Editorial: Redistricting vote most likely will be another water fight

While folks in the Verde Valley have come together on "Map C" among Yavapai County's redistricting choices, we should not assume those on the other side of the mountain will agree with us.

That's why it's important we have a strong Verde Valley contingent attend the county's Aug. 22, 9 a.m., meeting in Prescott. That's when the final decision will be made on the new five-way slicing of the county pie. The Prescott board of supervisors meeting room is located at 1015 Fair St.

By it's very nature, redistricting at any level of government is politically divisive. Not so with county redistricting in the Verde Valley, though. Map C has emerged as the best fit for a new alignment of Verde voting precincts.

It's earned the endorsement of Verde Valley Supervisor Chip Davis, who said, "There is definitely a lot at stake here as far as representation for the Verde. But there is also an opportunity to create a well-rounded board. And that's what's best for Yavapai County. To get there we are going to have to take down the boundary of Mingus Mountain and start working together ... I have to believe it would force us to look at countywide solutions and not have so much of the Verde versus the other side of the mountain attitude that we have had for eons."

Early in the process, the only significant grumbling to be heard concerning county redistricting came from the Village of Oak Creek, whose residents worried about being split from Sedona. After examining all the options, the folks in VOC are now also on board with the Map C option. Said Big Park Council Chairman Mel Copen: "Each of the alternatives presents a series of trade-offs. Fortunately, all four keep the Yavapai County portions of the City of Sedona and the Village together ... Proposal C would also place the entire Verde River Watershed area under the supervision of two Supervisors who would be elected, in large part, by Verde Valley voters."

It should not come as any surprise that this redistricting plan is going to come down to a water fight between the Verde and Prescott.

Tuesday, the Prescott City Council endorsed the county's "Map A," which would split Prescott into three separate districts. More importantly to Prescott interests, "Map A" maintains Prescott's control over the Big Chino Water Ranch.

Last week, the Prescott Valley Tribune reported that several business and civic leaders from Dewey-Humboldt, Mayer and Black Canyon City met with Supervisor Tom Thurman to debate the redistricting options. Thurman noted there is concern on the Prescott side of the mountain that people in the Verde Valley want an alignment that would give them influence on the Big Chino Pipeline.

Obviously, folks in the Verde are looking at county redistricting through a completely different set of eyes than those in the Prescott area are. No surprise there.

Given the fact that this decision will be made in Prescott, and two of the three votes on the issue come from that side of the mountain, the Verde Valley has its work cut out for it in selling the merits of Map C.

Some would say we have an uphill battle ahead of us.

It's probably more accurate to say we have an up-river battle ahead of us.

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