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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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447 Comments

  1. Eddie Maddock says:

    West Sedona Dave is 100% accurate as he stated: “Just understand, you live in a city that has 3 major roads that feed into it….That would be problem number one.”

    However, let us not forget – that was how Sedona was laid out from the get-go. Without substantial planning during the very early years, subdivisions were approved without a master plan, leaving today’s incorporated city little to no recourse without disrupting long-established residential areas and the unlikely prospect of USFS land exchanges to build more roads which ultimately will add to increased development. As it’s been said – build it and they will come – but that, too, makes no sense when the place cannot accommodate the present situation.

    To be sure, even since Sedona incorporated and knew very well the only main thoroughfares were and remain two state highways, what effort, if any, was or continues to be put forth to command restriction on dense development that only adds to congestion on already overcrowded roads? What is the point in recommending more resort hotels? Or even in the case of Schnebly Road Community Focus Area, smaller lodging facilities such as B & B’s? In a recent conversation with a council member approximately 1200 had been mentioned as the number of vacation rentals in operation here since the state law changed the first of the year.

    Sure – push for foot traffic is the logic (or lack thereof) of throwing more B & B’s into the mix at Schnebly Focus Area. However, chances of that happening are slim to none as was the failed Roadrunner shuttle a few years ago.

    Councilman Currivan made a futile endeavor to have the current traffic study take a look at the feasibility of the additional traffic at the Schnebly roundabout, but for lack of support from his fellow council members and a verbal thrashing from the mayor, he was shot down.

    And only a few years ago the silent majority roared and by Referendum voted cancellation of then city council’s contract with ADOT to take ownership of the balance of SR89 in West Sedona. And why do you suppose that happened?

    Many, many of the folks supporting that city council did so because they objected to the installation of overhead lighting. However, when push came to shove and considering the mess the city made of the less than one mile they do own of the state highway uptown, it was and remains such a disaster that at least and for once the majority of Sedona city voters got it right.

    So as long as this city continues adding to the problems by plodding forward to intensify high density development without coming to some realization of how we got here in the first place, nothing will change. It will only get worse.

    Beautiful Tlaquepaque with the addition of Tlaquepaque North is another example. Approved without any feasible way to address increased foot traffic. Over-highway walks have been suggested but ADOT owns that highway which they knew during the planning process. It’s out of City’s jurisdiction.

    And for armchair quarterbacks who blame congestion on the roundabouts, think about this. Imagine if stop lights were to replace every roundabout from the Village of Oak Creek to the “Y”. How many light changes must one presently sit idling at before passage is available at the Coffee Pot intersection? Imagine that multiplied by what – seven? Wake up!

    Reducing the number of lanes through uptown was a terrible idea. Again, not the roundabouts that created that mess. Want more proof? Then why is southbound traffic frequently stalled half way up the canyon or even farther? Except for the one at the top of the canyon, there are no roundabouts the rest of the journey into Sedona. Bad planning it was by removing those back out lanes uptown which previously didn’t delay the movement of traffic.

    How can this traffic problem ever be solved without coming to grips with reality and cease and desist approving more dense development prior to having sensible and viable solutions solidly on the table?

  2. @Eddie Maddock says:

    Keep in mind, too, the zone change for development of the Western Gateway – more of everything including another hotel. Maybe signage will be place on 260 and direct more traffic into Sedona through Cottonwood. 179 cannot handle more and neither can W89 . Even people coming to stay at the new Marriott don’t know about the other route into Sedona via 260 and 89. Please, you guys – think before you take action. After the fact is too late. Unintended consequences are lurking about and can prove to be perilous. No laughing matter.

  3. Bad Decisions says:

    And now the plans for Chamber to purchase Jordan Road property. More thoughtless nonsense. But, of course, they only cater to the special interest groups to continue feathering their nests. So much for the thousands of $$$ wasted on traffic studies.

  4. WSR says:

    @ESM

    More Blah blah blah..

    It’s easy to sit behind your computer and point fingers isn’t it!?.

