canfield cartoon

Big money and threats in Cave Creek politics

Yes this is what is happening in our town. Prior to Scottsdale Adam Trenk running the first time for council in 2009, when it's reported he spent over $20,000, to my knowledge no one had ever spent over the $500 no reporting limit running for council. The current slate of challengers are spending a huge amount of money to take control of our town. Have you ever seen anything like this???

We used to have one or two public forums like Sonoran News puts on, signs, and neighborhood meetings in your home to meet candidates and discuss issues that affect your neighborhood. I tried to have a neighborhood meeting at my home but it did not happen. This group of six or someone in the group hired a big time attorney who threatened the mayor and council members I had invited. As I understand, they were told if they attended they would have a complaint filed against them at the Attorney General’s Office.

WHY??? To the best of my knowledge it was because I had told my neighbors they could ask the council members about problems we have in our neighbor-hood, like water hookups, roads, etc. This may be the way things are done back East, or where ever these people came from, but it's not the Cave Creek way.

lf any of these six candidates tells you they want to keep Cave Creek, the Cave Creek we have known, DON'T BELIEVE THEM. All you have to do is answer your phone or look in your mail box to know that's not true.

Our incumbent mayor and council have served us well. They brought us through this recession in great shape with money in the bank while preserving the character of our town. They have earned our votes. Mark your ballot today for Mayor Francia, Shelley Anderson, Ernie Bunch, James Bruce, Steve La Mar, Dick Esser and Tom McGuire.

Terry Smith
Former Cave Creek Councilman


Is Cave Creek for sale?

I hope Cave Creek is not for sale, but Adam “Scottsdale” Trenk’s campaign for town council has just gone out of sight. First of all, as a Scottsdale resident he never should have qualified for the ballot, but he or his firm got a very friendly judge and the firm provided the necessary legal assistance. If that didn’t offend us, we should all be thoroughly offended by the shameful and aggressive promotion by his firm, the Scottsdale based Rose Law (lobbyist) Group. He has filled our mailboxes with a barrage of expensive mailers and flyers of deceitful propaganda, but all professionally done by the Rose PR folks. He is burying us with road signs, robo calls and now live calls. The latest in this seemingly endless barrage is an endorsement from Senator John McCain which reportedly costs in the $25,000 to $50,000 range. His slate has opened up a storefront campaign office behind the Dairy Queen, but maybe that’s necessary when you are from out of town. We thought his last run for town council was out of sight when he reportedly spent upwards of $20,000 – some 4 or 5 times the amount all other candidates spent combined. This ultimately bought him a tie for last place and winning his council seat by a lucky cut of the cards. He must be in the range of $50,000 to $100,000 now with indications that his spending will only increase. This kind of campaign is unprecedented in Cave Creek and, if successful, will be ruinous for the town.

What is the ultimate prize? Who is getting what from this investment? Let’s be honest. No one is going to invest that kind of money just for a non-paid seat on Cave Creek’s Town Council. They will demand a return on their investment. Perhaps they want the water utility. “Scottsdale” Trenk and the slate have made lots of noise about the debt and if not priceless now, it will be in the future.

I don’t want to find out and I hope the voters of Cave Creek don’t either. This thing is not only highly suspect, but could spell the end of the days of the citizen candidate in Cave Creek if this money driven power grab is successful. That would be devastating.

Please show Adam “Scottsdale” Trenk and his highly paid lobbyist supporters that Cave Creek is not for sale. Send this Scottsdale carpet bagger back to Scottsdale and reelect LaMar, Bruce, McGuire, Anderson, Esser and Bunch.

Bob Williams
Cave Creek



What happened to the $25,000 in donations left over after the enchanted Canyon campaign ended? The donations were not returned to the donors. Are any of these monies being used in the town council election campaign? When this issue came up at the Sonoran News Candidate Forum, Adam Trenk said it was a lie and he had nothing to do with it. What is the lie? That there was no $25,000, no return of money, no money used in the council election or that he had nothing to do with it?

Ben Burgoon
Cave Creek


Letter to the community

In my twelve years living in Cave Creek and three terms on the town council I have learned a number of important lessons.

First, our community has a need for economic development to support open space and our fun-loving, Western Town Core. They don’t want property taxes. But they understand the town needs an economic engine in the southern part of town to support the government we need.
The community wants efficient government. Over the past decade Cave Creek has acquired the Cave Creek Water Company and constructed a more efficient and environmentally compliant waste water treatment plant. (The voters approved both purchases.) If those two enterprises are left out, over the past decade we have reduced the number of town staff by 25 percent, and I believe our citizens get better service from a stable professional staff.

Open space is a high priority. The re-zoning of state lands in Cave Creek will preserve approximately six square miles of our beautiful High Sonoran Desert. Purchase of that land is less important than the underlying zoning. If someone buys the land, they can’t develop it because of zoning restrictions. Furthermore, they would have to pay taxes on land they can’t profit from. Whether it be zoning or purchase (or both) the land is vulnerable only if the citizens elect incompetent or inexperienced leaders.

