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The “Dark Side” is real

Terry Smith | Former Cave Creek Councilman

Wake up Cave Creek! The “Dark Side” Don Sorchych and other have written about in editorials and letters to the editor in recent weeks is real. Some names have been mentioned: Kees Rietsma, Terry Zerkle, Grace Meeth and Reg Monachino.

Grace Meeth as a member of the town council has been in a position to cause the most damage. In her relentless efforts to drum up support from the community to oust Town Manager Usama Abujbarah, she along with other council members she has managed to sway, have voted consistently against our business community. These votes have sent a clear message: CAVE CREEK IS NOT A PLACE TO OPEN A BUSINESS.

Don Sorchych, in a January editorial, said the ‘Dark Side’ has a slate of two candidates running for Town Council, Grace Meeth and Reg Monachino. As a former council member I know we do not need any members of the “Dark Side” on our town council. Enough damage has already been done.

We have a unique Town Core with our restaurants, art galleries, Frontier Town, and other businesses offering a diverse shopping experience. Our business community needs council members that will support them.

All of us as Cave Creek residents need to support our Cave Creek businesses. Dine out at our restaurants. Shop Cave Creek. VOTE March 10!

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Why Cave Creek Council needs Jim Bruce and Steve LaMar

Carole Perry | Cave Creek

Most of my local friends consider me a newcomer, only having been here the past 17 years. It has, however, been long enough to observe the “good,” the “bad” and the … well, let’s say the “really weird” pass through the council chambers of Cave Creek. We have been incredibly fortunate to have had the dedicated efforts of many people like Jackie Davis and Gilbert Lopez, and incredibly lucky to have survived the terms of several others. If you have been here long enough to remember some of our prior council members, as well as even a few of the associated stories, then you know how fortunate we are today to have the cadre of talent like our mayor Vincent Francia, Town Manager Usama Abujbarah, Ian Cordwell, and many others you read about frequently, working so hard on our behalf.

Two names you may not be familiar with are Jim Bruce and Steve LaMar; probably because they work very hard in a variety of less visible roles to ensure the well being of our town and its citizenry. While attending Planning and Zoning meetings is not on the list of “things I can’t wait to do,” I have had several occasions to attend these meetings, observing both Jim and Steve’s thoughtful consideration and decision-making process on P&Z issues critical to our ongoing development as a town with a vision of open space and specific cultural character. I’ve also had the opportunity to serve with Jim on the Fire Options Advisory Committee, where his leadership as Committee Chair was clear, solid and highly intelligent.

For the record, Jim Bruce is a close personal friend while I’ve never seen Steve LaMar outside of the P&Z meetings. Yet Steve’s supporters speak as strongly in favor of his leadership as I am willing to do on Jim’s behalf, and using the same descriptors. Jim Bruce operates from a level of integrity I was beginning to think had gone the way of the dinosaur. I’ve had a hundred opportunities to observe this piece of his character, and he literally never waivers. He’s extremely smart, honest, thoughtful, and genuine in his desire to protect and preserve Cave Creek as the best possible town for all of us. If he’s confused, he admits it. If he’s angry, he admits it. There’s no high drama, no bluster and no posturing; most important, no hidden agenda in his desire to serve as a member of our town council.
He, as well as Steve, are extremely current on our town’s financial issues, planning needs, and can speak very fluently about the need for the annexation to go forward in support of our open space vision, along with the critical tools needed to encourage good commercial development, in the right zones, with the regulations that keep all areas of Cave Creek a diverse yet cohesive community.

There should be no question in anyone’s mind that the next two years will present our town council and staff with ample opportunities to “dance on the head of a pin,” in order to solve some of our economic and planning needs. They will need to bring wisdom and patience, tolerance and compromise, understanding and creativity to the table in ways we can’t even imagine. I am confident, as you should be, that these two gentlemen will serve us well.

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Jim Bruce

Sue & Dick Mueller | Cave Creek

Dick and I met Jim Bruce and his wife Judy shortly after they moved to town. It was hard not to get to know them, as they were (and still are) everywhere. There can only be a few organizations of which they are not either members or supporters. They impressed us with how immediately they became involved with the community. They joined Kiwanis and the Sonoran Arts League. Jim delivers meals for the Caring Corps, a program of the Foothills Community Foundation. He has served on the board of the Sonoran Arts League for several terms and has made a significant contribution to the board. Jim was also a member of the Black Mountain Conservancy, but their by-laws prohibit an elected official serving on the board. Jim resigned when he decided to run for Town Council. He has been a member of the Planning and Zoning Commission for several years and is currently the chair. Jim and Judy (the President of the Cave Creek Film & Arts Festival) support and contribute to the community in many, many ways. We think Jim would make an excellent councilman and heartily support him.

