This past week a retired chiropractor riding a giant Jackalope named Calvin Flager published a slanderous smear piece on me and Sitgreaves in the Cedar Hills Senior Center Community newsletter, October edition. Here it is:
After reading Mr. Flager’s smear piece, I found 14 lies and 4 truths. Here they are, relevant quote by relevant quote:
“More than ever [Sitgreaves County will] separate those who have more personal resources from those who have little. It’ll provide a way for the people who can afford it in Navajo and Apache Counties to shed what little responsibility they now have for many services helping those who have less.”
LIE #1: Sitgreaves does not divide the rich from the poor. There is so much potential for helium, natural gas, and other natural resource development in northern Navajo and Apache counties that if the people who live there aren’t doing everything they can to make this reality advantageous for them, and figure out a way to finance county services with that, I’d argue that is completely their own fault. Not only that, but they’d rather not take the risk and continue poaching from other people’s “personal resources” to finance the county services they themselves use. I call this a “plantation” mentality. Also, there are other factors contributing to the split beyond the issue of property tax.
LIE #2: Mr. Flager’s arguments are framed in such a way so as to imply that everyone living in southern Navajo and Apache counties are unanimously better off than those living in northern Navajo and Apache counties, and therefore have a “responsibility” to pay for multiple services for them. I believe that the people of the White Mountains’ responsibility is to their own communities, and financing services applicable to the Sitgreaves County region, not faraway communities whom we have nothing to do with. Likewise, we believe the northern halves of the counties should be responsible for themselves, and all three counties can work together rather than be so divided and inefficient as they are now and have been for decades.
“Who started this mess? Jesse Michael-Geronimo Valencia (He’s added Geronimo to his name recently. Might give you a clue about his sense of self importance. You know, warrior hero, fighting for the people.)”
TRUTH #1: I started this mess.
TRUTH #2: I am a warrior hero fighting for the people.
LIE #3: I did not add Geronimo to my name. In fact, my parents are responsible for that one, and it’s my father’s middle name, and his father’s first name, so you really have to blame my Native American great-grandfather for that one. “Jesse Michael-Geronimo Valencia” is the name on my birth certificate. I am 1/4 Pascua-Yaqui Native American, so the idea that I added it to my otherwise European name to sound cool because I’m self-important is both insulting and racist, or at the very least ignorant.
“He was the leader of a failed rock band who has recently published a book entitled ‘Keep Music Evil: The Brian Jonestown Massacre Story.’ I haven’t read it. The cover shows the picture of a man boldly giving the world the “finger”. Nice, huh? Really, someone whose attitude and focus is a book like this you’d trust to put together a proposal that supposedly is for the good of the people? Not me. There’s something wrong here.”
TRUTH #3: UK-based independent publisher Jawbone Press published my book “Keep Music Evil” in April of this year. The book is about a famous and influential psychedelic rock band, led by a man named Anton Newcombe (the man on the cover), and I worked on it for ten years. During the time I worked on it, I completed an MFA in Creative Writing and an MA in Literature at NAU. The book has received rave reviews in several magazines, has sold thousands all over the world, and was included in this year’s Vogue magazine’s list of Best Summer Reads 2019.
LIE #4: I was, and still am, the leader of a successful, not failed, rock band. My band Gorky in the past five years has put out three records, several music videos which have garnered tens of thousands of views, played live to hundreds of people, received excellent reviews in the press and earned our place in the Arizona scene. The band is on hiatus right now as I focus on building our record label and financing my film “In The Land Of Good Oaks,” the screenplay of which is where the idea for Sitgreaves County came from.
“He, or someone who writes for him, is very good at describing their plan in a way that seems truly wonderful and well-intended, an improvement for the life situations of everyone. For example, his description for supporting helium fracking is a work of art, except when you examine it, it really says nothing. The description of the purpose behind Sitgreaves County truly sounds like it was written by a saint, a way to improves everyone’s life. Sorry.”
TRUTH #4: Sitgreaves County will improve people’s lives.
LIE #5: No one has ever or will ever write for me. I write everything.
LIE #6: I support the Desert Mountain Energy Corporation, who are drilling for helium in the Holbrook Basin, NOT FRACKING. I have always said that I support helium development, as through the DMEC I learned of the importance of helium to numerous technologies, and that the Holbrook Basin was effectively “the Saudi Arabia of Helium.” Realizing the importance of this fact to the development of Sitgreaves, I connected the DMEC with Rep. Walter Blackman as my grassroots group the Sitgreaves County Project helped to successfully kill the overreaching anti-fracking bill in the House during this year’s legislative session.
“What’s perplexing to me is everyone cannot see that the description of the supposed intention is not going to be accomplished by the action it proposes. In fact it will accomplish the exact opposite.”
