Rob Canterbury, sergeant-at-arms for the Arizona Republican Party, announced he will run for Maricopa County Supervisor (MCBOS) in 2024. Canterbury is challenging Maricopa County Supervisor Clint Hickman in District 4, and at the same time, also taking on Bill Gates — the Microsoft founder, not the supervisor. Gates is constructing a “smart city” in Maricopa County, and Canterbury wants to ensure his project does not get subsidies from the county and make demands “with strings attached.”
In a statement, the Navy veteran (pictured above) said, “What could possibly go wrong with having any government services (not including those that aren’t already) bought and paid for by Bill Gates, or what could possibly go wrong with students in schools in a Bill Gates owned city?”
He added, “There is only one thing that rich people want more of and that is more money. For Bill Gates to maximize his $80M investment for this ‘smart city,’ he will need local and state government assistance. Do you really think that someone like Katie Hobbs will refuse a phone call from Bill Gates when he needs a government favor ‘with strings attached,’ or do you think that Bill Gates will refuse a phone call from Bill Gates for the same thing?”
Canterbury told The Arizona Sun Times, “I want to protect and save Maricopa County’s future. We’ve been the fastest growing county in the U.S. for the past two years. Every corporation in the world is looking here to build their plants, but we have to do that smartly. Let’s say someone from China or a communist country comes in, they will start influencing our communities regarding communism. The county supervisors are the ones who approve leasing county-owned land. I will never let that happen.”
The Maricopa County Board Supervisors have come under heavy criticism in Arizona for handling the 2020 and 2022 elections. They have repeatedly denied any improprieties, even though several election challenges by candidates, including Kari Lake, Abe Hamadeh, and Mark Finchem, are still being litigated. The MCBOS refused repeatedly to turn over data and technical equipment from the elections to the Arizona Attorney General’s Office when requested.
A ‘Smart City’ Called Belmont
A ‘smart city’ is a planned urban development centered on technology running as much of the functions of the city as possible, accompanied by extensive surveillance collecting data to make improvements. Technology-controlled areas include traffic and transportation systems that allow no human-driven cars, power plants, utilities, water supply networks, waste, criminal investigations, information systems, schools, libraries, hospitals, and other community services. The surveillance data is shared with the government, third parties, and businesses.
Gates, who is worth over $100 billion, owns the largest amount of farmland in the country, 242,000 acres across 19 states. In 2017, the tech mogul’s Cascade Investment LLC, using a subsidiary LLC called Mt. Lemmon Holdings, bought 24,800 acres of desert land 40 miles west of Phoenix, in and near Buckeye and Tonapah, which he named Belmont. The city is expected to house 200,000 residents, comparable to Tempe. Gates continued to add new parcels of land, and thousands of single-family residential permits have been issued.
Gates has invested $80 million into the development, though construction has not yet begun. Other smart cities will reportedly cost $400 billion each. The ambitious project is facing opposition from environmental activists, who oppose the destruction of the Sonoran Desert, and object to how the city will drain water supplies during droughts with the addition of new people to the state.
Experts question why developers want to build a city from scratch so far away from Phoenix instead of improving Phoenix’s existing infrastructure. Tom Jones, founder of Smart City Consulting, told Business Insider, “Ready-made cities generally falter, because they lack a sense of place, authenticity, and distinctiveness. They are like an Epcot version of a city.”
EPCOT, an acronym for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, was envisioned by Walt Disney as an experimental planned community that would serve as a center for American enterprise and urban living in Florida in the 1960s, but following Disney’s death in 1966, skeptics within the company dropped the concept and turned their sights on building a science-based theme park instead. EPCOT first opened its doors to visitors in October 1982.
Canterbury told The Sun Times, “I will push back against the rich people like [Microsoft founder Bill] Gates. I am not in it for the money. Otherwise he’s going to run our governments, our schools, and our hospitals.”
Canterbury is running on a platform to combat election fraud. He lists election integrity first on his website’s issues page. He said, “Whether you believe it or not, the Dominion voting machines are not the answer to fair and honest elections. If those machines are still in place for the 2024 election, I promise to the people of Maricopa County to do everything I can to get rid of those machines and get the county’s money back.”
He also asserted, “Our elections must be conducted with 100% Voter I.D.s, on one day, using only paper ballots, by precinct only, and only those who can justify a mail in ballot will get one. No more ballot drop boxes or ballot harvesting.”
On Canterbury’s news page, where he posted updates, he extensively criticized the MCBOS. “WE MUST VOTE ALL 5 MEMBERS OUT IN 2024,” he said. “By the BOS not fully complying, they not only stole our voice, but they took away our single most sacred right, TO VOTE, and gave it to illegal votes.”
He added, “I am running for Maricopa Board of Supervisors because if ‘they’ can help the powers to be at that big social media organization and other rich and powerful’s cheat and steal a U.S. Presidential election, they can do the same to Jim Lamon, Austin Smith, Frank Carroll, Kari Lake, Kim Yee, and every other person whose agenda doesn’t match up with theirs.”
Canterbury previously served as security supervisor of former President Donald Trump’s campaign headquarters in Washington, D.C.
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Rachel Alexander is a reporter at The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Rachel on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Rob Canterbury” by Rob Canterbury for MCBOS. Background Photo “Maricopa County Courthouse” by Ken Lund. CC BY-SA 2.0.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated to reflect that Rob Canterbury is running for election to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisor against incumbent Clint Hickman.