  5. WSR Truth says:

    Ms. Maddock contributes more to our community than any of you goofball want a bees. Buzzing around $ public money cause you can’t earn it legitimately. Sedona is burning to the ground ………as you all grab everything u can……till there is nothing left…….Btw u been successful in chasing the high end tourists out of town…….low lifers r the only ones coming. ……city employees r the only ones with money….bought n sold

  6. Get A Life says:

    Speaking of nothing to do but sit behind your computer and point fingers @WSR?

    Look in the mirror. If you had something to offer to dispute the information from ESM there might be some slight justification for your purpose on planet Earth. Other than that, you serve as useful as a one-celled amoeba grasping for food with your finger-like projection of protoplasm. So sad – too bad.

  7. wsR says:

    @wsr truth

    Oh really all I’ve seen/heard is her complaining/finger pointing about how nobody does it right.. Only she knows.. yet never runs for anything or even attends city meetings.. sound like a lot of hot air…

  8. The Thought Proctologist except when he's on his mountain bike ruining hiking experiences for all the rest of us. says:

    @WSR and All Readers at The Eye,

    Note the final comment of WSR to Eddie, which is “It’s easy to sit behind your computer and point fingers isn’t it!?” Imagine, this from a half-wit that does just this all day long except when he’s on his mountain bike ruining hiking experiences for all the rest of us. Yet, this same half-wit has never researched a single article or comment posted at this site because he’s not smart enough to do that. Think about it. A half-wit (deleted by editor) with (yes, you’ve been ID’d) thinks he’s an intimidating authority.

  9. Charles N. says:

    From a different perspective, I would like to thank this WSR person for having called attention to the very informative comment made by Mrs. Maddock on 4/2 (top of this page). Even more curious is no one seems to challenge the content except by complaints from WSR. Also it brings to mind the thought of how frustrating it must sometimes be to sit on the city council and have a lone voice with no support, as it appear occurred to Councilman Currivan on his suggestion to incorporate the Schnebly Focus Area into the current traffic study. Seems maybe one can be more effective outside City Hall. Oh but of course, no one there even reads Sedona Eye. Forgot. Thank Goodness for WSR who keeps important issues and comments alive, even if it’s only through sniping.

  10. Wsr says:

    @thought (deleted by editor)
    Aka JRN

    I can’t believe you can have a peaceful hiking experience JRN..

    Your mouth is probably alway running trying to impress others with whatever you “think” you know…

    Lol. Funny stuff

  11. The Thought Proctologist says:

    @ All Readers at The Eye:

    My above comment was supposed to be addressed as follows:

    “The Thought Proctologist @ WSR/wsR’s no action postings above, except when he’s on his mountain bike ruining hiking experiences for all the rest of us. says:”

  12. HEADS UP - PENDING ACTION says:

    Sedona City Council Meeting Tuesday, April 11 – 4:30 p.m.

    Tentative Agenda – partial listing (This agenda packs a wallop of possible actions that if taken will result in huge impacts on Sedona and quality of life. PAY ATTENTION.)

    REGULAR BUSINESS:

    a. AB 2186 Public hearing/discussion/possible action regarding approval of a resolution adopting the Schnebly Community Focus Area Plan.

    b. AB 2209 Discussion/possible action regarding approval of a resolution establishing an Entertainment District within the City of Sedona.

    c. AB 2220 Discussion/possible action regarding the approval of a new agreement between the City and the Sedona Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau for tourism promotion and visitor services.

    d. AB 2131 Discussion/possible action regarding (cited dockets) the rate case filed with the Arizona Corporation Commission by Arizona Public Service on June 1, 2016.

    * * * * * * * * *

    AND, on Wednesday, April 12 – the day AFTER these issues could already be decided, there will be a SPECIAL CITY COUNCIL MEETING at 3:00 pm for, guess what, the following and perhaps most critical of any and all Sedona issues:

    AB 2147 Discussion/possible direction regarding the next steps toward development of possible alternatives, strategies, and recommended improvements as part of the Transportation Master Plan Project.

    * * * * * * * *

    CART BEFORE THE HORSE? You decide but according to tradition that’s the way things are done in Sednoia, Ariezonia.

    GO FIGURE

  13. Well, Well, Well says:

    Title of article, Business as Usual, is confirmed as indicated by Council Meeting agenda “Heads Up.”

    And further verifying the comment offered from Eddie Maddock on April 2, the foolish established practice of approving development prior to planning for adequate infrastructure to accommodate what we presently have without consideration of even further complications of more density continues.