Town council members hold the trust of the community to work with our staff toward goals held by the community. We also work within legal constraints such as the sunshine/open meetings law. An intelligent community with clear vision and a highly professional staff make my job as a town council member rewarding and productive.

The public wants leaders who have a history of service and dedication to the community. They want people whose highest priorities are citizen welfare and community vision. Elaine and I have personally spent more money for the future purchase of open space than we have on my whole 2013 election campaign. Check the record.

I hope Cave Creek voters will re-elect me to fulfill our shared vision for Cave Creek.

Thomas McGuire
Cave Creek Town Councilman


Here we go again - newcomers who know it all and do nothing

I have lived in Cave Creek since 1967. I worked with Steve LaMar, Jackie Davis, Lu Cartharias, and other, now long time, residents to incorporate this town, and draft the first general plan in 1986. I have served as the Republican Precinct Committeeman, on the Maricopa County Board of Adjustments, and organized the Cave Creek Board of Adjustments. All my three kids were raised here in Cave Creek.

I am not trying to brag, but just let you know that I have seen a thing or two over the course of the last five decades in Cave Creek. This slate of special interest challengers aren't the first newcomers/do nothings who have tried to take over the town for their own interests. The worst thing is they convince themselves they know it all. They are a clear and present danger to this town, period.

I have known Steve LaMar since he was a young prosecutor putting criminals away, and working evenings volunteering as a Planning Commissioner at Town Hall. I saw him named Arizona Big Brother of the Year, and start our local Habitat for Humanity chapter. He has been a horseman all these years and supported development of the trial system here in town.

Jim Bruce and his wife Judy have jumped right in and over the last decade have left a large foot print in the arts community, and working for a better Cave Creek.

The last two terms Jim and Steve have served faithfully as town councilmen through some of the roughest times this town has seen. I know; I have been here. We have a great water company, a great waste treatment plant (water ranch just sounds silly), and the beginnings of a stable economic engine in the area around Walmart which has been commercial in character for a long, long time.

Thanks to the present council's work Cave Creek has not only weathered the storm of recession, but is stronger and more efficient.

Perhaps sensing that good times are on the way through the work of others, a slate of newcomer candidates who know very little about this town, and less about volunteer service are flooding us with ads, fliers, and robo calls telling us they will save us all from dangers they make up as they go along. The money behind this political house of cards is mostly from out of town. Scottsdale Trenk doesn't even live here for goodness sakes. When things got tough he got going to Scottsdale.

I am voting for the leaders who saw us through the worst challenge in Arizona history. I am voting for Steve LaMar and Jim Bruce.

Martha Arnold
Cave Creek


Is the town’s debt ($60 million) a bad thing?

Not necessarily. It depends on whether future revenues exist to pay principal and interest as scheduled. It also depends on the value of the assets related to the debt.

Do those values exceed the debt? Yes.

The town's most recent audited financial statements are the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2012. Page 8 has a table, Condensed Statement of Net Assets. The town accounts for Governmental Activities and Business-like Activities (i.e. water and wastewater). As of June 30, 2012:

Governmental Business-Like Total Governmental
Activities Activities Activities

Assets $28.74 million $69.52 million $98.26 million
Liabilities $3.88 million $65.96 million $69.84 million
Net Assets $24.86 million $3.56 million $28.42 million

The value of water and wastewater assets exceeds the related debt, as does the value of the town's other assets and debt. The town expects to make all principal and interest payments on its debt as scheduled through 2030.

Large principal and interest payments were made on July 1, 2012 and January 1, 2013, reducing the debt balances from those shown above. The town received a Certificate of Achievement in Financial Reporting from the Government Financial Officers Association of the United States and Canada for its 2012 financial report. The report was audited on January 11, 2013 and is posted on the town's website. Please vote to re-elect the incumbent town council, to continue this record of excellence.

Kenneth D. Gaskins
Cave Creek


The Big Lie

Please let the truth shine in Cave Creek. I am one of a dozen citizens who served on the Citizens Advisory Fire Commission and I remember clearly – and the minutes will confirm - how the many conversations about creating a property tax to cover fire protection occurred.

Despite George Ross’s claims in the Arizona Republic, not once did our town manager propose “rolling over” the Spur Cross property tax to pay for fire coverage. In fact, I asked if that was possible, and it was the town manager who explained to all of us, many times, that property tax cannot be “rolled over” or reassigned. And the intent was never one of deceit, but rather to introduce the idea that to begin a fire tax when the Spur Cross tax was paid off would be far less painful to our wallets than any other method of paying for fire coverage. Incidentally, Adam Trenk served on that same Commission and supported the summary report which recommended a property tax to spread the cost of fire coverage among all the Cave Creek residents and businesses.

