Don Sorchych My View

FEBRUARY 2, 2011

Cave Creek forum

The Cave Creek forum went off as scheduled last Wednesday. The day prior to the event we finally cracked the rumors about candidate Councilman Adam Trenk. About two weeks ago a political operative called to say Trenk was resigning from Cave Creek council. When Mayor Vincent Francia called him he was in denial, although the word was he would resign in the next council meeting. He didn’t.

Then, on Jan. 24 he sent the following message to Town Clerk Carrie Dyrek:
“I write to you today to formally inform you that I would like to withdraw my name from the race for election/re-election from the town council at this time.

canfield cartoon
“Please notify the County Elections Department and take whatever necessary measures must be taken to effectuate this change in my status as a candidate.

“Thank you for your continued commitment to the town and I look forward to working with you through the end of my term.

Councilman Adam Trenk.”

Had Trenk sent his letter earlier, county elections could have removed his name. At this late date the ballots have been printed, so his name will appear on the ballots, even though he is a lame duck councilman whose term will expire in June.

Dyrek also received this message from candidate Alice Kunka:

“I am choosing not to attend the debate sponsored by the Sonoran News. Here is a true definition of a debate.... from the FEC.

“A. Debate: The Federal Election Commission (FEC) defines a debate as an event that
• includes at least two candidates;
• is staged in a way that does not promote or advance one candidate over another; and
• allows the candidates to appear concurrently, in face-to-face confrontations, with opportunities to respond to each other.

“I do not feel that .., given its history... the Sonoran News will be "unbiased" and not promote one candidate over another. In fact the Sonoran News often "attacks" candidates and their families. I will not participate in anything hosted by this newspaper, nor will I send them my information.

“Thanks, Alice Kunka”

First of all, Sonoran News has sponsored nine forums. We never have sponsored a “debate.” A reading in a dictionary might have avoided such nonsense.

It is Kunka’s choice, although I explained to her, ad nauseum, that we do endorse candidates, but not until they have attended our forum, which has a history of separating the sheep from the goats. It appears she wants to avoid showing her ignorance of the public expectations of a councilmember.

In a number of conversations Kunka showed her lack of knowledge about council matters. When she told me her advisor is an ex- council member, I asked her if she was aware her advisor had violated open meetings laws. Kunka asked what open meeting laws were, making my point about her lack of knowledge.

I had advised her, as I have many council member wannabes, they should opt for a seat on the Planning Commission. As commissioners they would learn how Cave Creek government operates and get a lesson in the vast array of ordinances the town must follow as well as how state statutes must be applied.

Now Kunka has the audacity to claim our forums are not fair. After holding eight forums, that accusation has never been made. Not once. With no knowledge of history of this town how would she know? Not only did she not show for our forum she isn’t sending candidate publication information to us. I can’t blame her since she has absolutely no qualifications to be a council member. But we will grant her wish and let other forums report the same thing, if they are honest.

Our forum on Jan. 25 had about 35 attendees and, as usual, Carefree Architect Shelby Wilson did a masterful job as the master of ceremonies. The audience picked up on his wit and there were smiles all around, candidates and audience.

Neither Trenk nor Kunka showed up nor did the usual dark side. We are told they have boycotted Sonoran News in favor of other forums.

The forum included Mayor Vincent Francia, who is running unopposed, Vice Mayor Ernie Bunch and current Councilmen Jim Bruce, Dick Esser and Steve LaMar. New candidates are Planning Commissioner Shelley Anderson and Thomas Maguire who served two previous terms. The remaining candidate is the previously mentioned, “know nothing” Kunka.

This will be Cave Creek’s first mail-in election so there are 3,573 potential voters.
Personally, I will miss the Tuesday gathering and believe mail-in voting denies voters last minute adjustments to their choices. Even though the council candidates that were at our forum are all eminently qualified for council seats, there will likely be run-off elections in May. The theory is the large pool of voters are not up to speed on candidates and will perhaps vote for only names familiar to them.

Moving forward to the May election, a possible vote on property tax looms large. On this subject I have an intense disagreement with the town manager and some council members. Although this newspaper fought hard for the Spur Cross Ranch (SCR) purchase, our local politicians promised and promised again there would never be another property tax. Now they want one. Even though they can’t legally continue the SCR tax, they use it as an example arguing, like CCUSD does, taxes won’t increase and the tax will approximate what we are paying for SCR.

All taxes are too high, and property tax is the worst possible form of tax. Town Manager Usama Abujbarah and his liberal cohorts are racing for a property tax without looking at alternatives.

Look at the tax base. When I came here in 1990 town sales tax was two percent. The council later added .5 percent to fund SCR maintenance costs. Recently, the town added .5 percent for a total of three percent. Somewhere among the added one percent is enough to fund fire protection. As one Your View writer said we are paying too much when we have an average of two fires a year.

There is much to be explored before the town jumps off a cliff in favor of a forever property tax.