letters cartoon

We are the people

Greece is considered the birthplace of democracy, a precursor of what would become modern democratic nations and republics. Athens, in 7th Century BCE, gave democracy a go, attempting to mitigate frictions between aristocracy and those not born to the noble class.

A great deal has changed since then. Democracy evolved into a bolder experiment that espoused freedoms of speech and religion and basic human rights. This modern-day democracy did not come easy; no one handed it to others and said, “Go be free.” Lives were lost in revolutions and wars so that others could be or remain free. Although History records the sacrifices made, it’s impossible to comprehend the wells of such courage men and women had to summon, all to protect a singular word and concept: Freedom.

This Independence Day the nighttime sky will be illuminated by fireworks. The color, sparkle, crackle and rousing music reminds of how we got here, who we are and just how precious – and fragile – this freedom is. After all, the basic tenet of democracy is rule by the people. Or as Abraham Lincoln defined it: Government of, by and for the people. This truth may be dearly held and self-evident, but it requires vigilance to sustain all that freedom has to offer. Enjoying freedom’s many benefits does not mean taking freedom for granted.

From Athens to Cave Creek: On July 3, Tribe Cave Creek will assemble at Harold’s and July 4 near the Smokehouse in Frontier Town for the annual rite of celebrating Independence Day. Tribes from other communities will be there, which is at should be. Ancestrally each of us came from somewhere. But now we are all Americans.
In fact, We. Are. The. People.

Mayor Vincent Francia


Independence Day

As we gather for our celebrations over the July 4th weekend we should reflect on what it is we're celebrating, how far we've come, and how far we can fall.

Police, Military, Elected Officials, and Firefighters at the Federal, State, and local level take an Oath.

Included in this Oath is the following,

"Protect and Preserve the Constitution (United States) from enemies both Foreign and Domestic."

The problem is that many who take this Oath have a very remedial understanding of what they're pledging.

Some even believe that the US Constitution is outdated and needs a complete overhaul.

To these individuals I ask, where is the line you will cross and become a "Domestic Enemy" contrary to the Oath you have taken?

This isn't about the Right or the Left, this is about the Representative Republic our forefathers have given us.

The good news is that there is an organization that clarifies the Line That Should Not Be Crossed and it is called Oath Keepers. They have clearly defined this line for their members and supporters. It is as follows. Pretty Radical Stuff from 200 years ago. Is it not still relevant?


1. We will NOT obey orders to disarm the American people.
2. We will NOT obey orders to conduct warrantless searches of the American people.
3. We will NOT obey orders to detain American citizens as “unlawful enemy combatants” or to subject them to military tribunal.
4. We will NOT obey orders to impose martial law or a “state of emergency” on a state.
5. We will NOT obey orders to invade and subjugate any state that asserts its sovereignty.
6. We will NOT obey any order to blockade American cities, thus turning them into giant concentration camps.
7. We will NOT obey any order to force American citizens into any form of detention camps under any pretext.
8. We will NOT obey orders to assist or support the use of any foreign troops on U.S. soil against the American people to “keep the peace” or to “maintain control."
9. We will NOT obey any orders to confiscate the property of the American people, including food and other essential supplies.
10.We will NOT obey any orders which infringe on the right of the people to free speech, to peaceably assemble, and to petition their government for a redress of grievances.

Ernie Bunch
Cave Creek Town Councilman


Slate legal costs

The Town Council led by the slate of Trenk, Spitzer, Durkin and Monachino is spending your tax dollars on their self inflicted legal troubles at an alarming rate and it is just getting started. Their self inflicted legal troubles are almost exclusively because of their irresponsible firing of the town manager at their first council meeting about a year ago.

The town contracted with Mariscal Weeks Dickinson Wright for routine legal support at a flat $7,500 per month or $90,000 per year. Routine legal support covers council meetings, document review and the normal things a council has to deal with. Throw in a 10 percent contingency for stuff that comes up that no one thought of and round off reasonable routine legal expenses at an even $100,000 per year. As of mid- May, over a month shy of the fiscal year, they have spent about $215,000 and are on track to close the year at about $240,000 or almost two and one half times more than the contracted amount. This lawsuit has not yet gone to trial so those crushing legal expenses will continue to increase and likely at a greater rate. None of these costs are covered by the town’s insurance – you and I are paying dearly for the reckless and irresponsible actions of Trenk, Durkin, Spitzer and Monachino.

The separate civil rights lawsuit recently filed in federal court that carries a potential $3 million penalty plus legal expenses will be handled by the town’s municipal risk pool insurance so the potential exposure to the town will be somewhat less but with a potential significant increase in the town’s insurance rates for years to come. Next time you hear this slate tell you about all the money they are saving you, just ask about this issue.

