File under -- Inde Motorsports -- Ranch -- racetrack -- Willcox AZ -- Arizona -- chip seal -- Airport Road -- motorcycle -- Cochise County -- CJ Dorland.  This page last updated 9/14/11.

FINAL UPDATE

On September 13, 2011, the Cochise County Supervisors voted 2-1 (Call and Searle for, English against) to pave 8 miles of road to a private racetrack in northern Cochise County.  Before the meeting, this page discussed that issue at some length; for that part of the story, drop down the page to "THE STORY UP TO THE FINAL UPDATE."  This leading section discusses the events of September 13.  If you start with the end of the story, you'll be able to understand the beginning a lot better.

Here's the email that this writer sent around after the meeting:
.   The Cochise County Board Of Supervisors just voted 2-1 to have the County contribute toward the cost of re-paving the road to Inde racetrack, about 8 miles down Airport Road west of Willcox.
.   At the 10 a.m. meeting, Supervisor Richard Searle voted first.  He represents District 3, which includes Willcox.  As expected, he voted in favor of the deal.
.   Supervisor Ann English voted next.  She represents District 2, a mostly rural part of the county.  She voted against the deal.
.   The tiebreaker was Supervisor Pat Call, who represents District 1, centered on Sierra Vista.  He voted for the deal.
.   The vote set a new precedent for Cochise County:  now, when a person applies for a building or zoning permit, all the person has to do is get a permit -- but after that, the person can ignore the permit and do what he wants.  Inde got a permit by promising a small operation of a few friends, no racing, nothing like that; then Inde became a big business, advertising racing and many violations of its permit.  The Supervisors let Inde get by with it -- and if the law applies to the poor as well as the rich, anybody in Cochise County should now be able to ignore a permit, and County gummint won't be able to say a thing.  That's a fine precedent the Supervisors set today.
.   Inde racetrack will contribute only $250,000 toward re-paving the road.  That is a small victory, since that's $50,000 more than Inde offered for openers.  That leaves the County liable for almost $200,000, but the County's share is likely to increase.
.   The amount of the anticipated increase can be roughly calculated.  Supervisor English, after mentioning that she paid $100,000 to have a mile of road repaved near her house, asked why the projected amount for Inde was so much less per mile.  The anticipated $450,000 for 8 miles amounts to only $56,250 per mile.   The County answered that the existing paving on Inde Road had taken care of some preliminary work.  Supervisor English accepted that answer.  However, the existing paving cost only $140,000, or about $17,500 per mile.  In other words, the original cost for paving Airport Road, plus the present anticipated cost, add up to only $73,750 per mile.  That's $26,250 less than the $100,000 which Supervisor English paid for her mile.  We predict that paving Airport Road will prove no cheaper than paving English's road, and that the difference will amount to 8 miles x $26,250/mile, or a $210,000 increase.
.   English's No vote was consistent with her representing rural interests.  Searle's Yes vote was consistent with his representing Willcox business, at the expense of rural residents.  Call's Yes vote was consistent with his representing Sierra Vista, a relatively urban area -- although there was a chance that Call would vote against spending County money on developing business in an area outside his own constituency.
.   We wouldn't have dared predict any votes before they happened.  English's vote was not a surprise, but she could have voted differently, so we thank her for making the choice she did.  Call's vote was predictable, subject to the doubt about his boosting an area other than his own; in any case, Call is always conscientious about representing the interests of his district.  Searle's vote was probably absolutely predictable, but still, we hoped against hope that he would not favor big business, just this once.  Cockeyed optimists, that's us.
.   Searle's vote wasn't based on facts, but purely on ideology.  He was able to vote as he did only by ignoring massive amounts of fact.  Here are two pieces of correspondence between Searle and county residents; we ran these yesterday, but they still show what Searle had to ignore in order to favor Inde.  Searle ignored what he had to, in order to vote as he had made up his mind to.

