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Wise decision

Jacky Davis | Cave Creek
On August 4, the Cave Creek Town Council wisely decided to extend Usama Abujbarah’s contract as town manager for another two years. Some people occasionally complain that Usama exerts too much autonomy, that he sometimes makes decisions without consulting his council, but the manager’s position in Cave Creek demands a strong, decisive presence. In the 10 years before Usama arrived, Cave Creek had seen a succession of managers, and the high turnover meant that most of the time was spent just trying to catch up. Political dissension overruled all good intentions, progress toward stability and any kind of community vision seemed unattainable, and Cave Creek developed a reputation for being wild and ungovernable.

Usama has changed all that. There’s no question that over the past ten years he has absorbed the culture of Cave Creek. He clearly cares deeply about the community and is devoted to managing the town responsibly, but Usama’s imagination and vision are also serving us well. As many speakers pointed out at the August 4 meeting, among many other accomplishments he has assembled a talented staff, overseen the successful acquisition and upgrading of a very troubled water company, negotiated successfully with the State Land Department for an annexation that will add over 4000 acres of permanent open space to Cave Creek and kept us solvent.

Usama understands intuitively the importance of nurturing the town’s unique character, but he is also a major reason it seems to have found its footing. A strong town manager whose energies are directed toward developing a strong community is a good thing. Believe me, the council’s job is immeasurably easier and more rewarding, and the community benefits greatly.

Ed. Note: Jacky Davis served as a Cave Creek councilwoman from incorporation on 1986 until 1991, and served as mayor from 1987 until 1991.

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Best for Cave Creek

Thomas McGuire | Cave Creek Councilman
The 5-2 vote two weeks ago to renew the contract of our Town Manager, Usama Abujbarah, was an important affirmation of his value to Cave Creek.

I have been a strong supporter of Mr. Abujbarah. I do not consider him perfect. I generally voice my concerns one-on-one and he knows that I am resolute. But he also knows that my support has been steadfast.

On the tangible side, Cave Creek has operated a balanced budget with impressive cash reserves for the past eight years. This is very unlike the tenuous nature of town finances prior to Usama’s leadership. While we cannot limit growth (by denying property rights), we can plan for our future needs. Acquisition of the Cave Creek Water Company and the reconstruction of our wastewater treatment facilities are major and ongoing efforts.

The current negotiations to annex state land are going well. While we will probably have to pay for land designated “open space,” it appears that this will be at bargain basement prices compared with what we paid to preserve Spur Cross. In this effort, as in many others, Usama works very closely with the Mayor Francia.

Usama is a brilliant tactician. The quick purchase of the Desert Hills Water Company in order to weaken their hold on the Cave Creek Water Company was a severe blow to Global Water’s plans to dominate water supply in this part of the valley. Even our lawyers were surprised by how deftly this was accomplished. Furthermore, the problems that came to us with acquisition of the Cave Creek Water Company required quick and decisive action. Although controversial, his actions were ethical and legal. Along with his growing staff, Usama was well up to the task.

Usama and his family are entrenched in Cave Creek. Regardless of how you feel about his performance, he is no carpetbagger. He justly takes pride in his home community. Even his most controversial actions must be viewed with one underlying question in mind, “Is this the best decision for Cave Creek?” On that basis, his performance is commendable.

We should also note that the renewal of Usama’s contract included no increase in his salary. In fact, this was his request. While I am concerned that his remuneration is not up to his performance, this Town Manager is very much in tune with what is best for Cave Creek.

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Just my view

Name withheld by request
Grace never fails to stick to her nasty behavior. At the Town Council meeting on Monday, Aug. 4, she did it again. She does not deal with her issues face to face with the town manager or the town staff. She waits to attack in a meeting when those on the receiving end can do nothing but sit there in silence.

She complains about not receiving information. But she refuses to have an e-mail. So information notices are put in her box. She seldom bothers to check her box until just before a meeting. Her claim of not getting information doesn’t connect with her obvious detailed reading of whatever issue she is attacking.

When the town took steps to cover her letter to the council and avoid the possibility of an open meetings violation, she was only focused on her own ego. Instead of understanding that the vote was to protect any action the town voted on that night, she was taking it as a personal insult. How many times has she complained about violation of open meetings? Now the shoe was on the other foot.

