Subject- response to the continuing emailings from CCUSD

Monday, March 23, 2015

Dear Dr. Burdick,
As a parent of three daughters- from pre-school through graduation from CSHS, in the CCUSD, I am one of the parents you’re asking to support in a letter writing campaign directed to the state.

Note- my property taxes went up again this year, 2015, and will again in 2016.

The voters made their choice to not approve a K-3 and M&O override. The voters spoke. Both taxes and the overspending must be stopped across the state. CCUSD included. Mr. Ducey won his election based on a promise that economic development was prior to funding education.
This should not be a surprise to your administration.

Just like the bankrupt US Post Office, I personally see too many managers in the administration level of the Arizona education system. What is the percentage of administration to teacher ratio in CCUSD? Can there be some cuts?

What exactly are these “special programs that require special funding?” Maybe they need trimming.

Just as I can’t call APS and Southwest Gas, or my insurance company and request a 5 percent reduction, I must budget my income, make cuts, tough as they are, and pay my bills. I don’t have the luxury to start a letter writing campaign for more money to be injected into my budget. I seek other areas to cut, some are hard, but it is done. It’s called a budget.

Your “quotation” about moving $10 dollars from one pocket to another, is a cute analogy, but the fact is: the voters said no, and then you went and turned four schools into charters. Talk about moving pocket monies? Work within your budget. Make the cuts, live with the results. Be responsible to yourself and the families of CCUSD.

What is the exact formula used to rate us at 49th? Is it total budget in education divided by number of students only, or are the staffing and administration, transportation, included as well?

Send me the answer to that formula, and then pass that along to the parents – thus, helping in their decision making process. “A” rating means nothing to a graduating student, so let’s focus on costs and not “labels” that do nothing.

Can you name just one college application which asks the applicant if they came from an “A” rated school?

I know firsthand how hard the CCUSD teachers work and these budget shortfalls are never-ending.

Ask teachers where the monies need to be focused, and where costs could be cut.
Parents that want/need bus service must pay for that bus service.
As Harley L. Lutz said- “There is no free lunch”, and as a taxpayer, I am tired of being asked for more every year.

Make the necessary cuts and live with the results. All of have had to sacrifice; CCUSD needs to follow as well.


Kevin Stevens
CCUSD parent


Carefree’s Future Matters

Friday, March 27

Friends of Carefree, this edition of the Newsletter contains information from two town meetings held during the week, a Budget Workshop on March 24 and the “Village Center” Community Open House on March 26.

Budget Workshop
The first workshop of this budget season was very well guided by Town Administrator, Gary Neiss. It was especially important this year since two new council members were just appointed to council last week, and had never been through this particular process before.

The session was intended as a very high level overview. It focused on town services, expenses, and revenue as well as the relationship between those elements.

Core Services are grouped into categories, such as Community Development (staff of 4), Public Works (staff of 4), Municipal Court (staff of 3), Admin/Resource management (staff of 5), and Public Safety (Fire & Police are contracted out).

In Carefree, the Revenue stream flows from essentially two sources, State Shared Revenue and Local Sources (Sales Tax & Fees); Carefree does not have a ‘local’ property tax [thankfully, which is why many residents chose Carefree for retirement]. In the coming Fiscal Year (7/1/15 – 6/30/16) projected revenue is $5.2 million. The breakdown is: $2.8 million from Local Sales Tax, $1.4 million – Local Fees, and $1.0 million - State Shared Revenue.

A 5-year average shows that about 2/3rds of our local sales tax is generated by Retail, Construction, and Utilities. The last 1/3rd of revenue is from Accommodations, Restaurants/Bars, and Commercial Leasing. [The Super Bowl helped boost leasing by about $50K in February.]

On the expense side all figures are approximate until the Final budget is adopted in June. Fire Protection (Rural Metro, $1.4M) and Police (MCSO, $400K) account for $1.8M or 34 percent of total expenses. Town Staff accounts for $1.3M, or 25 percent of total expenses, and $2.1M (41 percent) is allocated for town assets & operations.

Budget details (line item entries) which highlight that last 41 percent of expense will be made available in the weeks ahead. The top 3 contributors in this category are Public Works @ $670K, Water Infrastructure Finance Authority (WIFA) Loans @ $245K, and Marketing @ $200K.
Town Financial Reserves are in good shape. As of 2/1/15 the total reserve sits at $5.2M, with $2.5M of that held as a ‘rainy day fund’ to help cover town expenses in the event of unforeseen events. The remainder is potentially available for Capital Improvement projects. In the past Capital projects funded the fire station, purchase of town hall and open space land, and street maintenance.

