Letters to the Editor, April 14, 2006

Fire board needs to get out of road-building business

Editor:

According to the recent headline, a "New plan for Sedona roadway alternative avoids the Red Rock Crossing debate." [The Verde Independent, March 26]

Well, not exactly.

The plan is called the Crescent Moon alternative, submitted as part of the Sedona Fire District's latest effort to get involved in the alternate route controversy.

The Fire District's study cost taxpayers $10,000. I know ten grand doesn't buy what it used to, but, even allowing for inflation, it appears overpriced. At ten pages in length ­ it cost us $1,000 a page!

Anyway, back to the plan.

The "new" Crescent Moon route still utilizes Verde Valley School Road, Chavez Ranch Road and Upper Red Rock Loop Road. The only difference between it and the Red Rock Crossing route is the addition of an estimated quarter-mile of new road, connecting the two sides, about a quarter mile upstream from Red Rock Crossing. At that point a new bridge would be built across Oak Creek.

Now a quarter mile isn't much. Do you really believe all the vehicles using this Crescent Moon route would not be seen and heard by visitors to the Crossing area? And don't forget: The impacts on everyone living along Verde Valley School Road, Chavez Ranch Road and Upper Red Rock Loop Road remain exactly the same.

So, as you can see from this brief explanation of exactly what the "new plan" entails, it's not really all that new.

If the negative public reaction at the Sedona Fire District board meeting on March 22 is any indication, this latest proposal will only serve to re-ignite the Red Rock Crossing controversy once again.

According to the Sedona Fire District's own Web site, "The primary responsibility of the Governing Board is to ensure that the fire district is fiscally responsible to their taxpayers."

Isn't it time for the Board members to get back to their mission and out of the road building business?

Craig Dible

Village of Oak Creek

Let's trust the hydrologists for our water information

Editor:

Over the past year, I've read countless articles on these pages concerning the perilous state of our water supply. Some were scholarly and many have just reflected reasonable concern over the issue.

However, never have I read anything like Bob Womack's recent "My Turn" (Doom and gloom water forcast all wet).

For example, in a state as geographically varied as Arizona, ratios like acres of watershed per citizen, and average rainfall per year may sound impressive, but say nothing about how long an aquifer under Clarkdale will function if Bob Womack builds a thousand houses on top of it.

Mr. Womack asserts that developments are far more efficient in water usage than farms of equal acreage. Therefore developments save water when they replace a farm or a cotton field, etc. Might be true in Buckeye, or Gila Bend or Queen Creek. But Clarkdale or Sedona or Prescott? Nonsense Bob, you've got to have the farm first.

Also the notion that our aquifers here in the valley benefit from the "trickle down" of snow melt from the San Francisco Peaks seems like a pretty flimsy guarantee of future water availability unless one plans on using Verde River water. Likewise, I'm not so sure that the notion of aquifer interconnectability is something I'd want to depend on.

Finally, it's foolish to assume that if Roosevelt Lake shrinks and then is replenished in wet cycles, aquifers will behave roughly the same no matter how many of Mr. Womack's houses they have to support.

I'm all for science, but I think I'll take the word of real geologists and not the assertions of a Realtor who "cherry picks" statistics to fit the wants and needs of speculators and builders.

Bob Brookes

Cottonwood

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