Now is the time to take a stand with Transparent Payson.Who we are:
We are citizens of Payson, Arizona, striving to make our local government more transparent. We believe in the people voting on what happens with their money, their land, and their town. We believe that elected officials are there to serve the public; as such, we should have a voice in making decisions that affect us all. We are nonpartisan/bipartisan with no party affiliation, no hidden agenda. We believe in Payson, Arizona, and its future. We support growth that will better serve all its citizens while remaining financially sound. As a 527 nonprofit PAC, we were responsible for successfully enacting Propositions 401 and 402 in 2018. A short history of our group can be found here.
Fundamentally, we are responsible for Propositions 401 and 402 and their defense. We have been compelled to become a voters' rights group in that defense. The implications for Payson appear limited to the validity of Propositions 401 and 402 and their enactment. At the state level, we suspect the implications of our effort have a much more significant impact. That is, do citizens, as allowed by law, have the ability to initiate law? Is that law then valid? Can it be repealed by Town Council or any legislative group?
There was recently an attempt by the Town of Payson to repeal these ballot initiatives. With the help of an attorney, we are fighting that effort in Superior Court; we still have much work to do to defend your voting rights.
We are defending the rights of Payson citizens on large-scale, publicly funded projects that may be placed on public lands via long-term leases to third parties. Our goal is NOT to prevent such projects but to ensure transparency in all negotiations, discussions, and contracts that affect your town. If the citizens approve the funding through an election, or if the citizens approve the lease of public land to complete the project, we would support that effort. We are protecting YOU – the voter.
Our vision is that our leaders provide all the information as to the proposed spending of Town money as well as the utilization of Town property so that we, the citizens, can choose how and where our money and our land are utilized.
We welcome YOUR involvement in this process. Dare we say, support the cause.
I appreciate your consideration.
Jeffrey S. Aal
Chairperson, Transparent Payson
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September 16, 2023
We seem to have found the motivation for the purported repeal of Proposition 402.
Transparent Payson has sometimes been labeled “conjecture,” “speculation,” and other choice things. The fiscal issues facing our community are coming into focus every day. The current issue? A potential 1% sales tax increase. The sales tax (TPT) rate for Payson is 9.48%. If approved by the Town Council, the rate will be 10.48%. Let’s call it 10.5%. Remember, unlike many places, Payson taxes food, which will be 3.88% on a head of lettuce or a gallon of milk. Let’s call that 4%. Feed your family, and the Town of Payson will take a bigger nibble off your plates at the table.
So, where do the current “conjecture” and “speculation” come from? The Town of Payson has a Capital Improvement Project Citizen Advisory Committee (CIPCAC), as discussed here. The TOP also had a thirty-one percent (31%) budget increase. We stated:
"To our knowledge, there has been little revealed about the $18M funding gap between years and how it will be resolved."
That budget was passed in July. The current budget is $59 million. Next year’s budget is over $77 million the budget increase is discussed here. Curiously, a 1% sales tax/TPT increase, and the $20M anticipated, cover the $18M shortfall between the two budgets. Coincidence?
If the Payson sales tax/TPT is increased by 1%, the TOP can secure a bond set against the anticipated revenue to have access to the current cash value as a lump sum.
So, a suggestion to remove Propositions 401 and 402 in February, the Propositions were purportedly repealed in April, a budget increase was proposed and adopted by July, in August an RFP/RFQ was sent out for a pool design and in September a presentation of a 1% sales tax/TPT is proposed. Are citizens paying attention yet? Do you see why we suspect it is a done deal? Likely not “conjecture” or “speculation.”
Learn more here.
Again, thank you so much for the support. It all helps, whether donations or simply spreading the word. You are appreciated.
Jeffrey S. Aal
Chairperson, Transparent Payson
September 12, 2023
Like democracy, some of the more important life lessons were first taught in Greece. Most children learned of a shepherd boy who tells the tale of an attacking wolf after the flock. After enough false alarms, the villagers did not believe the story. When it was finally real, nobody responded. Some versions of the story have the wolf eating the boy. We like the poetic justice of that version. COVID-19 and the mandates conditioned us to accept government overreach. There is some pushback on potential future overreach now. Six Town Councilers jumped on an overreach bandwagon and never looked back.
