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Eddie Maddock: Business as Usual?

SedonaEye.com columnist Eddie S. Maddock

Sedona AZ (January 7, 2017) – 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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249 Comments

  1. Andrew A. says:

    And by what credentials are you, “Wsr” qualified to determine what is or what is not investigative reporting? And just where are the claims the submissions are, in fact, the works of investigative reporters? Further, the same as you throw out your assessment that comments are “most likely” from 5-6 various made up names- where does that leave you? Right smack as the ring leader of throwing out nonsense as you accuse others of doing? You are without a doubt the most pathetic of all – including West Sedona Dave, R O’Donnell,various forms of West Sedona Resident and others that just love to toss the bull. Try a boomerang instead.

  2. Jim, Shelby Drive says:

    Hate filled comments by @Wsr are wrong. Jealousy & spite Wsr wsr WSR BLOB vs blog. could be a lover gone bad? competitor trying to destroy? Kick their (deleted by editor) down the (deleted by editor) road !!My office loves the Sedona Eye wizard! And Namaste Josh!! Namaste Henry!! Namaste all!! Keep on Sedonaeye.com!

  3. West Sedona Dave says:

    Jim, I see you use the term Namaste …..Guess you dont understand its meaning?

    To bad also…….I wont stick up for WSR as he is brash….But to love a blog filled with lies and opinions is just a bit twisted to many people.

    So good luck using your term when its far more appropriate.

  4. Wsr says:

    Right on haters…I was just pointing out the obvious….as one person posting under three different names chime in….

  5. O 4 Heaven's Sake says:

    It doesn’t require the expertise of a professional investigative reporter to realize how Sedona is being ripped off. Multiple costly traffic studies over the years are stacked in the archives at City Hall with another $250,000 one ongoing. And the same conclusions will result most likely in another document to stash away. And as for this city living up to the reasons for incorporation, to protect the scenic values and maintain a small town atmosphere, nothing could be further from the truth. They will proceed to build major resort hotels on every corner resulting in even more traffic, with on-record no solutions, while at the same time cry “sustainable” which in itself is nothing more than a blatant and obnoxious example of the hypocrisy alive and well in Sedona. And now they attempt to justify the chamber of commerce using public money to purchase property on behalf of the city for a parking lot? Said property as described by FYI as a direct violation for a variety of reasons.

    By just reading comments Sedona Eye offers a wealth of information, frequently backed up with web sites and other references to prove valid data is offered here. And as for investigative reporters, the national media is a fine example that they are NOT ultimate authorities on reliable facts and ethical activities. No way, no how!

  6. Wsr says:

    @4 heavens sake(and the other 8 names you post under)

    An old lady sitting behind her computer all day thinking of newer and better ways to complain in not an authority on anything either…..FYI

    Plus you the same person posting under 6-7 different names

  7. The Improved Thought Proctologist says:

    @ Wsr, West Sedona Resident, West sedona resident, West sedona Resident, WSR, WSR times 2, Anonymous and All Readers at The Eye:

    From The Improved Thought Proctologist;

    Wsr, you say “Right on haters…I was just pointing out the obvious….as one person posting under three different names chime in….” You insufferable fraud. Below is the proof that you can NEVER be believed since you’ve admitted that you, yourself, use multiple handles and then lie to cover up the fact.

    Apparently J. Rick won’t repeat his own comments here since, I suppose, he feels to do so shouldn’t be necessary. So, I’ll do it for him, as follows, since I do happen to think the following comment needs to be repeated until the subject troll goes away forever:

    Under Eddie Maddock’s column of November 23, 2016 is this comment;

    J. Rick Normand says:
    December 26, 2016 at 3:01 pm

    @All Readers at The Eye:

    Re Hecklers: WSR (the ultimate hater and fraud posting above on Dec 25), Wsr, West sedona Resident and Anonymous

    Here is proof that hecklers like the one(s) below can NEVER be believed or trusted, not to mention that these trolls have no interest whatsoever in the articles which their attack targets have posted and labored to thoroughly research. See below:

    Reply to JRN from>>>
    West sedona Resident says:
    December 4, 2016 at 9:08 am

    J Rick Normand
    Thought Proctologist

    The above are both the same person….J Rick still can’t understand why you use your real name AND then an Alias

    Yes that anonymous post was WSR…forgot to fill it in before I posted

    *****

    J. Rick Normand says:
    December 6, 2016 at 9:21 am

    @West sedona Resident, WSR, Wsr, & Anonymous,

    Do you realize that you’ve just admitted that YOU’RE ALL FOUR OF THESE HANDLES while accusing me of being two handles with no evidence or confirmation of any kind? Can’t you ever do anything right?

    JRN

    *****

    Reply to JRN from>>>
    West sedona resident says:
    December 6, 2016 at 2:16 pm

    JRN

    So what….

    Wsr WSR west sedona resident. Yeah it’s all me …I repeat so what….[sic] there’s all the same…. I’m not pretending to be JRN. And the Thought Proctologist… what’s your point…..Or as in most of your posts….”there is no point”. Just a lot of huffing and hot air

    *****
    From JRN to West sedona Resident, WSR, Wsr, & Anonymous>>>

    Aside from what is revealed through your own words, WSR/Wsr, you’ve proved some other things, namely, that you’re incapable of original research and authoring related articles, incapable of deductive logic, and incapable of achieving enough credibility to persuade anyone to believe in your drivel which you tend to repeat incessantly. You need to find a new game! [and venue (TTP)]

    [End]

  8. West Sedona Dave says:

    I see we have more government experts chiming in, this time a traffic study……sigh

    Do you even know why they HAVE to due a traffic study?…..from your answer I get not.

    To fix all these traffic problems, not only do you need a plan,and have a problem but you need ways of proving (legally)…..and why would that be?…..Although your OPINION says ” multiple traffic study’s over the years”….

    You last real full traffic study was over 20 years ago!

    So simply put if Sedona and Cottonwood were trying to get the same money for a project, and one has a resent traffic study and the other is using information that is 20 years old, dont expect anything in the form of money coming to your city!

    These magic roads and bridges are very costly……and on top of that most towns and citys rely and lean very hard on County’s, States, and Federal monies…

    I do believe $250k is a lot for a study….But at what point do you decide and start to try and fix your problems?…..Yes the study is the foundation for it, so the more expansive the study the better chance you have at fixing some of them.

    So you see as usual on the Sedona Eye its filled with miss truths, lies and opinions…
    My point isnt to be an agitator, its to tell people ” how things work” and “why”.

    How can anyone here play the game without knowing the rules? and in some cases the Laws….?

  9. Another Farce says:

    So the chamber of commerce justifies spending what they actually believe is their entitlement, 55% of the total bed tax of 3.5% (instead of the .5% increase that started this whole mess) for the purchase of property on behalf of the city by labeling it “product development?”

    For certain, C of C – there IS a Santa Claus. 10,000 of them more commonly known as Sedona City Limit Residents that made all this insanity possible. And look for an increase in sales tax in the very near future to compensate for the Great Chamber Giveaway Farce.

  10. Coincidence? says:

    Is it just a coincidence West Sedona Dave so reflects the comments made by a Steve Segner, who committed to refrain from posting here after the city council unanimously supported renewing the contract with the Chamber? He, same as our Davy here, had answers for absolutely everything which, unfortunately, ultimately created the need for acquiring new sources of money – from Sedona residents.

    Barcelona Spain came up the the most practical solution of all – limit the number of tourists they can accommodate! DUH.

    http://www.foxnews.com/travel/2017/01/31/barcelona-aims-to-limit-tourism-with-visitor-cap-law.html

  11. Jim Poole says:

    The law, just passed by Barcelona’s city council, limits the construction of new hotels and stops licences being issued to accommodation providers, until tourist numbers are driven down.
    Under the law, new hotels are banned in the saturated city center. Beyond the inner city, new hotels will only be allowed under strict conditions.
    http://www.foxnews.com/travel/2017/01/31/barcelona-aims-to-limit-tourism-with-visitor-cap-law.html

  12. @Jim Poole says:

    That’s fantastic, if you had to go outside of the State and COUNTRY to find an answer then it must be very important to you. If you like Barcelona and their city council so much then perhaps you should relocate to Barcelona.