    Scheduling future transportation solutions the day AFTER approving more money to Chamber for foolishness over and above approving an “entertainment district” in addition to rezoning for more lodging? Not to mention the numerous and variety of affairs already ongoing at the Posse Grounds, most recently the “food trucks” competing with local businesses and the ongoing money city pays to Red Earth Theatre for using a CITY OWNED FACILITY and adding insult to injury Red Earth is collecting admission fees for most if not all events with NO financial return to the city?

    It appears SB1430 has been approved which will mean those on sewer will be charged higher fees in addition to annual increase to compensate for the estimated $400,000 loss from fees to owners of vacant lots who shouldn’t have been charged to begin with. And as someone mentioned, the Chamber in the new contract is offering to raise membership dues for those outside city limits? And how is that intended to financially benefit anything other than the Chamber of Commerce since it has NOTHING to do with city tax revenue? It most assuredly will not assist in making up for that $400,000 revenue loss.

    No, it isn’t the inmates that have taken over the asylum. It’s the wolves consuming the hen house that are feasting on the stupidity of the inmates in the asylum.

    Indeed, it is hopeless.

  14. JeanJ says:

    Thank you HEADS UP – PENDING ACTION for your valuable information.

    Concerning next Tuesday’s Public Hearing before the City Council re the Draft Schnebly Community Focus Area Plan (AB 2186):

    Consultant Matt Goble of Clarion refers to CFAs as zoning districts (Ref: “Land code update starts,” RRN, Nov. 18, 2016). Did the Sedona Community Plan deceive the voters by stating zoning districts are Community Focus Areas? I feel the City Council ought to take the Schnebly CFA plan and shove it.

  15. Ron Maassen says:

    Thank you for the heads-up.

    The Council packet and the staff report for each agenda item is available at the City web site.

    I suggest considering the following in the Chamber agenda item:

    The excerpts are from the staff report, Caps are my comments.

    2. Section 2.3.5 Scope of Services

    “Reconciliation of product development funds assigned to the City is addressed in Section 7.3 and requires the City to return unspent budget funds to the SCC&TB for reassignment to other projects/programs, …”

    3. Section 2.5 Performance Metrics

    NOTE; THERE ARE NO PERFORMANCE REQUIREMENTS OR OBJECTIVES, ONLY TRACKING.

    “Performance metrics have been refined over the last several years. The new measurements have been incorporated into the new contract and include monthly tracking and quarterly and annual reporting of:
    • Sales Tax Collections
    • Bed Tax Collections
    • Annual Daily Room Rate for Hotels (ADR)
    • Hotel Occupancy
    • Number of visitors assisted in-person at the visitor center, and/or electronically
    • Visitor service satisfaction measured by survey at the Visitor Center, and/or electronically ”

    4. Funding levels – Section 7.1.2
    “The existing commitment to dedicate 55% of the bed tax revenues to tourism promotion activities has been maintained in the new draft contract.”

    Term –Section 9

    NOTE: THE DRAFT CONTRACT LISTS A 7 YEAR TERM WITH TWO 2-YEAR RENEWALS. THERE IS A 60 DAY CANCELLATION CLAUSE BUT I WOULD SUGGEST THE COMPLEXITY OF THE CONTRACT AND SERVICES RENDERS THE CLAUSE UNEXERCISABLE BY THE CITY.

    “The draft contract contemplates a seven-year contract with automatic two-year renewals after the initial term. These renewals are proposed to continue provided each party is satisfied with the terms, relationship, process and performance, and does not wish to revisit the contract document.”

    WELL, IT IS SATURDAY NIGHT AND TIME TO GO TO DINNER. MORE LATER.

    RON

  16. More Questions says:

    Does anyone else find it troubling for this city council (as well as others who preach sustainability in accord with the Community Plan) to continue approving policies so contradictory to that claim? Isn’t it, at best, hypocritically disingenuous if not downright dishonest?

    Isn’t the contract with the Chamber of Commerce in itself contrary to the premise of sustainability by attracting more tourists than Sedona can feasibly handle? And isn’t the present notion to justify the exorbitant return to the chamber of the .5% bed tax increase as conveniently qualifying for “product development” stretching rationale of the great Sedona rip-off more than just a tad?