LIE #6: Abstract and vague language is often used to make Sitgreaves County sound like a bad idea. The only problem with saying so is that no one has done any research to back any such claims up. Myself, on the other hand, deliberated for a half an hour on the findings of my research to the House of Representatives State and International Affairs Committee in March of this year, a month before my book was published and I went on tour with my band.
“How and why could a person like Geronimo Valencia, someone so obviously focused on
personal notoriety all of his life, suddenly turn his attention to public service? It makes me wonder.”
LIE #7: Geronimo Valencia was my grandfather’s name, and he retired from the Army, so how’s about that for public service? Again – disrespectful, racist, and ignorant.
LIE #8: I am not “suddenly turning my attention to public service.” I was a military police officer in the Army for five and a half years before I was honorably discharged in 2011, or did those years not count as ‘public service’ according to Mr. Flager?
“Is it another try at gaining notoriety? Perhaps someone else is behind it? How could those supporting this proposed action, including our elected officials, be so blind to what’s really going on? Could it be they agree with the hidden endgame? I don’t want to believe that, I really don’t. But all we can do is look at their actions.”
LIE #9: No one else is “behind” Sitgreaves County but myself. I conceived of it initially as a fictional county for my film “In The Land Of Good Oaks” to take place, which film I have been developing at the David Lynch Graduate School of Cinematic Arts for the past year. As the idea of the county spread throughout the White Mountains and its surrounding communities, Sitgreaves became real. As support for the idea grew locally to hundreds of people, the design for the County evolved over time into what it is today.
LIE #10: Our elected officials are not blind to “what’s really going on.” I’d say it is Mr. Flager who does not seem to know what is actually going on, which is that I have been working openly with our elected officials to bring about the creation of Sitgreaves County through the Northeastern Arizona Development Act, the full video of my presentation of which to the House of Representatives is available through my YouTube Channel, Gorky TV.
LIE #11: There is no hidden endgame. The endgame is and always has been for the White Mountains to create a county for themselves that works for them. That county is Sitgreaves, and its creation (as my research has proven) is for the benefit of the entire Northeastern Arizona region.
“I haven’t yet touched on the money issue of creating Sitgreaves County. The amount of money required to bring into reality such a project is phenomenal: new courthouse, jails, enforcement employees, service employees, service buildings, and the list goes on and on. Several months ago someone wrote a detailed financial analysis of the project and posted it with the Sitgreaves County proposal. If it hasn’t been removed, it’s well worth
LIE #12: I have never seen a detailed financial analysis of the project from this perspective, or any perspective.
LIE #13: Sitgreaves County will not necessarily have to build all-new buildings and hire all-new people from the start. After the county bill is passed, according to State Law the County Formation Commission will facilitate a governing board which will conduct audits of all three counties to divide assets and debts amongst them equitably and reasonably. There are many buildings available to Sitgreaves now for certain district offices in southern Navajo and Apache counties. My research, on the other hand, has proven that Sitgreaves meets all the requirements of Title 11 for new counties to form, which according to the State standard means that we have it within our means to build a new county infrastructure from the ground up.
“A better use of all that money and energy would be clearly-defined community service projects that might actually help someone who needs it. Instead, our local government officials are once again focused on supporting “spectacular” ideas to save us from ourselves. Anyone else sick of our elected officials going off on their own personal projects before asking us what WE want and what WE really need? I certainly am.”
LIE #14: The money and energy it would take to create Sitgreaves should not be poured into undefined “community service projects” when Sitgreaves itself is a community service project, working on behalf of what the people really do need, which is control of their own communities, development in the Northeastern Arizona region, and to alleviate poverty in what is the most impoverished region in the US Southwest. We are already doing this.
In conclusion, I think that Mr. Flager should spend less time riding gigantic jackalopes and more time actually researching things he decides to write full page articles about. His argument is rooted in the idea that Sitgreaves divides rich from poor. The research I have presented has shown that this is not true. Mr. Flager’s response to this is to say that it can’t possibly be true, that it sounds too good, that I am only doing this for notoriety because I am some sort of charlatan.
I think that if I was a big phony, I would not have had a successful career in the Army, earned several master’s degrees, have a book published all over the world, be in the film school of one of America’s most respected filmmakers, written a bill to create Arizona’s 16th county, or helped our legislators and the Desert Mountain Energy Corporation facilitate the end of our current worldwide helium shortage.
I don’t hold it against anyone for thinking the way they do. It’s just the way it is that the biggest criticisms of my activist work as well as my art have always come from jealous people or those whose minds are too dull to grasp its significance or meaning. It is not my fault that what I do is beyond some people’s comprehension. We simply do not live in the same worlds.
That being said, I will not stop working on behalf of the people of the White Mountains to see Sitgreaves County through to its completion. Those of you who agree? Let’s continue to make history together. #WeAreSitgreaves
-Jesse Michael-Geronimo Valencia (yes, my real name)