh Desert Market, regarding the proposed elimination of parking between the courthouse and ironman statute. The petition, signed by 110 people suggests that striping be done to delineate parking along with transit arrows defining traffic flow. (The county owns the land in question. Petitioners likely are hoping that the city will weigh in on the parking elimination.)
#12 Ongoing examination and updating job descriptions for four departments along with salary pay bumps and at least hourly minimum wage. Long overdue. City employees do the necessary work of keeping the city functioning and should be compensated accordingly.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
MAYOR’S PROCLAMATIONS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS:
Proclamation for Premier Alliances, Inc. 60th Anniversary
CALL TO THE PUBLIC
THE FOLLOWING ITEMS WILL BE DISCUSSED, CONSIDERED AND/OR DECIDED UPON AT THIS MEETING:
1. ACCOUNTS PAYABLE: Subject to availability of funds
2, Approval of the Consent Agenda
Approval of the Appointment of Carolyn Harris to the Evergreen Cemetery Committee.
Approval of the Appointment of Mary Ann Harlan to the Library Advisory Board.
Approval of the Resignation of Heather Loken from the Police and Fire Advisory Committee.
Approval of a Park, Facility and Right-of-Way Use Permit for the Easterseals Blake Foundation Blues in Bisbee for the use of Parking Spaces (Ruppe Avenue Closed from West Vista to East Vista) Saturday, September 17, 2022, from 12:00pm (Noon) to 10:00pm
3. Discussion and Possible Approval of a Settlement Agreement and Release on the Bovee Matter.
Joseph Estes, City Attorney
4. Public Hearing to Consider submitting a Proposal to the Voters to Authorize City Expenditures in Excess of the Limitations of Article IX, Section 20 of the Arizona Constitution (Home Rule Option).
Keri Bagley, Finance Director
Stephen J. Pauken, City Manager
5. Public Auction of Designated Surplus Property Located adjacent to and west of 104D & 144 Locklin Avenue and the existing access road to 140 & 142 Locklin Avenue.
Doug Taylor, City Planner
6. Public Auction of Designated Surplus Property Located, a vacant parcel described as the north half APN 103-60-249, Lots 19 and 20, located primarily south of across the right-of-way from 125 Star Avenue.
Doug Taylor, City Planner
7. Public Auction of Designated Surplus Property Located adjacent to 348 Williams Avenue, a vacant parcel described as a portion of APN 103-60-266B.
Doug Taylor, City Planner
8. Discussion and Possible Approval of Ordinance O-22-03; Authorizing the Sale and Transfer of City Property Located Adjacent to 4 Spring Canyon; Queen Street Located Southeast of Tombstone Canyon, not yet Established Parcel Number.
Doug Taylor, City Planner
9. Discussion and Possible Direction on the Petition received from Jeff Harris related to the decision made by Mayor and Council to reject the Harris Protest and rehear the matter with certain stipulations.
Ken Budge, Mayor
10. Discussion and Possible Direction on the Petition received from Peyton Charnick related to the elimination of the parking between the Courthouse and the Iron Man Statute.
Ken Budge, Mayor
11. Discussion and Possible Approval of a Contract for Services with Hinton Burdick for Audit Services for Fiscal Years 2022-2026.
Keri Bagley, Finance Director
12. Discussion and Possible Approval of update to the Job Descriptions for the Administrative, Finance, Community Development and Library Departments.
Joelle Landers, Personnel Director
13. Discussion and Possible Approval of Resolution R-22-04: to accept the City of Bisbee, Bisbee Bus Title VI Document for 2022.
