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Cut to the Chase Update with Eddie Maddock

SedonaEye.com columnist Eddie Maddock

SedonaEye.com columnist Eddie Maddock

Sedona AZ (February 18, 2016) – As a result of the untimely resignation of Angela LeFevre from the Sedona City Council at a special meeting on February 10, 2016, Council had a discussion relating to selection of a replacement to serve during the months prior to national, state, and city elections in November 2016.

Of the six applicants, Michael Ward, Steve Segner, Charles Lamkin, Gerhard Mayer, Robert O’Donnell and Harry Danilevics, the council decided to limit their interviews to four. Each council member rated the individual applicants. After tallying, in order of importance the finalists to be interviewed, tentatively set for March 3, 2016, are Ward, Segner, Lamkin and Mayer.

Harry Danilevics was disqualified because records indicated he was not a registered voter. Robert O’Donnell was eliminated from the interviews due to Council’s limitation to four, although initially five had been considered.

Even being short one member, January as usual was a busy month for Council reviewing and analyzing priorities. The long awaited fulfillment of completion of the Barbara Antonsen Memorial Park was rated number one, cautioned by City Manager Justin Clifton that keeping within budget created previous delays.

Community Plan implementation remains high on the list which encompasses many specifics such as Community Focus Areas, park land acquisition, culture and arts citywide, and beautification of State Route 89A.

Friends of Posse Grounds artistic rendering of the pavilion shell which collapsed during construction

Friends of Posse Grounds artistic rendering of the pavilion shell which collapsed during construction in August 2012 and which remains incomplete to date.

Brewer Road Master Plan, comprehensive traffic study, uptown crosswalk and safety improvements, city sign code, and economic development plan remain among the list.

Also code enforcement, such as short-term rental bans and illegal multi-family units remain a concern while Chamber of Commerce tourism efforts, economic development plan, housing in-lieu policy, and a wireless master plan are included. Long-term revenue options and alternate expenditure limits conclude the line-up.

It was interesting to note that although the investigation began at an unknown date, probably mid-December 2015 when a telephone poll was already under way, “Franchise for refuse/recycling” remains on the list.

The “franchise” as identified at the meeting was later discredited by Assistant City Manager Karen Daines as being an inappropriate term and has been discussed in a previous article, 2015 in Review.

As a followup to the proposal with two public meetings held Monday, February 1, and Tuesday, February 2, both sustained overwhelming attendance and the opportunity for public comment and questions was well utilized. Undeniably, audience input strongly opposed the proposition, and even the duplication of the phone survey offered at the meetings, results instantly projected on a screen, indicated utter rejection of City’s consideration to deny freedom to select preferred garbage haulers in addition to slamming free enterprise.

Clearly the percentage of people already recycling was between 80% and 90% while the number of participants requiring bulk hauling was negligible.

Among the many reasons expressed in opposition to city interference with garbage hauling, included were loss of opportunity to share containers, inability to discontinue service and related charges during lengthy absences from Sedona, and, perhaps the loudest protest heard was “We do not trust the government.”

Sedona City Council woman Angela LeFevre, second left, unexpectedly resigned from office leaving Council to appoint a new member until the November 2016 election.

Sedona City Councilwoman Angela LeFevre’s (second left) unexpected resignation from office requires Council to appoint a new member to serve until the November 2016 council election.

The attendees were not persuaded that garbage disposal rates would necessarily be lower either: At the beginning, maybe, but once under the clutches of City billing, a fear of future unleashed increases hung heavy on the atmosphere. In order for city control to be functional and succeed it was made very clear it needs to be based on 5,000 subscribers, further indicating “opting out will not be an option.”

So, as the process continues to move forward, largely focused on an attempt to change peoples’ minds, it remains problematic to Sedona residents that City Council members will vote their own agendas or what THEY think is best for the community.

As in the contract with the Sedona Lodging Council and Chamber of Commerce for the Destination Marketing based on the half percent bed tax increase, is a similar deal already in place to gouge residents for a contract to boost the operation of our well respected and public supported Sedona Recycles?

