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Breaking News! Petition Signatures Force Sedona Special Election!

Sedona AZ (June 7, 2011)-The City of Sedona completed the certification of citizen signatures submitted during the SR89A Turnback petition process. The following is a quote from Sheri Graham, Chair of Let The People Vote on 89A, the citizens initiative organized in opposition to the Sedona City Council vote to go forward with the SR89A highway acquisition. The 1095 signatures certified by the citizens initiative approval process will now initiate a special election on a date yet to be determined by the Sedona City Council:

“Speaking on behalf of LTPVon89A, I am thrilled to announce that on Tuesday, June 7, 2011, the City of Sedona has Certified 1095 signatures on our Initiative Petitions. 
 
This means that there will be two items on the Special Election, once Council acknowledges there really will be a Special Election and finally decides to honor the public by setting that date.  As a result of the citizens of Sedona taking control, by their legal rights, they met the letter of the law with no spin, no twist, no threats, no misinformation….just signatures of those who wish to have the will of the people listened to, the issue fully discussed.  The issue is now certified as a city wide registered voting issue – vs a narrow margin of 1 vote at a council meeting.
 
There will be a Special Election.
 
On behalf LTPV – speaking to the signers -our community thanks you. The Will Of The People is going to be heard, as it should be.
 
Sheri Graham
Chair
LTPV”
 
The SedonaEye.com will bring you further updates as they develop.
 

SedonaEye.com Breaking News on Sedona Recall Election! Read all about it at SedonaEye.com first!

Let The People Vote On 89A Press Release
 
Let The People Vote Announces

 

Let the People Vote on 89A congratulates the citizens of Sedona for winning the right to an Initiative election

 

Sedona, AZ – June 8, 2011  “Let the People Vote on 89A congratulates the citizens of Sedona for winning the right to an Initiative election,” announced Sheri Graham, Chairwoman of Let the People Vote on 89A.  “201% of the minimum required signatures have been certified by the Sedona City Clerk and get ready to hear the will of the people.  They are angry at the Council’s decision to take the highway and they’re ready to show it in a special election,” said Graham.
 
The Initiative on the ballot, likely in November, will require that the action of the present or any future city council to take ownership of a state highway within the city limits be put to a vote of the people.   The Referendum (which was certified last month) to be on the same ballot, gives the voters the option to overturn or void the city council vote in March to take ownership of Hwy89A through a transfer agreement with ADOT.  The right of referendum and initiative are rights granted in the Arizona constitution, whereby citizens can use these rights as a last resort, to overrule a decision of their government  (referendum) and also a method for citizens to actually right a new ordinance or law (initiative).
 
Sheri Graham, Chairwoman of Let the People Vote on 89A, said “The original and unwavering goal was to save Sedona, a small city of 11,000 residents, from owning a state highway that would cost them untold millions of dollars.  The highway would end up being paid for with new property tax, higher sales tax, and sacrificing all other city services to pay for a highway.  The residents understood this and over 1200 of them came out in two weeks to sign the petitions.  That says it all.  They do not want to own 89A.”
 
Co-Chair, Dr. Serge Wright, added, “People should not be fooled by the spin that ADOT will soon push the highway on Sedona with no money.  That is absolutely false and a lie.  Arizona Revised statute (ARS 28-7209) says clearly that ADOT can only turn back a highway with cooperation of the city, with four years’ notice, and with many years of advance maintenance work.  It just cannot happen.  But get ready because the other side will try desperately to scare people into believing it.”
 
Asked what ADOT will now do, committee Co-chair Allen Bradley said, “ADOT has signaled in a letter to the city that they know their responsibility for public safety on the highways and will proceed accordingly.  ADOT cannot sit idly by while this council ignores the obvious determination of the residents to be heard.  ADOT realizes its position of liability and we believe they will move ahead and install dark sky compliant lights later this summer, the same lights as on Hwy 179 except 5′ higher and 25% less lumens.” 
 
Graham concluded, “This council keeps trying to find someone to blame and make the bad guy.  If they had listened to the voice of the people in their own two city surveys we would not be here today.  And by the way the cost of those city surveys was more than its going to cost for the special referendum and initiative election.  Now they will hear from the people loud and clear at the ballot box and both are going to pass overwhelmingly.” 
 