Matthew Gurney, Public Works Director
14. City Manager's Report:
Other Current events (No Discussion
I've reprinted, with some minor editing, much of the AZ LEGISLATURE WEEKLY UPDATE, a newsletter edited my Melinda Lyer put out by Citizens Engagement Beyond Voting. iI is invaluable for tracking bills through the legislative process. Sign up here, https://secure.everyaction.com/J0eeRFWxbEeE9fiySEM-Og2
"..Monday’s floor calendars are cluttered with elections bills, mostly Townsend’s. The most egregious of her bills are dead or stalled, but she introduced so many (mostly based on conspiracy-theory-driven claims) that even her smaller ones are a costly nuisance for elections officials just trying to do their jobs. We are seeing our fair elections process eaten with small bites, and extremists are never satisfied by token accommodation. Thankfully, our opposition doesn’t need to last forever: there are only 2 more weeks of committee hearings (3 if you count the catchall desperation of the final Appropriations hearing). We must use every tool in our toolbox: RTS, committee testimony, calls, emails, meetings with lawmakers, letters to the editor, op-eds, talking with friends and family, and all forms of citizen pressure we can muster. You may be asking: WHAT CAN I DO? If you have 10 minutes: Act on the Alerts. If you have 30 minutes: Also use Request to Speak on bills in committee. If you have 40 minutes: Also contact your senator regarding bills on the floor. If you have 50 minutes: Also contact your reps and senator regarding bills in Rules committees, which may head to the floor this week. If you have 60 minutes: Watch a committee hearing, either in person or via live broadcast. Need help? Join us for a Sunday afternoon RTS Happy Hour now through the end of session, or watch our 5-minute RTS training video (best on a separate device you can pause as needed). ALERTS! HB2161 would require public schools to give parents access to all their children's records and to sue if the school didn’t meet their "satisfaction." SB1138 would ban “irreversible gender reassignment surgery” for anyone under 18. SB1165 would bar trans girls from women's sports at K-12 schools and state universities. HB2495 would ban public schools from referring to or using any “sexually explicit” materials, and as introduced would have banned even the mention of LGBTQ issues. What problem are these bills trying to solve? HB2161, SB1138, SB1165 and HB2495 are all in committees this week. Use RTS to OPPOSE. HB2319 would ban filming any law enforcement activity from up to 15 feet away. Police have a lot of power over citizens. Our right to record the police is a critical check and balance. It creates an independent record free from bias or faulty memory. It is no accident that some of the most high-profile cases of police misconduct have involved video and audio records. Multiple courts have ruled that people have a constitutional right to videotape police activity — and there’s already a law in Arizona that says people can’t interfere with police who are doing their job. HB2319 is scheduled for Senate Judiciary Committee, Thursday. Use Request to Speak to OPPOSE. CONTACT SENATOR GOWAN ON THIS ONE. EMAIL: DGowan@azleg.gov SB1650, sponsored by Michelle Ugenti-Rita (R-23), would allow a property owner or their agent to use deadly force if they believe it immediately necessary to prevent criminal damage to their property. It would also make defacing property while armed with a deadly weapon a Class 3 felony, for up to 3.5 years in jail. Contact your senator to OPPOSE. REQUEST TO SPEAK: House and Senate Bills in Committee Confused on which committees meet when? Can’t remember which committees your lawmaker sits on? Flag this handy list of committee chairs and assignments, updated for 2022. Monday…………………………………………………………………………………………………………… HB2236, sponsored by Jake Hoffman (R-12), would ban Arizona’s government and its employees from registering anyone to vote unless the person affirmatively requests it. Redo of HB2793 from last year, which died in the Senate. Scheduled for Senate Government Committee, Monday. OPPOSE. HB2471, sponsored by Frank Carroll (R-22), would end a state of emergency after 14 days unless the governor called lawmakers in for a special session to pass bills on subjects relating to the state of emergency. This harms future public health crises and the potential effectiveness of future governors’ responses. The indefinite length afforded by current statute gives governors time to coordinate efforts to enact change. Scheduled for Senate Government Committee, Monday. OPPOSE. HB2498, sponsored by Jake Hoffman (R-12), would ban state and local governments from requiring anyone to be vaccinated for COVID-19. Appears aimed at Pima County, which requires the vaccine for employees working with vulnerable populations (and recently reported a 92% vaccination rate). Unvaccinated Arizonans are 31 times more likely to die of COVID-19 than their vaccinated counterparts... Scheduled for Senate Government Committee, Monday. OPPOSE. HB2507, sponsored by Ben Toma (R-22), would ban state and local governments and their employees from “discriminating” against religious organizations, including restricting their capacity to meet in person. The bill declares religious services to be “essential services” that are “necessary and vital to the health and welfare of the public,” and would give religious organizations and their employees disturbingly broad rights to sue. Scheduled for Senate Government Committee, Monday. OPPOSE. HB2616, sponsored by Joseph Chaplik (R-23), would require public district and charter schools to obtain opt-in consent for each student in order to require mask usage. This is not only an untenable burden on public health, but a local issue best left to public health experts and local school boards, not the state legislature. Amended to remove the effect on businesses; now just applies to schools. Ending mask mandates in schools despite public health guidance is an issue being propped up by Koch-funded organizations. Scheduled for Senate Government Committee, Monday. OPPOSE.
