Time to take back Cave Creek

As honest citizens of beautiful Cave Creek, it is not only our right, but our duty to restore honesty, decency and transparency to our town council. We all know that most, if not all, politicians are corrupt and it all starts in small towns like ours. The longer in office, the more corrupt they become. Just take a look at Washington! They all had their beginnings at some point, and as the office became more prominent, so did the corruption and greed. We may not be able to fix Washington, but we can certainly begin right here and now.

The recall of the four council members, led by Adam Trenk, is just around the corner. While I do not blame the Cave Creek citizens for electing such a bunch to run our town, the time is now to correct our error. We were lied to, we believed the "slate" when they made promises and some of us may have been impressed by how much money was spent for them to be elected. But that was two years ago. This time around, we will not be fooled again.

I am so happy Steve LaMar decided to run for office. Steve is an honest and decent man who cares deeply for Cave Creek. In fact I am thrilled to have him back as councilman, and I hope you are too. We can all be certain our town will be in good hands again. Same for Susan Clancy, who I know and trust. Although I do not know Dick Esser nor Mark Lipsky personally, I have heard and read enough about them to support them wholeheartedly in this recall election.
As citizens, more often than not, we do not get a second chance to affect change. It took a lot of effort and hard work, by many folks who truly care about Cave Creek, to get us to this point. As you all have read many times, our first attempt to force a recall election last year was derailed by illegal and unethical behavior by non other than our sitting vice mayor and councilman, Mr. Trenk, and his attorney. But because of our commitment to this cause, and our caring for Cave Creek, we collected signatures a second time, and succeeded.

Let us not allow all this hard work to go to waste. We have the chance; lets take advantage of it. Help us send the four recalled councilmen packing. Let us restore order, honesty, good will and genuine caring for Cave Creek, to our town council.

Vote for Steve LaMar. Vote for Susan Clancy. Vote for Dick Esser. Vote for Mark Lipsky. Vote for those who care about Cave Creek. Vote for those who have no hidden agendas. We have no need for politicians, what we need is honest citizens.

It all comes down to trust. And I trust that we will all be a lot happier with the new council we will have after this recall election.

Hani Saba
Treasurer, Cave Creek Caring Citizens


We need Steve LaMar

Since Cave Creek’s incorporation in the mid-80s the town has experienced a tumultuous political scenario. There have been some very good people stepping forward to be a part of the leadership devoted to the present and future health, safety and welfare of this community.
Along with the good, however, there have also been some who have brought their own agendas with little concern or care for the best interests of Cave Creek or its residents.

One constant in the “good” over all these years has been Steve LaMar. He has maintained his commitment to serving our town and to assuring the well-being and beauty of Cave Creek for today and for tomorrow. He has given selflessly of his time and energy to assure those goals. His experience is invaluable, his determination is immeasurable.

I believe we need Steve’s guidance and steady participation in our town government. I strongly support Steve LaMar as a candidate for town council and hope Cave Creek voters will join me in casting their ballots for him. To quote Steve; “for the love of Cave Creek”!

Lu Cartharius
Cave Creek


Dick Esser

The upcoming recall is bringing out the worst in some people. We see a lot of mudslinging and even foul language in emails and blogs. This sort of thing just turns us off.

A long time friend of ours, Dick Esser, is running for one of the council seats and he always takes the high road. Dick has served our community in many capacities over the past 26 years.

We feel a very significant contribution by Dick Esser to our town has been overlooked, as an example the following:

Dick, in partnership with Mayor Schwan of Carefree, was the driving force in getting MAG (Maricopa Association of Government) to conduct a mobile transportation study in our two communities, at a price tag of $350,000 which was paid by MAG and was a significant savings for our communities.

A transportation framework was then developed to make mobile transportation, [hiking, biking, horseback riding, etc.] safer in our communities. The plan includes access and plans for trail systems. This transportation framework will ultimately be implemented at multiple jurisdictional levels, providing for grants and large sums of money at no cost to town.

Dick has hands on knowledge of how government works at local, state and federal levels. Our town wants and needs leaders that have a history and have gained the trust of our citizens. He has shown the ability to get things done.

Our town would not be where it is today without Dick’s guidance and support. He understands government at all levels.

Some of Dick Esser’s achievements follow:
1. Driving force behind the MAG Transportation Study to make our communities safer.
2. Instrumental in obtaining $630,000 in HURF funds for the double left turn lanes at Cave Creek Road & Carefree Hwy. alleviating the need to borrow money from Walmart.
3. Accelerated the location of the Maricopa Waste and Recycling Center on Carefree Highway. This facility is used area wide.

VOTE for Dick Esser who has over 40 years of experience in public service. He is a highly qualified and competent leader, who has proven his worth. He lives here and cares about Cave Creek and its future.

