BY STEVE LAMAR | HORSEMAN AND CITIZEN OF CAVE CREEK | FEBRUARY 19, 2014
Citizens stop Trenk-slate abuse of power
In two stunning packed house responses from the citizens of Cave Creek, the Slate Council (Trenk, Durkin, Spitzer, and Monachino) were forced to abandon their secret deal to pay back a political operative by agreeing to abandon our open space and trail system. Freeman (the operative) who is perhaps one of the most vocal and active enemies of our trail system had sued the town to stop the Morning Star Trail critical to the General Plan directive to connect the East and West sides of town. This secret plan to abandon the trail for Freeman was the most horrendous and arrogant attack on our General Plan, our trail system, and our rural way of life in the history of this town.
I was proud to be a Cave Creek citizen watching democracy in action as citizens turned the lights on in the dank, dark, basement where the Trenk slate does its dirty business. Seeing the rats (Trenk, Durken, Sptizer, and Monachino) running for cover in the public light of day gave proof, through the light, that this is still our town.
In the first meeting the slate boys had it all worked out. After a lengthy secret executive session they came out loaded for bear ready to pay back Freeman for his service to them in suing the town (using Trenk’s personal lawyer) to keep former Councilman Dick Esser off the ballet. That guaranteed the slate would have a four vote majority. Led by Durkin and Trenk with the usual mumbling, virtually incomprehensible approval of Spitzer and Monchino, the slate boldly voiced their support for the payback plan that would abandon the most important trail in our trail system until their political operative died or moved away despite the fact the trail did not run on his land.
The citizens were having none of it. In an emotional, heartfelt, intelligent outpouring the citizens of Cave Creek stood up strong and pointed out the fatal legal, ethical, and public policy flaws in this despicable secret political payback deal. Stunned by the knowledge, insight, and courage of the citizens, Trenk-slater Durkin moved to table the issue for a week after a citizen read the terms of the annexation agreement that would be violated by their political payback deal, and assured them new litigation would follow.
Not to be thwarted by citizens, the Trenk slate flooded the mail boxes and emails with paid propaganda about the money spent in defense of the Freeman case and the great new road shoulder they were providing the citizens. They reached out to their operatives to get to town hall to support this great deal.
The second meeting was more of the same. Packed house. Much to the chagrin of the Trenk slate, the packed house of citizens was against the slate political payback. Not one Slate operative had the guts to stand up and say the abandonment of the town’s trail system to an enemy of open space was good for the town. Freeman didn’t even speak at the second meeting.
There was one big difference this time. Having apparently bottomed out in his obsequious appeasement of Trenk’s slate, Mayor Francia refused to hold yet another secret executive session so the slate could get their ducks in order. The Mayor should be commended for standing up to slate demands for secrecy. The town attorney was forced to address the issues in public and confirmed, contrary to statements by Trenk and Durkin, no money was ever spent on the defense of the Freeman case, the citizens were correct that the payback deal would violate the annexation agreement and the fantasy road shoulder trail was inconsistent with their secret deal with Freeman.
Stripped of the cover of spin, it was made self evident this deal was a blatant abuse of power typical of Chicago, New Orleans, New Jersey, and Washington D.C. An abuse of power that threatened the very heart of our second greatest asset, our great Sonoran open space and the trail system that gives us access to that natural beauty.
For all of you who stood tall and nipped this abomination in the bud, thank you. You know who you are. You are the greatest asset of Cave Creek. The fundamental issue for us now is removing this slate cancer from our town government. That will take an unpleasant but necessary operation. The recall petitions are out. Sign one. Get involved. Stay vigilant, and For the Love of Cave Creek protect our Town.