My View

By Don Sorchych | February 3, 2010

| More

Don SorchychThe Carefree 1000

In my February 1999 column that follows you will be reminded about how the Carefree Town Council was selected at the time. Is it any wonder the good ol’ boys are still in control?

Two years ago in a February issue of Sonoran News, I named a group who called themselves the “Concerned Neighbor’s Committee” the “Carefree 41.” They like their namesake, the Phoenix 40 in Phoenix, had emerged as Carefree power brokers.

Forty one people signed a petition for a slate of seven, which our cartoonist labeled the selected elite, “The Magnificent 7.” And they won – easily.

canfield cartoon
There were 80 votes separating the seventh elected councilman and the losing eighth candidate. Power. But not power to the people.

The Carefree 41 came into being for a noble purpose. Heavyweight long time town servants Paul Van Buskirk, Dave Dennison and Bob March were not standing for council again.

A concern arose among the town’s social elite that there might be too few qualified candidates – read that not enough candidates who see Carefree through their lenses.
So they recruited seven people, and the seven took office. The new council voted Hugh Stevens into the mayoral chair and rookie Julian Barrolaza as vice mayor. Soon thereafter ex-Mayor John Curtiss resigned, citing ill health. Rumors abound that Curtiss felt that Stevens had undermined him to become mayor.

Who is the Carefree 41? Last time it was Chairman Art Doyle and Treasurer Karl Guelich and 39 other signers This time it is Chairman Art Doyle and Treasurer Jay Christianson.
Who is Art Doyle? Doyle was general council for Kansas City Power and Light, and also had a stint as CEO. He says he spends about 6 months here and 6 months in Kansas each year. He votes in Kansas.

Doyle was forthcoming about the process used to select candidates. But this, the second attempt, to arrange the chairs at the council podium, has morphed into a new virus.

Now the council, or certain members thereof, itself, have gone to the 41 and suggested a slate. Yes a slate, and they obviously have no reservation about the frightening consequences of slates.

With Tom Chenal not seeking reelection, all six remaining incumbents are seeking reelection. So somewhere, somehow, five council members went to Doyle, and offered themselves as slate candidates.

They left out Greg Gardner. Why? In their minds, he is too development oriented. The Bud Budnick project at the corner of Cave Creek Road and Carefree Highway were cited as sole examples.

There were also sly inferences, by a councilman, that Greg was a investor, or in some way involved with the Budnick project. Gardner vehemently denies this and said he will be pleased to offer a CPA audit to disprove the allegation.

So the five council members with a nod from the 41, have chosen Andrea Genette, from Entrada, as a token across the tracks candidate (and maybe to camouflage their chauvinism) and Kiwanian Gordon Zucker, to round out the seven.

Doyle, by the way, thought that the Los Arcos Arena deal was a great thing for Carefree and did discuss the project with council members. How much influence he had is unknown, but that is why I have nothing but disdain for slates, which I think goes a long way to explain the prevalence of 7-0 votes in Carefree.

I suspect that Greg Gardner, who probably has a record for dissenting votes, is not among the beknighted for that reason.

It is interesting though, that Fischer, Morgan, Chenal and Gardner jumped ship on the Los Arcos issue, since Stevens, Barrolaza, Snyder and Doyle were for Los Arcos. That’s 4-4 isn’t it?

The Los Arcos voting series goes 6-0 for, 4-3 against, and then 7-0 against. What an interesting series of votes!

However, it would seem to me that the 6-0 vote for Los Arcos is the telling vote. Isn’t it a little like a bank robber getting caught in the parking lot and saying to the arresting officers, “I didn’t mean it. Here is the money, take it back.”?

The three (or 4 counting Doyle) who steadfastly held to their affirmative votes for Los Arcos should have more of a credibility problem with the voters than the four who listened to complaining constituents and pressed for another vote, even though the kingmaker was for the project.

Doyle outlined the ideal candidate and said that all their candidates except Genette fit the mold. Married for over 40 years, college degree, successful in their chosen vocation and the willingness to spend more than 20 hours per week on town business.

Doyle went on to explain his role. “What I do is help them with the election process. Each candidate contributes $125 and myself and the treasurer do as well. I compose their bios from their input, buy the stamps and envelopes.” He said he and the treasurer are careful to follow election laws and that left over funds are donated to the foundation.

Currently, the Carefree 41 is attempting to change its name. Not the Concerned Neighbor’s Committee appellation but the nom de plume offered by Sonoran News, i.e. Carefree 41. How? By recruiting vigorously. We are told that they have already more than 100 names on their petitions.

Could it be that the Los Arcos vote has shaken their confidence? Could it be that they recognize that they are vulnerable to the vandals storming the battlement?

In the last election, unannoited Tom Chenal found fault with the slate idea and argued for diversity. In a letter of candidacy he said a block of candidates was not what was needed. Chenal wrote, “Your town council should represent all the citizens of Carefree – diversity on the council is necessary to accomplish this.”

However, when Curtiss resigned, Chenal was chosen over higher vote count candidates Stephanie Bradley and Bill Rintleman. Well, they were from south Carefree, the other side of the tracks, not the real Carefree as Walt McGinnis once said in hearings involving a church construction application.

If the solid opposition by a Democrat minority to a constitutional impeachment process of a clearly guilty president doesn’t bother you, than a block of joined at the hip candidates for council probably doesn’t either. Sign the petition, and make it Carefree 1000, and forget the election.

Did I tell you that Art Doyle votes in Kansas?