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Eddie Maddock: Business as Usual?

SedonaEye.com columnist Eddie S. Maddock

Sedona AZ – At a Special Sedona City Council Meeting, 3:00 –Wednesday afternoon –January 11, 2017, after three long years of a contentious destination marketing agreement with the Sedona Chamber of Commerce, the City will again revisit the issue. We can only hope the negotiations will prove to be less controversial, fairer and, in turn, result in acceptable transparency which will dismiss suspicion and mistrust of City Hall dealings. That might very well have been the case had the original commitment for Requests for Proposals (RFP’s) as well as certified outside audits been upheld as proposed during the initial negotiations. Ignoring both valid concerns was a disservice to everyone.

Five options will be discussed at this meeting as follows:

Option 1: Move forward with the negotiations of a new contract with the Chamber of Commerce.

Option 2: Issue an RFP for tourism promotion services.

Option 3: Create a stand-alone destination marketing organization (DMO) without ties to the Chamber of Commerce.

Option 4: Create a City Department to handle tourism promotion.

Option 5: Issue a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for a travel industry consultancy to assess the current structure, funding relationships, etc. and provide recommendations to the city.

Pros and cons of each option will be discussed at length, such as concerns RFP’s will include bids from for-profit agencies. That brings up several questions. Without an official outside audit from a qualified source, how do they know the Chamber has not been making a profit? How many employees have they hired? What has been the cost of improvement to their own facilities, etc? And what is the source of funding for those operating expenses?

And will the City acknowledge the Chamber currently offers their own RFP’s for specific services, realistically reducing them to a mere middle-agency, acting on behalf of the City of Sedona?

And how do they justify the extended branding of the Sedona Chamber of Commerce that has occurred within the past three years? What has been the source of that promotional funding for the Chamber instead of the City?

By creating a stand-alone destination marketing organization, the City could avoid real or perceived conflicts between tourism promotion services and the various other functions of the Chamber of Commerce. Although they specify: “Unclear how local and regional partners would react,” why should that concern the City? Should their focus at long last be redirected to the residents of incorporated Sedona? They are the people who created the City in the first place, clearly, and with knowledge, it attracted tourists.

Sure, a stand-alone destination marketing organization “would result in the re-creation of an already established and successful local agency.” However the extent of success of the present local agency has never been undisputedly proven. The source of increased revenue after the great recession coupled with a reduction in gasoline prices has never factually been factored into the increased tourism and resulting upswing in revenue. Nor has it been determined to what extent advertising monies have merely resulted in excessive day-tripping, which the City’’s infrastructure clearly cannot handle.

As for the suggestion for Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for a travel industry consultancy to assess and monitor the current structure, would that be nothing more than a baby sitter for the contract with the Chamber of Commerce? Should the City have been serving that function for the past three years?

It has frequently been said the City could not afford to operate their stand-alone department. And how would they know? With a Chamber of Commerce now providing funding for USFS trail maintenance, contributing money back to the City for their traffic study, and other generous, but questionably frivolous expenditures, most recently to propose purchasing property on behalf of the City with what appears to be leftover funds from the bed tax rebate, how can they make that determination without a precise and reliable audit from an authentic source? They cannot. Is there any reasonable explanation why the City should not take responsibility for allocating the bed tax revenue -– all of it – including over and above destination marketing?

And the perfect opportunity to establish a genuine Sedona Visitors Center has been ignored by not including such a service at the Western Gateway. How long will this City tolerate discrimination of their own legitimate licensed, tax collecting businesses within City Limits unless they are forced to be members of what clearly is a regional Chamber of Commerce? And the practice of paid referrals is common, but should the City be involved by financing the activity with public funds, and further discriminating against in-city businesses?

Molly Spangler

With the recent hiring of a professional, Molly Spangler, to serve as Economic Development Director, there i’s really no need to burden our busy Chamber of Commerce with more additional duties besides servicing their members, which is the purpose of their non-profit organization.

