Letters to the Editor

I have been reading the comments about Mike Farrar and, initially, I was not going to add to the fray. But, at the post office, I saw Mike Farrar’s poster for mayor with a key word being “unity”.

This is sad, very sad, since I cannot think of any current member of the Town Council who has created more division than he has promoted unity.

Over the most-recent 15 years of living in town, the Sonoran News hasn’t been the best friend of Carefree.  It is a little better now than 10 years ago.  But it was the place that Carefree dissidents took their messages when they were unable to convince others of their ideas.  We all remember Bob Coady and his rants, Doug Stavoe used it for his losing recall campaign against Mayor David Schwan, Peter Koteas wrote-in even after leaving town.  The late Jim Van Allen was constantly featured on the Letters to the Editor page. Mike Farrar has joined them.

I was at the Town Council meeting when Mike Farrar stepped down from the dais to address his colleagues about their alleged unwillingness to support the Memorial Day event by failing to contribute $1,000 for wreaths.  I heard him state that this event was going to cost the town “zero dollars” compared to the expenses for the Veterans Day event.  I later learned that one of my subdivision neighbors (Mr. Tom Fiedler) offered to underwrite the cost of the wreaths.  (On a personal note, I believe that the laying of wreaths is appropriate for a memorial such as the Tomb of the Unknowns, or other similar monuments.  I also like to see flags near the headstones at the National Memorial Cemeteries.  I can understand where Les Peterson is coming from whether wreaths on a commercial stage is appropriate.  Maybe, one day, the Town will have a monument to those that made the supreme sacrifice in the Carefree/Cave Creek Community cemetery.)

Mike and I were both elected to the Town Council in 2011.  The only reason that I ran for office was to hopefully get elected to replace some of the then-current council members who seemed bent on divisiveness and criticism.  I was elected and believe that the Town Council became a better servant of the people it represented.  Mike and I have never been the closest of friends, but, for the most part, we have been civil.  I say, “for the most part” because I cannot forget the way he conducted himself at a budget meeting.  That had to be either for 2011 or 2012.  I cannot recall all the circumstances that led up to the comment, but he stated that Glenn Miller was “nothing more than a firefighter”.  I didn’t like it then, and I still don’t like it today.  (Perhaps it was because I was a volunteer firefighter in 1967 and have first-hand knowledge of what first responders go through.)  At that time, as I saw things, Glenn was undoubtedly the hardest working council member, he attended every event, I don’t think he missed a council meeting, worked on signage, worked his tail off for the Christmas Festival, and was always available.

During budget workshops and similar meetings, Mike would often display his self-anointed attitude of superiority.  I tired of hearing of his double MBAs from Thunderbird and Helsinki and his greater knowledge of economic development, while name-dropping.

His recent letter to the Sonoran News, along with his remarks to the Town Council, reminds me of the behavior of a petulant child, one who pouts, whines, and cries if he doesn’t get his way.

Over my many years of business, I have been called out for doing, or saying, the wrong thing, or doing and saying the right thing in the wrong way.  Don Sorchych of the Sonoran News alleged that I was a member of the Carefree “Old Boys Club”.  I took it as praise considering that I had only been in town for 5 years!  He called me the “Sarcastic Brit” and the “Pompous ass with the accent” (among other names).  Yes, I can be sarcastic, maybe facetious; I blame that on my heritage from the UK and I do my best to curb it, sometimes failing.

During my one two-year term, I was always promoting the idea of a “fire service fee” to cover the shortfall between the 1% sales tax and the cost of the Rural Metro contract.  During the 2011-2013 period, the Town was taking funds from operations to offset the annual $200,000 – $400,000 shortfall.  The Town’s contract has since been amended and the shortfall has been reduced, but there is still a shortfall.  I continue to believe that all property owners (both commercial and residential) have received huge financial benefits from the Fire Service contract and that the Town could better use its funds for many other projects instead of making up shortfalls.  I did not disparage my colleagues for their positions, nor did I write letters to the Sonoran News.

While I did not attend the Budget Workshop of April 24, 2018, I have watched the video on Carefree Truth website.  A great deal of time was spent discussing ‘cost recovery’; and there were many unpleasant exchanges between Mike Farrar and his colleagues.  At that meeting, I was shocked to hear his criticism of his fellow council members  that they were not supporting the Memorial Day event since it was “a Mike Farrar event”.  Mike Farrar may not recall the first two Veterans Day events, which were chaired by former Council Member Sue Vanik, he may not recall the next two Veterans Day events, which I chaired.  He may recall the more recent events chaired by Council Member and now Vice-Mayor John Crane.  In all those years, not once did I ever hear the events as belonging to a Council Member.

Mike Farrar’s letter writing may not be the smartest move for someone running for Mayor of Carefree.  It puts him in the same group of chronic complainers, Bob Coady, Doug Stavoe, Peter Koteas, Jim Van Allen, John Traynor, and others.  I do not like it and I do not think that the majority of Carefree voters like it either.

His petulance borders on bitterness when he stated that both the Mayor and the Town Administrator had “slighted” him over his inability to obtain their support for his ideas.  While he may be pointing a finger of blame toward others, he is also pointing three fingers at himself.

In a nutshell, I do not like adversarial situations and the pettiness that accompanies them.  As Dr. Krahe stated several times during the budget workshop, and I paraphrase, ‘let us move on with the business of why were are here’.  Dissenting voices need to be heard, but not with spite, anger, divisiveness, and/or maliciousness.  I cannot foretell the results of the Mayoral election results but Mike Farrar’s actions do not reflect “unity”.  I, for one, will be voting for Les Peterson.

Arthur Gimson