Did you ever wonder why an Emergency Ordinance was used?
When Ordinance 953 and 954 were approved, they were done so using an "emergency declaration." What was the emergency? The memo to the Town Council stated, "(P)rojects are necessary for the immediate preservation of the peace, health or safety of the Town." That sounds very dire! The emergency projects required financing to complete. So, the "emergency?" “(T)o put the Town in a position to obtain the best financing terms….”
Yes, that is correct. The emergency was rising interest rates.
To our knowledge, there has been no funding secured. There have been no large project(s) preserving health or safety. Six of Seven Council Members bought into using an "emergency ordinance." They purportedly repealed the voters' will due to a non-existent emergency. The ordinances went into effect immediately and are not subject to a referendum.
Would Council members be as willing to throw away the votes that elected them to office? How often can Town Legal and Town Council cry "WOLF!" before they are ignored?
September 9, 2023
“Votes Can’t Just be Thrown Away.” That is a good quote. Let us place the quote in its proper context. When Arizona’s Voter Protection Act/Proposition 105 was advocated in 1998, Sheriff Joe Arpaio was a voice in favor of the VPA. The full quote is as follows:
"The will of the people is the most important element of our government. Once an election takes place, votes can’t be thrown away just because a few politicians don’t like the results of an election. I believe Arizona voters are smart enough to know what they are voting for. I don’t think the Legislature or the Governor should have the right to thwart or veto the will of the people. I urge you to vote Yes on the Voter Protection Act. It will preserve the will of the people in Arizona once and for all.
Joe Arpaio, Sherif"
Sheriff Joe is not known to be left-leaning. After passage, there have been multiple attempts to weaken Arizona’s Voter Protection Act/Proposition 105, generally by the right side of the aisle. Most recently in 2022 via Proposition 128. That proposition failed. The proposition was referred to the ballot by Republican state lawmakers. Had it passed it would have allowed lawmakers to alter ballot measures if any language is illegal or unconstitutional. We are not picking on left or right, we are recognizing that politicians like power. The more power they remove from voters, the more they have for themselves. Not a left or right phenomenon. Citizens know “lawmakers” are not judges. Citizens know they hold the power. Someday Payson Town Council may realize the same.
We will cover various topics in the next few days:
- The justification presented to the Town in support of repeal.
- Why an Emergency Ordinance was used.
- An update on the matter of Varxity vs. Town of Payson.
Thank you again for all the support. Each of you is vital to our continued success.
Today we discuss Payson’s position to support the repeal and a discussion on the VPA/Proposition 105
We noted that we had not provided information regarding the Town Ordinances and the presentation via Mr. Paladini, Town legal, for the purported repeal of the Ordinances.
The information is a lengthy read. Complex matters do not lend themselves to snippets, sound bites, and PowerPoint presentations. Please see the complete discussion via our website at this link.
We can wrap up with a few more quotes on the issue of Voters’ rights and the Voter Protection Act of 1998.
"The message is clear from the politicians: “we know better than you.”. . . We have seen a lot of scandals in Arizona politics over the last few years, but the legislature thwarting the will of the people seems to me the ultimate act of arrogance. Let put an end to this by voting Yes on Proposition 105.
Richard Mahoney, Former Secretary of State"
“(T)he ultimate act of arrogance. That too is a good quote. Need another? We can do that.
"The ultimate test of a democracy is whether a citizen’s vote actually counts. There is a disturbing trend in Arizona in which citizens pass initiatives by overwhelming margins, only to watch the legislature turn around within months and gut what the voters passed. This has occurred on numerous issues, including drug policy reform, health care, and the environment. . . . Let the will of the people stand.
Grant Woods, Arizona Attorney General"
Politicians do NOT know better than you. Do not let them throw away your vote and gut what voters passed. It is an act of arrogance.
Please see the complete discussion via our website at this link.
September 3, 2023
Depending on the outcome of the court date, you may be subject to additional taxes. As legal fees are again mounting, we are hopeful you will donate. Without your support, we cannot defend voters’ rights. Without your support, we cannot prevent unilateral debt and increased taxes. The initial hearing is scheduled for September 22nd at 1:30 p.m. in Payson.
