My View

By Don Sorchych | August 19, 2009

Bil Canfield Cartoon

Don Sorchych
The mayors speak

Why do we vote for a mayor in Cave Creek? The mayor presides over the council of which he is a member. The real work is done by the town manager, who is the equivalent of a company CEO. The mayor is roughly equivalent to a company chairman.

What I don’t need, nor do you, is to hear his jaundiced view of the CCUSD override. He is clueless on the subject, but if he wants to opine about town issues, I am all ears.

A smiling “middle road” Francia appeared in a monthly shopper as did Carefree Mayor David Schwan, who pontificated about “leadership,” while directing his staff to violate the first amendment rights of those who seek to recall him.

Francia’s column is braced by an ad for Big Earl’s Greasy Eats, former Councilwoman Kim Brennan’s business and the Thieves Market, also a Brennan enterprise. Is this placement intended to give the impression the town of Cave Creek is in bed with Brennan’s properties?

But after bragging about Cave Creek being the preservation town, he segues to pimp for the CCUSD override of $1.5 million. Maybe Francia no longer cares since his two children have matriculated, but his “testimony” is straight out of the PAC to encouraging the passage of the override. He even gives you the link to the PAC webpage and its telephone number.
Cave Creek has enough financial problems to employ an army, so why is a Cave Creek official dabbling in affairs that are not his forte?

Francia asserts it is good news that the school campaign started earlier than they did last time – and lost.

That may be, but CCUSD hasn’t forgotten how to cheat and break the law, both great teachings for school children.

The elections department is the softest in dealing with election violations. It takes forever to investigate and usually results in a wrist slap, if that.

CCUSD had serious violations in the last election. Employees and the school board had to agree to instructions on what they could and couldn’t do.

The district is already violating election laws and Sonoran News Reporter Linda Bentley has brought that to its attention.

Last election two teachers, Cactus Shadow’s Football Coach Chad DeGrenier called my house and told me who he was and what he did and proceeded to try to sell a YES vote for an override as did an English teacher. That is illegal.

CCUSD also posted letters written by employees on CCUSD letterhead on their website favoring override passage. That is illegal.

The last public organization without scruples about election laws should be schools or don’t tell us you are “for the kids.” You aren’t; you are for your own selfish interests.

The only way CCUSD will be brought to heel is to limit their funding and insist on financial data which is accurate, public and understandable. The fat has to go.

Francia claims there is no fat to cut. How would he know? Mouthing CCUSD PAC talking points is not proof. He presides over a town which cut a third of their employees and Cave Creek is still functioning, while professing it can go deeper if it needs to.

It would be nice if able people would step forward, run for the school board and remain independent of the superintendent and her minions rather than the YES board that sits. They could clean house while sending a message to school children about honesty, competence and being sure that teaching the real non PC versions of our history, forefathers, capitalism and the constitution.

In the big picture Washington is much too involved in public education and its pending stimulus is use of our money, not government’s – it doesn’t have any – to keep the gluttonous schools going. A side benefit to the administration is feeding NEA and its affiliate AEA unions.

The future solution is private schools, competition and the teachings that develop literate and educated children.

Private education may or may not happen except in trivial amounts, so in the meanwhile don’t let CCUSD pick your pocket.

Although override supporters assert increases of taxes will be pocket change, they always neglect valuation of property that is out of their control. They also neglect to admit without the override taxes could go down.

CCUSD is in the fourth year of an approved override originally intended to provide all-day kindergarten, despite receiving $4 million from the state for all-day kindergarten. Of that amount they spent money for salary raises for teaching and non-teaching staff.

Each year, after this year, override funds will decrease by one third, so CCUSD is not out of money. However, in recessionary times those who vote don’t have funds and CCUSD does.
CCUSD has shown no propensity to reduce cost of operations; rather it is “Give us more.”

Even though nearly $4 million dollars was provided by the state for K-3 instruction, kindergarten teaching staff was reduced from 19.5 to 19, hardly significant. Class sizes went from 23 to 23.7. Where is the beef here?

Every CCUSD election in recent history showed either ignorance or downright deliberate violation of election statutes. ARS-15-511 makes it clear that, “A person acting on behalf of a school district or a person who aids another person acting on behalf of a school district shall not use school district or charter school personnel, equipment, materials, buildings or other resources for the purpose of influencing the outcomes of elections.”

Other than the possible use of school resources to win the override there is an active PAC led by Attorney Stephen Hart of Lewis and Roca. Hart is also Rural Metro’s attorney.

Although Francia’s one sided support for the override seems to have been written by Hart, I am told the source was Greg Smith who was kicked to the curb by Hart, but who nonetheless keeps Hart’s philosophy alive from outside the PAC.

Don’t forget budget issues at the state and federal level are uncertain so why the vote?
And as far as Mayor David Schwan’s essay on leadership, where is the apology about abuse of constitutional privilege of those who would unseat him?
We are waiting.