My View

By Don Sorchych | July 8, 2009


Don Sorchych
Fireworks • Carefree • Cave Creek

Locals and visitors were able to enjoy fireworks at the Carefree Resort and Inn on July 2, with more fireworks and celebration between the Buffalo Chip and Harold’s Corral on July 3 and the Silver Spur had fireworks on the Bob Kite property behind the post office on July 4.

Businesses funded the fireworks with donations.

Last year I filled an editorial with dissident letters about fireworks, but in spite of the dry desert there were no complaints this year. Have they learned, are they tired or have they finally accepted fireworks as a patriotic expression with very minor risk?

The rights and privileges of the Arizona Constitution are in full cry locally with a recall in progress in Carefree and a possible referendum in Cave Creek.

Rod de Szendeffy, Carefree businessman, has suffered more than most from Good Old Boy (GOB) government and it is wholly appropriate that he attempt a recall of the weakest mayor since incorporation.

De Szendeffy’s choice to lead the recall is also appropriate. Ryan Ducharme, you may recall, led Attorney David Smith’s attempt to be elected to council. Ducharme activated an e-mail address: and there you can communicate with Ryan about the recall. His phone number is: 480-643-0910.

Ducharme has already listed half-dozen volunteers who plan to collect recall signatures. Although 203 signatures are required, Ducharme plans to get at least 400.

Ducharme is gathering signatures in front of Carefree Town Hall, although a professed agent of the building’s property manager, Doug Bittner, told him he must leave and threatened to call MCSO. If called, MCSO never arrived.

That incident was followed by a confrontation with Mayor Schwan who asserted the recall claims were all hogwash. We differ and believe the news stories were factual with editorials and opinions derived from those facts.

Ducharme carries a Supreme Court ruling, which was decided on January 7, 1946. The ruling was about “Constitutional protections of free speech under First and Fourteenth Amendments still applicable within the confines of a town owned by a private entity.”

Although the case doesn’t read directly on this situation, Ducharme insists he has a right to gather signatures in the town hall building because it is a public entity.

I talked to the Cave Creek Postmaster and he said the contract station in Carefree is under all the same restrictions he is bound by and therefore political signature gathering is prohibited. He also said Carefree rents the hallway fronting the post office where the post office boxes are located.

But he said he didn’t know whether the outside parking lot was available for political purposes because of the presence of town hall.

Property Manager Doug Bittner took the position that it is private property and he doesn’t allow political activity.

A “Your View” on the next page lists seven reasons to recall Schwan and I believe all seven reasons are worth considering.

That Schwan is a GOB is a given. All GOBs were out of step with Carefree voters and the results of the election clearly underlined that fact. Six were against voting for the mayor but 73 percent voted to elect their mayor. Six favored extending their terms to four years but 68 percent voted against extending terms. There is obviously a huge disconnect between voters, the GOBs and their PACs.

Schwan’s reign, so far, is consistent with his last place finish in the general election. It is more than likely the PACs chose Schwan to be the next mayor, but election results already show the PACs are neophytes in politics.

Remaining GOBs like Bob Gemmill show they are lightweights. For Gemmill to whine he couldn’t work with Doug Stavoe, and for Schwan to accept such nonsense is an out-of-control situation.

The town needs a polished and experienced mayor and CEO. Schwan does create good comedy, but in stressful times comedy comes after success.

Cave Creek
That Cave Creek would get a referendum about Walmart was predictable. Threats were attempts to get council to cow and vote as out of town and Dark Side critics wanted. The fact that all the winning candidates strongly and repeatedly endorsed Walmart during the campaign meant a predictable council vote.

What most expected was the council would vote as each candidate said they would. What few expected was they would lie and of course freshman candidate Adam Trenk did just that, voting against Walmart in the first reading of the General Plan. Trenk and all other winning candidates were affirmative in our forum about Walmart and also in home forums sponsored by the Preserve Cave Creek PAC.

Trenk followed the vote with an e-mail to council members that was likely a violation of open meetings laws. Since the council cannot meet within the 30 day limit, unless a special council meeting is called, to sanitize his presumed violation, it stands, and I assume the Attorney General will deal with it.

The coming referendum is vital to Cave Creek. We have watched while revenue producing businesses flocked to join Home Depot in nearby Phoenix.

Isn’t it time for Cave Creek to take care of our future?

It will be a fight. The referendum will likely be heavily financed. The United Food and Commercial Workers International (UFCW) and Service Employees International (SEIU) unions follows Walmart like a pack of jackals. They will be involved.

The fight against the General Plan amendment was being led by Dean Phillips, who has a home across from the proposed Walmart. He filed under the acronym of PRIZE, with stout support from who but county resident and realtor Anna Marsolo, the snoop who thinks she is a Creeker.

Later, deposed Councilwoman Grace Meeth organized an addition of the rezoning approval by council to the referendum and so there will be two referendum votes, if they get enough valid signatures, by Cave Creek voters.

On one side will be Cave Creek voters, and in town there will be the Dark Side and the other people that essentially are promoting a large sales tax to keep the town going.

Expect noise, threats and perhaps financial support from outside forces, but they can’t vote!