And, since when was “The Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau” deemed “the Destination Marketing & Management Organization in Sedona for 65 years”? Up until just a few years ago was it not the Oak Creek Canyon Sedona Chamber of Commerce, then changed to Sedona Chamber of Commerce, and most recently “”& Tourism Bureau”” was tacked on? This elaborate extension of creating yet another illusion that simply does not exist is pretty much over the top. Wouldn’t you agree? Dumb question.

There i’s already a campaign in motion to “Make America Great Again.” How about a local endeavor to “Make Sedona Respectable Again”? Meet and greet our visitors with an authentic Sedona Visitors Center and related advertising. Don’’t we deserve it like other places? Flagstaff (AZ) and Park City (UT) are, but two, examples that offer proof they survive very well without financial support to their respective Chambers of Commerce.

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  1. @Donna says:

    I’ll stick to @Donna if you don’t mind. But even if you do, I don’t care.

    I don’t know what store owner (s) you think you know but your statement; ” I know many business owners running stores in this town and they all can afford to pay their employees these kinds of salaries” is out of touch with reality. Between stratosphere rents, all utilities, insurance and now being mandated to pay someone sick when they’re part time is killing all retail business.

    so, I call Bull S*it on your whole posting

  2. get real says:

    with the high rents and city SALES tax on commercial rents the only ones making $$$$ are the landlords and city of sedona. With the exception of the regional Chamber of commerce——-they are the highest paid most profitable businesses

    Come on get real folks sedona is no place to live and work. Move to a real

  3. Get informed says:

    Don’t let the snakes taking city tax money to pay their business expenses fool you. WE all contribute to the tax base. That is crap what steve said. The city provides very few services. The cities does get part of your income tax, property tax, and sales tax from state. The property taxes you pay, pay for the fire district and school districts.

    They are just blowing smoke at you. The hospitality industry doesn’t provide FULL time great paying jobs. They share the same employee pool and many of their workers are undocumented or with a illegal green cards. Yep true. Sedona lacks a good legal willing to work employee pool. Most their employees live outside the city limits as they can get a better quality of life. Even many of the sedona city employees select to live and buy property OUTSIDE the city limits for that reason. Bigger better and cheaper living without the city control.

  4. Earth to Mars Hello says:

    This entire resurrection of affordable housing reeks with more manipulation by Steve Segner and his Lodging Council. Notice how he never addresses how some of them managed to slide out from under their responsibility to provide a certain number of “affordables” for their employees? In fact, how many does he offer? He constantly brags about how much property he owns in Sedona. So based on that why should there even be a problem.

    Unless and until this city drops their questionable devotion to a Chamber of Commerce that is allowed to represent only their members with Sedona city taxes, the hole will only get deeper. And now without any audits or verifiable accountability at all? It’s shameful and disgusting.

    At the rate C of C takes on new employees, that appears to be the main source of employment these days except for City Hall. The entire situation is more putrid than the sewer plant IMO.

  5. Cali-Utah Banker/a visitor's viewfinder says:

    Want to stop dead in tracks any cities ADU federal $$ grab? Insist ADU residents MUST BE TAX PAYING ARIZONA CITIZENS WITH PROOF OF GREEN CARDS w/EVERIFY AND TWO YEARS OF TAX RETURNS (green cards need more but whose counting except us). Being done everywhere. Remind free government tax $$ comes with restrictions. Or do it privately with city funds. Government programmes aren’t landlords or business owners sandboxes. Best do what other states do. Let Cities underwrite the mortgages with Lenders at a special rate, let the city pay the difference to landlords on fixed rental rates. Sedona, what is your goal? You ALL are quite behind the times. Stop trying to build migrant camps and build a sustainable community. BTW I’ve driven to Sedona for lunch and spent a holiday week there. YOU’VE AFFORDABLE HOUSING WITH MOST SPORTING BETTER VIEWS THAN THE RICH AND FAMOUS. And THAT as an opinion is quite likely a real driver to MOVE lower income OFF THE BETTER GROUND FOR DEVELOPMENT. Pay attention. Watch who vies for the free fed $$ tickets? INFILL is the choice of eco-developers and popular in SF, Boston, Cali coastal towns, Cali mountain towns, and others with limited land to develop ski resort towns or summer resort meccas. Check it out. Where stand your local sustainability specialists like Sierra Club or HOA memberships? Preservation first not more reservations Arizona. Sit down with banking community and discuss Sedona-only programmes not the federal government. It’s cheaper and more effective.

