Carefree needs positives not negatives

For most of us, Lyn Hitchon lost all credibility a long time ago. As despicable as Hitchon may be for using a deceased woman’s name to push her own agenda, I have to question the motives of this Holly Bergman aka Hollis Pagliaro. It is obvious that this Holly person gave Hitchon the information regarding her own deceased mother. Why? She may own Wild Holly Gallery in Carefree but she doesn’t live in Carefree and she certainly has absolutely no right to interfere in our election process.

Using her deceased mother’s name in an open letter is certainly repugnant, more upsetting is that she is a co-founder along with Jo Gemmill, of the Carefree Business Group. This woman’s actions have not only ruined her own reputation, but she has done irreparable damage to this new organization.

Carefree has had more than its share of “hate mongers.” It is time for all of us to step up and police our town. Both should be removed from their positions; Hitchon as P&Z commissioner and Bergman/Pagliaro as spokeswoman for the merchants. Their dishonorable actions reflect not only on Carefree but all of us as well.

Alice Paul | Carefree


Open letter to Rural/Metro

Dear Capt. Kraetz (Rural/Metro Fire Dept.)

As the daughter of a fireman who died in the line of duty, I have a great deal of respect for firefighters. However, my father never attempted to interfere in local politics since he was not a resident of that neighborhood. I respected his position as he respected the rights and privacy of those in the community. Your men, who do not live in Carefree, and with your express approval, have chosen to politic in Carefree’s first mayoral election. This shows not only poor judgment and unprofessional behavior, but a lack of respect for the Country’s election process.

You have lost the respect of many who have expressed their disapproval of Rural/Metro interference. 

Sue Coady | Carefree

cc: Rural/Metro


Candidate for Town Council

I have known Shelley Anderson both as a neighbor and community activist. Shelley and I worked together on many issues that directly affected our neighborhood as well as the community at large. Shelley is hard working and tenacious when it comes to understanding and resolving concerns. She has the ability to see the big picture while understanding it is the details that need to come to together. Her business experience, family experience and local government experience makes her an excellent candidate for Cave Creek Town Council. In addition, her experience with organizations and unorganized groups of individuals stands her apart from other candidates. She has served on Boards and Commissions for the City of Scottsdale in several capacities and understands the workings of local government. She has always strived for citizen involvement, being an example herself. She is thorough and rationale in her approach to concerns and issues.


Christine Kovach | Scottsdale


Tom McGuire’s quiet commitment

I have known Tom McGuire for about 13 years and in that time I have witnessed his unvarnished support for Cave Creek.  He has consistently volunteered his time and effort for the betterment of the community.

Tom has acted as a docent for the Spur Cross Recreational Area ever since moving here. His efforts at Spur Cross may go unnoticed by the majority of the population of Cave Creek but without his and other volunteers’ support we would not be able to operate the area on a full time basis.  He is currently involved with the committee to pay for the acquisition of the open space that will more than double the size of the Spur Cross Recreation Area.

Conservation of our natural resources has always been at the top of Tom's priorities.  He has spent untold hours tracking the periodic floods in our washes and in particular Cave Creek.  When the issue arose about the bottling of the year round water flow upstream in Cave Creek, Tom was one of the first to alert the town about this issue.  Many sections of the creek remain wet year round contributing to our flora and wildlife, so while this may have remained under the radar of most citizens Tom was able to alert the town and pursue the issue.

Most know that Tom was a two term council member and in the last election he and another candidate had an equal number of votes in the general election; after a recount showed that the vote count was a dead heat, the issue was settled with a card draw.  Tom drew the low card and lost his bid for re-election.  This made national news, but what did not make national news was that Tom's opponent spent $20,000 plus and he spent less than $500. 
Being the gentleman that he is Tom shook his opponents hand and wished him well.

I am sure that Tom McGuire will still keep Cave Creek at the top of his priorities and continue his quiet commitment to our town; he is just that type of a person. I wish him well in his endeavor to regain his seat on the council.  He is a good man for Cave Creek.

George A. Ross | Cave Creek


Carefree ballot changes!

Heads up, Carefree voters! Two significant ballot changes have occurred for our upcoming Carefree elections! The very capable Karen Smith-Lovejoy, whose name is still on the ballot, has had to take herself out of the running.

AND, at the last minute my friend Jim Van Allen has filed to run as a write-in candidate for Carefree Town Council. The residents of Carefree could not ask for a better prepared individual on council. Jim Van Allen knows how to get things done. He has had 35 years as a leader in the hotel industry.

He is a fiscal conservative with a solid knowledge of how to budget wisely. He maintains strong views against any property tax. His record as a volunteer servant reads as 23,772 hours of protecting the Foothills Community while a member of our Posse. He has no ties to any special interest groups.

