Cave Creek Election

In the upcoming election for the Cave Creek Town Council I'm supporting Tom McGuire. Since his arrival in Cave Creek 12 years ago Tom and his wife Elaine have been very active in the support of our community. They attend or work most if not all of the town events. Tom has served three terms on the town council plus he serves the town government in many other capacities. Due to his on going community involvement he has contact with many people. He listens and solicits input and has a good sense of what Cave Creek citizens want and what the town needs. His hard work and dedication will again prove to be valuable for our town.

Mike O'Rourke
Cave Creek


Heady times

These are heady times in Cave Creek. Eleven candidates are running for 6 seats on the Cave Creek Town Council, 6 incumbents and 5 challengers. I personally know five of the incumbents and two of the challengers and count them as my friends. Without demeaning the other candidates, I would like to speak about the unique, consistent and very valuable contributions to the town of Cave Creek by one candidate, Mr. Dick (Richard) Esser.

Dick Esser has been on the town council for six years, two of them as Vice Mayor, and before that served for several years on the Planning Commission, part of that time as its Chairman. During that time he also served, with distinction, on more town committees than there is space to list here. However a few deserve mentioning. He represents Cave Creek on MAG, the Maricopa Association of Governments, the state planning agency for Maricopa County. Dick also serves on the Arizona League of Cities and Towns as Cave Creek’s representative. He has been instrumental in working with Maricopa County to get a $630,000 grant to help defray the cost to the town of the renovation of the Cave Creek/Carefree highway intersection, recently completed. He was instrumental in forming and serving as Chair-person of a Small Communities Coalition that has garnered a $250,000 grant to help defray the cost of a study to assist small towns, including Cave Creek.

From my perspective, Dick Esser is the “go to” councilman whenever a whole host of towns-people have problems or concerns. He is constantly getting phone calls, then spends the time it takes to help all who called. Dick spends 20 to 30 hours weekly helping Cave Creek and its citizens, but then complains the time spent hurts his golf game. I know, he’s my golfing buddy, and it’s true.

Do the math. Esser has brought in almost $900,000 directly to help Cave Creek, and spends 20 to 30 hours weekly helping and representing Cave Creek citizens, and all for no pay. Who else has done as much for our town?

Dick Esser has earned the right to be re-elected to town council. Do your part. Vote Dick Esser for town council. I’m going to!

Bob Chartier
Cave Creek


Wake up Cave Creek!!!

We have five people, most of whom are newcomers to our town, who want to oust our current council and take over our town. At the forum held by Sonoran News the group of five was asked how they had served the town. One had served on town council for two years (owns a home in town but living in Scottsdale), one served on the planning commission, the next best answer was that he had attended a lot of meetings. The others really had not done anything.

I say we have one choice and that is to reelect our current council members. You may not like one or two of them, BUT LOOK AT WHAT THEY HAVE DONE for our town!!

1. When the recession hit our town it was financial disaster. Immediately they cut the size of town government (town staff) by 35 percent, and reduced the town budget by about the same.

2. Increased sales tax revenue by bringing new business south of Carefree Hwy.

3. Paid every debt service payment on or before its due date.

4. Brought our town out of the largest recession in our lifetime with a AA credit rating. (GIVING CAVE CREEK ONE OF THE HIGHEST CREDIT RATINGS IN THE STATE)

5. To date they have compiled a cash surplus in the bank of more than $3.4 million. This is over and above what is needed for debt service.


Our current council has a plan for the future, and that is to increase the town’s cash reserves to a little over $5 million. (This is to insulate the town from a double dip recession or any crisis that may come along.) Once the town has these cash reserves the plan is to review lowering water rates for the residents and reducing the sales tax by one-half cent. To further help town businesses, another consideration is the purchase of State Land for Open Space.

I encourage everyone to vote for the incumbent Cave Creek Town Council members: Vincent Francia (Mayor), Shelly Anderson, Dick Esser, James Bruce, Tom McGuire, Ernie Bunch and Steve La Mar!

Terry Smith
Cave Creek


Five of many reasons

After several tries in 1986, residents of Cave Creek finally realized the only way to retain a unique identity and withstand growth pressure from Phoenix and Scottsdale was to incorporate. Having served on the incorporating committee, the original appointed council, and the first elected council, I feel an abiding connection to the entity that has become today’s Cave Creek as well as a vivid awareness of how easily things could have gone another way. Now our progress is threatened. Here are just five of many reasons to re-elect the current councilmembers:

1. We have a strong town manager – a good thing. Council terms are two years and council positions are part time, so a stable, experienced staff is essential. Before Usama arrived we had at least five different managers. Good ones are hard to come by. He has been terrific for Cave Creek, helping to put a lid on the constant turmoil that preceded him. The challengers want him to go, but then what?