    Where is consideration of sustainability when approving rezoning for higher density development to include even more lodging when the impact of legitimate vacation rentals remains unknown? Do ongoing city events directly in competition with tax collecting city businesses take into consideration sustainability of legitimate city enterprises? Aggressive approval of more, more, more. Is that sustainability?

    Isn’t a basic premise of sustainability based on “less is more” and if so why doesn’t staff remind this to the city council? Isn’t it the city council that makes the final decision by vote to go against a policy that clearly has turned into lip service only?

    Wasn’t the futile attempt to dump residents’ choices for garbage haulers feebly justified as being in connection with this phony attempt to strive for “sustainability” while little or no other action taken at City Hall even comes close to giving a hoot? Wasn’t the real reason for the garbage overhaul debacle simply to find a means to gouge city residents for monthly billing? But fortunately the numbers simply were not there to justify the sneaky endeavor.

    How in the world does any of this fit in with sustainability, environmental or otherwise, when lines of fume belching automobiles clogged our highways, over-use of USFS trails are being environmentally damaged, sometimes beyond repair, primarily due to ATV’s, and other vehicular uses?

    Is there really any basis for the emphasis on “sustainability” based on present policy? If not, then why isn’t reference to the term in the Community Plan and elsewhere simply edited out and stop with the phony-baloney rhetoric?

    It’s the end result that’s the proof of this disingenuous charade and to not call it as it is simply compounds the fallacy. Maybe the only true sign of sustainability is the stench emanating from City Hall itself? Ya think?

  17. WSR says:

    @more questions
    @jean jerks
    @well well well

    Please read the article posted here titled
    “Boot camp training for potential candidates”

    Maybe you’d like to stop complaining and finger pointing and actually get involved in something to actually change something….

    Since you all are so smart and have such great ideas

  18. Ron Maassen says:

    @ More questions

    Apparently you missed Jennifer suggest that one of the possible uses of the 401 Jordan property could be for a SUSTAINABLE tourism center.

    You state ” the exorbitant return to the chamber of the .5% bed tax increase…”

    The Agreement states the following:

    “7.1.2 The total amount of Tourism Promotion Funds that City shall provide under this Agreement for each year shall be equal to fifty-five percent (55%) of the Bed Tax Funds estimated to be collected during the year, to be paid in bi-annual installments.”

    I read that to be 55% of the total 3.5% bed tax or 1.925% The city gets 1.575%. Am I wrong?

    MOVING ON—-BOLD ARE MINE

    The following is the wording proposed in the “Agreement between City and CoC.

    “9. TERM

    9.1. The term of this Agreement is from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2024 and shall be automatically extended in two-year increments unless either party gives written notice to the other, on or before May 1 of its intent not to renew for the following year. In addition, either party may terminate this Agreement, without penalty, upon 60 days written notice to the other party. In the event of such early termination, the reimbursement provisions of Paragraph 9.2 shall apply.”

    NOTE THAT THE TERM OF THIS AGREEMENT EXTENDS UNTIL 2024 WITH AUTOMATIC RENEWALS.

    A FEW MORE QUESTIONS:

    DOES THIS AGREEMENT, IN EFFECT, PRECLUDE FUTURE COUNCILS
    FROM RENEGOTIATING CONTRACT TERMS WITHOUT EXERCISING THEIR RIGHT TO TERMINATE?

    IS IT APPROPRIATE FOR THE CURRENT COUNCIL TO HANDCUFF FUTURE COUNCILS? IS IT ETHICAL? IS IT LEGAL?

    IS THE PROPOSED EXTREME TERM A NEGOTIATING PLOY TO PERMIT CURRENT COUNCILORS TO OBJECT TO THE TERM BUT REACH A COMPROMISE AT A LESSER TERM? THAT WAS, AS I RECALL, THE INITIAL OBJECTIVE OF THE CoC AND LODGING COUNCIL TO ACCOMODATE THE PURCHASE OF 401 JORDAN?.