Hani Saba
Cave Creek


A coward’s way out

The CCCC committee worked very hard to collect well over the required number of signatures to recall the four slate members. Instead of standing tall and defending their actions to the Cave Creek voters, they chose to pay big bucks to a slick lawyer to have the recall petitions thrown out. That is the coward’s way out as far as I am concerned. I think the right thing for them to do would have been to defend their actions to the voters. Cowards one and all. The PAC representing the residents of Cave Creek could not afford a lawyer to defend themselves against Trenk’s slick lawyer.

And speaking of cowards, Mr. Trenk used public funds to attack his perceived enemies in the Cave Creek Coyote. The purpose of the Cave Creek Coyote should be to report the status of things the town has done and not attack perceived enemies. Unfortunately, it has morphed into a full color political flyer paid for by the taxpayers. Not only is that illegal, it is the coward’s way out.

Melanie Williams
Cave Creek


Protecting our First Amendment rights

The Cave Creek Coyote is a publication written by town staff and your elected officials. It is produced and distributed to inform citizens about the work of elected officials and town staff on behalf of the citizens of our community. This newsletter is paid for and distributed by the Town of Cave Creek.

It is unprofessional of our Vice-Mayor to use this public forum for the distribution of language critical of Sonoran News and critical of the political process. Mr Trenk writes, “Regrettably, as part of the local paper’s routine to fuel discontent and promote a toxic recall in hopes of reinstating its influence, much of this progress has been underreported.”

I the fault our town staff for allowing this biased language to be published as a part of the town newsletter. Clearly, reasonable editing was not applied.

Several months ago a resolution came before the town council entitled “a call for civility.” But that objective was not the total of this resolution. The agendized item went on to chastise Sonoran News for its political content. For that reason, I voted against the resolution. Except in times of crisis or to ensure public safety, no level of government should exert its power to stifle free speech or a free press. My vote was not about a political opinion or whether I agree or disagree with Sonoran News. As I stated before the public, it was about our treasured and hard won freedom of speech.

It is incumbent upon our elected representatives to defend the ability of individuals and the press to express political dissent. And it should not be a function of government to spread political bias. Leave that to the political arena and personal speech guaranteed by the Constitution. It is up to the courts, and the voters, to determine what behavior constitutes a violation of reasonable speech.

Thomas McGuire
Cave Creek Councilman


Misuse of public funds

Mayor Francia,

While many citizens have been critical of the new council and you for spending thousands of taxpayer dollars applauding yourselves through the Cave Creek Coyote, I have observed that most of your back patting at our expense could be interpreted as "reporting to citizens on your work" wink, nod. In my view, self serving and wasteful, but probably a little short of violating election laws. 

Your Vice Mayor Adam Trenk, in the last Coyote, in my opinion steps boldly across that criminal line when he uses the Coyote to make political campaign speeches against Sonoran News.
Trenk certainly has a right to his opinions about those he perceives as his political opponents, but he does not have the right to use public funds to attack them. 

Vice Mayor Trenk has already admitted, after invoking his Fifth Amendment Privilege against self incrimination, upon direction of the Court, that he violated election laws to sabotage the recall election by forging a name on a recall petition and then using that forgery as a basis for throwing out all the signatures on that petition sheet. That, Mayor, is on the record in Maricopa County Superior Court.

While Trenk, Monachino, Durkin, and Spitzer happily rely on Trenk's criminal conduct, use his lawyer to stay in office and seem to rejoice in disenfranchising handicapped voters who need help filling out a recall petition, their temporary victory has only galvanized the citizens of this community to work toward a new recall at the earliest possible date available. 

You, as Mayor, have no ability to stop Trenk's criminal behavior; it will be addressed in the criminal justice system. You certainly can't instill any sense of decency in Durkin, Monachino, and Spitzer who knowingly take advantage of the challenges of the handicapped to stay in office.

We get that they are your new friends and you certainly will support them at every turn.
However … you do have a direct responsibility to see to it that taxpayer funded fliers are not used by Vice Mayor Trenk or any other council member to attack political opponents, or critics. That is using our money for campaigning Mr. Mayor. 

I respectfully request that you not allow this misuse of public funds to continue.


Steve LaMar



On many levels, Jan Brewer has been a crappy governor of Arizona.  When a well-financed lobbyist comes to her with a fist full of campaign contribution checks, all her conservative principles go out the window.  However, she’s a savvy politician and she knows how her constituents feel about the ill defended border with Mexico.

Much of Arizona’s border problem goes back to the Clinton administration.  With a Democrat in the White House, two Democratic senators and 50-something Democrats in the House, from the (formerly) Golden State, the California-Mexico border was quietly “hardened.”  I mean that border enforcement in California was really ramped up.  The Yuma Arizona Border Patrol District was “hardened” at the same time, because Yuma is right on the California-Arizona border.  (I’ll bet you never heard about this on NBC, CBS, ABC or CNN, or saw it in the NY Times.)  Thus, the illegal immigrants and drug gangs are flooding the Tucson Border Patrol District, and Arizona is suffering.

