Guest Editorial

BY JOHN G. FORD | JUNE 11, 2014

My response to a personal attack

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John FordCouncilman Reg Monachino questioned my knowledge and understanding of the Town of Cave Creek form of government and made personal attacks on my integrity based on an editorial I wrote several weeks ago.

I am writing in response to an article by Linda Bentley and a letter to the editor by Bob Williams in the June 4 issue of Sonoran News regarding their mention of an e-mail message. I have not seen the e-mail but Linda's article and Bob Williams’ Letter to the Editor are enough evidence.  I have had the e-mail confirmed by many of my long time Cave Creek friends that this was sent directly by council member Reg Monachino attacking me personally.  I have no information as to the number of people who were included in this e-mail and I guess it was by accident I was mysteriously not included in the distribution to other citizens and non citizens sent by a standing member of our Cave Creek Town Council.  I guess that is his answer to transparency which he says I don't understand.

Mr. Monachino's comments are far from the truth. The reason I sent the original letter to Sonoran News was to express what I feel has caused the town I love to be divided.  The public has the right to hear my opinion as much as any other Cave Creek resident.

I guess if you are Mr. Monachino it is better to toss another long term citizen to the curb like he has done with Steve Lamar and others who are members of this great town.  I guess he is afraid of an educated Cave Creek voter who listens to all sides even if he disagrees with some opinions.  I have spoken to many citizens who felt my letter was open and honest but who knows, maybe this council member has something to hide or just was angry. I don’t know and as I have made clear I will not in anyway stoop to the low level shown by some of our elected officials, slinging mud to see where it sticks. I publicly stated my issues with the council as they are today.

In my Guest Editorial I was very open to what my issues are and my history is completely true. My frustration was voiced publicly as it should have been.  I didn't do any trash talking behind the screen but was open to anyone from the public who cared to read and make up their own minds.

The termination of the former town manager was done far too rapidly before we as citizens had a chance to hear both sides.  I did not say the outcome was right or wrong regarding Usama Abujbarah being terminated as that is not my choice or right. It is the job of our elected Mayor and Council.  I just made it clear that the new council needed to spend time reviewing the performance of the manager and not a firing on the first night the new council was seated.  It already decided as to whom would take the position of Interim Town Manager; he was sitting in the audience and got up after a few caring residents and I completed our 3 minute call to public to object to offering a job that technically didn't exist. This time limit and input is the normal process supported by both our Mayor and Elected Council for all the years I have been in the chambers on nights the council is in session.

The next area Mr. Monachino mentioned as he continued to publicly use my name in a negative way was to question my understanding of the form of government Cave Creek chose at the time of incorporation. As I stated, this is known as Manager - Council. Mr. Monachino made sure to drag my name in the dirt as he expressed his opinion that I do not understand the two types of town government. I clearly understand what form we are under and have extensive history and education related to the different forms of town government that can be used.  I learned through a professionally approved group, the Arizona League of Cities and Towns.

I clearly stated that Carefree has the Mayor - Manager form of government which is correct. It works well for Carefree and their town administrator who I respect very much along with their elected mayor and council.  They are very much good neighbors with whom I have worked closely in the past, witnessing firsthand how well it works for them.

I was one of many who voted for our incorporation.  I’m proud I did and have no regrets.  It's just a shame that one of our elected officials doesn't understand the difference between the two forms of government, or does, but would rather use dirty tactics and make false statements about me.

Under our Manager - Council government, most actions not involving budget changes, monies spent, zoning changes or needs of safety are made at the manager level of authority.  Ultimately, if the manager has an issue to bring before council for a decision, the mayor agrees to add the item to the agenda for the next council meeting after proper notification to the public has been published regarding the agenda item.  This doesn't happen often but is allowed and has been used by other councils post incorporation.

Mr. Monachino added in his e-mail that I was just being a puppet to one of our newspapers and that just happens to be the one he dislikes, Sonoran News.  I find that more than appalling as my opinions are mine and only mine.  I have never been a puppet to anyone and I think his comment is outrageous, bordering on harassment.  I do not care in the least and never will care what Mr. Monachino thinks of me personally as we are not friends. I laughed when I saw those comments. Name calling or public scolding has zero effect on me. His lies cause me no loss of sleep – ever.

I do care very much when accusations are made against me that are just mud slinging.  I have not been a pawn to anyone or any agenda and actually never got involved in any portion of the recall process.  After learning of his e-mail it just made me feel even stronger that Mr. Monachino has a hidden agenda of some kind or maybe he is just paranoid.  I tend to lean towards paranoia but I am not qualified to make that call.  I can rest comfortably as everything I have said was in public.  I don't choose what is published by any news outlet but what I wrote I felt very strongly about.  I did not bring up old issues, only ones that have never been given a clear answer in the last year.  I looked forward to the public debate with this council member but now that he has been removed from the recall I will continue to watch him closely and assure he is doing what is best for Cave Creek, not his personal agenda.  Recalls are something used for special cases and I try to stay clear, but now I can say why it would fit Mr. Monachino.

I never started collecting signatures for my name to be placed on any upcoming ballot as it was not confirmed there was going to be a recall.  I now will publicly state I was prepared to run against Mr. Monachino as he was the one I lost any trust in and now he has proved why I felt that way.  I know how a recall works and was prepared to challenge him directly so we could have the debate that needed to happen.  It will require another effort to have recall petitions signed before I have the opportunity to oppose him.

I love this town and will never let anyone, and that means you Mr. Monachino, play games and use dirty tactics to intimidate me or any other member of our beautiful Town of Cave Creek.  I will be watching you closely while you are on the council and when your time is up I will gladly run against you as you have proven you don't like someone speaking out and you will decide as the wind blows each time you vote.

Thank you for your time and allowing me to answer Mr. Monachino's false statements.

Sincerely yours,

John G. Ford
Still a concerned citizen of Cave Creek!