Fri, Oct. 18

Letter: It's time for some real leadership in Cottonwood


I am sending this letter to express my strong opposition to the location of the Mago statue at the "earth park" on Bill Gray Road and Highway 89A.

I have resided in the Verde Valley since 1988. I support economic growth for our Valley to help sustain our community but not at the expense of being robbed of natural beauty and perhaps promoting a specific religious organization.

The public opinion expressed in the majority of letters to the editor does not support the statue at this location. However, many articles appear to promote the Mago Earth Park and Tao Fellowship with little or no abandon pointing out all the money this will supposedly bring to the community.

The Verde Independent 12/03/09 half-page spread (page 3) may be an advertisement but gives the appearance that our mayor, other dignitaries and land developers support the Mago Earth Park and statue. Verde Independent 12/18/09 front-page pictures of Major Joens at the celebration of the statue and park seated next to the Tao Fellowship leader, surrounded by 600 of his mostly Japanese and Korean followers who were bused from his 160-acre tax-free religious resort farther down Bill Gray Road.

I am not opposed to what the statue and park stand for on the surface. I visited the park last week to see for myself and get a feel for what it is about. I declined to sign the petition the Tao Fellowship presented. I am hopeful that the statue will be relocated at the Tao Fellowship retreat away from public view where it can be appreciated by those who choose to do so.

The current location prohibits such a choice not only to those driving by but to anyone from miles around who have been robbed of the previous natural landscape view. Will billboards and more statues populate the frontage along 89A between Cottonwood and Sedona? That too could bring revenue at the expense of natural beauty without which tourism will decline.

I encourage our "leaders" to live up to the mission statement posted on our Cottonwood City Government web page and refrain from promoting financial gain for what may be few at the expense of many.

Laurie Verdier


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