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BISBEE WIRE #54/ No on the Jail/where was Bob?/Bisbee/Council meet/news in trouble

editor: fred miller April 29, 2023 #54/April 2023


A new jail is needed. However the special election ballot on May 16 is not the best proposal and should be defeated. It is not a stretch to say that the future of Bisbee depends on building the jail in Bisbee. A detailed discussion is below.

Tucker Carlson has been fired by the Fox network, as has his producer. Lotsa speculation about reasons but the important thing to remember is that he was not fired for years of championing racist white nationalist conspiracy theories of wanting to 'replace' whites with 'others', nor for his outright sexism. His conduct was consistently defended by Fox executives.

The slow, but rancorous,takeover of Cochise County elections continues with the appointment of an election skeptic as head of the department. A piece below asks Where was Bob?

And almost every month brings the demise of a news source. The latest is the Arizona Daily Star 25% reduction of staff this past week. Although making lotsa money for the private equity owner, they are milking the cash cow till they are ready to sell the bones. See the article below.

The council is being asked to approve the budget for FY23-24. Take a look below and then at the budget proper to see where your hard earned cash is going.

As a long time board member of the Bisbee Foundation I'm was part of hosting our annual donor party today. We gave our Gem Award for community service to Laura Swan, owner/editor of the Bisbee Observer. For 25 year she has provided a forum for discussion as well as reliable information. We also announced the recipients of scholarships and grants that were recently awarded.

Here comes the pitch....Look at the lovliness...You too, can be invited to a donor party like this to munch on homemade cakes and cookies made by board members, tarts from Jacqui Patisserie, cheese boards, fruit salad, and sip some wine and more...if you donate some of your hard earned dough to the foundation. Info at:



I support a new jail. The need is compelling. But I will vote NO. For two reasons; the funding mechanism utilizing sales tax is unfair, and there is no guarantee that the jail will be built in Bisbee.

I think voters should have been provided with a realistic design of what a new jail would look like, where it would be located, and a mix of taxes to pay for it. Instead we are asked to provide money that goes into a dedicated jail fund to be spent for constructing some kind of jail, located somewhere in the county, at some future date.


There has been a well thought out process to advocate for a new jail. A jail district public outreach committee formed was formed with more than a dozen prominent people throughout the county. They have held several meetings discussing the need and funding for a new jail as well as how 'sell' it.

A PR firm was hired by the Supes as consultants for six months of services at $3500 a month to develop and implement a plan to present to the residents of Cochise County. They helped the jail committee.

After several meetings of discussing aspects of a new jail; need, location, funding and more, the jail committee in October recommended to the Supervisors that a jail district be formed and a levy be put to the voters in a special election. The Supes agreed with the committee and set the election for May 16.

All committee meetings minutes were public but the most salient meeting where funding and other problems were discussed is here:

During this meeting there was a funding presentation and discussion and a property tax was dismissed as too difficult. There was no discussion of mixed taxation.

The result of the committee's work and the PR campaign is that outreach has been very good with many opinion pieces, ads, and a round of public meetings in various cities to explain the need for a new jail.

Given all the factual information presented-by judges,county employees, Sheriff's department-there is no question that a new county jail is needed. That is very clear.


The proposal on the ballot is solely for the Cochise County Jail District to levy a .5% excise tax for a period of 25 years. This would be a dedicated tax to fund a new jail and raise a projected $200 million. It would raise the county sales tax to 1.05%. And would put four cities in the county above 10% sales tax. And if a city or the State, as has been mentioned, raise their sales tax, then sales taxes could conceivable reach 11% or more in some cities.

A sales tax is regressive in that it takes a larger percentage of income from low-income people than from medium and high-income people. According to the 2020 census, 17.1% of Cochise County residents live in poverty.

A wide variety of necessary goods are taxed when sold in Arizona, so any increase would affect someone dependent on social security or earning minimum wage proportionately more than others with higher incomes. For instance if the Sheriff, who is paid $100,000+ bennies, and a person with fixed income of $15,000, each bought $1000 worth of goods, Each would pay a county tax-if the new sales tax were in effect- $10.50 (plus state and city taxes), but the Sheriff would pay proportionally less of his total income while a fixed income person would pay more.

