Cave Creek managers don’t get it

Cave Creek needs to replace its water line across Cave Creek Wash on the 50th Street alignment.  It serves the 7 or 8 homes on the west side of the Wash which have no legal access, but that is yet another issue the town is trying not to deal with.  Those homes lost both their water and gas service with the flood of  August 19, 2014 and actually lost their water service twice because the inept first fix done by the town utility department washed out immediately and they got to do it all over again a week later – at three times the cost.

A little recent history is necessary to fully appreciate the town’s actions here, or lack thereof.  The largest flood ever measured in Cave Creek Wash by most accounts was the flood of January 19 – 21, 2010 calculated at about 17,000 cubic feet/second (cfs).  It caused tremendous east bank property damage downstream from the illegal Creek Canyon Road crossing including exposing, but not breaking, the water and gas lines across the Wash.  Both lines ran in the same trench, ostensibly buried 5 feet deep. The town, then under competent management, immediately sponsored an emergency erosion protection project with a federal agency that would pay 75 percent of the cost with 8 residents and the local flood control district paying the balance.  It would cost the town nothing.  Understandably, both the town and SW Gas were waiting for this project so they could use it to offset major costs in replacing/reburying and protecting their lines where they were most vulnerable against the east bank.   Unfortunately, that project failed because the feds could not pass a budget.  Then comes the dangerous flood of August 19, 2014 which was measured at about 26,000 cfs, some 35 percent larger than 2010, and right around Colorado River average flows.  This flood, predictably, did more east bank property damage and neatly removed the water and gas lines, then still lying exposed on the surface.  This time the town, now under new and enlightened management, refused to do anything to permanently correct the situation even though the supporting federal agency has money again and the town has the project design.

SW Gas is now responsibly replacing its gas line across the Wash and doing it right – a major undertaking.  Given that the gas line and water line were in the same trench, it would still make sense for the town to share in the cost of the project, as it had planned, and get its water line replaced/reburied for half price, at worst.  I have been told that the town utility department refused to participate in the project.  I do not know this first hand because I am clearly on their “don’t talk to” list.  The town (Francia, Jankowski or Prinzhorn) has not returned a phone call or responded to an email from me since last November.

You folks on the west side of the Wash who access your properties  across the illegal Creek Canyon Road crossing should lay in lots of water at the first sign of the next flood.  And all of us can expect yet another ‘utility department shuffle’ – wait till it breaks, express surprise and indignation while blaming it on the previous administration, declare an emergency, hand the contract to your buddy on a no bid basis and present a very expensive bill for another temporary fix to town Council that can do nothing but pay it at that point.

This is not surprising given the sorry condition of the town but it is an interesting management concept – why pay $5 to fix something today that you can spend $20 to fix tomorrow.  Oh well, opportunity lost because they are too busy cutting budgets and saving money but I’m sure permanent replacement is in their coveted plans to address someday.  

Bob Williams
Cave Creek


Mayor Schwan affliction

I very recently was informed about the infirmity that has befallen Carefree's mayor, Mayor David Schwan. I have, in the past, written to Sonoran News with comments critical of Mayor Schwan’s position on a few of the town’s current or developing initiatives. But it is quite dispiriting for all Carefree citizens and businesses to know that Mayor Schwan has become a victim of this insidious disease. I would not wish this disorder on my worst enemy.

This is an insidious disease and my heart goes out to the Mayor and his family. I presume he has a wife and she will have to garner all the support she can in order to bear the burden of care for her husband. It certainly appears that, despite my criticism on Mayor Schwan’s positions on a narrow range of issues, the man is well-liked by the Carefree populace. I have heard from others that his oversight and governance over the town should receive the highest accolades. That being the case, the town needs to rally support and assistance for what the family and Mayor Schwan are about to experience.

On a modestly positive note, one can look at the life span of Dr. Stephen Hawking who was diagnosed with ALS at the age of 21. He is now 73 years-old. Aside from the horrific physical degeneration that this despicable illness inflicts on the victim, as time goes along, the caretakers of the ill person have an increasingly difficult task, and remaining attentive and focused on the comfort of the victim can be a quite difficult challenge and responsibility.

My hopes and best wishes go to the Mayor and his family and all who suffer from this malady that medical science will soon find a success in addressing the challenges presented by ALS and there will be a drug or therapy that halts the progression of the disease.  I understand that much progress has been made in this endeavor over the last few years.

Again, my heart goes out to Mayor Schwan and his family. They, perhaps, can take some comfort in knowing that the community, I’m quite sure, will be there to support the care-taking efforts in any way it can.

Freddy Bentine-Brown


Wondering if you will be at the public forum Feb. 12

Dear Incumbent Council Members and Challenging Candidates:

I am wondering if you all will be at the Public Forum on Feb. 12 at Town Hall?