Ongoing council discussion will focus on various Economic Development efforts, and plans for the Council Chambers (continue leasing or finance new facilities). [In fairness, these topics have generated substantial debate, both on the council and throughout the community.]
We won’t go into any more detail right now because the complete workshop presentation is available on the town website, or you may view it from our Archives page:

Village Center Community Open House
The Open House (3/26) was well done. A nice showing of residents and merchants were in attendance to hear, see, and comment on some of the preliminary ideas. The meeting opened with a presentation of the preliminary recommendations for the village center master plan. Following the presentation attendees were able to review poster board displays depicting key recommendations, ask questions, and provide feedback to the Baker Group.

Worthy of note is the fact that many of the preliminary recommendations did not appear to require expensive construction projects, but rather focused on visual and pedestrian amenities which, on the surface, appeared to be relatively modest in cost. The need for a cultural draw, or other attraction, to bring people to the ‘Village center’ was mentioned but no specific recommendation was emphasized. The Baker group will email a copy of their formal presentation within a few days, at which time it will be available on our Archives page,

The Baker group will prepare their final recommendations for a Village Master Plan to the Council in the weeks ahead. Stay tuned for upcoming Newsletters in which we will report on relevant meetings and decisions regarding Carefree’s future.

Don’t forget to visit

Respectfully submitted by

Jim Van Allen and John Traynor


A new slate in the foothills?

The citizens of Cave Creek have spoken loudly. "No more slate". But now are we about to see a brand new "slate" forming in Carefree? At a recent 'special council meeting' two new councilmen were elected to fill the two empty seats. Am I the only one who noticed that the two selected were hand picked by the two existing council members most active in pushing for a $4 to 5 million dollar town commitment to the Ed Lewis project? Yes, the same two who asked for yet a third attorney to be hired to come up with a plan to override the issue of whom should be the 'acting mayor'. Yes, part of the duo that has been going up and down Easy Street getting signatures to override any plans that do not meet her personal agenda. Her selected candidate rushed to the desk to hug her after he was sworn in. And 'his' candidate he sponsored was smiles from ear to ear.

Now we might be regularly faced with a "4 to 3" vote on most, if not all, issues involving the town’s money. Are we facing a 'liberal' vs. 'conservative' stalemate for the next 20+ months? Will the residents get a voice as to Carefree’s future? Without petitions, referendums or recalls the citizens are now at the mercy of this new 'slate'.

If there was ever a time for all of the citizens who care to attend the meetings and be heard it is now. If ever there was a need to email the council to voice your opinion, it is now.
(COUNCIL@CAREFREE.ORG) Don't plan on a great deal of transparency. This slate did not happen without a lot of back room and undercover maneuvering and promises. Is this to be the 'dark side' all over again in town politics?

Come to the meetings and see for yourself.

A concerned Carefree Citizen
Name withheld by request


Is your pilot on meds?

In 2008 Collin Hughes grounded himself to go on antidepressants. At the time the FAA would not allow pilots with depression to fly. But on April 2, 2010 the FAA changed its policy. As a result of this I sent out many letters to the editor about my concern that the FAA was allowing pilots with depression to fly planes with hundreds of paying passengers. In 2012 Captain Clayton Osbon on anti-depression prescription drugs had to be subdued by passengers when he flipped out. Now Andreas Lubitz, a copilot for Germanwings, dealing with depression killed 150 innocent people. What the media avoids is to tell that most mass shootings, like Columbine were committed by people on psychotropic medications that blur reality. We don't know if Lubitz was medicated. But flying an airliner is a unique job requiring a special person that lives and breathes aviation and feels that they are the luckiest person alive. Many times you will find airline pilots flying in air shows. Why? Because they can't get enough of it. Many airline pilots insist on manually flying their craft to cruise altitude until they put it on autopilot! As I wrote in 2010, if the airline industry wants to give disability payments to depressed pilots and keep them on the ground and add the cost to our tickets. Fine. But it is time to face the reality of happy pills which a growing number of people are on. The bigger question is, why does society need to be on so many?


Joseph DuPont
Towanda, Pennsylvania


Senator Biggs promised

Senator Biggs kept his promise to “bury COS” when it arrived at the Senate door. His eyes were focused over the heads and past twenty-nine other Senators, his LD 12 constituents, and the citizens of Arizona in direct violation of Arizona Senate Rule 2.J: “The [Senate] President shall refer all proposed measures or other legislative matters to the appropriate committees.”
He decided to ignore the overwhelming passage of COS’s HCR 2003 in the House. He decided to ignore his party’s mandate to pass COS legislation. Not only did he damage Arizonians efforts to begin the healing process in Washington DC, but he hurt America as well by supporting lies from groups that receive support from the left and George Soros.

One Senator, President Biggs, all by himself, forbade the people of Arizona a democratic up or down vote, because of misguided and unconstitutional rhetoric. He publicly stated that Article V is a “con con con”, and that a revolution is preferred to the ‘radical’ Article V. That a convention would runaway, resulting in a new Constitution. All nonsense and fully refuted by constitutional lawyers and scholars citing historical precedence. Is this the type of representation that Arizonians want in their legislature? Is it time for a change?

