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my viewRecall election

This is going to be a strange recall election. The legislature worked hard to make recalls difficult and they succeeded. It took an additional try to get the necessary petitions signed after Vice Mayor Adam Trenk’s attorney shot down the first try in court.
Now the challengers to the slate have to get a minimum of 94 signatures by Jan. 9, which means maybe 140 signatures to be on safe ground. The good news is there is an abundance of “safe” signatures from the first two tries. I am hearing that signature gathering is going quite well. A reader has asked that we provide communication links to the good people who have come forward to run against the recalled council members and serve Cave Creek:
• Susan Clancy,, 480-773-2404
• Dick Esser,, 602-703-4741
• Steve LaMar,, 480-620-7893
• Mark Lipsky,, 480-686-1166

Time is short and mail-in ballots will be in the mail on February 12.
I am sure voters remember the election that put a slate on council by a series of assertions, lies and misrepresentations. It all started with a so-called grass roots movement to defeat a planned resort in east Cave Creek. Anyone who knew anything knew the resort application would fail, and it did. In the meanwhile, though a non-voter named Michael Chutz reputedly raised $40,000 and probably spent it for a five-candidate slate (one lost). The town was dirtied almost overnight. First there were flyers and forums. Decisions were made early, including a future hiring of Rodney Glassman as a totally unqualified interim town manager. The town is still suffering from his brief time in office.

Adam Trenk quickly took charge of his fellow slate councilmen and fired Usama Abujbarah, by far the best town manager the town ever had, as their first order of business after being sworn in. That action was taken even though Abujbarah’s attorney warned the new council they were making grave and possibly illegal mistakes. That action led to a $3 million lawsuit against the town. Town attorneys Dickinson Wright are costing about $10,000 a month to defend against the lawsuit.

In addition to that mistake, Trenk had a meeting with Abujbarah in which he gave two ultimatums. He would have no contact with Sonoran News and never support a recall. Abujbarah turned the ultimatums down the day before he was fired. This in turn led to another suit, in Federal court, for violating Abujbarah’s First Amendment rights. Both suits are ongoing thanks to Trenk.

The slate, or someone, hired a private investigator that combed through town records, trying to find the “goods” on Abujbarah, but came up with nothing.

First Trenk and Tim LaSota went after the petition signatures and managed to have significant numbers eliminated. This was done in court and the challengers didn’t have representation by an attorney. If they had, they may have prevailed. This necessitated another round of petition gathering. The challengers came up with a clever idea and mostly had one signature per page, whereas if a petition were challenged only one signature would be lost. They weren’t challenged again.

When Dick Esser withdrew his candidacy but changed his mind in less than 24 hours and decided to run, Trenk and LaSota sued and had Esser kicked off the ballot. After all the claims the slate made, few if any materialized. They claimed the town spent too much money yet they passed Abujbarah’s budget unanimously. The town’s audit was clean and, although the slate had nothing to do with it, they took credit for it. They are claiming their new budget saves the town a million dollars yet it only eliminated a planned expenditure that was not used.

There has been wasteful spending – $80,000 for an unnecessary software program for road maintenance. They spent $20,000 for two metal horses, another certain waste of money. The lawsuits against the town are consuming tens of thousands of dollars and, if the town loses, maybe $3 million. The slate also took money designated for the purchase of open land and put it in the general fund. Enough? The slate is irresponsible, without question.

On the other hand four excellent candidates are here to rescue the town from incompetence and vindictiveness. Susan Clancy is delighted to cut the head off the snake by putting Trenk out to pasture. He will be able to practice his do nothing usefulness as a lobbyist.

Clancy is highly qualified after her many years as a school board member. In another legal action Trenk sued her and she fell three signatures short to return to her seat on the Cave Creek Unified School District governing board. Vindictive?

Both Steve LaMar and Dick Esser have served on the council and also the planning commission. They are the best qualified in town and will help to bring the town back to what it was before we were ambushed. LaMar is running against Charles Spitzer and Esser is running against Reg Monachino.

Mark Lipsky, a former resident called away by work, has returned. During his first time here a few years ago he produced a movie about Cave Creek. Since his return he has regularly attended council meetings where he often speaks during call to the public. Lipsky is passionate about Cave Creek and will run against Mike Durkin.

It appears all four candidates have more than 200 signatures, which will be turned in to Town Hall by Thursday.