Thank You letter to voters

I would like to thank the well-informed voters of Cave Creek for their huge affirmation of the Council's decision to upzone the 20 acres belonging to Walmart.
These are tough economic times and I have believed for much longer than I've been on Council that we needed more sales tax revenue that didn't depend on Tourism.
This is a great move toward a sustainable economic model for the Town of Cave Creek!
Thanks again.

Ernie Bunch | Cave Creek

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Town Financial Audits

In each of the past 5 years I have been amazed by the willingness of the Carefree council majority to accept Financial Audits as a blessing on good government. An independent audit, conducted by a credible accounting firm is important, and also a requirement of state law.
An audit provides assurances that #1, the numbers add up and that they appear in the correct places, and #2, that no laws have been broken. They don’t provide any assurance that town finances or government are being effectively managed.

The warm and fuzzy comments added by town staff during public meetings tend to gloss over certain important financial information. For example, this past fiscal year the town spent $1,044,829 MORE than revenue earned. Even using an accounting trick to move $500K associated with the building purchase in December, they still show a deficit of $544,829. Not to worry, we were told the town has roughly $5.7M in the bank.

Unfortunately that $5.7M earns less than 0.2% and must be viewed in light of the $6.7M town debt. Ordinarily the cash in reserve and outstanding debt would not be a huge concern. But with Sales Tax revenue continuing a fairly steep decline, and with State revenue sharing in decline as well, one must take pause.

To date, town leadership has failed to develop any semblance of a contingency plan, or expressed any willingness to discuss the subject with councilmen that have raised the issue. During the November council meeting residents were told that the mayor would have something to say on the subject in December. December represents the end of the 2nd quarter – half of this fiscal year will already be behind us. The effectiveness of any meaningful expense cutting measures will be blunted by the time wasted.

A serious financial plan should have been in place before adopting the overly optimistic budget back in July. Economic indicators pointed toward a protracted local recession and they have not significantly improved since then. Effective leaders make plans, the other type simply hope for the best.

John Traynor | Carefree

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Re: Restaurants let Arizona's CCW licensees know they're welcome

I appreciated the November 4 article by Linda Bentley concerning restaurants that welcome CCW licensees. I would like to make one small clarification.

Since Arizona recognizes out-of-state licenses, there may be a substantially larger number of individuals carrying concealed than the 140,799 mentioned in the article, especially during high season.

Snow Birds like me, who are licensed in another state, often choose Arizona as a winter residence specifically because of its friendly gun laws. I, for one, will go out of my way to support establishments that recognize the benefits of having legally armed citizens among their patrons.

Charles Long | Via e-mail

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We may not survive two terms

In my lifetime, I have seen nine presidents come and go. I, along with most Americans, looked upon them as “aspirational peers” who seemed stronger, wiser and smarter even though their politics did not align exactly with our own. Their values and life experiences intersected with our own and resonated in a positive way. We were connected by a belief in the supremacy of the Constitution, the inviolability of individual freedoms and property rights and an appreciation of our free market economy.

No such connection exists today. President Barack Obama has assessed the Constitution as being “flawed” and a “charter of negative rights.” His disdain for the free market and private property is evident in his plans to regulate compensation and salaries and to redistribute the fruits of our labor. He is committed to the “fundamental transformation of America” and appointed czars inspired not by our founding fathers but by Chavez, Castro and Mao Tse-Tung. He has created bureaucracies which have begun to redistribute our wealth, nationalize industries and financial institutions, and to institute government controlled health care. I just hope I don’t live long enough to see him play “doctor.”

His description of the world we live in and how things work doesn’t make sense and doesn’t correspond with our experience. In a recent article in The American Thinker, Geoffrey P. Hunt writes “He doesn’t command our respect and is unable to appeal to our common sense. His notions of right and wrong are repugnant and how things work just don’t add up. He knows nothing about economics, he is historically illiterate and woefully small minded for the size of the task.”

We must make sure this will be a one-term presidency; we may not survive two terms.

