My View

By Don Sorchych | April 15, 2009

Don SorchychPAC panic

The stunning withdrawal by three leading Carefree councilmen leads to possible reversal of long standing shoo-in candidates. Voters are within a single candidate of having a proactive, fair and non good old boy council.

Withdrawing incumbent candidate Greg Gardner let the cat out of the bag inferring “they” will maintain control.

Glenn Miller was the only incumbent candidate elected in the primary election. For majority control, the slate has to elect incumbents Bob Gemmill and David Schwan as well as Kiwanis President Elect Susan Vanik who shares song sheets with Gemmill and Schwan.

On the other side there are challengers Peter Koteas and write-in Candidates Jim Peirce and John Traynor. All three of these candidates are strong in financial matters, a skill of vital importance with the economic weakness of the town.

The Political Action Committees (PACs), together with former Mayor Wayne Fulcher spent more time and energy fighting Councilman Bob Coady than true electioneering and the town kicked their butts.

Carefree has for years sought to continue with 7-0 decisions at council. The six slate members, and their PAC accolades, have been ballistic because Coady occasionally votes NO and the power members and brokers don’t like it.

Counter reaction to the withdrawing group of three was expected from the delirious PACs. The first shot may have been fired by Attorney Michael Herrod. Not only is Herrod a long time local attorney, he is a Kiwanian.

Herrod sent a request for 16 public records to Carefree. All the records, in one way or another, related to Coady’s recycling efforts.

Coady has given of his personal time for recycling and much of the effort had nothing to do with the Carefree town government. Why has Herrod suddenly become interested in recycling? Is he trying to embarrass the top vote getter in the recent election? Did he yield to Kiwanis pressures? Does he have a client, or clients? Who are they?

It is interesting that an attorney would list his business address when the town form clearly asked for his residential address, which is 5216 E. Monte Cristo Ave., Scottsdale, AZ 85254- 1777. Wonder why he is so protective of his home address? And why would a lawyer living in Scottsdale be so interested in what is going on in Carefree? And it appears he has an interesting client list, some in Cave Creek. More about that later.

But once again, the Kiwanis connection looms. Kiwanis elections are a farce. Back room dealers offer candidates to the members and ask for a voice vote. No secret ballots there.
Vanik is president elect. Among second year directors (there are four) is Chuck Hoch, who signed as a member of the Caring about Carefree PAC.

Of the four first-year directors, three of four individuals are, in one way or another, tied in with the good old boys: Ray Arnold, who is in the pocket of the good old boys; Joe Devito who is a Kiwanis apologist and a writer of smut to Coady; the third is none other than Herrod, the Scottsdale attorney who has developed a sudden interest in Coady and recycling.

Three calls to Herrod remain unanswered.

Sadly, a large majority of Kiwanis members are comprised of captains of the industry and a variety of well meaning, community minded members. However, it is up to them to cull out the political directors and officers and bring sanity and secret voting to an otherwise respected organization.

Both towns looked into the bank account held by Coady and came up empty. I examined his records and found them to be fine.

When I mentioned this incident to a friend his first statement was “Hugh Stevens.” By the way, Stevens has been threatening a write in candidate. Just so you know, he also carries a pocket voice recorder.

The choices in the coming General Election include incumbents Bob Gemmill, David Schwan and challenger Susan Vanik.

We have editorialized about Gemmill’s seeming conflicts since he is the marketing guru for council and presumably gives Carefree Cave Creek Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Ian Ellison what and where to advertise, using town (taxpayer) funds, of course.
You may recall also that Ellison told Cave Creek Councilman Dick Esser he could get Carefree people to finance a run against Cave Creek Mayor Vincent Francia who ran and won, unopposed.

What I found offensive was Carefree advertises in the Scottsdale Republic and so does Gemmill’s wife’s restaurant – side by side! That would be called a conflict of interest in my lexicon. Also Gemmill has been a loyal vote regardless of merits that are brought before him. He has a little community mind, meaning he votes with the other five, regardless.
David Schwan mirrors Gemmill, in most every aspect. Somewhat more quiet, but every bit a follower attuned to voices on high, meaning Mayor and Vice Mayor. What will he do without Fulcher and Meyer? Call them maybe?

Susan Vanik has played the sex card - I am woman. So? Who cares? Vanik is the president elect of Kiwanis and, as a planning commissioner, she already is in a conflict of interest situation. Conflicts would be further exacerbated as a councilwoman.

Vanik was once the president of the Foothills Community Foundation and tried to bail out when the organization’s debt was about $35,000 while she had only eight months to finish her term. The loss principally came from Desert Foothills Theatre and when Toby Paine took over the theatre, the loss was reversed to a $41,000 gain.

Vanik is power hungry and I suspect is already slated to be mayor for that reason.
A new council would require at least one write-in candidate and Peter Koteas, a gifted candidate in the runoff.

Koteas and write-in candidates Jim Peirce and John Traynor are proven financial experts. Any of the three could easily replace Greg Gardner, who withdrew in the runoff along with Mayor Wayne Fulcher and Vice Mayor Lloyd Meyer.

A vote for the three above would leave one good old boy along with Glenn Miller. Schwan is probably the least lethal.