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 Can it be repealed by Town Council or any legislative group?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