Thanks to Cave Creek’s business leaders and citizen volunteers

Times are undeniably still tough as we slip into a new year. Whatever name best describes our country and Town’s economic challenges – recession, depression, a hybrid of the two? – it is clinging to us.

Despite the deep freeze-like economic climate, Cave Creek’s business leaders and citizens have risen to the challenge. Volunteer citizens did so early on when issuing a White Paper, which outlined a plan for future economic diversity. And local business leaders did it last year and are continuing now with innovative ideas that have infused new vitality into the Town.

Perhaps Cave Creek’s much admired “feisty” spirit in the political arena has out of necessity transferred its energy and focus to the ailing economic sector. If indeed Cave Creek is the town “too tough to govern,” then we are equally resolute when it comes to outside challenges. To liberally paraphrase poet Dylan Thomas, ‘we will not go whimpering and whining into our future,’ just because we are beset upon by tough times. No, we will not do that. Instead, “we will greet harsh reality with robust creativity.”

One of the “we” group spearheading the revitalization is Kim Brennan. The former Cave Creek councilwoman is quick to point out she’s just one of a collective effort of mostly women business owners. “We approached these tough times by saying, ‘What recession?’
And then brainstorming new ideas on how we we’re going to attract people to Cave Creek.

In 2008 there were 24 events in Cave Creek; in 2009 the number jumped to 32. A few examples of the old and new “robust creativity” events presented last year: the cooperative of women merchants’ Thieves Market, Fran Booth’s Rev It Up Cave Creek’s Wicked Halloween and Cody’s Death House , Harold’s Top Shelf Country Music acts, multiple Historic Core businesses’ New Year Eve’s “Somewhere in Cave Creek It’s Midnight,” Cave Creek Film and Arts Festival, C4 and Frontier Town’s open space sponsored concerts and events, Buffalo Chip’s Bull Riding, the Hideaway’s Pinup contest, Sonoran Arts League’s Hidden in the Hills, Animal Guardian’s Pet Parade and Rancho Mañana’s recent Balloon Festival, plus the Town Sponsored Taste of Cave Creek, East meets West Equestrian Trial Ride and the Bike Ride and Country Music Festival.

Let’s do them all again in 2010.

Mayor Vincent Francia | Cave Creek

Back to Top

Haiti: What are the lessons?

Haiti’s situation in the wake of the earthquake is devastating. The developed nations like the United States and organizations like the UN are helping. But what about Haiti’s neighbors, such as the Dominican Republic (it shares a border with Haiti), or Cuba (it’s only a few miles to the West of Haiti), or any of the other, mostly socialist, nearby neighbors in Caribbean area? For the most part these countries either can’t help or won’t help. And why is Haiti so poor that it can’t help itself and why is its construction so bad that the devastation from an earthquake is so horrendous? Being a small country is not the problem. Some small countries like Ireland and Hong Kong and Singapore are very successful and wealthy.

The answer to all of these questions is that socialism does not work. We can even see examples of the failure of socialism right here in the United States by looking at almost any Indian reservation (except the ones with rich gambling monopolies).

If socialism is such a clear failure why is the United States rapidly moving toward this failed model? If we continue on this path will there come a day when the U.S. is also poor and unable to care for our own citizens?

Roy Miller | Phoenix

Back to Top

Where are you hiding?

Obama has just cut a deal with the labor unions exempting them from the 40 percent tax on "Cadillac" healthcare plans until the year 2018. Meanwhile, all we hear in Arizona is thousands of McCain campaign commercials telling us how tough he is. McCain's presidential campaign showed what a wimp he really is, and now, by his inaction on this and other potentially Constitutional issues, he is proving that he has not changed his stripes one bit (think: amnesty, for example). It's obviously time for a change.

S.R. Warsaw | Carefree

Back to Top

The continuing misuse of power in Carefree

Dear Carefree Friends and Neighbors: Recently, all Carefree residential property owners (i.e. voters) received a letter from Mayor Schwan. It is a disturbing letter for a number of reasons. It is paid for by town funds, and appears to be self-serving in the extreme. This egocentric letter portrays recent (successful??) events and accomplishments in Carefree as if they could only have happened on Mayor Schwan's watch, and were due to his skill and effort alone. Except for one negative slight against Bob Coady, it fails to mention that there are six other elected council members besides David Schwan. All six have worked very hard in various ways to fulfill their elected obligations to Carefree. Moreover, there is absolutely no evidence in David Schwan's previous behavior on the Council that would give any hint that he was to emerge so gloriously as the savvy savior of the 21st century who would arise to lead his town out of the great crisis of its time as Lincoln did in his own period of history.

