In the June 20 issue of Sonoran News, the article titled “ACCUSATIONS BRING MORE HEAT” incorrectly identified the subject of a comment by Glenn Miller. We originally quoted “Adding he was ashamed of them and also a little ashamed of Councilman Mike Farrar.” Miller actually said, “And Mike, I’m a little ashamed of you too.” Miller was addressing those comments to Town Attorney Michael Wright.
At the June 5 meeting Mayor Les Peterson waived the normal three minute time limit for the call to public. He said people had some issues they were very passionate about and needed more time to speak about. Vice Mayor John Crane went down to the podium wanting to clarify his challenge to the town of Carefree’s term limits ordinance. The ordinance was found to be in violation of state law. Towns such as Carefree cannot impose term limits without the express authority of the State Legislature, even though the limits were passed by initiative in 2011. Crane spoke with a League of Cities attorney as well as another Municipal attorney, both agreed that the ordinance was unlawful. Crane was the first Council member to serve three terms with a desire to continue being a member of the Council. Therefore he would have standing in the court as he was affected by the initiative. Crane said “I took an oath of office,that means something. All Carefree Council members swear to support, and I quote, ‘the constitution in the laws of the State of Arizona’. To knowingly continue to stand by while the town enforces an unlawful ordinance would be in violation of this oath. I believe in the oath and what it means.”
Crane likened the situation to when Mayor Schwann stepped down as Mayor and the council was split three to three on Schwan’s successor. They went to outside legal sources to gain understanding of the ordinance and establish a precedent moving forward to make sure the town operated within the rules of government. He said term limits are no different. The issue is not term limits, it’s Carefree government operating within the rules.
Crane stated that at his own this expense he hired an attorney to review the legality of the term limit Town ordinance, saying that the town voters “have the right to vote out incumbents every 2 years, the right to recall, the right to lobby the State Legislature to change the law and the right to lobby the Town Council become a charter city which can impose term limits legally.” He said it’s not about term limits, it’s about the rule of law.
Crane then turned his attention to the subject of Councilman Mike Farrar who is currently challenging Mayor Les Peterson for the mayor’s seat. Farrar also would have been turned out under the term limits proposition. However, Farrar chose to run for mayor. Crane said for that for the most part it have been a respectful and good working relationship between them. But recent events have left Crane deeply disappointed. He said Farrar recently made up numerous stories to further his position at the expense of Crane and others. “I had first made the mistake of ignoring these lies. I can no longer do that. I very much dislike doing what I must do. If I do not say it he will continue to destroy my 62-year reputation, nearly half of which has been in Carefree, built on Integrity and solid work.”
On June 2nd Farrar filed a motion with the court that Crane says was packed with fabrication and lies. Among the allegations in Farrar’s filing it alleges that mayor Les Peterson provided the funds to Crane to hire an attorney to overturn the term limits, and on Facebook Farrar claimed that the Vice Mayor was the source of the information. Crane stated that Councilman Farrar is a liar. In Farrar’s motion it says ‘under penalty of perjury’ that this and another statements in the motion are true. “He has perjured himself.” Crane stated.
On the matter of legal costs the judge did rule that the town should pay Crane’s attorney fees. Crane says that he will use any political contributions he receives to pay the cost down to zero and not burden the town.
Crane continued attacking Farrar saying that Farrar had written an email to Councilman Mike Krahe and copied the entire city council, which is a violation of the open meeting law. In that email, Farrar said the Mayor told him in front of Vice Mayor Crane that he would block Farrar at every turn, on any task he undertook for the betterment of the community. Crane said that was a total fabrication. One of the attendees at the Council meeting, Glenn Miller, spoke up accusing Vice Mayor Crane of campaigning. The vice mayor responded he’s clearing his name. Miller replied. “Clearing your name, my ass,” calling Crane’s use of the Call to the Public a shame. Mayor Peterson threatened Mr. Miller with removal should he have another outburst.
Crane said that Farrar wants to be mayor so much that he can’t tell fact from fiction. Crane said, “I will place my reputation, integrity, hard work, and my character against that of Mr. Farrar anytime.” Addressing Farrar Crane went on, “Councilman, you are working to destroy me, you are dividing the town with lies and fabrications, and I won’t stand for it.”
Mayor Peterson then came down to the podium to speak as a citizen in the Call to the Public. The Mayor handed out copies of an affidavit he submitted to the court. Peterson said that his affadavit disputes all the references within Farrar’s Motion to Reconsider the term limits case that Farrar filed in court.
