canfield cartoon

How CCUSD planned to spend the money originally intended for new school construction

Now that the funds from the $13 million bond issue are on hold pending litigation, let's see, in detail, how CCUSD had planned to spend the money originally intended for new school construction.

The largest component of this $13 million bond money would be about $2.25 million whose ultimate end use is unknown. Really, would CCUSD require these multiple millions for testing, permits and design for the renovation of parking lots and exterior/interior painting of school buildings. One can really wonder about this particular portion of the proposed funding!

The next largest component of the $13 million bond money would be the $2+ million intended for renovation of parking lots. Another $1.8 million of the bond money, approved by voters for new school construction, would be used for interior/exterior painting of CCUSD school buildings.

In addition, CCUSD proposes to spend a net $1+ million for renovations on the now closed Desert Arroyo Middle School. The district would also like to spend about $600,000 for renovations on the old Black Mountain Elementary School (which now handles some classroom overflows and has some administrative end uses). Another net $500,000 would be utilized for renovations in the Fine Arts Center (stage/theatrical lighting, dimmer systems, etc.)

Is this what tens of thousands of district taxpayers voted for in November 2000? Nearly half of the $13 million bond money would be used for unknown or for cosmetic purposes (permits/design/testing,  parking lot renovations, interior/exterior painting, etc.). Another significant portion of the bond money would be used for renovations on now closed school facilities and on district facilities with less-than-priority educational purpose (old Black Mountain Elementary School, Fine Arts Center, etc) rather than to relieve present and future potential overcrowding in primary educational facilities.

Alexei Westfall | E-mail

Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends …

Once again, with a smug smile, Obama admonished the people when he produced his official birth certificate announcing “we aren't going to be able to solve these problems if we get distracted by sideshows and carnival barkers”, yet he has been the Ring Master. He fails to understand that it doesn’t matter whether he is right or has the facts.

What matters is how he is perceived by the people, whether they are right, or wrong. A wise person would address the issue timely and respectably lest they injure an already delicate relationship; he has been neither, not to mention the millions he has spent on lawyers to suppress his personal records from the public. And he knows this is not the end of the issue regarding his past, i.e. his education history.

Considering it is “bad for the American people and distracting from the many challenges we face as a country,” as a WH blogger put it, it is comical that Obama chooses to perpetuate this circus by not proactively releasing this information as well.

It would require little effort on his part, yet like an arrogant little school boy he wants it his way, he has closed the exits, forcing you to sit back and watch the show.

Paul Stekly | Cave Creek

We need more small business returning to the retail sector restoring the Mom and Pop retailers

We need more small business returning to the retail sector restoring the Mom and Pop retailers that use to be what created our best forms of wealth redistribution and generated revenue flows for local, state and federal governments. The big box retail sector that’s controlling all the durable goods distribution is consolidating the wealth and killing our communities because Wall Street investment firms want this investment access to the markets.

We need to rethink this strategy by thinking about restoring the communities with the old way of the Mom and Pop small business sector distribution method of free enterprise as the fundamental like it was before this big box era started, and this will be what rebuilds the communities in America with the prosperity that’s freely created and distributed and redistributed multiplying capital formation and profits which can be converted into equity and tax revenue streams. Come on this is simple, and Wall Street can still invest in this, just create the basket that can include these sectors of small businesses within this type of ETF, so the investment can still be done just with the association of small businesses all joined together in a association that then is represented in a basket portfolio that an investment firm can offer a IPO on. This kind of a investment basket of broad based small businesses in retail or industry related markets can be a great way to spread investor financial risks out across a broader spectrum and lower overall financial exposure due to the higher number of independent operators all having a larger stake in the market place.

And I bet you we will see a return of a higher quality of family life that is functional instead of dysfunctional and communities across America can begin to rebuild their lives. And the Speaker can shed a TEAR of JOY instead of Despair.

Tony Newbill | Wickenburg


A lawyer instead of financial accountability for the PARENT FUNDED sports programs at CCUSD?