Only last year, then Mayor Fulcher used the town notification system (COINS) for personal political purposes. With recall ballots coming out in a month, is this not yet again much of the same?

Below is the Arizona Statute that refers to inappropriate use of town resources to influence election outcomes.

Note that the last sentence refers to a "governing body" as a whole. In this case, that is our council and not just an individual member who also maybe voted out of office in the coming recall (i.e., not bond) election. You decide.

9-500.14. Use of city or town resources or employees to influence elections: prohibition.
A. A city or town shall not use its personnel, equipment, materials, buildings or other resources for the purpose of influencing the outcomes of elections. Notwithstanding this section, a city or town may distribute informational reports on a proposed bond election as provided in section 35-454. Nothing in this section precludes a city or town from reporting on official actions of the governing body.

Carol McNulty | Carefree

Back to Top

Scottsdale Councilman McCullagh

Scottsdale City Councilman Ron McCullagh’s call for condemnation of Arizona American Water must have sent shock waves to every Scottsdale taxpayer. This kind of unfounded talk is exactly why the Organized Residents Against Needless Government Encroachment exists. The ORANGE Coalition opposes the misuse of government’s power of eminent domain.

The councilman admits Scottsdale taxpayers will see an increase in their water bills if the condemnation is successful. It seems likely Councilman McCullagh’s “four percent” increase is a statistic pulled from a still-secret consultant’s report you and I paid $312,000 for last year. The truth is the Councilman has no way of knowing what the final cost of the eminent domain action will be.

Remember the Toll Brothers’ condemnation outcome, where the City ended up spending $48 million more than they expected? Scottsdale residents won’t stand for more squandering of their money on a condemnation action, like Arizona American Water. I urge the council majority to end this assault on private property rights. The city has more important priorities.

Ray Torres | Chairman, ORANGE Coalition | Scottsdale

Back to Top

CCUSD and Arizona best high schools

A review of Maricopa's award-winning high schools' physical facilities shows that the average physical plant is about 30 years old, with the youngest being 11 years (Skyline High School, Bronze Medal, Mesa USD) and the oldest being 51 years (Cortez High School, Bronze Medal, Glendale Union HSD). In most cases, these top Maricopa County high schools used "portable classrooms" to cope with any later increases in enrollment after construction of the initial physical plant.

The above analysis was done on data provided by the U.S. News article "America's Best High School 2010," School District Employment Reports provided by the Arizona Department of Education and district facility reports provided by the Arizona School Facilities Board.
Several comments:

A. Of the 17 Silver and Bronze Medals awarded to Maricopa's top high schools, a majority of them were awarded to three school districts: Glendale Union, Mesa and Scottsdale. What are these three school districts doing, in the education area, to achieve multiple citations in this nationwide survey?

B. Silver and Bronze Medal high schools had, on the average, 30 percent of their students from economically disadvantaged families and about 34 percent were from minority families. Despite this, these Maricopa high schools were cited as among the top high schools in the United States. No comparable figures are available from CCUSD, though they are probably significantly lower.

C. CCUSD had higher student levels per teacher, per non-teaching staff and per total Cactus Shadows staff than Maricopa's Silver and Bronze Medal high schools.

D. The physical facilities for these Silver and Bronze Medal high schools were significantly older (averaging 30 years) than CCUSD's high school (ranging from 10-15 years old). In addition, these high schools mainly used portable classrooms for increasing student enrollments in future years.

It is confusing: in comparison to these Silver and Bronze Medal high schools, CCUSD has significantly different student characteristics, a similar teaching/non-teaching staff level and a newer physical plant and yet, they have not been included in this list of award-winning high schools in the United States. Could it be the curriculum? Could it be the quality and turnover of staff? Could it be the inefficient use of teachers and support staff? One wonders!

R. D. Beechcroft | Phoenix

Back to Top

Vandalism at the Cave Creek preserve

I want to comment on an article that Luke Southwood wrote to the Sonoran News on his recent vandalism of the Cave Creek preserve.

I was totally offended by his statement that he didn’t know it was a nature preserve – otherwise he would not have killed the animals or vandalized the cacti. Does it matter if it is a preserve? It sounds like he would do this irresponsible act otherwise. To me all animals are meant to be appreciated. My husband hunts but he doesn't shoot the game just to shoot them. He makes sure we utilize the meat and makes a clean kill.

