Vote No on Question 1

I am a retired Battalion Chief from the City of Portland (Oregon) Bureau of Fire & Rescue with about 30 years of professional career experience.  I have held every rank from firefighter through Assistant Chief, including Chief Training Officer and Fire Marshal.  I have a 2 year Associate Degree in Fire Technology, a Bachelor of Science Degree in Fire Service Administration, and most of the graduate level course work towards a Masters Degree in Public Administration.  I am a current subscriber to the Rural Metro Fire Department and have been since moving to Cave Creek in 2005.  My current subscription cost is $982.44. 

I am not against municipal or for profit fire protection and emergency medical service (EMS) delivery.  I am against Question 1 and the manner in which it has been presented. Question 1 is ill advised in its scope and content and the fact that it is on the ballot, in my opinion, is evidence of town council members who supported this measure abandoning their responsibility. And here are just a couple of the reasons why.

Legitimate fire protection and EMS delivery requires a systems approach defined by expected levels of service to be provided, the required standards of performance by the provider to achieve these service levels and supported by:

Appropriately located stations;
Staffing - adequately trained and in appropriate numbers;
Apparatus & equipment appropriate for the protection/risk environment;
Logistical support;
Dispatch/Communication systems & facilities;
Training programs, certification levels & facilities for emergency response personnel;
Fire prevention/Code Enforcement activities;
Municipal infrastructure to support fire protection, specifically, the water system (mains, hydrants, storage & pump stations serving the entire protection area);
Proper installation, maintenance & testing of all water system components.
Intergovernmental/agency agreements addressing automatic/mutual aid

As far as I can tell Question 1 does not realistically reflect the above. Question 1 asks voters to authorize, "...a primary property tax not to exceed $1,300,000 for the cost of fire and emergency medical services." The $1,300,000 appears to be an arbitrary figure appropriated from the Town of Carefree and represents the amount it spends on fire protection and EMS?!  It bears little, if any, relationship to the amount that might be required to provide fire protection services and EMS to Cave Creek.  Why?  Because Cave Creek, to my knowledge, has not defined what it wants and expects from these services, let alone developed the associated costs.

Question 1 is so deficient its hard to know where to begin, but let me start with one glaring element.  The primary function of all fire departments is the timely delivery of quality emergency services.  A critical performance measurement of service delivery is response time (the total amount of time between the receipt of the initial call at the dispatch center until the arrival of fire/EMS units at the emergency scene).  There is a lot that goes into response time, so let me just refer to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standard 1710, "Standard for the Organization and Deployment of Fire Suppression Operations, Emergency Medical Operations and Special Operations to the Public by Career Fire Departments".  This standard specifies response times together with staffing requirements to cover 90 percent of emergency incidents in a given jurisdiction.  NFPA 1710 requires travel time of 4 minutes or less for the arrival of the 1st engine company at a fire suppression incident. It also has the same response time standard for the arrival of a 1st responder or higher level capability at an emergency medical incident.  A community does not have to adopt NFPA standards, however, they do serve as recognized standards of service and, are therefore useful as a planning and evaluation tool.

Why is response time so critically important. Because at 3 minutes after ignition in a structure fire the temperature 3 feet above the floor is already 500 degrees.  Flashover ("stage of a fire at which all surfaces and objects within a space have been heated to their ignition temperature, and flame breaks out almost at once over the surface of all objects in the space."  International Fire Service Training Association) occurs at less than 4 minutes after ignition.  The consequences of substandard response times for life, property and the safety of emergency response personnel should be obvious-it ain't good! 

Does the current single station location, staffed by Rural Metro provide adequate response times for 90% of Cave Creek?  How much does a fire engine properly equipped and staffed cost if the town needs to add such protection to EQUITABLY extend fire protection to 90 percent of the town? How much does a station cost (even if it is located in a remodeled residence)?  Does Question 1 address these critical issues or their associated costs?  They are not free or inexpensive.

