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 Can it be repealed by Town Council or any legislative group?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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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.
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