  13. @@Jim Poole says:

    You don’t seem to get it. All the Chamber does is compare Sedona with other places (mostly Scottsdale) but all over creation too – Santa Barbara, Colorado resorts, etc. – so why not Barcelona? Look at it this way – put a lid on tourists and where will they want to go? Exactly to that place. Forbidden fruit – you know the story. And why wouldn’t that reduce the clientele to the big spenders? That was the idea of the destination marketing to begin with. Cut down on drive though day trippers.

  14. destinations being ruined by tourism says:

    Some of the most beautiful places in the world are being marred by too many visitors. Here’s our list of the top 15 travel destinations being ruined by tourism.

    http://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/eco-tourism/photos/15-travel-destinations-being-ruined-by-tourism/treading-lightly

  15. West Sedona Dave says:

    What a fabulous idea, kill the golden goose that is 65% of our tax base, and supplies almost 90% of jobs in Sedona….

    Do you people ever think through completely your opinions?

    Id say you would be far happier if you moved to a nice old dusty town that offers nothing for travelers and residents alike.

    Old crabby grouchy opinionated fools that wouldnt know a good thing if it bit them…

  16. John Daniels says:

    To: Destinations being ruined by tourism

    Great website and you make a very good point. Just to confirm if Sedona is NOT ON THAT LIST I guess it’s not being ruined by tourism?

  17. Tourism: Big industry, small paychecks says:

    times.com/story/news/local/2015/11/07/tourism-industry-you-do-what-takes/75107692/

    But the tourism deluge has brought jobs paying less than state averages, and that has grown the ranks of people unable to overcome the city’s affordable housing crisis.

    Critics say development spawned by the industry, including those downtown hotels, is changing the landscape for the worse.

    Sedona is permanently changing the landscaping and the local brand to a traffic parking lot filled with overworked and underpaid waiters and hotels workers all clogging the same hwys the tourists use.

  18. Tsk, Tsk says:

    @West Sedona Dave: It’s the Chamber and over-development that’s killing the Golden Goose. It’s the red rock scenery that’s attracted, essentially by word of mouth, the discovery of Sedona and NOT a resort hotel on every corner. It’s people like you that gripe about big box stores (remember the fuss about CVS) and at the same time salute big box hotels and big city stuff like a convention center. Get a grip, man.

    @John Daniels: Same as you I noticed Sedona was conspicuous by absence on the list of 15 most popular tourist locations. And why is that? Will that justify for the Chamber of Commerce to demand even more money for their obvious unprofessional and ineffective destination marketing.

    You people would be laughable if not so pathetic. Your concepts of maintaining a small town environment/atmosphere and preserving our natural resources and surroundings, principal focus of the Sedona Community Plan, are what’s displaced here.

  19. Tourist destroying heritage sites says:

    The heritage sites in the Sedona – Verde Valley are being destroyed by the tourists

  20. George N. says:

    And we should be surprised that 90% of jobs in Sedona are created due to tourism (@West Sedona Dave)? Is there even one single person that travels to Sedona or living here for that matter who isn’t aware Sedona is a tourist town? Why not inform of us something we don’t know?

    What would be nice, though, is to understand why the high rolling tourism industry feels it’s the city’s responsibility to provide housing for your employees?

    If you choose to cater to tourists then provide your service people appropriate accommodations which should have been mandated by this poorly managed city years ago. (Like other things such as adequate roads and parking.) A no- brainer, really. But then who said Sedona was being managed by members of mensa?

  21. Sedona has insufficient infrastructure for tourism says:

    “Tourism is good for the locals as far as the dollars coming in,” Lundquist told me. “But there is a break even point. It’s causing us infrastructure shortfalls and it’s costing us a lot of money. It comes to a point where tourism becomes a loser.”

    http://fusion.net/story/339171/small-towns-airbnb/

    Sedona needs to STOP the promotion of ALL tourism. Sedona Lacks the infrastructure to handle it.