  6. Say What? says:

    @Steve Segner says: “I know we all want a community . . .” blah, blah, blah

    You may be mouth piece for the chamber of commerce and certain city council members, but since when were you given a licence to speak for EVERYONE as in “we all want.”

    Every day it seems you become more obnoxious with your self-appointed authority. Or, perhaps, has there been some sort of secret meeting where you were crowned King of Sedona? Could happen since by your own admission Sedona does NOT operate as a democracy.

  7. Just A Hunch says:

    It’s very possible Sedona will end up funding ADUs (affordable dwelling units) by attempting to justify chamber of commerce to use bed tax rebate for the purpose of product development. This sounds more and more like a prearranged set up between the controlling negotiating powers of this once beautiful place.

    And keep in mind city sales tax will soon increase to allegedly be earmarked for road improvements.

    And again what happened to the sales tax earmarked to maintain the wastewater treatment plant? They lie and they cheat.

    And finally explain why the money given to the asinine chamber of commerce couldn’t qualify road improvements as product development? The shell games never end.

  8. U R Crazy says:

    U R Crazy for that comparison Mr Segner. No matter how many cheap apartments you put in Sedona you’ll never get millennials to move here. U R from another planet.

  9. Legacies says:

    Every city council seems to have their own image of leaving a legacy. Sadly most turn out to be legacies of horror! Destruction of uptown state highway (89A), defunct cultural park, unresolved traffic, wasted tax funds on too many non-profits, sewer financial monstrosity just to name a few.

    Maybe one of the most amusing of late was former Mayor Rob Adams who sooo wanted a Creekside Park – named in his honor.

    Ha swampland would have been a better option than the damage done to Sedona by Adams and his team mates when they set in motion the perpetual give-away contract to the rip-off chamber of horrors. Sedona’s Albatross that will never go away until and unless we get gutsy representation that will pull the plug on this lunacy.

    Yep – a Forever Albatross – What a legacy IMO !

  10. steve Segner says:

    Police, fire, city workers, millennial or just people that want to live in Sedona, what is wrong with building apartments or condos….. This is not your town. No one is talking about the city or state subsiding anything the city is looking to ease some build density. And they are having open meetings…. Why all the hate?
    Remember there are more people that make there living in Sedona then live in Sedona. Diversity is good,

  11. U R Crazy says:

    Come on Mr. Segner U really r crazy. It is NOT ur town either. Why do you accept the subsidy to the chamber and lodging industry then? If the industry was great they wouldn’t. Diversity my asx. BS IMO

  12. @steve Segner says:

    Did it ever occur to you that YOU’RE the one who brings out HATE with your obnoxious know-it-all presumptions. Just because you con the people at city hall doesn’t mean you have the power to captivate the rest of Sedona’s legitimate residents. You snowed that Adams’ council with your “Just trust us (me)” BS but you do NOT have that power over ALL of us. Go take a hike on the trails that you’re now spending city revenue to maintain.

  13. @steve says:

    city employees don’t live in hgh denity units.
    the only thing this will do is drive property values down.

  14. give it a break says:


    As usual half a brain is missing in action.

  15. Scratching My Head says:

    It’s really difficult to figure out what the biggest rip off is with the money handed to the Chamber:

    An alleged Sedona Visitors Center” when clearly it’s ID’d as belonging to the Chamber in order to promote ONLY their members.

    Discriminating against legitimate licensed businesses unless they’re Chamber members.

