Carefree Resort & Villas 

I read with interest the Letter to the Editor published in Sonoran News recently regarding the new management team at the Carefree Resort & Villas and the Resort’s 2009 New Year’s Eve Gala. As a new member of the Carefree community, and a business owner representing The Carefree Resort, I certainly respect a person’s right to express their own opinions. I have enjoyed both sides of the writer’s pen and take seriously the good or bad commentary about the properties I manage, and the communities I serve. I welcome all perspectives about the decisions I make and the actions I take, but in this case, I take exception to the allegations outlined in the recent Your View editorial.

In November our firm came to Carefree to begin operating the Carefree Resort & Villas.
This property has a rich and storied history in the Carefree community. From being closed for years, suffering through endless litigation and finally succumbing to a bankruptcy which resulted in its ultimate sale, the resort has seen more than its fair share of tough times.
Despite all of this we saw the future of the Carefree Resort & Villas as one full of promise, promise for the Carefree and Cave Creek communities as well as for the owners we represent. We have made the tough staffing, budgeting and operating decisions required to bring financial security and operational excellence to the Resort.

Our goal is to restore the Carefree Resort & Villas to being a viable business and contributor to the community.

The New Year’s Eve event at Carefree has become a tradition at the Resort, and the 2009 event was a huge success. I attended the New Year’s Eve event and helped play host to a number of local property owners, 130 guests that drove from Sacramento, California by bus to visit not only our resort but the local community, and many other local, hospitality, community and elected VIP’s and their guests. Since we were proud of my company’s new relationship with the property, John Schilling, the Resort’s new General Manager, and I were both joined by our families. At midnight the balloons dropped and the dance floor was full of many happy couples celebrating the start of 2010! At midnight both John and I hugged our mothers. It was a great moment for all of our guests and a proud moment for us.

The allegations of what happened at the New Year’s Gala are not true. More importantly, and personally more disturbing to me, are the allegations that the community has not supported The Carefree Resort. The support from business leaders, elected officials, property owners and individuals since our arrival has been overwhelming. I find the community to be very open to change, welcoming to the Resort’s new business owners, and being dedicated to help bring visitors to Carefree and Cave Creek.

The new ownership of the Resort is committed to being good citizens and neighbors to all of Carefree and Cave Creek. They are committed to the new management, supportive of all our efforts and initiatives to revitalize the property, and dedicated to working tirelessly with management and the community to be successful. These words come with more than just respect for a rich history and praise for a community. They come with the promise of a substantial capital investment in the Resort. This commitment will bring renovation and restoration dollars into the Carefree economy. We clearly understand that The Carefree Resort is one of the largest contributors to the city’s tax base. We take seriously the shared dedication that our success is closely tied to the success of all businesses in the Carefree area. You can call this a Promise, you can call this a Practice, or you can call it a Parade!
This Promise to rebuilding excellence is the “Parade” we are bringing to Carefree, and I am very proud to be a part of it. We can only hope that the author of last week’s commentary and all the stakeholders of Carefree and Cave Creek join us as we work to rebuild a great Resort and become champions of a great community.

I invite anyone who is curious about the changes going on at the Carefree Resort to visit us, meet our management team, see first hand the renovations taking place and embrace change as it is vital to all of us.

Edwin W. Leslie | CHA President & CEO Bridlie Hospitality Management, Inc. | Carefree Resort & Villas | Carefree, Arizona

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Dear School Board members and Superintendent Burdick

I am deeply concerned about the Cave Creek School District’s recent proposals to close DAMS and create a special “academy” aimed at serving the district’s top performing students. Please allow me to itemize my concerns.

First, the proposed 7th – 12th grade academy will create structural inequities and is likely to “cannibalize” resources from existing schools. The proposed academy, as outlined at the district meeting on Jan. 26, will initially serve 50 competitively selected students at each grade level. As proposed the teacher-student ratio will be 1:20. It was reported at the meeting the only cost to the district would be “paint.” Here is what is advertised on the district webpage:

Cactus Shadows Prep Academy *Small Class Sizes *Uniforms *Honors Curriculum

This outrageous claim that a student teacher ratio of 1:20 will not have financial significance on, nor impact, other schools is either a deliberate distortion, or reflects incredible naiveté on the part of district officials and the school board. Of course maintaining such a teaching ratio will have financial significance for the district budget. Moreover, maintenance for this ratio will undoubtedly come at the expense of students in other schools.

