November 5th Carefree Council nonsense

John TraynorBy John Traynor | November 12, 2008

They might have learned something from the water rate increase fiasco last fall, but didn't. With Wayne Fulcher in the driver’s seat, the Brain-Trust-Six (BTS) approved a ridiculous resolution to extend the council terms from two years to four. They did so without considering term limits or allowing voters to select the mayor. Voters have shown they want change and more choices, but the BTS has gone the other way. I suspect a very real, dark motivation behind this move – more on that later.

Coady argued for the sane opposition, making several good points which were mostly ignored by the BTS. In fact, he was reprimanded by the mayor for referring to the resolution as nonsense. I’d have used a stronger phrase.

All the nonsense I heard during the council discussion caused me to throw my prepared remarks out the window. Why bother to make a rational case to a group fixated on control, with the decision predetermined? Sane leadership is open to sincere discussion and lively debate in order to flesh out the core issues and potential solutions to problems – difficult to do when; a) there is no problem to solve, and b) the leadership is somewhere south of sane.

The mayor stated he had been asked on several occasions, over the past few years, why the town did not move to four-year council terms. He failed to identify the source of those inquires, though Hugh Stevens comes to mind. He also stated residents would benefit from the proposed change, yet failed to identify those benefits. He, the BTS, or their handlers will think up something before March. My guess is Hughie and friends were scared during the last council election: Coady not only retained his seat but potential Coady allies almost unseated several incumbents.

There was so much preposterous rationalization, one could easily join the ranks of the insane. For instance, Coady asked why the mayor cited the two-year election cycle as too costly and time consuming for candidates. Fulcher replied that in the last election, David Smith spent over $12,000 on his campaign, and if he chose to run again in March, he would probably spend the same or more. He thought that was too costly for David. Coady’s very astute reply was it was David’s choice. I spent $51 on my campaign. True, I was not elected but my vote count was surprisingly close and scary to a few council members who spent far more. Fulcher also forgot to mention he and the BTS derived great benefit from the large sums spent by various PACs. This was especially true of the PAC run by Uncle Hughie, who strong-armed money from Kiwanis members – a clear violation of Kiwanis by-laws.

The stuff was so deep I regretted not wearing my old duck hunting gear – can’t do much about the odor, but dry is good. I tried to address some of the stuff being flung around. Sadly, I missed a few opportunities while hitting on some insane comments. Not to worry, Fulcher assured me there would be ample opportunity for discussion over the next four months. He has no idea! I can’t think of a good way to proceed without making this longer than it has grown, so I’ll try (a little) restraint. I’ll discuss the dark side ($$$) motivations behind this nonsense another time.

Here goes:
David Schwan said, “We are not taking anything away from the voters.” Right David. Nor are you giving them anything, except perhaps living with bad choices for two years longer.
The one of Lloyd Meyer’s I liked best was, “as anyone in management knows, continuity is good.” Continuity never trumps bad management. Besides, Gardner has had at least 12 years of continuity Coady 10, Fulcher/Meyer 6, or 8. No one could remember offhand more than two council seats being replaced in any election; a shame since Carefree could have benefited from refreshing the political gene pool. The Town Administrator has been around forever. Is that continuity or stagnation?

The only one spewing more stuff than Meyer was Fulcher. Boy can he fling it. I’ll pick one that frosted my cookies. He had a chart of the 90 or so towns/cities in Arizona on display. He enlightened us that all but four have adopted four year council terms. I failed to win brownie points with the mayor when I related a story from my childhood, ending with a question from my mother, which many of you may have heard in some form, “If your friends were jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge, would you join them?” Since I’m here, to the dismay of the BTS, the answer was, not today. The mayor isn’t happy when I bring up the fact I’m from New York. Ask him where he’s from sometime.

I also tried to address selection of the mayor by the council. In a botched attempt at humor I said I thought more of the inmates should get to choose who runs the asylum. I probably should have thrown in the fact that only one other town besides Carefree fails to elect their mayor.

So, the Carefree political machine will be gearing up to reelect their boys and get this irrational proposal passed during the March primary. They’ll think up some slick stuff to sell you, and they’ll pressure their captive followers to vote. They’ll craft their selling points in a manner similar to several unscrupulous propositions we’ve just witnessed. Listen politely, and then think seriously about their true intentions.

Carefree typically has poor to fair voter turnout, which generally assures the control mongers victory. However, in the recent general election, voters all across America delivered a message to politicians in every state; you will have another chance in March.