Mayor Petersen described Farrar as the odd man out on the council saying that while other council members work together Farrar sat on the sidelines. The mayor said Farrar can only deliver when he works alone. He said Farrar is posturing himself as a model council member, taking the time to talk to Carefree residents and businesses, and volunteering. But why after 6 and ¾ years? On May 1st he volunteered to become a driver for the Caring Corps and to become involved in all Town activities. Peterson said this flurry of activity is nothing more than political posturing, further adding that Farrar is trying to compensate for accomplishing virtually nothing during his years in office and attempting to create a rationale for him to become the elected mayor so he can use that as a stepping stone to his next political career.
The Mayor also stated that Farrar brought it in East Coast political consultant who brings the working knowledge of a negative approach to politics that’s played in Washington and in federal politics which attacks and undermines their opponents. He said that if Farrar doesn’t have any bad thing to say about someone or something, “he makes up a lie”. Peterson added, “He’s proven himself time and time again to be a compulsive and habitual liar.”
Town attorney Michael Wright then spoke from the podium and turning to address those attending the meeting as well. Wright said, “As the attorney for the town of Carefree I’m compelled to address you tonight to describe and explain in detail what occurred and why, relative term limits. But more importantly I must inform you of the illegal action and perjury of Michael Farrar.” Attorney Wright said Carefree is a non charter form of government. That’s why it’s a town and not a city. A non charter form of government has very limited municipal powers. Due to a voter initiative a special election was held in 2011 on term limits. It was passed and became part of the town code. Nothing could be done to challenge that because no one was in standing of the requirement of being turned out. But now two councilmen would have been termed out, both Crane and Farrar. Crane decided to challenge the term limit while Ferrari decided to run for mayor.
Wright addressed the issues that the Complaint documents were not given to council members even though they were named on the Complaint. Crane sued the town the town, and named every Council member in their official capacity, not as individuals or personally.
The hearing was given a fast track as it did involve time limits set by the election cycle. Ballots had to be submitted by a certain time. Cranes attorney filed a brief and Wright prepared a defense to attempt to defend Carefree’s term limits. But per state law with Carefree being a non charter town, it cannot impose term limits.
Wight said, “That apparently didn’t sit well with Mr. Farrar.” Saying Farrar “refused to recognize the distinction between official capacity and personal”. This led to Farrar filing a motion to reconsider the Court’s ruling. Wright says this is an illegal document. He didn’t have the right to file the document. As Farrar was not personally part of the lawsuit, Wright said he could have filed a motion to intervene as a party to assert whatever he wanted to assert. The only party to the litigation that could file a motion to reconsider is the Town of Carefree. Attorney Wright Said Mr. Farrar did not reach out to consult with him in any of this. Thus, Wright was not aware that Farrar was going to file that Pleading. Also Wright said it was not done just as a request for the judge to reconsider the ruling, “He (Farrar) filed a political document under the guise of Motion to Reconsider.” Wright continued. “The pleading that he filed was illegal, it was frivolous, and it’s tantamount to what we term vexatious litigation with an ulterior motive, namely to enhance his political stature and demean and smear the Mayor and others in his run for Mayor.”
Wright says that Farrar used multiple lies and libelous statements against the Mayor, John Crane, Wright and Wrights law firm. He explained the difference between libel, which is a written statement that’s not true, and slander, which is an oral statement that’s not true. Wright said, “Perjury arises when you have filed a written statement, under oath, with the court, saying that this is filed under penalty of perjury. Farrar did that. Unbelievable!” Wright says there are several paragraphs in the Motion to Reconsider that are blatantly false including Farrar’s accusations that the Mayor offered to fund Crane’s legal costs. Both Crane and Petersen have filed affidavits denying those allegations. Farrar also alleges in the document that Town attorney Wright, Mayor Petersen, and Crane agreed prior to the time of the original Complaint that the Town of Carefree represented by Mr. Wright would not materially object to the plaintiff’s Complaint.
Wright spoke to Farrar saying, “Elections have consequences and we’ve heard this over and over again. But I will also submit the political campaigning with actual malice towards your opponent and others has severe consequences.” The attorney claimed that Farrar had libeled him, his law firm, the Mayor, and Vice Mayor Crane and that as Town attorney for Carefree he was requesting the Maricopa County Attorney General’s office investigate these statements for possible charges of perjury submitted in a public document.
Farrar then took his opportunity in the Call to the Public to address the statements that have been made toward him. He said he could not believe what he had just heard saying he was stunned and amazed he was being called a liar. “As God is my witness everything I’ve said is the exact truth.” Adding that term limits are for “shenanigans like this.”
