bil canfield cartoon

Rural Metro

So it would seem then that Rural/Metro (R/M) would be the place the start for a town-wide Fire District; or as they say ..."or so it would seem."

As a Fire District though, and not just another town department under the heading of: "Departments of the Town of Cave Creek," the accounted for "fire department" would then be held to a "cap" on fire services. Meaning, R/M, Daisy Mtn., Carefree, or whomever we choose must then answer to the Fire Board established by the Town of Cave Creek and the Fire Board is then held accountable to the taxes raised and allocated for by the town (just like Daisy Mountain is).

R/M or any other assigned to fire service could not for example: 1) build another fire station, 2) decrease response times, 3) co-man or unman pumpers or response vehicles, 4) decrease wages unnecessarily or without cause, or any other issue detrimental to services unless the Fire Board: deemed it necessary, was funded by taxes, and in the best interest of the Town. With certain reservations, I have no problem with R/M being the Town's fire service as long as R/M serves all the townsfolk equally, is funded by the Fire District, and meets nationally recognized standards. This keeps R/M in check, but more importantly mandates that the fire department meets National Fire Protection Standards (NFPS).

Keep in mind, R/M is a "for profit" organization and therefore the importance of profit-over-service is held by their share holders.  Meaning again, is the .65/$100 valuation based on a 4-man pumper as is Scottsdale, Phoenix, Daisy Mountain, etc. or is R/M basing their figure on their normal 2-3 man pumper? Does this include Ambulance service as does the valley departments or does this expense cost extra to the town?  Is R/M implying they will meet NFPA Standards as does DM, Phx, Carefree, Scottsdale, etc. or are they to co-man pumpers with water tankers and brush trucks severely cutting vital services and response times? What "Standard" is their charge for service compliant to?

R/M has a reputation around the country as a bare-bones fire service. When dealing with profit sharing, cutting corners where you can (response times, manning, overages, and outages, personnel costs) beefs up the payout to those with a vested interest in the company. In the end, the Town of Cave Creek is hurt by their lack of service and we are not given what we paid for.

A 4-person Fire District is what is needed if this is eventually passed so that the fire department is held in check and to the highest of standards.  Therefore, if R/M or anyone else doesn't meet the Town's/Fire District standard, then they are replaced with someone who will.  This keeps our fire protection in line with the rest of the valley and prevents substandard service. Our towns-folk's lives are at stake here, we care not about profit to their company. 

I am in favor of a Fire District established by the Town of Cave Creek, but only if these nationally recognized standards are met.  Everyone then is given equal and legitimate fire service, no one is billed thousands for a fire department putting out their coals due to service getting in the way of profit, and the cost is shared by all who live within the town's borders.  The town has an obligation to protect its citizens and not just take their tax dollars without holding themselves accountable and giving nothing back in return.

Joe Gorraiz
Cave Creek


Response to Jim Bruce’s My Turn

The proponents of the new tax to fund fire and emergency services are shooting from the hip.  A tax with no analysis is bad policy, plain and simple. In Jim Bruce’s April 11 My Turn, he touted that the current fire coverage apparatus is “unaffordable policy” and questions opposition to the tax as being politically motivated.  These statements are as false as they are ironic.  His selective memory is misleading to voters and does a disservice to the community.

The No Tax PAC is not opposed to town wide fire coverage.  As detailed in the first paragraph of the My Turn I wrote two weeks ago, we are opposed to Question 1 because it is an ill-conceived proposal.  Bruce is right.  Four years ago when I was on the fire advisory committee I supported the idea of a property tax as a mechanism for funding an improved fire apparatus, but not without adequate assessment and preparation before citizens would be asked to trust the town with their hard earned dollars.  This due diligence was never done before placing Question 1 on the ballot.

An examination of the record will show that on October 20, 2008, during the final meeting of the fire advisory committee, I stated the town owed it to the citizens to improve current levels of service.  I am on the record stating the town should immediately begin to prepare for the requisite infrastructure needs if we intended to propose a tax that would fund a master contract with Rural/Metro.  Four years later this tax has been put to the voters without any preparation or cost analysis.

