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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : opinions : opinions May 24, 2016

6/25/2013 11:29:00 AM
Commentary: Mark Twain called it right on Verde water management philosophies

The line in the sand over local and regional water wars used to be fairly well-defined.

It was the Verde Valley vs. Prescott.

We were unified. We were opposed to the Prescott communities' plans to tap in to the Big Chino aquifer and construct a water pipeline for their domestic water needs.

We were all about protecting the Verde River.

Now, that line is a little bit fuzzy and it's not so much a Verde-Prescott conflict any more as it is dysfunction within our own Verde Valley communities.

Agreement on water-management, preservation and protection philosophies are not one in the same among Verde communities. The current and future health of the Verde River is a hot topic for debate among the Valley's leadership.

Part of the problem is the plethora of water and river protection organizations that exist in the region. Most if not all are agenda-driven and they pick and choose facts to coincide with those agendas. The same can be said for the Verde Valley's municipalities.

The danger of all this conflicting information about our water supply and health of the river is that it only weakens our credibility in the Verde-Prescott debate about Big Chino pumping. Why should the folks from Prescott give us the time of day over use of Verde River headwaters when we cannot even agree among ourselves when it comes to Verde Valley water management practices.

There is an old saying that "Whiskey is for drinking; water is for fighting over" that is often attributed to Mark Twain. That is certainly true these days here in the Verde Valley.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, June 28, 2013
Article comment by: Exception to the norm?

What's the norm? On whose authority can I be refused a "pass?" On whose authority do I need one?

In no small part due to VVMC, this area has become a retirement community. Old folks pass on. Homes change ownership. There will never be a lack of pre-owned homes for sale.

An upgrade to an old home that retains the character of the neighborhood is more likely to attract long-term residents who value that neighborhood's character than a purchase-for-rent by a speculator who is only hoping for a profitable turnover in a contrived 'boom' marketplace.

Small-town character and the beauty of the surrounding environment have value. Development that destroys that value is not good for the community. That's something community governments should consider before buying into the promises of developers who have no long-term interest in the character of the community.

Posted: Friday, June 28, 2013
Article comment by: @ For 'smalltowns & beauty' - you may be exception to the norm-

Just buying an existing home does not get you a pass. Are you making the area nicer? That is bound to attract more new home buyers.

Are you rebuilding a bungalow on historic main street Clarkdale into a 5 bedroom 3 bath Mc.Mansion? (do you really need that extra water to waste?).

Was that century old home the start of the population becoming unsustainable? It has to start someplace- who determines that?

So once those 212 homes are sold is that it? Will that be the limit? Who decides what happen to others private property at that point?

Slippery slopes.

So be sure to park a century old rust bucket in the yard as well as a junkyard dog on a chain and maybe a clothes line tied between two dead trees...(every gallon you pour on a tree is one that will never get to the river per the recent study).

That ought to charm the place right back to the state it was in before folks from all the other states started showing up and trying to maintain and restore our small town character. Ya think?

Posted: Friday, June 28, 2013
Article comment by: For 'small towns and the beauty'...

I bought a century-old home (restoration in progress).

Those who move into an existing home have not "decided on a growth agenda."

There are currently 212 homes for sale in 86326 and 86324. New development would tend to lower the value of those properties.

Posted: Thursday, June 27, 2013
Article comment by: Small conundrum for 'shaking head dallas' -and other no mo' gro' folks-

Those that moved here for the 'small towns and the beauty' already decided on a growth agenda when they moved here. Not their fault but a stark reality.

How many folks that are against any and all 'growth' are in fact part of that growth and are now clamoring to shut the gate behind themselves?

If the line is drawn in the sand now... what next? Who determines that line and what will the effects of it be?

Much as the Verde could be loved to death so could the valley. Go ahead and put a cap on the number of people you are willing to allow into a place then watch them scramble to get in, oops. Did you hear they are closing down any future growth in the Verde Valley... oooh really we better get in there now! Hurry hurry!

Reasonable study and regional consensus in the planning process should be able to allow the valley to flourish in a 'sustainable fashion' without loving it so hard that you squeeze the very life and character that you love right out of it.

People do decide our future every day either by votes, conservation, or by choosing to come and go as they please... We could always plan on trashing the place up a bit and making sure the tourists never even drive through and decide to move here.

A bit counter-intuitive but hey, you do what it takes for the ones you love right?

Posted: Thursday, June 27, 2013
Article comment by: Shaking my head Dallas

Hey what about the new Brookfield Community coming soon? I got a great idea, let's just keep building until we turn into Death Valley. What a wonderful legacy to leave to our Grandchildren.
I'm on board with Growth agenda driving water issue! Let the people who moved here for the small towns and the beauty decided!

Posted: Thursday, June 27, 2013
Article comment by: Cattle drive through Old Town

Planning is not a four-letter word, but I've heard four-letter words used to describe the planning that gave Clarkdale the Mountain Gate subdivision--a soon-to-expand, out-of-character, and reputedly-poorly-constructed warren that makes Centerville look quaintly attractive in comparison.

