Fireworks at Gilbert Council Meeting, Election Results
At the 9 Aug council meeting, Gilbert residents spoke out against a planned railway in Gilbert, land grabs, and even accused a council member of stealing political signs. Video in article.
August 2 election results
Yung Koprowski, Jim Torgeson and Chuck Bongiovanni were re-elected and elected to the Gilbert Town Council outright. Bongiovanni is a Democrat. Bill Spence and Bobbi Buchli will go to a run off in November for the last remaining spot. Councilman Scott September lost his bid for re-election.
Against the planned light rail
Chairman of the LD14 Republican Party Andrew Adams accused September of having illegally removed political campaign signs of other candidates. Please see the video for more details. Adams also invited council members to attend precinct meetings, citing that none of them has ever done so in the past. He also spoke up against the commuter rail. Being able to address all three points is a testament of good communication skills.
Most of the other speakers spoke out against a planned light or commuter rail going across Gilbert. They cited health, safety, crime, homelessness, vagrancy and economic issues. Please see the video for more details.
Build a moat, not a commuter rail
The highlight of the speakers was Richard Young who quite eloquently cited reasons against the commuter rail such as crime, homelessness, disease and economic loss. He concluded with: "If you want to build something big, build a moat, don't build this (the commuter rail)".
The lowlight of the meeting was Vice Mayor Aimee Yentes threatening to shut down public comments, and by proxy the 1st Amendment, unless people stop applauding speakers. In our view, the clapping was brief and did not interrupt or delay the proceedings. Yentes' repeated complaints about the clapping took up more time than the clapping itself.
Against land grabs
A few of the speakers addressed land grabs of the city that are unnecessary, alleging that the land taken under eminent domain is not needed for important public purposes.
Defeated town council candidates speak
In opposing the commuter rail, Michael Clark, candidate for town council in the 2022 primaries, said that Amtrak is a loss making business that needs subsidies, which is the case for almost all commuter rails. Mario Chicas, another unsuccessful council candidate, like Adams, complained about signs being stolen and called on the council to do something about this. He requested that Gilbert Police seize investigating the sign stealing allegations, and hand the case over to another agency, because of alleged bias since September sits on the town council. Both Chicas and Clark would benefit from improving their communication skills. Chicas spoke too slowly and dwelled for too long on the sign issue when the room was full of people who spoke against the commuter rail. Adams in contrast got through the sign stealing matter in 30 seconds or so. Clark stumbled through his speech and ended up rambling about bulk trash pick up issues that were hard to follow along. Clear, concise and to the point communication skills are essential for any successful leader.