Falcon baseball parents,
Following is correspondence from CCUSD’s attorney who has now taken over my requests for financial accountability for our funds paid to the baseball program. Instead of just giving us an accounting for the funds they called their lawyer. Hmmm… this makes me even more curious!!!! Please pass this on to other baseball parents and the parents of other sports and student athletes at CSHS. I will keep you all informed as I get information.

Michelle Ford

Editor note: The communication is presented in chronological order for the sake of clarity. The letter that immediately follows was written to Linda Shaner regarding previous information requests by Michelle Ford and was forwarded from Debbi Burdick to Jennifer MacLennan, an attorney with the law firm Gust and Rosenfeld, which represents CCUSD. E-mail addresses have been deleted and replaced with Xs.

From: Debbi Burdick [XXXXXXX]
Sent: Thursday, April 28, 2011 1:26 PM
To: Jennifer MacLennan
Cc: Linda Schaner; Patti Tussey
Subject: Fw: List of documents provided


Please provide a detailed list of the exact documents you are providing from my public requests.  From what you have told me I am doubtful that you have actually complied with my requests.  A list should clarify the documents you intend to use as the fulfillment of the numerous requests.  After Patty Tussey’s antics of providing a CPR certification instead of Risk Management Training and drug documentation I don’t want to waste anymore of my time with you and I am sure Debbi does not want to waste her time either. 

I will only accept a financial accounting statement distributed to every parent who fully funded the baseball program from August 1, 2010 – April 28, 2011 along with disclosure of the signatories on the accounts and who authorized purchases.  $50,000 of the parent’s money needs to be accounted for.  I am also specifically looking for the requested information on Coach Grace’s sister and her role, qualifications, and reimbursements from fall 2010. The $275 per player fee for fall was an increase of $200 from past seasons and all the games were eliminated.  There were minimal expenses.  What were the fall ball fees used for?  Who authorized 2 new sets of uniforms (one for home games and one for away games) after new uniforms were just purchased by parents in Spring 2010. The coach complains to umpires he does not have enough game balls to play with and there are still few working lights on the scoreboard but he bought two sets of new uniforms?  As well, I ask that you provide only the employment documents I requested.  I don’t need you to give me anything I did not request.

In your list please title each document and state the number of pages for each document.  You may also email all the documents to me in the spirit of not wasting time and saving paper.

Michelle Ford

From: Jennifer MacLennan [XXXXXXXXXXXXX]
Sent: Thursday, April 28, 2011 1:52 PM
Cc: 'Debbi Burdick'; Patti Tussey; lschanerXXXXXX
Subject: FW: List of documents provided
Importance: High

Ms. Ford,

Your email below has been referred to my attention given Dr. Burdick's absence this week. 
This law firm represents the Cave Creek Unified School District.

Arizona public records law requires that the public be allowed to view public records during business hours, subject to any confidentiality restrictions that might exist by statute or by case law.  It does not require that any public entity create a responsive document.  It also does not require that information be distributed to individuals who have not requested the information.

It is my understanding from Ms. Schaner that Dr. Burdick tried to schedule time with you to answer your questions regarding this matter.  I suggest that you meet with Dr. Burdick to get your questions answered.  In the interim, please direct any further questions regarding the multiple public records requests that you have submitted in recent weeks to the undersigned.

Thank you.


Jennifer N. MacLennan, Esq.
Gust Rosenfeld P.L.C.
One East Washington Street, Suite 1600
Phoenix, AZ 85004-2553

IMPORTANT & CONFIDENTIAL: This message is from the law firm of Gust Rosenfeld P.L.C. and is for the intended recipient only. It is privileged and confidential information exempt from disclosure under applicable law.

If you are not the intended recipient, any copying, use or distribution is prohibited. If you received this message by mistake, please call me collect at 602.257.7422 and destroy the original message. Thank you.

