By Nina Crowder
Last week’s Superior Town Council meeting had a full agenda and with the placement of the Call to the Public at the end of the list, many residents had to wait to speak their piece to the Council.
Marilee Lasch spoke out in support of copper mining. The 10-year resident of Superior said that since moving to the community she has seen neighbors and friends turn on one another.
“I understand that most of it has been the consequence of Resolution Copper attempting to take our little destitute, poverty stricken town and make it the up and coming mining production center in the United States,” she said. “While Resolution may have failed in the beginning to be completely transparent I applaud their efforts at transparency the last couple of years and thank those of you who have been the reason for that including the anti-mine control for your action but this ongoing campaign of fear is separating what use to be grand and glorious place to live and I want to address that.”
She spoke about fear and what it could do to a community. “Technology isn’t always a terrible thing,” she said. “I bet almost all of you have cell phones, drive a car, flush your toilets and have computers. All of this is a result of mining. We can’t continue to live in the dark ages of fear; we must be willing to take risks. There are some people who want the fear of pollution to direct your decisions but refuse to clean up their own backyard. There are some that want to talk about the fear of cancer. They refuse to understand the cancer is an epidemic. I have family members who have never been to Superior who have cancer.”
She added, “I support mining. I want to see jobs. I understand there will be some risks. I encourage all of us to be watch dogs. I also believe once we get a job base, a tax base, there will be diversity that brings tourism and people who want to have businesses here, people who will want to spend money. I encourage you to rise above the pettiness you have heard going on for the past year and move forward to a new future for Superior.”
JoAnn Besich also spoke out in support of Resolution Copper Mining.
“I have been to the RCC meetings that have been open to the public,” she said. “There have been experts in the fields about the water, tailings, NEPA. They have provided statistics…during some of these meetings the opposition rudely and loudly carry on their own conversations and it gets to be disturbing.”
She continued, “The people are not listening to the facts. We need to progress, I encourage every council member, everyone here to attend meetings pro and con. Everyone should be at the meetings and hear what is going on. Why create more fear? Get the facts.”
Another resident, Nancy Vogler, addressed the council about the problems of wildcat dumping.
“I know you are working with the ADEQ (transfer station) for the clean up of trash. It is a slow process and you have to work with the state,” Vogler said. “We have a really big problem going on right now with people dumping trash in the desert. It is terrible.”
Vogler urged the council to expedite the talks with the state. She then suggested a volunteer clean up and even offered to help with the clean up.
Resident Sandra Doyle spoke about her concern about the division in the town.
“I am sick and tired of the division in this town,” Doyle said. “It is like we are embedded in concrete – nobody gives, nobody communicates. We fight over police, sheriff, ADOT, taxes. Nobody can agree on what to do. Maybe the resolution is to un-incorporate. We are just sitting in the ground spinning our wheels.”
Several residents addressed the council about health issues and cancer and suggested that mining could be causing cancer in Superior. The council was told that there are environmental health studies underway to see if a cause can be determined.
Under council comments and communications, Councilwoman Mila Besich Lira said that the Copper Corridor Economic Development Coalition would be sponsoring a free tourism forum on Sept. 30. The CCEDC, she said, hoped to generate ideas about how communities could network more.
Councilman Steve Estatico said that he had attended a recent Resolution community group meeting and that one of the questions asked was what does the community want from Resolution Copper.
“I think this is a good question,” he said. “I’m not sure what I want from Resolution Copper and I’m not sure what the Town of Superior wants from Resolution Copper, but I think it needs to be part of a discussion that we have.”
Mayor Jayme Valenzuela asked if the police could help the fire department with some of the ticket writing for the debris in the town. The fire department is getting swamped with calls and could use a little help in this area, he said.
Valenzuela also spoke about the ongoing negotiations with the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office.
“I spoke with Chairman Miller and he indicated to me that he is having his staff do some homework on numbers and they needed more information before they can move forward in entertaining the idea of taking us on. So this will be addressed at a later date.” With some members of the community and council being torn between working with PCSO and having a Superior Police Department, he said, the council is trying to make the right decision.
In other business, the council:
• Approved a request for La Noche de Vaquero night at Porter’s Cafe on Oct. 19.
• Approved an application by the Superior Fire Department for the 12D fund/grant from the San Carlos Apache Tribe.
• After an executive session (secret) agreed to proceed with the Wilt litigation. The council took no action on town owned properties, buildings and lots, or Resolution.
The next regular meeting of the Superior Town Council is Oct. 3 at 7 p.m. at the Superior Senior Center. For additional information please feel free to visit the Superior Town’s Website at .