Is all the fluff and brouhaha a smoke screen for a deal that simply lacks appropriate documentation to make it legitimately enforceable? And will that surface at a meeting in March when City Staff presents their conclusions to Council?

Sedona City Council members have stated they will not be influenced by local polls, including their own telephone survey, when deciding to eliminate citizens right to contract with private garbage haulers and assume control of contracting with the same haulers and requiring all residents to pay for service whether needed or not.

Several Sedona City Council members have stated they will not be influenced by local polls, including their own telephone survey, when deciding to eliminate citizens right to contract with private garbage haulers by assuming city control of all trash disposal contracts and mandating that every city household pay for trash and recycling services. Recycling is now free to the public at Sedona Recycles and its IGA branch in the VOC. Three garbage haulers now serve city residents, two are independent local companies.

Even the City’s telephone poll clearly indicates “butting out” would be the logical course of action at this point. And that is substantiated by almost 500 MoveOn.com petition signatures and a survey taken by the Red Rock News reflecting 71% of those responding disagreed with the question: “Should the city hire just one trash hauling company?”

City Council, of course, deems those two feedback sources as being invalid.

It would be interesting to know if those results were reversed, if that high percentage supported the city takeover – would City Council still cry “unofficial results?”

In conclusion and reflecting on the first 2016 quarterly budget review and discussion held on January 7, a lengthy 5-1/2 hour special session, City Manager Justin Clifford, based on projected economic recovery, delivered a comprehensive explanation of the need to incorporate true costs into the budget for infrastructure, such as roads.

Cheri Wright, Director of Financial Services, reminded those in attendance that Sedona’s population remains relatively flat compared to many communities that are growing. State Sales Tax (state shared revenues based on State Income Tax) is based on population.

Ms. Wright further attributed the increase in last year’s sales tax to coming out of the recession. However, the front page of “City of Sedona 2015 Annual Community Report” largely credits the economical upswing to the Chamber of Commerce and the city financed marketing program for having contributed to the 12% increase.

The degree of that contribution remains unknown since, to date, neither a verified Return on Investment of the $1.5 million contract or an outside legitimate audit of expenditures has been provided. Over and above the verbal “just trust us,” which was the premise by which the destination marketing contract was established in the first place, authentic justification for this extreme expense remains a mystery except, possibly, by intensified traffic congestion which primarily, unless proven otherwise, represents an increase in day-trippers and not necessarily city revenue.

As a belated tribute to honor our most recent Federal holiday, that being President’s Day on Monday, February 15, it seems timely to revive two famous quotes:

“If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.” President George Washington

“You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” President Abraham Lincoln

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Read www.SedonaEye.com for daily news and interactive views!

74 Comments

  1. CITY COUNCIL APPOINTMENT says:

    TODAY- MARCH 3 – 1:00 PM – COUNCIL CHAMBERS

    Interviews with Mike Ward, Charles Lamkin, and Gerhard Mayer to decide replacement to fill seat vacated by Angela LeFevre.

  2. Another Done Deal says:

    Tom Lamkin was slam-dunked into Angela LeFevre’s vacant chair. How about that? Could it be because he received advanced notice about the questions and therefore was completely rehearsed with the “winning” responses – including supporting Home Rule and an advocate of “educating” the public about city takeover of garbage removal?

    We, the people, duped again. They WILL approve eliminating free-enterprise in order to control our choice of garbage hauler. We will have NO opportunity for opting out. We’ll be unable to cancel service during vacations without paying for monthly service anyhow.

    Be prepared for a Referendum. Recall is too difficult. If this Lamkin bird runs for either 2 or 4 year council position it will be even worse than business as usual. Seems pretty evident he’s the Community Plan enforcer along with JT.

    Sedona residents – pay attention . The “dictators” remain in control and our voices do not count – even when standing-room only crowds show up at meetings to vent their opposition such as the city controlling our garbage hauler we are disrespected and shunned. They are taking away our rights in favor of using their self-imposed power to speak for us whether we like it or not.