Although I attended several meetings, open houses and forums prior to the last election, I have not had the benefit of this type of informative, get-to-know-your-representative forum for this election.

It's important for me to hear you speak on the issues that are important to each of you and get to know your goals/objectives for Cave Creek before I vote.

I would appreciate a response from all and since I don't have every candidates email address if you would be kind enough to forward.

Thanks for willing to serve. It's not an easy thing ... but Cave Creek is so worth it.

Kim Brennan
Hi Kim,
The e-mail you sent is making the rounds today. Because Vice Mayor Trenk had you moderate his last debate at the Buffalo Chip (2013), I assume you are working for the "Trenk Slate" now. Does this proposed debate include a free dinner paid for with campaign funds as was done in the previous Trenk sponsored debate?

Although I do not speak for anyone other than myself, it makes no sense to participate in a debate that is "hosted" and controlled by a candidate and not sponsored by an independent community group. FYI – There is a debate scheduled and hosted by the Rancho Mañana Homeowners Association. At this debate each candidate will have an opportunity to show up and present themselves to an audience of qualified Cave Creek voters.

Speaking of qualified Cave Creek voters, exactly what is the street address in Cave Creek Vice Mayor Trenk is claiming as his home? The Vice Mayor's supporters have told me his address is on E. Highland Road (The Town says Vice Mayor Trenk lives in a Post Office Box). Interestingly, none of Vice Mayor Trenk's Highland Road neighbors see him very often. They say they only notice Mr. Trenk around a few times month usually on a weekend day.  If the Vice Mayor is not a full-time Cave Creek resident, he owes it to his supporters and Cave Creek voters to advise them of his actual residence.

Thank you.

John Hoeppner
Cave Creek


Open letter to the citizens of Carefree

Many would like to see a Cultural Center (ASU) in Carefree, I am one of those individuals, and my hope is that Carefree can be perceived as an “Arts Oasis” in north Scottsdale/Phoenix.
However, I also am in support of the Desert Foothills Theater, and Sonoran Art League and other local area non-profits as well to utilize shared programming in such a facility. In addition, as proposed by Mr. Lewis (Butte Company), a multi-purpose room could be utilized by the town for council chambers, and meetings, and thus relieve us of our ongoing rent burden in our current location. To that end, our town had extended an offer to ASU six months ago to come to Carefree to assess feasibility, funding support for operations and understand the type of arts programming our community will support. Unfortunately, to-date, that assessment has not begun.

ASU has proposed a 5 year commitment with no rent payment. Their responsibility would be the annual operating costs through which is paid by community donations and benefactors. ASU cannot spend their endowment funds outside of their main campus in Tempe. In addition, ASU has made it clear by public expression, that they are open to any location in Carefree, and I believe those options should be explored as well 'before' the town commits to Mr. Lewis and his proposal to locate the cultural center on his property (Phase 1 only). Mr. Lewis also communicated to me six months ago that he was open to other locations in Carefree for such a facility if the town so chose.

I have spent much time speaking to council people from other cities and towns, as well as experts in the field of government incentives, and I have the following expressions and concerns:

As a Commercial Broker, I am totally aware of the huge economic problem we have faced (like many other cities and towns) since 2006 and slow ongoing recovery with substantial sums already invested in Carefree. I share everyone's concern for the future success of the Carefree. I want to do what is best to increase our Sales Tax income and allow our community to be sustainable.

As a Council Member, I must put the welfare of the Town and its residents first and foremost.  We have a fiduciary responsibility as the guardians of the reserves and any debt obligations. This project now becomes a serious question of how it’s funded, where it is located and what concession is Mr. Lewis providing to the town. Does the town pay for the land on Ed Lewis property in addition to all the costs to build such a facility or should a Community Cultural Center be located closer to the Sun Dial on property already owned by the town. This is simply a matter of due diligence and feasibility for the town, and tough questions must be asked and weighed carefully.

Additionally, my greatest concerns are the inherent risks involved that I have publicly shared and the limited 5 year commitment by ASU. To be clear, Lewis is a private developer with his costs and profit he wishes to achieve and the town has its prudent responsibility to be fiscally responsible.

If the 20 year revenue assumptions expressed by Mr. Lewis’ consultant do not materialize, or ASU withdraws its commitment or fails to renew its lease, then our community may have to face a property tax just to fund the debt burden and/or loss of treasury reserves. The risks are high to our small community, as we have seen with similar cultural projects throughout the country.

There is nothing beneficial or practical as an agenda of “economic development at all costs.” Too many cities have tried that and failed, and frankly Carefree is suffering from the same economic turmoil as most cities and towns in Arizona … the general recovery of the economy will either hurt us or help us as we move forward, and I believe, much more than a museum.