We are not talking big money here, but it illustrates that low income people are paying proportionately more for the jail.

A property tax was considered and rejected by the jail committee. Why they didn’t do this I can only speculate, but historically property owners tend to vote more often and are often opposed any property tax hikes.

One of the arguments for the sales tax is that people from out of the county coming to/through the county would help pay for the jail. It is a specious argument. But it reveals an interesting underlying civics issue here.

Sidebar....I think that there has not been civics courses in schools in the past 20 years that has led to a lack of knowledge or misunderstanding about how governments are structured, why they are that way, how they are paid for, what services they provide. The unspoken contract is when you live in a place, you pay for those services that are needed to keep secure, safe, and healthy.

A second problem is that for three decades there has been concerted efforts from conservatives railing about how bad government is at every level polluting the public discourse. These two major factors have resulted in a creeping ignorance about how public services are funded and have created a disdain for public service and 'governments'.


There is no reason there cannot be a mix of taxes to pay for the jail.There should be an effort to spread the 'pain' around. If there is a need to raise $8 million a year, than figure out how much to raise the property tax-residential and commercial-10%, 15%? , plus a .1% sales tax, and the whatever the Sheriff's cut of marijuana taxes to meet that figure. Present that funding to the public along with a more detailed explanation of what the new jail will encompass and where it will be built and it would pass with a huge majority.

Jail is critical to future of Bisbee

Bisbee is not named as the site of the new jail on the ballot question. Although there has been talk about the jail being on the site of the existing jail, voters are simply asked to approve a tax levy for a new jail. That then, leaves it open to where the jail will be built, and that could pit city against city to ‘get’ the new jail.

A brief google search reveals that a jail is worth several million dollars to the area of location. Odd as it sounds, the jail is an economic plus for Bisbee. If another site were chosen, then very possibly court rooms would/could be included at or near the jail and then county attorney offices would/could be at or near the jail. So that in the coming years the remainder of the County functions could also be transferred there also, leaving Bisbee a much poorer county seat and without the tax base to fund basic services. The Bisbee site is best.

...............BISBEE STUFF................


Rolls being purged, but the good news is that many people will remain eligible for Medicaid. However, the renewal process can take time, so individuals should take action now by visiting www.hea lthearizonaplus. gov.

Everyone who is currently receiving Medicaid should check their eligibility and determine if they need to take action to maintain their coverage



Volunteers Wanted! You Can Volunteer! Yes, You!

On Saturday, May 6th, 8:00 there will be a Wildfire Preparedness Day on an overgrown property below Castle Rock on Tombstone Canyon to demonstrate what fire wise principles look like in action.

We’re seeking a dozen volunteers to help us weed whack, clip, lop, and rake for a couple of hours. We also need volunteers to staff an information table.If you cannot help in person but are willing to loan us tools, we promise to take good care of them. We need: rakes, string trimmers, loppers, and a powered pole saw or chainsaw. More info here:

As an incentive to jump into fuels reduction work, Bisbee's Public Works department will be picking up green waste in the weeks following May 6th. They ask that we bag leaves and debris, bundle limbs (6' or less) if possible, and leave the green waste at the curb.

They are seeking high-visibility properties willing to host Sparky signs. Interested in displaying one at your home or business?



Friday May 12 12-2:00 519 Melody Lane Copper Queen Library's summer reading program kick off. An old fashioned ice cream social. Check it out for the Panther band, a clown or two and hula hoops....and Ice Cream! and then stay for the ......


The Bisbee Science Center is hosting a Science Cafe on May 12th from 2:30-4:30 pm to introduce the design team, SALT Landscapes, for their backyard project at Melody Lane. It's a big deal that legislation was passed, The Living Schoolyards Act, that provided funding for various projects that transform places where children play into living and verdant spaces which will protect kids from extreme heat, nurture their curiosity and sense of wonder, invite learning, imagination, and play, and promote environmental stewardship.