She seems to have lost touch with what is important to the town and only considers her own self-interests.

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Carefree Recycling Pet Food Drive

Becky Didier and all the volunteers at Foothills Animal Rescue
I'd like to thank the kind folks in Carefree, Cave Creek, and Scottsdale for the fantastic turnout at last Saturday's pet food drive. We got a ton of food, literally. So many generous and caring people turned out with multiple bags of dog and cat kibble, canned food, toys, and cash donations for Foothills Animal Rescue.

Unfortunately, we're feeding a lot of animals between our own foster dogs and cats and the pets of people in our communities who need a helping hand to get them through a rough time. Businesses like Wal-Mart and Nestle Purina that usually supply us with their torn bags of food and outright donations seem to have less and less to donate right now and, as a result, we have less food to share. This food drive was just the shot in the arm we needed.

I've privately thanked Bob and Susan Coady for all their hard work in making this food drive a reality, but I would like to express our thanks in a public forum. While Bob was collecting the food, Susan was toting it over to the FAR shop all morning Saturday. Much perspiration was shed, but the end result was a huge amount of food that we will be distributing this weekend. Many furry bellies will be filled because they cared so much.

I'm truly proud that FAR has the support of such a caring community. Thank you so much.

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Communities come through again

Carefree Councilman Bob Coady

I was really impressed with the turnout for our pet food drive at Carefree Recycling. Both Carefree and Cave Creek, as well as surrounding communities, showed up in force to contribute to animals in need. They opened both their hearts and their wallets for this event and I am deeply appreciative. I thank you very much.

In addition to those that participated, I have to thank Sonoran News for their continuous support for Carefree Recycling, and Curtis Riggs for his great article. I have tried to make Carefree Recycling a truly joint community project and Sonoran News has helped to make that possible.

I would be negligent if I did not mention our volunteers, who worked hard to not only handle our monthly recycling but the pet food donations as well. The Bad Donkey not only donated pizzas to our workers, but donated food and pet toys as well.

In all, we collected almost 2,000 pounds of food. So, thank you all, and let’s do it again next month, Sept. 20.

Let’s keep these little bellies full!

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Geoff’s lighting illumination

John Traynor | Carefree
It seems that Carefree residents are content to allow misguided individuals, namely the majority of the Town Council, to make lousy financial decisions. Cleary many of those individuals managed to get elected, not because of competence or what they know, but who they know. That in itself is sad. Some residents are wise enough to take a stand, as Geoff did, only to find their concerns routinely ignored by the council. What ever happened to the courtesy of a reply? (An intimidating call or visit by David Schwan does not qualify.)

The most recent example of poor judgment in governance is the absurd rush to light up the Town center. It has been abundantly clear that residents are not in favor of proliferating light poles. This is especially true for theme poles which have no rational place in the Sonoran Desert. Even former mayor, Ed Morgan, was against light poles. The poles are unnecessary in the planned locations (the so-called safety issues), and they will only draw flies downtown. Some form of lighting may be needed in darker sections of Town, but fancy Gas Lights‚ are not.

Geoff (Orton) made some very strong points. Over $5 million was spent on Town Center renovations to help draw customers into Carefree. Part of that $5M paid for lights, which we are now told are ineffective and unsafe – why then were they installed? Currently the council is speeding down a fast track to spend even more on fake Gas Lights and Sundial signs; what will we hear next? Lights draw flies, not customers, and bad businesses still look bad in better lighting.

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Open letter to Geoff Orton

Judy & Jerry Wetta | Carefree

Sorry to hear you have been ill, hope this finds you feeling better.

We just read your letter in Sonoran News and want you to know how refreshing it is to read an intelligent response to a silly idea. First of all we are opposed to any pole lights, sidewalk lighting should solve the problem. Williamsburg gas lights in a southwest town are totally inappropriate for a southwest town.

You have expressed our feelings exactly. We sent the council a similar letter prior to the last meeting, about the lights and unnecessary spending in the current economic environment. As usual it fell on deaf ears as was evident by the vote. We need to curtail unnecessary spending and then we don't need to have to worry about tourist dollars to fund these programs.

