canfield 5-2-12

Myth busters

With the many myths and half-truths about the May 15th ballot question swirling around, it’s time to sort out the claims.  So strap on your “proton pack” weapons and let’s take a look at some of them.

Myth:  If we don’t pay Rural Metro they’ll leave.

Reality:  This is the fear approach to marketing. RM is not going anywhere. Cave Creeks’ subscription rate of 55 percent exceeds RMs’ national average of 45 percent.  They have just signed a five year contract with the town of Carefree. RM has publicly stated they would not leave.  In fact, RM is so comfortable in Cave Creek they have a limited marketing department.

Myth:  The property tax will ensure public safety.

Reality:  We already have adequate fire and emergency services protection and the tax will do nothing to improve upon that. The tax might provide for the same service we have today, but it does not provide for new water lines, additional fire hydrants or a second fire station.

Myth:  The property tax would be equitable.

Reality:  There is nothing equitable about taxing everyone but not providing everyone with equal services. There are substantial areas of Cave Creek that don’t have water lines or fire hydrants.  Major infrastructure upgrades must be built to provide equal services across the Town. The words “additional taxes” come to mind.

Myth:  Opponents of the tax have no alternatives.

Reality:  Why is it required to have an alternative solution when there is no problem to begin with?  We have reliable and stable fire and emergency services coverage now. The reality is “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Myth:  A property tax would end the free rider system.

Realty:  Now we finally get to the heart of the matter. The proposed tax is all about money. A minority of citizens (45 percent) wants to pay less and they want their neighbors to subsidize them. There is no free rider problem.  Non-subscribers will be billed by RM if call for emergency services.  The difference here is local government mandating my payment versus my freedom of choice.

Reality: A property tax is forever.  Vote NO.

Reg Monachino
Cave Creek


Property tax for fire protection

Personally, I would rather pay the property tax for fire insurance instead of paying over $600 a year to Rural Metro. At least it would be a tax write off. If everyone is charged as much as I am they probably feel the same way. The people who want everyone to vote no must not be paying a small fortune to Rural Metro.

B. Glick
Cave Creek


Cave Creek under a spell

Cave Creek is currently under the spell of the annual Palo Verde blossoming. While bees swarm over the tree’s yellow flowers, citizens buzz about the upcoming ballot election on May 15.

Before the citizenry is a simple Yes or No choice: Whether or not to levy a $1.3 million property tax on the community for the purpose of town-wide fire coverage.

In a close 4-3 vote, the Town Council had previously passed this matter to the citizens for their consideration. I was on the losing side of the vote, being no fan of interminable property tax as a solution resolver.

Both the Yes and No supporters agree that town-wide fire coverage is a noble community goal. Both groups have valid arguments in disagreement.

The Yes group maintains that the current system – subscription service with Rural Metro – is inequitable; that subscribers are in effect providing town-wide fire service which benefits all citizens. Their point is valid.

The No contingent questions the amount of property tax being insufficient to cover future ancillary expenses, i.e., additional infrastructure and the eventual need for a second firehouse. Their concern is equally valid.

Two groups with different views on a singular topic – what could be more Cave Creek or democratic?

Unfortunately something went amiss. Perhaps there’s too much Palo Verde pollen in the local air. Instead of the two groups respecting each other’s views and allowing the vote to fall where it may, disrespect and divisiveness have crept into the debate. Neighborhoods are pitted against each other; friendships have been strained and some even lost. This should never have happened.

Befriending this friction is a swirl of rumors that this property tax is a ruse, cloaking a hidden Town Hall agenda that ranges from the understandable to the ludicrous: that a road is to be paved into a future development, thus violating a 25-year  agreement with citizens who live along that road; that a citizen’s home is to be condemned to make way for a fire house; that a mega road is to be designed, from the northern sector of Cave Creek to I-17 and Anthem, or, the alternate route thru Spur Cross and into the Tonto National Forest.
None of these rumors is true. But that hasn’t curtailed their continuous circulation all the while doing harm to the community. This unkind speech should cease.

One thing is certain: the property tax for town-wide fire coverage will be decided May 15. If the Yes side wins, we’ll have to figure out how to address the real ancillary costs. If the No side prevails, then we’ll have to brainstorm for other ideas to implement equitable town-wide fire coverage, for it’s a concept having community value.

A rudimentary idea – should the property tax fail – is to provide town wide fire coverage thru a service fee, much like water service is provided via a monthly fee. I’m having the Town attorney review this now.