Ms. MacLennan,

I will be happy to talk to you from now on. Are you going to threaten to sue me because the parents want financial accountability?  Do they use our funds to pay your hourly fees for emailing me?  As I explained to Ms. Burdick, I work from 8:00am to 6:00pm so I can pay taxes to a corrupt school district that thinks parents have no business questioning them.  Your business hours do not go with my business hours.  Perhaps you can provide the financial information the parents have requested.  The parents fully fund the baseball program at Cactus Shadows High School. The district pays no money for the program, only the parent’s money is used, yet the district sets the cost for each player to play.  The district set the cost at approximately $825 for each baseball parent this season. Compare that to $75 for Peoria student-athletes to play as many sports as they want for the entire school year. From August 2010 – April 25, 2011 the district required approximately $50,000 in payments made to them just by the baseball parents for just that one sport. The large sum of money the parents paid to the program is unaccounted for.  In addition there were mandatory fundraising events the parents and players participated in; the revenues of which were never disclosed.  The district took in all the monies but never accounted for any of it. Since it is the parent’s money it is appropriate for the district to account for it.  We are asking that a summary of the funds paid from August 2010 – April 28, 2011 be distributed to every parent who funded the program. This seems like a reasonable request, wouldn’t you agree?  The money seems to have gone into a black hole at the district and they want to hide it behind the governing board rules.  Since the district does not participate financially in any way with the baseball funds they should not be hiding the money or diverting it to other programs or salaries, etc.  The public records request is not being abided by. They give information that is meaningless and was not requested and they do not give the information that was requested and then just check it off as having fulfilled the request for your purposes.  By not being open and transparent with approximately $50,000 of the parent’s money and no real obvious improvements to the team, staff, or facilities, we are suspicious.

The parent’s want and deserve accounting for their funds.  Maybe you can get the district to post the accounting for the parent’s money on the CCUSD website. That way all the parents who want to see how their money was spent can and it won’t cost the district a dime to do it.  We would also like to know if the account is now depleted or will the team have funds to start out next year? The money just always seems to disappear every year and we never have game balls or light bulbs for the score board. I have bought a lot of baseballs over the past 20 years that my boys have been playing and I know that $50,000 can buy a lot of game balls.  While we are at this topic for baseball, why don’t we account for all the parent’s monies in all the sports at the schools run by CCUSD since the parents fully fund all the sports programs.  It is time for us to figure out where the black hole goes.

What is the hourly fee the Cave Creek/Scottsdale tax payers are having to pay you to try to intimidate me on behalf of CCUSD and the governing board?

Michelle Ford | Just a baseball parent


“A Path to Prosperity”

Every year, Congress should pass a budget and approve legislation that provides a year’s worth of funding for government operations.  Last year, under a Democrat-led House and Senate, it did neither; and that is why lawmakers struggled to craft a measure to fund the government for the next six months (in order to avoid a government shutdown).

The House of Representatives will soon begin to consider a budget plan for the next fiscal year (which starts on October 1, 2011 and ends September 30, 2012).

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, who authored the budget, believes it could reverse Washington’s trend of spending beyond its means and passing the debt onto our children and grandchildren.  I believe he’s right on target.

Congressman Ryan’s budget reflects the kind of difficult, and politically-unpopular, choices that lawmakers will need to make in order to do something about our unsustainable spending and debt.  It would return federal spending (specifically, what is known as non-defense discretionary spending) to 2008 levels, before the massive spending unleashed by the Obama Administration.  The spending cuts proposed in Ryan’s budget total $5.8 trillion over 10 years.

The budget also calls for sensible and growth-promoting tax policy. 

The budget contemplates a top tax rate of 25 percent for individuals and businesses.  Currently, the tax rate on businesses is 35 percent, the highest in the developed world.  That rate discourages investment and job creation and makes America an expensive place in which to do business.  No wonder so many businesses are moving operations overseas.
In an April 4 column in the Wall Street Journal, John Taylor, an economics professor at Stanford, Gary Becker, a Nobel Prize winner, and George Shultz, a former Secretary of Labor, Treasury, and State, write that “It's time for a game-changer­a budget action that will stop the recent discretionary spending binge before it gets entrenched in government agencies.”