    Spending city tax money on other government agencies (example? USFS for trail maintenance) leading the Forest Service to believe it’s the Chamber of Commerce that deserve the accolades like the money they are getting is from their members.

    Not having an audit or reliable accounting on how the city money is being spent by the Chamber – Return on Investment? How many daytrippers resulted from their inappropriate ad campaign? Etc.

    The most recent con job of justifying the contract with the Chamber as product development – presently looking like it’s headed in the direction of providing affordable housing. (Sedona’s been there and done it before with Nepenthe and failed attempts with developments like Fairfield.)

    This list just continues to grow along with the stink. Agree about the “legacy” of the the Adam’s Administration. Probably the worst council yet except this one that appears to just continue the trend.

    Segner’s correct about one thing. GIVE IT UP IF YOU DON’T AGREE WITH THEM! The proverbial Snowball in Hell has a better chance.

  16. JJ says:

    Tuscon lost it’s challenge of sb1487. Sedona repeatedly violates sb1487. Time to write your legislators and take back control of Sedona. The more people that get involved the better. JM on city council has been gloating that the people are powerless. Show him and city attorney how wrong they are. Time to rally the troops. Stop the ripoff of the CofC and other special interests of the tax paying citizens. Stick that in your progresso soup brain SS.

  17. @Scratching says:

    PLEEEEEASE PLEEEEASE go back to baking cakes. You just won’t or don’t get it. We ALLLLL know that you hate the CoC because they won’t put your rack cards in their display. Maybe that’s because they just don’t like you, rightfully so.

    You have been ranting about this for years and the CoC keeps doing their job and brings us lots of business that I need to run my store. Too bad you no longer have yours. Obviously no one agrees with you

  18. @@scratching says:

    Jessica never owned a bakery! She worked the counter at Los Ab. You have lost your peebrain.

  19. Donna Joy says:

    So very sorry to disappoint you @Scratching not me. Not my post. But I do agree with @Scratching My Head.

    To set the record straight I quit the regional Chamber with my two memberships as I felt the money grab for municipality funding for their private membership was immoral since those monies collected by the in-city businesses should not be used to advertise their competition.

    BTW I am enjoying life vacationing. Thanks for all the compliments really sorry that your imagination thinks every posts that dislikes the chamber is me. Only the money grabbers like the chamber. BTW use your own name.

  20. Nora & Joe, Phoenix says:

    @Donna Joy, we were especially pleased to run into you and your husband the last time we came to hike in Sedona! We’ve missed shopping at your bakery but are so very happy to learn there is still opportunity for availability of your gluten-free mixes and other special order items. Will follow your web site as we wish you lots of luck in your future endeavors and hope you continue to live the good life as you are deserving!

  21. steve Segner says:

    Donna, seems to be no record of you having a city business license? Or a county health certificate? Just a reminder you need both, and let remember no home business in residential areas…. Or sales tax . We know you are a stickler to the finer point of the laws in Sedona .

  22. Donna Joy says:

    @steve Segner WRONG again Steve. Not that it is your business. I always operate a fully certified and licensed businesses. If you continue to make false statements you are liable.

  23. @steve Segner says:

    Obviously you haven’t checked your facts. Just because you’re a ( deleted by editor) doesn’t mean everyone in Sedona is. Do your suspicions by chance reflect your own guilt?

  24. Dana Varney says:

    Segner, did you ever remove that non commercial refrigerator from the kitchen of Canyon Portal. I have run a business in Sedona for 23 years and am well aware of the coconino county health regulations regarding non commercial food equipment. Take care of your violations before you make false statements. See you on the other side.

  25. My real name, Jane says:

    Donna Joy:

    You inspire me to want to write using my real name. Sorry to say that is all you inspire me to do. I must agree with Mr. Segner, you’re not vacationing full time we all know that you’re (deleted by editor) and after checking with the County web site, not in possession of a health certificate for that location.