Jim Van Allen has worked with the Town Staff of Carefree and respect is a cornerstone of his decency. Most of all Jim Van Allen has the willingness to continue to preserve Carefree's uniqueness and its unique quality of Life.

Remember the name. Jim Van Allen. Write it in when you vote. We will indeed be fortunate to have Jim Van Allen on our Carefree Town Council.

Virginia Brooks | Carefree


Violent alien smugglers sentenced to combined 14 years in prison

U.S. District Court Judge Susan R. Bolton on Monday, Feb. 14, sentenced Oscar Caballero-Vergara and Faustino Chavez-Angulo each to 84 months in prison for their involvement in a violent alien smuggling group. Caballero-Vergara and Chavez-Angulo pleaded guilty to Possessing, Using and Carrying a Firearm During and in Relation to a Crime of Violence in Nov. 2010.

Co-defendant, Melissa Segura is scheduled to be sentenced on March 21, 2011. Another co-defendant, Abraham Flores-Angeles, 22, a citizen of Mexico, was found guilty of Conspiracy to Take Hostages, Hostage Taking, Harboring Illegal Aliens, and Brandishing a Firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, by a federal jury in Phoenix on Jan. 11, 2011.  He is currently in custody pending sentencing which is set on April 11, 2011 before Judge Bolton.

“Alien smugglers conduct their illegal transactions with a human currency, and the results for the victims can be violent and dehumanizing, which this case clearly demonstrates,” said U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke. “Our office will continue to partner with ICE in finding and aggressively prosecuting illegal alien smuggling organizations.”

In April of 2010, this group held at least 40 illegal aliens hostage at a house in Phoenix.  While being held at gunpoint, suspects tied one victim with duct tape, then kicked and beat him. All of the aliens in the house were forced to call their families, ask for ransom money and were threatened with death.  Approximately six people escaped by jumping out a bedroom window after which one defendant told the remaining aliens that they should not try to escape because he would “shoot to kill.” 

An anonymous tip led U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) to the ‘drop house’ where the aliens were held.  After conducting surveillance, the ICE agents questioned the driver of a vehicle seen leaving the house. The driver, Chavez-Angulo, was arrested by agents at that time. When agents entered the home, they found a loaded shotgun and more than 40 illegal aliens held hostage inside.  They then arrested Oscar Caballero-Vergara and Abraham Flores-Angeles inside the home.

“The violence perpetrated on illegal aliens by criminal smuggling organizations reveals their true motive, to extract as much profit as possible regardless of the pain, suffering and humiliation of those they are supposedly ‘helping,’” said Matt Allen, special agent in charge of ICE Homeland Security Investigations in Phoenix. “ICE will continue to work closely with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to ensure that criminals involved in the smuggling, abuse and extortion of illegal aliens in Arizona are held accountable for their actions.”

A conviction for Hostage Taking and a Firearm charge carry a maximum penalty of life in prison years, a $ 250,000 fine or both. These penalties must be served consecutively.  The evidence at trial showed the hostage taking included a ransom demand, the use of a dangerous weapon, and vulnerable victims.   Combined with the penalty for the firearm charge and related offenses, his recommended guideline sentence will likely be life in prison.  In determining an actual sentence, Judge Bolton will consult the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide appropriate sentencing ranges.  The judge, however, is not bound by those guidelines in determining a sentence but is bound by the statute requiring that a mandatory minimum sentenced be imposed.

The investigation leading to the guilty verdict was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The prosecution was handled by Walter Perkel and Leta Hollon, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, District of Arizona, Phoenix.

Office of the United States Attorney | Dennis K. Burke, District of Arizona


Since when is a cartel or oligarchy “laissez-faire?”

To: Simon H. Johnson, Professor of Entrepreneurship, MIT Sloan School of Management

From: Craig Cantoni, Author, Columnist, Lifelong Student of Economics, and Former Business Executive/Consultant, Scottsdale, Arizona

Dear Professor Johnson:

I paid 15 bucks for the book you co-authored, 13 Bankers, although I sensed that it would have a left-liberal, or at least Keynesian, bias, given that your co-author has been praised by the likes of Paul Krugman and Bill Moyers. However, as a libertarian who has little use for both of the rapacious and plutocratic political parties and who thinks with good reason that the U.S. banking system is a cartel, that bias would be okay with me, as I read a lot of writings from both sides of the ideological spectrum.

Unfortunately, I only made it to page seven of the introduction. There you make the following statement: "The political influence of Wall Street helped create the laissez-faire environment in which the big banks became bigger and riskier, until by 2008 the threat of their failure could hold the rest of the economy hostage." Of course, this follows the entire theme of your book, as I understand it from the cover – that the top banks have formed an "oligarchy" with politicians.

