No 'C': County Redistricting Ruckus

Verde Valley voice falls on deaf ears

VVN/Jon Hutchinson<br>
Many Verde Valley residents watched the county proceedings in Prescott via teleconference in the Board of Supervisors meeting room in Cottonwood.

VVN/Jon Hutchinson<br> Many Verde Valley residents watched the county proceedings in Prescott via teleconference in the Board of Supervisors meeting room in Cottonwood.

PRESCOTT -- Verde Valley residents turned out in force to have a voice in the Yavapai County redistricting decision Monday.

Verde Valley public officials and citizens crowded supervisors' meeting rooms, both in Prescott, where the meeting was held, as well as the Verde Valley chambers, where a teleconferencing link allowed comments to be broadcast.

Most of the comments from both venues came from Verde Valley speakers who unanimously championed Map C. Chip Davis counted 27 speakers and six written statements in favor of "C" and only five for Map A.

But, when the supervisors decision was made, calls for equality and balanced districts went out the window. Both Prescott area supervisors voted for Alternate Map A and Chip Davis voted against, favoring Map C.

Carol Springer contended that she stayed out of the politicking. "I had hoped that the Supervisors would remain out, but I was disappointed when they became involved."

Davis, however, complained that both Springer and Tom Thurman helped create Map A. He claims he let the public process work.

Richard Dehnert, speaking for Clarkdale, said the Verde Valley with one-third of the population, should be part of two districts.

Map C would do that, including Cottonwood, Clarkdale, Verde Village and Cornville in District-3 with a finger into Prescott Valley. New District 5, according to Map C, would combine Sedona, the Village of Oak Creek, Lake Montezuma and Rimrock, Camp Verde and a portion of Prescott Valley, Dewey Humboldt and Cherry.

Map C was also supported by Deanna King of Cornville Community Association and Margaret Paddock of the Verde Valley Property Owners Association. Jeb Gibson said a resolution of the Big Park Community Association supported Map C.

Janet Aniol of the Lake Montezuma Property Owners Association said Plan C gives equal access for unincorporated areas.

Former County Planner, now retired, Enalo Lockard supported Map C. But, he warned that the final plan still needs approval of the Department of Justice.

Cornville's Steve Morehouse supported plan C, saying that would keep Cornville and the Verde Santa Fe community part of one representative district, unlike Map A. Thurmond submitted Map A Alternate to correct that oversight.

Several like Joanne Johnson of the Big Park area said she would be sad to lose Chip Davis as a Supervisor but still supported Map C. Carl Goodwin said Map C is good for the unincorporated areas.

Even former County Sheriff "Buck" Buchanan said he supported Map "C because it provided every district with an even balance of urban and rural precincts.

Bill Feldmeier, who has homes in both Camp Verde and Prescott, also supported Map A.

Chip Davis suggested that Map A would force the Verde Valley into a corner of the county, without any common interests with the rest of the county.

After the meeting, Cottonwood Vice Mayor Karen Pfeifer said, "They (Thurmond and Springer) didn't listen. They had their minds made up before they came to the meeting. They both had their hands in Map A. It seems they don't care about what the public thinks. If they had listened and gone with the percentages they would have gone with Map C."

Yavapai County is required to have five instead of three supervisors districts, now that its population has passed the 175,000 threshold to a total of 211,033 citizens.

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