Cave Creek Council Candidates
Name: Ernie Bunch Age: 54
Occupation: Machinery Designer/Small Business Partner
Education: 1 year College
Birthplace: Denison, Texas
Cave Creek Resident: 8 1/2 years
Experience: Currently in second council term.
1. I cast my votes based on facts, not emotion, for the overall good of the community.
2. Surviving the current global economic downturn is the highest priority. If we don’t do that, 10 years from now doesn’t matter. We are positioned correctly for the future with water and wastewater for the Carefree Highway development, where tax revenue will come from for the future.
3. I would argue Cave Creek is more of a “Can’t Do” town. Just ask anyone who wants to bring in a business or a development. Our history speaks for itself. If we don’t change the attitudes we won’t weather this economic downturn.
4. I believe the Cave Creek we want to keep is defined by the historic core, open space, trails, horses, artists, bikers, and yes, tourists. As long as we don’t allow “Generica America” to invade the core and we protect the other categories we’ll be fine.
5. If we can’t depend on development fees we sure better find another revenue stream! We have a long history of saying, “Don’t Do That”. Well, the chickens have come home to roost. I believe you should be able to purchase 80 percent of your daily needs inside the geographic boundaries of your home town. Not wants, but basic needs. We’re not anywhere close. The purchase of many of these necessities provides sale tax revenue. That would go a long way toward replacing the current model. I can’t see myself ever supporting a property tax. That is the only other choice!
6. I will support Wal-Mart if they choose to move forward. Carefree Highway will be something very different from the historic core, and it must be. If Carefree Highway were developed with the same mindset as the core, there would be no reason for anyone to travel further north. The core would die! The tax revenue from Wal-Mart would help support the things we cherish most: trails, open space and a rural lifestyle that is rapidly diminishing in today’s America.
Name: Kim Brennan Age: 39
Occupation: Real estate sales and consulting; small business owner, Big Earl’s Greasy Eats; Mom Education: Primary and Secondary Education in Tempe and Mesa, Ariz. Cultural Study abroad: N. America, Europe. Self-employed 20 years.
Birthplace: Limestone, Maine
Cave Creek resident: 6 years
Experience: 1 term, Cave Creek Planning and Zoning Commission; 2 terms, Cave Creek Town Council.
1. The best we can do is to make the most of our resources, protect property values and put a keen eye toward the future. Short term creativity and long-term planning are required. Experience helps as does an ability to work together. I promise to act in the best interest of Cave Creek and vote my conscience on each issue, regardless of political or social pressure.
2. Cash flow, infrastructure and identity: Cave Creek must be ready to meet challenges and opportunities as they are presented. This means preparing for sewage treatment, water infrastructure, roadways and open space. It means initiating effective PR to protect and promote our unique identity.
3-5.What makes Cave Creek special is what allows us to prosper: location, beauty, small town charm. These features, properly promoted, create revenue, protect community values and enhance property values. Town council can act to increase cash flow and protect lifestyle these ways:
a. Designate 1 percent of sales tax to branding and PR. We can learn from cities like Glendale who have made branding a priority and benefited greatly.
b. Revise policies that inhibit successful business. It costs us zero and will encourage innovative and compatible business models in Cave Creek. I’m not talking about ordinances that protect our environment and enjoyment of our properties – superfluous restrictions that prevent business from doing what it does best.
c. Be aware of what our neighbors are doing and plan accordingly. It’s important to Cave Creek that Barrett-Jackson, Arabian Horse Show etc. stay in Scottsdale (or move closer). We see a spike in sales when these events take place. Second, we miss the boat when we’re not aware: “Fresh & Easy” is opening in Phoenix; we didn’t know, we didn’t court them, we lose.
6. Wal-Mart. Like selling a kidney—you stand to make a lot of money now, but you better hope you don’t want it back in the future. Citizens will be guiding us on this one.
Name: Jim Bruce Age: 62
Occupation: Retired attorney, real estate broker.
Education: BS in economics and business from Illinois Wesleyan Univ.; Juris Doctor from Chicago Kent College of Law
Birthplace: Elgin, Ill.
Cave Creek resident: 7 years
Experience: Chairman of the Planning Commission, Chairman of the Fire Options Advisory Committee and member of the Citizens for the Future of Cave Creek financial committee.
1. The next two years are critical to Cave Creek. In this economic environ-ment we have to develop a means of supporting the water company, the future water ranch and the annexation of land west of 36th St.