Is it laissez-faire when industry and government are in bed together? Aren't "political influence" and "laissez-faire" contradictions in terms?

Those are important questions, not nitpicky ones. They're important because most of the nation and world believe that the financial meltdown was due to a failure of free-market capitalism, or laissez-faire capitalism if you will. Many Americans also believe that the dysfunctions with the healthcare/health insurance industry and other industries are due to the same failure. This belief allows them to be seduced by socialists and other statists (as will probably happen in Egypt). This leads to the wrong solution, a solution that hurts the economy and working stiffs. 

My belief, based on overwhelming evidence, is that the failures, dysfunctions, malinvestments, and distortions in the economy are due to a toxic mix of corporatism, rent-seeking, and, in finance and banking, the additional anti-market behavior of the cartel of the Financial Reserve, Treasury, and big commercial and investment banks. Whether we can ever have a truly "free" banking system is problematic, but there are many thinkers who think we can.

Would you agree that it is erroneous and that it misleads people to call what we have "laissez-faire?" If not, could you please educate me on your thinking? Thanks. I'm blind-copying my extensive distribution list and will send them your response.


Craig Cantoni | Scottsdale

UN vote on Israel

All my life I have heard and been taught that Israel is a country that needs our support. I also read in the Bible "I will bless those who bless you (Israel) and curse those who curse you (Israel)." What else need to be said?


William Lawrence, M.D. | Phoenix


Obama signs $2 Billion loan to Brazil

This is a perfect example why many refrain from watching news on ABC, NBC, CBS, or MSNBC.

Last week on a segment of the "Glenn Beck Show" on FOX (Fox Cable News) was the following:

Even though President Obama is against offshore drilling for our country, he signed an executive order to loan $2 Billion of our taxpayer dollars (which we can't afford to loan since we're broke) to a Brazilian Oil Exploration Company (the 8th largest company in the entire world) to drill for oil off the coast of Brazil! The oil that comes from this operation is for the sole purpose and use of China and NOT THE USA!

Now here's the real clincher ... the Chinese government is under contract to purchase all the oil that this field will produce, which is hundreds of millions of barrels" ...  We have absolutely no gain from this transaction whatsoever!

Wait, it gets more interesting.

Guess who is the largest individual stockholder of this Brazilian Oil Company and who would benefit most from this?  It is American BILLIONAIRE, George Soros, who was President Obama's most generous financial supporter during his campaign.  If you are able to connect the dots and follow the money, you are probably as upset as I am.  Not a word of this transaction was broadcast on any of the other news networks!  Are they doing their job? Think about it.

Let all your government representatives know how you feel about this.
Here is the Wall Street Journal article confirming this information.

J.P. Maldonado | Phoenix


Owned by foreign countries

The Obama Administration is spending our money at unprecedented levels and it is projected to continue for years into the future.  Our annual federal deficit is approaching $1.5 trillion and will probably hit $2 trillion before long. Our national debt is projected to go from $14 trillion now to $25 trillion in five to eight years.

As of Nov. 30, 2010 the following are the top 10 countries holding U.S. Treasury Securities in billions of dollars:

1)  Communist China         $896
2)  Japan                          877
3)  United Kingdom            512
4)  Oil Exporters,
     including Venezuela
    & Middle East countries  210
5)  Brazil                          184
6)  Caribbean Countries     146
7)  Hong Kong                  139
8)  Canada                       135
9)  Taiwan                        131
10)  Russia                       123

We are indebted to some countries who are potential adversaries and might be unfriendly to us in the future.  They could decrease their purchases of U.S. Treasury Securities, which would increase interest rates; or they could sell their U.S. Securities, which would hurt the dollar and significantly increase inflation.

The U.S. Administration and Congress have to reign in our current spending spree and reduce our deficits and the money we owe to foreign countries.

Harold Myerson, editor-at-large of American Prospect and the L.A. Weekly in his article “Think bigger, Mr. President” has it right.  He stated “We need to either raise tariffs on unfair foreign competition or reduce taxes on companies that keep, bring or create jobs at home.”

Donald A. Moskowitz | Londonderry, New Hampshire


ObamaCare mandate starting to kill state budgets

The ObamaCare law suffered a significant blow recently when a federal judge ruled that it was unconstitutional.  The case was brought by 26 states, which challenged the constitutionality of the individual mandate provision of the law – the provision requiring individuals to buy health insurance.

But states also have another gripe with the law, namely the burdensome Medicaid mandates that it forces on states.  One of those mandates is known as the maintenance of effort requirement, which prohibits states from reducing their Medicaid eligibility standards.  It denies states the full ability to manage their Medicaid programs to fit their own budgets and their own unique Medicaid populations.

