May 14, 2012 8:39 PM

A small Arizona town is dividing because of alleged 'dirty politics'

MAMMOTH -Talks of dirty politics has a small Arizona town divided more than it's ever been. It has some hinging the town's future on the upcoming election.

We told you a few weeks ago, about how the Mammoth Town Council was having an issue getting the new board members put into place after a recall election, because current members were refusing to show up to make it official.

The new members eventually got in, but now they're being accused of illegal activity that's running the city.

Ralph Valencia is a Mammoth citizen. He said, "Since this new council took the short amount of time you're seeing everything just fall apart."

That's what Mammoth residents think is happening to their small town. They said it all started with some unexpected changes at the top.

Larry Ramirez is a council town member. He said, "Our town clerk was placed on Admin leave without notifying council at all. The mayor Al Barcelo put her on leave and brought someone else in."

There have been some special meetings. Ramirez said they have not only been on odd days, but at odd times.

Ramirez said, "Lately we've had a lot of special meetings, emergency meetings and I can't think of anything at these meetings that are time sensitive. The only purpose I can think of for having them is to keep people from attending them."

Diane Theobald is a former planning and zoning director. She said, "We were going in good direction and now it just feels like all that work could very easily be destroyed."

The new town council admits it has made some changes but for the betterment of the town. Something they say the ones complaining failed to do in the past.

The new council members and their supporters said Mammoth needed a major shake up at the top, as it needed to be done quickly.
Rudy Romeo is a council member. He said, "They had to be put on to stop anymore damage from being done there. That's what needed to be done."

They said even if it meant skipping over the council, because they were just put on paid administrative leave while they could be investigated. As for those special meetings, the new council said they were needed.

Juan Barcelo is a council member. He said, "The town requires special attention right now and it goes back to them not doing it so we're going to do it. The people voted us in and people want the change and that's why we're doing it."

Change he said is making things better, not worse. One example is the roads.

Barcelo said, "We've finally been able to clean up some of our streets. Streets that hadn't been paid attention to. If we wouldn't have started doing any of this pretty soon you'd have to have 4wheel drive to get around all the potholes."

One thing both sides agree on is Tuesday's election, that could reshape the council all over again hey said it couldn't be more important.


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