The reason I suggest it is, it’s friendly, it doesn’t rely on property tax assessment and it provides town-wide fire coverage. Which is the one point on which both sides agree has value.

Vincent Francia
Mayor of Cave Creek


Property tax is the only equitable and sustainable way to fund fire protection:  Vote “YES”

I read Adam Trenk’s recent “My Turn” with great interest. There are already rumors in Cave Creek that Mr. Trenk plans to run for Town Council and I believe that his campaign has already started.  Mr. Trenk was on the 2008 Fire Protection Committee and was a firm supporter of a property tax to fund fire protection.  He was also a firm supporter of Walmart when he spoke on behalf of the development at community forums. Has Mr. Trenk changed his mind on these issues or have shifting political winds helped change his mind? In either case the issue of Fire Protection is too big for politics!

On Tuesday May 15, Cave Creek will hold a special election. This election will be a vote-by-mail election with ballots being sent out around April 19. The ballot question is whether the Town of Cave Creek shall be authorized to levy a primary property tax not to exceed $1.3 million for the cost of fire and EMS ONLY. Limits on property tax increases are capped at a maximum of 2 percent per annum. The vote on QUESTION 1 is straight forward – vote YES for the tax or NO against the tax.

There have been two additional committees since 2008 and each has reached the same conclusion: a property tax is the only equitable and affordable way to fund fire protection. WHY?

Rural/Metro services are paid for by voluntary subscriptions by individual Cave Creek property owners. 

The current subscription rate is about 45 percent (see Editor note below) and fluctuating – 45 percent of the property owners pay for all of the services for all property owners. Fifty five percent of the property owners pay nothing.

Subscription fees help pay for fire facilities, equipment and employees, NOT 9-1-1 calls.
As subscription rates fluctuate, the remaining subscribers are billed at increasing rates, creating an inequitable and unaffordable policy.

Phoenix and Scottsdale have said they have no interest in serving Cave Creek and if they did, they require a property tax.

Daisy Mountain is a separate Fire District that Cave Creek would have to join and the Town has determined that it would have little control and costs could skyrocket.

Those who argue against the property tax have not proposed another alternative and want to continue to have less than half the property owners paying the entire bill for Town in this dying system.

Because the current model is not sustainable and contains obvious inequities, QUESTION 1 provides fire and EMS based on a Town contract with Rural/Metro paid for with a property tax - like everywhere else you have ever lived. It will:

Apportion the cost of services equitably among all property owners, and make these services the proper responsibility of the municipality.

Eliminate the current free-rider problem, whereby 45 percent of town residents pay 100 percent of the cost for fire and EMS services.

Based on the above facts, the citizens of Cave Creek should vote “YES” on Question 1.

Jim Bruce
Cave Creek Town Councilman

Editor note: According to Rural/Metro, the Rural/Metro subscription rate in Cave Creek is approximately 55 percent.


Property values and property tax

The proposed Cave Creek property tax supposedly is for fire protection.  If the tax pays for a contract with Rural Metro the contract will probably have a 2 percent per year increase as the tax proposers tell us.  What they fail to mention is the tax is based on a mill rate against our property values.  Right now the property values are very low compared to a few years ago. Sales prices have depreciated 38.2 percent over the last 5 years in Cave Creek. The median sales price for homes in Cave Creek for Jan 2012 to Mar 2012 was $292,500. This represents an increase of 2.6 percent, or $7,500, compared to the last quarter of 2011.  As property values continue to rise in the coming years so will the property tax.  When the value of your property rises even half way to the prices of 5 years ago you might be paying almost 20 percent more tax. Then add on the 2 percent contract price compounded each year and you will soon be paying 30 percent or more than what we are told the proposed tax will be.  Be smart, JUST SAY NO.

The proposed Cave Creek property tax supposedly is for fire protection.  If the tax pays for a contract with Rural Metro the contract will probably have a 2 percent per year increase as the tax proposers tell us.  What they fail to mention is the tax is based on a mill rate against our property values.  Right now the property values are very low compared to a few years ago. Sales prices have depreciated 38.2 percent over the last 5 years in Cave Creek. The median sales price for homes in Cave Creek for Jan 2012 to Mar 2012 was $292,500. This represents an increase of 2.6 percent, or $7,500, compared to the last quarter of 2011.  As property values continue to rise in the coming years so will the property tax.  When the value of your property rises even half way to the prices of 5 years ago you might be paying almost 20 percent more tax. Then add on the 2 percent contract price compounded each year and you will soon be paying 30 percent or more than what we are told the proposed tax will be.  Be smart, JUST SAY NO.