    As for your issues with the Chamber, I also agree with poster @Scratching you have had an issue and been vocal against the Chamber for years. Sorry to say, most must not agree with you since the Chamber is thriving and seems to be doing a great job. As for you, NOT SO MUCH. Your once thriving ( deleted by editor) is now gone and you are (deleted by editor) house.

    So now go back to posting here on SE under 10 or more factious names.

  26. Dana Varney says:

    Oops not canyon portal El Portal

  27. Radiohead says:

    Knock it off. BORING. No one knows who you all are and no one cares what you think about each other. GO get a drink and work it out. What are you like next door neighbors who hate each other?!!?!? Because somebody didn’t get invited to a dinner party or get baked a birthday cake?!?! Stupid!!!! Don’t answer me. I don’t care. Seriously don’t care.

  28. Mandy (not my real name) says:

    @My real name is Jane – clearly you are walking on the edge of libelous slander unless (deleted by editor) without a city license and/or county health permit. It’s surprising the publisher of Sedona Eye would allow such a comment to appear without you having qualified it as “your opinion.” It will surprise me even further if this is the last you hear about your radical and misappropriated accusations unless you do the right thing and promptly withdraw your unfounded charges.

  29. @My real name, Jane says:

    If you GIFT anyone 3 million dollars a year of course they would thrive!!!!! what a joke! You are nuts!! Public money funding private membership clubs. Rip off of the citizens!!!! 3 million a year is a lot of money!

  30. Jim Poole says:

    B O R I N G ********

    Same old crap! Grow up Sedona. Stealing tax dollars to advertise is stupid! IMO. That is what this is ALL about.

    The big lie.

    Steve and Jennifer go get your members to give you 2.9 million dollars a year and leave the taxpayers alone. STOP the TRAFFIC!!!!!

    BORING Correct Radiohead

  31. @Radiohead says:

    You are correct. It is and has always been about taking tax dollars and funneling special interests. Sick and tired ! When will the people band together and do something about it.

  32. Get Real says:


    Don’t be ignorant. The Chamber is thriving because it receives over $2 Million a year in public taxpayer funds from the City of Sedona. The Chamber is not doing a great job. It purchased private property–401 Jordan Rd– with taxpayer funds.

  33. That is Sedona! says:

    Well if you haven’t learned it by now this is how Sedona rolls. The RR news, Chamber, and lodging council make up stuff and run everything in Sedona. They don’t like the Sedona Eye as the flatlanders can post the truth. So they get on the sight and post like crazy.
    They all are being paid by the taxpayers through the city of Sedona. The RNN is now just a few pages. More ad inserts than news. Print news is a dying industry. If any three of this group RR news, Chamber and Lodging didn’t get City funding they be out of business. It is about money folks.
    Keep speaking up Donna, it is really fun to watch Christopher GF and Steve S post crazy stuff. You really ruffled thier panties. My business didn’t renew the chamber either. Look at their membership list and you’ll see most of their members aren’t in the city. That Steve is the most obnoxious self empowered dictator. To bad he doesn’t know that Arizona allows all kinds of businesses like airbnbs.
    Thanks Sedona Eye!

  34. Amen @That is Sedona! says:

    You write the truth. There something else that is sort of mind blowing here. What’s going on with Sedona innkeepers that they would allow such a person as Steve Segner be President or Chairman if that’s the case? How well does it speak for them, as an associated group, to have a mouth piece that goes on and on, quite often without substantiating his rants and now most recently bullying women? How well does that speak to tourists and Sedona in general?

    Let them bring on their “affordable housing” which will no doubt result in even more “vacation rentals” to compete with those that think they will benefit the most. It will serve them right when their lowly employees wise up, rent the joints, and then sublet to tourists at profitable but cut-rate prices. Can hardly wait for that one!

    What’s the name of this article? Oh yeah – “Business as Usual”. Ain’t that a hoot. Rooty toot toot. Nothing lasts forever.