Substantial taxpayer dollars of approximately $4 – 5 million dollars are anticipated for 100 percent of the land acquisition and construction (subject to a land appraisal and competitive bidding of construction costs). Understand, as proposed, Mr. Lewis has stated he will not donate the land for the Cultural Center nor have we seen a proposed development agreement by him. Mr. Lewis also stands to benefit substantially in that taxpayer funds which will be used to compensate him for the Cultural Center development costs and off-site and onsite improvements for approximately 25 percent of his total land area of approximately two acres in Phase 1, this includes shared parking and common areas, etc.. Mr. Lewis stated he will build the Cultural Center at his costs, and there will be economies of scale. Yet, Mr. Lewis is a developer and has hired a construction company, architects, engineers, etc., to build the Cultural Center.

Nevertheless, I am also open to a 'performance based' incentive plan wherein Mr. Lewis receives funding for 1/2 of the aforementioned costs paid upon completion of his 1st Phase and the balance upon completion of his 2nd Phase - subject to all due diligence and agreed upon deliverables in a negotiated development agreement, which is openly shared in a public announcement and town hall public meeting.

Unfortunately, at this time, Mr. Lewis has stated that he will not commit to ever finish completion of his Phase 2, and his waiver of confidence in this project has me wavering in confidence on this whole endeavor as well unless we see a performance based incentive by Mr. Lewis and/or the ASU museum land portion of his private property donated to the town.

Short of that, I agree with many that this matter should be put to the residents to vote on.  Yes, that will cause the development schedule to be delayed given the soonest it can occur in this November; but the council must negotiate for the best interest of our community given this project is funded by taxpayer dollars.

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.
~Bertrand Russell


Michael E. Farrar
Councilman, Town of Carefree


My decision

Friend, as one of my most loyal supporters and friends over the years, I wanted you to hear it from me first.

After much thought, prayers and talks with my loving wife, Ava, I have decided to run for re-election for Sheriff.

But, Friend, I can only run if I have your backing.

Will you please sign this pledge right now to signal I have your support?

This campaign is not going to be easy. In fact it will probably be the toughest campaign I have ever run. My opponents (of which you and I know there are many) would love nothing more than to see me defeated. As "America's Toughest Sheriff," I've been pushing back against radical leftist, law enforcement-bashing demagogues for years and now is their opportunity to take me down.

That's why I'm asking you to put down what you are doing right now and let me know if I still have your support by signing your personalized "I STAND WITH JOE" re-election support pledge immediately.

I also need your financial support. Fighting the recall battle last year severely drained my campaign account. I hope after you sign your name, you will make a secure online contribution to my campaign.

I know I have counted on you many times before, and it is because of your loyal support that I have been able to win campaigns in the past and look to this next campaign with victory in our sights as well.

Simply put - I cannot win this election unless I have your support.

Sign the pledge for your support of my re-election campaign today.

As you are aware, going up against Barack Obama's political machine, Hollywood leftists and their millions as well as a hostile local and national media is extremely expensive, which is why I need your financial support.

The Obama Justice department has been rolling out lawsuit after lawsuit to take me down.
The Democrats and left-wing fringe groups drained my campaign resources with a costly re-call election smear campaign that came dangerously close to defeating me, but with your support we prevailed.

Rampant, UNFOUNDED charges of racism and racial profiling in my office.

Al Sharpton, George Lopez, Linda Ronstadt and a gaggle of other celebrity lefties are using their Hollywood megaphone to slander my name and reputation.

A hostile national and local press corps that actually gets the weather right more than anything they report about me.

This time, the radical left is especially angry with me because I'm suing President Obama over his reckless amnesty proposals.

Friend, we've seen what they will do to take me down, and I have no doubt that this is going to be the toughest re-election battle of my career. And it's why I need to ensure I have your continued support.

As I take this next step towards running for re-election, I hope to have you by my side.

Sheriff Joe

P.S. I have dedicated my entire life to serving our country. From the U.S. Army to a police officer to working as a DEA officer around the world to Sheriff, I've put my life on the line to ensure our laws our enforced. The respect for the Rule of Law is greatly being diminished in this country and I will stand by and let that continue. Please join me today!


The three kinds of Reagan Republicans ... which one are you?

As it relates to late President Ronald Reagan - modern day Republicans generally fall into three distinct camps ...

Republicans who talk conservative like Reagan and actually put their principled words into deeds. It's almost as if they wear an invisible WWRD bracelet - "What Would Reagan Do" - and consult it before making a speech or casting a vote.

Republicans who talk conservative like Reagan but act and vote like "Democrat-lite" when push comes to shove. Often going-along-to-get-along with the crowd rather than pushing back and standing firm on principle.

Republicans who think Reagan's belief in limited government and maximum individual liberty is old and outdated and should be abandoned - the same mindset many liberals harbor about the U.S. Constitution.

Which category do you fall into?

If you're like me, you enter and exit politics and public policy through Door #1.