EMS incidents are also extremely time critical with respect to response times.  As regards a heart attack, the American Heart Association states that when cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is initiated within 4 minutes, the victim's chances of leaving the hospital alive are 4 times greater than if the victim did not receive CPR until after 4 minutes.  Severe bleeding and breathing problems also require the same level of response.  Has Question 1 adequately addressed the issue of extending EMS EQUITABLY to 90 percent of Cave Creek?

With respect to the water system, I have a hydrant in front of my property.  To my knowledge, it has not been tested, the caps spun off and lubricated or the gallons per minute of flow verified during my residency.  I have not surveyed all the water system hydrants, but I do know they are not color coded for flow, some are incorrectly installed so as to render them unusable or delay their operation, some are obstructed by vegetation and trees making their use problematical. Have adequate water mains been installed in all areas of the town with adequate flows and hydrant locations so as to EQUITABLY provide an essential element of fire protection to all our community?  Does the $1,300,000 in Question 1 address this critical, essential element of fire protection?

The above just scratches the surface of what is required to provide quality fire protection and EMS. I do not believe the Town of Cave Creek is discharging the responsibilities for which it is currently obligated and it is asking to take on an additional responsibility with major and expensive consequences.  So, can anyone honestly say what the $1,300,000 is buying us?  I'd like to know, because I'm not against fire protection and EMS.  If I hear the right answers, I can change my mind.  My gut, intuition and experience tell me that the expectations of some citizens for a guarantee of, "...EQUITABLE and AFFORDABLE fire protection and emergency services for ALL members of our community," will not be met with Question 1.  If Question 1 is what we are getting now, it will not be EQUITABLE, AFFORDABLE OR SUSTAINABLE.  I suggest starting over by defining the level of fire protection and EMS the citizens want and need.  From that information, develop a Request for Proposal (RFP) and ask for fire service and EMS providers to respond. That could include Scottsdale, Phoenix, Daisy Mountain, Rural Metro and any other capable, qualified provider.  The services of a Fire Protection Engineer should be considered to guide this process.  From the process we'll gain a sense of needs (needs assessment), what we have now, what is available to us and at what cost-up front-so we can make an informed, unemotional decision about an important, critical service.

Bob Voris
Cave Creek


Follow up letter requesting clarifications after April 20 meeting at town hall

Mayor Francia,
Here are the rumors that I’d like to have you either confirm as to any truth in them or reaffirm that nothing is going on with relation to any of them:

1. The Annexation Agreement with the residents of Morningstar Road is going to be invalidated and Morningstar Road will be paved and extended to provide access to the Cahava Springs Development. Paving is rumored to begin on May 10.

2. A private citizen’s home at the corner of Morningstar and Spur Cross Roads will be taken through condemnation, eminent domain, or some other process in order to build a fire station.

3. Sixty-five foot power poles will be run along Spur Cross Road by APS.

4. Spur Cross Road is going to be extended North through the Tonto National Forest.
You also said that you would be happy to extend the Morningstar Annexation Agreement(s). I’d certainly like to see that happen as a reaffirmation of the town’s commitment to its Annexation Agreement(s) and a sign of good faith, as I’m sure would many of the residents affected by those Agreements, along with others of us that live off of Spur Cross Road. How about another 25 years with automatic renewal options?

You mentioned that the Cahava Springs development was approved with one ingress/egress and it was not through Morningstar or the East side. The Site Plan (attached) shows access via N 40th Drive on the South. I think many of the residents would also like to hear it reaffirmed that there will be no other access to that development.

If you would be so kind as to address these issues in a letter to either myself or to “The Citizens of Cave Creek”, it would go a long way towards alleviating many of the rumors that are going on right now in our town.

Thank you,

Scott Dahne
Cave Creek

It was good to see you yesterday evening at the gathering. Let me try to answer your questions, point by point.

1. As I told Patti Widnes on the phone this morning: Morning Star is not going to be paved
10 days from now, not 10 years from now. I am not now nor would I ever be in favor of invalidating the agreement with the citizens of Morning Star; nor do I know of any council members who would be in favor.

