Cave Creek open space and trails

We don’t often think of our open space and trails in economic terms. But they make all Cave Creek properties of greater economic value. They also entice both visitors and new residents who value our High Sonoran Desert environment. Tourist customers help Cave Creek avoid a property tax while our town staff provides important town services for a growing community.

Think of this sequence of historic events. First was the preservation of the summit of Black Mountain by citizens of an unincorporated Cave Creek in 1974. (A certificate is attached.) Incorporation occurred in 1986, preventing Phoenix from swallowing up Cave Creek. One of the first Council actions was to zone outlying desert areas as large home lots. In 2000 Cave Creek annexed land and formed a partnership allowing us to preserve the 2200 acre Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area. In 2008 a deal was made with the State Land Department to expand our town limits and help preserve another 4000 acres. (approximately 6 square miles) 
Trail access to open space more than doubled on October 17 when 60 of us built the new mile-long Gateway Trail parallel to Cave Creek and under Carefree Highway. Hundreds of miles of trails in the Phoenix Preserve system are now connected to 50 miles of trails within Cave Creek. 

The Spur Cross Trail, dedicated about 5 years ago, is the first section of the Maricopa Trail that will eventually encircle the whole Phoenix Metropolitan Area. From Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area, the currently completed part of the Maricopa Trail already extends under Interstate 17 to Lake Pleasant. In the other direction, it connects to an extensive trail system in the Tonto National Forest (

As are all public trails in Cave Creek, the new trail is open to a variety of non-motorized activities. These include hiking, equestrian and mountain bike uses. (Please be aware of the dangers of horses not accustomed to hikers and, especially, cyclists.)

Our trails enhance the ability of Cave Creek citizens to access open space including the Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area and the Maricopa County Cave Creek Regional Park. In addition, the summit of Black Mountain and Desert Gateway Park on Vermeersch Road are also places where the public can forever enjoy the desert. Numerous additional parcels have been purchased by the non-profit Desert Foothills Land Trust.

Connecting trails east-west within Cave Creek is a major ongoing effort of Trails Coordinator Bambi Muller. As the population of Cave Creek grows, connectivity steadily becomes more challenging. Several especially difficult connections are now being negotiated that will improve non-motorized access to the Historic Town Core and Whiskey Central. Staff is also working on roadside trails, particularly within the business core of the town.

Special thanks for leadership in preserving our High Sonoran Desert must go to the entire Town Council led by Mayor Vincent Francia and Vice-Mayor Steve Lamar.

Thomas McGuire
Cave Creek Councilman


Hi, Don,

As a reader of Sonoran News for over ten years, and a resident of north Scottsdale for about 15 years, I read about your inability to find an obituary for G. Russell Chambers.
I subscribe to an historical newspaper service and was easily able to locate two of his obituaries, albeit almost identical.
I trust that you will find this information useful.
By the way, keep up the good work of your organization.
Leigh R. Larson

[Editor note: Due to space considerations the two obituaries provided by Mr. Larson are not printed herein.]


Not Speaker material

Paul Ryan is for gun control (translation: Gun-OWNER control) and pro-amnesty for illegal aliens and the hordes of Muslims brought in by the current dictator. Call your congressman/woman, and express your opposition to his being elected Speaker of the House.

Yours in gun rights,

J-P A. Maldonado


Obliviously sailing into danger

As a former naval officer who was an officer of the deck underway, navigator, and meteorology officer, and on track for ship command, I am appalled by the decision of the Captain of the El Faro container ship to head into a ferocious storm at sea.

The Captain departed Jacksonville, Florida on September 29, 2015 on a southeasterly course for San Juan, Puerto Rico. This course took the ship on a track near the Bahama Islands and straight into the storm. At the time of sailing the storm was designated a tropical storm with winds of around 45 or 50 knots and seas running about 20 or 25 feet. Soon after the ship left port the storm intensified to hurricane strength, and the National Hurricane Center issued a hurricane warning, which the El Faro should have received, forecasting winds of 125 knots and seas of 40 to 50 feet.

Apparently, the ship lost propulsion, which I assume occurred within the hurricane due to the pounding of the ship and probable flooding. The ship would then be in the trough of the waves, and with a top heavy load of containers, it could have rolled over and sank.

The shipping company had a responsibility to ensure the ship’s captain was aware of the potential danger. If the shipping company provided any coercion or threatened the Captain if he refused to go to sea, the owners of the shipping company could be criminally liable for the sinking of the ship. In any case, the captain, who was hired by the shipping company; and owners of the vessel, are responsible for the safety of the ship and crew.

Donald A. Moskowitz
Former AG2 and LT, U.S. Navy
Londonderry, New Hampshire


Solving the national debt crisis

We’ll be in big trouble if we don’t take steps now to reduce the present national debt within 10 years and we should let our elected representatives know this. One compromise might be to please the Democrats by going along the lines of the Simpson-Bowles plan – or at least keeping Obamacare – and to please the Republicans by not funding Planned Parenthood.

Alex Sokolow
Santa Monica, California


No, tipping isn’t ‘wrong’

Recently, a well-organized public relations campaign was launched to convince the public that the practice of tipping is “wrong.” The source of the moral authority that has proclaimed this practice to be “wrong” is fuzzy to say the least, but let’s examine the issue.

Several motives are present in the campaign to demonize tipping.

First, the presence of union affiliated entities in these campaigns is telling. In particular, these entities are targeting the restaurant industry, an industry in which to date they have enjoyed very little success. Having achieved very little success in their attempts to convince restaurant employees to become union member, they are trying an alternative approach, making all restaurant employees’ compensation the same across the board. This makes the individual less important in the structure of that employer’s workforce and gives more importance to collective action.

