Guest Editorial


Bring back Steve LaMar and Dick Esser

Bookmark and Share

carole perryWe, the residents of Cave Creek, need to bring back Steve LaMar and Dick Esser to the Cave Creek Town Council. Together they bring over 40 years of service to the citizens of Cave Creek.

Steve LaMar has served Cave Creek since we first incorporated in 1986, when he helped draft our very first General Plan. He served 15 years on the Cave Creek Planning Commission before serving us a member of the Cave Creek Town Council for 2 full terms. Dick Esser also served on the Cave Creek Planning Commission for 5 years and Cave Creek Town Council for 8 years, half of them as vice mayor.

Along with Mayor Francia, councilmen Bunch and McGuire, they made it possible for us to successfully navigate the great recession by boosting our sales tax revenue with millions from Walmart, effectively reducing town staff and hours without diminishing morale or service to the community, eliminating their own salaries and leaving us with a $6,000,000 (that’s six million!) surplus when they stepped down.

The many accusations made by their challengers, who now sit on our council, have ALL, at the very least proved to be unfounded, and at the most found to be blatant lies. Not only was that demanded “criminal” audit NOT performed by the new council, but they approved the prior council’s audit and budget just a few days after taking office. Not only was there no mega-resort planned or approved by the prior council, but the monies raised by scaring the citizens with a non-existent resort was then used to fund their campaign with thousands more than was ever spent on any prior election.

Since the new council members were running for positions that carried no salary, what possible motivation could they have had? Given the way they announced their intent to fire the existing town manager before even taking office, and the way they handed tens of thousands of our tax dollars to overpay a pal with no experience as interim town manager – including money for daily mileage reimbursement to an office he almost never visited and a 100 percent raise in the middle of his short service – I think the only criminal action we’ve actually witnessed is in the unethical – possibly illegal – behavior of the current new council members. One of them is actually under investigation by the county attorney’s office for election law violations, signing a fake name to a legal recall petition with the intent of invalidating the entire recall effort. They’ve also caused us to bleed tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees over the firing of the town manager with the long term potential for a $3 million pay out. At the same time they are using our money for personal PR, software and statues, we are begging them to find a few dollars to repair the washed out roads, potholes, broken utilities and cut brush obscuring intersections. I can’t help but wonder what that $6 million excess looks like today.

Steve LaMar and Dick Esser are both experienced, honest and dedicated to the mission of preserving and protecting the community of Cave Creek and our core values. They understand the economics of keeping the town vibrant without sacrificing the comfort and well-being of all of its citizens. They both have served Arizona citizens for most of their careers; Steve in the State Attorney General’s Office, and Dick with the Arizona Department of Transportation and Attorney General’s Office. This additional experience has served us well over the years, with acquisition of government grants, stimulus money and State Land Department access as we continue our quest to preserve a large amount of open space within our town limits.

At the same time, they have volunteered even more of their time in the interest of serving the communities they love. Steve, current Board President of Valley Big Brothers, has been Big Brother of the Year and mentored a little brother who, as a result of being Little Brother of the Year, received a full scholarship to NAU. Additionally, Steve was a founding father of the Desert Foothills Habitat for Humanity, and has been a working member of numerous humanitarian missions to Uganda, Honduras and other disadvantaged world sites. Dick has willingly served on the Maricopa Association of Governments, Transportation Policy Committee and helped found the Small Communities Coalition to improve the communications and resources for smaller communities.

These guys have always had our backs and we need to re-elect them to the Cave Creek Town Council. They have the time and the energy, the vision and the intellect to lead our town through calm and crisis, to ensure Cave Creek’s future is protected, with genuine concern and respect for the rights of all its citizens.

Carole Perry has been creating functional and sculptural glass from her Laughing Glass Studio in Cave Creek for almost 25 years. Co-founder of the Foothills Empty Bowls Project Annual Lunch and Fundraiser for the Foothills Food Bank, she has served on the boards of the Desert Foothills Land Trust, Sonoran Arts League and the Cave Creek Film & Arts Festival.