Mission Statement: 

To allow the Voters of Sedona the opportunity  to vote on the ownership of SR 89-A 

 

Goals:  To reverse the Sedona City Councils 4-3 vote on February 22, 2011 where the majority of Council Members approved a Route Transfer Agreement between ADOT and the City of Sedona.

  • Obtain sufficient petition signatures that will cause a Referendum and Initiative to be placed on a Special Election ballot where all registered voters will decide on the historic issue
  • To protect the financial, safety and environmental needs of the City of Sedona

PC-2011-01

9 Comments

  1. Greg says:

    cannot believe this HOW MUCH ARE THESE PRIMA DONNA FATHEADS COSTING THIS CITY??? jesus mary joseph

  2. Cliff says:

    Greg, how much are these prima donna etal saving the city? down the road, literally, millions of $$$. get a grip.

  3. Donna says:

    (looks like it is going to a vote) that’s if ADOT doesn’t make it a moot point by just going ahead with their plans

  4. Sheri says:

    Our name is not “prima donna”. It is “Let The People Vote on 89A”.

    The original and retained goal is to save a community of some 11,000, Millions of dollars and remove the option of the City from enacting a new revenue source, via a property tax or higher sales taxes, from ever coming to pass, all in order to pay for their narrow vision of owning an island in the State Highway system.

    ADOT has every right, granted to them by State Statute, to do what ever they deem necessary in order to meet their public health, safety, and welfare responsibilities. In other words: they do what ever they need to in order to mitigate their liability issues.

    Somehow, someway, we all should think about the entire picture. That picture starts from scratch: safety (day and night), traffic counts (day vs night), number of accidents that are fatalities (day vs night), business health (tax revenue to City), ease and reason of traveling that stretch of road (how many locals vs out of town folks on the State Route), costs for every aspect of maintenance, is this a city street or a state highway (ADOT’s own numbers indicate the majority of folks traversing it are pass-throughs and not local. List goes on and on.

    Bottom line: by virtue of ARS – ADOT can not just simply dump a state highway on any community without certain responsibilities. Check out ARS 28-7209.

    Other Bottom Line is that: LTPVon89A would never have extended the energy, which resulted in successfully bring to a vote the Referendum and Initiative, allowing all registered Sedona citizens to vote on this major policy issue- if this current Council, had indeed, listened to their own paid for survey – which I believe cost more than the Special Election we will now have?

  5. N. Baer says:

    http://sedonaeye.com/breaking-news-petition-signatures-force-sedona-special-election/comment-page-1#comment-7491

    I am responding to Sheri Grahams’ comments:

    The likelihood of ADOT not forcing a transfer or abandonment is not as clear cut as LTPV89A would have residents believe. I suggest that you read the law in its entirety Arizona Revised Statute 28; Article 1, Section 304 http://www.azleg.gov/FormatDocument.asp?inDoc=/ars/28/00304.htm&Title=28&DocType=ARS
    and 28-7201-7215, 28: Article 8, Sections 7201-7215, pay special attention to 28-7207 “State Roadway Abandoned” http://www.azleg.gov/ArizonaRevisedStatutes.asp?Title=28.

    “If a roadway is a state roadway, the governing body may resolve that this state’s interest in the roadway or portion of the roadway be abandoned. On abandonment:
    1. This state’s interest in the part of the roadway that is located outside the boundaries of incorporated cities or towns vests in the county where the roadway is located.
    2. This state’s interest in the part of the roadway that is located within the boundaries of an incorporated city or town vests in that city or town.
    3. The director shall promptly notify the city, town or county affected by the abandonment, and that county, city or town may maintain the roadway as other county, city or town roadways are maintained or dispose of it as provided in this article.

    Furthermore, there have been nine or so route transfers in Arizona; talks are underway in Casa Grande and according to a news story that appeared in June 5th “The Arizona Republic,” ADOT wants to transfer Grand Avenue in Phoenix to the six cities along its corridor.
    http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2011/06/05/20110605grand-avenue-west-valley-local-road.html

    Re: Origination of traffic on SR 89A and our tax base – Since Sedona’s population is 10,031, it’s very crucial that residents understand the distribution of our population. Seventy percent thousand residents live in W. Sedona. To argue that those people who are using SR 89A are mostly traversing through town “are not local” is a preposterous statement to make and one which residents should demand be retracted.