2. Cave Creek is solvent; our prospects are good. We have an AA credit rating. Through good management we survived the recent downturn with money in the bank. Reports otherwise are simply wrong. We have a $3.4 million surplus and plans to retire our debt by 2030.
Governments acquire debt when they develop utilities, and the citizens overwhelmingly voted for the bonds to buy and upgrade the water system and construct the wastewater treatment plant. Most residents see the wisdom of this for the future health of the town. Apparently the challengers do not.

3. We have an outstanding record of land preservation with a program in place to add 4,000 acres to permanent open space. This was the dream of the incorporators, and this mayor and council have done more than any before them to help realize that dream. The challengers use the terms “preserve and protect” on their advertisements, but they are late to the program. The Enchanted Canyon proposal mobilized them, understandably, but they clearly don’t understand the scope of the work that has gone on before them and will continue without them. No wonder Mayor Francia got angry.

4. Enchanted Canyon was a misguided project, but the town was obliged to accept the application. All property owners have certain rights, a fact near and dear to the hearts of all Cave Creek residents. The challengers were weirdly furious when the developer withdrew before they could present their objections at P&Z. They should have been delighted and thanked Cave Creek’s sophisticated planning staff.

5. The current council is composed of people from different parts of town with decidedly different philosophies, but they know how to compromise, they’re reasonable, and they’re knowledgeable. We’re all NIMBYs sometime, but people who claim all Cave Creek as their backyard (as the challengers do) are not serious. Who, for example, will pay for a residential town surrounded by acres of open space if we reduce sales tax and impact fees and disallow logical commercial development? For this mayor and council “Preserve and Protect” is more than a slogan, but it’s not easy and it’s not free.

For the good of Cave Creek we must re-elect Shelley Anderson, Jim Bruce, Ernie Bunch, Dick Esser, Steve LaMar and Tom McGuire.

Jacky Davis
Cave Creek Mayor 1987-91


Reelect Jim Bruce and Steve LaMar

I suppose no town council is perfect, or even one I can agree with on all issues, but I believe the current town council has done an excellent job. Cave Creek has not only survived the worst economic disaster in history, but is now much better financially prepared for a double dip recession if one comes. This council diversified and continues to seek more diversification of the tax base, developed essential new award winning water and waste-water treatment utilities, upgraded the worst infrastructure and improved financial accountability all while championing more open space and trails.

I cite council members Jim Bruce and Steve LaMar for their selfless and continuous leadership on all of these difficult issues over the past 4 years while never losing focus on what is best for Cave Creek. Cave Creek simply would not be in the enviable position it is in without the guidance and courage of Jim Bruce and Steve LaMar. Politicians they are not, but they are totally dedicated to the town and its residents. Much more needs to be accomplished, of course, and these men are up to the task. I recommend reelection of councilmen Jim Bruce and Steve LaMar.

Sondra Johnson
Cave Creek


Tom McGuire

I am writing to encourage the voters of Cave Creek to vote for Tom McGuire.

Tom has done much volunteering here which I admire. He has helped at our museum and worked on an open space advisory group and horse trail maintenance. Also he has contributed four times as much to buy open space as on all of his elections.

I feel he wants to preserve the old west feeling of our community, which is extremely important to me. When I moved here 53 years ago that is truly what we had. We are growing so big and fast, it is hard to keep that last vestige of old Cave Creek, but I want someone who is willing to try. He is using good fiscal values as regards the town's debt, and as I have said, wants to preserve our open space. This is VERY important to me, and always has been in my 53 years in this community.

I find Tom to be open and honest and feel this is truly what we need.


Beverly Metcalfe Brooks
Cave Creek


Upcoming council election

It seems to me Cave Creek voters should have one paramount thought when voting for the council members that will represent us for the better part of the next four years—are you satisfied with the progress we have made over the past four years?

Generally, the past is a fairly good predictor of the future, at least in the short run. When I ask myself this question, my answer comes quick and without reservation. I do feel our town is in better shape today than it was four years ago. And, when you think of the tremendous economic stress that has been placed upon town finances and the town’s infrastructure over the past four years, the feeling that we are nonetheless, better off than we were four years ago, is quite reassuring for our future.

I will be voting for Mayor Vincent Francia and our incumbent council members in the upcoming election. I believe they have earned our trust and the opportunity to build upon the good work they have done.

Ted A. Ferris
Cave Creek


Count our blessings

Spur Cross, 1870.

Spur Cross glittered with promises of gold in those hills, attracting seekers of all types, hoping to strike it rich. Unwittingly, these 19th century miners would become early founders of the community known as Cave Creek.

Prior to the gold seekers was the tribe, the Hohokam tribe to be specific. Canal irrigation to terraced gardens, petroglyphs of their life experiences and dreams, the Hohokam suddenly disappeared around 1200 AD. Some speculate it was drought or disease; others that the tribe left on the spaceship that brought them here. Whatever the reason, there was no formal goodbye.

Post prospectors came ranchers and sheepherders. An uneasy co-existence at best, these two groups would give way to New Deal dam builders - an influx of workers that would spike out-of-state views with local cowboy culture.

