;
  • Report:  #390

Complaint Review: City of Mesa & Mayor Wayne Brown & City Manager Charles K. Luster - Mesa Arizona

Reported By:
-
Submitted:
Tue, April 20, 1999
Updated:
Tue, October 01, 2002

City of Mesa & Mayor Wayne Brown & City Manager Charles K. Luster
Main Street Mesa, 85208 Arizona, U.S.A.
Phone:
602-644-2397
Web:
N/A
Categories:
City Governments

MESA, ARIZONA ...THE GRIM REPUTATION IT SO RICHLY DESERVES

Justice and Equity are words that are not in the vocabulary of an

autocracy or a theocracy. They are not in the vocabulary of the

operatives of the City of Mesa.

- Ruthlessness

- Vengeance

- Abuse of Power

- Lawlessness

- Cunning

These are the terms that have long been synonymous with the City of

Mesa and the methods it employs to achieve its unholy ends.

Upon occasion a citizen or group of citizens has successfully

challenged an unlawful action by the City of Mesa. How dare a

"sovereign power" have any of its ruthless actions challenged!

What have been the resulting effects? Following are but a few

examples that have helped gain for Mesa the grim reputation it so

richly deserves.

____________________________________________________________

...A ROSE BY ANY ANOTHER NAME IS STILL A ROSE, AND

A SALES TAX BY ANY OTHER NAME IS STILL A SALES TAX

____________________________________________________________

The City of Mesa imposed an additional sales tax on all Mesa

restaurants and eating establishments in defiance of the Mesa City

Charter, which requires a vote of the people for any sales tax

increase. Thinking it clever, Mesa concocted some other name for

this sales tax or transaction privilege tax increase that was

imposed only upon restaurants.

After private well-reasoned pleas by one or more restaurateurs

fell on deaf ears of the mayor and city manager, a number of

restaurant owners banded together and, at great legal expense to

themselves, sued the City of Mesa. The sales tax increase was

instituted without a vote of the people as required by the City

Charter. Thus, the tax increase was illegal.

Mesa's attempt to call the sales tax by another name was not

persuasive; and, not surprisingly, the Maricopa County Superior

Court judge had no other choice but to rule in favor of the

restaurant owners. Sorry, a rose by any other name is still a

rose, and a sales tax by any other name is still a sales tax.

Case closed??? Nope.

Unable to graciously take defeat, the headstrong City of

Mesa, at yet more taxpayer expense, appealed the lower court's

ruling to the Arizona Supreme Court. When the case was heard, the

Supreme Court justices severely blistered the City of Mesa for its

stupid and transparent name-game argument, and the restaurant

owners again prevailed. The tax increase for the restaurants was

repealed, and after much confusion the monies that had been

collected and deposited by the City of Mesa were refunded. (All or

most of the restaurants had not passed the tax increase on to their

patrons.)

Did Mesa genuinely believe the increased sales tax for restaurants

to be justified? No. Did Mesa then abide by the City Charter and

take the matter to the voters? No. What then was the City of

Mesa's motive for appealing the case to the higher court, for again

presenting its absurd and meritless name-game argument?

The answer is simple. Vengeance.

Restaurants operate at a low profit margin, and owners dared

challenge an illegal decision by Mesa's autocracy. They therefore

needed to be punished: to be bled financially, to be distracted

from operating their businesses, to be shown that Mesa city

government had unlimited financial resources of taxpayer dollars at

its disposal to waste on a frivolous appeal. The challenge by the

restaurant owners was viewed as treasonous. To to cause a

substantial increase in legal fees for its irreverent opponents was

the least the City of Mesa could do to retaliate against these

productive Mesa businessmen.

