My View

By Don Sorchych | August 26, 2009

Bil Canfield Cartoon

Don Sorchych
Carefree resident adopts opposition principles

This letter, if written by people who seriously want good government in Carefree, I would not comment on. But it was written by a charter member of the Good Old Boys (GOBs), a PAC leader who blames decent citizens for the antics employed by GOBs, PACs and Kiwanis members. His name is Matthew Dingman. My comments are italicized.

At a recent Carefree council meeting a local resident requested that our new council take a firm position against the negative politics of PACs that has “become detrimental to the betterment of Carefree.” I wholeheartedly agree with his comment but I don’t believe the negativity is limited to just Political Action Committees. Local politics in Carefree has turned “ugly” in recent years, stirred up by a handful of seemingly very bitter people. One only needs to read any issue of the local newspaper to understand what I am talking about.
I have lived in Carefree for nearly thirteen years. I am pleased, as are most citizens, with the accomplishments this community has made during that time. The very individuals and organizations that are being so heavily criticized now are the same people and same organizations that have made this community such a desirable place to live.

During the years I have lived in Carefree many outstanding individuals have served on our town council and given countless hours of their personal time to make Carefree what it is today. Those volunteers don’t deserve to be raked over the coals by the local newspaper or by people with personal agendas. Most recently, a few disgruntled citizens found it necessary to initiate a recall of the mayor who had been in office just a little over a month. In order to assure their success they felt they needed to hire a consultant from Chandler to help collect the necessary signatures.

Sonoran News reported facts and opinions about Carefree for over 15 years. There have been numerous cases of abuse, decisions made before council meetings and favors to those favored. What is wrong with hiring an out of town consultant? Ever hear of freedom of choice?

A few weeks ago I bumped into Ryan Ducharme outside the post office. We had a very pleasant conversation during which time he attempted to convince me that Mayor Schwan should be recalled. I asked him to cite examples where the mayor had done something either illegal or immoral. Simply disagreeing with someone, in my opinion, is not reason enough to reverse the results of a legal election.

What did Ducharme say? What about the violation of his constitutional rights? Do you suppose they are OK because the illegal actions happened after the recall started? No, his actions and those working for him and GOB supporters show what they are made of, Chicago style thugs masquerading as decent people – they aren’t.

Carefree is not a big city, and we should not be engaged in big city politics. I lived in the New York area for many years. The aggressive style of politics that exists there does not belong here. Is being elected to the town council so important that we want to embrace tactics like bullet voting so our candidate wins at all cost? We are a small, friendly town with relatively few problems. I believe that is the way most residents would like it to remain.

Bullet voting is a choice; it is legal and often recommended by your buddies. The sick method of politics has been demonstrated by your friends and associates, not the 800 who voted for Bob Coady and 863 who voted for Peter Koteas. Most everything you said in your letter is the opposite of what your side represents.

I would like to suggest to all our current council members that they remove themselves from petty politics and attend to the business at hand. I would also like to suggest to the people who regularly contribute comments about Carefree in the “Your View” column of the Sonoran News that they at least have the courage to sign their name. It is sad to think that there is anyone amongst us that could get pleasure writing mean-spirited, destructive comments about the place they call their home.

You seem to be suggesting a return to 7-0 voting, which can only happen regularly by illegal discussion of issues out of the public eye, a Carefree ingrained habit. I am proud Sonoran News has been helpful by minimizing it. Spirited public discussion is supported by Arizona statute rather than allowing council majority discussion of issues behind closed doors or in clubs or associations.

Anonymous flyers and letters were a powerful influence in the American Revolution and are an American tradition. We give people an anonymous voice so those in power or their brokers can’t use retribution, like the Carefree administration did to Ducharme, Rod de Szendeffy and others.

The situation could be different if the Sonoran News attempted to be even-handed in the way it reported the news. But it isn’t and the editor is quick to vilify anyone who disagrees or has the courage to stand-up to him. Maybe that sells papers but it is irresponsible and a far cry from providing a “service to the community.” The Sonoran News has the power to exert a positive influence over this community. Why doesn’t it exercise it?

Chuckle, we do report the news accurately and editorials are opinions based on fact. You just don’t happen to like the spotlight on you and your GOB associates. We don’t sell papers, we give them away, and your friends work hard at threatening businesses to not advertise with us. We exercise the influence of the press while your friends are in the business of sugar coating your one-sided activity.

It is my belief that the citizens of Carefree are sick to death of all the innuendos, back-stabbing and negative politics. Isn’t it time that all of us in this room and throughout Carefree start making an effort to work together for the common good of the community?

Yes, the town showed what they want in leadership by voting against you and yours – for direct election of the mayor and two year terms. They also gave good guys a near majority. The people are speaking up with votes and are tired of selective enforcement, illegal and biased town actions, PACs and would be king-makers. Did I say bottom dwelling Huber Stevens and his lackeys?