Tuesday…………………………………………………………………………………………………………… SB1166, sponsored by Vince Leach (R-11), would ban spending any state dollars on “union activities,” defined to include candidate work or lobbying for bills or ballot measures. This is part of a rash of legislation aimed at kneecapping powerful voices that may disagree with right-wing state lawmakers, and appears to be written by the dark-money libertarian Goldwater Institute. Scheduled for House Commerce Committee, Tuesday. OPPOSE. SB1494, sponsored by JD Mesnard (R-17), would ban the state from refusing to pay unemployment if the person was fired or quit due to their refusal to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Currently people must lose their job through no fault of their own or a compelling personal reason in order to be eligible for unemployment. Scheduled for House Commerce Committee, Tuesday. OPPOSE. HB2161, sponsored by Steve Kaiser (R-15), would require public schools to give parents access to all their children's records unless the information is subject to abuse reporting law. The bill language is disturbingly broad, and any parent would be allowed to file a complaint and escalate it to a court case if it was not resolved to their "satisfaction." This is part of a host of proposals from national conservative think tanks that reflect a partisan backlash against K-12 schools. The bill will breed conflict between parents and teachers, resulting in baseless lawsuits against already-overworked teachers. Written by the anti-LGBTQ social lobbying group Center for Arizona Policy. Scheduled for Senate Education Committee, Tuesday. OPPOSE. HB2255, sponsored by Leo Biasiucci (R-5), would allow fireworks for consumer use around the date of the Hindu festival of Diwali. Lawmakers have been relaxing fireworks law and expanding their use (despite conflicts of interest) for years. Meanwhile, fireworks-related injuries have spiked and air quality has plummeted. Scheduled for Senate Appropriations Committee, Tuesday. OPPOSE. HB2317, sponsored by John Kavanagh (R-23), would appropriate $150 million from the state general fund to construct a physical border fence. Walls intended as barriers to immigration come with legal and practical problems, they're expensive, and they just plain don't work. Here’s an article from the libertarian Cato Institute calling border walls "harmful, wasteful, ineffective and offensive." Scheduled for Senate Appropriations Committee, Tuesday. OPPOSE. HB2495, sponsored by Jake Hoffman (R-12), would ban public schools from referring to or using any sexually explicit text, audio or video. The definition used by the sponsor is ridiculously broad and vague — including sexual contact, sexual excitement, even "physical contact with a person's clothed or unclothed buttocks." Schools would be left unable to teach everything from Shakespeare and John Steinbeck to the Tudor monarchy and 1960s history without opt-in permission forms. The result: banning Arizona's students from getting a well-rounded education. State law already makes it a felony to show pornography to children. Scheduled for Senate Education Committee, Tuesday. OPPOSE.
