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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : opinions : letters May 28, 2016

10/8/2011 1:09:00 PM
Letter: Respect is a one-way street with Mayor Joens


I just returned from a meeting between the City of Cottonwood and the homeowners of Verde Santa Fe, Cornville, regarding annexation. There were over 100 people in attendance to get more information on whether the annexation process would or should move forward. 

The majority of the people in attendance made it very clear they were not in favor of the City of Cottonwood moving forward with this project. While we understand the State laws and the process, the City Council had the choice of not moving forward. 

With that said, they listened to the comments, with Mayor Joens interjecting that she would like to move along because she had a class she needed to go to.  After about 40 people spoke, again Mayor Joens said once again that she had a class she would like to make so it was then turned over to the council members for comment. 

They all said they had received a ton of emails from people, but choose not to share the number of for or against. I thought the purpose of the meeting, which is why most of the people came out was to hear what, WE, the public had to say. They said they, the City of Cottonwood, didn’t come to us, which is true, and that they needed to hear from all the homeowners, which they still can’t identify and all had the opportunity to attend the meeting, and then they voted to move forward. 

This whole process was started by a handful of people that want to live in Cottonwood and now are making the rest of the community follow their rules and requests. The respect from the Mayor was clearly one-sided and the respect of all the people that came out to voice their opinion was turned on deaf ears.  If Mayor Joens had another commitment, she should not have agreed to set the meeting for another night.  This meeting was called by the City of Cottonwood and there was no time limit on the paperwork that was sent out by them.  

We were there to listen, she should have given us the respect and listened to us without making the audience feel hurried or unimportant because she needed to leave. I have never been in a meeting where the chairman reminded the audience more than once that they had somewhere else to be.  When we finished speaking we could have all gotten up and left but we stayed to the end out of respect for the Council. 

I am very disappointed in the way we were heard at this meeting. I hope the Verde Santa Fe residents really think about this annexation process and choose to stay in the County and in Cornville.

Deanna King

Verde Santa Fe Resident

Related Stories:
• Letter: Council ignored voices of Verde Santa Fe
• Verde Santa Fe annexation petition drive begins
• Cottonwood gives green light to Verde Santa Fe annexation

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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, November 6, 2011
Article comment by: gary chamberlain

Here's the secret!

There are some real nice folks in Cottonwood and that's a definite!

I've heard that they are so embarrassed by the actions of the Cottonwood City Council that they want to move to Cornville so they don't have to explain to others what their city leaders are doing.

Could this be true?

Gary Chamberlain
Cornville, AZ

Posted: Thursday, October 13, 2011
Article comment by: Deanna King Fits Cottonwood Perfectly

Deanna King has strong-armed many and run roughshod over a good number of Cornville residents during her involvement with the Cornville Community Association. I sympathize with those who have experienced this. She just wants to continue her reign over that Association, and that would come to a COMPLETE HALT if she didn't live in Cornville anymore. I say send her to Cottonwood and let her play with the real politicians where she belongs.

Posted: Thursday, October 13, 2011
Article comment by: Seems that

VSF may become the 'red headed' step child that nobody really wants to claim. With toll booths at the switchbacks and referendums in C-wood...

Toss in a bit of the good old Verde Village 3rd hand here-say and we have a super grand royal blow out on the horizon.

Good times...

Posted: Thursday, October 13, 2011
Article comment by: Candace Topping

I propose we put toll booths on Cornville Road, at the top of the switchbacks and one at the junction with Beaverhead Flat road. Then count how many in VSF want to consider themselves Cornville residents. Give the money to Oak Creek school.

Posted: Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Article comment by: Suspicious Resident

If you think the mayor is suspect now, wait until she and the Council start working to annex the Verde Villages. This has been on her agenda for years as she expressed personally to a friend of mine.

Posted: Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Article comment by: Look inside yourself, Ms. King

Perhaps you should re-evaluate your own attitude, Ms. King. It is the job of Ms. Joens to conduct a meeting within a certain time limit. How many does it take to screw in a light bulb? Both sides were heard from and it was TIME TO CLOSE THE MEETING.
You definitely are not talking about the Diane Joens that I know. She doesn't have an unkind or biased bone in her body. DO YOU ???

Posted: Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Article comment by: John A. Bond

Respect, particularly mutual respect, usually occurs when people feel they are equals.

In the instant case of Mayor Joens, she does not feel equal to those who oppose annexation.

She feels superior to them. Whenever anyone imbued with political power perceives themselves to be superior to others there is little chance for mutual respect to ensue from interactions between them.

Mayor Joens knows that many of those living in Verde Santa Fe are "renters". It is only the actual homeowners who matter.

Also, keep in mind that the Cottonwood City Council is nothing more than a rubber stamp for whatever the City Manager puts before it. The council is not an independent representative body with the ability or desire to oppose the City Manager. What he wants, he gets, period.

Your time would be far better spent have those who rent or lease from the actual owners contact them directly and plead your case against annexation directly to them.

