Politics

Pace: Don’t block Paradise Valley residents’ social media

Response to Adler

Posted 1/26/22

At the Jan. 13 council meeting, I was discussing ethics when I was cut-off by the mayor. This is a topic the mayor does not want me to discuss because of our town’s ethics policy based on the …

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Politics

Pace: Don’t block Paradise Valley residents’ social media

Response to Adler

Posted

At the Jan. 13 council meeting, I was discussing ethics when I was cut-off by the mayor. This is a topic the mayor does not want me to discuss because of our town’s ethics policy based on the mayor arranging the payment of town funds to his campaign manager.

The town’s ethics policy is a different policy and issue than the conflict of interest investigation under state law that occurred. [PV Independent article 2/8/21 and 6/29/21]

I think ethics, transparency and good governance are important to address. They have been repressed during the mayor’s second term. The mayor has kept these topics off the council’s agenda.

Because the mayor cut me off at the meeting, I am explaining the issue. In my remarks to the new vice mayor about expectations for the new year, I encouraged her to show leadership by stopping unethical practices that waste taxpayers’ money, even when committed by Councilmember Paul Dembow and the mayor.

Councilmember Dembow requested the town attorney, paid by taxpayers, to write a research memo on whether the town could block residents from criticizing him and others on social media. Based on my communications with the mayor when I was frustrated that taxpayer monies were being spent on personal work for Councilmember Dembow, the mayor admitted he was copied on the request. The mayor did not stop the legal work.

As Watergate taught everyone, the cover-up is often worse than the offense. When I tried to reference the wasteful town attorney opinion as an example during the council meeting, the mayor cut me off, just as he has on other occasions when I seek to discuss ethics and town governance.

I call on council to release the lengthy memo so that residents can see this waste. I do not support blocking residents from social media.

Councilmember Dembow and the mayor are good friends and regularly engage in coordinated and orchestrated attacks for sport reminiscent of fraternity boys. I have observed their bullying, intimidation and anger exhibited regularly, including in closed executive sessions.

The conduct of three-term Councilmember Dembow and the two-term mayor initiate food fights. Maybe judgment wanes after people serve two terms and that is why term limits are good.

Residents should be open-minded to both sides of the pancake. Step in the shoes of some of us on council who have been enduring cringe-worthy behaviors when we know that our beloved town can do better. Don’t be fooled by red herrings, misinformation, or long-winded bureaucratic gobbledygook.

Serving on council is an unpaid volunteer position. Some of us have been working hard to proactively fight for the quality of life in our town, while the mayor goes to a cigar club with developers, their attorneys and resort representatives.

The mayor retaliates against colleagues who stand up against the antics of Councilmember Dembow. The mayor protects his close friend even after he took a widow’s Father’s Day memorial cross in June 2021 from the area of the fatal crash site in which Councilmember Dembow’s daughter was involved. [See video/story dated July 1, 2021 PV Independent.]

CM Dembow stated that the “unrecognizable figure in the grainy night video is not me” and denies taking the cross. He lied according to the police report. The video is clear.

In July 2021, the Scottsdale Police Department concluded that there is probable cause that Paul Dembow committed a crime. Two Scottsdale Police detectives confirm Councilmember Dembow’s identity and conclude he took the cross. [See July 13, 2021 PV Independent.]

Councilmember Dembow states he does not normally speak to police. We learned that criminal defense attorney Larry Kazan represents him.

I observed that when Councilmember Dembow hired a detective to gather info on elected officials, the mayor high-fived Paul and gave him a big hug for the results. When Councilmember Dembow brags about contacting the employer of a fellow council member to try and get him fired, the mayor does not stop his friend. Instead, I watched him laugh about it. Fraternity boy behavior.

Right after I won my second term on council in August 2020 with the highest vote count and margin in the history of the town based on my focus on quality of life and protecting our iconic mountains, Council Member Ellen Andeen went to the Mayor’s home and he told her he was going to take me down a few notches based on my win and popularity and told her to not associate with me.

The letter attacking me was written by a longtime defender and surrogate for Councilman Dembow who previously published an article in December 2020 against the accident victim’s family for disseminating information about him. [PV Independent, December 29 2020].

As a refresher, Councilmember Dembow did not disclose to the police officer that he was the vice mayor at the time he was at the fatal accident scene taking his daughter away. The officer did not know he was the vice mayor. The daughter was not available at his house when police came to question her. He should have resigned.

Instead, he called for the resignation of Council member Mark Stanton who expressed sympathy to the family involved. Councilmember Dembow’s actions caused years of legal battles, expenses and reputational damage to the town.

The author improperly accuses me of disclosing attorney-client privileged information. The fact that Councilmember Dembow asked for a legal opinion to benefit himself personally to block residents who criticize him from posting on social media is not privileged. The conclusion is privileged, and I did not disclose that.

We have a wonderful community with smart, savvy people. Many of us are trying proactively to make a difference to preserve Paradise Valley and our mountains. Being subjected to increasingly retaliatory and bullying conduct does not comport to the expectations of Paradise Valley and our residents.
Paradise Valley can do better. Paradise Valley deserves better.

Editor’s Note: Julie Pace is a council member and former vice mayor of Paradise Valley Town Council.

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