BY DON SORCHYCH | JULY 24, 2013
The slate, who voted their boss Adam Trenk to the position of vice mayor, have promised “transparency” as one of the planks of their platform. We found this article the day after the council voted against APS:
Cave Creek Vice Mayor Adam Trenk’s Solar Conflict of Interest?
Last night, the Cave Creek Town Council reportedly passed a unanimous resolution asking the Arizona Corporation Commission not to change net-metering rules. Net metering is a concept that involves the amount of incentives rooftop solar customers receive from utility companies like APS and SRP. The Arizona Corporation Commission is currently considering reforming the amount of subsidies rooftop solar customers are paid.
Passing resolutions is completely within the jurisdiction of town and city councils. The problem is that the resolution was proposed by Vice Mayor Adam Trenk who just so happens to work for Rose Law Group. For those who don’t know, Rose Law Group is one of the main driving forces behind the efforts currently underway in Arizona to fight against rooftop solar reform proposals.
The Rose Law Group counts solar-power installers among their many clients. One of the lawyers in the firm who works with these clients is Mr. Trenk who was recently selected as Vice Mayor by his colleagues on the Town Council. Trenk was first elected to the town council back in 2009. Ironically, Trenk tied his opponent and the race was decided by an historic card draw.
Rose Law Group is headed by Jordan Rose, wife of local PR man Jason Rose. The Roses appear to be the primary consultants for TUSK (Tell Utilities Solar won’t be Killed). TUSK is a front group for California solar companies such as SolarCity and SunRun. Both companies received millions of dollars in stimulus money (a.k.a. taxpayer money, or money borrowed from our children’s children in debt) from the Obama Administration to push their green initiatives across the country. These companies see net metering as a source of lucrative cash flow and should be expected to challenge any efforts made to alter their current gravy train.
At last night’s council meeting, not only did Vice Mayor Trenk vote to support the resolution, he introduced it. Perhaps we should not be surprised that a member of Congress, a state legislature, or a town council would use their influence to convince their colleagues to vote on issues that directly benefit their personal business or line of work. But what is especially inappropriate is for Councilman Trenk to not recuse himself of this vote—thus creating a direct conflict of interest and an abuse of the public policy making process.
Some might argue that the resolution should never have been introduced, but certainly the right thing for Councilman Trenk to have done, at the very least, would have been to recuse himself from the vote.
Published with permission from Western Free Press, an Arizona-based online newspaper devoted to providing readers with a daily fare of Straight News and Strong Opinion.
A breath of fresh air to read an article that explains where Trenk is coming from and why. Linda Bentley, in a July 17 article titled, “Vice Mayor Adam Trenk’s recusal refusal,” where she added Trenk did the same thing for his client, T.C. Thorstensen. Apparently Trenk thinks he is above the law, even though he was so confident he would be elected he spent about $25,000 of family money to sit on council. Never mind that Ernie Bunch, former vice-mayor didn’t spent a dime and got only two votes less than Trenkster to win in the primary election. But deserving Bunch lost his vice-mayor position to Trenkster. Trenkster obviously had promised votes from his three slate buddies.
Although courts haven’t ruled on social media with regard to open meetings law they should. Facebook appears to be Trenkster’s communication media when he isn’t sending emails from his Rose Law Group office. Trenk is so sold about his transparency platform that he forgets it for himself. We asked Jordan Rose for copies of Trenk’s emails concerning town matters. Her response? It would be unethical to provide them. Hello? Our belief is it is illegal to deny sending them under open records statutes. So we have forwarded the information to the Attorney Generals’ Office. After all we are not sure where the Trenkster is living, Scottsdale or Cave Creek.
We have heard he has installed a camera near his home on Gunsight. Is that to prove he lives there? After all, absent a friendly judge, he wouldn’t be on council, since the judge ruled he had intent to live here.
Trenk’s maneuvers beg for council comment and action. We know the slate will sit on their hands. How about the mayor, Bunch and Thomas McGuire? Will they demand he recuse himself in future votes in which a conflict of interest exists? Past conflicts of interest should be reported to the Attorney General. How about the ever appeasing town law firm, Dickinson Wright/Mariscal Weeks? Will Gary Birnbaum show up to hold Marlene Pontrelli’s hand and offer his interpretation of the law to say it is all OK – just a little political skirmish?