  19. Sustainable Tourism Center? says:

    Very funny. At least it’s an admission from Jennifer that the existing one at City’s expense doesn’t fit the bill. What happened to the proposed official Visitors Center to be included in the Western Gateway. What were Jennifer’s and the gang’s thought on that suggestion? A shriek and several “OMG’s” since they could see the strangle hold they have on this city government diminish a bit. And what about the costly property the city manager just had to have next door to city hall? All smoke and mirrors to enrich an alleged “non-profit” but most definitely membership organization – no longer driven by members but city taxes.

    Just wait until they announce the source of the $400,00 to make up for lost income from holding fees on vacant lot (owners). Will Jen and her bored(?) board? graciously decide to “give” back that amount to compensate.

    Hah – with their proposed perpetual link to the city, I think not.

    A pox on all of them would be their deserved award IMO.

  20. Alarmed says:

    “City Manager Justin Clifton said that the seven-year [SCC&TB] term was something he came up with not the chamber” according to yesterday’s SRRN.

    Nothing like helping the rise of the unelected. Sedona needs a real City Manager, not one that’s part of the wrecking crew.

  21. @Alarmed says:

    And why do you think Justin Clifton, City Manager, as well as Robert Pickels, City Attorney, were hired in the first place. At the time both of them accepted jobs here don’t you think they were screened to the hilt to make sure they were on board to promote the Chamber of Commerce and keep that ball rolling? There’s no doubt in my mind why they were hired. Just review what they have accomplished (and NOT for residents) in the last what – 2-3 years now? It’s too bad Robert Pickels didn’t get the job down in the valley he applied for even since he was hired here in Sedona. Only ethical people quit and move on once they see how the game(s) are played in this crooked example of incorporated corruption IMO>

  22. Wsr says:

    @alarmed
    @sustainable tourism center

    These are both the same person FYI. SE readers

    @alarmed.
    Your funny. I hear you get “alarmed” if you dog doesn’t go to the bathroom

    So excitable lol

  23. @Wsr from @Alarmed says:

    Sorry but I don’t have a dog. Another display of your own ignorance. Go apply for a job with the city – but then you worked there and was fired. At least they did something right.

  24. Eddie S. Maddock says:

    Possibly against my better judgment it’s become impossible to remain silent here. It seems the only thing an unidentified person could possibly criticize in a comment made by “Alarmed” is that person didn’t go far enough.

    In addition to City Manager Justin Clifton taking responsibility for having proposed the seven-year contract with the Chamber of Commerce, at that same council meeting the need for continued destination marketing was questioned without mentioning however that at no time has the Chamber or their sub-contracted Phoenix advertising agency been held accountable for an ACCURATE measure of just how past efforts contributed to day-trippers versus destination tourists.

    And just how can designation of the 55% return of the .05% bed tax increase be justified at this time for product development, an unknown commodity as was also admitted at that same meeting? Wasn’t the deal to allow for the affinity branch of the Chamber of Commerce, the Sedona Lodging Council, to benefit from the return on that bed tax increase because it is discriminatory since only lodging businesses were collecting the tax? How can spending for unknown projects identified vaguely as “product development” possibly be in compliance with Arizona State policy? In fact, how does City of Sedona get away with discriminating against city based tax collecting businesses by banning them from promotion at the Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center while at the same time advertise Chamber members that do not collect city taxes? Same old unanswered question. Where is the State discretionary provision in that situation?

    The Chamber of Commerce operated their Visitors Center long before Sedona incorporated as a city and even with the inception of zealous city funding continues to operate as “Sedona Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center” and NOT as an official City of Sedona Visitors Center as the city erroneously claims. Based on that fact, isn’t it fraudulent for City of to attempt labeling it as anything other than the Sedona Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center, obligated to serve only its members?

    The need to annually revisit the City/Chamber contract whether long or short term to determine what might be working was a promise from the onset when the City Council under the direction of Mayor Rob Adams put the wheels of this giant machine in motion. That along with the pledge for an annual official outside audit. Neither have been adequately provided, and yet the Chamber has the audacity to complain about allegedly paying $8,000 for having done so. And where is an unbiased, official audit, to prove that is correct. Of course what does it matter since it never amounted to anything but lip service anyway. And now the possibility of future audits has been reduce from slim to none.