GILBERT REEVES (FORMER COUNTY PLANNING & ZONING COMMISSIONER) wrote to Searle "Richard, I am against any and all aspects of the Inde fiasco, Inde is a (PRIVATE CLUB).  If the county furnishes equipment, labor etc will that entitle me as a county resident to enter or belong to the (PRIVATE CLUB) since the county tax payers will be paying for over half of the expenses to Chip&Seal the road?  This is outrageous!!!!  I vote and I'm Pissed!!!"
.   Searle's answer, with comments added:
.   SEARLE:  "Airport Road is not just a road to Inde Motor Sports.  It is the back road from Willcox to Cascabel and services numerous ranches and residents."
-- COMMENT, there is not a whole lot of traffic between Cascabel and Willcox.  Any "back road" from Cascabel to Willcox is already included in the traffic count of 148/day on the stretch of Airport Road nearest Willcox.  Richard was in the room when that number was stated; he should know just how small the "back road" traffic is.
.   SEARLE:  "Long before Inde purchased their property on Airport Road it had been identified as needing improvement.  Its been in the County maintenance system for years"
-- COMMENT:  Every dirt road in Cochise County could be "identified as needing improvement"?  Besides, Airport Road has already been worked on once at Inde's request.  What justifies Inde jumping to the front of the line now?
.   SEARLE:  "and we have been given a petition with over 80 signatures of residents of Airport Road that support the improvement."
-- COMMENT:  Wrong.  Inde has provided a petition with 82 names, but only 20 of those names are from people who live on near the relevant stretch of Airport Road.  The other signatures are from Airport Road east of the airport, and from addresses scattered all around Willcox east of the interstate, but it is absolutely untrue that Inde's petition has 80 names from Airport Road.  Is Richard even reading what Inde is pushing at him?
-- SPECIAL COMMENT:  At the hearing today, Searle mentioned support for Inde from 40 people on Airport Road.  Searle still got it wrong.  Half of the people on Airport Road are on the part inside the built-up area of Willcox -- nowhere near the 8 miles that Inde wants paved.  Searle just lumped them all together.  It is very difficult to get Searle to acknowledge a fact, when he wants to vote in a way that requires him to ignore the fact.
.   SEARLE:  "The City of Willcox is also a strong supporter of the project."
-- COMMENT:  Naturally.  People in Willcox have been told that Inde will make them more prosperous -- at no particular cost to Willcox or its residents.  But Searle has ignored the huge difference between what Inde said when it asked for a permit, and what Inde began doing as soon as it got a permit.  If Inde, in asking for a permit, had accurately described what it would do, would the permit have been given?
.   SEARLE:  "With the cuts in Highway funding that the County has taken from the State over the last several years, it is critical that we take every opportunity we can to partner with local property owners to improve our dirt roads.  There may be other dirt roads that need improving more than Airport Road, but we don't have anyone else volunteering to come up with $250,000 for chips and oil."
-- COMMENT:  Irrelevant.  What's important is what ordinary Cochise County citizens need, not what one private club wants, even if the club is so upscale that it has initiation fees of $20,000 and up.  Let's say that Richard is in the grocery store, and, for some reason, fancy cheese at $20 a pound isn't on his shopping list.  Somebody comes up to him and offers to pay half the cost if Richard buys cheese that he doesn't need.  If he accepts, he won't have money to buy milk, eggs, and butter.  Should he accept?
.   SEARLE:  "In this particular case, with Inde Motor Sports paying the cost of the material, the County costs are for equipment and labor.  We will have these same costs whether or not we improve Airport Road as these are County employees and County owned equipment.  If we chose not to accept Inde's offer, we are still going to have the same labor and equipment costs, they just won't be used on this particular project"
-- COMMENT:  So what?  Richard is saying that Inde's offer is a budget nullity -- that it will neither increase or decrease our expenses.  How is that an argument for accepting the offer, or for using resources here instead of where they are needed more?
.   SEARLE:  "and we will still have 8 miles of road that needs improving."
-- COMMENT:  The 8 miles of road may need improving, but the improvement need not be what Inde wants.  Everybody else on Airport Road was better served when the road was graded dirt, based on the graded dirt road that remains to the west of Inde.
.   SEARLE:  "Yes, Inde Motor Sports will benefit from this improvement, but so will all the other users of Airport Road,"
-- COMMENT:  How is that an argument for moving this small number of users to the head of line, when many more users live on roads that are in much worse shape?
.   SEARLE:  "and it will be 8 less miles that the County will have to find funding for in the future."
-- COMMENT:  Searle is forgetting that the County could pave a lot more than 8 miles of road, if the pavement isn't the deluxe double chip-seal that Inde wants.
.   Overall, Searle is acting as if he's infatuated with Inde -- as if he's hypnotized by something Inde offers that is invisible to the rest of us.  Searle doesn't have one single argument that stands up, and he obviously hasn't even read the basic material, yet he persists in supporting Inde.  If he votes to do Inde this favor tomorrow, he'll be spitting on rural residents throughout the county.
.   ROBERT G. S. PLANT WROTE TO SEARLE "I am a property owner in Cochise County --- I strongly object to the presentation by this organization, Indy.  Everything that has been read indicates these people are attempting to 'fly under the radar' of propriety and regulation.  The presentation by Indy, it seems, is very flexible.  It keeps changing.  Race track?  It was indicated to be so, now it is a 'touring track.'  There was some conversation regarding housing development.  Is that included in the permit?  The figures for 'double chip seal' for 'about' eight miles are considerably lower than experience would indicate.  (I have been an equipment operator, construction, for many years) I requested information from P and Z regarding improvement to the road my residence is on.  About a mile, prep and gravel.  $300,000.  That is the figure presented to me.  'And we cannot do it now, no funds available' (about two years ago).  This Indy presentation has an aroma of old fish!  It is surprising that the Board is even considering the application as submitted, and modified....  The petition is signed by how many County Employees?"
.   Searle's answer, with comments added:
.   SEARLE:  "The reason the cost for Airport Road is lower than the figure given to you for Clovis Road is that it is already a County maintained road and the base work needed is minor."
-- COMMENT:  Perhaps, but unlikely.  If Airport Road were as bad as Inde said, the base work needed would not be minor.
.   SEARLE:  "Although the County does have the employees and the equipment, it does not have the extra funds for the oil and chips to chip seal additional dirt roads in the County.  This is one of the main reasons that the the majority of all of the County roads improved from dirt to chipseal in the last 10 years has been due to public/private partnerships."
-- COMMENT:  Irrelevant.  The rural residents who've been neglected, as the County races to pave sweetheart projects that benefit a very few people, have a well-founded complaint.
.   SEARLE:  "Although there are other dirt roads that probably need improving more than Airport Rd, we don't have any other property owners volunteering $250,000 for oil and chips."
-- COMMENT:  So what?  The fact that Inde will kick in toward paving a road that will benefit mainly Inde, doesn't justify the County's not spending money where it will do the most good.
.   SEARLE:  "Airport Road is not just a road to Inde Motor Sports but has many other users and is the only road that goes from Willcox to the Cascabel area in Northwestern Cochise County."
-- COMMENT:  Many by what standard?  Remember the traffic count on this road:  148 vehicles/day, including all the traffic directly between Willcox and Cascabel.
.   SEARLE:  "It has numerous residents"
-- COMMENT:  Numerous by what standard?  The 8 mile stretch from the Willcox Airport to the Inde racetrack has about two dozen addresses on it -- 3 addresses a mile.
.   SEARLE:  "and was identified as needing improvement long before Inde Motor Sports bought their property there."
-- COMMENT:  Irrelevant.  Lots of roads have long been identified as needing improvement, and they're in a lot worse shape than Airport Road.
.   SEARLE:  "We have recently received a petition from the residents on Airport Road with more than 80 signatures in support of the improvement."
-- COMMENT:  Incorrect.  No more than half the signatures are from people on, or even near, Airport Road, and less than 20 are from people on the stretch of Airport Road in question.  Did Searle actually read the petition?
.   SEARLE:  "I'm sorry you think that my comments have been less than forthcoming, that was not my intent."
-- COMMENT:  When Searle consistently gets the facts wrong and dodges the issues, what's a person to think?  If Richard would base his statements on the facts, he would automatically be forthcoming.