In my opinion, Luke has a lot of growing up to do. If he truly loves animals as he says in his article, and is just not making a statement to get through his restitution, then I can accept his apology. But, I somehow think he does not see the real devastation he did to the area or any other animal or area he may have already harmed prior to this vandalism.

Doris Coburn | Phoenix

Back to Top

Artis Patterson’s lengthy guest editorial

One had to wade through seven full paragraphs of Artis Patterson's lengthy "guest editorial" before uncovering his main point: homosexuality is bad. The reason? Because anal sex is the wrong way to express love. Mr. Patterson, please view
od/sexinformation/a/anal_sex_stats.htm for statistics drawn from various studies on the number of heterosexual couples who engage in anal sex. You may be surprised. And if you're right about it being bad, then maybe your next column should explore the possible link between anal sex and the very high heterosexual divorce rate in the U.S.

By the way, in the four-letter moniker "LGBT," two of those letters do not have much to do with anal sex: L (due to anatomical impossibility, lesbians never have anal sex, unlike heterosexual women who sometimes do) and T (transgender identifies a person's sex and not a proclivity for one type of sexual act or another).

Greg Hoffman | E-mail

Back to Top

Expand the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996

The world does not have a lot of time to peacefully prevent Iran, the world's largest state sponsor of terror, from getting these weapons. It will take the will of key countries to stop Iran – but America must lead by example.

While the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act (H.R. 2194) recently by a vote of 412-12, it still must come to the Senate floor for a vote and be signed into law.

Majority Leader Harry Reid has pledged to bring significant sanctions legislation to the Senate floor after the Senate reconvenes on Jan. 20. There is no time to waste. It needs to be passed and put into law now while there is still time to peacefully stop Iran!

The biggest stick the international community can wield remains Iran's dependence on imported gasoline. Iran has not developed enough capacity to refine its crude oil into gasoline. By stopping such imports we can help encourage the regime to either change their policies – or for the regime itself to change.

In addition to cutting off gasoline sales, the international community, led by the United States, should provide incentives to foreign banks and companies to eliminate investments in Iran's energy sector and firms helping the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

America should do all it can to stop Iran without war - but to do that, the Senate and White House must act now!

In Christ,

Carl and Julie Fichtner | Mesa

Back to Top

Haiti Cherie

I was greatly saddened by the news of the earthquake and resulting devastation in Haiti. Fifty years ago I used to visit Haiti periodically on business just before “Papa Doc” took over with his ton-ton macouts. The people were unfailingly courteous, and happy in spite of their utter poverty.

I always stayed at the Hotel Splendide, which was in the downtown area. The Splendide was an old, ornate mansion, which had been transformed, and it even had a head waiter who was reputed to be a voodoo priest. He denied it, of course!

The easy way to get around Port-au-Prince in those days, was by jitney taxi, which were identified by a little red flag on the fender. It operated on a First-In, First Out system, so if you flagged down a half-full cab, you would get to see most of the City before being dropped off at your destination. When you got into the cab, all the occupants would greet you courteously, with a “Bon Jour, M.’siu.” I learned enough of the French patois to catch the general drift of conversation, and on occasion found myself interpreting for French tourists, who could understand less than I!

In those days, the “Teatre Vert” the outdoor theater, would put on delightful musical programs, and the rum (Rhum Barbancourt) was the best in the Caribbean. And at some time during the evening, the musicians would sing the beautiful official (or unofficial – I never knew which) Haitian national anthem – “Haiti Cherie.” (Beloved Haiti). The Haitians loved their poverty-stricken, corrupt little country, and I suspect they still do. I hope they can rebuild their country, physically and economically. It is too beautiful to sink into the mud.

Ralph G. Smith | Cave Creek

Back to Top

Thank you, Don, you are a true journalist!

Greetings! It's been a long time since I've seen you in person. But I had to let you know how grateful we are to you for you contributions to the art of reporting, not making up stories.

We at American Citizens United thank you for your clear mind and introspection – which the pro-open borders lack.

God Bless and protect you,

Anna Gaines, Founder | American Citizens United | Phoenix

Back to Top

Craig Cantoni

Cantoni is right on the mark. However he overlooked the obvious … all lawyers should be banned from holding political office. That would be a good start.

Neil Rose | Scottsdale

Back to Top