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HOA’s misuse of power

J.N. Zucker | Cave Creek

Anyone wanting to live in the cozy, western atmosphere of Cave Creek should look much further than The Villas of Black Mountain. During the many months I have lived here, I can honestly say I have attended most of the Homeowner Association  board meetings, and during the meetings this board has never ceased to amaze me with their total disregard of the CC&R’s and the by-laws. You know those pesky little laws/rules that HOA’s have to function within, and of course let’s not forget the State’s Open Meeting Laws that HOA board members are suppose to abide by as well. 

There have been meetings where not a single board member took minutes; and when minutes were taken, they often will leave out important issues like documents that were presented along with objections from home owners. One example that comes to mind was when a homeowner presented a picture of the antique Studebaker wagon that mysteriously disappeared from the Black Mountain Villas common area next to the pool, and reappeared in pieces adorning one of the main gates of the local landscape company.

This landscape company just happened to be the one hired by the board at that time. This wagon was removed from the complex with out an open meeting, without minutes, with out a quorum to vote, and without a trace. When the board members were questioned they first tried to cover up their misuse of power by denying any and all knowledge of any wagon; but when a person of the law paid a visit to the local landscape company, the wagon was quickly returned; unfortunately in a devalued condition by thousands of dollars. There was a wheels and other parts missing, and it was broken in pieces, definitely not looking anything like what sat proudly by the pool.   The wagon was a symbol of our history; it was a reminder of the people that crossed this great nation in hopes to build a better future. 

This is just one example of many, of the misuse of power within the governing board here at the Villas of Black Mountain. So if you are looking for that cozy, western atmosphere, you should look much further then here. 

Facts do not cease to exist just because they are ignored.

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What does “billon” mean?

Ralph G. Smith | Cave Creek

It is amazing how all our “self-made” representatives and senators in Washington, along with the news media, have become desensitized to the meaning of figures – the quantity of dollars they feel is necessary to “stimulate” the economy. It has gone from millions to billions, and our senators and representatives seem to be juggling them as if they were just stacks of silver dollars. They are not. I wonder how many people realize that the latest (I think) figure of $500 billion is really 500,000 millions of dollars??!

A very rich man I once knew, when asked how he got started making all that money told me he started out during the Great Depression, as a kid selling candy bars in the subway stations in New York. A lot of our “I want it all and I want it now” generation could probably benefit by a similar experience. Maybe they could talk it over (or text it) to their Ipod friends.

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Carefree Election Politics

Aaron Grenley | Carefree

As a 20+ year resident of Carefree I have watched my town grow threefold in population. As a result many people I know as well as myself believe that it is time for the mayor to be elected by the citizens directly not just by six other people on the town council. With the exception of Paradise Valley (which is leaning this way) Carefree is the only town in Arizona which denies its’ citizens the right to choose who leads the town.

Several articles have recently appeared supporting the status quo. Obviously, most of the incumbent council members and some town employees (who report to them and whose jobs depend on them) favor this position. There is no good reason why direct election should not be the rule and the voters will have a chance to decide on May 10th. It is interesting to note that over 400 citizens out of the 2911 registered voters signed the request to have the issue put on the ballot when only 225 were required.

An article recently appeared in the Arizona Republic stating that if the initiative were to be approved the town would have to hire a town manager. The town recently promoted Gary Neiss as town administrator. Gary has worked for the town in a number of important positions. If the town felt so confident in his abilities to not even look outside one should infer that he is qualified and competent (which he is).

The direct election of the mayor would not require a change in our form of government. Someone was quoted as saying that the council’s selection of the mayor would forestall an ill equipped person from being chosen by buying his election. In the most recent election several of the current council members spent serious money for their election. What is good for the goose should be good for the gander. No one question whether that made them any more or less qualified then anyone else.

Anyone serious about being Mayor should be happy to submit his candidacy to all of those he represents not just his six cronies.

Please support the initiative.

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Carefree Bedtime Story: Chapter 4

Ira Member | Carefree

Gather round littler Carefreers and I will continue my tale.

Ah yes, the terrifying Ogre Hayward came to The Dragon Morgan’s council knowing he was to rid them of “THE SPOILER,” Bob Coady.

The Ogre Hayward was big, he was mean, but, he was a coward. He was afraid of “THE SPOILER.” He pleaded with The Dragon Morgan to let him count the magic beans (whose numbers always remained the same). The Dragon roared “No, only Greg The Shekel counts those beans. Bring me Coady’s heart!”