2. I talked with Chief Kraetz of Rural Metro. He said no such statement was made (apparently he’s heard it, too). Only the town can condemn or apply eminent domain on property. We have no such intention to condemn Katherine Bosco’s home or any other citizen’s home for the purpose of a firehouse; nor have we ever had it. Depending on how the vote goes on town-wide fire coverage our thinking is as follows. Rural Metro Firehouse 1 would remain where it is. When the time came to build a second firehouse or move the first one to this location, the location would be at the Waste Water Treatment Center on Carefree Highway.

3. Nothing definitive on APS poles, because I haven’t spoken directly to their representatives. I heard they were coming down my street – New River Road. Usama feels they’re going down Carefree Highway, since that is the most direct route to the sub-station which is by the Cave Creek Museum. When I find out definitively, I’ll let you know.

4. The County has talked about building a visitor center in Spur Cross Ranch. If so they were thinking of paving Spur Cross Road to the visitor center, in Spur Cross. I would say that’s been put on hold. We have jurisdiction over Spur Cross, not over the Tonto. I’ve not heard the one about paving Spur Cross to the Tonto.

Personally I have no problem extending the agreement with the citizens along Morning Star. That would be a Council matter.

I’ve looked at your attached Cahava Springs site plan and I don’t see what you referring to. The Cahava Springs site plan was approved with a one way in, one way out access via 26th street, which changes into 24th street. Council would have to change the one way in, one way out. I have no reason to do so, nor do I know of any fellow council members who do.
There is no Morning Star access to Cahava Springs. As long as I am on Council there will be no other access to Cahava Springs (which by the way, I think is years away from development) other than one way in, one way out.

Please feel free to share this email with whomever.

Keep in touch.

Mayor Vincent


We can help make a difference

Take a moment to consider some of our most devoted volunteers ... our Desert Foothills Sheriff's Posse. The members of our Posse, made up of retirees as well as those who also hold full-time jobs, provide the extra protection that make law enforcement run smoothly for our community.

In 2011 our Posse logged 85,000 miles helping us in a wide variety of ways. We see them daily in their eleven marked patrol cars.

But are you aware that they are self-funded? Our Posse does not receive any money from the county or the state. The members purchase their own uniforms and personal equipment. They attend extensive training sessions to enable them to do the best possible job for us.

Now it is our turn to help them. Vehicles need maintenance, and radio systems need to be upgraded. Their volunteer hours are logged for us, for the safety of our community. And
this valuable service is provided by unpaid volunteers.

Your tax-deductible donation will show them they are appreciated for all they do for us every day of the year. Desert Foothills Sheriff's Posse, PO Box 3848, Carefree, AZ 85377.

Virginia Brooks


Dear Mayor and Council:

I am disappointed that the Town of Cave Creek (4 to 3) apparently caved in to the threats of litigation regarding the Sorchych 33-foot parcel given to the town. I find it difficult to believe that anyone on the Council was unaware of this litigation. This lawsuit over an easement and road maintenance has been a high profile media issue including the involvement of the Arizona State Legislature.

My wife and I (including several neighbors) have been victimized on similar issues in the past. We built our home on 5 acres in the early 1980s. In the 1990s we were harassed for 8 years by a land owner's attorney (Noel Hebits) over a similar easement issue. On another occasion, a bullying "New Yorker" purchased land in the area and attempted to have the Board of Adjustments reduce his setback to 10 feet. His objective was to block use of the road by building a home on an easement used by 7 or 8 homeowners. After vigorous community activism the Board turned him down. In the Town Hall parking lot this man and his wife used some of the most vulgar language I have heard making threats to many Creekers. The Board had the courage to take the right action and not be bullied.

Although Mr. Sorchych and Sonoran News may be viewed as controversial by some, this should not be a factor in the council's decision. I would urge the Council to help protect all citizens from this type of "attorney" abuse and re-vote this "gift" with full knowledge that "all" residents are tired of this type of bullying.

John Hoeppner
Cave Creek


George Soros … suicidal maniac?!!

With regard to George Soros dedicating $10 million dollars into the left-wing scheme to unseat Sheriff Joe, allow me to draw upon the following analogy:

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941, Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto realized that he had made a huge error and exclaimed shortly thereafter: "I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant."