Meanwhile, Spur Cross remained undisturbed - at least until 1990. Then developers spun ideas of building a mini-city within the town on the 2,220 acres of Spur Cross, extolling the virtues of resorts, golf courses, cozy subdivisions and martini fountains. The locals drew the line, unleashing “Friends of Spur Cross,” a rallying cry that eventually saved Spur Cross.

Spur Cross, today.

The preserve hosts visitors from around the world. Iphones speed images of 200-year-old saguaros to Tokyo; rock art inspires, horses, dogs and humans enjoy that which has been in its natural state for thousands of years. And we who call Cave Creek home, who hike Spur Cross’ trials, count our blessings.

Mayor Vincent Francia
Cave Creek


Integrity and determination

As a resident of Cave Creek for well over 30 years and an active participant in the early master planning and government of the newly incorporated town in the 80s, I have watched the actions of today’s town council with interest and appreciation. They have served the town with dedication and commitment. By following the direction of a master plan adopted to ensure protection of both the Cave Creek lifestyle and the Sonoran Desert that makes that lifestyle possible, they have led the community responsibly. This council has exhibited integrity and determination in maintaining a balance of economic strength while diligently pursuing the purchase of open space and preservation of that open space in perpetuity.

In a time when political and economic instability has become the norm, both statewide and nationally, Cave Creek has seen the benefits of a steady, consistent forward direction provided by a council that is both responsive and experienced.

All the special things about Cave Creek that attracted most of us here to live will continue to attract others in the future. We know there will be growth and development. The responsibility held by our town council is to assure that growth takes place in a viable and thoughtful way. This requires both vision and strength and it is about the entire Town of Cave Creek, not just specific neighborhoods, areas and interests. The diverse background and knowledge of the current town council members provides balance and reason in their decision making process.

It would not only be a serious mistake, but a potential disaster for our town to replace the existing, proven leadership with newcomers whose stated purpose as challengers is to implement change for the town and its residents. The challengers throw out accusations and criticism in the same way someone picks up a handful of mud and throws it in the hope that some will stick, whether or not factual. I don’t believe their determination to rewrite the future of Cave Creek is what we want.

Now more than ever it is critical Cave Creek maintains the capable leadership currently in place to assure that the lifestyle we enjoy today is protected. I urge you to support and re-elect town council candidates Mayor Vincent Francia, Shelley Anderson, Jim Bruce, Ernie Bunch, Dick Esser, Steve LaMar and Tom McGuire.

Lu Cartharius
Cave Creek


For love of Cave Creek

There is always tension created with special interest groups in the balanced approach that must be taken to sustain the economic integrity of a small town like Cave Creek, and, at the same time, nurture the assets that make it unique.

The starting point of this approach is knowing Cave Creek's history and caring deeply about its future. Here, we have to put a finer point on what is meant by caring in this context.

We can all wax poetic about the sun setting behind a saguaro, but it takes persistent effort, dedication, discernment, and vision to care about a town by keeping its overall best interest central to every decision you make.

As an example, in order to purchase and preserve our recently annexed 4,000 acres of open space which will serve as the natural back drop that sustains Cave Creek property values in perpetuity, we need a strong diverse sales tax base. That requires the development of commercial use properties in areas where the market forces have already driven commercial development by Phoenix and Carefree.

This development creates no disservice to the general character of that area and provides resources for a majestic core of great Sonoran Desert connecting Carefree Highway with the Spur Cross Preserve.

The work toward and vision of this stronger, more beautiful Cave Creek is being threatened by a referendum brought by a Carefree citizen, with the support and assistance of a slate of Special Interest candidates lead by a Scottsdale lobbyist.

This town has a vibrant future if the citizens are allowed to continue to work together in its best interest.

Do your part; reject this referendum and the self serving slate of candidates who support it. Get out and vote for the Love of Cave Creek.

Steve LaMar
Cave Creek Councilman


Dick Esser has my vote

I count Dick Esser as one of my closest friends. We met about sixteen years ago and during most of that time he has been a devoted public servant to the Town of Cave Creek.

Among his lengthy lists of accomplishments: He was the prime mover in making contact with county sources and getting Solid Waste Management to locate the Cave Creek Recycling Center where it is today. He was heavily involved in getting the town a grant from Maricopa County of $630,000 to defray the cost of Carefree Hwy./Cave Creek intersection recently completed. He is co-chair of Small Community Coalition of Cities (cities of 15,000 or less) that has a grant of $250,000 to do a study to assist small towns like Cave Creek. Dick has served on just about every commission or committee we have and has served eight years on the town council.

More than anything a good person, he is accessible and listens well, does his best to solve people’s problems and must put in at least 30 hours each week serving our town. I know at least one person who owes his life to Dick, because when he couldn’t be reached, Dick went to his house, found him incapacitated and got the Paramedics there in time.

Re-elect a good, caring, conscientious, devoted person to our town council. He has my vote.

Mike Frawley
Cave Creek