GOLDEN VALLEY - They listened. They asked questions. And they signed up.
Most of the dozen Golden Valley citizens who attended the petition kickoff meeting of the Incorporate Golden Valley committee signed the petition to incorporate and ended up agreeing to circulate the petition to their neighbors.
Ralph W. Eaton said he didn't like what he was reading about Kingman's and Bullhead City's long-range plans for Golden Valley.
"It's my worst fear to be swallowed up by Bullhead City or Kingman," he said. "If that happens, I won't be here. I'll move. It's time we grew up and had our own identity."
Wilma Clark asked if the county supervisors support Golden Valley's incorporation and if not, why not.
"We haven't approached the supervisors to get their support," IGV Chairman Henry Peairs Jr. said. "One of the members on the last incorporation committee claims to have spoken to Tom Sockwell and told that group Sockwell supports incorporation.
"But no one else was with that member at that meeting with the supervisor. In my opinion, going to the supervisors is the last step. Until we see that the citizens of Golden Valley are behind the incorporation, there's no need to go to the top.
"Golden Valley has a relatively small number of registered voters, so we really have no voice in the county. They don't even look at Golden Valley when they're making their plans. To them, we're just so much open territory," he said.
Clark also asked why the petition circulators aren't planning a door-to-door circulation campaign throughout the entire proposed incorporation area.
Randy Cone, IGV petitions sub-committee chairman, said the board is small, just six members, and that one has been ill quite a bit. That left five to handle all of the groundwork and preparation for the petition campaign.
"There has been and will be a lot of work involved," Cone said. "Honestly, with just five people, we've been like the one-armed paper hanger. We've been very busy, and there's just too much territory for five people to cover. If you want to help us gather petition signatures, we'd sure like your help."
He said another consideration was that Golden Valley residents like their privacy, and the committee didn't feel they wanted to infringe on that attitude.
"We're mailing out brochures to addresses within the incorporation boundaries," said IGV Treasurer Gordon Hoover. "We'll follow the mailing with telephone calls asking people what they thought of the brochure and how they view incorporation. We'll invite them to sign the petitions at the two circulation locations - Golden Valley Gas and King Tut's market on 68 - and if they can't make it to either location, we'll volunteer to take the petition to their homes for their convenience."
Hoover said IGV volunteer petition circulators will man both locations from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Friday, Saturday and Sunday until the petitions have enough signatures. The petitions need either about 300 to take the issue to the ballot and let registered Golden Valley voters who live inside the proposed boundaries vote on whether to form a new city, or 1,750 for an approximate two-thirds to make the incorporation occur automatically.
Eaton asked what the committee planned to do if a registered voter wanted to sign the petition, but didn't have the transportation or gas money to drive to the circulators at either location.
Pat Randolph, IGV secretary, said the circulators would go to the registered voters.
"If anyone needs us to come to their house, we will," she said. "The numbers to call are in the brochure."
Peairs encouraged those present to stay informed of the IGV meetings, times and petition locations by reading the Golden Valley Gazette.
"We have publicized everything we've been doing, and we all talk to people about it everywhere we go," he said. "We have volunteers who will be contacting all of their neighbors on their street. We all have to chip in. I sure hope we all want the same thing."
Dennis Emery, IGV board member at large, said only 30 percent of all registered voters cast a ballot in the last election.
"Everybody expects other people to do what needs to be done. We have to realize that we're all the other people," he said. "We all need to motivate ourselves and our neighbors. I'm disabled and retired, but I'm not going to sit at home and wait for the 'other person' to do what I need to be doing. It's not just Kingman and Bullhead City we need to worry about. (Various developers) are all taking about starting their own small cities here in our valley if we don't incorporate. It's either we do it or they will, and then control of our valley is out of our hands."
Dan Richardson asked what benefit Golden Valley will see from incorporating.
"As we are, we're just people living in the desert," Cone said. "We don't exist as an entity. When we incorporate, we suddenly become a star on the map, with rights at the local, county, state and federal levels. After incorporating, you and I will have the right to decide if we want to keep our town small or let it grow."
"As a city, we will be able to negotiate with businesses and establish tax shelters to encourage the kinds and amounts of business and industry we want to settle here," Randolph said.
And a town of Golden Valley will be able to establish its own planning and zoning ordinances to control population density, Hoover said.
One audience member asked why each person present couldn't become a petition circulator and approach their neighbors.
"That's exactly what we're hoping to see happen," Cone replied with a smile.
Peairs said the committee has a 2-year-old list of registered voters to be used as a guide for the petition circulators.
"Not all of the more recently registered voters' names will be on here," he said. "So, the circulators will have to ask everyone to show their voter ID card and their Arizona driver's license or state ID card."
Recently registered voters who have not yet received their cards can use their voter registration ID confirmation paperwork as proof of eligiblility to sign the petition, he said.
For more information, call Peairs at 279-0745. For information about signing the incorporation petition or volunteering to circulate a petition, call Cone at 565-5723.