    Furthermore, if as the City contends that the majority of sales taxes are collected from those businesses located in W. Sedona, and most of the traffic on SR 89A is not local then SR 89A is not a very good place to have a business, is it?

    LTPV89A overlooks the revenue-garnering potential of owning our road. Beautifying and upgrading SR 89A will insure businesses that they will have customers. Businesses can participate with the City in establishing a sign ordinance and not have to follow ADOT’s regulations.

    Re: liability – owning the road would only add a few hundred dollars to its premium for liability. ADOT isn’t motivated by “liability” per se. It is motivated by being accountable to the Federal Highway Administration to save money.

    In addition, the City survey cost roughly half of what the Special Election will cost in terms of finances, but what about the time, energy and vitriol wasted on this when residents could have been secure and engaged in participating in the Community Plan update?

  6. W.E. says:

    Entire picture, Mz Graham? The bottomline simple fact is THE PEOPLE ALREADY VOTED ON THIS ISSUE & IT’S CALLED THE LAST ELECTION. THE PEOPLE tossed out Colquitt/Scagnelli/Surbur/Frey. But the nail on your PEOPLES VOICE credibility coffin? Pud represented you at the ADOT hearing. More need to be said?

    And SAFETY, Mz Graham? More smoke up THE PEOPLES arses. The real beneficiary of demanding this election isn’t THE PEOPLE (a public not private concern) getting a voice on 89A, it’s about the UN-ELECTEDs wanting power back. The PEOPLE clearly said GO AWAY. To NOT accept that fact smacks of continued (& intolerable) arrogance. So the Locals will FOOT THE BILLS & SEND ANOTHER MESSAGE OF NO MAS to the UN-ELECTEDS that are STILL refusing to listen OR THEY’D STILL BE IN OFFICE. Prima donnas? Egomaniacs with tunnel vision & a power vacumn sounds more likely.

  7. Matt and Kara says:

    W.E. here’s our ditto for all your words.

    n.baer (n. bear?): Seventy percent (did you mean of the ten thousand?) thousand residents live in W. Sedona. To argue that those people who are using SR 89A are mostly traversing through town “are not local” is a preposterous statement to make and one which residents should demand be retracted.

    you’ve got our ditto on lots of points

  8. Pearce to Face Election Recall says:

    … THANK YOU … MESA VOTERS …County validates more than enough signatures for Pearce recall election!
    By Luige del Puerto – luige.delpuerto@azcapitoltimes.com … Published: June 15, 2011 at 2:35 pm …

    http://azcapitoltimes.com/news/2011/06/15/county-validates-more-than-enough-signatures-for-pearce-recall-election/?utm_source=Publicaster&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=SPECIAL%20SESSION:%20County%20va

    Elections officials in Maricopa County have so far verified as valid more than 8,000 signatures submitted by a group seeking to recall Senate President Russell Pearce.

    This means it’s almost certain that a special election will take place – most likely this November – since the recall group, Citizens for a Better Arizona, only needs 7,756 valid signatures.

    Karen Osborne, director of elections for the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office, said her office has so far gone through about 13,600 signatures and validated 8,239 of them as of today.

    The verification process is not over. The county has to check all of the nearly 17,000 signatures that the Secretary of State’s Office turned over to the Recorder’s Office.

    Osborne said her office will be done with the work by Aug. 1.

    Once the county has certified that there are sufficient signatures for the recall and the secretary of state has officially filed the petition, the governor has 15 days to call for the special election.

    Paul F. Miller, Phoenix AZ

  9. Sheri Graham, LTPV on 89A says:

    At their June 17th meeting in Chinle, Az., the Arizona Department of Transportation Board voted 7-0 to proceed with installation of safety measures for SR89A in West Sedona. They utilized $10.6M from their original budget and appropriated an additional $300,000 for completion of the projects.

    ADOT has taken the action they deem pertinent and necessary to meet their responsibility for safety on this state highway.