Ed Konecnik | Flushing, New York

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Need surgery or drug therapy?

Under Obamacare, tough luck!

If you are denied needed surgery or drug therapy, blame it on the Repugs, who were brain-dead on the healthcare issue for decades and conceded the issue to the socialists.

In 1998 the WSJ published my op-ed warning corporate America that it would prove to be harmful to them and to workers to continue linking medical insurance to employment through the tax code. Only one Fortune 100 company contacted me and understood the strategic importance of the issue.

In speaking at various CEO and human resources conferences afterwards, it became obvious to me that executives loved the status quo for the selfish reason that getting medical insurance on a pre-tax basis benefited higher-income employees the most. Over my career I saw many examples of execs earning $500k or more complaining about having to pay a $10 co-pay for a doctor visit and then turning around and wanting to cut benefits for working stiffs. The stereotype that Dems have of corporate execs has some basis in fact.
Yeah, I know that none of this would have happened if the government hadn't distorted the market by instituting wage and price controls in 1942. The point is that the Repug constituency of corporate execs loved the distortion. Reminds me of Karl's comment about selling capitalists the rope to hang them.

Craig J. Cantoni | Scottsdale

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The White House; Washington, D.C.

To whoever is really in charge

It has recently come to my attention that some nitwit in the White House has made or is possibly considering arrangements to send $2.5 million dollars to Libya. It is my understanding that this is some type of "reward" for NOT building a nuclear weapon. I believe part of this contains $400,000 payable to the son and daughter of the Libyan dictator for some type of "foundations" they run.

Being of relatively modest intelligence I am still able to spot a good deal when I see one. With that in mind, given the existing guidelines, I believe I am also entitled to receive $2.5 million dollars.

Please consider that much like Libya I also have not been working towards having my own personal nuclear weapon and promise never to build one in the future (cross my heart). I will also be more than happy to have my son and daughter create foundations in Cave Creek, Arizona to see how democratic principles are being applied and how they may be improving our community. An additional positive in my favor that should be considered, is my firm policy of never supporting terrorism that may cause the deaths of multiple American citizens while blowing a jumbo jet out of the air.

All things considered I am much more deserving of the $2.5 million dollars than the madman Quadaffi, especially since some of that $2.5 million dollars is mine to start with. I will also be spending the cash inside the United States thereby doing my part to stimulate the economy. Sadly, I can't promise to create new jobs but I'm positive that I will save at least 521 jobs.

I close knowing that members of this administration are fair minded, non-partisan and clear thinking. I rest easy with the knowledge that you are always looking out for the best interest of U.S. citizens. What else could explain how you continually and graciously accept dissenting opinions on the Health Care Reform you are attempting to jam down our throats?
But I digress.

I look forward to receiving my check as soon as possible.

Tom Carbone | Via e-mail

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The dehumanization of American culture

A recent news story about the loss of cursive writing skills in the U.S. raised hardly a ripple of public interest, and yet it was another sign of the dehumanization of American culture.

There is something of inestimable value in being able to create useful and beautiful things with one’s hands. It is not only one of the fundamental attributes that make us human, it is also a vital factor in keeping us emotionally, intellectually and spiritually balanced and in harmony with nature.

But interest in learning how to write cursive letters and do other useful things with our hands has been suborned by the seductive appeal of smart machines.

It is worth noting that older Chinese, Japanese and Koreans possess a number of intellectual and physical skills that give them advantages over other people because their traditional writing system requires great concentration, perseverance and diligent practice over many years, profoundly influencing their mindset and behavior.

Unfortunately, younger people see this replacement of manual skills by machines as a great advance in culture and civilization. And it is, of course, true that the basic quality of human life has been and is being advanced by machines, And therein lies a great danger.

Within a few decades smart machines will have made academic education and manual skills virtually obsolete. Basic verbal communication with machines and the ability to push buttons will be all that people will need to survive and satisfy their physical needs.

