My View

By Don Sorchych | June 10, 2009


Don Sorchych
Carefree • Cave Creek


After write-in Carefree candidate John Traynor missed beating candidate and Kiwanis President Elect Susan Vanik by a mere 11 votes the Good Old Boys (GOBs) maintained a 4 to 3 advantage.

That wasn’t a big surprise, write in candidates suffer a huge disadvantage. The fact that Traynor came so close is an indication that a large number of voters are discontented with the GOBs.

The surprise came in the choices of mayor and vice mayor. My guess was Bob Gemmill would be mayor and because of a nod to feminism, Vanik would be vice mayor.

All wrong.

Bottom vote getter David Schwan became mayor and fireman Glenn Miller became vice mayor.

Retiring Councilman Greg Gardner predicted they would continue a majority and would choose the mayor and they did. Is that called planning and by whom?

We know the GOBs are fortified with two active PACs whose members are firmly implanted in Kiwanis, some as directors and officers. In close votes, like those mentioned, they make a difference.

Why weren’t the two top vote achievers considered? Bob Coady, now entering his sixth term received 800 votes in the primary and runoff candidate Peter Koteas got 863 votes, yet were voted out by the slim majority. Tradition says they would be mayor and vice mayor, but tradition was neglected since they weren’t GOBs.

The good news is that four year terms were demolished and direct vote for mayor was approved. These votes say much about public concept of GOBs, who were for extending their terms and against a public vote for the mayor.

One of newly minted Mayor Schwan’s first actions was to fire off a memorandum to Cave Creek Mayor Vincent Francia. It was once asserted ex-Mayor Wayne Fulcher would send Carefree’s position on Walmart, now we are told Schwan signed Town Administrator Gary Neiss’ submittal.

Carefree’s habit has been to send letters from the mayor to adjoining towns urging they protect the desert and avoid big boxes while they install commercial ventures of their own. This letter follows that tradition. (Read Letter)

Neiss/Schwan argue their own perfection while comparing the current Cave Creek General Plan amendments to assuring the Cave Creek/Carefree corner will resemble Phoenix’s Bell Road if Cave Creek persists and the result will be, “A once unique town is replaced by a poorly conceived, unsustainable commercial development, obtrusive commercial signs, large illuminated parking lots and little or no resemblance to its heritage.”

One wonders whether Neiss attended the Walmart meetings which sanely answered these fabrications.

But here is the bottom line, “This is why a more holistic approach should be sought in any change in land use at this intersection. This approach would include the participation of surrounding jurisdictions of Carefree, Scottsdale, Phoenix, County, Cave Creek Unified School District and Paradise Community College. Certainly, the collaboration of these stakeholders in association with residents of the area would yield a more sustainable and economically viable result for all interests.”

Wow! Did Schwan read this letter before signing Neiss’ missive? It is stupid to the core.
Stakeholders? Tell me what legal theory grants this long list of enterprises a voice in the determination of a general plan, zoning or building permits in Cave Creek?

When did any of those listed ask Cave Creek about their plans and give them power to dictate anything? When did Carefree ever ask Cave Creek about their contiguous commercial activity?

Our Cartoonist Bil Canfield, I am sure, will draw an extended middle finger for Francia to send to Carefree, no words required.

Cave Creek
Cave Creek’s planning commission met and complimented departed members who are now Councilmen Jim Bruce and Steve LaMar after voting in a new Chairman. They welcomed Shelly Anderson and Peter Omundson as new members.

The meeting was initially run by Vice Chairman Reg Monachino who probably expected to be elevated to Chairman. He was nominated by long time Commissioner Bill Allen but failed for lack of a second. Dan Baxley was unanimously voted in as Chairman. Monachino continues as Vice Chairman.

The association of Allen and Monachino was underlined by their votes, which were a typical 5-2 with them dissenting on Walmart matters.

The town assured a little decorum by having three law enforcement officers attend. Most probably the raucous and obnoxious behavior of the audience during the last neighborhood Walmart meeting led to the precaution.

Baxley kept the meeting on track by limiting public discussion to one minute and rapped the podium when disturbances arose as well as telling the more noxious people to quiet down.
“Echo Chamber” Herb Natker got up three times while I was there and insisted Dan Baxley, Ted Bryda and Bob Williams recuse themselves because they were on the committee that produced the “White Paper.”

Former Chicagoan Natker was ignored until the third time when Bob Williams chided Natker by saying, “Even the Attorney General says we have a right to an opinion.”

Walmart’s inclusion in the General Plan and it’s rezoning from Desert Rural to General Commercial was assured by a 5-2 vote. Monachino and Allen dissenting. On June 15 council will vote on the Walmart General Plan amendment requiring six out of seven votes for passage.

The Thurston 3.28 parcel was defeated 6-1 with Williams dissenting.

The Ben Pearson 25 acre parcel south and west of the Chevron station passed 5-2 with Allen and Anderson dissenting.

The acreage to trigger a major amendment to the general plan has been one acre. Council voted 6-1 to raise the one acre to five acres.

Personally, I consider Walmart to be vital. All the others should have been voted down.

The card draw to establish which candidate would be seated as a councilman from a tie vote is to be accomplished under the guidance of local Magistrate George Preston. Thomas McGuire and Adam Trenk should be meeting to draw at High Noon, but instead will draw from a deck of cards in the magistrate’s office at 5 p.m. on June 15.