Thursday, September 15, 2011

Quartzsite - Injustice or Retribution

If a person were to use a single word to describe every resident, extended season snowbird and vendor living in Quartzsite what would that word be? And, how could just one word describe all affected? A person would have to ponder that thought for a long time because as most know the town is split in their support for Mayor Ed Foster or Quartzsite’s town government.

The one word that defines everyone in Quartzsite is Anger. Go ahead, try and find someone who will say they are not Angry at one side or the other. Nearly impossible, right? But, did you know there are two types of anger?

On Sunday a young Pastor at church talked about the “Anger” he felt 10 years ago on 9/11 Now on the tenth anniversary of 9/11 He went on to say virtually everyone in the United States of America was Angry. Then he made a real revelation by stating the two distinct forms of anger. I immediately made the correlation between the Anger felt on 9/11 then and the current situation in Quartzsite.
The first is Anger at injustice. Americans felt this kind of Anger towards the actions of the cowardice attack against innocent people in our own country on 9/11 We were above all, Angy because it was an act of pure evil. The kind of evil hell-bent on killing as many innocent people as possible. Evil on a grand scale never seen before anywhere in the world.

The second is Anger fueled by sinful actions. The type of anger where one seeks revenge.  A vendetta carried out through deeds of retribution. The type of retribution causing the greatest level of harm possible to the recipient. This type of Anger will show no regard for the law. Or if possible use the law whenever possible to disguise the revenge they seek.

Knowing and understanding how Anger works, perhaps you can better understand how Anger controls Quartzsite. I can’t help but wonder where did this all the Anger in Quartzsite get its start? 

Well, perhaps when petitions were circulated in the community to incorporate Quartzsite as a Town. Some people there would have been glad to see progress while others did not want to foot the bill progress would cost. There is an interesting history with early corporate Quartzsite, but, for now I will focus on how the latest round of Anger may have exploded in Quartzsite.

Understand, I have no hard facts only theories as to how the following may have played out. Some of my thoughts are based on a timeline of facts, but I did not nor do I have any real inside knowledge to any of the actual actions taken by town officials. I wrote this to help you ask the right kind of questions to get real answers. If you can shed some light as to real facts with evidence feel free to post them in the comment section of this article.

The founding mayor of Quartzsite, Richard Oldham, has always stayed in the forefront of town government and the expenditures required to keep the city coffers healthy. When Richard felt policies and expenditures needed clarification he sought answers. Others in Quartzsite felt the same way. Snowbirds migrating to Quartzsite from communities with open and transparent governments wondered how Quartzsite town government could be so different from theirs.

To get answers people started asking questions of town officials through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Town officials were less than forthcoming on FOIA requests. In fact the requests Angered town officials with something to hide. People submitting the FOIA requests became Angered with the officials who were uncooperative. As the Anger escalated between both parties tempers became short.

Can you tell the different types of Anger in play? Now that I look back I can.

Citizens became Angry with the injustice at the hand of the town officials. A burning question was “why would town hall not disclose information requested”.

Since requested information was not forthcoming on FOIA requests in 2007 it became necessary for citizens to take their concerns and complaints to the common council. Often town a employee had to defend their stand on the issues in front of the full council. This must have made the specific employee Angry, very Angry; this person sought revenge against those who dared cross them.
Perhaps a fortune teller must have read Tarot cards.  This town employee became an expert at controlling the common council and those employees reporting directly to them. The employee’s Anger of revenge grew as more and more FOIA requests appeared in their inbox. To cover up the corruption that would be exposed by the FOIA requests, the employee may have abused the power of the their office.

This same Angry employee was able to influence members of the town’s appointed common council members to carry out vengeful evil plans. The employee ran into a brief road block when Steve Bennett became Mayor. Again Tarot cards may have shown a way to Anger Mayor Bennett. His Anger of the injustice perpetrated by the employees involved caused him to resign the office of Mayor. Tarot cards must have reveled the next evil step as well. after Steve Bennett’s resignation the Angy employee was successful at getting the council’s appointed Mayor’s full support.  Still the corrupt Angy employee’s plan of revenge could not have worked until she controlled the police department. I can’t help but wonder how those Tarot cards gave the employee the vision to control police officers. The Tarot cards must have also revealed the need of a town harassment officer. And, someone was more than willing to fill the need. The corrupt employee controlled this harassment officer from the start. Then imbued the new harassment officer with all the evil the devil had taught the corrupt individual.