Joan and Mike Frawley
Cave Creek


Let’s elect LaMar and Clancy

After reflecting on all the editorials, claims and counterclaims regarding the upcoming recall I’ve had access to I have come to a couple of conclusions:

1. Steve LaMar should be returned to the council. He has great credentials, which have been described in other letters. He’s well-informed and well-spoken, and he articulates clearly his vision of Cave Creek as a semi-rural community with respect for its natural habitat. I know he’s ethical. He has institutional memory, having served on the planning commission for 15 years and the council for four. This would help inform any relatively inexperienced council members and provide a counterweight to Adam Trenk should he remain. Steve has always served honorably, and I personally am grateful he is willing to give us more of his time now that he’s retired.

2. Having said all that, I’d also like to see Susan Clancy elected. This means Adam would go, but it seems clear he’s using Cave Creek for some sort of scheme of his own. The mangled firing of Usama Abujbarah, which was orchestrated by Adam, was the first in a series of gross missteps. Installing the completely inexperienced Rodney Glassman as interim town manager was the second. Both of these moves have cost Cave Creek both in money and in credibility. I also think there should be no question about whether any given council member actually resides in town. It diminishes the council when one of its members is using it for his own ends. This is not state or national politics, and his infusion of large sums of money into our elections certainly raises the question “Why”? Susan Clancy lives in Cave Creek and has done so for many years. She served on the Cave Creek School District Governing Board, also for many years. Whether they’re a slate or not, the four recalled council members very frequently vote as a block. I suspect Susan would enliven the debate and bring a welcome perspective to the council.

Let’s elect them both.

Jacqueline (Jacky) Davis
Cave Creek’s second mayor


Useless and ineffectual

For some of us, a good test of whether a resident should be elevated to an office is what, if anything, he or she has done to protect and advance the legitimate concerns of local residents. We have had a lot of good things that happened in Cave Creek from some of our leaders – Abujbarah, Francia, McGuire, LaMar, Esser, Cordwell, to name a few. However, the town’s management over the past several years has inhibited progress across the town and, in particular, has failed in its ability to tackle long entrenched problems.

Here are a few examples:
• With knowledge of the conditions in the Cave Creek Wash that require, for life and property safety, higher standards and higher enforcement, failed to enact and maintain in force adequate floodplain management and control measures with effective enforcement provisions.
• Failed to understand the State Land Department’s disposition planning and ranking system and to provide support for the disposition and acquisition of the State Trust lands designated as open space; effectively squandering away the greatest opportunity to acquire any portion of the 4,300 acres of State Trust land for preservation at a relatively low price per acre. Five years of efforts by the town lost.
• Failed to incentivize businesses to locate to annexed lands zoned for commercial development along Carefree Highway, between 28th and 36th streets, resulting in loss revenues to the town.
• With underinvestment, road conditions decreased under the current management to a point where many sections are in desperate need of significant repairs and are rapidly deteriorating. Inadequate road funding now presents challenges to successfully implement a strategy that seeks to manage roads at the least long-term costs to the town, as major repairs cost five to ten times more than routine maintenance.
• With underinvestment and inadequate funding, the infrastructure that pumps and conveys water is near the end of its useful service life and require either significant upgrades or replacement. Management has been unable to implement a strategy that seeks to manage upgrades and replacements and to reduce the disruptions in service.
• Failed to provide emergency notifications to affected residents.

The guiding principles for members of the council and the collective town management should be to concern themselves with the problems of the whole community, and not the vindictive limited perspective of a political few. Based on my experience working with Dick Esser and Steven LaMar, both are well-qualified individuals who will strengthen the representation of all residents. Neither will engage in the current systematic campaign of misdirection and ineffective, useless management.

Stanley W. Toal
Via email


Town Hall spring cleaning is way over due

The citizens of Cave Creek have always understood that our first priority should be and is the protection and preservation of our open space. It is the real economic engine that drives the market value of our homes, and provides the setting that is the cornerstone of the rural character of our town. It is the wildlife, the light, the quiet, the stars, the crisp clean perfume released by a desert rain after a hot dry spell, the rising and setting sun painting the sky red, yellow, orange and purple.

In the last two years my opponent Charles Spitzer and his slate of recalled councilmen have done nothing to advance the disposition, and acquisition of our 4,300 acres of State Trust Land.
I pledge that one of my first actions as a councilman will be to develop a strategic plan with the help of a consulting team of professionals who are trusted and respected by the Arizona State Land Department to re-ignite negotiations and give our best effort to salvage what may at this point be a bungled and missed opportunity to fulfill the open space vision of our general plan. Sweeping $800,000 of excess open space tax into the general fund and following TC Thorstenson around Scottsdale in a wagon may be silly enough to get the present politician’s names in east coast papers once, but it does nothing to build confidence that Cave Creek has leadership and the will or the ability to make the expansion and management of our open space a reality.

You all know, because you have eyes to see, that when you are entering Cave Creek the road surface immediately becomes poorly maintained. There are a myriad of substandard safety issues – the striping is faded and in many places invisible, and many of our key safety signs are so faded that they lack any reflectivity whatsoever. Spur Cross Road has been left in a dangerous condition for months.