Farrar said he asked Crane how would he pay for the term limit case. Farrar said, “John Crane looked me right in the eye, John, I can’t wait to see you under oath deny it.” “Les Peterson is going to fund me the money through his campaign account apparently, or somehow and then when I win, the court will require the town to repay me and I will repay Les Peterson.” “Swear to God, that is what John Crane told me.” “It sickened me.”
Farrar says his decision to run for mayor began after a council meeting when he was getting blistered because he was trying to put together a Memorial Day and get five synthetic wreaths that would last for 10 years and cost the town $1,000. Farrar said Vice Mayor Crane told him, “Mike they’re teaching you a lesson because you’re not a supposed marketing guru that Les Petersen and Councilwoman Cheryl Kroyer are. Stay out of our way. This is our world.” He said prior to that council meeting he asked the Mayor if he was going to get wreaths for the Memorial Day event and was told no. Farrar said he told the Mayor, “Les, I feel like you’re blocking me at every turn.” He said the mayor looked at him and said, “Mike, you’re right, I am.”
Farrar said the three previous speakers, Crane, Petersen, and Wright we’re practicing dirty politics. “That’s what this is.” He said, “Folks, everything in my document, I’m Pro per, I don’t have attorney, but it’s true.” Farrar claimed that when he spoke to Town attorney Mike Farrar about the injunction on term limits Wright told him, “We’re going to keep this quiet.” “We’ve instructed Kandace not to release the documents, especially to people like John Traynor.” Farrar continued, “Why would I make that up?”
Farrar says that after the Italian Festival, which was held on private property for 2 days and raised $1,500 for charity, at the next council meeting, he got a bill saying they used paper towels in the bathrooms even though the bathrooms use air hand dryers. He said this was part of a, “consistent resistance to fulfilling his oath and duty as a representative of the people.”
Addressing the audience Farrar said, “I filed that motion to reconsider because the government is you. It’s not them.” (indicating the Council) He also said that Proposition 105, the Voter Protection Act, says the citizens initiatives that are voted on cannot be gotten rid of by the governor or the legislature. He also said, “Term limits are not illegal, they’re unenforceable. The State didn’t confer that authority to a Town like ours. We made it a law in 2011. I can respect the voter’s wishes and not run for another term. It’s now obvious why term limits are so important.” Farrar said he stands by every statement he’s made.
Farrar said he is supported by the business community in Carefree. He added businesses feel disenfranchised, disconnected and unheard in Town Hall. Farrar continued, “Carefree does not impose a property tax so the revenue stream is determined by sales tax.” “If Carefree can’t sustain existing business and attract new businesses, there is going to be a property tax.” Pointing at the council Farrar said, “And I am fearful that they are the ones that are going to be championing that.”
Next in the Call to the Public, Glenn Miller, who had previously served on the council for 10 years, addressed the council saying he had never seen anything like this. He said the Town Council meeting had been turned into political campaigning. He was against the term limits in 2011 because he was concerned there wouldn’t be enough people in the town to volunteer for no pay. Miller said after the 2016 presidential election seeing how both sides acted, he now thinks term limit should apply everywhere. In the case of Carefree, because the majority voted for term limits, it’s the law. And he always obey the law. Miller also accuse Mayor Peterson and Vice Mayor Crane of wanting to keep it quiet until after the election. Adding he was ashamed of them and also a little ashamed of Town Attorney Michael Wright.
Vince D’Aliesio, who is the sole candidate for the vacant Town Council seat, said he was speaking as a citizen not to campaign. He said he supports an individual’s right to run as many times they want to run. It should be the will of the voters to decide if they want that person in office or not. Saying “It’s not a dictatorship.” If you don’t want someone who don’t vote for them. D’Aliesio also complimented the Town’s staff that they’re good people who do a good job, noting that Carefree operates with the condensed staff compared to other similar-sized towns.
He compared the term limits issue to the Martin Luther King Day situation in the 90s where it was voted down by the will of the people. It then came back and was passed by the will of the people. He was concerned about the mudslinging he had just seen, saying his values are old school Golden Rule, handshake type of person. He said candidates must run on issues
Lynn Hitchon said she completely agreed with Mr D’Aliesio. Hutchins also spoke of some comments that had appeared in a newsletter written by John Traynor that Mr. Farrar had used when speaking about her. Hitchon said that what she puts on her website and emails comes directly from videos that her husband records of the meetings. Hitchon said, “I am completely and utterly disgusted with the lies and dirty politicking. That is not Carefree.”
In Town business, The Council approved updates to the zoning ordinances regarding small wireless facilities. Also approved was an Intergovernmental agreement between the Town and the Maricopa County Department of Emergency Management. The agreement provides for additional services in large scale emergency situations.