While on the committee I recommended council get regular reports from Rural/Metro detailing the percentage of people in town that subscribe and how increased subscription rates offset the cost for current subscribers.  The council never followed through, leaving Bruce’s statement “the current model is not sustainable and contains obvious inequities” woefully baseless.  Without that data, there is nothing to substantiate the basis for Bruce’s argument that only 45 percent of residents pay for 100 percent of the costs.  On the contrary, data provided to two sitting councilmen by Rural/Metro indicate upwards of 55 percent of property owners subscribe.  Not bad considering that about 30 percent of the parcels in town are vacant lots with absentee owners.

Question 1 tax will fall short of funding the operating costs of status quo coverage.  Even worse, to provide current levels of service as the town grows, or to improve service levels (i.e. response times by constructing additional fire stations, which was consistently called for by the fire advisory committee) drastic infrastructure upgrades will be needed.  This tax will not tackle funding of those upgrades, and the shortfall will lead to further deficit spending by the town.  Now that is “unaffordable policy.”

Question 1 asks you to tax yourself without explanation of where the money will go.  So what is the alternative?  Vote No on Question 1, and if you want town wide fire coverage demand that your leaders do their due diligence.

Adam Trenk 
Cave Creek


Vote NO on Cave Creek property tax initiative

Beginning April 19 the citizens of Cave Creek will have the opportunity to reject a Property Tax referendum, a referendum disguised as universal fire coverage.  The fire coverage issue has been around for nearly ten years.  In that time nothing has changed and even today there is no demonstrated need for coverage put forth by the tax supporters.  I suggest the citizens have already voted – 52 percent of the Cave Creek property owners are subscribers as opposed to Rural Metro’s national average of 45 percent.  

The property tax will not cover medical or ambulance service; that is coved by an individual’s medical insurance, Medicare, Medicaid or Tricare for military personnel and retirees.  The proposed tax does not cover infrastructure costs, i.e. two new fire houses will be required. The problem is that neither the supporters' political signs nor most of their letters to the editor mention PROPERTY TAX.  The signs simply say vote yes on question one and their letters allude to fairness.  

Cave Creek management has not provided a fiscal analysis for the voters to examine and make a logical decision.  What they are providing is a “pig in a poke” for the citizens to approve. 

Since those who desire universal fire coverage are nervous about letting the citizens of Cave Creek know what this PROPERTY TAX will do, let me explain:

PROPERTY TAX-a regressive tax policy that will negatively impact all but especially young and elderly citizens over time.
PROPERTY TAX-a tax that will never end and a rate that can increase 2 percent annually without a vote.  A short term gain for a long term loss.
PROPERTY TAX-the monies accrue in the general fund and can morph into other areas.
PROPERTY TAX-an excuse for poor fiscal policies and planning by government.
PROPERTY TAX- allows government to establish monopolies and eliminate the free market. 
PROPERTY TAX-eliminates citizen’s personal choices; another loss of freedom and liberty.
PROPERTY TAX-by voting for a property tax you are voluntarily relinquishing a right guaranteed in the 4th Amendment of the Constitution.

Think of the current economic conditions; from 2008 thru 2011 property values in the United States have plummeted 33 percent while property taxes have increased 20 percent.  This information comes from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.  Check the histories of run-away property taxes in states like New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Illinois, Michigan and California to see the end game. The property taxes started small and over time became a crushing burden.

Any assumptions made that the tax will remain low are bad assumptions. VOTE NO ON THE PROPERTY TAX INITIATIVE: it is question one on the ballot.

George A. Ross
Cave Creek


Fire protection and emergency medical services

Fire service provider could be saying "Well, we can get $1.3M each year with a 2 percent increase each year.  Let's spend all of that!  We can buy some new equipment, hire some more staff and maybe even get the town to build a new firehouse for us.  And, we can assure all our workers a 2 percent annual raise.  Wow!"