    Now our residential subdivision will be invaded at a alarming rate.

    Listings for vacation rentals
    AirBnB = 300 listings
    VRBO = 589 listings
    Home Away = 440 listing
    HometoGo = 713

    Are you ready residents? Invasion, destruction of your space, driving cost of living through the roof. You pay more for less!

    STOP ALL subsidies to ALL businesses like the chamber. Tourism is a loser.

  22. Jerry, Legitimate Sedona Voter says:

    Don’t forget the vacation rentals which aren’t listed with the commercial pushers (Air BnB etc.) And why should residents blow the whistle on them when we have a chamber of commerce making such ludicrous statements in a local print paper that they make our quality of life better? Give me a break.

    Not only that, but assistant city manager, Karen Osburn, just won top award from Arizona City/County Manager’s Association. Very nice, Mrs. Osburn, but why was it the award dinner on Feb. 2 was held in the Village of Oak Creek? So once again, a loss to incorporated Sedona’s tax base. Didn’t that same thing happen recently when the Chamber of Commerce held their own annual awards event outside City Limits? Of course it did!

    Tourism isn’t the only loser around here. Ask those of us dumb enough to invest in property within City Limits.

  23. ???Jerry, Legitimate Sedona Voter says:

    Well let’s look at this for a second. Anyone who has a brain in this city knows that the Hilton and Enchantment both have the biggest event venues in the region. So do we cry when big events are held out of the city because the event planner needs more room or do we build a bigger event venue to compete? Oh wait then you have the deep minds on Sedona Eye and other Nay Sayers who will complain that “we don’t need another hotel in Sedona”.

    I can’t wait for the first person on SE who ends up with a short stay vacation rental next door to them.

    Inquiring minds like mine want to know your thoughts.

  24. Sweetheart Deal says:

    So Karen Osburn, City Asst. Mgr. won top award because City Mgr. Justin Clifton submitted her name – and the big dinner celebration was held outside city limits in the VOC – no city taxes collected at that event.

    Seriously, this situation is beyond the pale. For those that don’t understand what that means, here it is in black and white:

    BEYOND THE PALE (definition): Outside the bounds of acceptable behavior.

    synonyms: unacceptable, unseemly, improper, unsuitable, unreasonable, unforgivable, intolerable, disgraceful, deplorable, outrageous, scandalous, shocking.

    Get the idea? Wonder if all members of the Sedona City Council were also in attendance? If so, another violation of the Open Meeting Law. Oh, I forgot, Sedona doesn’t play by the rules. For some unknown reason it seems they are exempt. Wonder why . . . ??

  25. West Sedona Dave says:

    Sweetheart Deal,

    I will continue to repeat myself till you pay attention and open your ears and close your opinions!
    I would bet not on soul understands your nonsensical rantings…Why havent you gone to our States Attorney with all your damming evidence?

    No really?…..You have a big mouth and think you have it down pat….Please why havent you called, emailed, or gone down there????????????????

    Tourism is bad, evil, ect……Great lets start mining copper at Coffeepot Rock!
    We can get some room for a big smelter and start looking for copper reserves….Maybe we can get one of those big Phoenix sports teams up here and build a massive arena?

    I will need help from fellow Sedonians to come up with good profitable businesses that can eliminate all that tourism!….and make sure all those businesses dont hire many people because that clogs up the roads…

    Maybe I should just start talking out of my rear end, like so many of you that are filled with opinions but never have solutions or answers?

    So please anyone with ideas to make eliminate all those nasty evil tourists, we need a new plan….A plan that wont fluctuate with down turns in the economy…That wont ruin the “small town atmosphere”….Eliminates traffic……and how silly of me to forget, Make Sedona unincorporated again!!

    (note: Please do to SB1350 should be repealed because the nasty Chamber of Commerce still gets a cut from airbnb…)…and it adds to traffic bla,bla, bla…

  26. MShobert says:

    When you provide cowardice commentary, under the blanket of secrecy, it does not count.