Saturday, May 13th from 9:00 to noon at Ace Hardware parking lot on Naco Highway. The best safe recycling for your personal documents (e.g. old tax returns, bank statements, checkbook registers, credit card statements and medical records), Shed It-Shred It once again is here. Not only your personal papers but out of date medicines and vitamins, old eyeglasses, unused toiletry items, and as an added bonus this year you can recycle wives, husbands, old boyfriends, old girlfriends, maybe a dog or two. This is your opportunity! Shred-It of Tucson will receive and shred on site as you watch. There is a suggested donation of $10.00 per box. This is a semi-annual fundraiser and community service by and for the Bisbee Community Chorus. <><>


AG LISTENING TOUR ABOUT ALBERTSON/KROGER MERGER Sierra Vista: Friday, May 15, 2 – 4 p.m. - REGISTER On October 2022, Kroger agreed to buy rival Albertsons in a deal to combine the two supermarket chains. In Arizona, these companies are more recognizable and known as Fry’s or Smith’s and Safeway. But both corporations have many other brands they own. The Arizona Attorney General’s Office is investigating this merger under anti-trust laws and hosting Listening Sessions across the state to hear from Arizonans about the impacts this merger could have on our communities. Go. Talk about the impact a closure of Safeway would have on your life. The merger could have an especially large impact within Arizona, where Kroger and Albertsons currently operate more than 250 stores combined, employ over 35,000 Arizona workers, and account for almost 50% of Arizona’s grocery market sales. Private Equity firm Cerebus and investors will gain the most. When mergers happen, consolidation begins as 'unprofitable' stores are closed. These closures are based on KPI's (Key Performance Indicators) such as Sales per Square Foot, Gross/Net profit, Average Transaction Value,(how much people spend), Year to Year Growth and many more. The upshot of this is that people lose their jobs, and lives are disrupted, and in rural areas significant hardship. Sometimes regulators mandate that corporations sell some of their stores so they don't have dominant market share in an area. In rural Arizona, that's us, we have one Safeway store. You can bet it will be on the chopping block because there is a Fry's and Safeway in SV. One specific area that would affect the City of Bisbee if Safeway closed would be a loss of sales tax. The city budget would take a hit, potentially substantial. <><> DOLLAR STORES As larger stores close, Dollar stores are there to scoop up the leavings. Read this about the impact of Dollar stores in rural areas. We have two in Bisbee <><> Naco Wellness San Jose Organic Community Garden Party and Fundraiser Naco, Sonora (transportation provided) June 3, 3:00-7:00



Background here: includes the FY23-24 budget

Of interest:

#2 2-5 the minutes of the work sessions on the budget

#6 Adopting the tentative budget

#9 a lease for a new police SUV



INVOCATION: A Moment of Silence



  • National Day of Prayer Proclamation




1. ACCOUNTS PAYABLE: Subject to availability of funds.

2. Approval of the Consent Agenda

  1. Approval of the Minutes of the Regular Session of Mayor and Council held on April 18, 2023.

  2. Approval of the Minutes of the Work Session of Mayor and Council held on April 20, 2023.

  3. Approval of the Minutes of the Work Session of Mayor and Council held on April 24, 2023.

  4. Approval of the Minutes of the Work Session of Mayor and Council held on April 25, 2023.

  5. Acceptance of the Resignation of John Balas from the Planning and Zoning Commission

  6. Approval of the Appointment of David Brown to the Planning and Zoning Commission.

  7. Approval of a Park, Facility and Right-of-Way Use Permit submitted by Renee Harper for the use of City Park and the use of Main Street from the Iron Man to the Gulch for a parade to be held on Saturday, August 12, 2023 from 8:00am to 10:00pm.

  8. Approval of a Special Event Liquor License Application submitted by the City of Bisbee for an event to be held at 99 Arizona Street (Warren Ballpark) Bisbee, Arizona on Saturday, June 3, 2023 from 9:00am to 6:30pm, Stephen J. Pauken; Applicant.


Nina Williams, Deputy City Clerk

4. Discussion and Possible Approval to Establish $2.664 as the price per square foot for the Sale and Transfer of Certain Surplus City Property, being a portion of City-owned Property located adjacent to APN 103-59-140G owned by Mr. & Mrs. Kellough and Discussion and Possible Approval of Ordinance O-23-09; Authorizing the Sale and Transfer of Certain Surplus City Property, being a portion of City-owned Property located adjacent to APN 103-59-140G owned by Mr. & Mrs. Kellough.