The corrupt employee’s Anger of revenge was now in place. There would no longer be justice for all in Quartzsite.

Anger increased exponentially to defend against the injustice unleashed upon the citizens, snowbirds and vendors of Quartzsite. As a snowbird Ed Foster was Angry with the injustice he saw, so Angry in fact, he felt an overwhelming need to campaign for justice to prevail. Therefore, Ed ran for the office of Mayor with a promise to fire Alex Taft and Police Chief Gilbert. Ed also sought to work with a common council not controlled by evil doers. To this end Ed Foster was very supportive of all candidates running to unseat incumbent common council members.

Ed Foster's actions really Angered the corrupt leaders in Quartzsite. The Tarot cards must have given insight as to how to control Ed Foster should he become Mayor and at the same time drive a deep divide within the community.

Citizens not supporting Ed Foster became Angry when he won the election. Their Anger was based on the perception Ed would fire Alex Taft and Jeff Gilbert which in their minds was unjustified. They were under the false impression all was well within town hall. As such this group of citizens did not share the same type of Anger as the corrupt individuals in town government. Most of these citizens are not evil, they are pawns, they have fallen for the deception created by the corrupt leaders.

I feel sorry for the group of citizens under the influence of Angry corrupt people. I wish I could help them see the light. I have to work on that.

The night Ed Foster was seated as Mayor was the first time I saw Anger driven by evil revenge. It was also the first time my Anger became overwhelming to the point I needed to stop the injustice unfolding in front of me. I addressed the common council and all evil doers and pleaded on behalf of all present that true justice be allowed to prevail. Nothing worked, my pleas were met with discontent and defiant driven Anger of revenge from the entire seated council.

The Anger in town hall that night was surreal. On one hand was Anger of injustice, on the other hand was the Anger of revenge. A battle broke out in an open meeting.

Quartzsite was at it’s lowest point.

All of you reading this should be asking questions of your own. If you find out or have any facts that support my thoughts, please post them here in the comments section.

Help me help you to put an end to the Anger running rampant in Quartzsite.

Rigged Election in Quartzsite - Just a Thought

Could voter fraud be realistic in Quartzsite’s last two recall elections? After recalling some facts that have been questioned over the past three years, that answer could very well be yes.  Here are some facts as I know them. Although I can not recall the specific time, Quartzsite town officials requested an updated registered voter roster from La Paz County shortly after Ed Foster was seated as Mayor. I was present when town officials were asked to explain why the roster was needed. The answer given was very weak and led one to believe something was cooking in the soup kettle.  

So...what was the town cooking up and why? I did not know then, and, I do not know now. But, thoughts are formulating in my mind as I look back at the events. Understand I have no proof of the story I am going to relate to you. My story is strictly fictitious; I have no reason to believe town officials in my story actually took part in anything I write here. Based on known personalities and behavioral traits following is a scenario going through my mind.

My story starts the night Ed Foster was seated as mayor, the council meeting was anything but normal. Since Quartzsite’s incorporation new members of the council and mayors have always been seated at the beginning of a town council meeting following an election. Not this night.

The outgoing Mayor and the rest of the town government planned to strip the incoming mayor of any powers enjoyed by all past mayors. The town’s plan was carried out under a great deal of of heated verbal protesting by citizens attending the meeting. The full council was not swayed by citizen protests as can be viewed by online video on youtube. In an act of defiance the full council just kept passing new restrictions on the office of the mayor.

With the plan of mayoral restrictions put in place the rest of the story could be something like this:  The town manager or other town employee requested and received and updated copy of the registered voters in Quartzsite. With this information at hand town officials were able formulate a plan to protect themselves from any further outside interference.  Those individuals responsible for implementing the action to strip Ed Foster of his powers as mayor most likely realized they would be challenged wherever possible. Therefore, first order of business of this small group of town officials was to assure no seated council member would be ousted by a recall effort.