    And who paid for the remodeling at the Chamber offices in West Sedona? Without city funding would that have occurred? And who paid for the Chamber renting space at the “Y” while the remodeling was under way? Answers to those and other equally mysterious unknowns may only be found in Never-Never Land.

    It’s of further interest the Arizona Auditor investigated the financial management of the Valley Academy for Career and Technology Education, discovering a litany of indiscretions which makes one wonder if such improprieties actually exist within this local but regional Chamber of Commerce that attempt to elevate their questionable image by throwing extra cash to the US Forest Service for trail maintenance. Oh – more unidentified “product development?” Same as the Chamber now buying up property? And how many people are presently on the Chamber’s payroll since this huge windfall of wealth has smiled down on them? More product development? It just goes on and on.

    It’s unfortunate ALL alleged non-profits aren’t equally afforded the scrutiny the Arizona Auditor extends only to selected groups perhaps because of their operating under the umbrella of “education.” In Sedona witnessing how this Chamber of Commerce functions under the questionable guise as “non-profit” is an education itself.

    Oh well – just another day in the life. Awaiting the next shoe to drop – more hotels, crowd inviting focus areas, no valid solutions to addressing traffic (last weekend reported as being backed up to I-17) in addition recent seated council members’ ability to make far-reaching decisions to perhaps lock in their pet projects in perpetuity, thus tying the hands of future elected members for making positive changes without a great deal of red-taped effort.

    Just another opinion here, but at least expressed with the courtesy of true identity.

    Eddie S. Maddock

  25. Give it a rest Ms Maddock says:

    Ms Maddock, you ask the same questions over and over again. In the past you have banged the drum about having a direct conduit with city workers well what are you waiting for Ms Maddock???? Why not call Mr. Clifton or Jennifer W and ask those questions. Don’t forget to report those answers here, IN YOUR FORUM, SedonaEye.com I’d love to see what you have to report.

  26. Ron Maassen says:

    Eddie:

    I’m in agreement with most everything you stated. I question the following: “55% return of the .05% bed tax increase be justified”. I’m of the opinion that the Chamber gets 55% of the entire 3.5% bed tax. Perhaps someone can clarify with certainty.

    On another point, in today’s RRN there is 48 page glossy insert provided courtesy of the CoC. I noted that in the listing of their partners neither City or Zip code are provided although street addresses are.

    A simple error or a blatant attempt to obfuscate, you decide.

    Ron

  27. JeanJ says:

    The regional Chamber of Commerce gets far more than “55% return of the .05% bed tax increase;” it receives 55% of the total 3.5% bed tax. This amounts to a cool $2.01 Million in City of Sedona public taxpayer funds for this fiscal year.

    According to last Friday’s SRRN, “City Manager Justin Clifton said that the [new] seven-year term was something he came up with not the Chamber.” No surprise here.

  28. Eddie Maddock says:

    It’s never been clear to me whether the 55% return was simply for the .05% bed tax increase as to my recollection was originally proposed but I’m inclined to agree the latest amount, $2.01 million, budgeted (2017) for the Chamber contract surely must represent 55% of the entire tax return as stated by both Ron Maassen and Jean J. Thank you for setting the record straight.

    And let us not forget the original contract was for one year at which time Requests for Proposals would be forthcoming. Never happened and the contract was thus increased to three years instead. And now seven year increments. And look for that 55% return to also be increased. All part of the plan. Wait and see.

    And agreeing with you, Mr. Maassen, physical location of Chamber members as listed in the very expensive insert in the Red Rock News is conspicuous by absence. Right on! The listing of the Board of Directors is also fascinating. For example: APS? Northern Arizona Healthcare? Sedona Golf Resort, but of course. And Kyle Larson, Larson Newspapers. However, it pleases me to note my favorite Sedona restaurant is not on the list as are two professionals as well as other services where I still do business in Sedona.

    As for the suggestion from Give it a Rest, why would I contact Justin Clifton and/or Jennifer Wesselhoff? Neither of them have appeared on any Sedona ballot running for Mayor or City Council. It is the elected seven that vote on the final decisions here.

