First, thank you so much for the excellent article "Let's Give Credit Where Credit is Due," regarding Buzz Walker.
He certainly deserves the credit and has worked tenaciously for over 30 years to acquire additional water sources, including Blue Ridge, for Payson. This is way before Bob Edwards was even in Payson. Because of Buzz, Payson received the award for the best conservation practices in the Lower Colorado Region.
I must respond to the ad in the Payson Roundup in the same issue, Tuesday, Feb. 5. where Edwards claims that he "promised to secure a permanent source of water" and that "he kept that promise."
The truth is: Buzz Walker initiated the Blue Ridge water project in 1995, working with Senator Jon Kyl, water attorneys and other stakeholders through the proper channels to begin the delicate process of securing Blue Ridge water for Payson. As the Payson representative with NAMWA (Northern Arizona Water Users Association), Buzz and I attended the monthly meetings in Flagstaff. NAMWA supported the effort to secure Blue Ridge water for Payson and some surrounding areas.
The organization wrote letters supporting that issue to Jon Kyl and other regulatory agencies. I was in the room, as Payson Vice-mayor, when Buzz received the call from SRP that Jon Kyl's "Arizona Water Settlement Act" passed in Congress.
We were all ecstatic, except Buzz, who of course was very cool, and wanted us to realize this was just the beginning. We also understood that it was very important not to inject ourselves into this delicate process that has many levels of approval yet to go. By doing so, we could jeopardize the whole process.
The Mayor's other statement, "Blue Ridge Water is coming to Payson" is misleading. I congratulate him on working with SRP now, however that is only one step. The concluding steps are still in front of us and again, are very delicate negotiations with state and national regulatory and oversight agencies.
It is important and critical to leave these negotiations to the people who have been working on them for years and are paid to do it. It can be self-defeating for Payson to do it for one's own self-aggrandizement.
former Payson Vice-mayor