Frank Ziskovsky
Cave Creek Voter


The Pied Piper of the White House goes after our youth

Mr. Slick will be sweet talking young naive Americans for their vote as he realizes that the older folks already have his number.

Obama was talking about stopping the interest increase on student loans when it was his administration who took that function away from the banks!

What Obama and Associated Press did NOT tell anyone is that the interest increase would only have effected NEW loans, not existing loans!

I truly hope Obama is voted out of office decisively and that his true list of lies and thug tactics are his legacy.  It is unfortunate that G. W. Bush was such a large player with Obama of making the bankers richer and keeping our borders open!

* * *

Obama should be impeached for trying to sabotage our laws

Obama's obsession to keep our borders open is beyond incompetency. It crosses the line from incompetence to a blatant disregard of our existing laws. He has used the Justice Department to thwart border states from protecting their own citizens and even hindering them from making sure that only Bona fide voters vote! Arizona should never have had to fight this fight.  The sad thing is that even GW Bush had disdain for those who were keeping drugs out of the country. Remember how GW railroaded those border guards and only let them off the hook when they were going to get a new trial?  Once again, Arizona, you make the rest of the nation PROUD!

Keep up the good work!!

Joseph DuPont
South Towanda, Pennsylvania


Dear Candidate Romney

Mr. Mitt Romney
c/o Romney for President, Inc.
P.O. Box 55239
Boston, MA  02205-5239

Dear Candidate Romney:

I am an independent voter who has voted for NONE OF THE ABOVE for president ever since President Reagan left office. Why? All candidates projected a timid, somewhat leftist RINO, “Kumbayah” persona.

I am not particularly impressed by you, either, but you are the only intermediate solution to America’s slide into socialism under the present régime. However, in order to win, you must choose a strong, conservative running mate, preferably one with a combination of conservatism, ethnicity or other so-called “minority” attributes. May I suggest New Mexico’s Governor Susana Martínez (female, Hispanic, ultraconservative, Second Amendment advocate) or U.S. Representative from Florida, LTC Allen West, USAR (black, ultraconservative, Second Amendment advocate)?

Forget Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and Florida Senator Marco Rubio. The sycophantic Obama media that refused to investigate Mr. Obama’s eligibility will pounce upon the possible non-eligibility of these two would-be  candidates, based on their parents’ nationality at the time of these worthy gentlemen’s births. Ironically, the standards the media will apply to Jindal and Rubio strangely were never applied to Obama, in a conspiracy worthy of the old Soviet Union’s AgitProp machine.

Yes: you need a running mate with conservatism, ethnicity and, if possible, another “minority” attribute in order to defeat the current ruler of our moribund republic. Maybe there is a super-conservative, transgendered, single parent, mixed-race, military veteran amputee out there who will fill the bill, but I have not heard about him/her so far.

Mr. Romney, I will suppress my urge to vomit, hold my nose and vote for you, a RINO, with the hope that you will be replaced after four years by a strong conservative willing to defend our Constitution against all enemies, foreign and DOMESTIC. You have my reluctant vote for the next four years.

J-P. A. Maldonado


The closure of U.S. oil refineries

I recently wrote a letter on exported fuels by U.S. oil companies who reap higher prices paid overseas.

Another reason for our high gasoline prices is the closure of U.S. oil refineries and the movement of our oil overseas to foreign refineries – Sunoco is closing two refineries in July 2012 in Philadelphia and Marcus Hook, Pa.  Conoco Phillips announced the closing of two plants in Trainer, Pa. and Bayway, N.J. and is closing its facility in Alaska.  Hess is closing the third largest U.S. oil refinery, laying off 2,000 workers and impacting 950 contractors.

The oil companies, with profits of tens of billions of dollars each year, are closing U.S. refineries due to environmental and other government regulations and union demands.  Refineries are being built in Columbia, Mexico and Brazil due to low construction and operating costs.  Plus our government unconsciously promotes this construction by providing foreign aid to the countries.

Hopefully, it isn’t too late for our government and the unions to wake up and evaluate the impact of their policies and decisions on the oil refining industry.  Otherwise we will continue to see rising fuel prices that could reach historic highs, including gasoline at or above $5 per gallon.

Donald A. Moskowitz
Londonderry, New Hampshire


This country is broke

This country is broke. More than 15 Trillion dollars in debt and the Democrats think they can spend our way out of the financial mess we are in.  The Republicans pretend they are against that by offering a plan for more spending with slightly less deficit.  The same incumbents that got us in this situation are re-elected every two years.  When will the insanity end? 