    And more food for thought, of the seven members on the Rob Adams City Council that put the wheels of this machine in motion, two have since passed away: Dan McElroy and Dennis Raynor. Having voted for both of those gentlemen when they were candidates, I pass that on with respect but also reflecting on the extreme increase in traffic and still no valid knowledge of the actual percent of day trippers that appears to be a result of this questionable contract. Doesn’t that, in fact, indicate a valid Return on Investment has also never been determined either. A legacy of which to be proud? You decide.

  29. The Thought Proctologist says:

    @Give it a rest Ms Maddock aka West Sedona Resident

    WSR, you’re not fooling anyone. Why don’t YOU give it a rest? And, btw, Justin Clifton is a pawn of the Sedona Chamber of Commerce who never responds to anyone with a straight answer who questions the untoward relationship between the City and the Chamber.

  30. CORRECTION from Eddie Maddock says:

    John Martinez and Jessica Williamson replaced Cliff Hamilton and Dennis Rayner (not Raynor) on May 22, 2012. Therefore as previously stated Councilman Rayner was NOT on Council during the decision made to enter into the contract with the Chamber of Commerce.

    Those seated at the City Council during budget discussions in 2013 were:

    Rob Adams, Mike Ward, Mark DiNunzio, John Martinez, Jessica Williamson, Dan McIlroy, and Barbara Litrell.

    And during those initial discussions a .5% increase in sales tax was requested in addition to the .5% bed tax. Request for sales tax increase was denied.

    Excerpt from : http://sedonaeye.com/curtain-falls-on-may-2013-city-council-performances/
    Curtain Falls on May 2013 City Council Performances
    SEDONA TIMES / JUNE 5, 2013 / 12 COMMENTS

    These special interest groups have placed demands on the city to increase sales tax by .5% and to increase the bed tax by .5% requesting dedication of 45% of the total bed tax collections be allocated to the City’s Official Destination Marketing Organization for marketing and 15% dedicated to visitor center management and 20% be allocated for tourism product development for as long as this tax is in place in order to reap a more profitable harvest which will allegedly benefit tourists, businesses, and residents and, perhaps, and particularly the special interests doing the bidding.

  31. Snoozing says:

    So where were these $2.01 million dollar Chamber of Commerce advertising amateurs to have missed getting Sedona in today’s (Sunday 4/23) special Arizona Republic section “Cool Summer Getaways” – “Your Favorite Destinations?” Specifically Phoenix, Lake Powell, Pinetop-Lakeside, Lassen, San Diego, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Denver, and Taos. Maybe they’re too busy celebrating their victory of locking up control of this ridiculous “city?” from here until anyone smart enough and with courage steps up to the plate and says “no more.” Or could it be the reputation of Sedona has finally surfaced for what it is? An overrated tourist trap that’s ignored what attracted people here in the first place: the beauty of the red rocks and NOT the Chamber of Commerce.

  32. No Surprise Here Either says:

    Jean J. writes: ” According to last Friday’s SRRN, “City Manager Justin Clifton said that the [new] seven-year term was something he came up with not the Chamber.” No surprise here.” (4/19)

    Since City Managers in Sedona turn over about every five years or so, why wouldn’t Mr. Clifton tie up the city/chamber of commerce contract for as long a period of time as he can get away with. That way he won’t be hassled with it annually, except for possible tweaking which is even unlikely, while he researches a better position someplace. It’s historically proven here in Sedona. Wasn’t Sedona incorporated in 1988? Equals 28 years. City Managers:

    Kevin Dunlap, Mike Letcher, Eric Levitt, Tim Ernster, Justin Clifton

    Five in 28 years = between five and six years is all they could take. And hasn’t Mr. Clifton already served a couple of years already? A seven year contract – easy-peasy. No more wasted time on the greatest Sedona rip-off of all time – so far that is.

    VOILA!

  33. @No Surprise Here Either says:

    Thank you for pointing out the city manager’s logic for suggesting the 7 year contract with the chamber of commerce. Makes sense to me. No annual hassling – just run-of -the-mill Sedona rip-off. Maybe they (chamber) can donate some of their wealth to help assist with operating the sewer plant and relieve residents of the total burden. Now that would be product development IMO.

  34. END OF STORY says:

    So the gripping saga of the City/Chamber contract will write the closing chapter at the City Council Meeting on Tuesday, June 13, 2017 at 4:30 in the afternoon, Council Chambers, Sedona City Hall.

