Posts Tagged ‘Gilbert Town Council’

Captain Rick: Gordon Ray is a chief research investigator for NNCIA, a group of citizens working to prevent Gilbert Arizona from adopting unnecessary 2012 ICC Building Codes into law. He presents guest commentary on this important subject facing Gilbert and thousands of cities across America. Gordon is a leader of liberty that people from all cities across America and beyond should pay attention to.

Guest Commentary

by

Gordon Ray

Gilbert, Arizona

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To all Defenders of Freedom of Choice and Liberty,

The town management of Gilbert, AZ came up with several reasons that they felt the town council should adopt the 2012 ICC Building Codes into law before any of the councilmen had a chance to even read them.
The ICC 2006 codes were adopted on November 13, 2007 with no discussion from council. The following statement was also adopted at the same time!

Any person found guilty of violating any provision of this Ordinance shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine of not to exceed two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) or by
imprisonment for a period not to exceed six (6) months, or both such fine and imprisonment. Each day that a violation continues shall be a separate offence punishable as herein described.

A group of concerned citizens found out about the plan and they started to do some research into town management’s reason for adoption of the 2012 ICC codes. The result of the research has been enlightening, to say the least! The citizens group found out, through their research, that every single reason for adoption presented by town management, in their opinion, was flawed.

The town management continued to press for adoption. The citizens group began an education campaign to gain support for their movement to make the codes voluntary (per the ICC preface page) except for structural items and
life/safety items.

As the citizen’s group studied, they found out that the ICC is just a non-profit group of businessmen with ties directly to the executive branch of the federal government! Did anyone pay attention when President Obama proclaimed March as "National Building Code Month"? These men found out that they can make a lot of money by stacking committees to approve certain building products that would then be listed in the codes they wrote. These men would then sell their code books to town and city councils and get the councils to pass the codes into law for them!
Once the codes were law, their products would be mandated for use by every builder and would then make millions for the code writers and their people.

It appears that all towns and cities think that they need to adopt the latest codes for "status reasons" so that they do not look as being "backwards" to other communities. With that apparent mindset by the town of Gilbert, the citizens group came up with 3 amendments to be added to the adoption of the 2012 ICC codes that would limit the enforcement of the codes to important items only.
They are as follows:
Amendment #1 – Omit the Energy and Green Code completely (must not be adopted as optional).
Amendment #2 – Restrict enforcement of the ICC codes to the existing plan review and inspection checklists, which are already in place. These existing checklists can be reviewed, amended, and updated as needed by the Town Council. With only the important code items being enforced, it makes for more consistency in plan reviews and especially in field inspections. (not to mention the reduction of the time involved reviewing plans and making inspections.) 
Amendment #3 – Establish an ongoing review process to identify and remove mandates that are not life/safety.
Our group feels that the important life/safety issues were addressed and implemented many years ago in previous codes. They have now become common practice. We propose keeping those items in place. We do not see a need to become "more safe" with thousands of dollars of useless codes adopted every three years! We do not feel in danger when we enter an older home or building that was built under the former outdated ICC code or any other code for that matter.

Here are some questions to consider when you think that we NEED to be on the latest and greatest codes:
When you made the decision to buy the home you are in now, did you for even one second consider the "code" the home was built under in making that decision? Or, did you think, because this is an older home, is this home going to be a safe home for my kids? Or did you just think "how will this home serve my family’s needs"? Knowing full well that you could add or change anything you want to make the home serve the needs of your family after you moved in.
We want safe homes like everyone else! We do not want to be forced to buy products or to be mandated, by law, to install all the unnecessary items that should be optional in a "free market"  that are now called out in the ever-changing ICC family of codes.

Gordon
For more information on this subject, visit: http://www.nonewcodes.com/

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Associated ATRIDIM NEWS JOURNAL Report Categories:

Building Codes

Gilbert Town Council

Gilbert Council Proper Votes

Gilbert Council Scorecard

Guest Commentary

Captain Rick: The Council of Gilbert, Arizona will vote Thursday on the controversial issue of adopting ICC’s 2012 building codes. Local builders say adoption of this code upgrade is forcing elevated costs because of non-life-safety standards, especially ‘energy-saving’ and ‘green’ ones, which ultimately end up being passed to the home buyers.