How does the outcome of our hearing impact your wallet? Proposition 402 provided citizen oversight by requiring complete information on source funding for Payson debt obligations. Traditionally, a “General Obligation” bond would be subject to the will of the voters. Hybrid finance agreements or “creative debt,” which include “Combination” or “Double Barrel” bonds, are being used by governments to circumvent the voters’ input as they require no direct Citizen vote. Proposition 402 prevented the use of such financial instruments at the local level without a direct vote of the citizens. Proposition 402 provided greater transparency in the finance details of local government debt. We have discussed the financial instruments many times. A snapshot is here.
We apologize in advance for the long read. We hope this post will clarify our prior efforts, the implications, and the financial costs. The thumbnail version is that a significant financial impact is headed to the citizens of Payson, which may not require voter approval if we are not successful. That impact appears to be above $500.00 annually in increased property taxes on average. Any bond will impact non-property owners, such as renters, as the cost will be passed through. Consumers will have pass-through costs via business as well. The rate is 10% on residential properties. The rate is higher for vacant land at 15% and for commercial values at 16%.
Some view the involvement of voters as “the core problem” to make such a project work. We suspect that if a project is wanted/needed and the costs are reasonable, most voters would support the project. We anticipate the current construction values suggested by the Town are on the low side, with a projected cost of $30M. The annual estimated operating costs of 1.5M are close enough. The question becomes, how would such a project impact Payson residents financially? The impact is significant, just addressing the anticipated debt, not including facility user fees, facility membership, or other direct costs to be paid by the user.
The Town’s calculations on a $10M bond reflect a rate of $29.76 per year on $100,000.00 of assessed value on a residential property. Assuming a bond issuance of $40M and an assessed value of $400,000.00, the actual impact on taxes would be $476.16 for a $40M bond over twenty years. ($29.76*4 = $119.04) and ($119.04*4 = $476.16). We suspect many in the community may have an issue being taxed $476.16 per year via property tax for the improvement. But wait, it gets better, much, much better.
Assuming a 30% income tax burden, the gross income required to pay the additional property tax of $476.16 is $680.23. The median household income in Payson is $58,109.00, and a $40M bond, with a property tax burden of $476.16 per household, is 1.17% of the median household income. Many community retirees have a high property value but relatively low annual income.
The hearing is scheduled for September 22nd at 1:00 p.m. in Payson.
The address is 714 Beeline Highway S, Payson, AZ 85541. The Court has a YouTube channel if you cannot attend in person.
To learn more and to see the complete discussion with supporting documents, please visit our website and the post "A Court Date Has Been Set."
Again, thank you so much for your continued support.
Jeffrey S. Aal
Chairperson, Transparent Payson
August 26, 2023
Payson has such a wealth of knowledge in the community. We first realized that six years ago as we drafted and circulated the petitions. This pool of knowledge undoubtedly reflects the median age, which is 59.8 years old.
There are many intelligent people and so much life experience to draw from. As a community, we should embrace that remarkable resource. Transparent Payson, as a group, has learned so much from various people with unique backgrounds. We welcome and appreciate their input; it is invaluable. As a recent example, a supporter pointed out that the Town Council may have violated an Arizona Supreme Court ruling from 1934 in Button v. Nevin, 44 Ariz. 247. The Council may have also violated Chapter 2, Section 4 of the Public Officers Employee Handbook.
Here is the snapshot version of that case from the handbook.
2.4 Duties and Responsibilities of Public Officers. Public officers must impartially execute all laws and rules for which they are responsible. The Arizona Supreme Court stated as follows in Button v. Nevin, 44 Ariz. 247, 257, 36 P.2d 568, 571 (1934):“Public officials may not violate the plain terms of a statute because in their opinion better results will be attained by doing so. They have but one duty, and that is to enforce the law as it is written, and, if the effect of their action is disastrous, the responsibility is upon the Legislature and not upon them.”
“They have but one duty.” That is a powerful statement.
One duty. Does a repeal of the voters’ will reflect that duty? The voters can decide. We discussed this concern previously. Town Council, arguing against the validity of the vote, or the election, would not seem to embody “the power to be heard” in a democracy.
