As protests continue, Gilbert mayor calls for town to listen

Jenn Daniels
Gilbert Mayor Jenn Daniels addresses members and residents at council's June 2 meeting on the need to listen in the wake of protests around the nation about racism. (Courtesy town of Gilbert)

Gilbert Mayor Jenn Daniels addresses members and residents at council's June 2 meeting on the need to listen in the wake of protests around the nation about racism. (Courtesy town of Gilbert)

Gilbert Mayor Jenn Daniels on June 2 called for the town to be listening to people of color and anyone who has been treated unfairly.

“As a community, we emphasize kindness on a very regular basis,” Daniels said. “And I want to make sure that as a community, we are doing our best listening right now. I think there are a lot of statements and things being made and said that could be beneficial to us as a community.”

Daniels’ remarks at the close of the council meeting come in the wake of nationwide protests after the May 25 death of George Floyd, a black man in Minneapolis police custody.

While Gilbert has had no violent protests, Daniels said the town would be scheduling forums as an opportunity to listen, though she had no details to share yet.

Daniels encouraged town leaders to listen to employees and community members and included herself as one who would benefit.


“I have a lot to learn, and I want to take time to listen and to hear the messages that are being sent to us,” she said. “So I would encourage the community to reach out to us as a council and make sure that we hear your voice.”

Daniels also thanked Gilbert Police Department and public safety workers for their work and hoped they would remain safe through this time.

“We don't always get it right, but we want to and we desire to,” Daniels said.

The council meeting came on a night when the town elected not to light the iconic Gilbert Water Tower in support of Blackout Tuesday, a social media movement to reflect on recent events and allow black voices to have the floor in the national conversation on race.

Tuesday saw peaceful protests in Gilbert at Highland High School and outside the Postino East restaurant in the Heritage District. Town officials reported no issues with either protest.

Issues tabled

June 2's council meeting originally had the final budget, property tax levy and capital improvement plan on the agenda. However, as those items have sparked strong interest this year, Daniels said the town wanted to make sure it had enough time for public comment.

With Gov. Doug Ducey’s emergency order establishing an 8 p.m. curfew this week, Daniels said the town believed the hour and a half between the town’s 6:30 p.m. start and the curfew would allow for public comment and business to be conducted.

Furthermore, the town found it could not change the time of the meeting without 15-day notice under state law. Thus, Daniels said, the town decided it would continue the items for the June 16 meeting.

Land code

Senior Planner Amy Temes presented to council preliminary results of subcommittee work to refresh the town’s land code.

Temes said the subcommittee aimed to simplify and modernize the code. She estimated the subcommittee’s work could reduce the text of land code for the town by a third.

The code changes will be run through the planning commission and redevelopment commission before coming before council for approval. Temes said she hoped the process would finish in December.

Other items

  • Council unanimously approved a zoning change from residential to general commercial for 17.85 acres at the southwest corner of Val Vista Drive and Ocotillo Road that will allow a Lifetime Fitness gymnasium to be built.

  • Council approved a construction contract to replace fluoride storage tanks at the North Water Treatment Plant on a 6-1 vote with Jared Taylor dissenting.

  • Council approved on a 5-2 vote three items involving community development block grant funding. Taylor called the program an artifact from failed New Deal programs of the 1930s and voted in dissent along with Council Member Aimee Yentes.

By Tom Blodgett
Raised in Arizona, Tom Blodgett has spent 30 years in journalism in Arizona and is the editor of the Gilbert edition of Community Impact Newspaper. He is a graduate of Arizona State University, where he now serves as an instructional professional in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and editorial adviser to The State Press, the university's independent student media outlet.


MOST RECENT

Flavors of India
Two Asian cuisine restaurants have opened in Gilbert

Here are two restaurants that have opened in Gilbert recently and serve different kinds of Asian cuisine

Jack Sellers, Maricopa County Board of Supervisors
Maricopa County Board of Supervisors approves independent audit of voting equipment

Members of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors expressed confidence that an additional audit would yet again show that the county’s November vote count was accurate and its election results legitimate.

Shane McCord
Gilbert Public Schools secures vaccination distribution event for staff, Higley USD

Gilbert Public Schools has secured a closed COVID-19 vaccination point of distribution event Feb. 13-14 that will serve district employees and those from the Higley and Queen Creek school districts

The Chandler USD administration reported 54 active COVID-19 cases across the district as of Jan. 25, according to the CUSD data dashboard. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
See which Chandler USD schools are reporting COVID-19 cases

The Chandler USD administration reported 54 active COVID-19 cases across the district as of Jan. 25, according to the CUSD data dashboard.

Gov. Doug Ducey expanded funding to support restaurants seeking to expand to outdoor dining. The Brickyard in downtown Chandler did so in late 2020 with funds from the city. (Alexa D'Angelo/Community Impact Newspaper)
Governor adds funds to bolster outdoor dining across Arizona

Gov. Doug Ducey announced additional funding to support outdoor dining during COVID-19.

Top Cup Coffee
Top Cup Coffee has opened in Gilbert

The coffee shop offers gourmet coffee in a relaxed setting.

Lindsay Road interchange groundbreaking, Brigette Peterson, Scott Anderson
Restrictions, ramp closures on Loop 202-Santan Freeway start night of Jan. 25 for Lindsay Road interchange

Overnight lane restrictions on the Loop 202-Santan Freeway and closures of the interchange ramps at Gilbert Road and Val Vista Drive will begin at 9 p.m. Jan. 25.

Here's a list of local businesses that have been approved by ADHS to sell recreational marijuana. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Here are locations selling recreational marijuana in Chandler, Gilbert

Here's a list of local businesses that have been approved by ADHS to sell recreational marijuana

Here is what you need to know today about coronavirus in Gilbert. (Community Impact Newspaper)
COVID-19: Gilbert cases up 338 in two days Jan. 27

Here is what you need to know about COVID-19 case counts in Gilbert and the state.

Here are the coronavirus hospitalization data updates to know across Arizona. (Community Impact staff)
Number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 down slightly

Here are the coronavirus hospitalization data updates to know across Arizona.

Three days after passing 300,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses administered, Arizona surpassed 400,000 Jan. 23, according to a news release from the Arizona Department of Health Services. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
State surpasses 400K vaccines given; see how many Maricopa County has distributed

Three days after passing 300,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses administered, Arizona surpassed 400,000 Jan. 23, according to a news release from the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Women and Children's Pavilion, Banner Gateway Medical Center
Expansion of hospitals will affect town, region in 2021 and beyond

Gilbert will see a medical industry expansion of nearly half a billion dollars this year.