Wednesday………………………………………………………………………………………………………… SB1255, sponsored by JD Mesnard (R-17), sets rules for the position of lieutenant governor, conditional on voter approval of SCR1024, which asks voters to create that position. A lieutenant governor would be first in the line of succession for governor, instead of the Secretary of State, starting in 2027. Mesnard has been trying to create a lieutenant governor post for years; this year’s push marks his sixth attempt since being elected in 2011. Passed the Senate 23-5. Scheduled for House Government & Elections Committee, Wednesday. OPPOSE. SB1272, sponsored by Tyler Pace (R-25), takes advantage of 2-to-1 federal matching funds to extend postpartum care to low-income women for 1 year. In 2018, more than 1 in 4 pregnancy-related deaths nationwide occurred after the 6-week window for postpartum coverage had elapsed. Keeping moms insured after delivering helps detect complications and postpartum depression, aids in managing chronic conditions, and improves health outcomes for mother and child. Scheduled for House Appropriations Committee, Wednesday. SUPPORT. SCR1024, sponsored by JD Mesnard (R-17), would ask voters to create a lieutenant governor position for Arizona. That person, instead of the Secretary of State, would then become first in the line of succession for the governor’s office, starting in 2027. Mesnard has been trying to create a lieutenant governor post since being elected in 2011; this year’s bills mark his sixth attempt to ensure any replacement governor belongs to the same political party. Voters have twice soundly rejected the move, in 1994 and 2010. Critics call the attempt an epic waste of money designed only to ensure the same party keeps power should a governor leave office. Some have also suggested the current system ensures a sort of political house cleaning if a governor is removed from office. See also SB1255. Scheduled for House Government & Elections Committee, Wednesday. OPPOSE.
Thursday…………………………………………………………………………………………………………… HB2319, sponsored by John Kavanagh (R-23), would make it unlawful for someone to film police from up to 15 feet away while officers are engaged in “law enforcement activity.” Multiple courts have ruled that people have a constitutional right to videotape police activity, making this bill a blatant violation of the First Amendment. Video has also been instrumental in holding law enforcement accountable. Scheduled for Senate Judiciary Committee, Thursday. OPPOSE. HB2592, sponsored by Neal Carter (R-8), is a bipartisan measure that would appropriate $1.6 million to pay Superior Court jurors between $40 and $300 a day. Currently jurors receive $12/day plus mileage, making it difficult for everyday citizens to fulfill this civic duty. Scheduled for Senate Judiciary Committee, Thursday. SUPPORT. RTS: Bills in Rules CommitteesRules meets only to determine whether bills are constitutional and in the proper format. It's another opportunity to get your name on record in support or opposition, but don't bother with comments – the lawmakers won't read them. Positions must be entered before 8 AM Monday. These bills could be headed for a vote of the full House or Senate as soon as this week. SB1009, sponsored by Michelle Ugenti-Rita (R-23), would limit the governor’s ability to declare a state of emergency to 120 days, beginning with the new administration in 2023. After that, both chambers of the legislature would need to reauthorize the state of emergency or go into special session. Extensions could last for a maximum of 30 days, and the governor wouldn't be able to redeclare a state of emergency based on the same conditions if the legislature says no. Scheduled for House Rules Committee, Monday. OPPOSE. SB1138, sponsored by Warren Petersen (R-12), would ban “irreversible gender reassignment surgery” for anyone under 18. The Arizona Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics opposes the bill, saying transgender children already must wait until age 18 before receiving surgical therapy, but surgeries may yet be necessary for a “multitude of other medical conditions” that the bill prohibits: “Legislative mandates regarding the practice of medicine do not allow for the infinite array of exceptions or cases in which the mandate may be harmful to an individual patient.” Read this moving op-ed from moms who ask legislators to “stop infringing on our rights as parents to make deeply personal, medical decisions with our children.” See also HB2608, sponsored by Judy Burges (R-1). Scheduled for House Rules Committee, Monday. OPPOSE. SB1164, sponsored by Nancy Barto (R-15), is a Mississippi-style abortion ban that would take effect after 15 weeks except in the case of a "medical emergency." Because of the absurd way pregnancy dates are calculated, this really means 11 weeks at most. Doctors would face class 6 felony charges. The bill is designed to provoke