You can find the full case text in the .pdf below. The case has various citations; if you are inclined, you can learn more here. We also attach a full copy of the Public Officers Employee Handbook in .pdf below.
Co-plaintiff Nichols has elected to withdraw from the suit. The process of litigation on any issue is not for everybody. The portion of the suit that the co-plaintiff was involved in was based on using an “emergency ordinance” that precluded a referendum on the Council vote. All elements of the use of the emergency declaration have been removed. We are now left with only the issues of the purported repeal.
An amended complaint has been filed with the court. As these are public records, we have attached a full copy of the amended complaint in .pdf below. The hearing will likely be scheduled in mid-September. We understand that the Judge is out of Saint Johns; the hearing will be in Payson. Once scheduled, we will get the details out.
We appreciate your continued support.
August 17, 2023
Research and public records can be a wonderful thing. There is an outstanding case regarding the development of Rumsey Park and the agreement with Varxity. As you will recall, we discussed a motion for summary judgment filed by the Town of Payson that relied, in part, on the passage of Propositions 401 and 402. That discussion may be found here. Plaintiffs filed an opposition to the motion for summary judgment. In that motion, Plaintiff (Varxity) states:23. Opposed. The voter-initiated propositions (Propositions 401 and 402) did not restrict the Town's ability to lease property and the Town treated those propositions as ineffective and unconstitutional. (Deposition of Town of Payson (Troy Smith) attached hereto as Exhibit A, 49:7 – 50:20.)
Plaintiff included exhibits that included a partial transcript of the deposition of Town Manager Troy Smith. That deposition occurred on February 3rd, 2022, that was a year before the motion to repeal by Town Council. Well, 433 days before, to be exact.
When asked if the Propositions would apply to the development of Rumsey Park, Mr. Smith states:401 and 402, in our town attorney's opinion, are unconstitutional, and they do not apply to the Town government. They should not have been authorized to have been on the ballot because the citizens did not have the authority, as provided by Arizona state statute or by the constitution of Arizona, to have been referred to the ballot in the first place.
The Town has long disregarded the validity of the Propositions. Although adopted Town Code at the time, it appears that Mr. Smith has little regard for the validity of the Propositions. Perhaps Mr. Smith and the Town of Payson, by extension, are judge, jury, and executioner on all things constitutional in Arizona and the will of the citizens they were hired to serve. The Town had effectively repealed the Propositions in practice based only on the opinion of Town Legal. Town Code and the voters' will can, and apparently will, be disregarded.
The Town Manager acts under Town Council's direction; it seems not all direction has equal weight. To reference the Town's website, "The Town Manager is responsible for carrying out the policies, ordinances, and resolutions of the Council, and for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the Town." The Town Council's authorization of the purported repeal did not occur until April 12th, 2023. It seems odd that the Town Manager or Town staff could take such a position before the purported repeal by Town Council. We wonder under what authority that was done. It seems beyond a town manager's authority to act unilaterally. Perhaps that is a topic for the elected Town Councilors to have during employment contract renewal.Your money – NOT YOUR LAND – NOT YOUR VOTE.
August 6, 2023
One of the issues discussed was that of a fundamental question. Is government the authority in and of itself, or are the citizens? Placing the needs of the government before the needs of the people undermines democracy. We discussed that concept in this post.
While this question appears simple at first blush, the implications
are far-reaching. Specific to the Propositions, we have an email
exchange between a Town Councilor and a Constituent regarding leasing
town property. That email is in response to Varxity vs. Town of Payson discussed here. It appears that the Council Member maintains, as does the Statement of Facts, that the Propositions “restricted, or PURPORTEDLY restricted the Town’s ability to lease it’s property.” The Constituent replied: “You believe that the town owns the property, and I feel the residents of Payson own all of Town property.” Again, a very fundamental question.
On the more significant issue of the validity of the Propositions, as we understand, the Town states that there is no authority under the law to enact them. We maintain it is not precluded, and the citizens granted the authority to the Town. The thought that government is the authority appears to be a classic example of the tail wagging the dog. Government is not the authority: Citizens are the authority.