This unknown group of town officials must have come up with a plan for submitting fraudulent early ballots if a recall effort became successful. The updated voter roster could have had vital information of every registered voter such as their physical and postal addresses. Someone with this information would be able to carry out a plan to control the  outcome of any recall election.

As expected a recall of all seated council members did happen. The plan to control the election must have been put into action.

As the recall election got under way someone with access to the county election office the requested the list of Absentee ballots. With this list along with the master roster of registered voters in hand, someone must have been able to check off voters requesting a absentee ballot in Red ink. This color was used to signify a warning not to mess with the voter’s ballot.  When early ballots became available for pickup at town hall someone must have been able able to get the list of voters who picked up a ballot. Once again these names may have been checked off on the master roster in Red ink indication not to mess with that ballot either. The person in charge of the plan needed a way to identify all potential voters whose ballots could possibly be defrauded. This multi step plan would now require investigation to yield a supply of fraudulent ballots.  First, voters that are snowbirds and own property in Quartzsite have water bills to pay each month. The person in charge may have looked at each water bill received and checked the postmark on the envelope. If the postmark was from a snowbird’s summer address and not checked off in Red ink on the master voter roster that person would have identified a possible ballot to use. This voter’s name was checked off in Green Ink and would indicate the voter would not be in town to vote on election day.  Second, voters living in RV parks and gone for the season were easy to spot and mark in Green ink if their RV space were vacant and they were not checked off in Red ink. For those who leave an RV in the space all year another step was be needed.   someone would have to physically spot an RV voter who remained in town during the upcoming election. One way to see who is in town is to stake out the Post Office for at least a week. Those voters living in RV parks had to stop at the Post Office to pick up mail. People involved in this plan may have made up a schedule fortaking pictures of everyone as they exited the Post Office. If none of the corrupted employees could recognize a face, someone within the town police department may have run a facial recognition through an agency such as NCIC. Once a positive ID matched a voter on the master roster and were not checked off in Red ink, they would be checked off in Blue ink to indicate a possible vote at the polls on election day.  At some point someone in authority may have approached all voters checked in Blue ink and possibly used intimidation tactics in an effort to control their vote.  Third, on election day corrupt spotters would be at the polling place to eliminate the use of prepared fraudulent ballots for voters exiting the polls. Voters seen at the polls were marked in Black ink on the master voter roster and the prepared fraudulent ballot destroyed.  Corrupt individuals involved would have now had all the information needed to feel safe in submitting all the early ballots someone prepared from the Green ink list.  And, if needed any one on the blue Ink list that did not vote could be added to the Green ink list at the last minute.  When the polls closed the early ballots including those from the Green list are turned in to the county elections board. To make sure everything worked correctly, the corrupt group had a count of those exiting the polls. Using this count they could have been able to apply past voting statistics to determine how many fraudulent ballots to submit thereby assuring the outcome of the election.

This type of fraud could have happened at the recall of the council members and the recall of the mayor. With the level of corruption suspected in Quartzsite anything seems to be possible.  Again, I am not saying anyone is actually involved in such a cover up. It just makes an interesting story.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Airstrip Thoughts

March 25, 2011
written by Rocky Bertsch

Rise and Fall of Quartzsite, Arizona’s Emergency Airstrip

Quartzsite’s Emergency Airstrip From the Start to the Demise as recorded by volunteer airstrip manager, Rocky Bertsch

Why are town officials so insistent upon destroying the only airstrip in the Quartzsite area? Could it be voter retribution on the part of town officials? Yes,based upon my first hand experience with the politics surrounding Quartzsite’s Emergency Airstrip.

Lets start with a short history of the Emergency Airstrip. One of the agenda items discussed and approved during the April 28, 2009 Town Council meeting was action establishing an emergency airstrip in Quartzsite. A motion was made and seconded to discuss the possibility of designating a private airstrip owned by Richard Oldham as Quartzsite’s Emergency Airstrip. The discussion among council members was in favor of approving the motion. Public input was allowed and good questions were asked. Concerns about the cost and impact such an action would place on the town were raised and addressed to the satisfaction of all those present.

The final testimony presented by me, Rocky Bertsch, to the council moved the council to amend the original motion and pass it 6 to 0 in favor with one member absent. All this occurred while I stood at the podium.