lawsuits; Barto has said she is counting on the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, which would allow this bill to take effect in Arizona. Scheduled for House Rules Committee, Monday. OPPOSE. SB1165, sponsored by Nancy Barto (R-15), is a reprise of the 2020 and 2021 bills to bar transgender girls from women's sports at public and private schools, community colleges and state universities. It mandates medical review of a student’s anatomy, hormone levels and genetics if the student’s biological sex is disputed. Anyone accused would have to defend herself at her own expense (clearly some of our lawmakers have forgotten what it was like to be in junior high). It’s hard enough to be a transgender teen; in 2020, more than half of all transgender and nonbinary youth in the US seriously contemplated killing themselves. The Arizona Interscholastic Association already has a process in place for reviewing these athletes on a case-by-case basis Discriminatory bills like this one are not just morally wrong, they’re also bad for business: this ban could stop Arizona from hosting NCAA events. Scheduled for House Rules Committee, Monday. OPPOSE. SB1273, sponsored by Tyler Pace (R-25), would make it legal for motorcyclists to ride between stopped vehicles on surface streets. Commonly known as “lane splitting,” this would breed chaos, as a line of motorcycles drives through the middle of two lanes, then tries to merge as traffic begins moving. The Arizona Chiefs of Police and Arizona Sheriffs oppose the bill, saying it's dangerous for motorcycles because other vehicles won't see them and "we have enough issues caused by people cutting others off." The bill sponsor rides a motorcycle. Scheduled for House Rules Committee, Monday. OPPOSE. SB1372, sponsored by Tyler Pace (R-25), would create a tax loophole allowing anyone who lives outside of Arizona to buy a vehicle free of sales tax. Currently vehicles must be shipped out of state to be eligible for a sales tax waiver, which is bad enough. Nearly 400,000 new vehicles are purchased in Arizona each year, and the average price of a vehicle is now over $40,000, meaning each tax credit would cost the general fund an average of $2500. However, this loophole is targeted to the wealthy (those who could afford to fly to Arizona, buy a car and drive it home), so the cost of the cars they purchase, and thus the cost to Arizona's general fund, is likely higher than that average. Arizona already gives away far more in tax loopholes and carve-outs than it spends in its state budget every year. Scheduled for House Rules Committee, Monday. OPPOSE. HB2200, now subject to a striker from Steve Kaiser (R-15), would block large companies like Google and Apple from restricting the purchase and download of apps to only their proprietary stores. This would break Apple security safeguards and potentially jeopardize children by bypassing parental controls on content and in-app purchases. Proponents are billing this as “antitrust legislation,” but one small app developer says the bill simply trades consumer privacy and security for lining the pockets of other large developers like Epic Games. Epic sued Apple and Google (and lost) after it tried to bypass those companies’ developer fees and got kicked out of their online stores. Scheduled for House Rules Committee, Monday. OPPOSE. HB2237, sponsored by Jake Hoffman (R-12), would outlaw same-day voter registration. This is the opposite of what Arizona should be doing. Same-day registration increases voter turnout, helps keep voter rolls updated, and boosts election security by creating a cleaner administrative process. Part of a flotilla of anti-democracy legislation designed to make it harder to vote. Hoffman is one of several legislators in Arizona who routinely spreads election falsehoods. Scheduled for Senate Rules Committee, Monday. OPPOSE. HB2243, sponsored by Jake Hoffman (R-12), would require voter registration forms to include a statement that if the registrant permanently moves to another state after registering to vote in this state, the registrant's voter registration will be canceled. The bill does not say how elections officials would determine someone has moved, or what amount of time is considered permanent. This could affect college students attending out-of-state universities and seasonal workers. Scheduled for Senate Rules Committee, Monday. OPPOSE. HB2492, sponsored by Jake Hoffman (R-12), would require proof of residency to register to vote, and is written retroactively. This would require every registered voter in Arizona — millions of people who are already registered — to prove their citizenship or be knocked off voter rolls. The also bill creates new punishments for non-citizens who attempt to register to vote, as well as subjecting county recorders who violate the statute to a class 6 felony. Scheduled for Senate Rules Committee, Monday. OPPOSE.