GOOOH.Com has a system for selecting candidates to the House of Representatives that are pledged to stop this madness. Citizen Representatives who are not bought by special interest money or big party agenda and will support term limits.  2012 is a critical election year.  If we wait any longer, it may be too late to recover from the massive spending and over-regulation.  Help fire the current Congress and return our government to the Constitutional Republic it once was.

Roy T. Newsom
Granbury, Texas


Shut down the GSA!

When it comes to government waste and arrogance, folks like us are just not creative enough.  It takes true bureaucrats like those at the General Services Administration.

The GSA is supposed to help other government agencies work more efficiently.  But, to no American's surprise (except possibly President Obama) the "professionals" at the GSA spent over 800,000 taxpayer dollars on a 4 day Las Vegas conference that included mind readers, poolside clowns, lavish private parties and more.  Oh, and of course, there was a rap video competition where our supposed "public servants" mocked taxpayers for funding their parties and excesses.

Emails from the conference organizer reveal he actually planned for the conference to be "over the top."

Was the conference organizer punished?  Of course not!  This is the federal government.  President Obama's appointee heading the GSA actually awarded the organizer a $9,000 bonus – even after knowing about the conference. Finally, after the story broke, the GSA had to put him on leave – with his full federal salary.

Want a window into just how out of touch these Obama bureaucrats are?  When asked yesterday why she approved the $9,000 bonus for the conference organizer, former GSA Administrator Martha Johnson replied that he was "entitled" to it.  I'm not making that up.
There's so much more.  Testimony yesterday in the House of Representatives reveals that the White House knew about these outrages months ago but took no action until the news finally broke.

The GSA is one of the more useless federal agencies (among many).  They're supposed to help other agencies be more efficient.  Again, I'm not making that up.  Now they are being investigated for criminal bribes and kickbacks according to testimony before Congress yesterday.

We need to make sure Members of Congress know just how disgusted we are by this latest example of government waste and abuse.

The GSA unsuccessfully attempts to replicate private sector efficiency in government. In the real economy, businesses of every size are held accountable by their customers and healthy competition. Bloated government agencies like the GSA are accountable to no one and cause real harm to taxpayers.

Permanently closing the GSA would save the taxpayers at least $200 million each year, and would shrink the overgrown federal government bureaucracy. We must not allow waste, bribery, and inefficiency like this go unchecked.

Tim Phillips
President, Americans for Prosperity


Fair Tax

How did you feel about paying your income tax?  Do you feel like (1) you are participating in a fair taxation system, (2) you are only paying your fair share and (3) everyone else is paying their fair share too?

The Fair Tax is superior to the Income Tax.   If adopted The Fair Tax would do away with the IRS with all its shortcomings and be a huge boon for American businesses.  The Fair Tax is essentially a national sales tax.  Among its advantages: absolutely everyone pays (including illegal aliens and tourists) and American businesses will be on a more level playing field with their international competitors.  American made products will be cheaper for both Americans consumers and export.  Those living below the poverty level are protected.

The Fair Tax was introduced into congress in 1999 and has been buried in congressional committees even since; it’s never been voted on.  If your congressional representative is unable to give you an acceptable explanation of why he/she has not been a supporter of the Fair Tax, you need a new representative!  Defeat your congressperson in the primary if possible; even if that requires voting across party lines.  There’s always November.

Edward Ferrell
Arlington, Texas


Regarding the violence in hockey

Historically, sports was considered to be a virtue-making machine. The values that correspond with sports were considered to go hand in hand with those that go into being a person of integrity and faith. Today, however, sports - especially hockey - is increasingly associated with violence, drugs, sex, racism and money. Athletes are worshiped today for the money they make, for their on-ice violence, for their off-ice partying, for their egos and bravado that includes fighting, celebratory dances, strutting and posturing.

Technical and athletic aspects of certain games like hockey and football have given way to steroid physiques and various forms of intimidation. National heroes like Don Cherry (Canadian hockey analyst) helped promote and legitimize this mentality by glorifying athletic fighting and violence in a colorful and entertaining way.

Sports should be a vehicle to develop good character, to make people courageous, loyal, generous losers, and gracious victors. We have to recover these original principles of sports so that we can work together to forge greater bonds between people and help overcome the real and terrible social problems of our time.

Paul Kokoski
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada