Guest Editorial


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The common sense YES vote on Prop 459

VINCENT FRANCIASo, what’s all the fuss about at the Cave Creek Road-Carefree Highway intersection?

The fuss seems to be centered on Prop 459. The gist of 459 is to overturn the Cave Creek’s council decision to re-zone four acres at the intersection from desert rural to commercial.

The four acres in question is in what is called Area 25. There are also Areas 18 and 10, adjacent to the intersection, with the numbers representing the number of parcels in each area. It should be noted that these Areas have nothing in common with Nevada’s Area 51. There is no extra-terrestrial influence concerning Area 25. However, there is “outside” influence concerning Area 25 and the subsequent Prop 459.

One of the lessons learned in political life is this: Things are never what they seem.
Prop 459, for example, was not initiated by a citizen of Cave Creek. Rather it was authored by a resident of Carefree. Under his political action committee, this Carefree resident recently mailed a postcard asking for a No vote on the referendum. The postcard contrasts two side-by-side photographs: one photo is of a pristine desert scene near the Cave Creek Recreation Area, the other a commercially choked intersection in Los Angeles.

The message is clear. And so is the deceit. The truth is, whether you create false speech with words or Photoshop, it’s still a lie. And since this postcard was mailed to Cave Creek citizens with intended purpose to instill fear of what this commercial project might look like, the intent becomes nefarious.

What is of greater interest is why some Cave Creek citizens would follow the lead of a citizen from another community on a matter that is decidedly Cave Creek’s. Since when does a community as independently minded as Cave Creek march to the beat of one who is an outsider, one not even a citizen of the town?

Things are never what they seem.

Accompanying the postcard deceit in opposition to Prop 459 is a mantra floating through the community. It goes something like this: “My backyard is your backyard.” Interesting slogan.
Perhaps this slogan stems from those who opposed rezoning for Walmart; those who feared that approving the world’s largest retail enterprise would cause the sky to fall, the planets to careen off their orbits and Cave Creek to lose its identity to faceless corporate America.

However, the only thing that happened following citizens’ approval of Walmart and after a year of operation is the creation of jobs and the influx of $1.2 million to the town’s treasury. The heavens are still where they are supposed to be and Cave Creek is still, well, Cave Creek.
Significant to note is, during Walmart’s first year of operation businesses in the Historic Core were up 6 percent on their own merit. What this tells us is not only is Walmart not having an adverse impact on the Historic Core, it is arguably attracting new people to our downtown area.
Things are never what they seem.

A residue of this ‘sky will fall’ fear is projected in concern that the businesses that would go on this 4-acre parcel would destroy businesses in the Historic Core. The specific business fueling concern is the possibility of a McDonald’s.

If this were the case, that a hamburger business could cause the demise of similar restaurants in the Historic Core, than why hasn’t this already happened, given the Wendy’s on Carefree Highway which has been there for eight years? However, this has not happened: No Core business has gone belly up because of Wendy’s. Nor will any go extinct because of McDonald’s.
Cave Creek is blessed with two distinct commercial dynamics. The first is the Historic Core, which creates an experience of a community, its lifestyle, both western and artistic as well as its bars/restaurants which cater to fun, frivolity and free-style expression. People, both local and non-local, visit the Historic Core – and this is important – because they want to experience the community, to savor its unique funky, eclectic flavor. A Taste of Cave Creek, if you will. Carefree Highway businesses cannot nor will they ever be able to achieve this.

Carefree Highway businesses represent Cave Creek’s second commercial dynamic: quick in, quick out conduction of business. People go to The Home Depot, Fry’s, Walmart, or for that matter, a proposed McDonald’s to satisfy a need and to do so quickly. This need does not compete or conflict with what the Historic Core offers. One offers experience and good memories, the other convenience and instant satisfaction.

A truth should be self-evident: The request to zone four acres of desert rural land in an area already commercial, such as the Cave Creek Road-Carefree Highway intersection, is not the same as requesting similar re-zoning in Spur Cross Conservation Area to accommodate a Macy’s.

Things are never what they seem.

So, why vote Yes on Prop 459? Common sense is the best reason. To note, council’s decision to amend the General Plan to change the land use designation from desert rural to commercial was not referred; only the act of rezoning these four acres to commercial was referred, which makes no sense.

When you look at the area in question – the Cave Creek Road-Carefree Highway intersection – what do you see? Zoned Desert Rural, but decidedly commercial in character. Would you build your home there? Is economic diversity and commercial development in an area obviously suited to commercial enterprises that produce revenue a good thing for the well-being of the community? Does job creation for our citizens have value for the community as a whole?
A Yes vote for Prop 459 is easy to arrive at. It’s common sense.

Unless, of course, you feel the sky will fall by voting Yes. In which case a no vote won’t really help you.