BY HANI SABA | NOVEMBER 20, 2013
The West’s most obnoxious town
I was stunned by Mayor Francia’s recent letter (“Another remedy to try before recall”, Scottsdale Republic, November 2, 2013) in the newspaper. His thesis was that recall elections are always bad and the current groundswell for a recall election is due to only two issues: the removal of the former town manager and the perceived direction the council is taking. The mayor shrugs off these issues by saying the “removal of the town manager should have been handled better” and the council is doing just fine, thank you. Let’s take a closer look at the mayor’s two issues.
Saying the removal of the town manager should have been handled better, and ending it there, is kind of like saying the Titanic should not have hit the iceberg, and ending it there. But, the Titanic did hit the iceberg and over 1500 lives were lost. The Slate (Trenk, Sptizer, Monachino, Durkin) did fire the town manager in an ugly session publicly defaming an honorable man and the best town manager Cave Creek ever had and, as a result, is now right on track to spend hundreds of thousands of Cave Creek taxpayer dollars defending the Mandamus action (council did not properly perform its public responsibility) and has incurred another $3 million civil rights violations liability. In their first two weeks, the Slate badly damaged this town for the foreseeable future, and all for apparent personal vengeance and arrogance! How can the mayor sweep this under the rug with such casual indifference? Could have been handled better? I think so, and it is far from over legally and financially.
Now, let’s take a look at the direction of the council. What direction? I cannot see any sign of the ‘agenda’ the slate promised over and over again during the campaign and certainly there is no direction evident anywhere. They are all over the place and not in any substantive way.
Here are just a few of their first 5 months’ accomplishments:
• They fired the town manager thereby incurring millions of dollars in legal liabilities.
• They hired the only candidate of five applicants for interim town manager who had absolutely no town manager experience and no related experience. What was the basis for this decision? He (Rodney Glassman) is Trenk’s buddy and cronyism trumps good judgment every time with this Slate. Ignore the taxpayer. Glassman’s performance has mirrored his depth of experience.
• They then elected Trenk as vice mayor – a guy who probably hasn’t lived in Cave Creek for the past 5 years and evidently doesn’t live here now unless he has somehow squeezed into his PO Box.
• They managed to destroy the good long term relationship Cave Creek enjoyed with the City of Scottsdale over the ‘West’s Most Western Town’ nonsense. Mayor Francia, who has now joined the Slate, was frequently quoted as saying the Scottsdale city fathers had no sense of humor, but this babble had nothing to do with sense of humor. Your friends from out of town are probably telling you, like mine are, that Cave Creek is really ‘The West’s Most Obnoxious Town’. This whole issue was uncalled for and a public shame.
• They campaigned on ‘transparency in government’. They charged their predecessors with secrecy and promised they would be totally open and transparent. But, they have now made a habit of conducting routine business in Executive Sessions which are secret and they have ignored every single public request for documents – haven’t released a one. This borders on being criminal.
• They seem to believe that governing by endless resolutions is achievement. In truth, their resolutions are as meaningless as they are and some are just bizarre. The latest one professes there should be no freedom of speech if it criticizes them and, for sure, no recall elections. This, not surprisingly, is Trenk’s, and now the mayor’s, mantra.
• They gave Carefree your court using bogus financial data. This could be a sweetheart deal for Carefree and a 10 year drag on the Cave Creek finances they were so concerned about as candidates.
• They campaigned on the “fact” that Cave Creek was broke, could not pay its debt, and did not have $3.5 million in reserve – all lies, but they sold them. Within a couple of months they passed the budget given to them by the good folks they lied about and deposed and had a $7 million reserve.
• They are spending money like its OPM (other people’s money), which it is. Twenty thousand dollars on shiny horses to celebrate a historic mining town (An Eagle Scout put up a beautiful sign for nothing), $80k on some kind of street maintenance software, $25-$30k promoting themselves but mostly the Mayor and Glassman, hundreds of thousands of dollars on legal fees with potentially millions to come, as mentioned above, and public distractions like the West’s Most Western Town nonsense.
I could go on, but you get the idea. No direction, no agenda, no accomplishments, foolish distractions, big time spending and crushing legal expenses. No discussion whatsoever on critical items for the future like improving Cave Creek’s struggling economy and acquiring the 4,000 acres of open space. Cave Creek deserves better.
Hani Saba, a University of New Mexico College of Pharmacy graduate, has managed the Walgreens Pharmacy at Scottsdale Rd. and Carefree Hwy. since 2002. Hani loves being a pharmacist, helping patients with their health concerns in a career spanning five decades. Not a politician with no interest in a political career, he knows right from wrong, loves Cave Creek where he has resided since 2003 and wants to see our town maintain its unique beauty without the destructive outside influence.