My View

By Don Sorchych | October 28, 2009

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Don Sorchych
Vanik’s shake down • David Schwan

I received the following e-mail from Carefree Councilwoman Susan Vanik, who also labors as President of Carefree Cave Creek Kiwanis.


Peter Koteas and I are the marketing arm of the Carefree Council and are very proud of our first town center event “A Salute to Veterans” which will take place on Wednesday, November 11, 2009. I am attaching copies of our printed materials which contain most of the details.

We are sending this information to all 4 newspapers in the area and are planning to advertise with all if you can match the advertising rate that the Scottsdale Republic has offered us for this tribute. A full page ad, full color, they do the artwork for $594. The actual inches are 11 x 12. I don’t know what that means in column inches.

If this is something you would consider featuring in your paper please let either Peter or me know.

Susan Vanik

I called Peter Koteas and he conceded full knowledge of the above as well as little knowledge of advertising.

Remember Mayor David Schwan had appointed Councilman Doug Stavoe and Bob Gimmell to Carefree’s marketing positions. Gimmell soon whined he couldn’t work with Stavoe (probably because Stavoe doesn’t subscribe to GOB philosophy) and Schwan removed them both.

Too bad since Stavoe is not only knowledgeable about marketing practices, he also, as a business owner, understands advertising.

Vanik’s proposal suffers multiple problems.

First of all, the $594 price for a 66 column inch ad in the Arizona Republic is likely predatory pricing, which is illegal, and it certainly would be in our case.

To use their price we would have to lower our listed price by $1,518. That is so far below cost it would be obvious predatory pricing and stupid financial management, not to mention creating legal liability.

The event Vanik is seeking to advertise is “A salute to veterans” sponsored by Tyson Foods, Inc. and Rural/Metro. Koteas has business connections with Tyson.

Now I am all for saluting veterans, although the overtones of this event are to bring business to Carefree.

It seems many businesses have found attaching a charitable payout to events brings more business, and I guess that is OK since both sides benefit.

But I justify my decisions not only on good business practices but my own background.
Former columnist Sam Steiger wrote a column criticizing older Jewish gentlemen. We received a critical letter accusing Steiger of racism. Steiger wrote he had a special right to be critical because he is an older Jewish gentleman.

I am a four year Navy veteran. I have always said it was a good investment since I got four years of a GI bill due to my service, but I also believe I have a right to support vets or not depending on the circumstances.

In this case hours of patriotic music would be a thrill and I’ll be there to salute all vets, but especially our combat forces.

But back to Vanik’s offer.

Anyone who expects that competitive companies should meet an arbitrary price ignores considerable sales and marketing issues.

A question arises. Why did Vanik seek and negotiate with the Republic anyway?

A more appropriate step would have been a request for quote.

She mentions four companies, two must be monthlies as is this is a special offer. These monthlies have racks for distribution. Their circulation is a guess or an unknown.

Sonoran News prints 44,016 papers each week and ships 41,716 through USPS and we have records to prove it. We distribute another 2,300 in racks. Advertisements cause phones to ring at our customers due to massive circulation in six zip codes.

So we are not in the same league with the other three. Why would we even consider matching the $594 price?

We won’t.

David Schwan
There have been suggestions everybody should be nice and watch Schwan’s activity between now and election day in March 2010.

Maybe he should put Doug Stavoe back in charge of marketing; he doesn’t need a watchman.

But will that be enough? No, and I’ll tell you why.

First of all the sudden rush to civility by the GOBs and Hans Thiele is consistent with the world infamous Rodney King, who muttered, “Why can’t we all get along?” In other words let me be a bad dude and not complain.

What do-gooders and GOBs are suggesting is we forget about Schwan’s many failures. His failures are not just bad decisions but go to his core values. Denying recall participants rights of assembly at town hall was basically unconstitutional. That was patently obvious yet Rod de Szendeffy had to hire an attorney to prove it.

Not only that but it was sneaky using the building owner’s denial to keep petition gatherers away from town hall. The owner didn’t hesitate to agree to not fight the obvious in court.
You just don’t mess with the first amendment.

It gets worse.

Schwan presides over fools at town hall that follow his every dictum. For example, his spear carrier Gary Neiss giggled while he denied Ryan Ducharme (the petition carrier for the Schwan recall) use of his banners while allowing widespread banner use elsewhere.

In the Sept. 22 Carefree council meeting Councilman Peter Koteas asked in regard to the towns bidding process for the changed town hall, “When you put together the addendum, didn’t you think it was odd that one bid was $5,509 over and another was $1,645 under? Doesn’t it sound like someone was given guidance? Don’t you think it was odd? Why would the difference be so significant?”

Schwan interrupted and said, “For the record, an accusation has been made.”

So Schwan again is interferring with Koteas’ right of free speech, especially from the podium, just as he did with Ducharme. If he thinks an accusation had been made he should have asked MCSO to investigate the whole shady matter of the Chris Mellon and T’s Construction debacle and let the chips fall wherever.

If Schwan reads tea leaves he should think about the fact that many who refused to sign the recall petition fearing retribution promised to vote for the recall.