As I recall the motion and vote went like this: Motion made and seconded to designate Mr. Oldham’s private runway as Quartzsite’s official emergency airstrip. The emergency airstrip shall include the existing 1,350 feet of runway and the town will assist Mr. Oldham with his effort to gain conditional use of an additional 1,950 feet of BLM land. The BLM land would be used to extend the runway in the event an aircraft needed the extension to safely leave the area upon completion of emergency repairs.

The council also directed town manager, Alex Taft, to assist Mr. Oldham with preparing and submitting an application to the BLM for the runway extension. The very next day Mr. Oldham submitted a request to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to gain an official airstrip designator that would have placed the Quartzsite Emergency Airstrip on FAA Sectional Charts. This was an important step to inform all general aviation pilots of a safe place to land in the event of an in-flight emergency. All was well and Quartzsite once again had a safe place for aircraft to land.

Mr Oldham also stated the runway would be available to public use. This was really great news for the Light Sport Aviation and Ultralight Aircraft community in and around Western Arizona. Many of Quartzsite’s displaced pilots were willing to return to Quartzsite and utilize Mr. Oldham’s airstrip. As one of the displaced Light Sport pilots I entered into talks with Mr. Oldham to bring aviation back to this area.

Mr. Oldham was glad I was willing to oversee the daily operations at the airstrip as a volunteer. I would also assist Ms. Taft with gathering information required by the BLM for their consideration of the runway extension request. In short, I became the Airstrip Manager on a volunteer basis. Things looked great for pilots.

Ms. Alex Taft welcomed my assistance and gave me a detailed list of tasks Mr. Oldham would need to complete and provide to her. Several phone calls to La Paz county and trips to Parker were completed by Mid-June 2009 All was well and excitement was building with the anticipation of an active airstrip in the Quartzsite area for the 2009 - 2010 snowbird season.

When June 2009 arrived this full-time RVer felt the need to travel, and so, I did. But, I took my homework with me and continued to work on my plan to ready the airstrip upon my October return to Quartzsite.

Upon my Mid-October return to Quartzsite the first order of business was to check the progress town manager, Alex Taft had over the summer months. To my dismay, Ms. Taft had not yet submitted any paperwork to the BLM. Ms. Taft granted my request for a meeting to address outstanding issues causing the delay in submitting application to the BLM in Yuma. Ms. Taft stated the detailed description I provided was not adequate. A survey of the proposed runway extension would be needed. That was the last meeting I would have with Alex Taft.

All attempts to talk to Ms. Taft were met with roadblocks. Phone calls were not returned. Visits to Town Hall were disappointing. I would request to see Alex Taft only to be told she was unavailable. Messages were left each week with the town clerk requesting a phone call from Ms. Taft. My phone never rang. I was perplexed as to why I was getting the cold shoulder from Ms. Taft’s office. Unknown to me at the time was the upheaval of the October 2009 election for the Town Mayor. Town officials did not want Mr. Ed Foster to win the election. There was no clear winner and a run off election was set for March, 2010 As you read the rest of this article, remember this upcoming March election date. Then correlate the election results from both dates with the actions taken against Mr. Oldham. Why would I state this? Because Mr. Oldham openly campaigned for Mr. Ed Foster, who in March, 2010 became the new Mayor.

November was a busy month. The runway was cleaned up, rocks and loose debris removed. The surface was smoothed and packed with a heavy roller. It was time to fly. And, fly I did.

During December, January and February pilots came, stayed awhile, and had a great time. All was well.

March was remarkable with members of the women’s 99 aviation group using Quartzsite’s Emergency Airstrip as a check point for their air race. Several residents of Quartzsite were on hand to wave as each airplane made a low level high speed pass over the runway. I was asked by the organizers to log each aircraft’s ID number and report the results to their officials. To prepare for the race I contacted Public Works supervisor, Emmit, requesting help in keeping snowbirds off the runway during the race. Emmit was very cooperative and set up barricades to protect the runway from cars driving on the primitive road (future Main Street) leading to the runway. Emmit was very nice and left the barricades in place for several weeks after the race. This helped a great deal in keeping cars from driving onto an active runway.