    The only existing transparency with this latest underhanded deal was performed in the shadows – behind closed doors. It’s the lack of transparency and disrespect to the voting residents of Sedona that makes it imperative for Sedona residents to remain vigilant and stop this bulldozer before being leveled and silenced forever.

    The Buddy-Buddy System – sock it to ’em is the name of the game with Sedona city government. Plan to attend the work shop on March 23 (to be confirmed) and show them with no uncertainly that we’re mad as hell and refuse to take it anymore.

  3. Norma says:

    If you get a chance watch the video.

    The game is rigged. Planned out by those in control.

    Thanks @Another Done Deal for letting everyone know.

  4. @ Norma & Another Done Deal says:

    Norma:

    Great advise to watch the video, I did and see why you all get such bad reputations for stirring the pot. Talk about making red rock mountains out of mole hills. You people need to see a doc real fast.

  5. James Harrington says:

    And why do you suppose with only five council members present the decision wasn’t deferred and made when the sixth member was able to attend? (Mark DiNunzio had been excused from the meeting.)

    Approving an appointment for the vacant chair with such haste during this time when major budget decisions and other equally important issues will be determined between now and the November election should not have been done so haphazardly.

    Mayor Moriarty didn’t hesitate delaying the vote on the National Monument issue until former Councilwoman Angela LeFevre was in attendance. Allowing this appointment to be made by three council members definitely does NOT pass the smell test.

    Just another opinion which will be subject to attack by those attempting to control and discredit this web site.

  6. @Another Done Deal says:

    Watched the video from start to end. Your right!

  7. Carrie says:

    How very disappointing that the council voted on this without the vice mayor. I found it extremely disappointing that they wouldn’t have waited. Disrespectful to Mark.. Mark could have watched the interview and they all could have voted together. Sandy saw an opportunity to play another game. She waited for Angela but not Mark. Camp Verde is recalling a councilman. Time for Sedona to change.

  8. Jerry, Sedona City Limits says:

    Another set up. This was completely disrespectful to Mike Ward who actually was elected by the people to legitimately serve for four years. But of course, the interview was so slanted about how they intend to scalp the residents by pushing us into their (the city’s) scam with the garbage contract.

    This Tom Lamkin clearly fits into their agenda. He will be another “yes” man and continue with the budget give-away program.

    Just remember that if he runs for the two-year council slot we do not have to elect him. Of course, by then another budget will be set in motion and probably even more three-year service contracts to lock up decisions for future years.

    Skim, scam artists is what they are.

  9. DISTRESSED says:

    Thanks for the lead to the link for the meeting about choosing a council member replacement.

    It was pretty shocking to listen to Tom Lamkin, applicant selected, to admit he was a member of a focus group relating to the city’s pursuit to take over our garbage pickup-up service contracts. When responding to the question about strong public opposition, he specifically called the people “ignorance on our part.” Yes, that’s what he said. Then later on he made a point to speak about the importance of the people attending council meetings. Which, by the way, Lamkin admitted that he never attends or watches the videos of the city council meetings. So we are ignorant even by attending public meetings, sending e-mails, and speaking with council members?

    He also made the statement that he didn’t think Sedona had a traffic problem – only a parking problem! Yep, that’s what he said.

    So all of you stupid, “ignorant” residents of incorporated Sedona that would dare to defy a city council determined to control what is leading to every aspect of your life, be prepared to accept it. Or not?

    It becomes even more important to attend these upcoming work sessions and council meetings to publicly continue to voice your “ignorance” and if necessary be prepared to work through the process of a Referendum if that ends up being the only way to get their attention that we are not as “ignorant” as they may think. They want to ignore us? Let us please let them NOT get away with it!