At the heart of any “game-changing” budget is an effort to reduce federal spending, as Representative Ryan’s would do.

“Credible actions that reduce the rapid growth of federal spending and debt will raise economic growth and lower the unemployment rate,” Taylor, Becker, and Schultz write.  “Higher private investment, not more government purchases, is the surest way to increase prosperity.”

So, reducing government spending can increase economic productivity and jobs.

I think Congressman Ryan’s budget proposal is an effective blueprint for economic growth.  President Obama has sought to stimulate the economy and create jobs by spending trillions of government dollars.

What has that gotten us?  Record deficits, excessive borrowing­about 40 cents of every dollar the government spends will have to be borrowed­and stubbornly high unemployment.  The Ryan blueprint recognizes that the strength of American entrepreneurs and the private sector, not the government, spur the economy and help put people back to work.

Sen. Jon Kyl, Senate Republican Whip and serves on the Senate Finance and Judiciary committees. Visit


Arpaio’s website mug-shot display two-faced (like Eddie)

John [The Arizona Republic President and Publisher John Zidich], Randy [The Arizona Republic Editor and Vice President for news], Eddie [E.J. Montini] the left wing hack is complaining about Sheriff Joe showing mug-shots from the worst day of a criminal’s life! [“Arpaio's two-faced approach to mug shots” by E.J. Montini, April 21, Arizona Republic] It’s like what The AZ Republic does when you look for the most unfavorable pic’s for Republicans, and the cheery shots you post for the left winger Dems.

Also, Stevie [Steve Benson] ‘cartoon boy’ along with the left wing Republic editorial board bash Republicans again. What a surprise …. nary a mention of Jack Harris, or Philly Gordon. Both gave false info to the feds on Phoenix about kidnappings that funded money to the city. And, what about the despicable Raul Grijalva, the same Raul that boycotted the great state of Arizona.

John, we are still waiting for you to give us the “code of conduct” policy at the Republic (the rag) and advise us that you or any of your rag-mates never accepted free tickets/stuff from the Fiesta Bowl while you were on their board.

Best always,

Tom Zbytek


Only what came into the ark survived

In 1840, an earthquake occurred in eastern Turkey that included the mountains of Ararat. As a result, Noah’s Ark became exposed and was first seen by local people. This news spread rapidly around the world and in 1856 three English scientists decided to go to Turkey to search for the ark. With the help of locals they found it. Then they tried to destroy it with fire, but it wouldn’t burn. Genesis 6:14 tells why. But, why would these scientists want to destroy the ark? They were all admitted atheists.

In 1913, the Czar of Russia sent 150 soldiers to Ararat to photograph the ark and survey the area. The survey revealed that the ark is located at the 6,000 foot elevation, on a plateau between Greater and Lesser Ararat. However, these records are believed to have been destroyed during the 1917 Russian Revolution.

Other evidence that confirms the ark’s existence is the sightings by American aviators during WWII when they flew over Mt Ararat, flying from Erzron to Tunisia. Their photographs and story was later published in the military publication “Stars and Stripes.”

Noah’s Ark is evidence proving that the Flood of Noah occurred. This is also incontestable evidence proving the whole theory of evolution is false. Except for marine life, all life on earth ended during the year-long, world-wide flood. Only what came into the ark survived. This reality is likely what motivated the three atheist scientists to attempt to destroy Noah’s Ark.

Also, geophysicists, William Ryan and Walter Pitman, co-authored the book “Noah’s Flood” (1998) which gives new scientific discoveries about the event that changed history.
Finally, Charles Darwin, on his deathbed, is reported to have repented and apologized for the fallacious theory of evolution that he founded.

James Roehrborn | Alexandria, Minnesota


Nuclear Reactor Roulette

Well before the catastrophe at Fukushima began unfolding, a familiar word was heard in discussions about plans to build a new generation of reactors in this country.  That word: Risk.