March was also memorable for another reason. Quartzsite town officials targeted Mr. Oldham with what would become a year long vendetta. I was confused and distraught over the change in the town’s support of the Emergency Airstrip. The new attitude started about the third week of March 2010 one week after the new Mayor, Ed foster, was seated.

Early one March morning a survey crew was making noise near my RV. They stated the town retained them to survey the right-of-way for future Main Street. Ah, whaaaat? Yep, town official Al Johnson gave the order to redo a survey completed in 2004. Why? Only Town Manager, Alex Taft can provide an answer.

The town was short on funds, however, officials still felt it necessary to spend taxpayers money on a redo of a survey on a future road to nowhere. The future road, Main Street W, would at some date extend one block west of the runway and dead end at a wash. What is up with this? And why now? There is nothing North or South of the declared right-of-way that needs access at this juncture.

Mr. Oldham and I placed a phone call to Mr. Al Johnson. The above questions were asked. To our dismay it was the first indication the Quartzsite Emergency Airstrip became a target of town officials. The conversation with Mr. Johnson went downhill faster than a soapbox derby race car with a tail wind.

The comments from Al Johnson were contentious to say the least. Mr. Johnson stated there was a conflict with the Emergency Airstrip and Main Street right-of-way. When the Town Council approved the runway as Quartzsite’s Emergency Airstrip it should have been understood that the future main street extension would have terminated on the East side of the airstrip and not allowed to intersect with the runway. Any Fool should know airplanes and cars can not occupy the same space at the same time. Should this occur fatalities would surely be the end result.

The runway had been in use almost continuously since the early 1980’s Because of this long timeline tort law dealing with proscriptive easement rights should apply. Therefore, any extension of Main Street to the West of the runway should require the town of Quartzsite to construct an underpass beneath the runway, not intersect with it.

When countered by me with my knowledge and experience of the town council’s approval of the Emergency Airstrip Mr. Johnson stated the town council did not approve an emergency airstrip. He stated the town council only agreed to assist Mr. Oldham with application to the BLM for the current runway’s extension onto BLM land. When I referred him to the motion and action of the town council Mr. Johnson stated he was reading from a copy of the minutes and I was, in fact, wrong. Mr. Oldham asked if he could get a copy of the minutes he was reading. Mr. Johnson said Mr. Oldham could come to Town Hall and pick up a copy. A few more questions were asked of Mr. Johnson and a meeting was requested. Mr. Johnson agreed to a meeting 30 minutes from then. Mr. Oldham had another appointment and could not get away that quick. Mr. Oldham asked if he could send someone down right then to pick up a copy of the minutes Mr. Johnson stated he was reading from. To our surprise Mr. Johnson stated it would take him at least 30 minutes to gather up and get a copy of the minutes for Mr. Oldham. Whaaat? Ten minutes before he stated he was reading a copy of the minutes. If so, what did he have to gather and why would it take 30 minutes to copy something that was already in front of him. It seemed to me a copy was going to be fabricated to read as Mr. Johnson wanted and not what was actually stated and passed at the town council meeting with regard to the Quartzsite Emergency Airstrip.

Perplexing thoughts were on my mind as to why the change of attitude at Town Hall. Voter retribution was not one of them. However, after investigating all the political events that had taken place over the past year a picture of retribution started to form in my mind.

Over the next several months the picture became crystal clear as more and more actions from Al Johnson’s office unfolded. The vendetta unleashed by Al Johnson, Alex Taft and others against Mr. Oldham is the most egregious behavior I have ever witnessed or for that matter, ever heard of. Perhaps that is what one should expect from a man like Al Johnson sporting an email address of

Once started, Al Johnson seemed to have a specific timeline established. Approximately every two weeks Mr. Oldham would be the recipient of some new form of harassment. Within two weeks of the survey incident Mr Oldham received a letter of possible code violations. The next week Mr. Oldham received a package of about 50 photographs Al Johnson stated were code violations and was given 30 days to correct them.