This is how government ends up paying $15 for a $5 hammer!  I like the "No Contingent" who says find out what it will cost first.  Get the bids, then see if the citizens want to pay a specific amount of money for what they will knowingly get.  And, get the details of the cost. That is the right way to do it. Don't do it backwards and tell the Service Provider we have $1.3 millon to spend – can you fit your services into that amount?  Of course they can – all of it and more.

Vote No for now.  Do it right and I suspect you will get the Yes vote.  Tell us what the tax is going to cost each of us and what we are going to get.  It is just the right way to do it.

E. Bell
Cave Creek


Show support of Sheriff Joe

To all the friends and advocates of our Sheriff Joe, let’s have a peaceful Walk in his support!
Why?  Well, besides being America's Toughest Sheriff who has been re-elected four times by the people of Maricopa County, he is also an Army Veteran, upholder of the States' rights and the Constitution, protector of the sanctity of Legal Immigration, an avid advocate for animal rights and a devoted husband, father and a grandfather.  Sheriff Joe is a man of courage, integrity, conviction and patriotism.

The Walk is free of charge.  We’ll meet at 10 a.m at the Veterans Memorial on El Lago in Fountain Hills Park on Saturday, April 28, 2012 and proceed from there.

Please bring bottled water for yourselves and definitely your pet as the sheriff loves animals!

Signs will be provided.  This is to be a peaceful, positive Walk recognizing with appreciation all this sheriff has done for our Maricopa County and our beloved America!

So, please come and walk with us in his support.  Again, the date is Saturday, April 28 at 10 a.m. at the Veterans Memorial in Fountain Park in Fountain Hills.

And … thank-YOU Sheriff Joe!

Andi Bell, Organizer


Revisions to the Town Core Plan

I am not sure I can attend Monday night to speak, but I wish to raise again the issue that the homeowners (of which there are many) are nearly totally neglected in this Revised Town Core Plan … even on subjects which are noted within the plan and some proposed provisions related to noise have been deleted.

While the Mayor was kind enough to query Ian Cordwell on the matter with his response that noise per se is addressed in the ordinances (which are sorely in need of revisiting as the staff only addressed matters between business owners after the last uprising), it seems to me that this Revised Town Core Plan with all of its idealism is nearly void of any recognition of the homeowners as The Town Core Plan acts as a sense of direction for future ordinances addressing a wide range of issues.  Ian’s response representing the Planning Department was in no way acceptable as an answer as to why the impact upon the residents in this plan have not been considered.

This plan at a minimum under the “livability” section note the relationship between homeowners and the businesses as well as under the “Challenges / Opportunity” section.
This matter has been under study and review for a long time now, and the town council could easily direct the staff to revisit the proposed Town Core Plan and make provision for the plight of the homeowners within the noted geographic area impacted.  Then bring it back when these matter are addressed.

Bob Moore
Cave Creek


Pointers from CCUSD?

Like the school district that never gives up, the mayor of Carefree is poised to ask voters to once again consider a 4 year term for council members.  In November 2008 we had a different mayor [Fulcher] but his stripes were the same color as the current mayor’s – transparent.  We all repeatedly heard the party line last time this issued was raised. 
Fortunately the voters demonstrated that they weren’t fooled, by defeating the proposition in the March 2009 election.

The failed attempt to retain control did have one bright side.  Voters showed their disapproval of the mayor and his council cronies by giving them the lowest primary vote counts of that election cycle.   Mayor Fulcher, along with councilmen Gardner and Meyer withdrew from the May election after their dismal performance in the primary.  Only David Schwan, who also supported 4 year terms, hung on despite his 10th place finish in a field of 10 candidates.

Apparently David Schwan is still being led by individuals with a serious control agenda issue.  Perhaps he feels pumped up by surviving the recall, or retaining his position in the tight mayoral election in 2011.  Whatever the case, he continues to demonstrate his unfaltering ability to follow.  Thanks to that ability we now have circus signs on our roadways, sandwich board signs everywhere, and light pole sail signs pointing out that you are in a playground or some other mysterious location.  There are even new street signs to replace the perfectly good ones which were already in place.  Did you have any problem seeing the originals?  Oh well, at least you’ll be reminded you are in Carefree each time you may need to consult a street sign.  There’s never a wicked Witch of the West around when you need one.