2.a. The economy: As a member of the Citizens’ Financial Committee we have to apply “out- of- the- box” methods to solve short term debt. An economic development plan will have to be established for mid and long-term economic goals.
b. Water company infrastructure and the water ranch: This town’s future is dependent upon the success of the water and sewer companies. All means must be taken to repair and replace the infrastructure and raise the funds needed to support this end, including increased water rates. No commercialization or annexation projects can occur without both of these companies succeeding.
c. Annexation/ Commercial-ization: Open space for the residents of Cave Creek is a “no brainer” at the estimated cost. Further, the future economic development of Cave Creek is dependant upon the commercial development of certain areas.
3. Cave Creek has been successful because of excellent leadership, staff and volunteers. In times like the present that is not enough! Every citizen has to support the town, volunteer, sacrifice and work towards the achievement of its goals.
4. Cave Creek is a blend of many different components. We must become business and resident friendly at the same time, and learn to compromise and respect each other’s ideas and interests.
5. We have to rethink our planning in the town core, commercial and residential areas. Each area must be looked at differently. The starting point is revising Zoning Appendix A to delete SUPs and clearly specify what uses are acceptable.
6. I do not believe it is “if” but when. My P&Z record will reflect I have never voted for up-zoning. However, the sales tax generated by this venture appears to be a way to support the necessary services without resorting to some other form of taxes.
Name: Richard K. Esser (Dick)
Occupation: Arizona Department of Transportation / Retired consultant
Education: Utah State University; ASU Executive Development Program (ongoing) Birthplace: Ogden, Utah; raised in Prescott, Ariz.
Cave Creek resident: 21 years.
Experience: Cave Creek Vice Mayor 2005-2007; Cave Creek Town Council member 2007-2009; Cave Creek P&Z Commissioner; Cave Creek P&Z Chairman; Cave Creek Waste Water Oversite Committee member; Cave Creek representative to Maricopa Association of Governments 2005-present; active member and voting delegate of the Arizona League of Cities and Towns; point person for the Cave Creek/Carefree Recycling program.
1. I was a career public servant for over 33 years and have been involved with Cave Creek government for the past ten years. This combination, along with my willingness to listen to all the residents of our town, and to cast every vote with the town’s best interest at heart make me a logical choice for reelection.
2.a. We must regain our financial solvency by encouraging projects such as commercial development along Cave Creek Road and Carefree Hwy.
b. The existing town core needs to be redefined as an established destination.
c. The construction of the Cave Creek Water Reclamation Facility and necessary delivery systems must be brought to fruition.
3. Tough decisions must be made. Establish a property tax with a sunset clause; increase water rates; increase sales tax (as we have done), and establish a comprehensive business plan.
4. We must agree on the definition of Cave Creek. Is it a wide open space, a destination to have fun? Is it an exclusive horse community? Is it a quiet, peaceful town that rolls up its sidewalks at 7:00 p.m.? Is it a cowboy town with horses and shooting? We need our citizens to define Cave Creek; the council must support choices that reflect their vision.
5. In addition to my answers to 1, 3 and 4, a management plan to greatly lessen dependence on development fees must be established.
6. I am definitely in favor of Wal-Mart. Home Depot, Lowe’s and all the commercial development at the Cave Creek - Carefree intersection and along the south side of Carefree Highway could have been, at least in part, in our town. We have all the traffic congestion and other problems associated with this development, but no tax revenues. A Wal-Mart within our town boundaries will provide a badly needed tax base. It is imperative the town obtain alternative sources of income, as the recent economy has proven. A Wal-Mart will also encourage ancillary businesses to locate in the vicinity.
Name: Vincent Francia Age: 63
Occupation: Marketing Director,
Education: B.A., John Carroll University
Birthplace: Harrisburg, Penn.
Cave Creek resident: 20 years
Experience: Mayor since 1999 (5 terms); Chairman Parks Commission; Chairman Future’s Committee
1. The good citizens of Cave Creek have had ample opportunity to evaluate my service to the community they call home during my 10 years as Mayor and four prior years on council.
2.a. Like all of America’s communities, dealing with the economy is the No. 1 challenge. Town Manager and staff have and will continue to make adjustments to operate more efficiently. The New Economic Model group will soon make their recommendations for the town.
b. The completion of the new Wastewater Treatment Facility: Without it future residential and commercial development will be impeded.
c. Servicing of debt: The water company we own and the wastewater treatment plant to be built have associated debt. Water rates and future wastewater rates need to reflect that costs of operations are being met by revenues. In other words, the companies need to be self-sustainable and not subsidized by the town.
3. Buy and shop at Cave Creek businesses; continued promotion of the historic core, specifically through major monthly events, and the courting of new enterprises to the core and the already-zoned commercial land on Carefree Highway and the Carefree Highway-Cave Creek intersection.
