My View

By Don Sorchych | February 11, 2009

Don SorchychCave Creek elections

Ironically, this issue will be out on the day of our forum in Cave Creek.

Mayor Vincent Francia is running unopposed, although there are those who fought mightily to find a challenger. I once wrote Vice-Mayor Gil Lopez and Carefree Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Ian Ellison tried to talk Cave Creek Councilman Dick Esser into opposing Francia.
Lopez called the mayor and denied what I wrote.

Carefree Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Ian Ellison corralled Councilman Dick Esser at the Department of Commerce conference at the Carefree Resort and Villas last fall,
Ellison told Esser “they” had asked Lopez to run against Francia and Lopez declined. Ellison was not happy with Cave Creek’s Merchant Chamber and wanted to merge with it. He assured Esser that unnamed Carefree people would finance his run for mayor.

Ellison said that he discussed the mayoral position with Esser and that Esser would not run against Francia since they were friends. He did not recall offering support if he did run for mayor.

If it was true, what does the Carefree Chamber have to do with Cave Creek politics? And who were these mysterious people who were going to finance Esser’s run against Francia? And why do they care?

This is serious, as Carefree finances that chamber and the chamber clearly takes its orders from the Carefree administration. They are even listed under Carefree town government in the phone book.

Carefree Mayor Wayne Fulcher denied any knowledge or involvement and said that Ian did not speak for the town.

We’ll keep digging.

Cave Creek is awash in residential forums. I had mentioned, on the dark side, Bob Moore, formerly HOA president in Dove Valley Ranch, invited Councilman Dick Esser and candidate Jim Bruce, but they both declined. That left him with Councilwoman Grace Meeth and her buddy Reg Monachino.

Meeth has had forums, and the goal of her plans are to get rid of Cave Creek’s Town Manager.

Meeth has hosted forums but also has appeared at some dark side forums hosted by Terry Zerkle, Charles Spitzer and probably others.

According to an e-mail, Zerkle’s forum included Meeth, Monachino, Adam Trenk, Shea Stanfield and Vice Mayor Gil Lopez.

The e-mail said, “The vice mayor, Gil Lopez, who is not running again, was also there. I asked him to comment on what was discussed and he supported the information we’ve been hearing about the illegal meetings and other behind the scene activities that are going on at town hall – and added a few stories of his own. In fact the reason he isn’t running again is because (he) is literally tired of ‘fighting town hall!’”

The only way there could be “secret meetings” is if a majority of council met in secret. The town manager, as CEO, can meet with anyone he cares to, as can council members.

Give this newspaper evidence and we will publicize it. We know of no such meetings and it is irresponsible to spread such rumors.

Zerkle has filed complaints about the town and we are still waiting for data on the cost to the town to defend against his allegations.

He had complained about Central Arizona Project (CAP) water being used to serve customers in the former Desert Hills Water Co. service area and received a letter supporting the town’s water activities.

Recently he received a letter from the Department of the Interior responding to his allegations. Regional Director Lorri Gray referred to documents, which supported the town’s position and actions.

Her routing of the document sent to Zerkle is illustrative of her contempt. Routing was to two employees and then to “trash.”

Does anyone who attends Zerkle’s meetings and those of his followers realize he is trying to unseat Town Manager Usama Abujbarah so he can step in?

George Ross’ PACs have planned 12 meetings at resident’s homes. All council candidates were offered participation if they agreed to the following issues:


Promote business in Cave Creek. Create a business friendly attitude within the Town Council to proactively encourage success for existing businesses as well as promote new business opportunities within the town boundaries in accordance with existing zoning regulations.

Support the town administration. Create a spirit of cooperation and a return to civility in the relationship between the Town Council and the Town Manager and his Staff. The citizens of Cave Creek want problem solving, not finger, pointing by the Council.

Provide an Open Space Master Plan. Create an umbrella management concept of all the Open Space in Cave Creek. The acquisition of an additional 4,000 acres of Open Space in the proposed annexation will necessitate a management plan. Utilize the Spur Cross Conservation Area management technique (Cave Creek and Maricopa County Parks) as a blueprint.

Create an atmosphere of mutual respect. Promote mutual respect for the lifestyles that represent our eclectic community that we call Cave Creek. Horses, Hikers, Artists, Bikers, Residences and Businesses.
All council members and candidates agreed to attend the forums except Meeth, Monachino and Stanfield who opted out and held their own forums or attended dark side forums.

As of Jan. 1, the Preserve Cave Creek PAC had cash on hand of $10,600.45 and is on schedule to complete its planned forums.

Only three candidates have filed PACs, Reg Monochino, Grace Meeth and Adam Trenk.
Monochino has donated $25 to his PAC.

Meeth had $516 as of Oct. 8 2008. Meeth received contributions of $50 from David Phelps, $390 from Charles Spitzer (both dark side) and loaned her commitee $100.

Adam Trenk showed total receipts of $2298 and cash on hand of $1,388 as of Jan. 13. Don Platt of Rockford, Illinois contributed $200. Scott Kerr of Scottsdale contributed $390. Mike VonSteenkiste of Scottsdale contributed $390. Russell Lanthem of Scottsdale contributed $100. Steven Kaye of Watchung New Jersey contributed $118. Justin Yang of New York contributed $100. Trenk loaned his commitee $1,000.There were no Cave Creek contributions except Trenk.

You may notice the rapid growth of political signs in Cave Creek. Only those with PACs need to identify the funding source of the signs. But as usual sign vandalism doesn’t seem to be politically driven; they are all being vandalized. Perhaps someone doesn’t like signs but call Town Marshal Adam Stein (480-488-6636) if you observe sign tampering.