One of the topics was the initial drafting of the Propositions. It appears that is an area of concern raised by several. As with any project or undertaking, there is always the tendency to think; we could have done that differently. The attempt to Monday morning quarterback the Propostions does not invalidate them. They were passed, and they were adopted. They are protected under the Arizona Constitution. That protection was further validated by Arizona Proposition 105 in 1998. That information can be found here. Proposition 105 states:
“Proposition 105 prohibited the Legislature from repealing citizen measures approved by voters and prohibited the governor from vetoing ballot measures. Technical amendments would be allowed if they further the initiative’s purpose and could be adopted only with a ¾ vote of the entire Legislature.
Please listen to the broadcast. We are hopeful it will answer questions. Again, thank you to KMOG and Mr. Engler, who candidly admitted he learned a lot from our conversation.
If the media player does not embed properly on your browser, the direct link is here.Please support voters’ rights. Donate.
#PaysonArizona #VoterRights #YourVOTE #KMOG
July 31, 2023
Transparent Payson will be appearing on KMOG FM103.3 – AM1420 Wednesday, August 2nd at 9:00 am to discuss the current litigation with the Town of Payson. You can listen online if you are out of the area.
We again appreciate the opportunity to provide information on these issues. We have previously been on KMOG and local station KPJM. Audio versions of both interviews are available at these links:
We welcome participation from the listeners via call-in so we may answer any specific questions. It can be difficult for people to listen to the show live, we will post the audio as we can. Charlie Seraphin is no longer broadcasting, the show will be hosted by former Police Chief and longtime Payson resident, Don Engler. We look forward to his input and perspective on the issues.
The suit against the Town is quickly becoming a voters’ rights issue. The implications for Payson appear limited to the validity of Propositions 401 and 402 and their enactment. At the state level, we suspect the implications of our effort have a much more significant impact. That is, do citizens, as allowed by law, have the ability to initiate law? Is that law then valid? Can it be repealed by Town Council or any legislative group?
The issues of voters’ rights are core to all political parties. We have discussed voters’ rights here, and here. The tools of democracy have been in place for thousands of years since Athens. Ultimately, the foundation of a democratic government, in any form, republic, representative democracy, or direct democracy, is based on the people’s sovereignty. You may have heard the phrase “consent of the governed.” Repealing the people’s will does not appear to reconcile with the “consent of the governed.”We look forward to the discussion and your input.
July 26, 2023
We are hopeful supporters follow us on Facebook or periodically check our web page, TransparentPayson.org.
Fundamentally, we are responsible for Propositions 401 and 402 and their defense. In that defense, we have been compelled to become a voters’ rights group. The implications for Payson appear limited to the validity of Propositions 401 and 402 and their enactment. At the state level, we suspect the implications of our effort have a much greater impact. That is, do citizens, as allowed by law, have the ability to initiate law? Is that law then valid? Can it be repealed by Town Council or any legislative group?
We apologize for not providing this information via CrowdPac sooner. The links will take you directly to the updates and information.
July 25, 2023, Does the Town have unclean hands?
Nobody said this was a glamorous undertaking. An answer was filed with the Court on the counterclaim. The next step will be for the Judge to issue an “order to show cause hearing.” We will wait and update as we can.
July 21, 2023, Transparent Payson is not a newspaper.
Recently there was a discussion on NextDoor.com about Transparent Payson not being a newspaper. That is a 100% correct statement. Transparent Payson is not a newspaper.
July 19, 2023, An Interesting Update and Documents Filed.
A reply to the Town’s response has been filed with the Court. An answer to the Counter Claim is due July 26. That answer will include a discussion on the affirmative defenses asserted by the TOP. There will then be a briefing and oral arguments. A copy of the reply is found below in .pdf format.
July 12, 2023, The Town of Payson has filed an Answer with a twist.
The Town of Payson has provided a Verified Answer and Counter Claim. The firm of Titus Brueckner prepared the Answer, and Pierce Coleman prepared the Verified Counter Claim. A full copy of the Answer and Counter Claim is below in .pdf format. A response is required to be filed soon. When that occurs, a copy will be posted.
We have a second appearance on KMOG scheduled for August 2nd at 9:00 am.