___________________________________________________________

JUST BECAUSE YOU HAPPEN TO OWN AND OPERATE A CEMETERY --

OR A BARBER SHOP OR A RESTAURANT OR A HABERDASHERY --

DOES NOT GIVE YOU THE RIGHT TO MISUSE THE MUNICIPAL

POWER OF EMINENT DOMAIN AGAINST A PROPERTY OWNER TO

EXPAND YOUR BUSINESS

___________________________________________________________

The City of Mesa has become notorious for abusing the power of

eminent domain to gain title to real property. This is in addition

to Mesa's habitual practice of purchasing private property from

unwilling or threatened sellers, taking it off the tax rolls, with

no stated reason for any intended public purpose.

The practice of using devious tactics to quench an insatiable lust

and greed for property is deeply rooted in Mormon history.

Although 85 percent of Mesa's population is not Mormon, those at

the helm of operating the City Mesa are of that political

persuasion. Lawlessness and cunning to gain title to real property

are the rule rather than the exception in Mesa.

Consider the experience of one man, the responsible owner of three

adjacent parcels that had been in his family for decades.

The man was approached by a City of Mesa property agent and told

that the City of Mesa would be interested in purchasing his

properties for future expansion of the Mesa City Cemetery situated

east of the man's properties. Few municipalities are in the

business of owning and operating a cemetery, but Mesa is.

The reasonable man suggested that the city make him an offer for

his properties. However, he did not hear from the City of Mesa

again to negotiate any price, and no offer was made or discussed.

Many months later he received an official notice from the City of

Mesa that Mesa would be acquiring his properties by means of the

power of eminent domain, commonly referred to as condemnation.

The City of Mesa pushed the man into court, forcing him to hire a

lawyer, in an attempt to illegitimately gain title to his

properties by the municipal power of eminent domain.

Arizona state law clearly specifies the public purposes for

which the last-resort power of eminent domain may be utilized, and

cemeteries is not among them. Hence, the bullying City of Mesa

lost its case in court, and the man kept his properties.

Case closed??? Again, no.

In its time honored tradition of misusing more Mesa taxpayer

dollars, despite the clearly stated laws of the State of Arizona,

the City of Mesa appealed the case against the man to the Arizona

Court of Appeals, thereby bleeding the man further of his own

financial resources, forcing him to lay out even more in legal fees.

The appellate court ruled in the man's favor and reiterated the

lower court's ruling. Sorry, Mesa. Just because you happen to own

and operate a cemetery -- or a barber shop or a restaurant or a

haberdashery -- does not give you the right to misuse the municipal

power of eminent domain against a property owner to expand your

business.

End of story??? Not quite. It gets worse.

So incensed was the tyrannical City of Mesa over its losses in the

courts that it enlisted the aid of two Mesa state legislators, Lela

Steffey and Pat Blake, to further its "cause" of retaliation and

illegitimate property acquisition. Sister Steffey and Sister Blake

were good local soldiers and, at the behest of the City of Mesa,

dutifully introduced a bill in the legislature to make it lawful

for cities to acquire private property by the power of eminent

domain for the expressed purpose of the expansion of cemeteries!!

The state house of representatives actually passed the bill by a

wide margin.

It wasn't until the "cemetery bill" was introduced in the state

senate that the owner of the three Mesa properties got wind of it,

cried foul, and the wicked special bill targeting this one man for

his three properties was stopped dead in its tracks.

The horror stories of predatory abuse by the City of Mesa abound.

This is but one.

Marilynn Wennerstrom



4 Updates & Rebuttals

Leo

Gilbert,
Arizona,
Mesa is getting worse. That seems to be the only way it will ever get, is WORSE...

#2Consumer Suggestion

Mon, September 30, 2002

I laugh a lot when I hear this or that legislator talk about "pork barrel legislation". This whole part of the Valley is run and administered for the express profit of a small circle, and it serves no other purpose. The rest of us are just "contributors", who money they steal in the form of taxes, to divide amongst the select group of inner circle cowards who run everything. Up to a point, this is how towns everywhere are run, but here, it is becoming ridiculous. Mesa, especially, has gone so far in its use of eminent domain, police powers, construction projects, and other flim-flam actions that if Mel Brooks did it as film farce, it would be so far from believeable it wouldn't be funny. There are half-a-dozen such money-sucking scams going on right now, visible to me every time I drive through Mesa and Gilbert. Most of these people could be replaced with octupi. I think I will leave, and soon. My business is being double-shuffled and lied to and about daily, licenses held up to silly levels of scrutiny, hidden charges hit me like torpedoes, and I seem to notice my LDS competitors have none of these problems.