I believe the ICC is a ‘money hungry’, ‘union-like’ organization that is on track to become the world’s “Big Brother”…being fueled by our local government’s sensation for being a blind follower and investor of citizen tax dollars in ‘blind waste’. I despise the ICC sucking in my fellow Gilbert citizens as victims. Other cities, states and countries should pay close attention to this so that they do not also become victims of the ICC “Big Brother”.

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I consider this an extremely important issue…one of the most important in my 16 years as a Gilbert citizen.

I share with you an email I sent to the Town Council of Gilbert, Arizona today:

Mayor John Lewis and Councilmembers,

I urge you to reject approval of incorporation of the 2012 ICC Code into Gilbert building code law, unless amended as follows

I urge you to approve an amendment to eliminate or make voluntary the ‘Green’ and ‘Energy-saving’ sections of the code.

While these sections contain some good ideas and new technology, they also contain some bad ideas and technology that is already obsolete. I offer the case of the CFL bulb as a prime example. It is stipulated in the 2012 ICC code, yet this technology is already obsolete, proven to be a ‘waste hazardous’ detriment to our land fills. CFL lighting is rapidly being overtaken by LED lighting. A few short years ago all of the HDTV sets in the world were back lit by CFL lighting. That is all history. Solid state LED lighting has totally taken over the HDTV industry. The same is rapidly taking place in the home lighting arena. This is just one example of outdated technology stipulated in the 2012 ICC code.

If ICC is paying attention, I suspect we will see them catch up and incorporate LED technology in the 2015 code. The important point I make is that technology is expanding at a far greater speed than the intelligence of the ‘old world idiots’ at ICC. To make any of their ‘green’ and ‘energy-saving’ technology mandatory, would be like taking a chain an wrapping it around the legs of our builders. The ONLY intelligent way to keep up with the rapidly expanding world of technology is to make all of this ‘stuff’ voluntary. Lets let technology be the driver…not some archaic set of outdated ICC code.

Think what would have happened to HDTVs if America let the ICC dictate how HDTVs were designed and built. We would be living in the dark ages. Its time to loosen the reigns of government and let the professionals take control (none of which reside at the ‘money hungry, union-like’ ICC). It will produce a lot finer America.

I would like to see Gilbert set a shining example for the world to view…how we do things right…not by following other communities that have lost the ability to think and innovate…needing to incorporate ‘caveman’ technology as presented by the ICCs ‘Green’ and ‘Energy-saving’ codes.

I also believe it would be of great benefit for Gilbert to create a new commission of volunteers to help mold future Gilbert building code law. I envision this commission to be on a similar level of or at least an extension of our planning commission. Perhaps they could be assigned the task of wading thru the massive, mile-high, mountain of ICC codes and determine what is really good for Gilbert.

It is no secret that I am not fond of the ICC, a union-like, not-for-profit corporation that is using its vast wealth to become our world’s ‘Big Brother’. I see the citizens of Gilbert lie among its endless sea of victims.

By making these codes voluntary, it gives builders extra options, but does not obligate them to suffer losses realized from bad and often outdated code. Gilbert code should stipulate code which primarily promotes life safety. It should not mandate energy efficiency or green technology…but rather encourage the ideas as voluntary.

For increased understanding of ICC Building Codes, please read my series of posts on ATRIDIM NEWS JOURNAL: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/building-codes/

Captain Rick

View the minutes of this historic Gilbert Town Council meeting in the first comment below. 

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Associated ATRIDIM NEWS JOURNAL Report Categories:

Building Codes

Gilbert Town Council

Gilbert Council Proper Votes

Gilbert Council Scorecard

Captain Rick: Councilmember Jared Taylor says Gilbert, Arizona missed a great opportunity to continue a course of fiscal responsibility when the Council adopted the $466 million budget for FY14 that included the addition of several new $80,000 to $100,000 positions with no value added for the town’s 230,000 citizens.

Jared was one of two councilmembers that voted ‘NO’ … against adoption of the budget as presented. This has earned him Captain Rick’s “PROPER VOTE” on ATRIDIM NEWS JOURNAL’s “Gilbert Council Scorecard”, which keeps track of how Gilbert Councilmembers vote on important, controversial issues.

I invited Jared to present guest commentary on ATRIDIM NEWS JOURNAL concerning his vote on this important fiscal event. He graciously accepted. I am honored to present …

Guest Commentary

by

Jared Taylor

Councilmember, Gilbert, Arizona

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The Town budget discussion for 2014 was a great opportunity to continue a course of fiscal responsibility. The budget represents many things, particularly the priorities of an organization.

As I looked at the budget proposals for fiscal year 2014 (FY14), many positive things were included to build a safer cleaner community. However, there were also areas of concern which made the Town government less efficient and less valuable to our citizens. For example, Town Staff recommended a number of administrative positions that cost approximately $80,000-$100,000 annually for each position. These positions would add no direct value to the lives of our citizens.

The larger concern of this budget for me was the increased burden it places on each citizen without increasing the value of the Town services to each citizen. In other words, we are not getting new parks or services although we are paying more for what we get. This increased rate of spending outpaced inflation at a rate which created multi-million dollar deficits.

The recommendation to have the budget follow the rate of inflation was based on the wise advice by Councilmember Jenn Daniels to create a policy to guide this and future budgets. This policy would avoid Council from going through the details of the budget, but would give the Town Manager the direction and flexibility to manage the Town within responsible limits.

The primary argument to increase spending was to fully fund what is known as WIGs. (A.k.a. Wildly Important Goals) One of the major outcomes for the WIGs is for the Town to be more operationally efficient. Unfortunately, we are not becoming more efficient with this budget, but less efficient. Other concerns were presented that we are not able to find enough money to cut although those were quickly addressed.

In the end, a budget with too much spending was passed by a 5-2 vote. Further, this budget was not based on an agreed upon policy or a serious cost containment strategy. The FY14 budget’s rate of growth outpaces inflation and puts us on a path to run a deficit in 1-2 years. Any uptick in sales tax revenues will mask this for a few years, but when another downturn hits, we’ll be forced to make a decision to raise taxes or make drastic cuts again. The recommendation to follow the rate of inflation more effectively controls our spending and is more aligned with other costs hard-working taxpayers are facing day-to-day.

I’m committed to a small and efficient Town government. Our staff aspires to be a “high-performing government” on paper, but unfortunately doesn’t consistently follow high-performing practices of other organizations. We can do better and I’m looking forward to working with them more to understand ways to stay focused on adding value to our citizen’s lives.

Government should not be a jobs program. Government exists to protect individual rights. As Abraham Lincoln said 150 years ago, government should be “of the people, by the people, for the people” and our budgets should reflect this commitment. I will continue to work to make it so in Gilbert.

Jared Taylor

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Associated ATRIDIM NEWS JOURNAL Report Categories:

Gilbert Council Scorecard

Previous Gilbert Council PROPER VOTE Reports

Gilbert Town Council Reports

Gilbert Arizona Reports

Captain Rick: Gilbert, Arizona Councilmembers face an important vote in coming weeks to determine if Gilbert will adopt the 2012 ICC building codes into Gilbert building code. Many local residents are concerned, some fearing the city will control what kind of light bulbs they can use and more. This is a viable concern that all Americans should devote significant interest to. The liberty of all Americans is at stake!

During the past few weeks I have heard lots of concern from friends in Gilbert concerning this important pending vote. Some concerns seem to be based on fear, but many on realistic concern. As a long-time, happy, home owner in Gilbert, I wish to help everyone understand this important decision by utilizing my life-long engineering skills, which span the mechanical, electrical and electronic spectrum, to help sort out the good from the bad…the right from the wrong…so that the most intelligent decision is reached. My hope is that our council’s decision will establish Gilbert as a national leader of intelligent building code enhancements…not a follower of code hype that supports illogical dreams of energy efficiency and safety.

