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Kingman Daily Miner | Kingman, Arizona

home : opinion : letters May 1, 2016

1/7/2014 6:00:00 AM
Letter: Arizona Legislature needs watching

I was pleased to read that the Mohave County Board of Supervisors has elected to hire a full-time staff person to watch what the state Legislature is doing. Why? Because "No man's life, liberty or property are safe while the legislature is in session." (Attributed to Mark Twain, but actually stated by a New York judge.)

When a group of people such as the Legislature get together to secure some right, privilege or benefit for themselves or others, they often wind up conspiring against someone else. Regulation, regulation, regulation (verb, noun, verb).

To write this letter, I attempted to independently verify our oft-repeated Board of Supervisors claim that the state is raiding county coffers to help manage a state budget shortfall. I found no straightforward confirmation. Instead, there were Arizona statutes with formulas regulating how state highway funds were to be distributed to the various counties. This was going to be no small task, far exceeding my interest level.

This seemed only to confirm the need for a county watchdog. I suppose if negative numbers are allowed in the formulas for how state money is to be distributed to the counties, then the existing "laws" can be used to raid the counties instead of funding them!

And there are almost certainly no laws on the books that prohibit the use of negative numbers in these "formulas"!

It's enough to make an engineer tired. Aren't negative numbers reflective of "debt"?

In summary, I applaud the majority vote of the Board of Supervisors to hire a "watchdog" to monitor what the Arizona Legislature is up to. Trips to Phoenix to listen to what they are actually saying are important, and I hope that other duties do not get in the way. His or her most important task will be eternal vigilance.

The popular quote, "The price of liberty is eternal vigilance" is taken from a speech given in Dublin, Ireland by John Philpot Curran in 1790. He stated, "The condition upon which God has given liberty to man is eternal vigilance."

The Arizona Legislature definitely bears watching.

Norman Swartz


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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Article comment by: Ya Think Maybe?

Watch in upcoming Board meetings of the Supervisors. There may be elements of quid pro quo going on here. The way in which this voting and quick naming of an applicant just doesn't pass the smell test.

Posted: Saturday, January 11, 2014
Article comment by: We The People[me} Thinking

OH my the Irony of it all they can't even trust their own party to do the right thing and members of our own board of supervisor and their staff have way to much on their plate to keep track of whats going on which i find truly amazing into today's information technology

Posted: Thursday, January 9, 2014
Article comment by: L J

If you re-read Buster Johnson comments found in the Miner on this issue it tells the story. The whole thing was a set- up lead by Watson, Brotherton and Moss voting with them.

Posted: Thursday, January 9, 2014
Article comment by: Meet the new boss Same as the old boss

"For all of you writing these opinion responses. Just to let you know that you will be considered delusional and living in a fantasy land. This per your County Supervisor Steve Moss."

I can't wait until this blows up in their faces. This whole thing was orchestrated on a deeper level than the public suspects. Brotherton isn't the one you should be looking at.

Please, Miner, don't give up this issue. I'm sure after just a little digging and a few questions the dominoes will start to fall. It is a shame that the supervisors not directly involved in this debacle have stayed silent. They are now no better than those who initiated it in the first place.

Posted: Thursday, January 9, 2014
Article comment by: Rick Sherwood

For all of you writing these opinion responses. Just to let you know that you will be considered delusional and living in a fantasy land. This per your County Supervisor Steve Moss. I tried to make basically the same claims to him after this issue was voted on and this was his response. So I wouldn't look to him for much sympathy on this issue.

Posted: Wednesday, January 8, 2014
Article comment by: Vote Out the Bums

Let's look at why we have to spend addition tax money to hire a "watchdog". Our state legislatures are failing to tell the greater public what is happening. We have an all Republican representative that grace us once a year (usually around election time) to visit this area. And what do they do when they roll in. They hold a meeting hosted by the Republican Men's Club which think public service means to charge for every "public invited" meeting they have. Then we have the BOS, Gary, Hildy and the gang would rather spend time on the wolf or if it should join a law suit against the federal government or an array of other wastes rather than invite our representatives to once-a- month summary report at one of their meetings. There is plenty of fault to go around, yet the tax payers are told we have to pay an $80,000 yearly salary (oh, yes, we do know it is $40,000 for 6 months) to hire an insider (with a degree in political science - what do you think his next step is?) to do the job we are all ready paying for.

Posted: Wednesday, January 8, 2014
Article comment by: Frank Harris

The news media and our representatives are responsible for keeping us informed of developments in the state house. In this state the news media fails to report on developments.

Why? Own local newspaper spends way too much time printing editorials and letters to the editor from many living out side our area - heck, many outside our state. Then additional personnel monitoring comments on line. Even the editors waste resources writing up editorials with no substance. Thurlow repeats the Republican talking points wasting time trashing and repeatedly trashing everything Obama does. Instead he should bring his attention closer to home and report on the state legislature. Yes, I'm sure the Miner has cut to the bone. However if it devoted more of its resources to monitor the legislature (much which can be done on the internet, free phone calls, emails), perhaps we would have a better idea of what our Republican legislatures are up to.

Posted: Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Article comment by: janice palmer

I have reinterated many times that the good old boys in our county and city government have made far too many sweetheart deals with so called independent contractors. sometimes in the form of roads that go nowhere. sometimes to fix something that's not broke. sometimes to build or buy a bldg. get it folks? nes pas? we have plenty of watchdogs, but not enough of you vote. you just sit on your duffs and complain. well, that don't cut it.

Posted: Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Article comment by: Doing Research


Often with large budgets "negative" numbers are referred to as a "reclass" - which is to say that funds were wrongly applied to one area and had to be removed, then added elsewhere.

It is possible that the State could say "we over-allocated funds and need to assess a reclass, retoracticely effective for FY2014."

That would mean "We gave you too much money before and want to take some back."

Budgets are complicated, Norman, and don't need laws to cleverly take money back. They just need lawyers to OK the language.

Posted: Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Article comment by: Jimi Lightfoot

Independent oversight should be mandated in the State Constitution.

Posted: Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Article comment by: Trained Observer

Now if we only had someone to act as a watchdog for the public in regard to the BOS. Then perhaps we could avoid back room deals that are not accountable to the constituents such as appointing this loybbist.

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