    Pretty easy to play the tough intelligent type, when you aren’t accountable.

    Lame! Weak! Shameful! …probably the same buffoons from a decade ago.

  27. Too Many Tourists says:

    Sedona has too many tourists for a two street town. The tourists are destroying the land, clogging our roads, driving the cost of living up.

    Property taxes are high as the residents are the ones paying for the infrastructure such as emergency services. Across the board we pay more for the Chamber-Lodging to PLAY with money that should be used for the Health welfare and safety of the incorporated area. ALL monies collected by any business is that of the city. NOT theirs as Segner and Wesselhoff would like you to believe. Sales taxes are for infrastructure.

    The fire department is a great example. WE the residents via property taxes pay for those services. Those that rent play more rent for those services. The fire district needs more as they can’t get though the clogged streets throughout our region.

    Stop this insane idea The regional Chamber IS COSTING you money out of your POCKET. Take back YOUR MONEY and start CHARGING the CHamber impact fees. They OWE you.

    Too many Tourists!!!!!! NO MORE HOTELS!!!!!!!!

  28. Tourism: Visitors Up, Spending Down says:

    http://www.hawaiifreepress.com/ArticlesMain/tabid/56/ID/17788/Tourism-Visitors-Up-Spending-Down.aspx

    Tourism: Visitors Up, Spending Down

    Yes it it true people buy different today.

    But don’t let the false reporting from the chamber fool you as they take credit for YOU and the local community spending in their reports. They report ALL industries, along with local community contribution. You pay sales tax on internet deliveries, home deliveries along with what you spend in the city. So check out that bill for utilities or a home depot delivery and you’ll see that city sales tax on you bill.

    Tourism may be up but they are spending less while they are here.

  29. Response to One of the Saps says:

    Responding to the sappy comment from “???Jerry, Legitimate Sedona Voter”. .

    ” Anyone who has a brain in this city knows that the Hilton and Enchantment both have the biggest event venues in the region.”

    Isn’t it true that rarely does that inane reason justify avoiding the many locations in Sedona (city) which could accommodate events and be appropriate. For example, for years the Sedona Bridal Fair was held at Poco Diablo and has now been switched to the Village of Oak Creek. That’s just one of many examples and you know it.

    As for vacation rentals, there are already three of them in my neighborhood and, although initially opposed, no way would I even consider blowing the whistle on them. No way – no how. Give these arrogant Sedona control freaks a little taste of their own medicine. Gala events outside city limits? Competition in residential subdivisions. Leveling the playing field? If the shoe fits.

  30. pish posh says:

    Isn’t it incredible – Sedona (city) can’t facilitate all these special events and yet City Hall was large enough to accommodate the recent Town Hall to benefit the entire Verde Valley a get-together with State Legislators? What an opportunity for Sedona city officials to hob-nob and get on the favorable side of our State representatives, the ones that determine breaches of State Statutes such as SB1487. Hmmm?? (scratch head)

    And that brings to mind the other curious arrangement this City has with “their” official visitors center. (NOT) The practice of paid referrals is as common knowledge as is the rejection offered to Sedona tax collecting businesses that prefer not to be coerced into becoming a member of the club. Has anyone checked into potential referral fees collected by the dysfunctional Chamber of Commerce from those preferred resort hotels outside Sedona City Limits?

    Ah yes, incorporated Sedona – the cash cow for the entire Verde Valley. Sound familiar? Like in the way the Federal government takes care of the world while the country it stands for declines to third world status? A living example, both cases, of the cobbler’s children having no shoes?

  31. Sedona Resident says:

    Well I wouldn’t expect the city to have a event in their own city limits. For the businesses and residents inside the city limits they feel they got you. They controll you, you’re stuck. There is nothing you can do about it. That is why they invited everyone OUTSIDE the city limits to partake in city events, citizens engagement, council meetings, committees, Steve Segner lives outside the city but votes on city issues. Guess what he’s not the only one voting inside the city but living outside the city. All this feeds their egos. Confuse the public use the public.
    Now that is funny, Justin got an award for Karen. What a joke, they do a great job of taking advantage of the people, spend more money they they bring in, and don’t engage their own residents. They disconnect to their own business as they like to be the bad guy to control them while they gift mega dollars to the businesses OUTSIDE the city limits. So all those people benefiting will tell them how wonderful they are. Complete BS. Anyone being gifted MILLIONS would say that but they don’t care.

