Termination of Usama Abujbarah
I’m writing to express my thoughts regarding the termination of Mr. Abujbarah as the Cave Creek Town Manager. Over the last 10 years or more, Cave Creek has been run in an efficient manner. There seemed to be transparency in government which is not always seen in small towns. Although not a resident of Cave Creek, living just outside the borders, our family spends a lot of time in Cave Creek visiting the shops, the farmers market, the art festivals, the Taste of Cave Creek, the Running of the Bulls – all those things that make Cave Creek a signature community. Mr. Abujbarah has consistently done a great job with all of the events and activities while ensuring that residents of Cave Creek as well as frequent visitors can enjoy the benefits of the Cave Creek environment. That is what we experience as frequent visitors of Cave Creek. I think the new town council has made a tragic mistake in terminating Mr. Abujbarah. As in all things political, elections have consequences. So does termination of a dedicated manager who has worked diligently to make Cave Creek what it is today. It is not a positive change. I suspect the next election will also have consequences when this mistake and the motivators behind it are realized.
Desert Hills neighbor of Cave Creek
Cave Creek Town Council
I just read the article highlighting the exchange over the firing of the Town Manager and the motion to hire Glassman. Here's the view from outside Cave Creek. This whole deal stinks and the council is the smell or at least the four new ones. If anyone in Cave Creek thinks those four didn't talk in advance, they're not paying attention. If they think Glassman was not involved, they are not paying attention. If they think the mayor did not make this pick because of his ties to McCain, they are not paying attention. I'll bet $1 it went like this: The candidates ran to get rid of the manager, then talked about it after the election and agreed to hire Glassman because of his relationship to McCain and McCain's support of a local candidate(s). In any recruitment in the USA, look at ICMA or SGR or govtjobs.com and Glassman would not be qualified to fill even an entry level manager's position, regardless of his degrees. This is a fix; everyone knows it, costing the town at least a double salary and a political favor. This is corruption at its finest. No self-respecting manager in the country would touch this job. I would also bet Mr. Glassman could not stand up to an ICMA ethics probe. What a joke. Good luck recruiting a good manager. However, we all know Glassman will get the job full-time at the end and eventually find that the four council members have engaged in some type of corruption or Glassman is a dictator or corrupt himself and Cave Creek will be in horrible financial condition, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Want to bet another $1?
Name withheld by request
NSA intrigue, irony
Paradoxically, perhaps the conservatives, Tea Party and Libertarians should show more of a constructive interest in the NSA leakage of correlation tracking of communications. I can imagine that access to the data bases may divulge more than a coincidental pattern between our President and his proxy outposts:
• Numerous phone calls between President Obama and AG Holder before Justice waived the conviction of the New Black Panthers for intimidating white voters?
• A spike in calls with NLRB members before Boeing was disallowed expansion in SC?
• Many calls between the IRS Chief and the Administration during audits of major Republican donors and applications for tax exempt entities from the Tea Party and Conservatives ?
• A surge in calls among the Administration, State Department, CIA, and security when President Obama and Secretary Clinton seemed concerned that Benghazi would indicate a lack of success by the President in defeating Al-Qaeda?
• A lack of calls between the White House and Republicans during calls for bipartisanship by President Obama?
Sometimes noisy data and disparate data bases can yield rather discerning conclusions?
Dear Mayor Francia, councilmen and town manager
Wow. Last night's council meeting (budget approval meeting) was quite impressive. I heard others exiting the room expressing the same.
Kudos to all of you and staff too! The positive dynamics between the seven of you was refreshing and energizing. Questions and discussion proceeded in a constructive fashion so that informed and well-thought out decisions were made. The pace of the meeting was brisk. Council, staff, speakers and guests were all treated with deserved respect. Staff complemented the process with their stellar additions at appropriate points during the meeting.
I found it disappointing, however, that so few of those opposed to both the new council and change of manager were in the audience. Sadly, they were not able to witness the positive energy and constructive new direction you have all taken. I sincerely hope they join us at future council meetings and contribute their own positive energy to our town, as well. How much more can be accomplished if differences of opinions can come together in a constructive and positive way to create a better community and closer bonds between neighbors! I know we can accomplish this; you seven have paved the way. Thank you.
Nina Spitzer, Wife of Councilman Charles Spitzer
Lies, damn lies and government promises
During his first campaign for the presidency, then-candidate Barack Obama issued a sweeping denunciation of George W. Bush's domestic spying initiatives, claiming his predecessor "(put) forth a false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we provide."