Maintaining a special academy with a special student-teacher ratio for approximately 10 percent of the district’s middle school students creates structural inequities within the system. Children with individualized education plans (IEPs) at Desert Arroyo today are only promised a 1:35 student ratio. Students with IEPs at Sonoran Trails have even a higher student-teacher ratio. I am curious as to how the district officials and school board plan on justifying a 1:20 ratio for the top 10 percent of performing middle school students in the district when the students who are eligible for additional assistance by virtue of federal disability and education laws are only guaranteed a 1:35 student ratio. I can envision the class action lawsuit that will stem from such blatant elitism and inequity within the district.
The school district personnel and the school board have obviously lost their moral compass. They are failing to uphold the mission of public education and are exposing the district to financial liabilities stemming from litigation.

Second, the discussion of the budget seems to be deliberately obtuse. During the district meeting there was no mention made of any cuts to the district’s operating budget.

Furthermore, the web page does not itemize changes to the operating budget. There was discussion of cuts in “soft” money and capital expenses stemming from the failure of the K-3 override and several other expenses, itemized here:

• Our K-3 Override failed on Nov. 3, 2009. Beginning next school year, the override will begin to decrease:
-$321,520 in Maintenance and Operations Budget
• We have lost 90 students this school year. Our budget for 2010-2011 is built on the enrollment of students from the 09-10 school year: -$399,733 in Maintenance and Operations Budget
• Our state is increasing the retirement contribution for the AZ State Retirement System for our employees for next year: -$91,396 in Maintenance and Operations Budget
• Due to enrollment loss of 90 students, our soft capital and unrestricted capital budgets for 2010-2011 will decrease: -$37,663 in the Capital Budgets
• Total Deficit already known for 2010-2011: -$850,312

It is not clear from these figures how the district reached the sum of $850,312. The first bullet point above states clearly that “the override will “begin” to decrease” (my quotes around begin for emphasis). The wording suggests the loss of revenue will not be sudden. Additionally, as discussed during the district meeting, the loss of students is likely to be replaced by gains in student numbers, beginning next year. The $399,733 figure therefore reflects current conditions and cannot be extrapolated forward with any certainty. Soft capital and unrestricted capital budget losses do not affect operations. In effect, the district’s claim that they are running a deficit of $850, 312, is based on contingent and questionable assertions, analysis, and extrapolations.

I am left to conclude that there exists a hidden agenda to close DAMS, an excelling school with strong community support, in order to open the “academy.” Such an agenda is incredibly elitist and disregards the community survey results, which indicated strong community support for existing school configurations. This agenda runs counter to the advice of the demographer hired by the district to assess current educational growth prospects and needs. Moreover, the proposal to close DAMS fails to properly account for the transportation costs of shuttling students to SonoranTrails, which is up to 10 miles away for students residing in Cave Creek and Carefree. Finally, this agenda runs counter to the district’s own stated educational philosophy, as articulated in its mission statement.

Never in my 23 years of teaching have I witnessed such prejudicial and/or incompetent decision making. I am honestly shocked by what transpired in the Tuesday, Jan. 26 district meeting and disgusted by the loudly trumpeted plans to establish an elite academy using public dollars, which will be deflected from current educational operations.

I will be forwarding my letter to Arizona State Superintendent Tom Horne and the federal government’s Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan. I will also be forwarding a letter to the Arizona Republic and Sonoran News.

Dr. Majia Holmer Nadesan | Scottsdale

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Dear Mr. President:

During my shift in the Emergency Room last night, I had the pleasure of evaluating a patient whose smile revealed an expensive shiny gold tooth, whose body was adorned with a wide assortment of elaborate and costly tattoos, who wore a very expensive brand of tennis shoes and who chatted on a new cellular telephone equipped with a popular R&B ring-tone.

While glancing over her patient chart, I happened to notice that her payer status was listed as "Medicaid!" During my examination of her, the patient informed me that she smokes more than one costly pack of cigarettes every day and somehow still has money to buy pretzels and beer.

And you and our Congress expect me to pay for this woman's health care? I contend that our nation's "health care crisis" is not the result of a shortage of quality hospitals, doctors or nurses. Rather, it is the result of a "crisis of culture," a culture in which it is perfectly acceptable to spend money on luxuries and vices while refusing to take care of one's self or, heaven forbid, purchase health insurance. It is a culture based in the irresponsible credo that "I can do whatever I want to do because someone else will always take care of me."

Once you fix this "culture crisis" that rewards irresponsibility and dependency, you'll be amazed at how quickly our nation's health care difficulties will disappear.

Starner Jones | Originally published in the Jackson, Mississippi Clarion Ledger

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Letter from Dr. James David Manning to Janet Napolitano

After much reflection I have decided to write this letter both as a document of inquiry and protest. An officer of the Secret Service came to my office where I counsel people about the most intimate and troubled details of their lives, and asked me to explain statements made concerning Barack Obama. The officer knew, or should have known, with a minimum of due diligence, that those statements could not possibly be construed in any way as a threat to the physical safety of Obama. Time after time in my statements I have made clear that any action taken against Obama should be done within the bounds of legal process. Yet this agent came into this church, this sacred soil where God dwells, with seven men including members of the New York Police Department, to ask me to explain statements. I made clear that any action taken against Obama should be done within the bounds of legal process. It suggests to me that either your agency is incompetent or that you came with an insidious intent.

Besides the fact that I have openly declared that any action against Obama should be lawful and constitutionally prescribed, you also know that I have done no act that could remotely constitute a crime or justify your pollution of this holy space with your presence. The freedom of speech is, or at least was sacrosanct in this nation. The fact that I made statements, however strong and distasteful to you, does not warrant your agent coming to my office with six other men in tow to ask me my meaning. While your agent "needed" three men by his side to ask me a question in my office there were three other men outside of this house taking pictures. Your time would have been better served guarding the White House from uninvited guests.

Your agent came here because he wanted to send me a message. Your agent wanted me to know that I am being watched. If it were otherwise he would have come and arrested me. You wanted in essence, to chill speech. It is therefore you and not I who pose the danger to all that is lawful.

Now your actions create a presumption, but it is rebuttable, so I give you the opportunity to explain yourself. What specifically did I say that causes you concern and why? Why did he need the New York City Police Department to follow him? Why were men taking pictures of this house of worship? What clippings of my sermons and statements other than the one in question have been reviewed? What specific actions as opposed to speech, have I taken that are illegal? And finally, have you read the Supreme Court cases on inflammatory speech where even the overthrow of the government by violence is constitutionally protected? I deserve answers. Furthermore, there is an old legal doctrine that silence in the face of an accusation which one ought to answer constitutes consent or admission. If you choose not to answer this letter, you have already answered.
In His Royal Service,

The Honorable James Manning |

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Congressional District 3 race

With a crowded Republican field emerging in the Congressional District 3 race, I am looking for “shock-n-awe, or an eight-plus on the Richter scale of earthquakes from a Republican candidate.

Current Mayor of Paradise Valley, Vernon Parker is that person. Our country missed the opportunity in 2008 on getting the “right” people in the U.S. Congress and the White House.
Conservatives and limited government thinkers must take back Congress in the mid-term elections. Hopeful signs are U.S. Senator-elect, Scott Brown winning in a very liberal state – Massachusetts.

If anyone has met and spent time with Vernon Parker, they found a compassionate, sincere and smart-as-a-whip professional. I’ve had enough conversation with Vern to know he’s committed to a “business friendly climate.”

It’s time an action-oriented thinker, like Vern, halts the nonsense in Congress. He would pointedly preserve economic vitality and fight against The Water Restoration bill, Cap and Trade bill, and Card Check bill. I’ve heard him say taxing businesses does nothing more than reshape corporate structure and deflate inspiration, innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship.

Getting the endorsements of conservative elected officials such as Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and Councilman Sal DiCiccio speaks volumes for Parker’s values concerning rule of law.

Ray Torres | Scottsdale

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Are you aware of this traffic law?

Just because this is written about California law, don't shrug this off. It is operative in all states with the exception of two. Arizona’s version of the law went into effect in 2005.
In California, the "Move-over" law became operative on January 1, 2010. Visit

The cost of the ticket, $754 with 3 points on your license and a mandatory court appearance.

Important law to share:

I wanted to let my Medlock Bridge neighbors know about this.

My son got a ticket on Pleasant Hill coming back from Walmart. A Duluth police car (turned out there were two police cars) was on the side of the road giving a ticket to someone else.

My son slowed down to pass but did not move into the other lane. The second police car immediately pulled him over and gave him a ticket. My son and I had never heard of the law. It is a fairly new law that states if any emergency vehicle is on the side of the road, you are to move into the far lane if you are able.

LL | E-mail

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Dear J-P Maldonado

Your Jan. 27, 2010 open letter to Senator-elect Brown was wonderful but you leave us in a conundrum. How will the growing army of "Former Republicans" elect real conservatives like Kristen Burroughs (District 7 State Legislator Seat) and a desperately needed McCain replacement, if we don't vote in the Republican Primary? "None of the above" won't get it done. We need another Tea Party in Cave Creek to get organized so we can retire Arizona RINOs. Massachusetts had their "second shot heard round the world." Now it’s our turn!

Mike Doyle | E-mail

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