Sun, Jan. 26

Letter: Board of Supervisors should be called ‘Revenue Commission’


I have lived in the Village of Oak Creek for 16 years, and like many of its residents, have seen changes over the years, some which I consider good and some bad.

I did not attend the recent (Nov. 20) Yavapai County Board of Supervisors meeting, which voted on the zoning change to allow another large hotel in our area. The 5 to 0 vote was a foregone conclusion.

While many people will get angry over the vote, they shouldn’t. If the members of this commission had been transported to Pisa, Italy circa 14th century, they would have voted unanimously to issue an occupancy certificate for its famous tower ... after it leaned.

It would be more accurate to call this group the ‘Revenue Commission’. There is very little they would not sign off on, if it meant increased money for Yavapai County.

And, don’t pick on Yavapai County. This happens all over America and most of what we called the ‘developed world’. Local and state governments routinely sign off on ill advised projects where there is 100% certainly they will suffer severe damage from wildfires and earthquakes (California), hurricanes (Gulf Coast), and flooding (everywhere).

I would hope that rational people are getting sick and tired of bailing out these areas which suffer massive damage due to bad planning. In the case of the Village of Oak Creek, where and how does a resident fight back?

Civil disobedience in the form of peaceful strikes, as in the teachers protests last year, are fine, but wouldn’t have any effect on the Yavapai ‘planners’.

You could tear a page out of the Kennedy family playbook which says: “Don’t get mad, get even”. In no way am I advocating violent acts as with the Yellow Vests and their riots in Paris (2018).

I was thinking more in the line of buying a property adjacent to a commissioners home and turning it into The Airbnb From Hell. Think Delta fraternity from the cult movie, ‘Animal House’; of course there was an earlier time in my life when that arrangement would have been a whole lot of fun.

The only way to effect change is through the legal system. Big Tobacco was thought to be invincible, but was brought under significant control through massive lawsuits. The makers and distributors of opioids are on the same track. You may dislike the Sierra Club, but through its legal defense fund, it has stopped many disastrous projects in pristine areas and national parks.

The residents of Houston, TX (Hurricane Harvey) and coastal Florida will hopefully wake up and take legal action against the real estate developers and persons who approved their subdivisions.

Another issue that I have been reading about since forever, is having an alternate route to West Sedona. Usually, one reads about extending Verde Valley School Road over Oak Creek and connect it with highway 89A. One reason posited was that it would be another escape route in a disastrous wildfire.

If the town of Paradise, CA, which suffered 85 residents killed in the 2018 fire, had managed to have several additional roads out of town, the results would have been the same. This is because people do what people do best: they panic. Evacuations for any reason are very difficult and require extensive planning, and still, according to Scottish poet Robert Burns, ‘often go awry’.

I would like to see Verde Valley School Road paved all the way to Oak Creek, with speed bumps to slow vehicular traffic. It should also be widened to allow more cyclists, walkers, and runners, to enjoy the beauty that is Sedona.

Gordon W. Reiter

Village of Oak Creek

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