Not to be constrained by revisiting one voter decision, the mayor and several council supporters now seek ways to overturn another.   During a more recent election, voters firmly decided in favor of imposing term limits.  The follower-in-chief, led by a select few, now wants to have the voter approved term limit ordinance declared in violation of State law.

Do a quick recap.  The select few will once again attempt to get 4 year terms past voters and simultaneously remove the term limits ordinance.  This combination will assure Carefree residents of marginal leadership well into the future.  If you embrace the concept of your home town being run by the whim of merchants while your property values remain stagnant or continue to decline, and you believe the will of voters should be assaulted on a regular basis then you already know how you’ll vote.

John Traynor


Can someone explain this? 

In 1919 the federal government wanted to make the sale of alcohol illegal.  They had to first have the people approve an amendment to our Constitution to make the prohibition law legal.  Later the Constitution was amended by the people to rescind the government’s power to prohibit of the sale of alcohol.  Then recently the federal government wanted to make it illegal to sell a certain kind of insurance policy.  They passed a law to do this without first having the Constitution amended as they had to do in 1919.  Why not?  Why is it unconstitutional for the federal government to prohibit the sale of alcohol but constitutional for it to prohibit the sale of an insurance policy to a willing buyer?

Jack C. McVickers


The developer and the roadrunner

Developer Tabor Anderson had just stepped from his Range Rover (SUV: Stupendous Ubiquitous Vainglorious) to explain his plans for a 220 acre north Scottsdale dude/guest ranch when a roadrunner appeared as if on cue, and held up a sign that said," SAVE our DESERT" and scurried across the road mimicking the words, (Beep!Beep!) as the developer stuck out his tongue at the fleeing distant relative of the Cuckoos bird.

It was like a scene out of the Looney Tunes cartoon. The developer being Wile E Coyote (a wolf in sheep's clothing) and the roadrunner being its fast footed self. Beep!!!!Beep!!!
Wonder why there's no real dude ranches left in Arizona, he just stepped out of the SUV with his shiny new Tony Lamas! And his father Lyle wants to build a neighboring 200 acre eco-friendly resort, but there's no connection; daddy said.

I'll sell you some ocean front property in Arizona too fella! Ha ha! 

As Festus on Gunsmoke would say, "what in tar nation is that!" A eco-friendly resort (Mastered Minded of course) in this prime Sonoran desert, "don't sound to friendly to me Marshall!"

Edward Abbey said, "Man’s in every corner of our Wilderness doing his damn wicked deeds." That’s right with a capital W, it deserves a capital letter if any word does. Seems like some dastardly deeds are forming in North Scottsdale and the roadrunner has finally met his match once again from Wile E Coyote (wolf), Sr. and Jr.

The Jr. developer wants to also build in our dwindling desert a wildlife release center where injured animals and raptors could be released after they are rehabilitated.

Sounds a bit like double talk to me Partner! Plow away our home (desert), hurt and maim the creatures that live in that habitat and then rehab them. I guess they do things like that in cartoon land. How many times has that Wile E Coyote been hammered into oblivion?

Welcome to our Disneyland Desert folks. Come on in and have some, "glamour camping, boutique shopping and experience our agri-tecture (new word) building style."

Our bulldozers are warming up, "punch those doggies, gitty up!"

Lyle Anderson
Apache Junction


Patrick R. Donahoe, Postmaster General
Washington, DC

Dear Postmaster Donahoe:

The USPS website was so unfriendly that I could not find an address or way to communicate with you, so I am taking this antique method of sending you a letter.

I merely want to know why, on your website, the price for a #3 postal box in Carefree, Arizona (85377) costs $124 per year, while the same size in adjacent Cave Creek (85331) costs $74 per year.

Following on that question, I’d like to know how you rationalize the free delivery of mail to homes and nearby boxes, while I must pay to go to a USPS location to collect my mail. I know there must be a good reason. I’d like to know what it is.

Jack Grenard
Box 5268
Carefree, Arizona 85377 USA