<CENTER><B>Letters to the Editor</B></CENTER>
Council to ram a done-deal down our throats
Camp Verde Councilman Tony Gioia has been saying since last year that the Yavapai-Apache Nation's prime goal has been to get its Clover Leaf Ranch property transferred to trust status. This is now proven in the newly released Intergovernmental Agreement.
The IGA reads, "the Nation intends to remove sand and rock material from the land for the purposes of reclaiming and developing the land for agricultural, residential industrial and commercial purposes;" ... "the nation intends to exercise its legal authority to seek trust status for the land by the nation)." It also says the town will issue a use permit for four years with an option to renew for another three years.
The IGA says that the nation would be exempt from any future changes in the town's mining ordinance. It further states that the nation shall be exempt from any future mining moratorium — meaning they could never be stopped from mining in Camp Verde.
The IGA reads "The town believes that the nation's current use of the land is illegal." A fact that was affirmed by the town's outside legal council a long time ago. Remember the logic the mayor and the other "big three" council members were using? They said the town could not afford to go to court on a simple zoning violation against the tribe for its illegal sand and gravel operation. Well just look at the land of potentially expensive legal quagmire they are getting the town into in the IGA — in the paragraph entitled, "Mutual Defense Against Third Party Suits."
The "Mutual Defense" paragraph reads, "in the event that legal action is commenced against either party concerning this IGA or associated agreement or any action taken in order to implement this IGA and associated agreement, parties shall mutually assist in the defense of said legal action. Do you want to spend your hard-earned tax dollars on any Ito action defending a nation that is currently refusing to obey our town ordinances?
Here is a real good one that is absolutely ridiculous: It says, "All requirements or information necessary to form a complete use permit application package shall be provided by the town to the nation within 10 days." Read it carefully. The town does not supply information necessary to complete a use permit, the applicant does. This basically means that if the town doesn't supply all the information that the nation should be supplying, then the town will be in violation of the IGA — and you can be assured that the use permit would be issued.
You should really get a laugh out of the next one that reads, "The nation shall receive a financial credit for the reasonable value of material remaining in the buffer zone as a result of the nation's agreement to forgo removal of the material In order to reduce the impact of the operation on residents adjacent to the site or as a result of the nation's agreement to withdraw from the buffer zone earlier than required by the use permit or due to the reduction in hours of operation in the buffer zone imposed by the use permit." Ain't that just ducky? Now the town will have to pay money to the nation for a sand and gravel operation that is currently illegal.
It takes four council votes to pass the IGA. However, the IGA states that the general plan must be amended, and it takes at least five council votes for passage of a major amendment to the general plan. Has there been a secret agreement made by five council persons to support the amendment? If so, this would appear to be a direct violation of the general plan amendment statute (A.R.S. 9-461.06) that reads, "The governing body shall:
1) Adopt written procedures to provide effective, early and continuous public participation in the development and major amendment of general plans from all geographic, ethnic and economic area of the municipality, The procedures shall provide for:
(a) The broad dissemination of proposals and alternatives.
(b) The opportunity for written comments.
(c) Public hearings after effective notice.
(d) Open discussions, communications program and information services.
(e) Consideration of public comments."
It looks like Mayor Miller and some council members intend to ram a done-deal down our throats. Therefore, I highly recommend that the quiet majority in the affluent areas of the town start paying attention to this issue — and start doing something about it. This sand and gravel fiasco could just as well be repeated right next door to you. The nation could very well purchase property anywhere in Camp Verde and start another illegal sand and gravel operation. If you think this can't happen, you are wrong. People in 23 states in the United States are fighting problems related to tribal sovereignty and trust status.
For more information on the problem go to the web site http://www.Indianrelations.com.
H. Leon Raper
Jon Paladini represents positive change
I agree with Doug Von Gausig (Letter July 30): Jon Paladini has helped me make up my mind about who to vote for this September, too.
It is Chip Davis who supports paving Beaver Head Flat Road and Jon Paladini who opposes the paving because he wants to maintain the Forest Service land through which the road will be built as open space. Remember, seven miles of asphalt 70 feet wide through Forest Service land will lead to a land trade by the Forest Service — which will in turn lead to more development, more ground water woes, and yes more asphalt thanks to Chip "Seal" Davis.
It is Chip Davis who has focused all his attention on the Verde River at the expenses of ignoring Verde Valley ground water, while Paladini supports a cooperative effort between Verde Valley cities and towns, the county, the private water companies and the Yavapai Apache Nation to work in collaboration to develop and deliver drinkable water to Verde Valley residents.
And it is Jon Paladini, an expert in Smart Growth, who has been fighting as a Conservation Board member to conserve State Trust Land in the Verde Valley (nearly 9,000 acres) as open space, while Chip Davis has done nothing to manage growth.
I was on the fence too, but when I looked at the issues, I decided it is time for a change. My vote in September will be for Jon Paladini.