P and Z acted in best interest of community
I would like to provide both clarification and corrections to a letter from Mr. Daniel McDonald that ran in the Sept. 6, 2000, edition of the Observer. In this letter, Mr. McDonald refers to a case heard by the Coconino County Planning and Zoning Commission on January 3, 1995, which was a request by the Flagstaff Trap and Skeet Club for approval of a clay target shooting club on 40 acres northeast of the Twin Arrows interchange.
Mr. McDonald accuses the Planning and Zoning Commission of approving a proposal that would have allowed bullets to reach his home and yard. This is absurd. Such a case would never even get to the hearing stage. In fact, the shooting experts gave testimony that the guns used had a maximum range of 300 feet. The nearest residence is approximately 2,000 feet from the site in question.
However, in deference to Mr. McDonald's concerns, the plan approved by the P&Z required the shooting to be aimed away from Mr. McDonald's land. Mr. McDonald does a great disservice to the concerned members of our community that volunteer their time as Planning and Zoning Commissioners when he implies that they would knowingly approve a plan that would put any resident in a life threatening situation.
Further, Mr. McDonald is incorrect when he states that no P&Z Commissioners reviewed the site. I personally visited the site prior to the hearing, and for all I know, other Commissioners may also have done this.
Mr. McDonald also states that "some members excused themselves" for the vote on this proposed project. Exactly one member was excused due to a conflict of interest. Commissioners are legally required to take such action, and it is the correct thing to do, regardless of Mr. McDonald's implications.
Mr. McDonald may not agree with my vote on this case, and he certainly has the right to say so. However, I do not think he has the right to impugn the integrity of the entire Planning and Zoning Commission simply because he does not agree with me, and I do not believe that such a politically motivated letter should be printed without the paper making at least a token effort to assure that the allegations are true.
Council must heed the Navajo voters
The recent Navajo vote on the referendum to reduce the size of the Navajo Nation Council is a resounding message to the Council. The Navajo People want a change! They are dissatisfied with the current structure and operation of the Legislative Branch.
Despite the chaos caused by the removal of the Navajo Board of Election Supervisors, the Navajo People voted more than 2 to 1 change the size of the Council. This vote occurred despite the many hurdles that the Navajo electorate had to cross. The first hurdle was just to get a majority vote. The Navajo People easily crossed that hurdle. The second hurdle was the confusion of the ballot language. This had an impact. Many Navajo People either struck the “governing body” language in protest (and invalidated their ballot) or just voted “no” because they did not want to give this status to the Council. The third hurdle was to reach more than 50% of the registered voters.
I caution my colleagues to not celebrate too soon. Rather, I respectfully request of them to work with me in removing these obstacles. Navajo Nation is a democracy. As history shows, such suppression of democracy does not last long. When the Navajo People vote more than 2 to 1 for a change and we continue on as status quo, the will of the Navajo People is not listened to. Such a status quo effort is misguided and not in the best interest of the Navajo People; and it will soon be redirected by the Navajo People. Those who continue to suppress or find “loopholes” around Navajo democracy will have to answer for it during their reelections.
Many Navajo People were upset with the insertion of the “governing body” language, and it only caused confusion. The single proposal on the size of the Navajo Nation Council, as previously approved by the Navajo Board of Election Supervisors, was sufficient.
I call upon my colleagues to give this vote of the Navajo People another chance. Let us work together to give this question back to the Navajo People for another vote on November 7, 2000.
Edison J. Wauneka