Ironically, at the same meeting, the Supes voted unanimously NOT to pave a road needed for better border security.  The Sierra Vista Herald ran that story at
.   http://www.svherald.com/content/news/2011/09/14/223773
and here's the comment this writer made to that story:
.   The next time drug smugglers shoot a rancher, invade a home, or start a wildfire, just forget your troubles by playing at a private racetrack near Willcox.  How wise our County Supervisors not to waste money on roads to protect our lives and property!  How wise Searle and Call were to vote to spend our money on a road to a private club (cheapest membership fee $20,000).
.   Citizens can still fight back, even after yesterday's vote.  Just because 8 miles of Airport Road have been adopted by the highway, doesn't mean the County has to spend money on them right away; Supervisors can always prioritize County spending.  The money could still go for safety on the border, instead of fun at a private club.  If you are disgusted by yesterday's votes, why not tell the Supervisors right now?  You can email Pat Call at pcall , Ann English at aenglish , and Richard Searle at rsearle , all @cochise.az.gov , and all three are at 432 9200.

We'll just have to see if the Supervisors recover their sanity.  They're not even rearranging the deck chairs while the Titanic sinks, they're kicking more holes in the side of the ship.

And now, the story from the beginning:

THE STORY UP TO THE FINAL UPDATE

IS EASIER ACCESS TO INDE MOTORSPORTS THE BEST USE OF COUNTY ROAD-BUILDING FUNDS?

An outfit called Inde Motorsports has an automobile racetrack about 8 miles down Airport Road west of Willcox AZ.  Inde chose the location for its remoteness; in late 2008, at the hearing on its permit, Inde "We wanted to be in the middle of nowhere."  That starts 8:45 into the audio recording of Inde's statement; listen to
.   http://littlebigdog.net/IndeEllisPNZmeeting.mp3

And Inde emphasizes its privacy:  the sign at Inde's locked front gate says "PRIVATE PROPERTY / MEMBERS AND INVITED GUESTS ONLY / NO TRESPASSING" -- here's a picture of it:
.   http://littlebigdog.net/IndePrivateNoPublicSign.jpg
As Julia Robinson recently wrote to Supervisor Searle:  "I'd like to join the opposition to this road project at County (i.e. taxpayer) expense.  Yes, I know, not _all_ at taxpayer expense, but _none_ of it should be at taxpayer expense.  This is virtually a private road for an 'exclusive' membership, and whatever rules allow the distressed taxpayers of Cochise County to pay any part of this paving project should be set aside in this instance.  As you know, many people strenuously object to this travesty, and it is hoped that you will explore the possibility of something being done so that those who are excluded from membership [in Inde] do not have to contribute to this folly.  This is in essence a gated community, so let them pay for their own access road!"

Despite emphasizing its privacy when it wants to, as soon as Inde got its permit, it began asking the County to pave the road to its remote spot (at a cost of $100,000 from Inde, $40,000 from the County).  Now the "Executive Summary" of Item 17 for tomorrow's County Supervisors meeting says "Inde Motorsports desires to ... contribute $250,000 [originally said $200,000] and the County would perform minor re-shaping and re-compaction and applying a double chip seal to ... provide a better public road for Cochise County residents utilizing Airport Road."

We oppose the item.  Whatever problems exist with the road, the pavement that Inde wants isn't the best solution; nor does Inde deserve to jump to the head of the line, ahead of rural residents who use much worse roads and have been asking for improvements for years.

Instead of rolling over for Inde, the County could, for instance:
-- restrict Inde's operation to what it said in order to get the permit
-- pull Inde's permit because of the variance between what Inde said and what Inde does
-- pave the road as Inde wants, but on condition that City of Willcox, not the County, pay the County, in advance, the costs which the County would otherwise assume
-- tell Inde that the County will pave the road if Inde provides all of the money
-- let the road revert to a Primitive Road, as it was when Inde got here

A discussion is below.


I.  The Road

A.  The Route

The map posted at
.   http://agenda.cochise.az.gov/docs/2011/BOS/20110913_19/401_ExecutiveSummaryMapForAirportRoadDeclaration.pdf
marks in red the 8 miles of road that Inde wants paved.  They run through pretty empty country.  CJ Dorland, of Inde Motorsports, says there are "25+ residents living on Airport Rd," which is consistent with the 23 mailboxes or roads that we counted along these 8 miles.

The County says that at the east end of this stretch, nearest Willcox, 148 vehicles/day use the road.  That should put Inde low on the priority list.  The county has a lot of roads which are in much worse shape and serve a lot more people.  One citizen wrote, "the road with the highest traffic count in need of paving gets done first" -- which is a sensible rule, but isn't being followed here.

This part of Airport Road is a "Primitive Road," meaning that it was not built to County standards, and either was opened before 6/13/75, or within 10 years after that was opened, "accepted for maintenance," and designated as a Primitive Road by the Supervisors.  See
.   http://www.azleg.gov/FormatDocument.asp?inDoc=/ars/28/06706.htm&Title=28&DocType=ARS

After Inde's first request got the 8 miles paved, Inde appeared to be overjoyed:  the County "did a great job and it is certainly 10,000 percent better than its previous condition.  In fact, we had Todd Zuccone of Evolution MS drive his $180,000 2010 Porsche Turbo down the road without any problems or complaints.  Thank you to Cochise County!"  That email is down the page at
.   http://www.crucesstreets.com/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=8415
(Incidentally, alf the households of Cochise County make less than $45,000 per year, so $180,000 is what a typical Cochise County household makes in 4 years.)

Now Inde wants the road surfaced -- again -- this time with a double chip seal.  We don't think the road needs it -- a conclusion which surprises even us.  We originally took Inde's statements about the need for a road at face value, so we expected to find that Airport Road was like Gleeson, or High Lonesome between 80 and Davis, or the Dirksen-Sundance-High Knoll shortcut from Tombstone to Sierra Vista.  But we found nothing so bad.  We drove Airport Road yesterday.  East of Inde, the road was washboardy, but the ripples were not deep; a car wouldn't bottom out, and a full-size pickup with full-size tires could travel at normal speed without any control problems.  About a half mile east of Inde there was a notably rough patch; the mile and a half nearest Willcox was the worst; and the road was never a joyride, but it did have some smooth stretches too.  Overall, these 8 miles of Airport Road are worse, but not much worse, than Davis Road between US 191 and Central Avenue -- a road which we drive a lot, and which, at a rough guess, carries about 200 times as much traffic as the 8 miles that Inde wants repaved.  And there are a lot more "needy" stretches of road in rural Cochise County.