For example, the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Arizona is a disaster, with truck tracks, smashed cacti, and incredible amounts of junk everywhere.  To top it off, there are signs advising Americans not to venture in, as it’s dangerous, and there aren’t enough cops to assure safety.  I don’t think you’ll see such signs in the solidly Democratic state of California.
In any case, Gov. Brewer has been okay on border matters, as the item below illustrates.  The fact that she’s a sound thinker on this subject is illustrated by the violent reaction of the left, which has denounced her in gloriously emotional terms.

Bill Sumner

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vs. the Phoenix Suns owner

The owner of the Phoenix Suns basketball team, Robert Sarver, came out strongly opposing Arizona’s SB 1070. Arizona's Governor, Jan Brewer, released the following statement in response to Sarver's criticism of the law:

"What if the owners of the Suns discovered that hordes of people were sneaking into games without paying? What if they had a good idea who the gate-crashers are but the ushers and security personnel were not allowed to ask these folks to produce their ticket stubs, thus non-paying attendees couldn't be ejected. Furthermore, what if Suns' ownership was expected to provide those who sneaked in with complimentary eats and drink? And what if, on those days when a gate-crasher became ill or injured, the Suns had to provide free medical care and shelter?"

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer


Open memo to John McCain

To: Senator McCain
From: Scott Haberman ( A registered Republican, voter, and supporter for over 20 years)

Subject: Immigration debacle in your state of Arizona

Dear senator McCain,

I just visited your website to see what you are doing for our state now that it has become a dumping ground for illegal aliens. Sadly, I see recent news releases on Iraq, Interstate 11, Veteran’s affairs, and the partnership between ASU and Starbucks. Your speeches of late have been concerning Israeli President Peres and comments at the American Jewish Committee Forum, Norwegian-American Defense Conference and New America Conference. All important issues to be sure. Unfortunately, the only statement you have made regarding this invasion into your state by illegal aliens was a press release requesting that the media be allowed into the facilities holding these unwanted visitors.

This invasion is a travesty and the byproduct of an ineffective government that does not really care about its citizens. While you and others spout off about the invasion by terrorists in Iraq and the invasion of a sovereign nation, Ukraine, the border of your own state is a sieve which permits drug dealers, human traffickers, and yes terrorists to set up camp in our nation. We are being invaded while you and your fellow politicians do nothing. Instead of busing these illegal immigrants to Oklahoma, California, Arizona or Massachusetts, how about we set them up on your spread in Sedona? Better yet, let’s drop them at the bus stop across the street from the White House. Have you lost your mind? Have you lost your passion for the state that made you a political star? Have you abandoned Arizona? You blame our troubles on a ”Broken Immigration System,” BS. You can smell the corruption from the top of Black Mountain. If you were at all concerned you would press for boots on the ground in Arizona and Texas. Stop the flow. See how fast the Mexicans would stop this flow of immigrants once they started piling up on their side of the border. But no, you have words of praise for Starbucks! Please understand that I will do everything in my power to see you are defeated in your next election. You do not speak for Arizona. You speak for Washington.

Scott Haberman
Cave Creek


An open letter to the President of the United States

Re: Increasingly common public slaughter

Dear Mr. Obama,
I agree with your recent remarks – it's terrifying to have all these shootings. I want it to stop as much as you or anyone. And I share your frustration in seeing nothing get done.

What I don't understand is why you keep trying to do the same things and get blocked.
You know that those plans will meet with fierce resistance. Instead, try something that the community at large might accept, and finally move us ahead. Work both sides.

Stop harping about background checks, with the now tired litany about how it's so reasonable, yet you can't even get that.

Well, OK, you can't. It's time to accept that. But you don't seem to know why. The gun owners out here know why.

The shootings would not have been stopped by background checks.

It's the wrong answer to the problem.

It would have affected all of us – and so we resist – but it would not have "done something" about the psychotic murderers we want to stop. Let's not get into what the proposed bills really proposed, that's for another day.

So if you want to "do something" with huge grass-roots support and get it done, try promoting gun-safety training and marksmanship in schools. Watch what happens then.

Right now schools are a gaping cavern of ignorance on the subject of guns. Kids think guns are the fun blood bath they see in pop culture. Do something about that.

Work with the firearms community – not against it. We're your constituency too. Teach gun safety and respect for arms – like 100 million decent gun owners have – instead of leaving the festering ignorance in place. The forbidden fruit of guns – a word students can't even voice – can't be helping.

Wouldn't it be nice to have the support of 100 million gun owners, instead of banging heads with us all the time? Teachers, school administrators, their unions, students, most haven't got a clue about the true role of guns in our lives and culture. Let us educate them. Let there be light.
Prominent doctors have suggested treating guns, which they too understand poorly, as germs and disease. Louis Brandeis framed it well: the best disinfectant is a little light.

Encourage gun-safety and marksmanship training for all Americans, to teach respect for this constitutionally protected property. You'll garner the significant support you seek, and do something to move a culture that has grown inured, as you have so eloquently noted, to something it should not tolerate. Get something done.

It's a good first step.

Alan Korwin, Author
Gun Laws of America