    The Mission Statement of Let the People Vote on 89A has always been, and remains, to reverse the Sedona City Council’s vote on February 22, 2011, that approved a Route Transfer Agreement for Hwy 89A, and to cause a new law in our town whereby no City Council can enter into an ownership agreement with the State for either of our State Routes prior to a vote of our Registered voters. Our mission statement calls for both items to be placed on a Special Election ballot where all registered voters will decide on these historic issues. With astounding speed and numbers, the residents came forward in the petition drive for the Referendum and Initiative and thereby caused a special election.

    Both referable items have been legally certified and Sedona’s residents now await the announcement of a date for the special election, hopefully in November.

    We are confident that both the Referendum and Initiative will pass.

    We, LTPVon89A did not attend the ADOT Board meeting in Chinle as we believe the number of signatures for both the Referendum and Initiative speak so loudly that there was nothing more for us to add to the ADOT Board discussion process.

    A citizen, who has absolutely no connection to our group, did speak to the Board, in Chinle. With his permission and because he placed his comments in the public record – I have added his words to our press release.

    “Chairman Feldmeier and Honorable members of the Transportation Board. Thank you for allowing me to address the Board today. I sincerely appreciate your time and respect the service you are providing on behalf of ADOT to the people of the State of Arizona

    I am Joe Vernier, a Sedona resident since May 1999. I served as Sedona’s Chief of Police from June 1999 until January 2010. I am still a Sedona resident to this day.

    As part of my nearly 40 year background in law enforcement, I served as a traffic accident investigator, graduated from Northwestern University’s Traffic Institute, Accident Investigation School and investigated numerous fatal and serious injury traffic accidents. I testified in several vehicular homicide cases that I had investigated. I was certified each time as an expert witness in the matter of traffic accident investigation by the court.

    Keeping this background in mind, I have some perspectives and observations I would like to share with the Board.

    The majority of the pedestrian fatalities on Highway 89A leading to the recommendation for lighting happened during my tenure as Sedona’s police chief.

    The majority of pedestrian fatalities occurred at night on an unlighted stretch of Highway 89A between Dry Creek Road and Rodeo Drive. Darkness was a significant factor in all of these deaths. Darkness and the inability to see in that area of roadway was substantiated by statements from the motorists, investigating officers, and accident reconstruction experts who were employed on behalf of the insurance companies following notices of claim or civil suits that were filed against the drivers involved in the fatalities. There was no dispute or conflict with darkness as the most significant contributing factor in the motorist inability to see the pedestrian until the accident was unavoidable.

    Although these incidents were classified as “accidents”, none of the motorists can use the word “accident” to minimize their ongoing trauma and emotional pain in living with the fact they have killed another human being.

    There is also a misnomer that has led to what I would call a Sedona urban legend that virtually every pedestrian was intoxicated to some incapacitating degree. That is patently untrue.

    The nighttime pedestrian fatalities continued through 2006. The inability of the motorist to see pedestrians at night continued to be the predominant contributing factor to these fatal accidents. During my conversations with Sedona officers they believed 89A from Rodeo Drive to Dry Creek Road was dangerous because it was so dark in this area. Officers work in the field 24-7. This gives them the opportunity to view much of the world as it really is. They all said they had either been involved with or witnessed near misses between motorists and pedestrians in this stretch of roadway due to darkness. Because of the ongoing problem with darkness and and accidents, ADOT agreed to use volunteers to count the numbers of pedestrians crossing this stretch of roadway at night. The report that was filed by the ADOT engineer stated that it was too dark to conduct the count. I have a copy of the report with me if anyone needs it for reference.

    The report also recommended pedestrian warning signs and lights as measures to prevent future accidents. We have the signs yet lack the lights. I would like to see ADOT work to get this portion of the highway safely lighted as soon as possible.

    This is not about lights or dark skies. It is not about Initiatives, Referendums, votes, or no votes. It is about the sanctity of human life and preservation of same. It is really about doing what is right to protect that trust in our capacity as public safety professionals. In my opinion the right thing to do would be to move expeditiously ahead with the installation of dark sky compliant lighting on this dark and dangerous stretch of highway.

    Thank You

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