Our biggest surprise was that the 3 miles of dirt road west of Inde was a lot better than the paved 8 miles east of Inde!  The only problem that would exist on the 3 miles, but not on the 8 miles, would be dust.  These 3 miles are what the 8 miles looked like before they were paved.  If a smooth ride is the goal, then the road would be better off unpaved.  And we don't want to hear that this is because there had recently been rain:  the dirt road was a lot better than the paved road, which needed culverts to fix some obvious problems.  The point is, that Inde would be better off if it had let well enough alone; Inde brought its problems on itself, and it's not the County's job to save Inde from its own mistakes.

Here's how we see things:  Inde came to a dirt road, and said it liked being in the middle of nowhere.  Then Inde tried to pave on the cheap.  The pavement was wonderful at first, but deteriorated fast.  Part of the reason for deterioration must be that Inde generated a lot more traffic than it said it would; Inde's contribution to the problem is discussed in Section III below.  Now Inde wants the County to double chip-seal.  But that would destroy the isolation, and being "in the middle of nowhere," that Inde said it liked.  Before moving in, Inde said it liked the dirt road; let's scrape off the crummy pavement that Inde demanded after moving in, and restore what Inde originally liked.  Inde can't complain about that, not with a straight face.


B.  The Money

The County spent $40,000 on the paving that Inde demanded after moving in, but that's no reason for the County to spend more.

How much more money, is still a puzzle.  Inde originally said it could contribute $200,000, but no more.  Inde's CJ Dorland stated "We're contributing the maximum amount that we are allowed to provide, which is the vast majority of the total cost."  However, other businesses in the County have been charged without such a limit.  Joanne Daley notes that "When the San Pedro Inn was built down by the river as a B&B for birders, weddings, etc, etc. they were required to pay for the road from Palominas road 1/4 + miles to their entry.  They didn't get to pay half, or a quarter they paid for the whole thin ....  the precedent was set."  An astronomy club had to pay everything.  A copper mine had to pay everything.  And Inde now offers $50,000 more -- $250,000.  Hooray for public pressure, and keep it up, we say!

As to the actual total cost, the figure keeps changing, but right now the County estimates it as just under $450,000, leaving about $200,000 for the County, i.e. the taxpayers, to pay.  Apparently the figure is changing too fast for the Supervisors to keep up; an email from Supervisor Searle today, Monday, says "I'm not sure why the agenda says $325,000 in material costs, that wasn't the number that was given to me on Friday."

Inde's Dorland has also stated that the work would be "at no cost to" the people who live on Airport Road.  However, no one in the county, including the property owners along Airport Road, is exempt from the costs of County government, including building and maintaining roads.  What Inde says would happen, can't happen.


II.  Taking the matter to the County

A.  Getting the Supervisors to put this item on their agenda

Inde got the Supervisors to put the item on the agenda by submitting a petition that gives the appearance of neighborhood support for Inde's request -- but that appearance is misleading.  The petition is online at
.   http://agenda.cochise.az.gov/docs/2011/BOS/20110913_19/401_RoadPetitionForAirportRoadDeclaration.pdf
and has 12 signers (only 10 are required):  Frances Marinez, Jennifer Salcido, Janet Smith, Aurora Perez, Jack Petty, Lynn Garcia, Richard Dohe, Teresa Vasquez, Lola Pregler, Pat Hoefel, Chris Saylor, and Irene Garnica.  At least 8 of them work for the County:  3 for the Planning Department, 1 for Community Development, 3 for Highway & Floodplain, and 1 for the Library.  The other 4, I couldn't say.  As to their residences, the County's "verification" at
.   http://agenda.cochise.az.gov/docs/2011/BOS/20110913_19/401_VerificationOfSignaturesForAirportRoadDeclaration.pdf
gives the parcel numbers of all 12 of their residences -- all of them in a strip of districts that begin west of Douglas, run west along the border to the county line, and hook north to include Sierra Vista.  The only way the signers could live further from Willcox, without being outside the county entirely, would be if they lived east of Douglas.

To all appearances, somebody employed by the County, after hearing what Inde wanted, wandered the halls to do Inde a favor, and solicited County employees to sign.  Our friend Diana Barton asked Supervisor Searle about this, and reports his answer:  "This petition is an internal petition, that is why there are so many county employees signed on this petition....  The petition process for submitting this type of project has been on going for many years, where the county initiates the petition internally to get it before the BOS, thus the petition with county employees names....  [T]he final check point to make sure there is not a scratching of one back to the other is the hearing before the BOS."

In this writer's opinion, County employees shouldn't sign a petition for a County project without revealing that they work for the County -- and work not just for the County, but actually work for a Department that will be involved if the petition is approved.  When a petition comes to the County Supervisors or the Planning & Zoning Commissioners, a Planning Department employee is supposed to give an impartial recommendation -- but how can the Supes or Commissioners trust the employee to be impartial if the employee's own co-workers signed the petition to get it started?  "Internal petitions" may have been tolerated in Cochise County for a long time, but I've never, at a lot of County government meetings, heard any disclosure of this practice.  We hope Searle will work for open government, instead of offering excuses for the same old, lame old backroom "bidness as usual."


B.  Discussing the item at the September 13 Board Of Supervisors meeting

This is agenda Item 17, posted at:
.   http://agenda.cochise.az.gov/agenda_publish.cfm?mt=ALL&get_month=9&get_year=2011&dsp=agm&seq=422&rev=0&ag=19&ln=12532&nseq=&nrev=&pseq=419&prev=0#ReturnTo12532

The presentation will include a slide show at
.   http://agenda.cochise.az.gov/docs/2011/BOS/20110913_19/422_AirportRoad_EstablishAsCountyHighway.pdf
which shows Airport Road in incredibly better shape than many of the rural roads which county residents must use.  Besides, the issue isn't whether the road is bad, the issue is whether the road is worse than when Inde moved in -- because when Inde moved in, it said it came to Cochise County to find a secluded spot in the middle of nowhere.  That's what Inde got.  Inde knew what Airport Road was like when Inde got here.  But Inde at once wanted the road fixed up.  Now Inde wants the road fixed up even better.  As long as the road is at least as it was when Inde moved in, Inde has no legitimate beef.