Nina Williams, Deputy City Clerk

5. Public Hearing and Discussion and Possible Approval of the Notice of Intent to Adopt Ordinance O-23-10; Amending the City of Bisbee Zoning Code Article 9, “Definitions,” by adding the definition of “Parcel Coverage,” and Article 5, “Specific Plan Zoning,” by adding the Maximum Parcel Percentage for Lot Coverage.

Joe Ward, Building Inspector / Code Enforcement

6. Discussion and Possible Approval of Resolution R-23-06; Adopting the Tentative Budget for the City of Bisbee for FY 23-24 as well as give notice of the time for public hearing to taxpayers for adoption of the budget.

Keri Bagley, Finance Director

7. Discussion and Possible Approval of the FY 24 Employee Benefit Renewal Agreements.

Joelle Landers, Personnel Director

8. Discussion and Possible Approval to Purchase 200 Universal Carts (Roll-Out Trash Cans).

Matthew Gurney, Public Works Director

9. Discussion and Possible Approval of an Annual Lease Agreement for 1 new 2023 Police Package Chevrolet Tahoe between the Bisbee Police Department and Farmers State Bank beginning on July 1, 2023 for 4 years for a total of $71,736.

Timothy Cox, Chief of Police

10. City Manager's Report:



The budget is up for tentative approval. Check out the FY23-24 budget included in the background to the council agenda. This is how your money is going to be spent, a total of $9,679,223 the coming fiscal year.

The city manager wants to try and retain staff while becoming more competitive in new hires and the budget reflects that. If passed there will be $1.50 p/h raises for all departments.

Public Safety/Police and Fire expense accounts for 65% of the General Fund’s cost. About 25% of this can be attributed to the Public Safety Retirement System (PSPRS) expense, both current and payment towards the bond debt.

Police will get $2 p/h bumps. Currently there are eight officers patrolling the city. There are six vacant officer positions, one deputy chief, and two reserve positions.

Fire Dept. will also get raises. Currently there are two firefighters/EMTs, and three firefighter/Paramedics vacancies. Ambulance transfers, once a source of revenue, were halted because of a lack of personnel

Of note:

The visitor center will be moving to the old Review building on Main St. And $20k is allocated for a golf cart to take media and others on tours of the historic district.

The pool will likely not open this year because of many problems.

The Workforce housing Initiative has a projected $400k, added for the sale of Four completed homes. Work will soon commence on five more.

Several different grants have been applied for that would rennovate Commerce St., expand the city's recycling program with new equipment, rebuild the fire suppression system.

The possibility of receiving these grant monies has to be added to and accounted for in the budget because the city cannot spend more than the total of the budget that is passed. They can move funds around but not exceed the total.



A question has been asked but not answered, where was the recently hired Cochise County Elections Director Bob Bartelsmeyer from 2011 to 2021? We know he was elections director for Dona Ana County, N.M. in 2009 and 2010 and resigned before the primary election. We know he was in La Paz county for one year April 2022 and now will leave. We do know he was on Facebook in 2020 with several posts saying that Trump was robbed of the electio, that voting machines weren't accurate according, that Sidney Powell was right, and several other election-denying posts. BUT where was he during the missing years? Internet researchers where are you? If you can fill in the gaps of this guy, who apparently was; recruited by recorder David Stevens, refused to let HR talk to his former employers, doesn't have a college degree, isn't certified yet, you can win a free subscription to the Wire....

Given the last two jobs we know about, BobBee, hired by supes Crosby and Judd, might be a one year man here too if the elections.....



Sierra Vista's Huang Quan, has filed a lawsuit to halt the special election for the jail. It has not yet been scheduled. Unfortunately it is not because of the brouhaha with the supes, but because he thinks the elections are not safe. He cited machines not being certified, chain of custody of ballots not good, and many more non factual opinions he has often spoke of at supe meetings. He is representing himself. And of course there is that old adage that the man who is his own lawyer has a fool for his client.


