Tue, June 18

Letter: Is the Cornville Community Association Cornville’s voice?


I am responding to this question and the Cornville Community Association president’s email sent to residents of Verde Santa Fe on Saturday, Jan. 15, at 3:55 p.m.

Deanna King, president of the Cornville Community Association, states “we (the CCA) are the connection between the residents of Cornville and the County.” Further on, she states, “We have over 950 homes here” (Verde Santa Fe) “and only about 40 members. Not a good representation.” Deanna King makes a strong point and one that should concern an organization that appears to want to be the voice of all Cornville’s residents.

I would like to offer my opinion as to why more people don’t belong to the CCA knowing that there is residual anger for the development of Verde Santa Fe that tapped into a questionable water resource. I would also offer that the CCA has viewpoints that might be weighted towards residents from Verde Santa Fe since five of its nine board members are from the Verde Santa Fe community in which I live.

I made a poor attempt explaining the possible reasons for the lack of interest in belonging to the CCA when I spoke during the Verde Santa Fe/Cottonwood annexation meeting in Cottonwood on Jan. 13. I was prepared to add a little humor when presenting my opposition to the annexation by saying that I moved to Cornville so I could wear my favorite long sleeve tee-shirt, purchased at the Grasshopper Grill, with the message “WHERE IN THE HELL IS CORNVILLE?”

The following examples should concern the CCA if they genuinely want to represent all of the residents of Cornville:

• A few days prior to the Jan. 13 Verde Santa Fe/Cottonwood annexation meeting an e-mail letter was sent to Verde Santa Fe residents. This e-letter stated in the conclusion portion of the letter that “Contributions to this letter were also made by --- Deanna King, Cornville Community Association, and a gentleman from Verde Santa Fe.

• Within the body of the e-letter is the statement that the “Cottonwood City Council does not always have our best interest at heart … If you attend their council meetings you will find that they don’t always listen to the public.” All of a sudden I’m having “PTSD” CCA flashbacks and thinking are the CCA members who wrote this letter, to include the President of the CCA, “the pot calling the kettle black?”

• I’m thinking to myself, the Mayor and City Manager of Cottonwood have been available, supportive in words and actions to our Folksville USA and Verde Valley anti-litter movement. They have taken actions to advance our Cornville-initiated and Verde Valley anti-litter movement.

• On the other hand, the CCA and Chip Davis have been 99.9 percent mute to multiple requests over two years to gain their public support of the Folksville USA anti-litter movement. The President of the CCA even requested that she be removed from the Folksville USA News stories that tell the stories of Cornville residents and non-residents who are part of the Folksville USA anti-litter effort. If the CCA is, or desires to be, the voice of all Cornville residents shouldn’t they be more interested in this and other effort?

• At the Verde Santa Fe/Cottonwood annexation meeting on Jan. 13, a gentleman stated (paraphrased) that he had attended a Cornville Community Association (CCA) event and didn’t feel very welcomed.

• During the time I belonged to the CCA, I was asked by a woman who is the “Gold Standard” for volunteers if I would be willing to raise money for the Easter Egg event they were having. They needed several hundred dollars for bikes and had lost their previous donor. I said sure, with two preconditions. First, the parents and their children who received these bikes would be required to write a thank-you letter to those who made the cash donations. These children would also have to complete eight hours of chores for their parents or a family member as their part of receiving this special gift. I made eight phone calls and had $600 donated.

• A few days later, the President of the CCA informed me that the CCA wouldn’t agree to those terms of the $600 in donations. With that said, I returned all donations to the contributors. I often wonder if the parents and the children who would have benefited from these donations and bikes would have taken the offer and learned something about writing thank you letters for gifts given to them.

• The straw that broke the proverbial “camel’s back” came when I was still an active member of the CCA. I had invited the Cornville residents of Oak Creek Estates to our CCA meeting. These guests had participated in an ADOT Adopt-A-Highway, Scenic Highway 89A event and to my knowledge did something that had never been done before.

• Anyone who knows about Lower Oak Creek Estates also knows that they have their fair share of challenges and I’ll let it go at that. Early in 2009 I found myself in a discussion with one of the residents of LOCE who wanted to involve the residents of LOCE in something that would be of value to their community. We hatched a plan and as far as I know, LOCE became the first group in Arizona to help collect and totally separate plus categorize the contents of 100 bags of Scenic Highway 89A litter. One member of this group was later hired by a Cornville organization partially because of his anti-litter efforts.

• During a CCA meeting, the CCA President all but ignored my attempt to gain her attention and finally had to acknowledge me after I raised my voice to gain her ear. The meeting was ending very early so there was plenty of time to recognize the Cornville LOCE residence in attendance. The opportunity was finally granted by the CCA President with a warning that I had one minute (60 seconds) to tell the Lower Oak Creek story and to introduce these Cornville LOCE residents.

• Halfway (30 seconds) into my presentation and introducing my guests, the CCA President gave me a second warning that I had 30 seconds remaining. How would you feel if you were a guest from Cornville’s Lower Oak Creek Estate and were invited to be recognized for your contribution to Cornville and the Verde Valley? If you were this guest would you say, “Hey, I’d like to join the CCA. Who do I give my money to?”

• With a Cornville population of over 4,000 the CCA may want to evaluate their membership in terms of those from Verde Santa Fe, Lower Oak Creek Estates, local business owners, Future Farmers of America and organizations of like kind.

• Possibly Supervisor Chip Davis could offer some suggestions for increasing the CCA membership that would benefit all Cornville residents, the CCA, Lower Oak Creek Estates and this particular Cornville resident.

This is solely my opinion. It is my hope by sharing my experiences through this editorial the CCA and it leaders will actually become the voice that attracts all residents of Cornville and not what appears to be a select group of people.

On a positive note, the Cornville-initiated “Folksville USA” anti-litter movement is an example of how a very diverse groups of people from multiple Verde Valley communities have come together leaving personal politics at home as they participate in a common goal “To restore the beauty to America the Beautiful and Arizona.”

Gary Chamberlain