Posted: Thursday, June 27, 2013
Article comment by: Hmmm Methinks - assumes incorrectly. -

Anti growth agenda is it's own being... born and raised in and around this valley for the duration.

And tired of the political hackery that places itself before and above the 'common-sensus' that should be in place rather than the majority winner eats the loser 's chicken dinner system being sought by many.

We thinks that the Mayor and staff have more important things to do than participate in the endless losing battles that are the anonymous comments in an online article...

Perhaps we all have more important things to do as well if we really think about it, but impersonating a mayor or staff isn't one of them.

Posted: Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Article comment by: Hmmm Methinks

Hmmm...Methinks that "Anti growth agenda..." really either staff or Mayor of Cottonwood. Sure writes like he/she is. Want to save the river? Call them ignorant greenies. Want to intelligently limit growth? Call them naive. Think we want small towns? Call them unrealistic. Sounds very much like the staff and Mayor of Cottonwood.

Posted: Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Article comment by: Funny- no mention of a certain local towns boom/bust growth.

from the outside looking in its odd that there are 2 municipalities that get such different views even though one has done as much or more to promote growth than the other and never gets chided like its neighbor.

Taking part in land trades and approving a couple large subdivisions while flying under the no-growth radar.

The 'stones in glass houses' adage may be apropos.

The idea of 'common-sensus' sure sounds like the way to go rather than majority division and vitriol.

You all keep that up and you won't have a problem with growth...wait a minute... maybe that's the plan?

Pretty clever.

Posted: Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Article comment by: Long Time Verde Valley Resident

Thank you, "Growth Agenda..." commenter, for speaking so well the feelings of so many. Of course, the officials say "they're going to come anyway" (the growth), so you may as well plan for it. But there is a big difference between realizing your limitations, and promoting the type of growth that advocates many thousands of new homes on the state trust lands. The planning should be how to remain a small town, and be "better, not bigger".

Posted: Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Article comment by: Anti-growth agenda takes the wheel -

One comment laments the lack of working together and mentions the loss of consensus... and just like clock work the city basher appears.

Ready in the comments to explain in detail everything that is wrong or evil about the city but curiously silent in real life.

Forgetting that the city they bash normally ends up dealing with the results of the growth they seem to have a fetish against. From articles in the paper it appears that the city may consider growth inevitable and is trying to plan for it... and being thrown under the bus by many of those that are in fact members of the growth they now despise.

Planning is not a 4 letter word and as the old saying go's, failing to plan is planning to fail.

As the city gets thrown under the bus (a service it provides for the region) and proceeds to plan... it seems many others will be simply prefer to wish for it to fail.

Restore regional consensus and common sense... a rising tide floats all boats... but haters seem to enjoy poking holes in all the hulls?

Posted: Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Article comment by: Growth agenda driving water issue

Excellent insight from the editor.

But what's really underlying and driving the water issue is growth, which of course requires water.

Prescott and Prescott Valley have aggressive growth agendas, which is why they need Big Chino water.

Cottonwood also has an aggressive growth agenda, making it something of an outlier among Verde Valley communities.

Every community in the Verde Valley except for Cottonwood consistently states its preference for small town character and quality of life.

In Cottonwood, there is a subtle but significant change to this value: instead of small town values, the city describes "home town" values, taking a page from the Prescott playbook.

Similarly, we are now seeing Cottonwood officials take the same stance that Prescott and Prescott Valley are taking against the USGS numerical model. In Prescott and Prescott Valley, they are doing everything they can to prevent the model from even running.

In Cottonwood, where the model has been run, city officials are now trying to do everything they can to undermine its legitimacy. That seems to be Tom Whitmer's main job.

The problem in Cottonwood is this: the majority of people here are no different than in Camp Verde, Sedona, Clarkdale, Jerome, or Cornville: we all like living in small towns. We prefer the small town lifestyle. We like Cottonwood as a small town.

Whenever the people of Cottonwood are asked, this is what they consistently say: small town character should be protected. In the most recent Cottonwood General Plan meetings, this again was the message, as it has been consistently for decades.

Small town does conflict, however, with the big city growth agenda being pushed primarily by the Cottonwood city staff, and frankly we do not see strong leadership on the Cottonwood city council to challenge staff.

So this is one of the biggest problems our region faces.

Unless and until the City of Cottonwood gets better elected leaders that truly represent the people and not special interests (which include City staff), we will continue to have this disconnect.

This disconnect threatens not only our small town character and quality of life, but the Verde River and sustainable water supplies for future generations.

Posted: Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Article comment by: Splitting the WAC then defunding the WAC and then losing the consensus vote of the WAC-

Is a perfect example of the issue, if everyone isn't on board then it's a sinking ship.

What incentive is there to work together if a select majority has the power to negate the minority?

Either we all paddle across this lake or go in circles until it dries up or floods and washes us down stream.

Consensus is key if all are to progress without leaving others behind, after all the ones left behind will have to be cared for by the rest that got ahead eventually.

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