  32. Alarmed says:

    Residents and in-city businesses are suffering from the presence of political influence, cronyism, favoritism and conflicts of interest at City Hall. When was the last time a city-wide survey was employed in dealing with important issues? A Town Hall Meeting to present information and hear the concerns and opinions of voters? Harrumph, too long ago to remember!

    The Mayor not infrequently attributes opposing viewpoints and concerns voiced by the public during City Council Meetings to the “vocal minority” and proceeds to agree with the absent, unknown “silent majority.”

  33. Traveler Spending says:

    Travellers are likely to spend more on sightseeing than on shopping, souvenirs and nightlife combined (TripBarometer, 2015)

    Sightseeing cost ZERO in Sedona and Bring in ZERO taxes. Fools

  34. Brace Yourselves says:

    Be prepared residents and businesses of incorporated Sedona for the bomb soon to be dropped to raise city sales tax along with a proposal to form special taxing districts for infrastructure improvements. It will happen while at the same time this city government continues to cater to those outside their jurisdiction and who will not be paying for these financial impositions. Go figure.

  35. CS says:

    I don’t believe it, customers dropping to their knees and griping NOW; Cut us a break. I order something on line and pay less than 7% sending it to friend in VOC and get it when we meet for breakfast. City a whopping 10%. I don’t walk in Staples store because I order it and have it delivered to my doorstep cheaper than walking. Go ahead. Keep closing us down. We’ll go to village or Cottonwood. Yavapai Co is better business atmosphere which is why Chamber trying to muscle in. They know to get out. See you at the Collective before you lose your shirts. Getting to be the time we get evening business is First Friday & not guaranteed. Happy Valentine’s Day. How much business did you get out of it? Me about an extra $27.28 today. Primo location they tell me when rent due.

  36. Very Sad says:

    Watching the council meeting (2/14) and the way Rep. Bob Thorpe’s name was bantered about by City Attorney Robert Pickels makes the connection very clear. Forget any attempts to get justice from our State representations. Seems Sedona officials have them in their back pockets giving ample opportunity to get advice to keep them one step away from being called on State Statute violations. Even that new councilman, Currivan(?), made mention of a phone conversation he had w/Rep. Thorpe. Keep this in mind next election.

  37. Tourism cost Sedona Residents $$$$ says:

    Here is another good example of how Tourism cost resident more money to live here. The City of Sedona spends taxpayers money on Sedona traffic management. Tourism cost you residents mega bucks. Below is the city Traffic plan for this weekend.

    “The Sedona Public Works and Police departments are coordinating to ensure business access and traffic safety on State Route 89A through the Uptown area for Presidents Day.

    On Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 18 and 19, left turns onto and from Jordan Road will be restricted between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., or until traffic congestion subsides. An additional southbound lane on SR 89A between Forest Road and Amara Lane will allow visitors to access Uptown shops and keep traffic moving from the canyon. Northbound motorists needing access to Jordan Road will be directed along a detour route through Forest Road.

    Pedestrian flow will get an assist from safety personnel stationed around Uptown.

    “We know that Presidents Day means an increase in tourism, and our goal is to keep both kinds of traffic flowing – Uptown shoppers and canyon-bound drivers,” says Jerry Hutchison, city right-of-way specialist.

    An electronic message board will be placed on SR 89A just north of the SR 179 roundabout to inform northbound motorists of the Jordan Road detour. The Arizona Department of Transportation will update message boards on SR 89A just south of Flagstaff to keep drivers apprised of potential delays.

    Police Chief David McGill anticipates the usual crush of visitors, along with the usual cooperation of Sedona residents. “We appreciate the patience and understanding of our residents and business owners, as always,” he says. “We’ve planned for managing congestion, and will be very visible over the holiday weekend.”