A major feature of the County's posting is ostensible support from the public, as provided by Inde (the County has not posted any links to statements in opposition, nor has Inde provided information on how many people it approached who did not favor the project).

Letters from individuals make up much of the last two links.  Three of the letters share an interesting feature which casts doubt on their legitimacy:  they mention dust coming from the road.  A gentlemen who lives in Oregon but winters in Pima County refers to "the clouds of dust generated by the passing cars," a couple in Scottsdale complain about "leaving home with a couple of spotless race cars in our enclosed trailer, only to arrive with them completely covered in and out with dust,"  and a gentlemen from Tucson writes "The dirt road has certainly been a hindrance to many [who would not] even consider membership as they do not want to drive their nice cars on that road."   Problem is, no part of the 8 miles from the Willcox airport to Inde racetrack is a dirt road, not after Inde got the first paving that it asked for -- no part of those 8 miles throws dust.  This strongly suggests that three of the letters are based on outdated information, with no actual present knowledge  Two of the letters are undated.  This invites the question, Are Inde's current filings are any more reliable than what it filed to get a permit in 2008?  Certainly, without inquiry, no Supervisor should accept the outdated letters at face value.

The last link, "Letters Of Support Petitions," goes to
.   http://agenda.cochise.az.gov/agenda_publish.cfm?mt=ALL&get_month=9&get_year=2011&dsp=agm&seq=422&rev=0&ag=19&ln=12532&nseq=&nrev=&pseq=419&prev=0#
The first nine pages have one letter each (two of which are discussed in the preceding paragraph).  Five letters are from people who live in Scottsdale, Tucson, Mesa, Show Low, and Colorado (though two of them say they plan to move here, or near here.)  All five say that Inde will be good for Willcox's economy -- but none deals with why Inde, when it asked for a permit, just talked in terms of a few buddies hanging out.

The other four letters are from people who have, or are connected to, businesses in Cochise County.  They all -- Greg Smith of Dunlap Oil, Kevin Stamback of Stamback Septic, Kelly Owen of Willcox Rock & Sand, and Kathy Smith of the Willcox Chamber Of Commerce -- have a stake in Willcox's economy, and they hope Inde will make Willcox richer.  There's absolutely nothing wrong with their looking out for Willcox.  But none of them suggests that Willcox, or any Willcox businesses, should pay for paving the road to Inde.  They want to profit from the road's being paved, and have other people pay for the paving -- and if the search for present profit means forgetting what Inde said in order to get a permit, why, let present profit prevail!  Overlooking principle in pursuit of profit is natural in business, but it's also natural for rural people across the county to resist being treated like milch cows for the sole benefit of Willcox.

One letter, from Kelly Owen of Willcox Rock & Sand, mentions a point which doesn't get much press:  Inde's "intent of adding an upscale residential neighborhood".  That wasn't part of what Inde asked for.  No matter what the County gives Inde, Inde seems to ask for more.  This may not be the best relationship ever.

No letter addresses Inde's intent to provide lodging inside its own grounds -- in other words, to keep trade to itself, instead of sending trade to Willcox.  A booster of Willcox who took the long view might say that Willcox is as much a rival as a help.  Searle will not necessarily help Willcox by taking the short view.

The last six pages at this webpage are a written petition, and signatures in support.  Interestingly, the petition at this webpage doesn't mention Inde, or any of the controversy about what's going on, nor even mention paving the road.  Here's its entire text:
.   ROAD PETITION
.   TO THE HONORABLE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS, COCHISE COUNTY, ARIZONA:
.   The petition of the undersigned petitioners of Cochise County, in the State of Arizona, respectfully show:
.   l.  That the undersigned are bona fide residents of Cochise County, in the State of Arizona.
.   2.  That each of the undersigned petitioners is a taxpayer in said County of said State.
.   3.  That the laying out of the roads, the proposed routes of which are hereinafter described, would be for the convenience and accommodation of the general public of Cochise County, Arizona.
.   THEREFORE:  Your petitioners pray that the following roads may be established as Declared County Highways pursuant to A.R.S. 28-6701, and the route:  Beginning, Terminus, general course and direction, are as follows:
.   That portion of Airport Road located within Sections 1, 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, and 12, Township 14 South, Range 23 East, and Sections 31, 32, and 33, Township 13 South, Range 24 East, and Sections 4, 5, and 6, Township 14 South, Range 24 East of the Gila and Salt River Meridian, Cochise County, Arizona, and more particularly described as follows:
.   Said Airport Road, being 80 feet in width, beginning at milepost 4.08. and running Northeasterly, Easterly, Northerly, and Easterly, a distance of approximately 8 miles to the intersection of Hamilton Road.
.   And your petitioners pray that a day be set by your Honorable body to consider whether said roads are necessary and to hear objections thereto, if any.

A person reading the petition wouldn't have a clue about the real issue, re-paving a recently paved road.  If all the signatures are taken at face value, they still don't imply any support for paving the road.

The number of signatures is 82 (it was 83, but one appears to have been lined out).  Supervisor Searle has repeatedly said that all 80+ signatures are from residents of Airport Road, but actually, only 20 addresses are on, or even near, the 8-mile stretch in question.  Of those 20, two are at Inde itself, and a letter in support of its own writer shouldn't count; and four signers live far west on East Three Links Road -- so far out that their natural connection is to Benson, not Willcox.  Only 14 signers must use the relevant stretch of Airport Road.  The smallness of that number doesn't diminish those few people, but it does mean that there is no overwhelming demand by people on the road.  And roughly half the residents on the relevant stretch of road didn't sign, although Inde presumably asked them to.


