A lot has happened in Quartzsite over the past few days in the ongoing feud, and you should be covering it. Yesterday Mayor Lizarraga wanted the winners of the recent election seated, and adjourned (perhaps inappropriately) the meeting, and now allegations are emerging that the town attorney Martin Brannan assaulted Lizarraga in the hallway. Today the council had a special meeting to canvass the results and approve seating the new council, and some council members opposing Mayor-elect Foster refused to attend, thus making it impossible to have a quorum.
Thanks to this reader for the Quartzsite update. I’m currently visiting family and friends in Ireland and planned to have some of this news posted by today or tomorrow, which I’ve been keeping up with from afar. This little email seems to cover it, with special note to these details:
- Mayor Lizarraga, in the audio and video of Tuesday’s Town Council meeting, stated, “On Friday I asked Alex Taft to put a couple things on the agenda. These items were not put on the agenda. I feel that they are detrimental to some decisions that need to be made today. I am asking for a special meeting to be held at 1:00 with these items placed on the agenda. They were to canvass the vote and elect new officers. That is something that needs to happen I believe prior to making decisions on today’s meeting. With that being the case, the meeting is adjourned.”
- There appears to be no confirmed report of what exactly happened after Town Attorney Martin Brannan got up from his seat to follow Mayor Lizarraga.
- Wednesday’s Special Meeting of the Quartzsite Town Council was to seat the new council members and the new mayor, Ed Foster, who won the election last week. Outgoing Vice Mayor Barbara Cowell, outgoing council member Joe Winslow, recently appointed council member Norma Cook, recently appointed council member Carol Kelly and recently seated council member Mike Jewitt did not attend. Only the mayor and council member Anderson were in their seats. At the beginning of the meeting, Mayor Lizarraga said, “We can’t have any meeting without a quorum, unfortunately, so being no quorum I’m going to go ahead and call this meeting adjourned.” Shouts of ‘Cowards!’ was heard from the large audience which attended, and internet blogs and Facebook groups called the action defiance of the will of the people in the hours afterward.
As is the case with so much of what has happened in Quartzsite over the past year, the political system is being tested this week. What happens when the losers of an election fail to show up to canvass the votes which cast them out? Is there an alternate process by which the winners are seated in office?