With President Obama and Congress pushing ahead with efforts to offer up federal construction loan guarantees totaling $54.5 billion, what was the risk of taxpayers getting stuck holding the bag in the event these nuclear projects defaulted? And, why should taxpayers even be expected to assume such a risk?

Before those critical questions were satisfactorily addressed, we were sadly reminded of the other definition of risk when it comes to nuclear energy. The toll of Fukushima won’t be known for years, but assuredly the cost, both human and financial, will be huge.

As public debate over nuclear safety once again flares up – with industry’s familiar assurances that “it can’t happen here” – let’s not allow the financial risks inherent in this energy choice to be overlooked.

Notwithstanding the national budget deficit and the upcoming debt ceiling vote, the Obama administration and the Republican Congressional leadership seem intent on proceeding with tens of billions in nuclear loan guarantees. These are unlikely to be a prudent investment. Back in 2003, the Congressional Budget Office predicted that the default rate for new reactor loans will be well above 50 percent.  Since then – long before Fukushima – the economic conditions and the risks have only gotten worse. 

Nuclear proponents will argue mightily in coming days that the chances of a catastrophic accident are very low. There’s that word risk again. If you crunch the numbers (582 reactors worldwide, a combined operating history of 14,400 reactor years and 10 core meltdowns), you’ll come up with the risk of a core-melting accident like Fukushima, Chernobyl or Three Mile Island happening on average every three years.  

Is that a risk we’re willing to take, given the dire consequences we see taking place in Japan? Yet the nuclear energy lobby pretends that a bet on the safety of nuclear reactors is like wagering that the sun will rise in the East.  Make no mistake: When it comes to investing our dollars on this wager, we’re not being asked to put $20 on a March Madness basketball pool.  In reality, it’s closer to Russian roulette.

And that explains why the nuclear industry – with help from Washington – is pushing for taxpayers to shoulder this huge financial gamble.  

Nuclear utilities have already pushed off a lot of their risks to the public. In the U.S., a utility’s liability in the event of an accident is limited by law.  The Price-Anderson Act places the cost for a serious nuclear accident on the taxpayers, not the utility.  For decades, critics have argued this runs counter to good policy – for safety and economic reasons.

As Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz put it: “When others bear the cost of mistakes, the incentives favor self-delusion.  A system that socializes losses and privatizes gains is doomed to mismanage risk.”

Before the Fukushima disaster, Wall Street was unwilling to put private capital into new nuclear reactors. Too risky, they said. In the aftermath of this ongoing tragedy, you can bet they will be even less enthusiastic about assuming such huge risks.

That means the nuclear industry has no place to go but the American taxpayer, who suddenly is confronted with an untenable choice: Underwriting the costs of a financial default, or underwriting the costs of a massive disaster. Didn’t our nation just come through a mortgage default crisis? Why use taxpayer dollars to underwrite more foolish risks? 
This leads us to the most important question we should be asking right now about risk: Why are some politicians so eager to risk taxpayer dollars and lives to continue our reliance on this dangerous and costly energy technology? 

I bet I have the answer. It has to do with campaign contributions. The nuclear industry has run a decade-long campaign to garner support from lawmakers, spending some $600 million on lobbying and nearly $63 million in campaign contributions in just 10 years.  This money has earned the industry loyal friends in Congress, some of whom have received hundreds of thousands of dollars from nuclear backers.

What have taxpayers gotten in return? An energy option that is not safe. It is not economical.  It’s an option that holds the American people liable for billions if something goes wrong. Nuclear power is an option that has survived only through massive public subsidies.  And now the nuclear industry and its allies in Washington want to pile on billions more.

Here’s a wager I’m willing to make because I know the odds are in my favor: Given a choice, U.S. taxpayers would say No Thanks to this high-stakes nuclear roulette.  Their message to Congress: The risks are just too high.

Dr. Brent Blackwelder

Dr. Brent Blackwelder is President Emeritus of Friends of the Earth US.