A new tour through Town Hall, more secrets

Transparency, you say? Do you want to look at an exemplary, open, and democratic government? How about Carefree excellence. Carefree has $10 million in the bank, they’re Town Marshall makes $80,000 per year versus $175,000 here in Cave Creek. Carefree Town Marshall has 1 official car, not four; they have no real estate tax, their budget is balanced with zero debt. And get this, at every council meeting, the complete check register/list of checks written and paid, is provided to the citizens of Carefree. Town of Cave Creek and those running for Council with platforms on transparency and financial stability need to STEP UP and mimic practices like the Town of Carefree and print the check register for inspection at every Council meeting. They should balance their budget, some are running on financial stability (yeah really). As Former Mayor Tom Augherton often quipped, “Politics is easy once you learn how to fake sincerity.” Lets see which candidates want to be sincere and genuine. There are too many secrets they don’t want out there. But, we live in a Constitutional Republic where transparent transactions and expenditures in government should be a given, offered freely to residents and voters. This is not rocket science, CC is just in a terrible secret habit.

Don’t forget when you go to the voting booth, it was Ernie who shut down all business in Cave Creek early and worse his posting on FB proposing to install a secret Stasi type undercover surveillance force to”Uncover” any business people who might be acting as a speakeasy and serving a beer during his power trip shutdown. Would the nickname Stasi Ernie be pretty accurate?
Further, to get out of this election year perception, Ernie is doing a huge “payback” with your tax funds building a huge parking lot or structure. This would be ridiculous, since it is intended to ameliorate the massive traffic jams and parking issues during bike week, a 10 day chaotic festival. We are going to go to all that trouble for a 10 day festival, really? Surely there must be some more plans for additional festivals, chaotic bike weeks or something to justify $2 to $5 million for a parking lot. Rest assured, Planner Luke would make sure it’s paved with hot black asphalt because he does not believe in the western look. He likes the urban downtown Scottsdale look as does P&Z Chairman Voris. But all of this is to smooth over ruffled feathers by the bars being ticked off at Ernie for closing them down and threatening surveillance.

Harmony Hollow is not for preservation. That’s just the cover story! I recently obtained a copy of the Town Council minutes from February 2014 where the county proposed to install a 25,000 sq. ft. Visitor Center at Spur
Cross Ranch. The proposal ties back to an earlier Council meeting in 2007for a 25,000 sq. ft. Visitor Center, with a 300 seat amphitheater on top of it. Quite a massive complex. But in 2014, to Vince Francia’s credit, he learned that the County had already voted and approved this massive structure before the Town Council’s meeting had even been held!
Vince being appropriately annoyed that the County had back-doored the Town of Cave Creek, as they tried to do in the Spur Cross Preservation Days, offered a motion to table the entire matter. The only person who voted “no” to the resolution to table the matter, was of course Councilman McGuire who loves the idea of a Phoenix Convention Center size Visitor Center at Spur Cross Ranch. Tom lives in a bubble, but he certainly is very transparent that he wants his name in bronze on the front wall by the entryway of the new Visitors Center that I believe will never be built.

Fast forward to September 2019. You need to see what the real agenda is. It’s all about selling art! It’s not about preservation whatsoever of Harmony Hollow. Last fall the Harmony Hollow website showed renderings and published them with massive amounts of white art and craft tents sprawled all over Harmony Hollow. Then someone told Paxton to wise up and shut up. But you need understand that one of the largest groups supporting the preservation of Harmony Hollow is, well, the Sonoran Arts League. What a coincidence that is! Now I’m a huge supporter of the arts. Artists are and were incredibly important to many things specially in the Preservation of Spur Cross Ranch.
This whole false flag effort to so call “Preserve Harmony Hollow” is nothing other than that, as the farmers in the Midwest would say, a bunch of malarkey! This is until they get to the next part. After buying the land, the town would simply grant itself a permit, with no qualifications, permitting, due diligence – nothing – the only thing that might be a problem for them is a United States Army Corps of Engineers 404 permit. BTW, has Diefenderfer (Dief) disclosed that he also serves as President of the Sonoran Arts League (SAL)? Maybe that is part of his reason for always supporting the preservation BS of Harmony Hollow! Shall we say”conflict of interest.”
Deif should absolutely disclose this at a public council meeting. He should also recuse himself from any further votes pertaining to Harmony Hollow. The whole thing is planned out;

McGuire, Dief, Paxton, Royer playing preservation seems to be a disguise for building. To prove it, we will be posting the minutes from the 2007/2014 council meetings. There have been recent indications from high-level county officials that they may no longer have the palate or the budget for that large of a structure, but time will tell.

How WILL all the residents north on Spur Cross Rd. corridor be liking life with a massive Visitor Center and up to 2,000 EXTRA car trips per week. This is not conjecture. The same people, County, McGuire now Royer, Dief, and SAL are pushing.
Cave Creek Town Hall closed. On April 20, 2020, the Town Manager offered a feigned denial that Cave Creek Town Hall was closed as I reported on April 15. That’s a bunch of bunk. The doors were locked and no one was answering the phone and/or returning calls for virtually 27 days. The sign attached to the front door of Cave Creek Town Hall “Till further notice the Town of Cave Creek is closed.” What is someone to take from that? They’re open? Carrie was ordered to cover everybody’s you know what by offering a denial. The Town was closed contrary to the Governor’s orders that all towns and cities remain open as an essential service. That’s the fact.
The Town Website still says they are closed. Yes, from 3/24 to 4/20 the Town did answer calls from the GM and reporter of Sonoran News, but of course they would, it’s the “local newspaper,” but many residents received no call back.
Councilman Dief once again turned in his election packet with insufficient numbers of qualified signatures. It is amazing. Dief seems popular in town but can’t accumulate 98 signatures out of a town of 5,800 people. One or two other council members could benefit significantly from donations from the SAL or prominent artists and they too could recuse themselves and refuse to vote on the Harmony Hollow issues. That’s the way clean government is done.

Regarding Cave Creek Town Management: Remember, the town staff is proposing a $35 million budget for fiscal 2021, a 120% increase over 2016. That’s $6600.00 for every man, woman and child in Cave Creek. What do they care? They are all getting massive paychecks for a four day work week! This is a $35 million budget for a town that doesn’t even operate a fire department or police force. That is usually where the heavy money comes in for towns and cities. This is $35 million of “play money” for the town council members to act like big shots when they are spending your money on pet projects.

If you add Town Manager’s salary of $220,000 to the town’s legal fees of $960,000, it is costing the town of Cave Creek $1,180,000 for management. This town is a co-regents/hunt-a style shared government management. Which I believe would be new “news” to the residents of Cave Creek. Significantly, this is documented in the current Town Budget Proposal, where the management flow chart shows Town Attorney and CC Town Manager equal in authority. What?
Go look for yourself.

So, between Town Attorney and Town Manager, they cost Cave Creek $1.18 million per year. There are 56 total employees!! Believe it or not, and again, no PD nor FD, so what are all those people doing? Well, one transparent way to determine this is to read each Department Head’s “Bi-weekly Progress Reports,” which may/should be required under their job description. Just like the check register in Carefree, being shown to voters, why aren’t all of the Department Head Progress Reports posted on the Town Website or offered for review at council meetings?

That’s called accountability and transparency – for those at CC Town Hall who have forgotten.
What was the abrupt Firing/Termination of Finance Director, Robert Weddigen about three weeks ago?
He’s been with the Town 8 years……..
Council voting records to come.

— Gary Schmitt
Founder / President
Friends of Spur Cross Coalition