III.  Inde Motorsports

What is Inde Motorsports?  Its main website is at
.   http://www.indemotorsports.com/site/index.php
and describes Inde as "a private motorsports club located just an hour east of Tucson in Willcox, AZ on over 1,700 sprawling acres surrounded by gorgeous mountain views.  We offer our members unlimited, guaranteed access to our highly technical 2.75 mile road course and first class facilities in a safe and comfortable atmosphere ... year round track time, fly-in and race capabilities, vehicle concierge services, private garages, and residential lots for sale."  Their own advertisement video is at
.   http://www.indemotorsports.com/site/index.php?/site/index_video
That video and the many other action-packed videos on Inde's site show an operation very different from what Inde said when it asked for a permit.


III.A.  How Inde got its permit

Inde submitted its original application on October 5, 2008.  It's a big file; the County can provide all of it, but I've posted images of some parts.  The application says the proposed use is "a touring road approximately 2.5 miles long," and "[t]he neighbors are far enough away the impact will be minimal."  See
.   http://littlebigdog.net/IndeMotorsportsApp1.jpg
As to buildings, the application says "2 block houses with wood, 2 steel barns, 2 manufactured homes all existing."  See
.   http://littlebigdog.net/IndeMotorsportsApp2.jpg
For hours of operation, the answer was "N/A."  For number of employees, the answer was 0, at the start and in the future.  As to traffic, when asked "How many vehicles will be entering and leaving the site," the application said "2 cars a couple times a week plus a few trucks a week."  When asked when traffic would be heaviest, the application answered "N/A."  See
.   http://littlebigdog.net/IndeMotorsportsApp3.jpg
As to property uses, the application said "Driving cars on touring rd., playing horseshoes and riding horses."  See
.   http://littlebigdog.net/IndeMotorsportsApp4.jpg
As to noise and annoying the neighbors, the application answered "Cars running 30 to 40 minutes.  1 or 2 times a day.  3 or 4 times a week.  Estimate on high side.  All cars will have mufflers."  See
.   http://littlebigdog.net/IndeMotorsportsApp5.jpg

The Planning Department writeup for the 2008 hearing, based on the material that Inde provided, is another very big file that's available from the County.  I've put the text parts only online at
.   http://littlebigdog.net/Inde2008PNZMemo.txt
The text has some very interesting passages:  it
-- notes that Inde "selected the site due to its remote location."
-- says that Inde's touring road "is not to be used by more than one car at a time, and is not to be used for competitive racing."
-- skims over noise problems, by stating
"In a rural area where background (ambient) noise are, typically, 40Db during daytime hours, an increase of 25 Dba over the ambient level for an extended time period could be perceived as disturbing neighbors' peace and quiet."  With all due respect, if something is PERCEIVED as violating the neighbors' peace and quiet, it IS violating their peace and quiet.

What Inde wrote to the neighbors before the 2008 hearing is posted at
.   http://littlebigdog.net/Inde2008CitizenReviewLtr.pdf
The letter says that if the permit were granted "we would be paving some of the existing roads and adding a touring road that the owners could drive their classic and modern cars on.  What we are looking for is a private facility which would allow us older car collectors to drive our cars on the touring road and enjoy the secluded ranch experience."

That folksy theme of a small band of old chums continued at the hearing.  The m
inutes include
.   ... The request is for a 2.5-mile long "touring track," ... to be used only by members of a private automobile club and will not be open to the public....
.   Chair Corey asked what speeds the cars would be running....  Mr. Ellis stated if would depend on the car but they were estimating 100 mph.
.   Chair Corey asked how many cars would be stored on site....  Mr. Ellis stated approximately 30 cars would be stored with about 50 to 100 members....
.   Glen Johnson asked if the cars would all be street legal....  Mr. Ellis stated they would ....
See the minutes at
.   http://www.co.cochise.az.us/P&Z/PNZMinutes/2008-11%20PZ.htm

The audio recording of the hearing includes Inde's saying "we don't really want it to be a racetrack.  So the definition between the two is that if you're racing cars, you're having a competition.  We don't have a competition, we got a bunch of cars that we want to go racing with, but we don't want to actually race other people.  You know, you're going around the track and you're having a lot of fun.  That's kind of the difference between a race track and a touring track.  So we're not putting on racing events.  There's not going to be 30 cars out there running around this track at any given time.  There'll be one or two members at a time out there, hanging out and having a good time on the track."  Listen to the start of
.   http://littlebigdog.net/IndeEllisPNZmeeting.mp3

About 1:44 into that recording, Inde added "we wanted the whole ranch experience, with the car thing.  We're car enthusiasts, we want a place to build a hangout, have a good time, barbecue, but we wanted to be in the ranch location so we can do everything else with it.  Horseback riding, so we'll have a few horses, we'll have a few cows, so we can still have just a great time, that was really what it was all about.  It wasn't about putting some big deal together and having big races, nothing like that."

Based on Inde's gentle word picture of a few aging friends cruising around a touring road, one at a time, it's hard to imagine why any road improvements to Inde should ever be necessary.


III.B.  What Inde has done since getting its permit

But after Inde's gentle word picture, it's a shock to look at Inde's own promo videos, which are reminiscent of ads for professional wrestling.  See
.   http://www.indemotorsports.com/site/index.php?/site/index_video
Listen in vain for the word "touring," but hear the word "racing" a lot.  At 3:16, "Our world class track and facilities, along with the beautiful scenery, make Inde an ideal setting, for not only our members, but also for club races and competition."  At 3:43, "if you're passionate about the driving experience, and appreciate the camaraderie of being part of a tight-knit community of racers ...."  Follow the link on the video promo page to "2011 Inde Summer Vintage Series" to see "Our High Desert Climate is Ideal for Summer Racing."  Click on "Private Instruction" to see "Raptor Motorsports Competition Driving School ... provides competition license training & certification for all vintage racing sanctioning bodies, SCCA, and NASA."  Go to
.   http://www.nasaaz.com/uncategorized/may-7-8-wraps-up/
and scroll down to "Race Group" for a report about races at Inde.  Forget what Inde said in order to get a permit.  Now that Inde has a permit, Inde tells the world the permit is for racing.