4. The continued open space preservation of the Sonoran desert. Thus, the final steps to complete the annexation are most important.
5. I invited 12 citizens (the New Economic Model Group) with backgrounds in economics and finance brainstorm and to present a White Paper to council in two months that will propose a new economic model for the town that will encompass immediate, middle and long-range recommendations. Development impact fees, on which the town was dependent, will no longer be the prime economic revenue stream.
6. I haven’t heard Wal-Mart’s complete proposal yet. However what I’ve heard so far – to be a Green business, to design in conformity to the town’s Western style plus influx of sizable sales tax revenue to the community – I like and would lead me to support them coming to Cave Creek.
Name: Steven A. LaMar
Occupation: Senior Litigation Counsel/ Office of the Arizona Attorney General
Education: BS Marketing, Millikin University, Decatur, Illinois;
Juris Doctor, Valparaiso University School of Law, Valparaiso, Indiana
Birthplace: Decatur, Ill.
Cave Creek resident: 23 years
Experience: Founding Planning Commissioner for Cave Creek that partnered in drafting the original Cave Creek General Plan; Planning Commissioner, Vice Chairman, and Chairman, 15 years; a variety of other committees.
1. Cave Creek needs strong, selfless, leadership to fulfill the vision of the General Plan. The Town Council is now fractured and mired in destructive, petty conflict created by a few and condoned by many council members for far too long. My service to Valley Big Brothers and Sisters as President of the Board, Habitat for Humanity Desert Foothills as a founding Board member, as well as my service to the people of Arizona prosecuting major felonies, prison gangs, and my defense of small towns across Arizona in high profile, complex civil litigation equips me to serve Cave Creek.
2.a. Insufficient tax revenue: Obtain more tax revenue from diverse new business development by working with staff, and consultants to develop an effective strategic plan for attracting new business to Cave Creek.
b. Too much urban encroach-ment: Preserve and enhance open space. Develop an inter-governmental master plan to manage and improve the new annexed land, the regional park, and Spur Cross Preserve, as an open space corridor with easy access.
c. Losing the unique integrity of the historic town core: Protect and promote the historic town core by partnering with the business community to expand quality Cave Creek destination events.
3. Support a two-year sales tax increase. Raise water rates to make the water plant self sustaining. Eliminate all unnecessary spending. Support the staff in doing more with less.
4. Preserving open space, protecting the Town Core, and electing strong leaders who put Cave Creek first.
5. Make infrastructure a top priority so the Town can serve new diverse businesses along Carefree Highway and southern Cave Creek Rd. Create an atmosphere that is conducive to attracting quality, com-mercial development in these areas.
6. Yes. Walmart is positioned to go green, and make many concessions to locate in Cave Creek. It will generate millions in revenue annually. Citizens can shop for values, and serve Cave Creek.
Name: Thomas McGuire Age: 63
Occupation: Science education writer Education: BA, Geology, University of Rochester, NY; MA, State University of New York
Birthplace: Canandaigua, New York
Cave Creek Resident for 8 years
Experience: 4 years on Cave Creek Town Council
1. In the past ten years Cave Creek has entered a new phase of governmental stability and planning for the future. We have a highly professional staff that has improved our community services. I will continue to work to preserve essential services and support policies that protect our economic viability both now and in the future. As a member of the Open Space Committee I have participated in planning for annexation as well as the acquisition and management of open space. The opportunity to set aside approximately 6 square miles of open desert is central to establishing the identity of Cave Creek.
2. We have been caught in an economic downslide that has gravely impacted our revenues. We cannot, and should not, abandon our investments in the essential services of water supply and wastewater treatment. To do so would sacrifice our security and growth potential. We need to balance cutbacks with increased fees until the economy improves and construction revenues return.
3. It’s time for Council members and citizens alike to make sacrifices to pay for essential services and insure planned growth.
4. Horses, open space, trails, and a funky western town core are keys to preserving the western spirit of Cave Creek. Our demographics will change as we are increasingly connected with suburbia. But by defining Cave Creek as a community that loves and preserves the desert and our western heritage, we will attract residents who share those values.
5. Services such as water and wastewater must become more self-sufficient. We need to attract tourists to our local business. Some fees must be significantly increased. But expanding our revenue sources is just half the equation. Expenses are being reduced by trimming staff and hourly time and by foregoing non-essential purchases.
6. Wal-Mart will be a very important and stable revenue source. The impact on our town core will be minimal and Wal-Mart will attract other businesses to our commercial corridors along the Carefree Highway.