SULPHUR SPRINGS IS GETTING DRAINED
The water wars in Sulphur Springs valley has entered a new phase. In place of allowing virtually anyone with land to drill for water that has resulted in a serious decline of ground water in the Wilcox and Douglas basins, two serious attempts at regulation are in the works. This has serious implications for not only those living in the valley, but for ourselves as recipients of agricultural products from the area. A grass roots group, The Arizona Water Defenders is in favor of an Active Management Area (AMA) They have "... a standing political action committee, registered with the Arizona Secretary of State, that is advancing two petitions, pursuant to ARS 45-415, to initiate elections on whether to designate the Douglas and Willcox basins as groundwater active management areas (AMAs, which are overseen by the Arizona Department of Water Resources). " Their website has a wealth of info about wells, water, and what to do. Go here: arizonawaterdefenders.com They will be having a meeting for info and petitions March 19th from 11am-12pm Van Meter Park in Elfrida (10293 N. Central Rd) more info: firstname.lastname@example.org In response to the restless natives a second group has begun. The Southeastern Arizona Water District (SEAZWD) was formed in an effort to relieve the water problems residents with wells have encountered. They are proposing a domestic water district covering 400 miles that would allow those that buy in to assure themselves water. Commercial industry would be excluded from the district and not subject to any restrictions. Any domestic user would buy in for about $90 a month. They have other suggested buy ins also. Go here for more info: https://seazwd.org/. Among the board members is Gary Fehr, the Riverview llp Board President. On their website he is only identified as "homeowner for seven years." Although this group does have some local people on their board, it has all the fixins of an 'astroturf' group. Briefly, astroturfing is when companies or even individuals mask their motives by putting it under the guise of a grassroots movement. What is happening in Sulphur Springs Valley is a continuing travesty. The Riverview llp, operating as Coronado Dairy in Arizona, is not only milking cows and raising heifers, they also farm crops for their cattle. As of 2020 they have bought 51,000 acres and continue to buy more in order to feed and water the estimated 130,000 heifers and diary cows. They have expanded rapidly, establishing a second dairy/heifer operation at Turkey Creek Rd in 2019 and currently are buying land along Davis road. The acreage is almost all in the Wilcox and Douglas basins.
Although there is an irrigation non expansion area in the Douglas basin, groundwater withdrawals are grandfathered, so if a property has a well before the formation of and INA, they can withdraw unlimited water. And that is what Riverview dairy has been exploiting with their land buys.
What this has meant is a draw down of the water table, that is suspected but not yet proven, due to the number of new wells drilled by Riverview. Last year several sink holes developed by along main roads and in fields. For some homeowners, retirees, small farmers, and other agricultural interests this means they have to drill deeper and deeper wells. Riverview also has operations in eastern New Mexico-also heifers and dairy cows, beef cattle in Nebraska, beef cattle and dairy cows in much of South Dakoka, and dairy in Minnesota.
For local writing about water issues Shar Poirer's articles in the Herald Review are informative and consistently good; https://www.myheraldreview.com, then search for her. An article by Tony Davis of the AZ Star last year (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jun/02/mega-dairies-disappearing-wells-and-arizonas-deepening-water-crisis) outlined what Riverview, hq in Morris MN, was doing. Additionally a detailed NY Times article is illuminating about sulphur springs valley including details on the 35,000 acres of nut trees planted that use big water. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/19/magazine/the-water-wars-of-arizona.html Get a close up look at their operation, drive out Hwy 191 to Kansas Settlement, turn right and continue until you see the mile long operation of a modern corporate dairy operation. Along the way you will see huge crop circles and other rolling irrigation systems growing feed for the huge operation.