FEBRUARY 6, 2013
2013 Cave Creek council election
After 10 consecutive Cave Creek Town Council candidate forums with Shelby Wilson as emcee, he fell ill only hours before the forum on Jan. 30. Fortunately Dan Baxley, who is chairman of the planning and zoning commission, agreed to fill the vacancy and he did a spectacular job.
Sonoran News wants to thank the town for providing the needed space and Dan, for a performance to remember.
There was standing room only after all available chairs were filled.
All six incumbents are running for re-election and there were five challengers. Steve Snider was not there and later sent a message he is withdrawing. Mayor Vincent Francia was unopposed.
I have said earlier the group that rallied anti-town activity over the proposed Enchanted Canyon project was using that proposed Resort as an excuse to go after the local government. They were furious when the developer decided to withdraw the application and blamed the town because there was no reason to show up and protest. That group of dissidents were practicing well known Chicago politics, which was offered by Rahm Emanuel when he stated, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is it is an opportunity to do things you could not do before.”
So this group, those we refer to as the dark side, and a recent arrival named Mike Chutz became aggressive and vocal about the resort. However their real goal was to replace the mayor, council and town staff. Toward that end, Chutz and others raised $40,000 and spent $15,000 with a Rose Law firm land use attorney. Candidate Adam Trenk, a Rose Law Firm member who had moved to Scottsdale, was an activist against the Enchanted Canyon proposed project.
The Enchanted Canyon developers had a scheduled meeting with planning and zoning, but at the last minute decided to drop the project.
The Chutz group became infuriated and their fury was directed at town hall although the developer’s actions were legal and appropriate. Chutz demanded the planning commission meeting be held although it would have been unnecessary. Mayor Vincent Francia agreed to host a meeting at town hall to defuse the situation. Francia used the opportunity to tell the truth about rumors that were driving some of their anger. One rumor, a favorite among homeowners on Morning Star Road, was the far west Cahava Springs development would access across Cave Creek Wash and use Morning Star to come to town. If they bothered to read the town approved plat map they would see that the development gave the town an 80 acre land bridge that could not be crossed by vehicles. Furthermore, with the continuing recession Cahava Springs development is stalled and will be for years.
There is substantial evidence the challenging group is a slate. They think alike and have a simple goal and that is to take over town council. They are composed of a radical newcomer and dark side dissidents. Activists like Anna Marsolo, who doesn’t live here and Terry Zerkle, the ex-Tempe town manager who lusts for Usama Abujbarah’s job are examples. Zerkle has written complaining letters to various state agencies numerous times and got responses every time that he was wrong. Marsolo’s phone complaint about a sign to former town lawman Bobbie Hernandez resulted in handcuffing and jailing two town business owners. Over a sign mind you!
Recently, slate candidate Eileen Wright, wife of Carefree’s town attorney and Anna Marsolo’s buddy and neighbor, filed a complaint about Anna’s ex-husband, claiming he needs a town business license. The town is investigating.
The question arises about the sources and destination of the funds contributed by and raised by Mike Chutz. There appears to be about $25,000 remaining after the Enchanted Canyon fiasco. There have been rumors contributors have asked for their money back and were refused. Chutz himself who has immersed himself in town politics has told people locally he will keep his voting status in Pittsburgh. Why then is he leading a slate of candidates who don’t pass the smell test?
Will Chutz donate the money to the slate which is titled, “Protect and preserve?” Look at their campaign signs, which carry the banner stolen from MCSO cruisers, and ask yourself if they are a slate. Of course they are.
In the dim past, about 1995, when Sonoran News first printed, Bernard Buffenstein fielded a slate. It was not successful as a slate and neither was Buffenstein’s erratic behavior. He was later recalled and citizens quickly decided to elect a mayor directly rather than council appointing one.
When you get a slate what you get is a unanimous rubber stamp vote no matter what. The so-called strategy of the slate shows a complete misunderstanding of town history. The town manager form of government has created superb results and no town manager before Abujbarah was at all useful. Thank God he was steering the ship of state when hard times erupted. You can read the thoughts and beliefs of both incumbents and challengers in this issue. The challengers are way off base. The town has an extraordinary record and is solidly in the black with a $3.4 million dollar surplus. These people are screaming wolf when none are even close.
The choice of David Phelps to head the political action committee shows no knowledge of the past. He has been an enemy to the town and has had paid positions to be on the side of enemies of the town. He served on council and in conjunction with then Town Attorney Tom Irvine colluded to vote in a napkin of a proposed development, were sued, and cost the town over $1,000,000 in court. As a neighbor of the Knolls subdivision he was so disruptive Knolls threatened to sue him. It would take several editorials to adequately explain the damage he has cost the town.
We have a splendid council and they have done a splendid job. Vincent Francia is unopposed because the town has given him super majorities in their votes. He understands the town manager form of government and respects it. I know of no citizen who would come anywhere close to his love for the town and willingness to work hard while never overreaching.
There is much more to be said and both our weekly web page and semi-monthly printed editions will alert you to election issues.