The Herald Review is trying to figure out how local papers can continue to survive in a time of big changes in news delivery. Beset on many fronts, from Phoenix legislators agitating to post 'official' proclamations (public auctions, articles of organization, city regulartions, etc.) online only, to the aging of paper readership, from the takeover of private equity gutting newsrooms to the major layoffs of staffs, problems are everywhere. One of the major initiatives the HR is developing is NABUR. It is kind of like a combination of, online newsletter, and various discussion portals. Get a taste of what they are doing here: These problems are nationwide, and summarized In his article from The Week. "The U.S. has lost more than 2,500 newspapers since 2005 — or 25 percent of the total — and is on track to lose a third by 2025, according to a 2022 report by Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. ( The result is a growing number of Americans, now approaching 70 million, who live in a "news desert" — a community with no local news source. Most of those shuttered papers are weeklies covering smaller communities, but larger daily papers are dying as well; in 2019, Youngstown, Ohio, became the biggest U.S. city without a newspaper when the 150-year-old Vindicator went belly-up. And many surviving papers and digital start-ups have been left with skeleton staffs that lack the resources to do much digging and serve as community watchdogs. Nearly 60 percent of newsroom jobs have been lost since 2005, according to Medill. With many papers cutting print schedules, even large cities such as Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, and New Orleans no longer have a daily print newspaper. "This is a crisis for our democracy and our society," said Penelope Muse Abernathy, author of the Medill report.

Why is this happening? The main driver, of course, is the shift to online readership, which destroyed the advertising revenue that once helped make newspapers profitable. Most of those ad dollars now go to Google, Facebook, and other sites. Newspaper revenues plummeted from $49 billion in 2006 to $14 billion in 2018, according to Pew. As many newspapers became vulnerable, Wall Street hedge funds and other investors bought them up at a discount and drastically cut staffs in pursuit of short-term profits. Half of America's daily papers are now owned by hedge funds, private equity firms, and other investment companies, according to a Financial Times analysis. One hedge fund, Alden Global Capital, has become notorious for cutting staffs to the bone, selling off assets, shuttering offices, and telling remaining staff to work remotely. Alden has left major papers such as The Baltimore Sun, the Chicago Tribune, and The Orange County Register struggling to cover the news with a small fraction of their former staffs. Alden papers in some locales, including Pottstown, Pennsylvania, and Vallejo, California, have been reduced to a single reporter. The phenomenon has given rise to the term "ghost newspaper," for publications that still publish but are essentially dead.

Why is this important? For centuries, newspapers have played a crucial role in the nation's public life. They bind communities together, promote civic engagement, tell citizens how their tax dollars are being spent, and root out malfeasance by public officials. An informed citizenry is key to a functioning democracy. Studies have shown that communities without local news have lower voter engagement and social cohesion and fewer candidates running for local offices. One study suggested that a lack of local news contributes to political polarization and intense partisanship. Local newspapers "serve as a central source of shared information, setting a common agenda," the authors wrote, while national news "emphasizes competition and conflict."....

