The Gilbert Chamber of Commerce urged the Town Council in a joint meeting Tuesday to deflect future recalls or referendums.
In its 2007 Local Public Policy Priorities, the chamber listed a set of recommendations, including that the council make “sound, consistent and well-supported decisions” to avoid referendums after a spate filed in the past year, including two that have made it onto the Nov. 6 ballot, which target new developments.
The chamber’s public policy committee, however, advocated that the town avoid reversing sound or “pro-business” decisions when faced with “threat of a referendum.” The 2007 list of priorities stated that “recalls, referendums and political indecisiveness make it difficult to attract new business into our community,” and “create negative images which slow economic development, cost the community approximately $120,000” for special elections.
Susan Brechbill, chairwoman of the chamber public policy committee, said the goal was to ensure the town not be led by fear of referendums, which could make businesses uneasy and cause companies to lose confidence in coming to town.
One member of the chamber committee suggested that the town was being held “hostage” by the referendums.
Supporters of the referendum made up the small crowd attending the meeting, and said their referendum issues were in response to negative decisions made by the town.
The same groups in support of the referendums have expressed a desire to recall Mayor Steve Berman. The mention of recall on the agenda caused many members of the community to take notice and attend the meeting.
“If we have a bad image, maybe you have a bad reality,” said Steve Johnson of the legislative Dist. 22 Republican committee, who supports the idea of recall.
One of the referendums on Gilbert’s November ballot attacks the town’s decision to rezone farmland near Greenfield and Germann roads to include 45 acres for commercial use. Another questions an agreement with Vestar Development for the town to repay $9.7 million in roadwork around the planned Greer Towne Center at Riggs and Higley roads.