"I will provide our intelligence and law enforcement agencies with the tools they need to track and take out the terrorists without undermining our constitution and our freedom," Obama vowed. "That means no more illegal wiretapping of American citizens. No more national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime. No more tracking citizens who do nothing more than protest a misguided war."
Obama went on to accuse the Bush administration of "(acting) like violating civil liberties is the way to enhance our security."
"It is not," he emphatically declared. "Our Constitution works."
Clearly Obama's faith in the efficacy of the U.S. Constitution has proven to be short-lived — assuming it was ever anything more than political posturing to begin with. Not only did his administration continue Bush's domestic spying program, it has dramatically expanded these initiatives — leading to this month's shocking revelation of Orwellian snooping being conducted on all Americans by Obama's National Security Agency (NSA).
The dimensions of Obama's spy network are staggering — virtually limitless. According to leaked NSA documents, the government is directly extracting internet search information, phone records, emails, social media posts, live chats, file transfers, online purchases and other personal data from the central servers of the nation's largest private technology providers. This program — which costs the taxpayers being spied upon an estimated $20 billion a year — funnels all of this information into a network of searchable storage facilities, including a $4 billion, 1.5 million square foot centralized database nearing completion in Utah.
According to one published report, the Utah center represents "the realization of the 'total information awareness' program created during the first term of the Bush administration — an effort that was killed by Congress in 2003 after it caused an outcry over its potential for invading Americans' privacy."
Responding to the latest round of outcry, Obama has once again sought to issue reassuring promises regarding the unprecedented scope of his administration's Big Brotherism.
"When it comes to telephone calls, nobody is listening to your telephone calls," Obama said last week, adding that "with respect to the internet and emails, this does not apply to U.S. citizens and it does not apply to people living in the United States."
Does anybody believe this president anymore? Even the far left editorialists at The New York Times noted how Obama has "lost all credibility on this issue."
It's not just "this issue," though. Remember, this is the same president who vowed never to raise taxes on Americans making less than $250,000, who pledged to cut deficit spending in half during his first term and who promised to lower health care costs and let Americans keep their existing coverage plans if they chose to do so.
Of course Obama's lies are nothing new. Presidents have been making promises they can't keep with your money for decades — all in the name of the "greater good" of the people.
Howard Rich, President
American for Limited Government
Last one out turn off the lights in Carefree
Last month at one of the Budget Workshops during a rather heated exchange between the Mayor and a citizen...the mayor was saying that everything seems to be OK this year. The citizen questioned how the year to date looked to the mayor. The reply was "Outstanding!!"
Let us look at some disturbing FACTS that would lead most people to question the mayor's answer:
1) Four restaurants have or are closing up in Carefree (Bad Donkey, Sonoran Grille, Duke's and now Saba's).
2) Three hair salons have closed.
3) Two Art Galleries have closed. The Indian Outlaw is gone.
4) One pharmacy is reported to be moving to Scottsdale??
5) Every Sunday you will find only three or four businesses open on Easy St.
6) Many of the businesses are posting "summer hours" that range from open one day only...to closed on Sunday and Monday.
7) A number of stores are closing for the whole summer … .as they have for the past two years.
8) For Rent signs are everywhere you look, both in the Town Core, as well as the other business and office complexes.
Now, if that set of FACTS, could be considered "outstanding" then the proposal to spend up to $ 322,000 for a water splash pad most surely is the answer … Oh, really??
What if they looked for the 'second right answer' – like maybe making a deal with one or two eager realtors to scout the county for businesses we don't now have? Suggestions: donut shop, yogurt store, camera store, kids high end store (for the grandparents to take home), Starbucks-type coffee house (The Summit has three Starbucks), a real upscale sports bar, etc. etc. Every one of these would be sales tax producers. We probably have enough Galleries, Indian Art/Silver stores and for sure enough real estate offices (already 6 on Easy Street).
Let's really concentrate on what we don't have, but each of us spend money on, in other towns. How about hiring a qualified economic development real estate expert to go out and find the business units we need.
Our sales tax revenue will most likely be DOWN about 5 percent in the year just ending – and projected to be FLAT next fiscal year – vs. the projection in the long range plan that looked to an increase of over 7 percent. The status quo is not working any better than the up to $ 100,000 for town center marketing … that is going into its third year. Let us see some action.
Jim Van Allen
“Free money” for Arizona
By falling for the enticement of “free money” from Washington our governor has lost her credibility in the fight for state’s rights. Henceforth she can wag her finger at herself.