Can anything be done? A growing number of entrepreneurs, veteran journalists, and philanthropists are searching for new business models for both print and online journalism. One result is a proliferation of nonprofit news operations, from Mississippi Today to the Baltimore Banner, started by a billionaire who made an unsuccessful bid to buy The Baltimore Sun from Alden Capital. The American Journalism Project, a "venture philanthropy" focused on local news, is helping to build nonprofit news startups like the new Ohio Local News Initiative. The nonprofit Report for America places hundreds of journalists in underserved communities. Last fall, California allocated $25 million to fund journalists working in understaffed newsrooms. All these developments are welcome, said Tim Franklin, director of the Medill School's Local News Initiative, but as newspapers continue to shrink and die at a rapid rate, a more comprehensive way to fund local journalism is needed. "The need to innovate is urgent," he said. And just this week 25% of the Arizona Daily Star staff were laid off on the business and news side. The Spanish language version La Estrella was also axed. According to the Tucson Sentinel, "In the past 15 years, the Star's newsroom has dropped from more than 120 reporters, photographers and editors to a contact list that now numbers just two or three dozen...While overall revenues have drastically declined in the past decade, and Lee and Gannett have cut expenses to match, the Star has remained one of the top-performing newspapers in both chains. The Tucson operation netted about $9.3 million split between the two partners in 2019, out of $43 million in revenues, with the profits distributed from "all available cash" on a weekly basis." For more background read former political cartoonist David Fitzsimmons: Gannet is owned by Gatehouse Media, has been operated by Fortress Investments, a New York private equity firm, in turn owned by Softbank, the diversified Japanese tech firm. This is the environment that Wick Newspapers, the Bisbee Observer and other local and regional papers are in. AND MORE..... TESLA TWITTER TWIT THWARTING REPORTING Elon Musk, the billionaire Twitter Twit Tweaker , is causing real consternation among many enewsletters. Several are written by former reporters of major newspapers that were layed off or 'private equitied' out of a job. Recently he has attacked Substack, the home for many enewsletters, by forbidding re-tweets in articles and blocking newsletters from the platform. Go here for more info about the Twitter war: Unfortunately Twitter is a main driver for traffic and new subscribers and many newsletters have been reluctant to erect paywalls. The means they are hurting financially. Sooo all this is to say that pay them some dough if you are reading and recommend them to others. These are worth checking out and supporting: This Week in Bisbee The music and event calendar SAEDG's Cochise County economic News Citizen Engagement Beyond Voting all about legislative and legislators and schools Arizona Agenda ( political news in AZ Arizona Mirror Arizona pollitics Popular Information ( investigative for political news nationally The Liberal Patriot common sense political theory Daily Kos leftie news aggregator The Intercept investigative nationally/Internationally Big about the politics of monopoly power Markup investigates how powerful institutions are using technology to change our society. Arizona Right Watch Just what it say Consumer World a weird lil website with lotsa good consumer stuff like shrinking packaging


If you are going to Tucson with any frequency, it helps to know restaurants. These are two newsletters that will keep you informed. TUCSON FOOD NEWSLETTERS

TUCSON SWEET SPOTS (but none as good as Jacqui's)

...............EVERYTHING ELSE................


44th edition of Harvard annual poll of students (2022)

Top issues:

1. Inflation

2. Access to abortion

3. Protecting democracy

4. Climate change

5. Gun control

....... FACEBOOK CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT Sign Up, Get Money......Apply here: .....






"...No one is taking Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s campaign to beat President Biden in the primary seriously—and for good reason. The guy is an extreme anti-vaxxer who may have been recruited into the race by Trump mastermind Steve Bannon. He seems to think we don't need a social safety net, and is being promoted by top Trump cheerleader Tucker Carlson. This ain't exactly a winning combo for a Democratic primary." This from the Daily Kos who is being sued by Kennedy. More here:

............... WORD...............

Thanks to astute reader DA for these. I may have run a few of them before, but so what...

I changed my iPod's name to Titanic. It's syncing now.

England has no kidney bank, but it does have a Liverpool.

Haunted French pancakes give me the crepes.

This girl today said she recognized me from the Vegetarians Club, but I'd swear I've never met herbivore.

I know a guy who's addicted to drinking brake fluid, but he says he can stop any time.

A thief who stole a calendar got twelve months.

When the smog lifts in Los Angeles U.C.L.A.

I got some batteries that were given out free of charge.

A dentist and a manicurist married. They fought tooth and nail.

A will is a dead giveaway.

With her marriage, she got a new name and a dress.

Police were summoned to a daycare center where a three-year-old was resisting a rest.

Did you hear about the fellow whose entire left side was cut off? He's all right now.

A bicycle can't stand alone; it's just two tired.

The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine last week is now fully recovered.

He had a photographic memory but it was never fully developed.

When she saw her first strands of gray hair she thought she'd dye.

Acupuncture is a jab well done. That's the point of it.

I didn't like my beard at first. Then it grew on me.

Did you hear about the crossed-eyed teacher who lost her job because she couldn't control her pupils?

When you get a bladder infection, urine trouble.

When chemists die, they barium.

I stayed up all night to see where the sun went, and then it dawned on me.

I'm reading a book about anti-gravity. I just can't put it down.

Those who get too big for their pants will be totally exposed in the end

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