For more information, please visit any of the following:
Jeffrey S. Aal
Chairperson, Transparent Payson
June 8, 2023
We recently had the opportunity to provide some alternative information with Counsel Mr. Timothy A. La Sota at a breakfast meeting and on KMOG hosted by Charlie Seraphin. The Town of Payson had a lengthy presentation on why the Propositions are illegal in their enforcement. During that meeting, it appeared that some difficult questions were not asked, and answers to unasked questions were not provided to the Council. Most Town Councilors voted to repeal the Propositions. We suspect that is partly because Town Legal did not provide all the information for and against the purported repeal. Does Town Legal have a duty to provide complete information, or is the obligation to justify the Town’s course of action? Do Councilors have an obligation to ask questions on behalf of the citizens? The questions may be answered during the next contract discussion for services or the election cycle.
There is no animosity when people take action based on incomplete information. The Town has not yet filed an answer to the suit. Hopefully, that will occur soon, and a copy can be posted. With luck, they will provide the complete rationale for their decision.
Thank you to FM103.3/ AM1420/ KMOGCountry.com for hosting Board Members Stephen Otto and Jeffrey Aal for a radio interview on May 31st, 2023.Interview on KMOG with Charlie Seraphin
Various issues were discussed, and community members had the chance to call and ask direct questions. One of the issues discussed was the apparent intimidation of citizens when they disagreed with the Town. A full post about that issue may be found here. The use of an “emergency ordinance” was also discussed.
We appreciate the opportunity to discuss the issues. It can be
difficult for people to listen to the show live. If you could not tune
in, the audio may be found below. Charlie always starts with a prayer
then he jumps right into the issues. We appreciate his insight and
Learn more or listen here.
May 29, 2023
Attempting to stifle protected/free speech is never a good quality for a government. By definition, that action is oppressive. Bullying is not tolerated at the local schools. There is a significant discussion on the causes and consequences. Bullying is a real issue, most grow out of it, and apparently, some do not. Perhaps some Council Members or Town management could benefit from a time out?
1. seek to harm, intimidate, or coerce (someone perceived as vulnerable):
Paul Frommelt has been a Board Member of Transparent Payson from day one. Paul spent countless hours collecting signatures and coordinating the many other volunteers collecting signatures; we would not have been successful without Paul. Recently the Town of Payson allowed for a drive-through marijuana dispensary. Some people in the Town were vocal in their objections. Part of that vocalization was via a meme riffed on the Town of Payson logo. As a group, Transparent Payson has no position on the drive-through issue. We take very seriously perceived/actual threats or perceived/attempted intimidation against our Board Members.
Town Legal, Mr. Jon Paladini, on behalf of the Town of Payson, with the firm Pierce Coleman, sent a Cease and Desist letter to Paul. The letter is for trademark infringement and threatens legal action. The images in question can be found on our website.
A full copy of the Transparent Payson response by Counsel Mr. Timothy A. La Sota is also on the website. Here is a brief snip of the response:
"Your letter was ill-advised and a naked attempt to squelch the free speech rights of the Town opponents. It hardly seems a coincidence that Mr. Frommelt is a board member of Transparent Payson, which has sued the Town alleging that the Town illegally repealed two citizen passed ballot measures."
This is not the first time the Town of Payson has tried to intimidate members of Transparent Payson. Prior Town Legal, Mr. Figueroa, sent the Constable to deliver documents, threatened claims of open meeting violations, and demanded that information provided by the Town be removed from publication as an “emergency.” Counsel advised that if it was an emergency, Mr. Figueroa should call 911. The Town has a history of attempted retaliation and intimidation.
Bullying is best left to third-world dictators, banana republics, and children with low self-esteem.
To stop this behavior from our local government, it is necessary to place checks on them. That can only be done with your financial support. Please donate. Or wait for your turn in the cross hairs.Still YOUR money. Still YOUR land. Still YOUR vote.
May 15, 2023
Thank you to 99.7 FM KPJM-LP for hosting Board Members Stephen Otto and Jeffrey Aal for a radio interview on May 13th, 2023.
We appreciate the opportunity to discuss the issues. If you could not tune in, the audio may be found here.The interview starts at about the 4:45 mark.
If you fast forward, please allow time for buffering.
