Cave Creek issues

Ralph Smith

Last week’s Sonoran News online issue carried Linda Bentley’s article about the council meeting regarding recommendations from the staff about special events.

I generally am suspicious of “vision” statements because they are often a prelude to picking my pocket. They are usually spoken by liberals and such was the case here. For instance, there was talk of “streetscape.” Haven’t we heard about that before? And the result was expensive and resembled Scottsdale in character. Often we hear about grants, many of which originate from Obama’s stimulus funds which are either our tax dollars or borrowed.

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The council meeting was vigorous and the audience of nearly 200 filled every seat and overflowed outside.

In a prior workshop, held after Harold’s Corral had held their anniversary party the council was defiant about special events, especially outside events. Mayor Vincent Francia had received numerous complaints as did Town Manager Usama Abujbarah.

Complaints were not just about noise this time, but also from other businesses whose parking lots were flooded with Harold’s patrons. Harold’s had built an outside stage and thereby reduced its parking, so parking lots were full at Binkleys and the Horny Toad.
Also, people in Black Mountain Shadows and Carefree residents complained because the speakers were pointed east and that is where the sound went.

Town Marshal Adam Stein responded to the noise complaints but said the noise was less than the 75 dB ordinance.

Council during a previous workshop, especially Councilmen Jim Bruce and Steve LaMar, argued that outside entertainment might have gone too far and staff was asked for recommendations.

Staff responded with a tightening of town ordinances, reducing acceptable noise levels to 65 dB and requiring special events to require a majority vote by council and regulation of parking.

Some attendees observed many from out of town and some who supported some of the more unsavory characters among us. Although there were a few complaints about noise, the large majority were in favor of a dynamic town core and the more events the better.
The council backed way off from their workshop attitudes and Francia made a motion to accept the staff’s recommendations but encouraged NO votes. They then voted NO unanimously and, although several thrill seekers suggested a committee to study the problems, Abujbarah was asked to meet with appropriate business owners.

On Nov. 29, Abujbarah met with the owners of the Harold’s Corral, Bill Vale and Dannie Piacquadio; Buffalo Chip, Larry Wendt; Binkleys, Kevin Binkley; Horny Toad, Jeff Price; Hideaway and Tap Haus, Mark Bradshaw; and Bart Krasson of Indian Village.

Since complaints were from business owners as well as citizens and the complaints were all on the east side, no one else was invited.

Binkley had complained that Harold’s noise had affected his business and his parking was overwhelmed by Harold’s customers.

Price complained his parking lot was jammed with Harold’s customers.

To solve that problem, Harold’s, Buffalo Chip and Hideaway agreed to each contribute one-third for the cost of parking lot enforcement.

To solve the noise problem Harold’s agreed to point their speakers to the south and seek other means of noise abatement.

Piacquadio has asked us to print his cell phone number and promised to answer any complaints. His number is 602-799-5554.

It will be interesting to see if the vows are kept.

Ralph Smith
It was sad to hear that long time citizen Ralph Smith had passed. You can read his obituary on page two.

Ralph was an erudite curmudgeon and once received a local award for a short story. He often contributed letters to the editor and never once did we have to correct his prose.

Back in the ‘90s he sent a long dissertation about the early years in Cave Creek experienced by him and his wife Elba. Our editor at the time was a man named Steve Morris who wrote a synthesis of sorts and massacred the history piece. I should have spiked the article, but didn’t.

Ralph was unhappy but never confronted me about it. He didn’t write to us for a long time.
One day in July I had a flat on Spur Cross Road. I had just had a knee operation and was limping to town to get someone to come and fix it. I saw a pickup truck go by and then heard it turn around. He stopped by me and said, “It is way too hot to be hiking to town, get in.” He asked where I was going, and I said Sonoran News. I explained who I was, told him how much I appreciated his help and apologized for the Morris article. He dismissed the apology with a wave of his hand and said, “I guess being a friend of Bernard Buffenstein makes me a juicy target, I understand that.” Buffenstein was the Cave Creek mayor that was recalled.

We had a nice chat and he dropped me off. He was a most decent man, a special person and I’ll miss his chats and e-mails.