Eclectic group of candidates take on recalled slate

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susan clancy, dick esser, steve lamar, mark lipsky
CAVE CREEK – The citizens who have chosen to run against the four successfully recalled councilmen include Susan Clancy, who is challenging Vice Mayor Adam Trenk.

It should be noted, however, that Clancy is running against Trenk for his seat on council, not the post of vice mayor.

Unlike the mayor, the position of vice mayor is one that is chosen via nomination and vote by the sitting council following being sworn into office, not by the electorate.

Rounding out the rest of the challengers to the slate of councilmen being recalled are Dick Esser against Reg Monachino, Steve LaMar against Charles Spitzer and Mark Lipsky against Mike Durkin.

Clancy has lived in Cave Creek for decades and has recognized, from day one, the unique lifestyle the community has to offer.

Many people know Clancy from her 16 years of service on the Cave Creek Unified School District governing board.

Read her guest editorial in today’s edition for much more about her background and one of the main reasons she is running for council.

While Cave Creek has often been dubbed the town too tough to govern, Clancy has witnessed how citizens overlooked their differences to come together when it was important.

Creekers were able to thwart Phoenix’s attempt at annexation and subsequently initiated a drive to incorporate as a town.

They came together again to find a way to save Spur Cross from development. It is the only time citizens overwhelmingly voted for a property tax to accomplish that feat.

Clancy, Esser and LaMar were all around and participated in these historical events.

Lipsky, a relative newcomer, who returned to Cave Creek after a few years’ hiatus, stated, “I’m thoroughly committed to the town, all its businesses and its endlessly eclectic and fascinating citizens.”

Lipsky’s career was launched in the world of independent film in New York City in the late 1970s. He later advanced to executive positions at companies like Miramax Films, Bravo and Independent Film Channel.

He said creative problem solving and the ability to do a lot with a little became well-honed skills.

In 2000, as technology and new media advanced and changed the industry, Lipsky initiated and drove the $30 million acquisition of a new media start-up.

Lipsky currently serves as director of U.S. marketing for a multinational medical device company.

Lipsky said he is running for council in the recall election because he sees “significant deficits in town government that I believe would be meaningfully offset by my broad range of abilities and a reputation for meeting and beating challenges both large and small.”

Every single one of these four contenders has been featured in Sonoran News over the years, and not necessarily in a kind manner.

Clancy said, “Oh there have been cartoons about me …” on the editorial pages when Publisher/Editor Don Sorchych didn’t happen to agree with her vote on the school board.

Same goes for Esser and LaMar. When Sorchych didn’t happen to agree with their votes on council, our cartoonist Bil Canfield had a field day with the editorial.

Some readers might remember when Lipsky made the front page several years ago when he decided to launch a one-man protest on Cave Creek Road when he didn’t happen to agree with Sorchych.

That’s what the First Amendment is all about.

None of these four candidates have ever ceased communications with or attempted to shut the newspaper down, unlike Trenk and his fellow slate councilmen, who have shunned Sonoran News and made sure the town did the same in a concerted effort to shut down speech they don’t particularly like.

Politics may not be something for the thin-skinned to take up, especially in a small town.

LaMar, whose guest editorial in today’s edition, describes his background and extensive volunteer service to this community as well as various other organizations.

Prior to serving two terms on council, LaMar served on the planning commission for 15 years and helped draft the town’s original general plan in 1986 when the town incorporated.

His goals include developing a strategic plan for the annexed open space, addressing issues with signs, parking, road closures, road maintenance and trail system expansion and improvement.

LaMar also would like to develop a sound overall marketing strategy for the town that supports all of Cave Creek’s businesses while honoring its authentic history.

After more than 20 years of service to the town of Cave Creek, as the result of a lawsuit and a judge’s decision, Esser was deprived of the opportunity to appear on the ballot for reelection in the last general election.

A judge in the Maricopa County Northeast Regional Court allowed Trenk, who was being represented by the law firm Tiffany & Bosco P.A., to remain on the ballot despite Trenk not meeting the statutory residency requirements.

The same law firm represented Gerald Freeman, who sued to boot Esser from the ballot so as to guarantee the Trenk slate of candidates, which he supported, would have a majority on council.

The attorney filed Freeman’s case in downtown Phoenix, apparently so as not to chance being assigned to the same judge that allowed Trenk, and most likely would allow Esser, to remain on the ballot.

Although there was no law preventing Esser from changing his mind in less than 24 hours after withdrawing his candidacy so he could remain on the ballot, the judge booted him off just the same.

Esser believes the slate council members don’t understand a town manager form of government, which means hiring a qualified town manager, who hires qualified people to run the town without interference or micromanagement by council members.

From 1990, Esser has served as a member of the Sewer Oversight Committee, four-and-a-half years on the planning commission (two years as vice chairman), eight years on council (two years as vice mayor) and was the town’s representative for Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG).

While representing the town’s membership with MAG, Esser was one of the founding members of the small communities coalition, which helped give smaller communities a bigger voice in applying for necessary resources for municipal projects.

Esser was instrumental in obtaining $630,000 in HURF (Highway User Revenue Funds) from MCDOT to help pay for the double-turn left lane improvements at Cave Creek Road and Carefree Highway.

Esser, in partnership with Carefree Mayor David Schwan, spearheaded the transportation framework study, which could serve as a vehicle to obtain additional grants in the future to help complete some of the recommendations outlined in the study.

And even though Esser is not currently on council, because he has vast resources and contacts at his disposal from his years in government, he is still working to assist citizens throughout Cave Creek with resolving issues unique to their particular neighborhoods.

All four candidates love Cave Creek and each, in their own way, have pledged their service will preserve the rural, eclectic lifestyle it offers and represent the diverse mix of people that make up the town.

Ballots will be in the mail Feb. 12.

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