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Quartzsite, Arizona

Monday, August 29, 2011

How can Quartzsite become a Healthy Community?

Every citizen in the United States has Constitutional rights, 

not just those who complain and 
holler the loudest! 

What are we doing to create a healthy community?

Since Foster became mayor in May, 2010, there have been some serious changes to our council meetings and at Town Hall. These changes did not take place all at once, but were gradually added in response to situations caused be a few. These include, but are not limited to:

  • We cannot speak anymore during Public Comment section of the meetings.
  • Seating limits have been enforced. (We previously were able to enjoy standing)
  • There is a new metal detector everyone must walk through.
  • New rules are being enforced regarding the press. Previously, press was able to get great photos of speakers, by standing against the wall.
  • There is a wooden half-wall separating the audience from the council.
  • A new speaker system was installed outside for the overflow crowds.
  • New surveillance cameras have been installed to monitor the public areas inside Town Hall.
  • No photos or videos are allowed except during public meetings.
  • A new town attorney with a strong personality was hired to deal with all this!
  • Tens of thousands of dollars have been spent to defend the town against lawsuits (many of which have been dismissed or dropped).
  • We used to be able to enjoy announcements of community events and updates during council meetings. No more, unless we get information to a council person to announce for us.
  • The Town Website was hacked and thousands of emails resent, resulting in hours of extra work for staff.
  • The Town had to hire another prosecutor to handle any case regarding Jennifer Jones, because she wants to call Mr. Brannan as a witness and conflicted him out.
  • Citizens previously enjoyed the privilege of three opportunities to talk during council meetings. That has been taken away.
  •  Now there’s a No Trespassing sign behind Town Hall. 
This was a gradual shift from being an open, community-minded meeting to what we have today. Because of the actions of a few, many people are suffering. 

This is not what a healthy community looks like to me!

So...What is a Healthy Community?

According to the World Health Organization 
(WHO Europe, 1986) the following are a set of eleven key components that together make up a healthy city:
  1. A clean, safe, high-quality physical environment (including housing quality)
  2. An ecosystem that is currently stable and is sustainable in the long term
  3. A strong, mutually supportive and nonexploitative community
  4. A high degree of public participation in and control over the decisions affecting one's life, health, and well-being
  5. The meeting of basic needs (food, water, shelter, income, safety, work) for all the city's people
  6. Access to a wide variety of experiences and resources with the possibility of multiple contacts, interaction, and communication
  7. A diverse, vital, and innovative city economy
  8. Encouragement of connectedness with the past, with the cultural and biological heritage, and with other groups and individuals
  9. A city form that is compatible with and enhances the above parameters and behaviors 
  10. An optimum level of appropriate public health and sick care services accessible to all
  11. High health status (both high positive health status and low disease status)

  • How does Quartzsite rate in each of the above qualities? 
  • What can we do better as a community to work together towards the common goal of becoming a Healthy Community?
  • What are our accomplishments so far, towards that goal??
  • What can we do better?
  • What solutions can you bring to the table?
  • When are we going to act as adults in public meetings and gatherings?
  • What piece of the puzzle are you going to bring towards helping Quartzsite become a Healthy Community?
I look forward to some positive discussions. I've about had all the finger pointing and blaming I can stand! I read all those posts telling me what is inside my head, and how I think this and think that; and threaten me with potentially harmful actions. This is just nuts!

Outsiders can bring fresh eyes to a situation, if they are open to discussion of a solution. I witnessed a very focused group this weekend, with their agendas planned out. One leader called me today to ask if they made a difference. My first thought was, "if you have to ask, you know you probably didn't". But I told him, that not very many locals were there to hear their message. Many people were afraid of them. Maybe it was a misconception, but maybe the outsiders are having a misconception on what is happening in our town, too. I'm glad there were over 100 people willing to take a stand and march for what they believed. Now I ask Quartzsite residents to take a stand for what YOU believe.  

It's time for us to HEAL AS A COMMUNITY! Not what one person thinks is best for another, but the whole community to release their anger and move forward in a positive way, for a Healthy Community! 

The people in a healthy community are safe and feel safe, 
are well informed, feel that they have the power to make choices, 
have lasting bonds with one another, have strong families, 
and a sense of meaning in their lives.


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