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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

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7/3/2013 2:09:00 PM
Cottonwood abandons WAC sub-group
Mayor Diane Joens: “Cottonwood has always wanted to work regionally with the Board of Supervisors as members.”
Mayor Diane Joens: “Cottonwood has always wanted to work regionally with the Board of Supervisors as members.”

Jon Hutchinson
Staff Reporter

The Cottonwood City Council has agreed to follow the recommendation of its Natural Resources Director and not be a partner in the Middle Verde sub-WAC group.

The city will retain its position in the unified WAC.

The WAC was originally formed to abate the division over water use that divided the west and east sides of the county. The Yavapai County Supervisors decided to no longer to attend the meetings and the organization has decided to work on issues regionally and only come together as a whole on an occasional basis.

Whitmer did not attend the Tuesday council meeting. But his notes for the council spell out the disagreement over the new direction of the WAC.

"The Middle Verde sub-WAC has decided to abandon the decision by 'consensus policy' established by the WAC, open up its membership to special interest groups, and focus its efforts on the development of water policy, which it has no authority to set.

"Staff does not support the current direction of the WAC and its formation of two sub-WACs for reasons that it feels will lead to an increase in division between the two sides.

Staff also feels the direction the Middle Verde sub-WAC has decided to pursue is not in the best interest of the region or the City's."

Whitmer will continue to attend full meetings of the WAC, but the council agreed Tuesday that it will not participate in the Middle Verde Sub-group and will follow the lead of WAC members in the west by cutting their dues in the organization by half to $6,032.50.

Mayor Diane Joens noted, "Cottonwood has always wanted to work regionally with the Board of Supervisors as members."

"It concerns me that it has become politically split into two. We all want to work together, repeated Terence Pratt."

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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, July 5, 2013
Article comment by: B Cerf

Basic journalism rules would have it that - when using an acronym - an author should state the definition of the acronym up front, then go ahead and use the acronym itself in the balance of the story.

That said, what's "WAC" mean?

Posted: Friday, July 5, 2013
Article comment by: What is... a WAC?

What's a WAC?

Posted: Friday, July 5, 2013
Article comment by: Consensus is better than votes when the issue is as crucial and shared as this.

To divide an already divided house leaves everyone out in the cold and in this case thirsting for a drink.

As well as placing power in the hands of a few rather than in the hands of all.

Posted: Friday, July 5, 2013
Article comment by: The headline should read- Sub-WAC's abandon founding principles-

The city did not abandon anything. The minute the WAC was split and 'abandoned' a consensus system it ceased to exist as it was intended.

Look past the politics and power plays and examine the real data, get the real numbers out there- the percapita water use of each community. Maybe that will shed light on the real leaders of the conservation movement rather than self appointed ones.

Posted: Thursday, July 4, 2013
Article comment by: Consensus is better than voting?

"The Middle Verde sub-WAC has decided to abandon the decision by 'consensus policy'..." according to Mr. Whitmer. So now they're using that pesky, undemocratic way of making decisions - by voting. What a novel and radical concept - voting! Can't have that!

"Cottonwood has always wanted to work regionally..." so we'll not work with the regional water advisory committee. OK. I guess. Makes sense to the Mayor, apparently.

"We all want to work together, repeated Terence Pratt." OK, but by "work together" he doesn't mean with the local WAC or any other local organization working on water or the river. Makes sense to Mr. Pratt, apparently.

How can we citizens of Cottonwood make sense of silly statements like these?

Posted: Thursday, July 4, 2013
Article comment by: They don't WANT to work together!

It would be nice if everyone would work together with the WAC as one contiguous whole. However, that idea is a proven failure. The divided politics of the WAC have produced nothing but a stalemate. It took the Verde River Basin Partnership to finally run a USGS water use scenario when the WAC was too politically scattered to do it. Then there's the TAC, the part of the WAC that does "technical" analyses. The TAC has proven itself to be little more than a tool to promote the agenda of the Prescott area developers. It would argue that the earth is flat if it needed to, just to justify pumping the Big Chino. The splitting of the WAC is sad, but little good was coming out of it. It was comprised of politicians, not researchers. The VRBP and others have proven that better research comes from elsewhere. I think the WAC should rejoin as a single body, get out of the research and "scientific" analysis business, and focus strictly on making conservation policy. At least on that they might agree.

Posted: Thursday, July 4, 2013
Article comment by: Whitmer Scares everyone away!

Word is, no one wants to got to a meeting that Whitmer is at. He dominates the meetings and talks on an on.

Posted: Thursday, July 4, 2013
Article comment by: Julie Fiano

Didn't Tom Whitmer pen a My Turn about regional cooperation just a few weeks ago?

So much for that.

This decision goes against what the majority of people want. We want our city to be a positive contributing part of the regional community.

We need to elect stronger leaders that are willing and able to take a constructive role in permanent water sustainability and protection of the Verde River.

Despite what Tom Whitmer thinks, can there be any doubt this is what the majority of people in Cottonwood want?

It is not Tom Whitmer's role to dictate what is and is not in the city's or the region's best interests. He's an unelected unaccountable bureaucrat.

Personally, I've had quite enough of staff running the show around here, thank you very much.

If all our elected leaders can do is default to staff, if they are unwilling or unable to lead and truly represent the people, they should be replaced.

Cottonwood can and should be taking a leadership role in our region, not isolating itself.

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