    Another bit of a conflict was unclear when John Martinez made a motion to make the selection, and as I recall it was worded in the manner that indicated the chosen one would “fill the rest of the term vacated by Angela LeFevre.” For that reason I took the time to research the action minutes and following is the outcome of the meeting:

    “Appointed Charles Thomas Lamkin to fill the City Council vacancy until the
    individual elected during the Fall 2016 election cycle to fill the remaining two
    years of Councilor LeFevre’s term is sworn in to office.

    Vote: 3-2 (Thompson/Williamson/Moriarty)

    Councilor Martinez and Councilor Jablow opposed. “

  10. Fred S. says:

    Mike Ward was voted in by the people. Lamkin lost, he never made it close to people’s choice. Mike Ward should have been selected.

  11. Norma says:

    Thank you @DISTRESSED This is what I heard.
    disgusting

  12. Code of the Club says:

    Did you catch Lamkin’s confirmation of the Code of the Club? He confirmed all aspects of it. Staged and scripted interview.

  13. BTW says:

    Did anyone mention Mark DiNunzio was excused from the meeting – which is why only FIVE were allowed to vote on this. Of course Sandy M delayed the vote on the National Monument because Angela LeFevre was out of the country – which she knew when the meeting was scheduled. And yet she denied waiting until M. DiNunzio could attend a meeting to take a vote. Watch your backs in this town.

  14. steve segner says:

    BTW, asked
    which is why only FIVE were allowed to vote on this. Of course Sandy M delayed the vote on the National Monument because Angela LeFevre was out of the country

    The National Monument vote b
    not time sensitive, no vote was needed by a deadline.
    Being short one council member for almost two months was time sensitive, work need to get done.
    that simple.

  15. J. Rick Normand says:

    @steve segner,

    Your comment is unintelligible, as usual.

    @All concerned readers at The Eye,

    The Goldwater Institute and The Tenth Amendment Center are steadfastly working on proposed legislation which the Arizona State Legislature’s majority has indicated it will pass which is known as the “Right to Earn a Living Act.”

    The proposed law recognizes that the right of individuals to pursue a chosen business or profession, free from arbitrary or excessive government interference, is a fundamental civil right. A single trash-hauler selection by the City will likely violate this Act. The Chamber of Commerce Destination Traveler contract already does. The proposed Act provides substantive protection for those rights while at the same time preserving the ability of state regulatory agencies and local governments to protect the public through legitimate and proportionate health and safety regulations. If a municipality violates the Act, then the Arizona Attorney General can take legal action against the miscreant municipality.

    The Act would require that any ordinance or rule that limits entry or competition in a business or profession “shall be limited to those demonstrably necessary and carefully tailored to fulfill legitimate public health, safety, or welfare objectives.” That language contains three essential components: LEGITIMATE, NECESSARY, and TAILORED. “Legitimate” refers to traditional police powers such as the protection of health and safety. By contrast, ECONOMIC PROTECTIONISM—i.e. FAVORING SOME BUSINESSES OVER OTHERS — is NOT a legitimate object of government. “Necessary” and “tailored” refer to proportionality. IS A BAN ON MONOPOLY NECESSARY, or would free or regulated competition suffice? Is a particular rule properly applied to a specific profession, or is it largely unrelated to the products or services that are provided? It’s clear, that once passed, a single trash-hauler contract and the Chamber of Commerce contract with the City will be in violation of the law!

    I’ll expect a truly stupid response from Segner or West Sedona Resident…

    JRN

  16. Steve Segner says:

    How can I comment on J. Rick Normand verbal diarrhea. I just stated the reason the council did not postpone the vote on the open seat!

    Ricks. reply, ” the Goldwater Institute and The Tenth Amendment Center are steadfastly working on proposed legislation “?
    Rick get a job,
    Oh. Yea that would mean making money, and you don’t believe in money….(just Gold),with Rick the sky is always falling and he never misses a chance to babble on about HIS latest conspiracies.

    ss

  17. West Sedona Dave says:

    JRN…

    Are you really going to use any info from the Goldwater Institute?