The influence of high-tech machines in the U.S. and elsewhere is, in fact, rapidly sucking the personal and intimate qualities out of life, and if this loss is not recognized and steps are not taken to reverse this extinction process cultures will continue to become more and more mechanized.

Children who are not required to learn such mundane things as how to write beautifully, how to use tools, how to make things, how to fix things, are being cheated by their parents and teachers, portending a future society of drones sustained by machines.

Boye Lafayette De Mente | Paradise Valley

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Response to “Political Chicanery”

I consider myself an Independent and sometimes agree with your views and sometimes not. You dredged up Obama’s supposed citizenship issue again in your “My View” column. You blamed the national media for the ‘cover up.”

My one question is this: if there really was any meat to this issue, do you think the Republican Party would have ever let Obama get elected in the first place? If it was so suspect, they would have at least made an issue of it. They, with all of their money and researchers and political smear tactics (Dems do it too) did not pursue the citizenship issue. Let me repeat that for those that may have glossed over the fact: they did not pursue the issue.

The one issue that would have given them the Presidential Election hands down, no argument. It is a dead horse. A no-where issue. The only people keeping it alive are the ones pissed off that Obama won. Give it up. If this issue had a leg to stand on, the Republican Party would have been parading it out as part of their National Platform during the debates. It is a conspiracy theory to rank right up there with the Bush administration planning the September 11 attacks.

Read up online and you will see just as many “fact” and “cover-ups” as you chose to print in your column. Can we move on to something important please?

David Alsever | Cave Creek

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Please preempt the Nov. 9 episode of Gossip Girl

The CW is threatening once again to cross the boundaries of good taste, social responsibility, and decency by promising to air a sexual threesome between three major characters in the teen-targeted drama Gossip Girl.

This kind of content does not belong on primetime broadcast television – period. And it is your obligation as a licensee of the publicly owned broadcast airwaves to serve the public interest, and to preempt programs that violate this community's standards of decency, which teenagers engaging in three-way sex certainly does. I am urging you, as a member of this community and as a concerned parent to preempt the Nov. 9 episode of Gossip Girl, and to use your influence with the CW network to keep them from airing this kind of content in the future.

In a declaratory ruling last year, the FCC affirmed affiliates' ability to pre-empt any network programming that is "unsatisfactory or unsuitable or contrary to the public interest." The record on this is clear: contracts between networks and their affiliates may not legally prevent preemption of programming that does not meet LOCAL COMMUNITY standards. As a station manager you not only have a right, but an obligation to preempt programs like Gossip Girl that fail to meet that standard.

If the episode airs as planned, I and other members of the PTC will contact every sponsor with our concerns about the content as well as the Federal Communications Commission if it violates broadcast decency law.

May I remind you that it is you, not the CW network, that will bear the financial burden of an FCC fine should any of the content of the Nov. 9 episode be found to violate broadcast decency laws.

Carrie L. Almond | Cave Creek

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My hero

I am a North Scottsdale resident and frequently read your column, Fenger Pointing. You seem to always stand up for good and point out corruption. That rarely happens anymore in news media outlets. For that, you are a patriot and one of my heroes.

Terrance Traylor | Scottsdale

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Pelosi and Mitchell have trashed the Constitution

Now that Pelosi and Mitchell have trashed the Constitution as if it did not exist, I wonder what they have planned for next Saturday night? Perhaps we will awake next Sunday morning to learn that every American must buy a $20,000 GM car next year or face a $250,000 fine and five years in prison. In their mind that would be just as legal as the must-buy insurance clause in their health-care law. Unfortunately, Americans appear to have forgotten that for which James Madison warned us. “… there are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.”

Jack C. McVickers | Scottsdale

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Sleight of hand in Carefree

Increasing the rent on the water company is one way of handling budget mismanagement. Since the city of Carefree virtually owns the water company, they don't even need to charge rent, but by increasing the rent, the city can spend more money and let the water company take the heat for increased water rates. Maybe the recall is appropriate.

Phil Loignon | Carefre

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