May 11, 2023
Some have stated that we should allow elected officials to "do their job" as they were elected to do. It would seem that if we trust the electorate to elect officials, we should extend that trust in the electorate who passed the propositions. It appears illogical to only agree with an election result when the outcome is one you favor. That question is a much larger discussion.
Some have stated the Propositions were/are "illegal." If they were "illegal," why would the Council attempt to repeal them? Why would that action be required if they were not legal?
There has been rhetoric that our efforts are "undermining the republic." That is an excellent sound bite; it makes our efforts appear subversive. Arguing that our efforts "undermine the republic" places the needs of the government before the needs of the people. A "republic" means that the government is representative, and the term "republic" is generally reserved for a leadership position such as a president. Even an autocratic government can be a "republic." The Town of Payson is a representative democracy. That is, the citizens elect representatives, and they act on behalf of the citizens. The subtle nuances of the definitions make for interesting discussion and debate. The rhetoric does not include an essential element.
Ultimately, the foundation of a democratic government, in any form, republic, representative democracy, or direct democracy, is based on the people's sovereignty. You may have heard the phrase "consent of the governed." Repealing the people's will does not appear to reconcile with the "consent of the governed." A republic or representative democracy loses legitimacy when it acts against the people's sovereignty. The supreme power is vested in the people, not the government.
Please help protect your voice. Donate.
May 9, 2023
The Town of Payson was allowed the opportunity to rescind the improper repeal of the Propositions. We elected to wait until the next Council agenda came out. The Town has elected to take no action. The Council agenda was posted Friday; a suit was filed on Monday, the 8th. Gila Superior Court Case # S-0400-CV-202300118
We suspect the Council taking no action is an ill-advised course. Both the Town and the Council Members, as the citizens' representatives, would be well served to consider all information, not just information favorable to the Town's position. We will now address the matter in Superior Court.
A copy of the complaint will be posted soon.
April 25, 2023
First and foremost; it has been an extreme pleasure to be involved in the democratic
process. A process that is best embraced and not taken for granted.
Transparent Payson has been honored that so many volunteers have
provided their resources and time to assist in our efforts.
We figure it is time for a history of Transparent Payson
In 2017 the Town of Payson leadership presented a plan to form a public/private partnership with a foreign (Canadian) entity, Varxity, a Phoenix-based group, Community Center Partners, and the Town of Payson to develop an elite prep/boarding school for 600 hockey players. The private entity had no track record and limited resources. The Town was to develop and provide a recreation/training facility that included two hockey rinks and other amenities located on public parkland with limited access to the community. The Town spent tens of thousands (perhaps hundreds of thousands) of dollars to develop the plans. Neither the funding for the project nor the total price was ever disclosed.
A group of concerned citizens formed “Transparent Payson.” As allowed under the Arizona Constitution and the Town Code, two propositions were placed on the ballot that would require a general vote for leasing public lands exceeding three years and a vote if the financing mechanism for a facility had a “backstop” feature that functioned as a general obligation bond. The Propositions were passed with 60% approval.
After the Propositions were passed, the Town of Payson terminated the agreement with Varxity. An agreement was then made by the Town of Payson and the MHA Foundation to develop a recreation center on MHA land that was deeded by the U.S. Forest Service to establish a college campus in Payson. Varxity Development filed suit against the Town of Payson for breach of contract. That matter is ongoing, with the last activity occurring on 04/18/23.
In 2021 the Town Council considered repealing the enacted Propositions. The basic argument was that the citizens lacked the authority to place the matter on the ballot as allowed under Arizona Constitution, Article IV, Section 1. Transparent Payson responded, and the repeal was not enacted. On April 12th, 2023, the Town Council enacted an “emergency ordinance” to repeal the Propositions. The “emergency” was partly based on fears of rising interest rates. The matter was approved six to one by the Council.
Six Council Members have repealed a duly enacted Proposition passed by 60% of the electorate. A request was provided to the Council on April 11th, 2023 outlining the concerns of Transparent Payson. After the passage, a formal response was provided that the repeal is invalid.
To ensure their rights, the citizens of Payson must now bring action against the Town of Payson. The outcome of this matter may have broader implications for any voter-approved initiative in Arizona.
We hope for the best in our current fight.
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