Name: Grace Meeth
Occupation: weaving instructor
Education: BS, Anthropology, Ohio State University Birthplace: Columbus, Ohio Cave Creek resident: 16 years. Experience: 12 years Cave Creek Town Council, 2 1/2 years Planning Commission, 1/2 year Board of Adjustment
1. In one breath, candidates talk about keeping Cave Creek “Cave Creek” and then advocate for big boxes, water slides and drive throughs in the next. Cave Creek’s character is only as strong as our commitment to it. My votes consistently support our desert Western values.
2. The top three problems are lack of leadership, fiscal mismanagement, and irresponsible development that chips away at the town’s character. The solution would be a council committed to the vision of the people.
3. To weather the current economic downturn the Council needs to acknowledge the lack of financial oversight and mismanagement that got us here, and adhere to sound financial practices – less borrowing, less spending.
4. We can keep Cave Creek the place we all chose to call home by ”branding” the Western heritage of our town core with complementing architecture, as well as maintaining our large lot residential zoning.
5. Expanding revenue sources is only one component of a business plan. Prudent spending, fiscal oversight and financial accountability are others we should employ. Welcoming anything and everything for revenue, particularly big boxes, will destroy our tourist economy. This would be foolhardy and contrary to everything Cave Creek stands for. Mismanagement by government should not result in destruction of the town’s character. Town Hall should support tourism and the quaint little town we are, not the city some are trying to make us become.
6. Big boxes don’t belong in Cave Creek. The argument has yet to be made that big boxes can even survive here. The thirteen-acre Bullington property across from the Chevron station is zoned commercial so, unfortunately, the town will have little say in what will go there. Interestingly, the acreage Wal-Mart purchased is twenty residential acres south of the Bullington property that would require rezoning. I would never support that.
Name: Reg Monachino Age: 69
Occupation: Retired with 35 years financial responsibility in the banking
industry Education: BA, Business Administration
Birthplace: New York
Cave Creek resident: 5 years
Experience: Vice Chairman Planning Commission, Water Advisory Comm., Chairman of the Planning & Policy Sub Comm., Vice Chairman Fire Options Comm.
1. I am running for Town Council to restore and support a town government that is fiscally responsible and practices full, timely disclosure of town finances; is open, accountable, displays equitable treatment to all citizens and supports property rights while preserving the unique character of Cave Creek.
2. The town is just a few steps away from insolvency due to the crushing debt load the town has incurred and one of the keys to survivability is a fiscally conservative government. To me that means a budget process that is open to the public and a town council that receives complete financial reporting in a timely manner.
3. The Utility Department must be self sustaining without raising rates again. Construction costs of the water waste treatment plant must be closely monitored with monthly reports to town council and citizens to assure that expenditures do not exceed the budget.
4. The most important components are open town government, individual property rights and low density housing.
5. I support attracting new business to town as well as encouraging existing businesses to stay here and to grow. To be a good place to work and to do business, the town must minimize the burdens of regulations and taxes. In order to attract tourism, the city must view itself as a “destination” by improving and expanding its entertainment, recreational, cultural and shopping opportunities. One way is to establish a visitor’s bureau. A completed streetscape would be another user friendly asset. A trail system for riders and hikers is essential. Fiscal incentives such as reduced development fees or a sales tax holiday should also be considered.
6. I generally do not support rezoning residential land to commercial. The residents moved in with the town’s assurance their neighborhood zoning was correct and would last. Changing that breaks the contract between the town and citizens. It would be better to have Wal-Mart in the commercial land on Carefree Highway.
Name: Ralph S. Mozilo Age: 67
Occupation: Retired, former mortgage banking executive
Education: BA and post graduate work Birthplace: New York
Cave Creek resident: 13 years
Experience: Cave Creek Town Council 1999 – 2005; Vice Mayor 2001 – 2005; Budget Committee 2006 – 2008; Water Advisory Committee 2007 – 2009; Cave Creek Film & Art Festival Board 2007 – Present; currently serving on the Future Financial Advisory Group
It is my firm belief the citizens of Cave Creek seek a Town Council that will work together in all economic environments in concert with the town staff. It is disheartening to me to see council members berate the staff in public. I will work with staff and fellow council members to promote new business in Cave Creek especially along the Carefree Highway corridor. I will also work to support our current businesses in the town core.
The top three issues facing the town are financial stability, support of the Town Manager and staff and providing an Open Space Master Plan. Financial stability is achieved through bringing businesses to town. Creating an atmosphere of mutual respect and open dialogue with the staff enhances the ability for government as a whole to be successful in meeting the Town’s needs. I would work toward creating an umbrella management concept of all open space in town.
