The political winds have shifted for Gilbert Mayor Steve Berman, which could compel him to work harder to win re-election and give voters a more complete airing of the town’s issues and concerns before the upcoming election.
Years ago, Berman brushed off his loudest critics as malcontents and gadflies who were effective at getting media attention but had no popular support. Even when Berman faced a potential recall earlier this year, no credible candidate stepped forward to aid the campaign and the effort disappeared after a mistake at town hall left the campaign without enough valid signatures. Now, with a regular election looming in March, Berman likely will find himself in a serious contest against a collection of earnest candidates. Former Town Councilman David Petersen, Cable Shopping Network manager Kevin Adams and GoDaddy customer service representative Eric Hurley already have picked the necessary paperwork to launch challenges. On Friday, Tribune writer Blake Herzog reported two-term councilman Don Skousen intends to join the race as well at the urging of others, including Vice Mayor Joan Krueger.
Berman told Herzog there are opportunists who think he’s vulnerable because of the large amount of negative publicity he has received this year. But Berman added that most of the unwanted attention has been on his personal style and his pending divorce, matters that have little to do with his performance as mayor.
However, we imagine Berman’s opponents aren’t about to let voters forget that he drives a pickup given to Gilbert from an auto dealer who benefited from town subsidies to relocate, or his badly handled interview with KNXV-TV (Channel 15) about the Big League Dreams stadium complex.
We won’t be supporting Berman, Skousen or anyone else for mayor, as the Tribune doesn’t endorse or oppose candidates for publicly elected office. But we always have supported the idea of contested races so that incumbents must defend their records and voters have at least two viable choices. So regardless of the reason that Berman will have to earn a third term as mayor, the effort will be good for democracy in Gilbert.