We see laundry lists of “accomplishments,” most the product of work and planning by the former administration, some that a middle level clerk wouldn’t brag about at year end review. (My personal favorite is bragging about closing a couple of checking accounts, given that your kids or grand kids can do that online in all of 10 minutes.) We hear about a 10-year master plan, see $82,000 of our money spent on a pothole detector, but the proof is in the pudding ... our roads are deteriorating from neglect before our very eyes. It makes us, and our town, look shabby, and is negligent conduct that exposes us to even more litigation expense than they have already burdened us with.

You have a right to expect that our roads will meet or exceed safety, maintenance and design standards, and that the publicly maintained medians will be an attraction, not a neglected eye sore festooned with plastic tacky billboards so council operatives can profit. The town has a legal duty to provide safe roads and stripping reasonable budgets for a political sound bite is not “fiscal responsibility.” It is failing to fulfill legal duties by refusing to invest in the necessary infrastructure of our home town. But wait … we do have a shiny horse in a ditch right before the road turns bad.

I pledge that I will take deliberate action to ensure that road and median maintenance is properly funded, and staffed so that our roads are safe and our medians are again a point of pride in Cave Creek. This town needs a qualified transportation engineer to provide an inventory of road safety and maintenance issues now plaguing our streets and set reasonable budgets to correct the problems. I will not rest or be threatened into silence by my opponent’s hate bloggers until Cave Creek roads are once again safe, well marked, and hazardous locations are repaired.

Cave Creek needs a smart, comprehensive, marketing plan that brings folks to town with money in their pockets to buy more than beer and shots. The overall marketing plan has to embrace all of our businesses and have a theme that celebrates our authentic history. Cave Creek has the potential to be a real authentic, classy small town, with nice places for folks to stay a couple days. We are a mining and ranching town, just check our license plate – a pick and a branding iron.

I have spent the last two years celebrating and supporting the people, natural beauty, unsung heroes, and great small businesses in for no profit at my own expense after 20 years of public service to the town. I will continue to support and celebrate the people, natural beauty and great small businesses of this town if I am elected to council as part of the much needed spring cleaning of town hall on March 10, 2015.

Steve LaMar
Cave Creek Citizen and Horseman


Is Carefree being held hostage?

After attending all of the recent meetings about the New Council Chambers ASU Cultural Center and the Taj Mahal the mayor wants to build for the theater group I say ..."SHOW ME THE MONEY." The most recent two meetings produced demands by Carefree Citizens to be able to VOTE on how the town hall folks were going to spend (waste) their money and showed a sharp divide among council members (for a change).

The developer of 'Easy Street South' Ed Lewis made it very clear that if the town does not okay up to $4 million (or more) for the ASU center, he will not proceed with his project as scheduled. Also, if the center were to be built somewhere else in town he would not be involved in any way and might not be able to get financing to do his project. Also, they have laid out a requirement that a total of $2.5 million dollars must be raised for a five year pledge program. That means we are now talking about $6.5 million to gain a non-profit attraction that brings NO DOLLARS to the table.

On Jan. 27 some council members raised the issue of locations to be considered, objections to the lack of ROI on $4 million, and why the town must now be challenged to come up with a new referendum to give to Lewis what might be very premature given the lack of support by the citizens. Again the chamber was standing room only and each of the citizens who spoke were opposed to the preliminary data being offered.

The mayor spoke on four occasions about his pet project – the theater idea next to town hall. He continues to ignore the Stakeholders’ Petition and the unanimous negatives from the citizens who have spoken at the meetings. He still wants a new council chamber at a cost of $1.5 - $2 million.

The town has made exceptions to its regulations for building heights, parking requirements and now is being told to come up with $4+ million ... plus support getting pledges for another $2.5 million for a five year operating cost budget for ASU. We keep hearing about how the town is at risk of dying and Lewis and the ASU center a block away from the heart of downtown would be the salvation. What it does is really create is TWO DISTINCT TOWN CENTERS ... AND ONE WILL DIE!!!!!

Citizens, demand an election and Vote on these issues. Email, call or visit town hall to voice your opinions. Don't be held HOSTAGE. IT IS YOUR TOWN AND YOUR MONEY!!!!!
Town Hall email:

Jim Van Allen


Governor Ducey wants prisons over universities!

In the past couple weeks I've been reading about how our newly elected Governor Doug Ducey has delivered on his campaign promises to "stabilize the budget, make the state more attractive to job creators and improve the standard of living through economic growth.”

In Sonoran News this week I read in the letter to the editor by Art Petersen that governor Ducey's state budget calls for a cut of $75 million from our state universities’ budgets. But did you also know the Governor wants to increase the budget to build more prisons? How does that move to build more prisons achieve any of his stated goals? I've never heard of anyone moving to a new location because they had better prisons.

Thank you,

Ben Carroll
Cave Creek