I get pretty fed up about what’s going on in Wickenburg…and start to do something about it.
Small town politics sucks. There’s no doubt about it. And it sucks even more when the politicians are fighting over a desert crossroads town with a weak economy and a part-time population.
When I moved to Wickenburg ten years ago, it was a small western town with a year-round population of about 4,000 people. Just enough shopping and services to make life convenient. Lots of space between the homes on the outskirts of town where I live. Privacy. Quiet. Clean air. Little crime. Slow pace of living. Just the thing a pair of New Yorkers needed to get a grip on their own lives.
One of the things we liked best about Wickenburg is that it didn’t have a lot of high density housing. Sure, it had some condos and apartments and the homes in the older downtown area were small and on small lots. But the rest of the town was zoned for one house per acre (or more) and the outskirts of town were zoned for one house per five acres. (We have 2-1/2.)
Fast forward to 2004. A developer proposes a high density housing development at the 9-hole golf course known as Wickenburg Country Club. He promises to expand the golf course to 18 holes. All the golfers want it. But the people who will soon have condo roofs in their back yards don’t. And neither do the people who see that one high-density development will open the floodgates to others.
Voters put together a referendum to get the issue on the ballot. Proposition 421 was the result. And the voters voted the development down.
Let me make sure you understand what I just wrote. The majority of voters who voted on Prop 421 voted against it. They were saying that they did not want the development to proceed.
Fast forward to 2006. The Mayor and Council voted in favor of allowing a virtually identical development on the same site by the same developer.
Silly me. I thought we lived in a democracy.
But it gets worse.
Another group of voters put together another referendum to stop the development again. It was submitted the same way as the first one and should have been accepted. But they Mayor decided that because an attachment was made with a staple rather than a paper clip, it was not properly submitted. He directed the Town Clerk to reject it.
I’ve been sitting back watching all this bullshit unfold for the past three years. Occasionally, I’d write an article or a letter to state my point of view. But I pretty much kept out of things — there were other people writing for my Web site, wickenburg-az.com who were saying pretty much what I would have said anyway.
But now I’m pissed. This little twerp who was voted in as Mayor — I couldn’t vote because I live outside of town limits, but I never would have voted for him — is making decisions that are not only beyond his authority, but they’re clearly against the will of the people.
This is wrong.
And I’m not going to sleep through this one. I’ve already made my first contribution to the voters efforts by writing an article about the paper clip rejection. More to come.