My View

By Don Sorchych | September 23, 2009

bil canfield cartoon

Don Sorchych
• Cave Creek’s referendums
• CCUSD’s greed • Carefree’s thuggery

Cave Creek and Carefree are running neck and neck in intrigue, Cave Creek silent and deep and Carefree loud and obnoxious. Who would have thought?

In Cave Creek, the long expected campaign signs for and against the two referendums (Propositions 400 and 401) have been erected, scads favoring Walmart and a few for the PRIZE organization featuring homeowners near the proposed Walmart and the dark side of Cave Creek politics.

I attended the meeting sponsored by the PRIZE PAC at the Desert Foothills’ Library, presided over by Dean Phillips, major domo of the opposition to Walmart and a neighbor of the Walmart site.

About 35 people attended and 25 were presumably against the propositions while at least ten were for a Walmart in Cave Creek.

First on the agenda was a video, which showed complaints from ex-Walmart employees. If you believed their agony, you had to wonder why they worked there. No one held a gun to their heads and, of course, the Walmart side of their stories was totally absent.

The presentation segued into union propaganda, notably the SEIU. Audience restlessness caused Phillips to put the union diatribe on pause and present his case.

He has complaints about where he lives and for that we are sorry for him. But should the entire town throw opportunity under the bus to placate him? At one point, I am told, he asked Walmart to “make an offer.”

If Walmart, or any business, responded to that kind of blackmail, their choice of location would become an auction with escalating prices.

Walmart has followed the rules and a public vote after successful referendum signature gathering is part of the rules.

But the most egregious lie not only propagated by Phillips, but by ex- Councilwoman Grace Meeth, is that the payment of sewer and water lines to their site won’t be discussed by the town.

In the meeting, Phillips, on several occasions, said he asked the question about who would pay for the lines and got no answer. I find that hard to believe since who pays is embedded in the town ordinances and the cost is borne by whomever is receiving the services.

Furthermore, I have heard that question answered in meetings dozens of times.

Walmart will pay the costs of sewer and water lines to their project! Now Phillips and Meeth have heard the truth they both should have known.

The rest of the meeting was table thumping by Phillips and replay of old gripes from the audience. Walmart will put our businesses out of business. OK, name one. Why would Todd Newman, owner of C4, say the opposite?

Walmart will bring crime. We already have crime. Crime happens every day. One writer suggested Lowes may have been responsible for the murders near there and Walmart would be worse. The theory was undesirables looked over the Lowes’ fence and saw an opportunity. The fact was the perpetrators knew the victim and had visited there beforehand.

More traffic. We already have traffic and more traffic will bring tax revenue. I’ll endure the traffic.

Early voting kicks off on October 6, so vote early and often in favor of the referendums and for Cave Creek and Walmart!

CCUSD’s greed
While you are voting YES, add CCUSD’s override and vote it down. They still have override funds, and, as we have pointed out, they are still getting state money so they are double dipping.

Governor Jan Brewer, the new Napolitano, vetoed reductions of school funding so don’t raise your taxes, not one dime.

Tax bills have already been mailed, the moratorium on equalization taxes has sunseted and property taxes have increased without the override. So why add more?

Carefree’s thuggery
We are still waiting for a serious investigation of Carefree’s bidding practices. We have been told one is on the way.

To his credit, Councilman Bob Coady, from the podium, asked for an investigation of Carefree’s bidding practices and “Caesar” David Schwan said no. Add that to the list of why Schwan should be voted out. Carefree’s administrative practices should be carefully examined by outside law enforcement agencies.

Coady finally signed the recall petition and was the 400th to do so. Since then, Ryan Ducharme has exceeded his goal of 406 signatures, twice what the law requires.

The Kiwanis petition gatherers still relax in the shade of the west entrance to town hall. The signatures should be made public, as are the recall signatures. We might even do them a favor and publish them.

Although there are good reasons to maintain secrecy about most tax payers, it adds difficulty to follow up on assertions of favoritism for some.

One of the most prolific tax payers in Carefree should be the Carefree Resort and Villas. Several years ago there was a leak from executive session about the resort’s payments. Ed Morgan was the ruling czar at the time and he was innocently asked about their tax payments by a councilman. Morgan reacted with fury and said it wasn’t to be discussed.

I later asked the alleged questioner and he had a convenient loss of memory.

Fast forward to today and Schwan is still whistling past the graveyard. The resort filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in November 2008 and converted to Chapter 7, or liquidation, in June 2009 and was scheduled for a trustee sale last Friday.

The resort should be a substantial tax resource and it would be interesting to have an arms length financial audit of their obligations and any influence by councilmen and/or staff.

In any case the issues surrounding the resort will doubtless add pain to Carefree’s bleeding bottom line.

Think it is too late to resuscitate Michael Peloquin’s project? Schwan knows how to genuflect, but will the GOB’s let him?

Now that Schwan’s recall is a virtual certainty, will he resign? Or will he wait for county approval to proceed with the vote next spring? Does he care about the cost of a special election and a huge loss, which is likely?

Since the vote isn’t until March, I don’t think the GOBs will let him resign. They can still tell him what to do for the next five months and there is no telling how much mischief they can accomplish in that time.