BY DON SORCHYCH | MARCH 21, 2012
If you are a political junkie, Cave Creek is the place to be right now. We have the upcoming public vote, passed on by a 4-3 council vote, as to whether we want to pay for fire coverage by adopting a property tax.
As expected, a political action committee (PAC) has been formed to fund action against a property tax. The chairman is Vice Mayor Ernie Bunch. Ex-councilman Adam Trenk is treasurer and has informed confidants he will run for Cave Creek Council again. Trenk is a newly minted attorney who is active in the medical marijuana movement.
Bunch has told friends his chairmanship is like herding cats after written flyers were published and distributed which had not been edited. However, last Monday, white signs with blue lettering were distributed which read, “Question 1, with a slash through it. (Referring to question 1 in the publicity pamphlet) It went on, “NO NEW PROPERTY TAX” In small print at the bottom it says, “PAID FOR BY NO TAX PAC IN OPPOSITION TO QUESTION 1. PO BOX 7151 CAVE CREEK, AZ 85327 TEL; 480-595-9329.”
This newspaper does not support property taxes and only supported the use of property taxes to acquire Spur Cross Ranch because it was the only way to prevent a massive development and the town officials at the time made promise after promise there would never be another property tax in Cave Creek. They lied.
At the state level, politicians are doing what our local council did. Remember Governor Jan Brewer’s one percent sales tax? The legislature said no way. She held up signing SB 1070 until the legislature agreed to allow a public vote. It passed and now there is discussion about continuing the tax forever to fund education and other services. The schools must have great lobbyists because there is no justification for giving schools more. In fact, they should be cut back, as private firms have to.
So after the local attempt to have a public vote for a property tax failed, they waited a year and both Trenk and Ralph Mozilo, who had voted against a property tax, were replaced by Thomas McGuire and Shelly Anderson, both of whom voted for a property tax to be voted by the public. To his credit, Mayor Vincent Francia voted no.
Even though the election is on May 15, early ballots will be mailed on April 19; there has been little effort pro or con on the issue.
Another big issue is a planned resort on 220 acres near Continental Drive between 72nd and 80th streets. A body of dissenters is working to stop or defeat the development, already wearing T-shirts demanding rural stay rural in Cave Creek. Since the planned development is near Carefree, there are negative rumbles there as well.
Too bad people against property tax are not as passionate.
On Monday, March 19, council voted to return the gift of property I gave the town. This may be the first time in the town’s history they returned a gift of property and all because of fear that my neighbor Gerald Freeman would sue them.
There remains a theory creating fear that homeowners in the Cahava Springs development, off 24th street in west Cave Creek, would drive to Cave Creek and cross donated property like mine and Cahava Springs’. The hypothetical drivers would continue on Morning Star Road to Spur Cross Road, then to Cave Creek Road.
The argument extends to the possible paving of Morning Star Road, which completes the conspiracy theory.
The theory is bunk. To prevent access from the west and to provide a land bridge to Spur Cross Ranch for horse riders and hikers 80 acres was donated to the town by Cahava Springs. The 80 acre donation prevents passage by automobile.
The property I gifted to Cave Creek was returned to me in the Monday council meeting by a surprising 4-3 vote. Mayor Vincent Francia, Vice Mayor Ernie Bunch and Councilman Dick Esser voted to keep the property. I thank them for their diligence in reading and understanding the legal action taken by Freeman.
All the councilmen received an immediate e-mail from Freeman, denouncing the three councilmen for voting to keep the gifted property.
There was a small cadre of dark siders there, including Terry Zerkle who is infamous for writing to agencies declaring the town did something wrong. In every one I saw, Zerkle was wrong. He desperately wants the Town Manager’s job, but will never get it.
Other surprising dark side attendees were recalled Mayor Bernard Buffenstein and Jennie Cure. Cure had a long list of complaints going for my and Abujbarah’s throats. This was payback time since Abujbarah spiked her community gardening plans at the new sewer site.
Buffenstein dug back into history circa 1994 to mutter about a lawsuit I had with a Buffestein disciple named Ken Myers. I barely remember it and will have to look at old issues to see what he was talking about. As far as I know, Buffenstein was the only mayor ever recalled in Arizona. It would have made a great sitcom. I wrote extensively about the comedies of his administration and for history buffs I may resurrect some editorials of the times.
Last, the town is considering the closure of the south lane of Cave Creek Road on two successive weekends to benefit bike week parking at The Hideaway. The town justifies it by saying the town will be paid. First of all the town is competing with properties that could profit from paid parking. Secondly, why should the citizens of this town be handicapped by traffic jams to fill Mark Bradshaw’s wallet? I know nearby property owners like Jeff Price of the Horny Toad, TC Thorstenson, who owns nine acres across from The Hideaway and myself, who must tow cars so a business can stay open, suffer from illegal parking on privately owned properties. I have said and repeat Ron Krasson got The Hideaway approved by saying Hideaway patrons could park on Horny Toad property when it wasn’t true. Council should cancel the Hideaway business license and those of us affected will say so in the next council meeting.