My View

By Don Sorchych | March 17, 2010

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Don SorchychThe future • Carefree’s recall election

After spending 16 years turning out a weekly newspaper it was surreal to edit an online edition instead of print. The good news was that the response on our web page was huge, and we are hoping it will lead people to advertise on the web pages of, as well as in the printed version.

Years ago I sent out full page ads seeking donations and there was a good response, so we will do it again in the March 31 printed edition. In the future, we will continue the request on a quarterly basis.

canfield cartoon
Because their good deeds were not for publicity, so their names aren’t mentioned, three people came in with substantial donation checks, praising Sonoran News. These actions and words make our load lighter, and kindle new resolve.

One contribution came with a card, which reads, “You and your staff have always been there when we needed you on community issues. Thanks and best wishes for the future.”
All three recognized the historical value of Sonoran News’ contribution to good government and support of good zoning and preservation. Who am I to argue with that perspective?

Carefree recall election

Those who have been here for many years will recall a referendum concerning the corner where CVS and Lowe’s reside.

The Carefree council passed a rezoning of that corner from residential to commercial. Ellen Van Riper, an attorney, her mother and activist Barry DiSimone filed a referendum, gathered signatures and presented the results to town hall. All were from Sentinel Rock near the proposed rezoning.

Town hall denied the referendum based on technicalities.
Van Riper sued and the court agreed with the plaintiffs. Carefree appealed and won. Van Riper then appealed to the state supreme court, who chided Carefree for complaining about minor issues and ruled for the plaintiffs.

The referendum was swamped with “yes” votes and the rezoning held. One long time Kiwanian was quoted at the time, “Real Carefree people want the zoning.” That was a slam at Sentinel Rock – on the other side of the tracks to some citizens.

The moral of that story is no matter how moral or right a cause is, good marketing is needed to win an election. The people who filed the referendum were solid activists but perhaps were so weary after difficult court issues there was little resolve left for marketing.
Apparently that is what happened in Carefree. Councilman Bob Coady said, “The good old boys wanted a victory more than the challenger did; after all it would have changed the whole life of Schwan supporters.”

The GOBs left no stone unturned, including making erroneous comparisons to Cave Creek. For instance they floated a rumor that Cave Creek would soon bankrupt and in desperation was going to a three day work week for employees. They demonized Sonoran News and said Cave Creek administration was keeping us alive. “Downhill is going downhill” became a slogan.

Carefree is what Carefree is and the same is true for Cave Creek. The similarity is only that they are contiguous towns. Otherwise they are vastly different and both have good and bad qualities.

While Carefree has a politician sitting in the mayor’s chair as town CEO, Cave Creek’s CEO is the town manager. A slim majority elected Schwan, who wouldn’t have even been elected if the top three hadn’t bailed out, unwilling to face further public test.

While Carefree is near build out and property tax looms in their future, the current administration concentrates on the past.

Cave Creek, under a chess master town manager has brilliantly led his staff to a huge property transaction with the State Land Department including 4,000 acres of preservation. Build out was extended dramatically, and when the economy recovers, impact fees will flow again. The likes of Walmart will be repeated again and again when the Carefree Highway commercial center becomes a reality.

That effort is supported by WIFA financing for huge infrastructure growth. The current economic malaise will run its course. Meanwhile Cave Creek has handily moved away from a financial crisis albeit testing citizens with high water rates to keep a reduced town staff that already is on a four day work week.

So the good old boy criticism is false and is either based on ignorance or it is in their political play book – probably both. Their future needs able councilmen instead of political hacks who follow the dictates of morons.

I have been asked about the March 10 article regarding Sonoran News that appeared in the Scottsdale Republic. Although there were mixed reactions and it made some advertisers anxious, on balance, reporter Beth Duckett did a credible job of reporting facts about us.
Of course I expected cheap and phony comments from Schwan and ex-Mayor Wayne Fulcher and I wasn’t surprised or disappointed with their hostility.

Schwan complained we had never called him. Why would we, since we relied on his written comments, his actions on council and his acceptance of illegal actions by his landlord and staff? It took the Goldwater Institute and good lawyering to assure constitutional rights weren’t infringed upon.

Of course Fulcher’s resignation after being forced into a run off speaks volumes as does his complaint to the county attorney attempting to embarrass Coady or worse, as he kissed his mayorship goodbye.

Fulcher said, “A community is made stronger with a good local newspaper. The tragedy in our community is that Sonoran News has not been that.”

I have to wonder why our peers in several states have given Sonoran News numerous awards year after year. Further, my column won awards nearly every year including first, second and third in 2006.

Perhaps Fulcher is talking about the weekly that used to be in Carefree that was awarded contract after contract for running legal ads, which did not meet statutory requirements. But they always said nice things about him and his buddy, Ed Morgan, which took closed eyes and ears and a strong stomach.