Ten years overseeing the community’s chosen goals
By Linda Bentley | February 18, 2009
‘This year it was chosen for us – the economy’
CAVE CREEK – Running into Mayor Vincent Francia in Spur Cross Conservation Area is finding the mayor completely in his element.
After all, preserving Spur Cross was the most significant defining moment for Cave Creek, as it brought an eclectic mix of Creekers together to proclaim the town’s true identity.
Francia said for the past ten years he’s served as the town’s mayor, the community has always chosen its goals – Spur Cross, Saguaro Hill, access to Black Mountain and, most recently, the water company.
“This year,” he said, “it was chosen for us – the economy.”
Reflecting on the town’s history and the people who have played a big part in it, Francia said council candidate Steve LaMar was one of the town’s founders. “He wrote the first zoning ordinance and has served on the planning commission for 15 years. He has a sense of history and a great spirit of optimism.”
Although Spur Cross was intended to clear Francia’s head of politics, apparently my presence took the conversation off in that direction without questions or prompting, pretty much picking up where Wednesday’s candidate forum left off, only in a stress-free, nonpolitical setting.
Francia’s rare display of assertiveness on Wednesday caught many off guard. Francia said it even frightened his wife Amelia who was in the audience.
However, Francia said, “During these difficult times, we need a council that shows commitment, optimism and dedication, not mean-spiritedness, poisoning the community by spreading fear and negativity.”
Francia called Planning Commission Chair Jim Bruce, who is running for council, an optimist and a problem solver.
“I gave him a very tough assignment,” said Francia, “As chairman of the fire committee, he tackled the assignment, reviewed the options and came back with recommendations.”
However, Francia said he was completely taken by surprise at the results of the Sonoran News’ poll, even though not scientific, weighing overwhelmingly in favor of a property tax option, something he never thought would fly with citizens.
“Ernie Bunch may be a man of few words,” said Francia, “but he is a strong and fair advocate,” citing, “He’s the most researched person on council.”
Francia said Dick Esser takes the time, no matter how much time it takes, to listen to everyone. “He does his homework on items that come before council.”
Esser also cheerfully represents the town at MAG and other government association meetings, something Francia says he simply does not have the time to do.
“Mr. Eclectic Cave Creek,” is the title Francia bestowed on candidate Ralph Mozilo, citing his involvement with the town over the past 13 years in a wide array of interests from serving on council, to the budget committee to the film and arts festival to the water advisory committee and more.
While in a title-bestowing mood, Francia called Thomas McGuire the “most improved” council member, pointing out the reasoning behind his decisions are balanced.
Francia also commented how it was nice to see someone as young as Adam Trenk, 25, interested in government and, half jokingly, said he hoped the next time Councilwoman Kim Brennan recuses herself, she will actually leave the room.
A steep incline temporarily curtailed conversation, which, when it did resume, was under the spell of Spur Cross, cleared of all things political and negative.
Photo by Linda Bentley
Cave Creek Mayor Vincent Francia says Spur Cross Conservation Area’s breathtaking beauty provides him with the tranquility to “clear his head” of politics and negativity.