Urgent Need for Change on the Gilbert Town Council – Spring 2011

by Jared Taylor

This spring Gilbert voters will choose four members to serve on the Gilbert Town Council. The incumbents up for re-election are Linda Abbott, Ben Cooper, Dave Crozier, and Les Presmyk. For many reasons, it’s important to elect new leadership.

Conservative families in Gilbert are not well represented on the current Town Council. Only Mayor John Lewis and Jenn Daniels listen and consistently vote for fiscal discipline and individual liberties.

Outside of Cooper (appointed in May 2010), these incumbents have burdened the Town with multi-million dollar budget deficits, while wasting millions of dollars on Big League Dreams and Zinke Land Deals. Add millions more for massive growth in payrolls, politician retirement plans, and bloated union pension plans. Painfully, these incumbents tried to push three taxes on Gilbert citizens to cover deficits caused by this severe negligence.

Although Cooper wasn’t on the Council to vote for the three new taxes, he supported Prop 406 to increase sales taxes on Gilbert citizens ignoring the nearly $40 million identified by the Citizen’s Budget Committee. Further, he supports public-private partnerships which are simply redistribution “stimulation” schemes where the Town picks and chooses winners in a certain marketplace. Don’t get me wrong, Cooper has been a tremendous improvement to the dais. A little more leadership and business acumen would put him in a league with Mayor Lewis and Jenn Daniels.

Ironically, each incumbent claimed to be “fiscally conservative” and “fiscally responsible” four years ago and are making the same claims in the current campaigns.
There are many reasons for this. First, the incumbents are blinded by their ties to three big labor unions in Gilbert. Thus, they have disregarded valuable recommendations from ordinary citizens and the Citizen Budget Committee.

When the Town Council was asked to evaluate the performance of the labor unions before renewing the contract, the general response was, “I’ve worked with public unions for 25 years and I’ve never heard of anyone doing this.” Really? Never heard about reviewing contracts to ensure you are getting what you are paying for? Wow! Anyone in a large or small business who doesn’t evaluate their suppliers is sure to be fired, but we don’t even consider this practice in Gilbert. No wonder the unions are bankrupting cities and states across America!

Second, the incumbents lack skills to hold the Town leadership accountable. Not only does the Town’s legal team consistently deliver poor advice, but the Town Manager’s office is not held accountable to have a balanced budget. Cost savings programs that are standard operating procedure in every Fortune 500 business are non-existent in Town operations. Things have improved with Colin DeWitt, but Town management still lags 15 years behind the industry standard for organizational efficiency and accountability processes.

Third, their campaign promises have not been met. The ultimate test for a politician is, Did they do what they promised? When elected or appointed (in the case of Cooper) each claimed to be fiscally responsible, but each have delivered massive deficits and supported spending money the Citizens Budget Committee said was unnecessary.

• They claim to want to increase public safety, but refuse to fund these operations first. In fact, they were threatening to fire 65 public safety officers when they had no intention to fire anyone at all. Since Prop 406 has passed, not one officer has been let go for budget purposes.

• They promised to advance the development of roads. In North and South Gilbert, endless construction projects have hamstrung the public for months and years in some areas.

• They promised to improve the perception of our Town, but Gilbert became a national embarrassment when citizens tried to have a simple Bible study group in their home. Further, no action has been taken against the staffer who created the problem.

• They promised economic development, but these politicians increased regulations on small businesses, and citizens continue to work in other communities.

Don’t get me wrong, these are all nice individuals. I have enjoyed working with them on various projects. However, when it comes to the future of our Town and protection of our families, it’s critical we have an open and focused dialogue of the positions and voting records of our incumbents.

The good news is that Councilmember Daniels and Mayor Lewis have brought commitment and skill to the dais. Sadly, on important issues, Daniels and Lewis are voted down by the incumbents up for reelection.

Gilbert will make an important decision in the upcoming election. We can move forward in a positive direction by electing real conservatives to help Mayor Lewis and Jenn Daniels. Or we can re-elect the same old incumbents and continue with massive deficits, out-of-control spending, and ignoring citizens.

Gilbert has a bright future that is safe and vibrant for our families. This positive momentum started with the election of Lewis and Daniels. I feel it. Others feel it. Let’s continue to improve the town by getting them some help. Stay tuned to Gilbert Watch for additional information on candidates who will help make this positive change possible.