And racing means speed -- a lot more than Inde said in order to get its permit.  At about 5:05 into the audio recording of the 2008 meeting, Inde says "a real quick guess on the track that we kind of have simulated to drive out there, the track speed would be about a hundred mile an hour, that would be the fastest.  And I know that sounds fast, but that's on the longest straightaway.  Most of the corners will be 35 to 45 miles an hour."  At about 6:46 in, a Commissioner said "the Sierra Sports Car Club, and other sports car clubs, work at trying to keep the speeds down," and Inde said "That's the whole idea....  If you give them a course, though, that has really tight technical corners, it's a lot more fun and your speeds stay lower, and that's kind of what we're shooting for, but again, I mean, you get a pro driver out there in a really nice build ZO6, he's gonna be fast."  At least 177.9 mph, according to this screen shot from Inde, at
.   http://littlebigdog.net/Inde177mph.jpg
Inde did say that sometimes cars might go faster than 100 -- but Inde didn't say how much more; Inde didn't say anything that resembles the videos on Inde's own YouTube channel at
.   http://www.youtube.com/IndeMotorSportsRanch
The 177.9 mph speed is from the video of a flying mile, at
.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cg_PNswizr8&feature=related
That is probably not the only time that drivers have significantly exceeded 100 mph, after accepting Inde's invitation, at
.   http://www.indemotorsports.com/site/index.php?/site/section_thetrack
to "seriously put the pedal to the metal to achieve their car or motorcycle's top speed."

Inde's statements about "street legal" are belied by videos like
.   http://www.youtube.com/IndeMotorSportsRanch#p/f/5/5PvCOoEa6Uw
with a "Diasio D962."  A discussion of that car, at
.   http://forums.club4ag.com/zerothread?id=28376
says "dude that thing looks insane! is it even street legal?" -- answered by "Sorry should mention this is a a pure race car / Not a street legal car."

Despite what Inde said in order to get a permit ("There'll be one or two members at a time out there") and what the Planning Department said at the hearing on Inde's application (Inde's touring road "is not to be used by more than one car at a time"), Inde's promo videos show quite a lot of cars on the track at one time.  Inde's page at
.   http://www.indemotorsports.com/site/index.php?/site/section_featuredevents
even brags
"We're finally on Google Maps and Google Earth! The satellite even caught 5 cars on track! Check it out: Google Maps http://t.co/KkrY2di "

Motorcycles use Inde too.  Here
.   http://www.tucsonsportriders.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=2692
is a blog which mentions Inde's "1/2 mile long 165 mph straight".  Motorcycles doing 165 mph, on a track where Inde said touring cars would do 100 mph.  And an organization based in Scottsdale promotes motorcycle days at Inde; see
.   http://www.xceltrackdays.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=49&Itemid=64

Inde also uses the racetrack for airplanes.  In 2009, Inde went back to the County and got a Special Use Permit "in order to legitimize an existing private airstrip ....  The airstrip is to be for private use only, and is intended to serve owners of the Inde Motorsports Ranch."  See the minutes at
.   http://cochise.az.gov/uploadedFiles/Planning_and_Zoning/Agendas_and_Meeting_Minutes/2009-02%20PZ%281%29.pdf
However, Inde's website, at
.   http://www.indemotorsports.com/site/index.php?/site/section_programs
mentions "Private Air Charter to Inde -- Inde Motorsports Ranch (IMR) and Executive Aircraft Charter (EAC) have teamed up to provide convenient and safe air transportation to members and guests of Inde Motorsports Ranch."  That doesn't sound like what the County approved in February 2009.

We don't recall Indy saying anything, when it asked for a permit, about starting up a campground, but the motorcycle page at
.   http://www.xceltrackdays.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=49&Itemid=64
states "$20 per vehicle/campsite for overnight camping".

Nor do we recall Inde, when it asked for a permit, mentioning a housing tract on the property, but now Inde's page at
.   http://www.indemotorsports.com/site/index.php?/site/section_garagesandland/
says "Build your own House or Garage with Private, Gated Entry to the IMR Facilities ... Inde Motorsports is offering Founding and Executive Members the opportunity to purchase fee simple land parcels ranging in size from 8 acres to 40 acres.  Lots will be very limited with only a total of 30 parcels offered for sale.  IMR is one of the few private motorsport clubs in America that provides its members with this type of investment opportunity. Contact CJ Dorland for sales price and availability."

And Inde has already added some buildings.  Compare Inde's application, which said "2 block houses with wood, 2 steel barns, 2 manufactured homes all existing," with the facilities described at
.   http://www.indemotorsports.com/site/index.php?/site/section_garagesandland/
where Inde says "Each garage building is 3,000 square feet with 5 individual bays of 600 square feet. Units can be combined and customized as you see fit.  There are currently 3 buildings completed and we plan on constructing 5 more in the near future. All leases include utilities, common area maintenance, and taxes."


III.C.  Can there be reconciliation between what Inde said and what Inde does?

Inde's CJ Dorland has said "We are in full compliance with our Conditions of Approval, Special Use Permit, Site Development Standards, and everything else required by the County."  In the past the County has said the same -- but the problem is that the standards are loose because in 2008 the County took Inde's words at face value.  The County didn't try to forestall every possible way that Inde might "stretch" its permit; otherwise, the permit might have contained more details and restrictions.  Of course, an applicant who gets a permit, then proceeds to do a lot of "stretches" that it gave the County no reason to anticipate, doesn't have much of a claim for good will from its neighbors, or county taxpayers, or the County.  After over two years of experience with Inde, the County might want to have a meeting about adding specific prohibitions -- and seeking compensation for Inde's "stretches."  It would be good to see the County stand up for its own people for once.

Not many local people can become members at Inde.  Inde's "membership" page says "we've been extremely fortunate to welcome numerous members from all over the country that understand the amazing value of calling Inde their home track....  Membership levels will be very limited so this is your chance to join early and take advantage of this extraordinary opportunity."  Not many residents of Cochise County will ever become members.  From Inde's "membership" page:
"Executive Membership:"
.   One-Time Initiation Fee: $20,000
.   Annual Dues: $3,000
.   Allowed 5 guests (2 driving guests) per month
A Founding Membership offers even more:
.   One-Time Initiation Fee: $50,000
.   Annual Dues: $3,000 / None the First Year
.   Allowed 18 guests (5 driving guests) per month
A Corporate Membership is the top of the line:
.   Initiation Fee:  $120,000 Minimum
.   Membership Dues:  $1,000 per month ... 6 months free
.   Allowed 50 guests ... per month, up to 3 visits/guest/year

Those fees might be cheap wherever it is that Inde's members fly in from, but in Cochise County, half of all households make under $45,000 per year.  Yet Inde wants those households to help fund this road to a private playground, then maintain the road, forever.  There are a lot more roads around the County, used by many longsuffering residents of the County not for play but to get back and forth to work and home, that could use a lot more help; Gleeson Road, for instance.  What do local people have to do to get desperately needed roadwork -- start a racetrack of their own?