Next, Al Johnson contacted La Paz county sanitation office. This action resulted in an inspection by the county of Mr. Oldham’s Main Event West property. The county required Mr. Oldham to find and uncover the septic tanks on the property so they could be inspected. They stated an anonymous complaint had been received stating septic tanks were not being used for waste disposal. For the next two weeks “Main Event West” became a prairie dog town, less the prairie dogs. Water witches used divining rods. A post-hole digger mounted to a tractor created the random prairie dog mounds everywhere the divining rods showed a positive for something. A water line became a casualty to the digger. People were left without water on 115 degree days. Al Johnson must have been grinning from ear-to-ear on his latest Power Trip. The county on the other hand was getting tired of Al Johnson’s antics and Mr. Oldham was spending a great deal of money on labor costs. In the end, two perfect condition septic tanks were uncovered, inspected and given a big OK from the county. Retribution round 2 completed.

Two weeks later came a visit from Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) accompanied by none other than Al Johnson. Seems a anonymous complaint was made concerning Mr. Oldham’s properties. I did not know Al Johnson was aka “Anonymous” and still do not know for sure. But, Anonymous was successful in getting the ADEQ to schedule and inspect said properties. There were some areas of concern, but nothing worthy of any citations. The ADEQ gave Mr. Oldham 180 days to address the areas of concern. Not good enough for Al Johnson because he has issued several citations to Mr. Oldham with disregard to the time frame set forth by ADEQ. Mr Oldham made a court appearance on the citations. The Judge found them all unwarranted and threw them out. The Judge also stated Al Johnson did not have the authority to issue criminal citations as he is not a law enforcement officer.

There is more, much more to this story of retribution, however, I will limit the rest of my story to events specific to the demise of the Emergency Airstrip.

Early April 2010 Mr. Oldham received notification from Al Johnson’s office requiring the removal of signs placed near the active runway to protect it from snowbirds driving vehicles onto the runway. This requirement was strongly objected to by me. In fact I advised Al Johnson the signs would remain in place as long as the town council supported the Emergency Airstrip. As a result the signs remained where I had placed them. Within two weeks Mr. Oldham received a citation stating an illegal sign must be removed from the public right-of-way.

The problem with the citation was it was delivered with a picture depicting a hand holding the citation below a sign “Private Property Keep Out” that was clearly on Mr. Oldham’s property. No mention what-so-ever was made to the warning banner placed near the active runway.

After that incident Al Johnson was observed on several occasions over the next few months trespassing on Mr. Oldham’s private property snapping pictures of everything in sight. He continued to send letters demanding the removal of what he claimed to be illegal signs posted near the airstrip.

From December 2009 until January 2011the runway remained protected by a large 3’ X 8’ warning banner, signs, painted barrels, caution tape, earthen barriers and telephone poles. That is until the morning of January 5th, 2011. Al Johnson stepped up his harassment efforts against Mr. Oldham and the Airstrip.

Early January 2011 Al Johnson again insisted I remove the large Red banner from what he claimed was the town’s right-of-way. Again I refused. I stated he could remove the banner, but, I would not because it would leave no warning to snowbirds of the active runway directly in front of them. Al Johnson left and the banner remained. To my surprise the following week the town erected two permanent signs ⅓ mile to the east of the airstrip, close to the large Primitive Road sign, indicating the road was temporarily closed except for residents. Wow! I thought the town changed their mind and was now in support of the runway. Not the case! The next week Al Johnson made his next vindictive move.

Mr. Oldham’s employees witnessed Al Johnson remove two of my painted barrels and the caution tape strung between them. Al Johnson loaded them into the box of a town pickup truck and haul them away. His act of aggression towards the Airstrip left the runway unprotected against snowbirds and others driving their vehicles onto the runway. Al Johnson did this while four pilots had aircraft on the property and were actively flying on a daily basis. As the Airstrip manager I did everything within my ability to protect the runway. I called several offices of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as well as pilot associations. The FAA from the Los Angeles Regional Office advised me to do whatever was needed to protect the public safety. Therefore, I moved mounds of earth to where Al Johnson removed the barrels.