    What a garbage rag!…. Here is what one of our local TV stations report about them…

    http://www.azcentral.com/news/politics/articles/20130313report-criticizes-phoenix-based-goldwater-institute.html

    Ive read here for years and never posted….There are a small handful of you really are extremists!…

    And for everyone here please just read the article…..! Ohy!

  18. Steve segner says:

    T hanks west sedona dave good read,

  19. West sedona resident says:

    No response needed from me There are plenty in town who are starting to realize ….the pompous ass you really are….ill through in a BS artist as well

  20. J. Rick Normand says:

    @West Sedona dave (can’t you come up with a more creative handle than that?),

    Apparently, you don’t read well. The link you recite does not reflect opinions of Phx TV stations. It’s a recital of an opinion from the ultra liberal-Bernie Sander’s supporting Center for Media and Democracy and Arizona Working Families which isn’t based in Arizona but in Wisconsin. And, this is your authority for criticizing the Goldwater Institute? And, the GI isn’t a rag, you simpleton. It’s a law firm of prominent Constitutional lawyers that write things way over your head. Finally, the Right to Earn a Living Act is before the AZ House and soon will be before the Senate, both of which have Republican majorities who’ve already made it clear, as well as has the Governor, that it will be voted into law. So, I believe that majority would believe you’re the extremist that can’t even get his facts straight. That law will radically change the way Council does business.

    @Steve Segner,

    Steve, you just never are capable of dealing with even rudimentary deductive logic much less state law that trumps Council actions. The Right to Earn a Living Act will not permit the City to conduct it’s business the way you think is proper. No priority status for your Lodging Council and the C of C any more. You’re going to see the playing field leveled while you’re rolled out of bounds little guy. And, believe me, our new City Attorney is well aware of this situation unlike you who apparently knows nothing of it. That was my point that most readers here got…except for you and your group of simple buddies here.

    @West Sedona Resident,

    You’re always talking about asses which is astonishing considering yours is so large that National Geographic should designate it as a newly discovered continent. Anyway, if you’re as smart as you think you are, I can arrange a sponsored public forum for you to debate any issues you like with me in front of a crowd. Why don’t you give up on your incessant rants and have the guts to take me on in front of an audience? Or, or you just too much of an emotionally unstable wuss? Then, we’ll find out who’s starting to realize who’s for real and who hides under a rock.

    JRN

  21. steve Segner says:

    J. Rick Normandy says
    Except for you and your group of simple buddies here.

    Rick, please do your home work, The Sedona loading council Is a business group that get no money from the chamber and we actual give money to the the city this year for the traffic study.
    The chamber is a vender that contracts with the city.

    When you say ” small group of simple buddies” you mean the people that get out and work , sit on local not for profit boards and give money to local groups, and support candidates for office, Is that what you want to stop?

    Rick what ever happen to the coming crash you have predicted for the last five years, or the pending down fall of Sedona, look around things are good, hotels will spending over $25,000,000 this year on remolding and building and that is just the hotels,
    most of it going to the locals business.
    So much for your vast knowledge on economics.
    I hope people don’t pay for you advice! Your free advice here had been way off.
    Rick, I know you are a big fan of gold, seems gold is not doing so well off almost 50% last five years., some advice from Steve, now is the time to buy oil stocks , but what do I know I dropped out of high school and retired at 35.
    As

  22. West Sedona Resident says:

    JRN Speaking of big asses Yours is as large as your ego…You made me laugh, that’s s good one little RickyI can only guess that you were beat up ass a kid

  23. The Best So Far! says:

    Steve Segner writes: ” The Sedona loading council Is a business group . . .”

    Presuming he was referring to the “lodging” council, his word choice was a far more appropriate version. Better yet, how about “The Sedona Council Loaded with BS?”

  24. J. Rick Normand says:

    @Steve Segner,

    OK, I did my homework, Steve. What’s the Sedona loading council? Loading BS, right? P.S. I don’t own any gold and never have. You’re a total bonehead without all that much money to speak of either. Owning a 2nd rate 12 room B&B with a gravel parking lot doesn’t equate to having noticeable money in my books.

    JRN

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