However, despite Inde's original claims of "members only," Inde may be letting in lots of people who aren't members in the ordinary sense.  In 2010, CJ Dorland emailed to "El Mamito USMC" -- scroll down at
.   http://www.crucesstreets.com/phpbb3/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=7236&start=25
-- that "We will be introducing the first of our 'Inde Experience' events in the coming weeks.  This will be your chance to be a member for a day and drive the track with a limited number of participants in order to ensure ample track time. The tentative date for the first Inde Experience is April 17, 2010. The cost per driver is $175 and is available for the first 30 participants that RSVP. We will also be serving lunch. Please email me should you wish to RSVP or if you have any questions."  And there are even cheaper prices now for outright non-members.  The motorcyclist website at
.   http://www.xceltrackdays.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=49&Itemid=64
advertises "gate fees" at Inde from $0 to $10 for spectators, with the gates opening at 6 a.m. and closing at 6 p.m.  Of course, the more people that Inde attracts for mass events, the less Inde resembles the private club for a few pals that Inde talked about in order to get its permit.  In fact, starting at 4:21 on the audio recording of Inde's presentation at the hearing, Inde says "This is a private venture, period, so you'll have to be a member to be able to bring your cars out and have a good time," and as to racing clubs, "Only if they end up buying in and being an actual member, so you literally would have to be a member, but yes, if they become a member then it would be accessible to them, but we can only allow so many people a day to be there, so it would be very limited for clubs to come, but not saying we're not going to."  "Gate fees" for spectators don't appear to match what Inde said about requiring people to be members; perhaps Inde can explain.

Considering the entire record, it's hard to imagine how to reconcile Inde's own publicity with what Inde said in order to get a permit, things like saying Inde would be "a private facility which would allow us older car collectors to drive our cars on the touring road and enjoy the secluded ranch experience," "There'll be one or two members at a time out there, hanging out and having a good time on the track," "It wasn't about putting some big deal together and having big races, nothing like that," "you'll have to be a member to be able to bring your cars out," "about a hundred mile an hour, that would be the fastest," "We wanted to be in the middle of nowhere."  Inde has tried to explain things away, though.

A December 2009 newspaper article at
.   http://www.bensonnews-sun.com/articles/2009/12/30/news/news06.txt
quoted Inde's Dorland as saying "We figure we'll add a million and a half to the Willcox economy annually in hotels, retail, and tourism," and Dorland recently stated "We're saving the taxpayers money by increased sales tax revenue we generate, increased property values, and by reducing the County's long-term maintenance cost for this road."  However, Dorland's "million and a half" figure is only a claim so far, and Inde's website isn't overflowing with community outreach.  We read every page on the site, and the only reference to local business we saw was to Willcox's Holiday Inn Express motel -- a fine motel, but if Inde wants to boost local business, it could do a lot more boosting online.

Dorland once told this writer "We have hundreds of local supporters for every NIMBY like yourself; they understand the beneficial impact we provide."  Dorland's NIMBY -- Not In My Back Yard -- comment assumes that this writer liked what Inde did, but just didn't want Inde to do it in the street and scare the horses.  Actually, this writer doesn't especially like what Inde does; in the year 2011, there must be better ways for people to play than by frivoling away a resource which is so scarce it's causing wars around the world.  And speaking of Dorland's term NIMBY:  don't the majority owners of Inde still live in Tucson?  And the drivers who come down from Tucson, Phoenix, and further away -- would they want the track in their back yard, or are they NIMBYs as far as Cochise County is concerned?

Inde did have local supporter who came out early:  state representative Peggy Judd, who writes "I live in Willcox and Inde Motorsports is a good thing for Willcox.  There are not that many good things going on, in Willcox, in the way of revenue and tax generating businesses, especcially of the size and scope of Inde Motorsports.  It gives people (who by the way have a lot of money to spend and are building a relationship with Willcox businesses) a reason to come to Willcox and it also donates a goodly amount to area non-profits and events.  We are happy to have them here and the 50 to 100 or so local people who travel on Airport Road each day, including school busses are very happy to have the road completed.  The money and efforts put into the original chip seal will be lost soon, if further improvements are not made.  This is a very important road in our community and we are happy that the Inde Motorsports people are willing to help improve this road."


IV.  Conclusion

To this writer, Inde seems to want socialism for the rich.  Our tax dollars would be better spent on making everyday life easier for full-time County residents who've needed better roads for decades, than on giving a deluxe pavement to the road to Inde Motorsports.  If Inde were the operation it said it would be, no improvement would be needed; and if Inde is a grandiose operation that contradicts the promises it made, then Inde doesn't deserve to have Cochise County taxpayers pay anything to improve the road to it.

Inde's CJ Dorland sees things differently.  He has written "It is clear to me that you have an agenda that is anti-business, anti-growth, and even anti-government.  I have no idea why you chose to slander our business with your emails that contain inaccurate and misleading information....  I do not appreciate emails that slander and demean my business so you are the reason we got off on the wrong foot."  Dorland should try addressing the facts; and our agenda is to fight against interference with peaceful rural life; fight for the welfare of rural Cochise County, not of Sierra Vista, Tucson, Phoenix -- or Inde Motorsports; and both to criticize government when it's bad and compliment it when it's good.

Dorland's email closes "If you would like to 'get back on the right foot' then perhaps you should visit our facility and meet with me face to face so you can better understand our operation.  Just let me know and I'll be more than happy to meet with you to give you a tour."  We'll consider taking that tour, if Inde ever addresses the facts set out in this writeup, instead of trying to bull its way into the County treasury.