Unions favor a one-size-fits-all approach to compensation because it makes their jobs easier. Unions fiercely oppose pay based on merit, but rather advocate pay on the basis of time spent in the job. Convincing employees to give up control over their work lives is difficult under most circumstances. If those employees presently enjoy the ability to directly control the level of their compensation, then that job becomes much harder. If you are a hard-working individual, why would you give up control over your compensation to a third party?

If, however, the individual’s ability to directly control their compensation is not present and compensation is the same for everyone across the board, then some degree of the hesitancy to union representation fades.

A second motive is the liberal notion that outcomes for all should be equal. The goal is to move us away from the idea that we should all have equal opportunity to succeed and replace that with equal outcomes regardless of the effort and skill required by a given task.

Tipping is an economic incentive.

Humans respond to incentives. Remove those incentives and part of the drive to succeed dies. Tipping allows those with higher drives who work harder to achieve higher levels of success than those with lower drives who don’t work as hard.

This we should encourage. Basing compensation on hard work benefits everyone. The individual whose hard work results in greater success certainly deserves to reap the benefits of that hard work in the form of higher compensation. Similarly situated individuals observing the success and resulting increase in compensation are spurred to achieve greater success for themselves. All benefit here. Employees benefit in the form of higher wages and the employer receives the benefit of a more efficient workforce. This efficiency frees up employer capital enabling them to reinvest in the workplace and increase employee compensation.

In many areas of life, the difference between success and failure often comes down to the level of drive an individual possesses. Those who hustle win races while those who loaf do not. Those who study hard obtain good grades while those who party instead do not.

The same is true in the workforce. Unless we desire to become a nation of participation trophy winners, we should allow employers to continue to use incentive programs to spur their employees to greater success.

Removing the economic incentive tipping provides may please a few special-interest groups and help to fatten their bottom lines, but will not benefit those who currently receive tips nor the customers they serve.

Nathan Mehrens
President of Americans for Limited Government Foundation


Do Arizona Democrat candidates agree with Hillary Clinton about VA scandal not being a widespread problem?

Now that Hillary Clinton has come out and expressed her opinion that the scandal at the Department of Veteran Affairs is not as “widespread” as the media portrays it to be, what do Democrats running for Congress in Arizona like Matt Heinz, Victoria Steele and Tom O’Halleran think? Clinton made her comments on Friday while appearing on The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC. Will Democrats hoping to make it to Washington agree with Clinton that the VA scandal is just a sensationalized project of the media and Republicans or will the debacle at the Phoenix VA prompt them to speak out?

The Phoenix VA facility has been at the center of the national VA controversy. From secret waiting lists to unbelievably long wait times to negligence in the urology care, Arizona’s veterans have been subject to some of the worst reported offenses. With thousands of Arizona veterans affected by the VA’s mismanagement, will AZ Democrats put partisan politics aside and stand up to Clinton’s outrageous comments?

Tom O’Halleran is running as a Democrat in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District where there are 60,374 military veterans. Matt Heinz and Victoria Steele are Democrat candidates in the 2nd District, home to 84,160 veterans.

“Hillary Clinton’s comments that she does not believe the VA scandal to be a widespread problem is a slap in the face to our brave veterans. While we have come to expect out-of-touch comments like this from Hillary Clinton, what do Arizona Democrats running for Congress think? Do they agree with Hillary Clinton that the VA scandal is a farce?” – NRCC Spokesman Zach Hunter

Zach Hunter
Regional Press Secretary
National Republican
Congressional Committee


Crowdsourcing: The Best Defense

Sometimes unfortunate events spark good ideas. Ask restaurateur Art Bouvier. After his Cajun eatery, Papa Roux, fell victim to an allegedly armed robber, he decided to offer a 25% discount to customers who show their concealed carry permits.

“I don’t see that it makes anything worse by letting those people think twice about coming in here and thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, there might be people in here that do have weapons,’”
Bouvier told Indianapolis’s Channel 8 News.

Smart guy. Many restaurants and other “open to the public” establishments have taken, in recent years, to asking or even demanding that their customers go unarmed and defenseless.
While it’s a property owner’s right to decide the rules for his property, business owners who truly care about their customers’ safety shouldn’t announce policies that amount, in effect, to “come on, hoodlums, do as you like -- no one to stop you here.”

21st century America has become far too reliant on government personnel for security, and far too afraid of non-government personnel with guns. Our history tells us that those are both moves in the wrong direction.

In the late 19th century, the per capita homicide rate in Dodge City, gunfight capital of the “wild west,” was lower than that of Boston, where early victim disarmament -- “gun control” -- laws were already in effect. What was true then remains true today. The homicide capitals of the nation are the cities with the strictest “gun control” schemes. Conversely, violent crime rates are lowest where the right to keep and bear arms is most respected as a matter of law.

According to the Indianapolis Star, Papa Roux is a popular eating spot with law enforcement personnel, whose presence might deter armed criminals. But police aren’t always there.  And when they don’t happen to be dropping by for lunch, as the old saying goes, “when seconds count, police are always minutes away.”

As my old friend and ideological mentor L. Neil Smith writes, “crime of any kind, whether it kills six people or six thousand, represents a diffuse threat, and can only be countered with a diffuse defense.” An armed populace makes violent behavior more risky and therefore less likely, While increasing our chances of effectively countering it when it does appear.

Crowdsourcing works for security as it does for everything else. And next time I’m in Indianapolis, I know where I’ll be dining out.

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