BY LINDA BENTLEY | DECEMBER 15, 2010
Eight vie for six seats in Cave Creek Council race
Mayor runs unopposed despite threat to unseat
CAVE CREEK – Despite being a Tucson resident and his property on School House Road being in judicial foreclosure proceedings filed by M&I Marshall and Ilsley Bank, Arek Fressadi pulled a candidate packet to run for mayor of Cave Creek, threatening to unseat Mayor Vincent Francia, whom he referred to in an e-mail as a dictator.
Well, the Dec. 8 deadline to turn in nomination petitions came and went without Fressadi turning in anything.
Fressadi was also a no-show in court for a status conference on Nov. 16, 2010 in his lawsuit against the town and his neighboring property owners.
Maricopa County Superior Judge Robert Budoff noted the Nov. 16, 2010 status conference was scheduled by the court on Dec. 11, 2009 for the purpose of scheduling a trial, wherein Fressadi appeared telephonically with his then attorney Kent Berk.
Budoff stated, “Plaintiff has not appeared today, in person or through counsel, and he has not contacted the court relative to his inability to appear today. The order entered Dec. 11, 2009 instructed all parties and their attorneys to appear in person for this status conference.”
Matters were discussed before the court with the various attorneys representing defendants.
In ordering Fressadi’s complaint dismissed with full prejudice, Budoff stated, “As previously noted, this matter was properly noticed in the presence of plaintiff. It was scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. The court waited until approximately 8:45 a.m. to begin. It is now 9:02 a.m. and plaintiff has still failed to appear or contact the court. This mere failure to participate alone warrants sanctions in accordance with the Rules [of Civil Procedure],” pointing out respective counsel had set forth other reasons that “support substantively” the motion to dismiss being granted.
So, Francia, who was dubbed “the best mayor in the whole world” by Carole Perry during the Walmart groundbreaking ceremony, will be running unopposed in March.
With the exception of Councilman Ralph Mozilo, the current council is seeking reelection.
Thomas McGuire, who lost his council seat in the last election by a card draw, after tying with Adam Trenk, is also running for council, along with Planning Commissioner Shelley Anderson and newcomer Alice Kunka, although Kunka doesn’t appear to have the requisite number (63) of qualified signatures.
Although the candidate packets provide instructions, Kunka apparently began collecting signatures before filing a statement of organization or $500 threshold exemption, which must be filed prior to collecting signatures. Kunka learned of her failure a few days before the deadline.
Kunka filed her $500 threshold exemption and had to go about collecting signatures all over again.
And, approximately 30 percent of the 87 signatures turned in by Kunka on Dec. 8, appear to be invalid and would probably disqualify her from appearing on the ballot if someone were inclined to file a court challenge, as per A.R.S. 16-351, by the Dec. 22 deadline.
While several of Kunka’s supporters signed her petitions using a Cave Creek Post Office box, rather than their actual residential address, as called for on the nomination petitions, a cursory glance indicates a good number of signers are registered in unincorporated Maricopa County, Carefree, Phoenix, Scottsdale and Glendale, registered at an addresses that differs from the one used to sign, registered with a commercial property address, not registered at all or signed more than once.
And, while McGuire turned in slightly fewer signatures than Kunka, including several of the same people, with the exception of Johnny Ringo, whose real name is John Brigante and not a registered voter, the majority seems to be registered in Cave Creek.
So, the make-up of council could change by as few one seat or by as many as three.
This will be Cave Creek’s first all-mail council election, which generally increases voter turnout. However, that also means more votes are needed to get elected in the March primary, which requires a vote of 50 percent plus one of ballots cast, and could send more candidates into the May run-off election.