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Fri, Feb. 28

Column: Jelly Jaw Joe a perfect fit for Clarkdale

Talk about putting your money where your mouth is.

Like everyone else these days, folks at Clarkdale Town Hall are in a penny-pinching mood. So much so, that Doug Von Gausig and his colleagues on the town council have volunteered to forfeit their monthly mayoral and council paychecks before allowing any staff cutbacks.

Given the fact, however, that pay for mayoral and council service amounts to peanuts, such a sacrifice is not going to save very many jobs if things get so bleak in Clarkdale.

But it's the thought that counts, right?

For the record, Clarkdale is weathering the current economic storm much better than most governments in our locale. The reason? Austerity has always been a budget reality for the town. There has never been a lot of sales tax dollars pouring into Town Hall. Scratching and clawing for revenue is just a way of life for the town.

Further, the folks in Clarkdale seemed to have had a closer feel on the economic pulse of the Verde Valley long before everyone else. They were ahead of the curve in terms of shoring up and making provisions before the revenue crunch became so severe.

It's a tight ship they run in Clarkdale.

Money-saving tips

from Jelly Jaw Joe

One guy who never panicked during a recession was Jelly Jaw Joe. According to singer David Bromberg, Jelly Jaw Joe was the cheapest man who ever lived. He was, according to Mr. Bromberg, "slow with his dough."

So, from the Jelly Jaw Joe book of economizing, here are a few tips on how to get by when money is tight and times are hard, courtesy of David Bromberg.

Jelly Jaw Joe was so cheap ...

• He wouldn't even tip his hat.

• When he got married, he saved money by going on his honeymoon alone.

• He would make his children take off their glasses when they weren't looking at something.

• He turned off the gas on the stove when he was turning over the bacon.

Cottonwood feels bite

of putting all your

eggs in one basket

Cottonwood, it seems, has learned a painful lesson in putting all your eggs in one basket.

For years, Cottonwood claimed itself as the economic hub of the Verde Valley.

It was true.

Ever since the end of World War II and the closing of the mines in Jerome, Cottonwood grew commercially and prospered at a rate that was unparalleled in the Verde Valley.

The city was such a cash cow that it flourished with one of the lowest sales tax rates in the Verde Valley at 2.2 percent. It had a 0-percent use tax and derived not one penny from municipal property tax.

Further, when you combine all the school, county, community college and special district property taxes levied within the city limits, once again Cottonwood is at the top of the class. While Camp Verde and Sedona have cumulative property tax rates of 12.81 percent, Cottonwood's total only comes to 7.72 percent, which is even lower than that of Clarkdale and Jerome.

So, when the bottom falls out of the economy the way it has now and consumer spending goes with it, Cottonwood is in a world of hurt. All those eggs were in one revenue-producing basket.

Staff and council have a lot of homework to do in order to reverse the city's economic fortunes.

They have a huge job ahead of them in educating the community about how and why the city must restructure its revenue flow.

Yavapai-Apaches should say prayer of thanks for Ted Smith Sr.

A few thoughts on the recent retirement of 85-year-old Theodore Smith Sr. as the director of Economic Development for the Yavapai-Apache Nation.

The Yavapai-Apache Nation of today is a far cry from the tribal government Smith was chairman of for 20 years. Today, the Yavapai-Apaches are economic powerhouses in the Verde Valley and considered among the most prosperous and progressive Indian tribes in the United States.

That's remarkable considering that the Yavapai-Apaches were set up to fail more so than perhaps any Indian tribe in American history. Their reservation was established during the early 1900s following the savage forced exodus from their homeland in 1875. The reservation lands consist of a scant 600 acres of non-contiguous land in Camp Verde, Middle Verde, Clarkdale and Rimrock.

As a result, the Yavapai-Apaches were perhaps the most economically beleaguered, disadvantaged, and disenfranchised Indian tribe in the United States.

If not for Smith and leaders such as Ned Russell and David Kwail, the Yavapai-Apaches easily could have ceased to exist as an organized and recognized Indian tribe.

For years, Smith lobbied government officials at every level to support the Yavapai-Apaches in consolidating and expanding their reservation holdings, their rightful land. He was on the ground floor of the effort to bring casino gaming to the reservation.

Certainly, Mr. Smith did not win all the battles he waged on behalf of his people. Who could expect such when he was often the lone voice championing the cause of the Yavapai-Apaches? They were, after all, a tribe set up to fail. Most men would have viewed the challenge as an exercise in futility and given up.

Ted Smith never gave up on his people. There is no doubt that the Yavapai-Apaches would not be the example to which other Indian nations throughout the United States aspire had it not been for Ted Smith's tireless efforts.

Every single member of the Yavapai-Apache Nation should say a short prayer of thanks every day for Ted Smith Sr.

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