We must ask why educated people like our governor and her followers believe that Washington doles out “free money.” Do they not understand that money that Washington “gives” to the states came from the money we taxpayers sent to Washington? This truth is so basic that certainly they must understand it. So why do they do it? Why do they advocate the sending of a dollar of our taxes to Washington so that Washington can send us back eighty cents that we can then use for teacher’s salaries, to repair our bridges or to pay our doctors and hospitals to care for our sick?
Perhaps the governor believes that Washington will send us back more money than we sent to Washington; that she is content to have the taxpayers of other states subsidize Arizona’s school, bridges and hospitals. (Certainly she would object if Washington expected the taxpayers of Arizona to pay for teachers, bridges and hospitals in other states.)
Or perhaps the truth is that by surrendering this power to Washington the governor can hide under the illusion that she is keeping state taxes low while complaining about high federal taxes and the growth of the Washington bureaucracy. The price of this illusion is the loss of state’s rights and an out-of-control federal bureaucracy that will soon control every aspect of our lives.
Jack C. McVickers
I want to sign the petition to block Medicaid expansion
I live in East Mesa and I am very interested in signing your petition to block Medicaid expansion and/or block Obamacare from Arizona. Please tell me a location in the East Mesa area where I can sign the petition.
Editor note: Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find a petition location near you.
Is freedom of speech dead?
Domestically, Obama has responded by speeding the implementation of “Insider threat” – a program established in October 2011 as a response to the Manning leak. It imposes criminal penalties on government employees or contractors who do not report a suspected whistleblower. In short, everyone is to monitor everyone else's words and acts. McClatchy reported:
"Government documents reviewed by McClatchy illustrate how some agencies” are pursuing “unauthorized disclosures of any information, not just classified material. They also show how millions of federal employees and contractors must watch for 'high-risk persons or behaviors' among co-workers and could face penalties, including criminal charges, for failing to report them. Leaks to the media are equated with espionage.”
The media and public silence surrounding “Insider Threat” is the silence of death; is freedom of speech is dead in America?
Voting Rights Act ruling has huge implications for Arizona and the nation
The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to strike down section 5 of the Voting Rights Act is a cause for national celebration.
What was enacted as an emergency measure in response to widespread resistance to black voting rights has long outlasted the emergency. Section 5 imposes heavy burdens on states that do not deserve them. By keeping some states in a perpetual penalty box and forcing them to seek Justice Department approval for the most basic government decisions, section 5 violates principles of federalism. Both the Constitution and other provisions of the Voting Rights Act will continue to protect essential voting rights. The Supreme Court has helped restore the proper balance between the federal protection of civil rights and state autonomy.
In particular, the decision is a victory for Arizonans. Arizona never should have been subjected to section 5 in the first place. It was added in a 1975 expansion that added language minorities to the section 5 protection. The case for sweeping Arizona within section 5 was weak nearly 40 years ago, and it is nonexistent today.
Moreover, section 5 contributes to the racial balkanization of American politics. Voters are packed into districts based on race or ethnicity. That prevents political parties from having to compete for the voters of minority voters and contributes heavily to the political polarization. Voting districts drawn on racial or ethnic lines divide Americans. This decision helps move us toward the day in which racial gerrymandering becomes a relic of the past.
Goldwater Institute Vice President for Litigation
Limiting government week
Responding to the positive reactions we have received from Arizona voters to our Limiting Government Week proposal, we have launched an online petition to encourage the Arizona Legislature to agree to our proposal starting with the 2014 Legislative Session.
The online petition is available here
We encourage everyone who supports this idea to sign that petition.
Together, we can make positive changes here in Arizona!
Limiting Government Week is a proposition that one week out of each legislative session be set aside exclusively for bills that reduce or eliminate arcane laws and burdensome regulations that do nothing to improve the lives of Arizonans or the economic health of its employers.
As Republicans, we are supposed to be believers in limiting government and maximizing individual liberty. As conservatives, it is not just a line in a Party Platform but a guiding principle.
We would like to see that change and we believe that Arizona?s economy and taxpayers would be well-served by Limiting Government Week.
There is little debate we are burdened by too much government and all of that government comes at the expense of our wallets and our freedoms.
Limiting Government Week is a good start to reversing that dangerous trend and it is our hope that the positive attention that Arizona garners will send a powerful message nationwide that Arizona is open for business and takes seriously the idea of limited government.
And for those who yearn for Limiting Government Month, we say “Stay Tuned!”
State Rep. Steve Montenegro, Co-Chair
State Senator Al Melvin, Co-Chair