  35. George N. says:

    Wha’ hoppin’? Big man on campus has gone silent (@S.Segner). How come? Is he enjoying the taste of crow with Real Name Jane?

  36. Steve segner says:

    Amen actually I’m in Telluride looking at the low income housing in the small houses. Tell your ride has paid parking on almost all the streets and they’ve done an excellent job for small housing we should hold it up as an example of what a great tourist town looks like as for Donna I wish you the best she just has to make sure she has all the permit she needs in a location with the correct Soni and Donna post daily using several names always complaining about how everybody else in town does business I just think she needs to stick to the rules that’s not being a bully , just one more correction lodging counsel gets absolutely no money from the chamber or from the city we actually pay for a membership with the chamber .

  37. Roger says:

    It’s very customary for lodging facilities in resort towns to supply a section of housing ON THEIR PREMISES for employees as it seems Steve Segner will learn if he visits enough of them. Since he finds Telluride so appealing, wonder why he doesn’t relocate there and bless them with his presence? Some of us have had a belly full of his overbearing control and unsolicited advice. And my name is Roger and the opinions here are my own. Do not know a Donna lest you think otherwise.

  38. To Roger says:

    That’s the best thing about SE it give all of us the opportunity to free speech.

    While Steve Segner is a bit “out there” he has no problem putting his money and his time where his mouth is. When was the last time you did the same?

    It doesn’t matter that you aren’t “Donna” we all know that she’s using 10 other names here on SE. But that IS HER RIGHT also.

    Since Donna does pop out with her real name once in a while I would love for her to be honest and tell all of her supporters why (deleted by editor)?

  39. Wm. Jay says:

    Clearly it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out where this is going. Just coincidence a certain leader of a pack (or two) has been contriving ways to use city tax revenue to supply housing for the lodging industry?

    Puleeze – spare us the Lodging Council doesn’t receive one penny of city and/or chamber money.

    Wasn’t the agreement to increase the bed tax half a percent based on a percentage of the return going to benefit those collecting it? So of course the Lodging Council is rewarded because that was part of the deal. When’s the payback going to end?

    Clearly a good chunk of that money could go for road improvements to justify the conditional terms. But oh no increase sales tax, increase housing density, AND thus increase traffic.

    DUH! Maybe the best we can wish for is the cute string of little houses become perched along side the residences of those that will vote to approve this atrocity to the Community Plan.

    And the mere thought that cars can park on narrow city streets? OMG – there’s barely enough space for two cars to pass on county standard roads inherited by the city. Some of these lame brains taking over little Sedona, incorporated for the purpose of avoiding most of what is happening now, should return to their place of origin. Maybe a cabbage patch? Sheesh!

  40. @To Roger says:

    What’s surprising here is why Steve Segner thinks he is so special that he can write anything he jolly well pleases and state it as fact. I’ve yet to see when he follows the protective rule by qualifying his blatant input as being “his opinion.” What gives him the authority to state any name as being a specific person without hesitation or qualifying it as being “his opinion” – be it this Donna person or anyone else. Unless he has solid proof of such allegations, isn’t he being careless, over-confident, or maybe just sloppy? Or did he think Real Name Jane (or something) was also one of his phantom dream people? Too big for his britches? Or what’s the real deal? It surely seems he has hands-on influence at City Hall and unless he holds the same key to SE Editorial room, how can he get away with his blatant finger pointing? How’s them apples?

  41. 15 names says:

    Boy that (deleted by editor) …

    Sure has a lot of time to post using 10 different names a day
    I guess business ain’t that good

  42. Point to Ponder says:

    Doesn’t the content of comments by the alleged @15 names offer far more value than the hecklers who continue to make unfounded accusations? Who cares about the source of the information? Isn’t the message more important? And to summarize what readers are likely to ascertain if they read posts from those being attacked is the truth is something they (hecklers) do NOT want to be made public! BTW wonder who paid for the head honcho’s outing to Telluride? Just another point to ponder.

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