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Don Sorchych

Cave Creek dilemmas

Now that Usama Abujbarah has filed his notice of claim against Cave Creek and slate officials, the clock is ticking toward a 60 day response to his assertions. The town has a choice of paying Abujbarah’s legal costs and reinstating him or proceeding with the lawsuit.

The lawsuit has important possibilities. Abujbarah’s Attorney Daniel Bonnett has at his disposal a number of discovery methods and dredging up emails between parties should be a treasure trove. Vice Mayor Adam Trenk makes frequent use of the email facilities at Rose Law Group (RLG) where he works. The owner of RLG rejected an open records request writing that it would be “unethical” to send the political emails Trenk had sent or received. In this day and age emails cannot be hidden, deleted or disposed of. Can you imagine what discovery would yield? Slate discourse back and forth will yield insights that are currently believed but not proven.

bil canfield editorial cartoon
It is also possible after answers from the town the suit could split for state and federal action. The federal part will likely be constitutional issues, such as First Amendment rights. In that case the defendants would be the slate. There are plentiful state issues as well. If a federal suit is filed, the named slate individuals will be on their own; the town cannot defend them.

The mandamus case currently before Judge Douglas Gerlach will be heard on Oct. 18.

The slate brags about transparency, which is a big fat lie. We made a standing public records request similar to the one the Arizona Republic has, on July 13. We made a re-request on August 14 and have yet to receive a single response or record. We are also tracking a request by Steve LaMar. In addition, Abujbarah’s attorney has made a request backed by subpoena powers. This is called forced transparency. The town is violating open records laws while claiming transparency. And where is the mayor and town attorney in all this?

Just to show how political and unethical the slate-dominated town hall has become read this story:

Last year Cave Creek spent $20,000 advertising Taste of Cave Creek, yet they ended up making $10,000 profit. The town spent, in all, over $111,000. Glassman set an advertising budget of $7,500. Sonoran News was getting a $750 advertisement. City Sun Times (CST) was to get a $350 advertisement. Publisher Hope Ozer of CST complained, so Glassman dropped us and gave all the advertising to CST. CST is a monthly shopper and primarily distributes in racks.

We are the only community newspaper. CST lies about its circulation; we don’t. We encourage advertisers to ask us, and ‘competition’, for printer and postal receipts. We are the only newspaper in the six zip codes we service that uses saturation mail. In addition we fill racks in the area with nearly two thousand copies. We prove our numbers but our ‘competition’ doesn’t.

The other thing increasingly lacking in town hall is principled voting. I believe people who serve us on councils and boards should vote their conscience and beliefs. In that way we can get a handle on what the so-called leader stands for when the next election arrives. It is clear, in Cave Creek, the slate votes as a slate as we feared. But it is a surprise when others make the political calculation to join the majority.

When Eileen Wright and better qualified applicants for the planning commission were voted on only Councilman Thomas McGuire voted against Wright while Councilman Ernie Bunch and Mayor Vincent Francia voted with the slate. It doesn’t take a genius to know the slate will vote as one, and therefore will win.

In the last council meeting two 5-2 votes stood out. One was when the council, whose slate ran on saving money, voted for $70,000 to fund a Pavement Management Plan. That means, as does any 5-2 vote, Francia joined the slate. This town is gifted with a highway and road maintenance group that knows what they are doing and this is a giant kick in the testicles to tell them that simply driving on a road won’t tell them when to grade or add blacktop. The slate and Francia owe the road crew an apology and reversal of the ridiculous decision.

Glassman asked for approval for mandatory grey water recycling and solar powered water heaters. He included two Tucson ordinances that passed when he served on council there.

Numerous people including me got up and voiced disagreement. Not one person spoke in favor of the nanny prospects presented by Glassman. Even the mayor spoke against it. Yet when slate members Mike Durkin and Charles Spitzer wouldn’t let it die, the council voted 5-2 to give it to the water advisory board. Once again the mayor voted politically with the slate.

These examples and others we have printed make it clear the slate has to go and perhaps slate supporters as well.

Recall candidates are already coming forward. My understanding is that some of them are in place as a steering committee. I would like to chat with potential candidates who are interested and absolutely guarantee confidentiality.

The town needs to get back on the winning track we enjoyed when Usama Abujbarah led the town to win after win for 14 years. Out-of-town and dark-side influence, coupled with lies and lots of money, got the slate voted in, but only because three sitting members dropped out. The lawsuit resulted because it was a vendetta led by Jerseyite Trenk with support of slate members. It is a battle that must be fought and won. I believe Cave Creek voters are honest and fair and will vote for qualified candidates who vote their conscience rather than voting politically.

Trenk’s and Glassman’s assertion that Abujbarah wouldn’t sue is laughable. We have been openly forecasting the lawsuits for months and there are more coming.