    Development of this year’s traffic management plan involved a diverse team of city experts, and will include measurement and testing of the success of various strategies. Team members will document what works well this weekend and use the data to shape traffic management plans for future needs.

    “We want to maximize existing resources,” says Hutchison, “with an eye toward adopting new approaches when we know they work.”

    Any questions related to traffic flow plans can be directed to Jerry Hutchison, right of way specialist, at (928) 203-5083 or JHutchison@SedonaAZ.gov. “

  38. Heads Up, Sedona Residents says:

    Better do your shopping before the weekend and plan to stay in your houses. Film Festival begins and, of course, it’s another 3-day holiday (President’s Day). Add to that mix the prediction for rain both days.

    Oh joy – another occasion for the phony-baloney Chamber of Commerce (in spite of what Rep. B. Thorpe and other state legislators have been mislead to believe) to toot their ill-conceived horns.

    Of course, they won’t be over doing that after the wonderful job they did to bring in 3,000 for their Marathon. (nothing wrong with the event but the chamber taking credit for every cent spent in Sedona is sooo over the top it smells worse that the sewer plant.)

    No matter how many back-room deals are being contrived, it doesn’t change the policy of giving millions of $$$$$ to a non-profit, member driven organization. Accurately not being accounted for is no more than tax payer ripoff.

    When Scottsdale recently investigated their policy for destination marketing, they did an honorable thing. This chamber so enjoys comparing Sedona to Scottsdale why is it they overlooked this rather important movement to correct a corrupt situation within their own city?

    Oh, that wouldn’t support this disgusting arrangement they’ve so cleverly managed to cover up as being an OK thing. Sure, make it work legally but no matter what the ethical aspect here in Sedona (or lack thereof) is sorely missing.

    A pox on all of you!

  39. @Tourism Cost Sedona Residents says:

    In the 25 years that I’m in this city I believe that this is the first time that anyone from our government has taken such an aggressive action of help move traffic.

    I have no one to blame but myself, if I don’t like traffic I guess I shouldn’t have moved to a tourist city. Oh Well let me go back to watching the red rocks and having a glass of wine.

  40. @@Tourism Cost Sedona Residents says:

    If the City council and staff wasn’t so dumb they would stop “gifting” millions to the chamber and get them to pay for the tourists as it should be. They of course are the only money making money from the tourists.
    The traffic isn’t the only way the residents pay.

  41. Say What? says:

    To the sanctimonious idiot (@Tourism Cost Sedona Residents) just what exactly is the action presently being taken by this “government” to aggressively help move traffic?

    Every holiday weekend and soon to be upcoming spring breaks even before the 25 years you claim to being here we have seen increased tourism in Sedona. And all without the obnoxious city council(s) and benevolent chamber of commerce standing by to take credit.

    You sound very much like one of the bunch in control so why not revel in your victory and wallow in the filth you’ve created. Don’t believe it? Go hike one of the trails..

  42. Might Sedona Be Next? says:

    To the person identified as @Tourism Cost Sedona Residents;

    Have you thought about the safety issues? How will you like it when the next wild fire occurs and you are trapped in your subdivision without a way to escape? Not a laughing matter. It isn’t a matter of if but when. So enjoy watching the red rocks with your glass of wine. Nothing lasts forever.

  43. A Suggestion says:

    In “Measuring the effects of 1350” (Feb. 3, 2017 RRN), City Attorney Pickels said he received an email from the Goldwater Institute with a concern about the legality of requiring a business license for short-term rentals. Concerned citizens may want to consider getting in touch with this public policy think tank and constitutional watchdog regarding the freewheeling ‘Sedona’ Chamber of Commerce and its Lodging Council affinity group.

    GOLDWATER INSTITUTE
    500 East Coronado Road
    Phoenix, AZ 85004

    http://www.goldwaterinstitute.org

    ‘SEDONA’ CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

    As most are aware, public money from the City of Sedona coffers is being used to promote private businesses in and outside the City limits, but only if they are Chamber members. This practice is impacting non-member in-City businesses as well as the City’s economy and tax base.