Let them know you oppose annexation and see if collectively you can persuade the majority of property owners to vote no on annexation.

That is the only real power you have and the property owners are the ones with real power with the ability to vote NO on annexation.

Posted: Monday, October 10, 2011
Article comment by: Makes No

sense to me But why would someone even buy outside of Cottonwood when they wanted to live in Cottonwood? Heck Cottonwood can't take care of what it has now It sure doesn't need anymore to take care of

Posted: Sunday, October 9, 2011
Article comment by: I think it is important to remember a few things...

1- The 40 people who spoke against annexation equal 4.4% of the total home owners (using rough numbers) no where near any sort of a actionable representation.

2- one of the council people mentioned that folks might not be speaking in favor out of fear... and the crowd gave an angry rumble... seemed to prove the point rather well.

3- It seems the real issue begins at home right in VSF... it is obvious that there are internal divisions and a severe lack of communication. And now the City is 'stuck in the middle' so to speak.

Both sides need to find the courage to speak and the courage to listen as well.

Posted: Sunday, October 9, 2011
Article comment by: Dave Alton

I can understand how the person in "I Love Verde Santa Fe" feels about being intimidated by those opposed to annexation. As a leader of the group who support annexation I have been told in emails and in person that the facts, that support annexation, are a lie or a false assumption. People who support annexation have been accused of doing it for personal gain or other alternative motives. One of the comments I get regularly is if I wanted to live in Cottonwood I should have bought in Cottonwood. I would ask anyone who lives in VSF would they have bought in VSF if all the services available in Cottonwood had not been then? In fact would VSF ever exist if there were only Cornville?

People opposed to annexation have repeatably used statements that scare people to try to stop the process before everyone in VSF have a say in annexation. As was made clear at the meeting on Thursday even if every person there were against annexation they would represent less than 10% of the residents in VSF.

The Mayor was more than fair with those who wanted to make comments. Everyone got to speak. In fact after the period for public comment had closed, when it appeared that the Council would not or could not stop the process, many of those opposed rose to ask questions in a further attempt to stop the process.

Ms. King made the comment that everyone in VSF had a chance to attend the meeting. I am sure she is aware that close to half of the property owners in VSF have mailing addresses outside of Cornville. With that many owners living outside of VSF it would be impossible to know how the major feels about annexation. This can only happen if every property owner is given the opportunity to sign a petition to support annexation.

Posted: Sunday, October 9, 2011
Article comment by: I love Verde Santa Fe

Mrs. King, I was at the same meeting you attended. Did you have a meeting agenda? My agenda said the meeting was to last from 6 p.m. to 8 pm. The meeting lasted from 6 to 8 p.m. From my seat, the mayor allowed every single person who signed up to speak, then she gave several more chances for anyone else who wanted to speak. I couldn’t see that anyone one was denied if they chose to speak. At the end, she allowed everyone who got up at the podium to ask a question of the staff or council. What troubled me about this meeting, Mrs. King, is that I wanted to speak, and so did many of my neighbors. But we are afraid. Not of the mayor, but of you. We are afraid to get up in a public hearing and talk, because of the uppity attitudes of you and yours. I am intimidated by you and your people, Mrs. King. And I’m embarrassed to say that. If I get up and speak, would you come into my home and attack me for my beliefs, or spat upon me when I walk down the street? At least in this newspaper forum, I feel free to speak my mind. What I am really concerned about, deeply, is that we will soon be ruled by a county board of supervisors that has just changed from 2 against 1 to 4 against 1 in our favor. As our lovely little village ages in place, who will have our best interest in mind—people we elect here locally, a part of our local community, or four supervisors over the mountain, and one supervisor from the Verde Valley, who only will represent a portion of the Verde Valley?

Posted: Sunday, October 9, 2011
Article comment by: Tom Babbitt

There is no incentive for Cottonwood to annex Verde Santa Fe. It will result in a net loss for the city. There will be more people to maintain and complain with no tax base to support it. You are right to be suspect of Mayor Joens' motivations.
The people of Verde Santa Fe need to be on the alert for hired provocateurs as politics in Arizona has become dirty.

Posted: Sunday, October 9, 2011
Article comment by: Disconnect between Mayor and Public

Sounds like another instance of a disconnect between the Mayor and the public.

We've seen this sort of disconnect before in Cottonwood's premature attempt to annex forest and trust land. The mayor, perhaps pushed by staff, wants Cottonwood to become a large city, despite what the majority of citizens want.

The people of Cottonwood like our small town. We like living in a small town. We like the quality of life in a small town. That's why we're here. If we wanted to live in a big city we would.

The Cottonwood general plan repeatedly describes protecting small town character, but too often we see the plan and the will of the people ignored.

When it comes to commitment to small town character, there is quite a difference between Cornville and Cottonwood, as evidenced by the mayor's actions.

This should give the people of Verde Santa Fe a glimpse of some of the issues the people of Cottonwood face with staff and certain elected officials who seem determined to make a big city out of a small town.

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