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History of the ICC  (International Code Council)

It’s  a conglomeration of codes compiled by three of the nations most respected code groups:

Building Officials Code Administrators International (BOCA) were used on the East Coast and throughout the Midwest of the United States

Southern Building Code Congress International (SBCCI) were used in the Southeast

International Conference of Building Officials (ICBO) covered the West Coast and across to most of the Midwest.

By early 1990s it became obvious that the country needed a single coordinated set of national model building codes.

The nation’s three model code groups decided to combine their efforts and in 1994 formed the International Code Council (ICC) to develop codes that would have no regional limitations.

After three years of extensive research and development, the first edition of the International Building Code was published in 1997.

By the year 2000, ICC had completed the International Codes series. It has released an updated version of the code every three years since. The latest and most controversial is the 2012 edition.

ICC Building Code Requirements

Building code requirements generally apply to the construction of new buildings and alterations or additions to existing buildings, changes in the use of buildings, and the demolition of buildings or portions of buildings at the ends of their useful or economic lives.

As such, building codes obtain their effect from the voluntary decisions of property owners to erect, alter, add to, or demolish a building in a jurisdiction where a building code applies, because these circumstances routinely require a permit.

The plans are subject to review for compliance with current building codes as part of the permit application process.

Alterations and additions to an existing building must usually comply with all new requirements applicable to their scope as related to the intended use of the building as defined by the adopted code.

Some changes in the use of a building often expose the entire building to the requirement to comply fully with provisions of the code applicable to the new use because the applicability of the code is use-specific.

A change in use usually changes the applicability of code requirements and as such, will subject the building to review for compliance with the currently applicable codes.

Existing buildings are not exempt from new requirements, especially those considered essential to achieve health, safety or general welfare objectives of the adopting jurisdiction, even when they are not otherwise subject to alteration, addition, change in use, or demolition. Such requirements typically remedy existing conditions, considered in hindsight, inimical to safety, such as the lack of automatic fire sprinklers in certain places of assembly, as became a major concern after the Station nightclub fire in 2003 killed 100 people.

ICC Building Requirements in Question

This is a developing report. I look to my fellow Gilbert neighbors and all concerned to help develop this report by commenting with your concerns and ideas for improvement.

I welcome your comments, likes, shares and following of my blog! (If not visible, click the red title above)

Associated ATRIDIM NEWS JOURNAL Report Categories:

Building Codes: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/building-codes/

Gilbert Council Proper Vote Scorecard: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/gilbert-council-proper-vote-scorecard/

Gilbert Town Council: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/gilbert-town-council/

Sign the petition to have Gilbert govern itself  by having ICC codes treated as suggestions and recommendations only: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/gilbert-can-govern-itself/

Important Info from other sites:

Out of Control EPA and Arizona Code Enforcers: http://www.gilbertwatch.com/gilbertwatch/index.cfm/blog/out-of-control-epa-and-arizona-code-enforcers/

Quest for Excellence – Best Done Through Mandates or Personal Choice?: http://www.gilbertwatch.com/gilbertwatch/index.cfm/blog/quest-for-excellence-best-done-through-mandates-or-personal-choice/

Captain Rick: The Gilbert Arizona Town Council is set to eliminate study sessions that precede each council meeting. As a viewer of every Gilbert council meeting since 1997, I shared my concern with our council.

A copy of my email to the Gilbert Town Council on May 11, 2013:

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Mayor Lewis and Council,

As a viewer of every council meeting and study session televised since 1997…and frequent council commentator, you know I am an avid supporter of council study sessions. They often contain info that is more meaningful and educational than that presented during the ‘show biz’ council meeting.

I know all of you have a busy schedule and your time is precious. Mine is also…so I understand. From council study discussion on 4/30, it sounds like most are in favor of ending the study sessions.

I have one simple request to make that I hope every member of council will honor. Please ensure all staff presentations, that have been a vital part of the study sessions, will become part of the regular council meetings. To me, they are a vital contribution to the process.

I encourage all to consider Ben Cooper’s remarks concerning the probable increased need to postpone council decisions…should more investigation and research be needed.

My ‘Proper Vote’ will always go to those who get it right the first time…not those who were the first to ‘jump on a popular ship headed for nowhere’. I urge all to slow the pace and get it right the first time. We did not elect you to be ‘speed demons’ or ‘show biz artists’. We elected you to represent our great town of Gilbert, Arizona with wisdom.