Off slunk The Ogre Hayward ready to do battle with “THE SPOILER.” He huffed and he puffed, he sputtered and spit, but all for naught. “THE SPOILER” knew a coward when he saw one.

Soon, even the other creatures living near the swamp, knew that The Ogre Hayward wasn’t big and mean, only scared and pathetic. The Ogre Hayward returned to his swamp and continued to pick on those creatures that were smaller than him. Sad but true...once a bully, always a bully.

The Dragon Morgan had believed, along with his wicked pack; Greg The Shekel, The Malevolent Sorcerer Meyer, Forked Tongue Fulcher and of course The Toad Prince Schwan, that he would reign forever. But even the most foul dragon is not immortal. All those years of deceit and bile had at last caught up with him. The Dragon Morgan knew he would have to turn the Kingdom over to Forked Tongue Fulcher. 

Throughout the Kingdom, the people were beginning to rebel. The Malevolent Sorcerer Meyer’s magic organ no longer soothed them. Some of the Kiwanian Knights were becoming unhappy with all of the vipers in their Hall. Even the shows put on by the disgusting Huber and his court jesters, The Pip and The Ding Man, no longer amused. 

In a last act of evil, The Dragon Morgan recruited two others to replace the decidedly incompetent Ogre Hayward and to give moral support to his weak chinned heir. He looked under rocks, he looked in the shadows. “Finding true evil in Carefree is becoming harder and harder,” raged The Dragon Morgan. He plotted and schemed.

He convinced The Ugly Giant Miller to join the ranks. I will come said The Giant Miller, but only if I can hoot and toot my toy fire engine throughout the kingdom. Fine, said The Dragon Morgan, “toot away.”

Last, and decidedly least, he chose the town lamp lighter, Gemmill the Dim. And, before you sleep, I will tell you a secret; Gemmill The Dim truly was dim.

To be continued...

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Do your mamas know?

Name withheld by request | E-mail

Shame on you boys in white sheets. Do your mamas know how you spend your time – at secret meetings, planning secret agendas, afraid to show your faces? Your hate letter of January 20, 2009 was sent to me besmirchng Bob Coady’s name and character.

A lot of people like Bob Coady and voted for him to be on the town council. I was just wondering if any of you are on the town council since you forgot to sign your names to the letter? From the nasty things you wrote, it seems you don’t like Bob, but that’s between you, the Klan and Bob. Bob sure must have scared you something awful.

You extracted my name from the initiative I signed proposing the people’s choice of voting for Carefree’s mayor. Four hundred other eligible voters thought it was a good idea.

Ultimately, whether the Carefree mayor is elected or appointed, it should be the people’s choice. Now let’s get on with the business of getting along. We’ve just finished two years of name calling in the Presidential campaign and it’s safe to say we’re pretty much tired of all of this ugliness.

Transparency and Accountability are watchwords of the day. Now, go home and do your homework if you truly are CARING ABOUT CAREFREE.

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(Not) Caring About Carefree

Michael Pedreira | Carefree

I received you letter regarding my signature on the petition to have direct election of the mayor. Your request to have my name removed from the petition is denied.

The letter you sent is a great hatchet job and insult to not only on Bob Coady, but to the 400 people who signed the petition. Do you think the 400 + can not read? Are we all stupid?

Explain how the council has a higher standard and how they are smarter than everyone else in town. I think I know how to vote and what I am voting for, you indicate the council can do a better job – I don’t think so. If that was the case, why are 80% of the mayoral elections in the US direct vote? You also state if we have direct election, the position of Mayor would be downgraded and we would have to higher a competent manager. What purpose does the current the town manager and the current mayor serve? Are they just incompetent or just window dressing?

Your list of the “Bob Coady” record is not at all accurate. Go check your sources. Where is the listing of all his accomplishments? This list is not at all fair and balanced if you want to be fair.

One thing I have not understood is why is every vote 6 to 1? It is as if Mr. Coady never has or had an original thought worth consideration. In my opinion, Bob Coady is the watch dog of the community. I think we need more council members who look out for the rest of us other than the town elite.

I think the name of the PAC – Caring About Carefree –is misleading. What you are saying is that unless we all agree with your position, we do not care at all. Just who are the members of this PAC, who is paying the costs? If there are other council members in the PAC are they discussing town business in violation of the Open Meeting Law?

Trying to strong arm Mr. Coady to remove the initiative is not at all in keeping with our democratic process. With the elections not until March, just what are the council members afraid of? Think about it.

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