This mandate is a problem in Arizona and other states that are struggling to pay their bills.  In Arizona, tax collections are down by 34 percent since the start of the recession, but enrollment in the state’s Medicaid program has increased by 44 percent. More than 1.3 million Arizonans – 20 percent of the population – are now covered by Medicaid.  The state’s Medicaid program consumes almost 30 percent of the state’s general fund spending
State lawmakers have already taken steps to address the budget deficit by cutting $2.2 billion from a $10 billion budget, but the budget shortfall is still projected to be $1.2 billion in the next fiscal year.

So, even though states can’t afford their current Medicaid obligations, ObamaCare forced an extension of existing eligibility standards until 2014.  Arizona is especially affected because it has some of the most generous Medicaid eligibility standards in the country.  Rather than allow states like Arizona to cut back to the level of other states, ObamaCare freezes in existing disparities.   Beginning in June 2011, Arizona’s share of its Medicaid program will increase by $700 million. The annual cost of this mandate is almost $1 billion.

What can Arizona do?  The choices aren’t pleasant.  Arizona stopped Medicaid funding for seven kinds of transplant surgeries on October 1. That is rationing, and it’s an unfortunate and tragic reality of any government health-care system and a direct and sad result of the ObamaCare mandate.

Before enactment of the president’s health-care bill, the federal government and states were partners in the health-care delivery system. Now, states are merely a financing mechanism for the federal government’s demands. States need to be able to reduce eligibility standards for their Medicaid programs and, thus, decrease the strain on those programs.

Governor Brewer recently asked Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to waive the maintenance of effort provision. Since the administration has granted over 700 waivers to companies and labor unions, one can only hope the same treatment will be provided to states, which are much more crucial partners to the federal government in the delivery of health care. Under the terms of the waiver request, Arizona would preserve Medicaid coverage for one million Arizonans who represent the core of Medicaid’s mission – the aged, disabled, blind, pregnant women, and children. I support the governor’s request and hope the administration will grant this waiver.

The fact that Arizona needs a waiver from this provision in order to balance its budget should provide yet more confirmation that ObamaCare is deeply flawed and unworkable.  Even with a waiver, only repeal of the ObamaCare law will provide permanent relief to states like Arizona and others that are similarly coping with high Medicaid costs.  The Senate recently considered a measure to repeal that law, but unfortunately that effort was defeated.

My like-minded colleagues will continue to look for ways to undo the law and replace it with reforms that expand access to care, lower costs, and do not burden states with huge unfunded mandates.

Sen. Jon Kyl | Senate Republican Whip
Senate Finance and Judiciary committees


Cemetery in AJ

R.I.P in Apache Junction.

Our newspapers are filled with obituaries everyday, it’s inevitable were going to die some time: “Nobody gets out of here alive.” Were all going to kick the bucket sooner or later. I know to some it’s “taboo” to mention death or dying, but our time and our beloved pets time will come too, unfortunately.

What am I getting at here? It is that a cemetery could be just the thing needed in Apache Junction and a great area for the grave sites would be at the Grand Hotels old location.
Famous folks like Elvis, Audie Murphy and John Wayne stayed there at the hotel in its hey day.

Famous people die too, maybe a few will eventually die in Arizona (bless their souls),but they will also need a place to be buried. Being laid to rest in Apache Junction’s Cemetery might open the gates wider for other celebrities whose last wishes are to be laid to rest in view of the Superstition Mountains.

Lonely Planet, a publishing company that puts out travel guide books, recently put Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, France in its top 10 most visited cemetery list, it’s where Jim Morrison of the Doors is buried. It’s on the same list with the Taj Mahal in India and Egypt’s Pyramids of Giza; in addition a pet cemetery in New York called Hartsdale Pet Cemetery was on it too. It actually received, “Best in Travel,” in 2009. Indeed, its rich human-to-animal history may have been the reason the graveyard was listed, Journal News editor Marcia Rojas had stated.

Could a pet cemetery be a good fit also at this location in AJ? Our pets are just as much family as our own immediate family and to some their only family.

A place to pay respects to our loved ones and creatures of this earth too, which I believe have spirit life and souls. For God created all creatures for the good of man to enjoy and respect, they were at the Garden of Eden, for crying out loud.

We’re all waiting for the economy to pick up again; meanwhile our beloved ones are dying (unfortunately), and need a spiritual place to rest in peace. Build it or dig it and they will come. Money is to be made even in death, sorrow and, “dire strait” times. Entrepreneurs and investors with kindred spirits or souls needed for implementing and creating a cemetery behind the Focal Point and get rid of that eye sore so many in our town have to look at.
There is no, “get out of dying card.” Eventually the sand will run out of the hour glass or a tragic event will happen in one’s life. What a serene area and place this could become with the Focal Point at its entrance.

Lyle Anderson | Apache Junction