As wealthy as George Soros may be, the accumulation of wealth doesn't necessarily equate with being a mentally well balanced individual! Little does he realize that pouring all of this money into ventures attempting to undermine those law enforcement officials dedicated to enforcing our Constitution, just infuriates the majority of mainstream America. History is replete with examples of Americans taking just so much abuse and nonsense before they decide that they have had enough and will inevitably strike back!

George Soros doesn't have enough money in this life or in his wildest dreams that will cause the American spirit to bend to the will of an egomaniacal, mentally defective billionaire! Keep throwing your money down that dark hole George! It only serves to make the will of your opponents (the American people) stronger, more resilient and determined in dealing with nothing more than a political street punk who happens to have figured out a way to game the very system he is determined to destroy! This is not intelligence … this is a suicide slowly unfolding with people being sacrificed in an ideological rush to certain anarchy and chaos!!

Vince Ansel


Barack Obama is choking our economy to death

If our economy was a car engine, Obama would be putting low-grade, high ethanol gas in the tank (higher taxes) and clogging up the air filter (with regulations), thus choking the efficiency out of the engine. He, like every socialist, has so much hatred toward capitalism that he is not capable of seeing that he is choking us to death. Unless he lets the free markets work and let GDP grow above 4 percent annualized to grow the "American Pie," we will continue to suffer high unemployment, a weak housing recovery, high energy costs, perpetual government deficits, and growing dependency on handouts.

Obama is the cause of this recession lingering like it is and he will never get out of the way because he cannot give up command and control. We will see a "social justice" campaign, as if Jeremiah Wright or Louis Farrakhan were running for President of the United States. After all, he has nothing else to run on, so he goes to his background and strength, which is community organizing and agitation Pitting Americans against each other. Pathetic.

Steven Caddy
Cave Creek


My property rights

Dear Mr. Sorchych,
There's something about the wide open spaces of our area that makes people not understand that there are property boundaries, that people actually DO own the land out here.

In particular, I'm talking about my property, which borders Cave Creek Wash, between Yucca and Ocotillo, west of Spur Cross.

I cannot tell you how many times I've had "discussions" with people riding their horses through my property, trying to explain to them what those "No Trespassing", "No Hiking", "No Horses" signs they just rode past mean.

Backing up, one might ask why I don't want people riding on my land. Well, for starters, it's MY land, and I have every right to ask people to stay off.

Secondly, someone could possibly get hurt on my land and decide to try to sue me. I even had the leader of an entire Brownie Troop argue with me when I asked her to take her little girls elsewhere to climb on the rocks and trees.

Third … some of the riders smoke, and I fear that one day, their dropped cigarette will light a fire that will destroy my home.

Like I said, I've tried to talk to the offenders, and they have the nerve to argue with me! I've heard it all … everything from "But we're just having fun" to "Call the sheriff, if you don't like it", and I've been told that I was being "stingy" with my own land. I had one woman tell me yesterday she "knows" I don't own that land and she "knows" I cannot put up signs and block the creek. Well … I'm NOT blocking the creek, and yes, I CAN put up signs, it's PRIVATE PROPERTY.

I've talked to the local sheriff's office and they've said there isn't much they can do. If I called them, it's low priority to them (because there's so much crime in Cave Creek, I imagine) and that by the time they got out here, the riders would be gone anyway.

I have three large dogs I no longer let run on their own land, as they like to greet the horses, and the horse owners do not really want to get friendly with my dogs, since it tends to scare their horses. Shame on my dogs for running on their own land!

I'd just like to know if there's any way to perhaps get the word out, that almost all of the land people can see around here is, indeed, owned by someone. Unless they want to help me pay my property taxes, I'd prefer they play in their own backyards … or tell me where they live, so I can play in theirs, too.

Thanks for letting me vent.

Stacey Stenson
Cave Creek


Got me!

OK, you got me! Being new to receiving your paper I had no idea about the April Fool's edition. So seeing the article about Lake Morning Star put me in the fishing mood. My 10 year old son and I loaded our gear early Friday morning and headed out. A friend said that it must be up Spur Cross Trail.

