Football parents lobby for Gilbert parks entry - East Valley Tribune: News

Football parents lobby for Gilbert parks entry

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Posted: Tuesday, May 13, 2008 10:27 pm | Updated: 10:54 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Several Gilbert parents turned out Tuesday to lobby their Town Council to allow a local youth football league the same access to athletic fields as other youth sports groups. Among the parents waiting to speak was Tom Miller, who along with his wife, Carla, heads Top Flight Football.

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Miller was one of several parents who appealed to the council Tuesday night to overrule a previous decision not to allow the youth sports league to join the Gilbert Sports Coalition.

The town's parks and recreation advisory board voted not to allow the league into the coalition in January, mainly because of what board members and town staff called unprofessional behavior by Miller.

The council had not yet heard the group's appeal by press time Tuesday night, and no decision had been made about whether or not to grant the league access.

The coalition is a group of youth sports organizations that has priority when scheduling activities in town-owned parks and athletic fields.

Councilwoman Linda Abbott, who attempted to mediate discussions between town officials and Top Flight in recent weeks, has now been targeted in a recall drive launched by Top Flight parents.

Miller, whose name does not appear on paperwork filed by the Concerned Parents for Youth Sports recall committee, has said he's not involved with the campaign.

But in recent e-mails to Abbott, Miller threatened to organize a recall drive and even stated his wife would run against Abbott.

"When my wife wins, I hope she never becomes clouded and always does what is right and fights for the people in which she serves," Miller wrote in an April 24 e-mail to Abbott.

Abbott recused herself from the Top Flight discussion Tuesday night.

Miller was served with an order of harassment last week that bars him from interacting with Abbott at her home or workplace.

Miller said Abbott obtained the protective order to keep him from appearing at public Town Council meetings. But in court paperwork, Abbott said Miller has engaged in harassing and intimidating behavior through dozens of e-mails.

"The timing of this is very, very sad, don't you think?" Miller said Tuesday.

Abbott said before Tuesday's night meeting: "The intent of my action against Tom Miller does not preclude him from public gatherings or exercising his rights as a citizen of our community."

Town Manager George Pettit told Miller in an e-mail attending the meeting would be allowed.

"The council meeting is a public meeting and you should be able to attend and express your views," Pettit wrote. "You should remain behind the public podium at all times - and not approach the council dais in any way - you can remain in the audience as well."

Miller responded: "I can assure you that our fine PD will not play around when its come to breaking the law. I will not test that theory."

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