It would still be a decision for the voters to make, not the council or town manager. The council cannot reassign property tax – which can only be imposed by a citizen’s vote – to pay for anything other than for which it was approved. That is the law! The council that George’s cabal is attacking for “supporting a property tax for fire coverage” voted to let the citizens decide this issue. They did not – could not – vote to implement a property tax. This is the BIG LIE that is repeated over and over by the opposition to the current council. No town official tried to create, hijack or otherwise impose a property tax – they only asked the voters to make the decision on how best to ensure fire protection for our town. George’s reference to vampires, stakes and mallets was both childish and obscene – let the truth shine on the real vampires here.

Carole Perry
Cave Creek


“Phoenix to review rezoning application for 292 unit apartment complex” published Feb. 20

Quote from Sonoran News:
"Phoenix City Council will be considering a general plan amendment and rezoning case at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 6 to change the land use of a 22.24-acre parcel at the northeast corner of Cave Creek Road and Rancho Paloma Drive from residential 0-2 units per acre to multi-family residential 10-15 units per acre."

Ok - you think boring yea so what!!

Many facts stated right here: 22 acres and 10-15 unit multi-family residential. Do the math and then read some more. 22 acres times 15 = 330 multi family units. Ok let move on.

Quote from Sonoran News:
"The law firm’s website touts Baugh as being an “experienced attorney” who “regularly represents land owners and developers before neighborhood organizations, planning commissions, and city councils, and other regulatory bodies to obtain land use entitlements, …"
So this guy is good at his job as a lawyer screwing over people while helping developers get the highest density rezone for more $$$.

Quote from Sonoran News:
"At the time, Baugh explained changes made from his client’s original proposal, which reduced the building heights from three stories to two stories and the number of units from 376 to 328, along with removing a building located close to Cave Creek Road."

Ok he did City of Phoenix residents a big favor – he reduced the plan from 376 units (not allowed in original zoning request; see above math) to 328 high limit of zoning.
What a guy!!!

City of Phoenix should approve the request for 110 units. This would be a nice development with open spaces and higher quality units to fit the area. We do not need 292 unit development at this intersection.

Thanks – Look forward to your paper weekly.

Jay Bieber


The best politician money can buy

We have all laughed at one time or another about the phrase ‘the best politician money can buy’ even though we knew it to be the painful truth in some cases. Now it seems we just accept that phrase to be not only true but pervasive. From the state legislature to Washington D.C. we see our elected officials dancing to the tune of those who bought them and their seat and giving the rest of us lip service. It is shameful and true. And speaking of shameful, why is Senator McCain diddling around in Cave Creek today while Washington burns? In little old Cave Creek we now have an outsider running the slate PAC, tons of outside money, “Scottsdale Trenk” as an outside candidate and a mysterious amount of outside interest. If successful, this outside effort to buy Cave Creek will end the ability of the dedicated and committed citizen candidate to get elected and serve and will effectively destroy our independence forever. Cave Creek will have sold out to ‘the best politician money can buy’. Fortunately, we can and must reject the outside interest, outside money and outside candidates. Reelect LaMar, Bruce, Anderson, McGuire, Bunch and Esser and send these power grabbers down the road to some other unfortunate town.

Melanie Williams
Cave Creek


Truly an American idea!

The FairTax is an idea whose time has come. The Congress, both House and Senate, Republicans and Democrats, has demonstrated time after time, the inability to restrain itself with the public purse. The Congress simply can’t govern effectively as long as the income tax is in place. Even the “fiscal crises” legislation passed by the current congress added $74 billion MORE to the deficit; all to favor special interest groups. In order to save America, congress must be denied the instrument of its folly; the income tax. A solution has been filed away in a drawer somewhere by the Congress for over 10 years. It’s called The FairTax. It’s neither a Republican nor Democrat idea but truly an American idea!

If adopted, the FairTax would replace the income tax, repeal the 16th amendment and annihilate the IRS. Within one year America would experience unprecedented econometric growth and thousands upon thousands of NEW JOBS would be created.

Contact your congressperson through his/her web site; insist that he/she do everything possible to bring the FairTax proposal to the floor of the house and once there, to support it. Large numbers of citizens must demand the FairTax if we are to have it.

Glen E. Terrell
Arlington, Texas


Our town is not for sale

I urge the registered voters of Cave Creek to send a loud and strong message to the slate of challengers currently attempting to overthrow the existing town council. Money will not buy our votes. Show them we really care about Cave Creek, the history and the future. Tell them our town is not for sale!! Cast your vote for Cave Creek. Vote for the people who have proven their worth as our representatives on town council: Mayor Vincent Francia, Shelley Anderson, Jim Bruce, Ernie Bunch, Dick Esser, Steve LaMar and Tom McGuire.

Lu Cartharius
Cave Creek