We met the ranger as he was opening the gate and I asked him to point us to Lake Morning Star. With a big laugh he explained that the article was an April Fool’s joke. "The paper does it every year!"

I was dumbfounded and my son looked at me like the fearless leader that had just been knocked off his pedestal. We had visions of catching the big one (or 10) from the newly stocked Lake Morning Star!!

Thankfully, the ranger took pity on us and suggested we try Bartlett Lake just east of town.
Though the fishing was not the best at Bartlett we had a great father son time and have a very humorous fish story to share thanks to you.

Took the bait on Lake Morning Star … gulp!

Chris N.


Carefree Vice-Mayor violated Open Meeting Law 

Vice-Mayor Melissa Price stated publicly (and on the record) that prior to a recent council meeting, she polled the entire town council on an agenda item. Not only is this a blatant violation of Arizona Open Meeting Laws, but standard operating procedure in Carefree.

Polling, secret meetings, hush-hush phone calls and public luncheons have all been used by prior councils since Carefree’s incorporation.

As a former councilman for twelve years, I can personally attest to many of these
violations. I wrote and complained to the State Attorney General a number of times. I supported my claims with documentation and even photos, but to no avail. In fact, during one active investigation by the AG, then Mayor Morgan invited the AG to a Kiwanis luncheon and the complaint magically disappeared.

But, enough of the past; it is the present Carefree citizens need to be concerned with. Mayor Schwan, some council members, staff and of course the Town Attorney will all deny any violation and attempt to “sweep it under the rug.” This violation proves town corruption not only exists, but is condoned by those you elected. Think about it!

Bob Coady
Former Carefree Councilman


Elwood thank you

My father passed away and I now have his 96 Ford F250 to remember him by. I wanted to take it to a shop that has a trustworthy reputation. I felt instantly at ease when I met with Elwood Motor Sports owner Scott Barsellottis. He exuded enthusiasm, confidence and honesty. Elwood Motor Sports went above and beyond my expectations, making this a wonderful experience. I met an honest and fair person like my father when I met Scott. You can see my F250 around town proudly showing off the beautiful work Elwood did.
Thank you Elwood Motor Sports for making my father's truck beautiful.



New food bank building rebuttal

In response to Fritz Biermeier’s comments about the proposed use of space for the food bank, we say thank you. You have given us the opportunity to further explain our expansion plan. As it may look like a lot of unnecessary office space; that is not the case.

When someone comes in seeking assistance, they often have to share personal information. Rather than this conversation being held in a roomful of strangers, one “office” would afford privacy for the client, typically uncomfortable with having to come to a food bank.

Another “office” will be used to help clients with finding available resources for their current situation. We will have volunteers helping those in need of information about food stamps, or shelters, or filing for disability, etc.

As for the “board room,” this will be used more for the purpose of training volunteers than for use by the board. Yes, the board can meet in other locations, as they have been doing, but training new volunteers is best done on site.

Other “office” areas will be used for storage of specific programs, such as Care Club. The only actual office spaces will be the Director’s office and the office of her Assistant. But even then the Director will use her office to meet with individuals that need financial assistance. Currently, the Director and her Assistant are working out of the Director’s home, as well as holding meetings there, because of the lack of space in our current location. This is an unacceptable situation and, in addition, limits the accessibility of the Director to the day-to-day operations at the food bank.

We would be happy to give Fritz Biermeier a tour of the present location and explain further the need for the designated areas.

In summary, the food bank considers itself to be a good steward of the funds donated to us. This new building is not about “show” – it is all about enabling us to better serve the increasing number of clients that come seeking assistance. Our goal is to provide them with the emergency help they desperately need and, in addition, provide them with resources to improve their quality of life. We want to take this opportunity to thank the many people who have responded favorably to our endeavor by making donations toward turning this dream into a reality. We hope many more of you will want to partner with us. Your donation is tax deductible, and eligible for the AZ Working Poor Tax Credit.


Jeanne Panhorst, Board President
Pam DiPietro, Executive Director