But look around you. There are also good Arizonans and Americans in the legislature who recognized the truth and the responsibility the Founders gave to each of them. We suggest you give a big heartfelt “thank you” to all of the Arizona legislators, listed below, who supported the Convention of States Project in 2015. Phone and email them and say thanks, we’ll be back next year.

The House voted 32 to 26 for passage of the COS application, HCR 2003. Please let these good Americans know that you appreciate their action to fix Washington DC. They received hundreds of your requests and we should acknowledge their effort.

Thank you Arizona for all your efforts this year. We’ll be back smarter, stronger, and larger. Stay tuned.

Convention of States


Another big name supporter of Convention of States

The Convention of States Project has received some huge endorsements since we started in 2013, but today we are proud to say we have added another avid supporter to our growing list of endorsers.

Senator Tom Coburn, Sarah Palin, Governor Bobby Jindal, Mark Levin, Col. Allen West, Mike Huckabee, Glenn Beck, Senator Ron Johnson, Georgetown Law Professor Randy Barnett, and a host of other national leaders have voiced their support for the Convention of States Project.
Yesterday we received one more vote of confidence from the 3rd largest radio talk show host in America. Sean Hannity invited Mark Meckler and Senator Coburn on his radio show to discuss the Convention of States Project and lend his support:

"I'm a big supporter of [a Convention of States]," Hannity said. "I like what you're doing. I hope you get it accomplished."

Why are so many well-known Americans staking their reputations on an Article V Convention of States?

Because, as Senator Coburn explained last night, Washington, D.C., will never fix itself. It’s up to the states to halt the abuses of the federal government and return our nation to the federalist system our Founders envisioned.

Even though we keep adding big names to our list of endorsers, YOUR endorsement is equally important. Without your belief in this solution to a run-away Washington, D.C., we would not be able to communicate to state legislators around the nation how passionate so many Americans are for THIS solution. Thank you for being engaged and helping bring a Convention of States to reality in YOUR state.


Mark Meckler
President, Citizens for Self-Governance
Co-Founder, Convention of States Project


ATF Director out after trying to ban

The news broke on Friday, March 20 that the controversial head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms resigned in the wake of his causing the Administration headaches they don't need by issuing a regulation that eliminated an almost thirty-year exemption for a type of ammunition used in competitive shooting.

The Director, B. Todd Jones, took charge of ATF after a lengthy confirmation process that included extensive debate surrounding the Operation Fast and Furious scandal that engulfed it during Obama's first term.

Jones' pathway to confirmation was marred by complaints over his management style and was opposed by the National Rifle Association due to his animus toward gun rights. Yet, after heated debate, he was confirmed by a party line 53-42 vote after Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski gave him the cloture-invoking sixtieth vote to ensure Senate consent to his nomination.

Now after 21 months in office, he is out the door. The victim of his own hubris as ATF botched the so-called "green tip" bullet ban by publishing their once-a-decade 2014 Regulation Guide without an exemption for the common shooting sports ammunition that had existed for almost thirty years. His ham-handed attempt to force through a regulatory change with only 30 days for comments fell flat as the Administration and ATF came under intense scrutiny from Congress as a result.

Now Jones is gone, and ATF is in full apology mode as witnessed by a news release that accompanied notice that the regulation banning the ammunition was being pulled that ends,
"The 2014 Regulation Guide will be corrected in PDF format to include the listing of armor piercing ammunition exemptions and posted shortly. The e-book/iBook version of the Regulation Guide will be corrected in the near future. ATF apologizes for any confusion caused by this publishing error."

That's right, it was a "publishing error" coupled with a rushed regulation that, apparently, the former Minneapolis U.S. Attorney mistakenly had drafted and pushed through the regulatory review process at the White House's Office of Management and Budget.

Those darn publishers, always going rogue and deleting text from the middle of a document without permission.

With this kind of "the dog ate my homework" excuse, it is clear that Jones was unfit for the Obama Administration which prides itself on using the "I learned it from the news media" as its go-to excuse when things go haywire.

Robert Romano, Senior editor
Americans for Limited Government


Then and Now, A comparison

A comparison to remember.

In years gone by and up until fairly recently, immigrants such as my grandparents, came to this country to become part of it. They traveled a tough road and played by the rules. They desired nothing more than an opportunity to provide for their families, live a better life and be part of the American Dream. It was hard, unrelenting work for them to succeed. But succeed and blend in they did.

That was then. This is now.

Now what we have is an unregulated, unchecked stampede of people arriving here, often illegally, who offer little, if anything. They arrive here looking for handouts and demanding we lower our standards, surrender our values and change our laws to accommodate them.
I believe this eliminates them as candidates for citizenship in OUR country. Their attitudes and demands clearly require we inform them that when you come to OUR country, partake at OUR table and want to reap the benefits provided by those who came before, you are expected and required to change your ways to be acceptable to us, your hosts. To do otherwise makes you unwanted and unacceptable in OUR country.

Our country, our language, our rules.

Tom Carbone
Cave Creek