What does it take to get special treatment in the Town of Gilbert? Well, being a special interest group who has a member that is friends with the mayor helps for one thing. For example:
ALL AZ is the special interest group that requested the Tower be lit with rainbow colors to represent the LGBT community here in Gilbert. Heather Torriente is a member of that group and apparently the friend mentioned here that knows Mayor Jen Daniels well enough to ask and receive a special favor according to one Wendy Williams Montgomery.
The reason they apparently needed a favor from the mayor is this. The Gilbert Water Tower Lighting Request was received via email and text (the request form on the Town’s website was supposedly down) by Heather Torriente on 6-24-19 approved on 6/24/19 and the tower was lit on the same day, June 24th. Wow! That’s excellent service you might be thinking to yourself, the Town of Gilbert is really on their toes. However, what we most likely have here is a case of favoritism for a very controversial special interest group with members who are friends with Mayor Jen Daniels.
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It appears that Jennifer Harrison, Head Media and Marketing Officer for the town did give approval as indicated on the records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, requested by a private citizen.
Now let’s take a look at a non-profit that also applied recently. The Arizona Cancer Foundation for Children applied on 8/21/18 to have the tower lit and was refused for two reasons. First, the initial request asked that an individual Gilbert citizen be honored with the lighting of the tower along with “all other Gilbert families that have been affected by pediatric cancer”, which is an acceptable reason given the rules for the request indicate this is not allowed. However, it is also stated on the form that the request was denied because of the 60 day (since changed to 30 days) rule which requires all requests be made at least 60 days prior to the date the tower is to be lit. Again, the request was made on 8/21/18 requesting the tower be lit on 9/13/18 through the 17th. This is about 22 days prior yet denied. The Arizona Cancer Foundation for Children re-applied with changes, removing the part of the request to honor the individual and asking for the tower to be lit a year later on 9/13/19 and was approved on 9/9/18. This is 4 days before their initial request yet denied while All AZ was approved on the very day they applied, just 2 days prior to their requested date.
Why is Gilbert picking “winners and losers” and giving special treatment to only select non-profits? This is not the role of government. Our town’s elected officials need to get control of the town staff and represent the citizens as they were elected to do.
Remember, it costs money from Gilbert taxpayers to light the tower and even more tax dollars for someone to sit at a computer and advocate on town social media sites for these non-profits.