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Ariz. council refuses to seat new mayor

June 12, 2012 at 4:40 PM

QUARTZSITE, Ariz., June 12 (UPI) -- The town council in Quartzsite, Ariz., has refused to seat the winners of a mayoral election and a council race, saying they are ineligible to hold office.

Ed Foster, a former mayor of Quartzsite, won 56 percent of the vote last week, The Arizona Republic reported. But incumbents on the council say he owes the town money.

Mark Orgeron, who was elected to the council, is not a legal Quartzsite resident, the council majority said. Both Foster and Orgeron ran as opponents of the current majority.

Quartzsite, which straddles Interstate 10 about 20 miles east of the California border, has a recent history of volatile politics. Foster said he has been arrested several times, arrests he says were political.

In 2011, the town dismissed most of its police officers after they accused the police chief of abusing his authority. The town attorney quit because he said he was being asked to prosecute political cases.

Both Foster and Orgeron say they are taking legal action. Foster has asked La Paz County Attorney Sam Vederman to enforce a little-known state law allowing usurpers to be removed from office.

Vederman said Monday he fears the situation in Quartzsite could explode into violence: "I just want everyone to remain calm."

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