“Keeping Cave Creek, Cave Creek” will be achieved by preserving the town core area. Our increased sales tax revenue must come from Carefree Highway.
We must begin creating an atmosphere to attract business on Carefree Highway that will generate the necessary ongoing income to support the future growth and expenses of the Town.
Based on these issues, I do support Wal-Mart locating in Cave Creek. This alone will bring approximately $2 million annually in sales taxes. We must first build the wastewater treatment plant to allow this and other businesses into the general commercial area.
Name: Shea Stanfield
Occupation: middle school counselor
Education: B.A. Graphic Arts-Secondary Education, M.Ed. Elementary Education, Certifications: Art, Reading Specialist, School Counseling and English as a Second Language Birthplace: Belleville, Ill.
Cave Creek resident: 29 years
Experience: Town Council 2001-2005, Board of Adjustment 2000-2001, Alternate to Planning and Zoning 1999-2000
1. It is important leaders embody valuable qualities. First, longevity – growing up in the area gives me a historical perspective. Second, community service – it is imperative our leaders work with various groups in order to understand how they service the community, thus my time volunteering. Third, I have the education and experience to critically analyze a given situation, create possible solutions and effectively communicate with others.
2.a. Our economic health: The keys are diversity in business and responsible budgeting.
b. Water and sewer infrastructure improvement and management: Have professional management with water operations experience running the department.
c. Fire protection: All options have to be paid for with taxes of some kind. Action needs to be taken based on the fire committee recommendations to council.
3. Creekers must begin by educating themselves, getting involved and electing individuals that can focus our vision, set our benchmarks, form positive and supportive coalitions to protect and grow Cave Creek into the future.
4. Cave Creek’s character comes in three flavors; open space, the arts and its rich western history. We need to attract business that will grow our future – renewable energy, environmental research, Western culture and the Arts. We need to grow “Cultural Tourism” and step into the “Creative Economy.” The arts, culture and environment have the capacity to be the creative catalyst to our economic engine.
5. Expand Cave Creek’s revenue sources: diversity in business; more businesses that serve the citizens along with the tourists; lowest sales tax in the area, advertise it, go for volume; a town core Cultural Center with year around events; an ad campaign reaching out to surrounding communities; finish streetscape; write grants for cultural development, government watershed monies and community development.
6. I would be against a Wal-Mart in Cave Creek. I am for a large retail anchor to maintain a constant sales tax revenue stream – Whole Foods Market or Sprouts Farmer’s Market that services our everyday needs.
Name: Adam Trenk Age: 25
Occupation: Law Student, Real Estate Consultant Education: ASU: BS Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship, 2005; Masters in Real Estate Development, 2007; currently Second Year Law Student
Birthplace: New York Cave Creek Resident: 1 year Council/ Commission/Committee Experience: Citizens Advisory Committee to the Town Council on the Fire Coverage Option, 2008
1. I will develop innovative solutions for our town’s challenges. I am without bias and intend to honor the concerns of all citizens. I am committed to preserving and capitalizing on our assets; open spaces, trails, horses, our eclectic assortment of boutique shops and galleries, and the best dining and entertainment venues in Arizona.
2.a. Encroaching Suburbanization: Protect and enhance our historic commercial core. Adopt an addendum to be attached to the purchase contracts of all real property informing would-be owners that our Western town has an appreciation of open spaces and a horse-friendly attitude which is fundamental to the Cave Creek lifestyle.
b. Shrinking Revenues: Promote Cave Creek as an icon of the American West, thus increasing tourism and consequently raising revenues. Give residents an incentive to shop locally: a water bill credit in exchange for local sales receipts, etc. Designate land outside of the historic commercial core, principally along Carefree Highway, for development that will generate sales tax revenue.
c. Growing Expenses: Go line-by-line through our budget; eliminate any wasteful spending.
3. Residents of the greater Phoenix area have a need to recreate, but do not have the funds to travel far. We must brand our town as a premier tourist destination and turn the economic meltdown into an asset by marketing so-called “staycations” to Cave Creek.
4. I believe the most important component is our appreciation of and dedication to Cave Creek’s open spaces, horses, and unique mix of small businesses.
5. Brand Cave Creek as a premier tourist destination that symbolizes the spirit of the American West to boost tourism. We must embrace the business community and attract new merchants to town that will enhance the flavor of Cave Creek and plan for expanded commercial growth along Carefree Highway.
6. Due to our desperate need for revenue, I support Wal-Mart, provided that it is built on the currently proposed site, outside of our historic core.