If you're like all too many GOP candidates up and down the ballot, you fall into the second category and have been largely responsible for damaging and undermining the conservative Republican Party brand and helped elect - not once, but twice - Barack Obama.

Or if you're like former Republican National Committee chairman, Ed Gillespie - who, according to the New Hampshire Union Leader in August 2003, "said in no uncertain terms that the days of Reaganesque Republican railings against the expansion of federal government are over" - you believe it's time to abandon the principles of the Reagan Revolution and continue our slow march toward European socialism.

Actually, if you're receiving this email, I know where you stand.

As a supporter of Dr. Ben Carson, you stand proudly and foursquare with not only the principles and character that defined Ronald Reagan, but which defined the signers of the Declaration of the Independence and the Founders of our constitutional republic.

I want to share with you a somewhat unconventional comparison between "The Gipper" and Dr. Carson.

There's an old saying in Washington that "personnel is policy."

As such, after Reagan was elected in 1980, he replaced government personnel from the Jimmy Carter administration with some of the best and brightest of the conservative movement rather than with experienced personnel who had worked in the moderate administration of Gerald Ford.

As conservative direct-mail legend Richard Viguerie put it in 1982, "You can't have Reaganism without Reaganites."

The strength and foresight to surround himself with people who actually shared and believed in the same vision of rolling back government rather than simply keeping the government trains running on time goes a long way towards explaining the success of Reagan's presidency.

The willingness to hire and appoint talented and competent individuals - and then letting them do the job they were chosen to do without worrying about who would get the credit - was a management skill mastered by our 40th president that all too many overlook.

Dr. Carson certainly has the same skill.

You already know the story ...

Dr. Carson envisioned the surgical procedure to separate conjoined twins in which both would survive without suffering brain damage. It had never been successfully done before.

To make his vision come true, Dr. Carson assembled a "who's who" team of 50 exceptionally talented fellow doctors, nurses and medical support personnel who successfully pulled off what - at the time - was considered a miracle.

He wasn't concerned with who would get the credit. He was concerned with saving the patient.
Ronald Reagan was singularly concerned with rescuing America from the "malaise" that infected America during the Carter administration. And to make his vision a reality, which few at the time believed possible, he surrounded himself with people who could make it happen without fear of being "outshined."

That's a leadership quality President Reagan and Dr. Carson share. A quality that will be returned to the White House when Dr. Carson takes the oath of office in January 2017.
What a gift it will be for America.

Sincerely yours,

John Philip Sousa IV
National Chairman


Joe Biden's dangerous game

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden put American exceptionalism on display in a big way Saturday (February 7), laying down a tough line of patter to the 2015 Munich Security Conference. Biden called on Russian president Vladimir Putin to "get out of Ukraine," doubling down on U.S. threats to escalate conflict in the Russia-Ukraine border region by arming Kiev's forces.

"Too many times, President Putin has promised peace and delivered tanks, troops and weapons," quoth Biden, by way of promising peace and simultaneously promising to deliver tanks, weapons and possibly U.S. troops.

At issue are two new "ethnically Russian" states – the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics – which seceded from Ukraine in the wake of last year's U.S.-backed coup and the installation in Kiev of a regime friendlier to the US and the European Union and more hostile toward Russia.

Biden's newly minted opposition to ethnic secessionist movements rings hollow, given his enthusiastic backing of such movements in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s. He recalls his support for Bosnian and Kosovar secessionists – up to and including U.S. bombing campaigns and ground troop interventions versus Serbia that dwarfs even the most inflated claims of Russian meddling in the current conflict – as his "proudest moment in public life." Hypocrisy much, Mr. Vice President?

Biden, U.S. President Barack Obama, and the more hawkish contingent in Congress might also do well to reconsider the practicality of a counter-insurgency campaign in the region.  Given the complete failures and follow-on consequences of the 21st century's first two such U.S.
campaigns – in Iraq and Afghanistan – a betting man would likely put long odds on success in a third such misadventure. Especially one that antagonizes a major military power with the capacity to, in extremis, take things nuclear. But that same gambler would put similarly long odds on the likelihood of such reconsideration.

It took 58,000 American deaths in Vietnam to raise even minor self-doubt among American politicians on their post-World War II conception of themselves as "leaders of the free world," disposing of the military might to impose their will around the globe in, as George III put it to Britain's rebellious colonies in 1775, "all cases whatsoever."

The fall of the Soviet Union and the sugar high of victory in the first Gulf War dispelled that doubt. 9/11 put the War Party completely back in America's driver's seat. And we've been cruisin' for a bruisin' ever since.

If Joe Biden and Company can't figure out a way to gracefully walk away from the mess they've made in Ukraine and let Russia, Ukraine, the breakaway states and the EU settle their own arguments, this conflict may very well turn out to be that bruisin'.

Thomas L. Knapp
William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism