Stavoe: Changing population factored into election

By Curtis Riggs | March 18, 2009

CAREFREE – New Town Councilman Doug Stavoe says last week’s surprising election results were about more than voters being turned off by negative campaigning.

Doug StavoeStavoe, who owns the Blue Sky Coffeehouse in downtown Carefree, is convinced the changing demographics in Carefree also factored into the results, which saw him gain a seat on the council with 659 votes.

He finished well behind six-time council incumbent Bob Coady (800) and just ahead of incumbent Glenn Miller (627). These three candidates are already elected to the new town council, which will be seated in June, and won’t have to participate in the May 19 general election.

“It shows people want a little bit of a change,” he said about the overall election results. “There were some new candidates and they all finished in the top half.”

He is referring to first time candidates Peter Koteas (615) and Susan Vanik (588) who finished ahead of four council incumbents; (Mayor Wayne Fulcher (586), Vice Mayor Lloyd Meyer (587) and councilmen Bob Gemmill (581) and David Schwan (569). All seven candidates along with incumbent Greg Gardner (613) will be vying for four open seats on the council on May 19.

“Over the years Carefree has become more rounded,” Stavoe, 47, said about more families and working people moving to Carefree in recent years. “As time goes on Carefree has become more diversified.”

He admits, however, some of the voter displeasure directed at incumbents was due to negative campaigning by two political-action committees, which were formed solely to defeat Coady and keep the rest of the council in tact.

“People don’t appreciate negative campaigning,” he said. “People don’t like that stuff and it was reflected in the results.”

Stavoe is a retired pilot who moved to Carefree in 1993. He intends to focus his efforts on the council toward coming up with enough revenue (sales-tax dollars) to survive the bleak economic times.

There are two sides to dealing with stagnant economies as far as he is concerned. He said while Carefree needs to be frugal in its spending it needs to work on protecting a “steady revenue stream.”

He stated Carefree needs to focus on the assets it has.

He intends to reexamine how the Carefree Town Center is used.

“Are there ways to use the park more effectively and to help make the business community more stable?” he asks.

He advocates Carefree having a number of quality festivals annually such as in Bisbee, which has established a large tourist base. He proposes the addition of a downtown fall festival.

“They should all be tailored to suit the community better and to draw people in,” he said about the philosophy Carefree should have toward its festivals.