Attorney General Brings War On Meth To Payson

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Attorney General Terry Goddard called on the Payson Town Council to lobby District 5 Sen. Jake Flake and other members of the Legislature to support a bill that would control the sale of products containing pseudoephedrine.

Goddard, who appeared at the council's regular meeting Thursday evening, called methamphetamine use "one of the most serious problems we face in Arizona.

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Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard enjoys a lighter moment at the Payson Town Council meeting Thursday evening.

"It's a highly addictive stimulant that has become the most readily available illegal drug in Arizona and around the country, and it has been identified as the number one law enforcement problem in the country," Goddard said.

The bill before the Legislature would ban the sale of products containing pseudoephedrine to minors and limit purchase by registered adults to nine grams in 30 days.

"Pseudoephedrine is the base of virtually every cold medication that's on the market today," Goddard told the council. "That's fine and we don't discourage people from using it, but the problem is (that) in large quantities it can be made into methamphetamine."

Goddard praised the council for passing its own ordinance regulating the sale of products containing pseudoephedrine. The ordinance requires retailers to request photo identification and record other information about customers purchasing such products.

"You not only did a terrific service to the citizens of the town of Payson, but also, by example, helped, along with many other communities in Arizona, to fight back against the scourge of methamphetamines," he said.

WakeUp Call seizes opportunity

Prior to Goddard's address, Don Crowley, co-chairman of WakeUp Call -- Concerned Citizens for Gila County Political Reform, took advantage of the attorney general's presence to address the longstanding community college feud. The group is challenging the legality of the contract tying Gila Community College to Eastern Arizona College for 10 years and seeks prosecution of "the open meeting violations, which have made that horrendous contract possible."

Crowley praised Goddard for uncovering violations, but not for the penalties meted out.

"The good news was (that) thanks to the efforts of the attorney general's office, nine open meeting law violations were documented," he said. "The bad news was, in our view, that the penalties levied against the violators were minimal, and the

AG's office declined to review questions concerning illegal provisions in the contract."

Goddard did not respond.

Reese defends expenses

Other meeting highlights included a brief prepared statement by Councilor Dick Reese defending himself against charges of expense account overspending.

"There is a policy, and $3,100 per year is allowed," Reese said. "Every penny spent, and I believe this is true with each of us, is spent for community development, education and information needed to better serve you.

"Personally, I promise, and I believe I speak for each of the council members, to use good judgment investing, not wasting money entrusted to me."

Event Center meeting

The council will hold a special meeting on the Payson Event Center project at 5 p.m. Thursday. The meeting is open to the public, but Town Manager Fred Carpenter says he will have answers to specific questions called into his office (474-5242, ext. 262) in advance.

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