Changes in Carefree’s government this year unheralded

By Curtis Riggs | May 27, 2009

Prop 404, and defeat of Prop 403, set to make difference
CAREFREE – In this year of change and hard-ball politics in the community two issues, which passed by virtually unheralded, could have much to say about how government will operate differently in the future.

Voters embraced Prop. 404, which will allow voters to directly elect their mayor beginning in 2011, by a 73-percent margin in last week’s May 19 general election. Voters supported Prop. 404 by a 764 to 297 vote margin. In past years, the Carefree Town Council has appointed the mayor and vice mayor.

Just as important was the defeat of Prop. 403 in the March 10 primary election. The measure would have extended the terms of councilmen from two years to four. It was defeated by a 34 percent margin, with a vote total of 669 in favor and 503 against.

While the two propositions went virtually unnoticed this election year they also significantly impacted the race for the seven town council seats. Councilman Bob Coady decided to file Prop. 404 only after Mayor Wayne Fulcher refused to place it on a town council agenda for discussion.

Coady bested nine other candidates by at least 149 votes and March and was re-elected outright.

Fulcher finished third from the bottom in March and withdrew from the May 19 general election after the poor showing. Vice Mayor Lloyd Meyer and long-time Councilman Greg Gardner joined him in withdrawing from the May 19 election.

First-time candidate Peter Koteas, who supported Prop. 404 and opposed Prop. 403, came out on top in the May 19 vote by defeating all other candidates by at least 311 votes. His 863 votes were enough to win him a seat on the council.

He will be joined on the council by first-time candidate Doug Stavoe who won election in March and Vanik who appears to have won a council seat with the 509 votes she received last week.

Another election surprise this year is the strong showing of write-in council candidates John Traynor and Jim Peirce. The two received 796 write-in votes between them with Traynor receiving 498 and Peirce garnering 298. There is a question about the validity of 23 other write-in votes, which were not attributed to either candidate.