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Dears Sonoran News

JJ MIller | via e-mail
Your last issue has made me lose all faith in Cave Creek being an accepting communitee. Your poll on Barack Obama made me sick. How stupid can a whole news paper staff be? none of the choices make any since. Heres a poll for ya. "What is Sonoran News?" A. A group of retarted monkeys writing about random shit. B. A bunch of racist hicks living back in Spur Cross Rd. where they still haven't heard of racial equality. C. Extremist who write the paper in between there KKK meetings.

I like how all of you make a HUGE deal about illegal workers. Obviously no one cares cause there picking them up anyways. I bet after you take those pictures you pick one up to do work for you. There not doing anything, just leave them alone.

Well I'd just like to say I lost all hope for this town. Non-Commercial development is SMART! Not! Every buissness that open ups here goes out of buissness within a years period. Unless the owner is loaded with cash and profit doesnt matter anymore. Oh I also enjoy how you pay attention to what is ACTUALLY happening. (DELETED) is in the shitters. You write an article like there a good resturant. I mean not paying your employees is a good carrer move.

Thats all I wanted to share. Your 99% 50 year and older writing staff probably just shat there self but thats okay because thats what usually happens to the elderly. Now get ready to write next weeks paper. Is one of the articles gonna be how (DELETED) is rolling in the cash?! Well I am done now. Have fun at the moonshine exchange. Cave Creek is populated by about 4,883 racist rednecks who want nothing to improve in a communitee and just want us to stay in the "Good ol' days" were buissness makes an houlry profit of 35 cents.

Ed. Note: Normally we edit for grammer and spelling

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Ignore the COPP

Steve Holder | Scottsdale
The COPP, Coalition of Pinnacle Peak, wants to dictate to you who you should vote for in this election. This is because you, "ordinary citizens" as Bob Vario wishes to call you, are too stupid to decide for yourself. It is important to understand the COPP agenda has nothing to do with the overall good of the City of Scottsdale. Only to find candidates that are willing to support their positions in protecting their "rural" way of life in North Scottsdale. Scottsdale has a 200,000 plus in population, and is tied to the greater metropolitan Phoenix area, 6 million strong and the 5th largest city in the USA, there is nothing rural about it.

Please disregard any recommendations made by this handful of senior citizens (COPP) that would very much wish to turn North Scottsdale into a Sun City East. If you would like to see a Mayor and Scottsdale City Council that has Councilmen and Councilwomen on it that will represent the views of the better good for ALL of the city, disregard anything the COPP has to say. Let the other 99.99 percent of Scottsdale decide who gets in, not the COPP.

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Double standard

Randy Edwards | Cave Creek
If race baiters like Mr. Jackson and Mr. Sharpton want to eradicate the “N-word” (although they seem to reserve the right to use it themselves) from the American lexicon; they need only follow the lead of Ward Connerly. But, they seem only to notice skin color in favor of character content.

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Enforce the Immigration Laws

David J. Kolander | Scottsdale
Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano states in the Arizona Republic: "Further, there is no sane way to deport the 12 million people who are already here." Almost all national politicians have constantly made the same claim. Have you seen the latest news, Governor?

Last week, the "Republic" published an article that said roughly 11 percent of illegal aliens have left the U. S. in the last year. The efforts of independent groups like the Minutemen, some states that have started to enforce the laws, and a few enforcement professionals with gumption (a la Sheriff Joe), have helped reduce the number of illegals here by over 10 percent! This drop of 11 percent in less than one year seems to me a pretty "sane way" to handle deportations.

The local police also announced this week that in 2008, Phoenix has seen the sharpest drop in crime rates in the past 10 years, down by 7 percent. What a remarkable coincidence! Please be sure to publish a copy of Mayor Gordon's "thank you" letter to Sheriff Arpaio.

Our hypothesis: for every illegal arrested and deported; two, or three, or four, or more, others will decide it is time to head for their home country. Thus, it won't be necessary to deport all of the remaining millions to correct the situation. Just think what could happen if the feds suddenly became serious about addressing the problem. It would no longer be a problem.

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