The Fist

Mesa,
Arizona,
The captains are running the city into an iceberg. The ship is awash.

#3Consumer Suggestion

Sat, September 21, 2002

Good point made recently by a novelist/nonfiction author who has more integrity and honor in her little finger than this entire city government has, from one Mormon end to the LDS other: "Democracy is largely about the crew and passengers enunciating their right to assume the bridge before an iceberg is struck. It is about dissent and responsibility." This city lacks the latter two, and the citizens-watching this "ship of state" submerge hard by the bow, under the criminal and incompetent leadership of the GOBN--have not yet stood up for themselves. Do ANY of you have ANY guts at all???? You live in a concentration camp, very similar to the that old TV series THE PRISONER... If you don't enjoy dealing daily with the local Nazi right wing filth, you better do something. Remember, freedom isn't free, and standing up for it begins RIGHT NOW in this stinking cess pit. Forget the right wing crap and the left wing b.s. This fight is about fairness.


Gower

Mesa,
Arizona,
Cities like this one have no INHERENT RIGHT TO EXIST.

#4Consumer Suggestion

Thu, September 19, 2002

Orwell was correct. The misuse of language and the use of lies as the fodder of the state are the ultimate forms of corruption. Mesa is the heart and soul of that formula. The putrification of this community and its selective, theocratic pressures, and most especially, its lack of any genuine and truly meaningful sort of law enforcement is the primary reason it cannot attract major, cosmopolitan business. Whether the grand muftis, dimwits, incompetents, and criminals who people the inner sanctum of rot here understand it or not, they are killing this city. Some people call it "The Mormon Thing"... that is a mis-statement. It is the Racketeering Thing ... Giving it a religious identity at all sanctifies the sleaze entirely too much. When finally the revolution comes--and it will be a LEGAL one--and after some justice and clean light falls in the dark corners of this conspiracy, we must make sure that the men and insitutions who replace the tainted ones are vastly superior, and fair. There is a price to be paid in blood and incarceration. Those who oppose the currently ensconced monsters will be sought out and dealt with much as Hitler tried to deal with his tormentors, and for the same reasons: exposing the decades of lies and coverups is the only sword sharp enough to cut. There will be arrests and murders. Count on it. These are the descendants of a Vigiliante tradition. In the end, it will blow up in their collective, criminal faces, but it will take time. And patience. And we must grind exceeding fine.


Ray

Mesa soon to be elsewhere,
Florida,
Yawn! Mesa is way worse than you seem to know....

#5Consumer Comment

Sun, June 09, 2002

Mesa is largely a concentration camp, run by people who belong in prison. Thousands of us know this, and do nothing. I have spent more time in this dunghole speaking to criminals (aka: "scumbag Mesa cops") than I have doing actual business. I tried to organize some real opposition to this rats, and after eight or nine years, at tremendous loss, I am leaving. I have fought city halls and won before, especially when fighting filthy Nazi slime like Hutchinson and his equally criminal cohorts. Their maximum real support in this town is maybe 10% or less. But they are ruining everything. EVERYTHING! His predecessor, Luster, was even worse. This police chief...WHAT A JOKE!Unfortunately, the jokes are sick and the city administration even sicker. I am "voting" with a U-Haul. I retire soon, and I cannot be jousting with windmills with no support. This town's citizens are as spineless and gutless as the small cadre of pukebags who run it, but not as clever.

Featured Reports
Reports & Rebuttal
Respond to this report!
Also a victim?
Repair Your Reputation!