    Thanks to the failure to do due diligence, the Chamber has been receiving 55% of the 3.5% City of Sedona bed tax collections annually for destination marketing since July 2, 2014 sans RFPs or RFQ, $2.01 million for the current fiscal year.

    Members of the Chamber, a 501(c)(6) private member-driven organization, are primarily located outside the Sedona City limits. Their dues have not increased since 2004, while the amount of public funds reaped from the City has tripled.

    By using public money from the City of Sedona to promote its members only, the Chamber is taking customers away from non-member in-City businesses. The City bureaucracy has no concerns about the local businesses impacted or the amount of sales and bed taxes foregone. Ditto as regards the City funded ‘Sedona’ Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center’s refusal to give referrals to non-member in-City businesses.

    Last summer the high-rolling Chamber donated $56,000 in public money to the USFS for trail maintenance. In the Chamber’s 2015/2016 ANNUAL REPORT, President and CEO Jennifer Wesselhoff stated new initiatives will give significantly more funds [public money] to the USFS. Isn’t gifting public money a violation of the state constitution’s Gift Clause, which prohibits a city or town from giving money to any individual or corporation? The City of Sedona has given its blessing to the Chamber donating taxpayer money. (The Red Earth Theatre is another probable Gift Clause violation, but without Chamber involvement.)

    Presently, the Chamber is looking to spend public money and purchase the real property at 401 Jordan Road in super-congested Uptown Sedona to stage jeep tours and for a hub. Steve Segner wants the area to be used as a central pick-up and drop-off point for visitors who are looking to participate in activities in and around Sedona. I.e., hot air balloon rides, horseback riding, jeep trips, dropping hikers at trail heads, etc.

    The current City Council and City Manager have stated the Chamber is doing a great job in order to grant it a new 3-5 year contract effective July 1, 2017. Apparently, the Chamber will be allowed to use taxpayer money in whatever way it chooses, public input be damned.

    Sedona is very well-known as a vacation destination. Tourists are going to come here with or without City government wasting multi millions in taxpayer dollars on the reckless Chamber of Commerce year after year.

  44. Al, Sedona (city) says:

    Nice offering (A Suggestion) but how do we know that same as our state legislators city attorney Robert Pickels doesn’t have them in the palm of his hands as appears to be the situation? In other words, dear friends, witnessing the ongoing destruction of Sedona is out of our control. Plain and simple. They have won but the prize may not be what they had in mind except for those that are reaping cash profits.

  45. Get Real says:

    As is has happened on busy tourist weekends and holidays these last few years, left turns onto and from Jordan Road will be blocked from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. this Saturday and Sunday in order to help the traffic flow on Hwy 89A. The tons of residents and tourists needing access to Jordan Road will be forced to take a shitty detour through a different congested area.

    Just how nuts is it that the ‘Sedona’ Chamber of Commerce is requesting a five-year contract with the City of Sedona that will enable the Chamber to pay $1.125 million in taxpayer money in four annual phases and purchase the real property at 401 Jordan Road in name of the Chamber for a jeep tour staging area, activities hub and parking lot when access is a huge problem during busy periods? The Council told Steve Segner in 2014 when he was pushing this idea as a Council Priority for the Uptown municipal lot that it could be considered as part of the multimodal traffic study. Naturally Steve and Jen are circumventing this requirement for their Jordan Road $$$$ heist.

  46. R O'Donnell says:

    Yeah GO CHAMBER!!!!

    You’re doing a great job. My retail sales were up 25% last year mostly in part to the increase of tourists!!

  47. Jim says:

    @ R ODonnell hahahahahahaha what a great joke. you ,must work for the coc

  48. R O'Donnell III says:

    Right on, Granddad – You tell ’em the way it is. I is proud of you.

  49. An Observation says:

    Judging from the comment submitted by R O’Donnell III, it appears the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. What a shame. Wonder if this chain of brilliant minds are related to that fellow who heads up the Sedona Lodging Council? Just asking.

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