The new earth mounds once again gave some protection to the runway on an emergency basis. However, the very next morning just after 8:00 am Al Johnson was back at the Airstrip with camera in hand taking pictures of my efforts to protect the runway. He then waited in the town’s pickup truck for me to react to his continued harassment. I did approach his truck and asked to speak to him. He stated he could not talk to me. So, I explained what a pilot goes though on a final approach to the runway. He was told that a pilot on a final approach would be looking at the far end of the runway to keep his aircraft centered on the runway. A pilot would not see anything approaching from his side like a motor vehicle. I then asked Al Johnson why he would take part in any action that could cause a fatal accident on the runway. He said nothing. I have that conversation on Video.

The next morning Al Johnson and Police Chief Gilbert forced Mr. Oldham to remove the earth barriers I had placed on January 5th. I advised Mr. Oldham I would no longer act as manager because I could not take part in creating or allowing conditions to exist that are likely to result in a tragedy. All was not well at Quartzsite’s Emergency Airstrip.

One would think the harassment would end with such egregious action from town officials. But, the worst was still in Al Johnson’s planning stages it would seem. Because on March 2nd a local news paper photographer showed up just after 8:00 am and told a local contractor she was waiting for the town’s public works vehicles to show up. She was told town officials planned to cut a 50’ wide ditch through the runway. Why would Al Johnson attempt to escalate his harassment efforts to a new low point? As I pondered that thought something came to mind. The preceding week I went to the town police department and asked Police Chief Gilbert for his assistance with traffic control at the airstrip during this year’s March air race event of the women’s 99 aviation group. Could Chief Gilbert also be playing an active role in this vendetta? If that were the case, all past rumors pertaining to Chief Gilbert going around Quartzsite could have some merit.

The contractor called me in a panic. I in turn called 911 because I was expecting a four place airplane to arrive that morning. Cutting a ditch in the runway would surely cause a horrific crash if the airplane’s landing gear came into contact with a ditch. The town’s employees did not show up that morning. However, Police Chief Gilbert did respond to my 911 call and gave me a lecture on calling 911 when no real emergency existed. He went on to tell me not to call 911 again unless a crash occurred on the runway. He then stated if I again made a 911 emergency call to protect the runway I would be arrested for making a false emergency 911 call.

One week later on March 8th Police Chief Gilbert escorted the town’s public works construction equipment to the runway. The town’s public works employees made short work of digging a 6” to 8” deep by 50’ wide cut through the runway. When completed the workers left the scene without placing any warning what-so-ever to aircraft that may land on the destroyed runway. I was left standing there looking at the deliberate act to cause a pilot to crash upon landing on the runway. Even worse in my eyes was Police Chief Gilbert’s complete disregard to protect the public safety that he took an oath to do. When confronted on this issue Chief Gilbert stated he was ordered by his boss town manager Alex Taft to keep the peace while the town’s employees destroyed the runway. Chief Gilbert also told me I could not call 911 to report the town’s actions because it did not constitute an emergency in his opinion. Apparently if I would have placed a call to 911 I would have faced serious consequences because Chief Gilbert next stated “don’t even think about calling 911”. Please keep in mind this destruction of the runway took place as the polling places opened on the town council’s recall election. It looked to me like a last great act of defiance on the part of an out of control town government that may have lost their power by the day’s end.

As of this writing on March 25th the town of Quartzsite has not placed any warning on the runway to alert a pilot landing on a damaged runway. Why do officials of Quartzsite want to see someone killed at the airport? If you think for one moment this is not their intent, you would be wrong. The officials of Quartzsite believe Mr. Oldham will be held liable when the anticipated accident occurs. I feel the town’s officials should be charged with premeditated manslaughter when the unavoidable happens. Believe me, I have called every federal and state office I can think of to protect the lives of the unsuspecting pilots. No one and I mean NO ONE cares. Every person I talk to has told me it is not their problem. If that is the case, Who’s Problem Is It? Mr. Oldham had nothing what-so-ever to do with this entire vendetta other than support a person running for public office.

In summary I am left with a burning question. Why would town officials entertain a vendetta with the end goal of running it’s founding farther and first Mayor out of town? One would think Richard Oldham, whose signature is on the town’s incorporation documents, would be held in high regard as the town’s first Mayor and a life long supporter to improve the community.

copyright by Rocky Bertsch 2011
This document may be reprinted, but, only in it’s entirety. It may not be edited nor may excerpts be used without written consent from the author. The author may be contacted via email at