Captain Rick

I welcome your comments, likes, shares and following of my blog! (If not visible, click the red title above)

Associated ATRIDIM NEWS JOURNAL Report Categories:

Gilbert Town Council: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/gilbert-town-council/

Gilbert Council Proper Vote Scorecard: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/gilbert-council-proper-vote-scorecard/

Gilbert Arizona: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/gilbert-arizona/

Captain Rick: Gilbert, Arizona: 5 of 7 council members voted on March 7, 2013 to increase employee compensation by $12 million during the coming year…a cost of $60 for each of Gilbert’s 220,000 citizens. A recent market study conducted by a consulting firm stated that Gilbert employees are paid 2% below the private sector and 13% below the public sector in the Phoenix area. 5 council members voted to use an average of these percentages to raise employee salary mid-points to be 6.5% above the private sector. 2 council members voted to scale back the mid-point from 50% to 45%, effectively promoting a 1.5% increase above the private sector.

I found the employee compensation study remarkable, but not surprising, that it shows that Gilbert lags the public sector by 13% and the private sector by 2%, an 11 percentage point difference. It leads me to draw one of two conclusions. Either the public sector is overpaid by 11 percentage points or the public sector is 11 percentage points less productive. Based on my perception of the public sector over many decades, I suspect the reason is a combination of both. A 2% increase in Gilbert job scales to bring them equal to the 50th percentile of the private sector is justifiable. 2 council members offered a 1.5% premium on top of that. It was rejected by the other 5 members who voted for a 6.5% premium. In my opinion, they do not understand math or economics.

This legislation contained great improvements to the way Gilbert currently manages employee compensation. It is such a shame that 5 members of our council had to bastardize it by NOT listening to the common sense presented by the other 2. Gilbert should be a leader of efficiency, not a follower of inefficiency, which this vote provides. I hope that this post will help draw these 5 members back to reality to find a way to correct this gross travesty they have cast upon the citizens of my town of Gilbert, the place I have loved to call home for over 15 years.

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Captain Rick presents the first Gilbert Council PROPER VOTE award of 2013 to Victor Petersen and Jared Taylor for voting NO on this issue.

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Your PROPER VOTE has been registered on Captain Rick’s Gilbert Council Scorecard: https://atridim.wordpress.com/gilbert-council-scorecard/

How much increase in pay can Gilbert employees expect?

Based on data from Gilbert’s 2012-2013 Budget (link below), if we divide the $11,900,000 expenditure approved by this vote, by 1201 Gilbert employees, the resultant is an average of 12.3% pay increase or $9,909 annually. The average Gilbert salary will be $90,748. That is one heck of a salary. I am wondering how many private sector employees make a salary as lucitive as this and if Gilbert has too many high paid ‘Chiefs’ and well paid ‘Indians’?

Gilbert’s 2012-2013 Budget: http://www.gilbertaz.gov/budget/pdf/2012-13%20BUDGET%20DOC%20-%20WEBfinal.pdf

Supporting data details:

General fund:

869.32 employees (page 66) at a cost of $74,059,895 (page 68).

$8,000,000 in pay increases, approved by this vote, results in an average 10.8% pay increase of $9203 annually.

Non general fund:

Enterprise: 238.93 positions (page 66) at a cost of $15,908,094 (page 150)

Streets: 51.3 positions (page 66) at a cost of $3,445,856 (page 200)

Internal service funds: 26 positions (page 66) at a cost of $1,685,730 (page 212)

Capital Projects: 5.75 positions (page 66) at a cost of $555,040 (page 240)

Special Revenue: 9.6 positions (page 66) at a cost of $1,434,000 (page 226)

Total Non-Gen: 331.58 positions (sum) at a cost of $23,028,720 personnel costs (sum)

$3,900,000 in pay increases, approved by this vote, results in an average 16.9% pay increase of $11,762 annually

Total costs: $74,059,895 (General fund) + $23,028,720 (Non-General funds) =  $97,088,615

Average salary with approved increase

$97,088,615 (Total costs) + $11,900,000 (approved increase) = $108,988,615  / 1201 employees = $90,748

Note: All financial figures include employer contributions to Social Security, retirement and healthcare.

Captain Rick: I love my town of Gilbert, Arizona, USA … the place I have called home for a long time. With a population of nearly a quarter million, one of America’s fastest growing cities, Gilbert is no longer the small town of 60,000 it was when I moved to Gilbert in 1997. Since then I have viewed every town council meeting to stay abreast of what is happening in Gilbert. That’s a lot of meetings, that required a lot of my time … time that I believe was well spent. I am one of Gilbert’s ‘eagles’ who keep a close eye on our Town Council to help guide our great community in the proper direction.

In mid 2011, I began my “Proper Vote Scorecard” to keep track of how Gilbert council members vote on controversial issues. I consider a PROPER VOTE to be one that is truly in the best interest of Gilbert citizens … one that is fiscally responsible and free of politics and private agendas.

In September 2012 I began reporting on each PROPER VOTE in separate blog entries. Many contain dialog with council members to gain their perspective to enhance citizen understanding.

Gilbert Arizona Town Council: October 4, 2012: Item 10: $15,000 to fund educational services for people in HOAs

CONTRACTconsider approval of Accountability Contract No. 2012-1003-0313 with the Leadership Centre in an amount not to exceed $15,000 in FY2013 related to providing educational services for persons living or providing homeowner association services in Gilbert, and authorize the Mayor to execute the required documents.

For those not familiar with the term ‘HOA’, it means ‘Home Owner Association’. Every new community established in Gilbert has an HOA, which is responsible for the upkeep of all parks and common grounds within the community, often including landscaping along the boulevards and its medians. All home owners in an HOA pay monthly dues to cover these expenses … me included.

Council members Victor Petersen and Eddie Cook voted against this measure. Based on council testimony, it appeared that they cast the PROPER VOTE, but I asked both to offer clarification so that my readers would understand why a vote of NO was proper. The following email conversation transpired:

Victor Petersen:  This item took me a long time to reason through. It was disturbing because I did find some valid complaints on the side of the HOAs claiming injustices imposed by the town. I had to acknowledge those injustices, but at the end of the day, I didn’t see that we were resolving them by subsidizing HOA leadership training. I suppose if the HOAs all came forward with an official agreement saying that in exchange for the Town of Gilbert supporting The Leadership Centre contract they would accept that as fully payment for other burdens we ask them to bear, that would be acceptable. However, that is not what we were contemplating, and I would guess they would never agree to such terms. The bottom line is that it is bad policy to accept abuse from a party because we believe we have abused them. It is good policy to stop the abuse. It is good policy to address each injustice directly. Two wrongs don’t make a right, and a vote to continue down this same path has does nothing to resolve these issues. In fact, all that has been accomplished is to perpetuate the injustices that are taking place.

Captain Rick: Your explanation helps a lot. I have a basic understanding of the injustices claimed by the HOAs that the town imposes, but I am not sure the public does. Could you add a couple of lines to summarize the main injustices and why or why not you agree with them…and/or anything that would help improve the publics understanding of the connection between the injustices and the Leadership Centre training?

Victor Petersen: The biggest injustice I have seen that the Town of Gilbert is perpetrating against the HOAs is the requirement for the HOAs to maintain the landscaping along the arterials (main roads) to a standard set by the Town. This standard is very high and very expensive. As I see it, this is really a hidden tax upon the citizens of Gilbert that live in HOAs. I believe we should either let the HOAs decide what amount of landscaping they are willing to maintain in that space or have the Town pay for the cost of the high standard of maintenance we are requiring. With power comes responsibility. If we want the power to dictate a high standard, we have the responsibility to pay for it. I am not sure everyone will appreciate the point I am making on this issue, but I do believe it is true to principle.

Victor’s words of explanation convinced me that the PROPER VOTE was NO. I did not receive a reply from Eddie Cook.

Victor Petersen and Eddie Cook have received credit for their PROPER VOTE on my Gilbert Council Scorecard: https://atridim.wordpress.com/gilbert-council-scorecard/