    No. 8 under “Regular Business:

    “a. AB 2236 Discussion possible action regarding the Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau’s contract documents for Fiscal Year 2018 including the FY18 Marketing and Development Plan and Budget Document and a Memorandum of Understanding between the City of Sedona and the Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau for the purchase of real property located at 401 Jordan Road.”

    No surprises here. The deal was done in 2013 and now solidified from here to eternity – well – at least until someone with the gumption is elected to the City Council that will have the integrity to call for a legitimate outside audit and/or exercise the use of the facade of a 30-day cancellation notice. Will never happen. The residents of this city are being held hostage by those in control who will threaten, smear, and do probably anything it takes to punish those that would dare question their council/staff given authority.

    The pity here is the audacity of these 7-people, in addition to a young city manager, to lock this contract up for seven years when chances are slim to none for any of them to still be around at that time – whether in Sedona or elsewhere. The egotistical egos to put such an extended financial burden on future leaders of Sedona is almost beyond the pale.

    Will this body of seven be as generous when it comes to attempting to finance the seriously needed improvements to uphold the recent costly traffic study? Ha! If offering an increase in sales tax, special improvement districts, or other forms of bonding measures to obtain new sources of money to benefit residents, businesses, and tourists, there will be no such generous gratuities on the table. And don’t buy into some possible scam of increasing sales tax for a given period of time – say 5 or 10 years – at which time it will “sunset.” Been there before, and once implemented the tax will NEVER be removed.

    Of course, in the meantime watch for the second shoe to drop after the 7-year go-ahead deal is finalized. Look for that to consist of numerous ways for the Chamber to justify spending the millions of dollars on the table for questionable “product development” such as the Chamber’s acquisition of the property on Jordan Road. And of course let’s not overlook the monetary contribution already bestowed on the USFS trail maintenance. Product development, how so? Why aren’t those people hiking on federally owned trails in Sedona eating at restaurants and shopping at local businesses? Ha – another ongoing scam. But wanna bet ya ain’t seen nothin’ yet? Wait until the control freaks convince the weak-kneed city council and supporting staff to spend those precious dollars on affordable housing. Another farce and neglect to a city code that would have been adding to the inventory of employee housing for years if it had been properly enforced.

    Same old, same old. And I will chuckle every time I observe the number of recently sold homes that are presently being used as vacation rentals. Hope they all continue to get away with doing so illegally and bypass the money-grabbing sticky fingers at City Hall. Money grabbing only to residents – definitely not to the Chamber of Commerce and only their members. The stench ripens.

    All of the above are my opinions and offered for consideration. Ignore or not.

  35. West sedona resident says:

    @at if story

    Ok I chose to ignore your same ole same rethoric!!!
    Since you go round and round saying the same hate fueled bully
    Rethoric over and over ad Naseum

    The only thing different about you is you post the same nonsense over and over using 10-15 different fake names..

    You must be “alarmed” since you added your little disclaimer at the end of your bully rant

  36. JOJ says:

    #attacks#raise#visibility

  37. Carl says:

    Eddie Maddock, you did it. Wrote a piece that caused @West sedona resident to come unglued, like in over the top ad Naseum. BTW what the hell is that??? or rethoric??? This household likes your writing. Your #1 here. Been that way for years. @Westsedonaresident take it home man (or woman) one slink at a time

  38. Eddie Maddock says:

    Thanks, Carl, for kind words. What I’m wondering about now is whether or not Steve Segner will stand by his recent threat to sue WSR (and others) for lack of appropriate identity and non-factual comments. Conspicuous by absence in such posts is the qualifying and acceptable “In my opinion” that frequently serves to save the day from frivolous and libelous legal action.

    And for the record, I remain clueless about what ever person the boring WSR thinks the identity of the myriad of contributors really is. Of course, I have my own suspicions who WSR is but will keep it to myself. Not too difficult to figure out though. Cut down the oldest tree at Sunset Park? Was a shame then and still is (IMO).

  39. steve segner says:

    Steve Segner will stand by his recent threat to sue WSR
    Read my post I said you all can get in trouble for posting thing you know are not true…. be careful, I used Eddie as an example she was sued in the past …. you know if you tell the truth you would not need to use phony names…. just an idea….

  40. Eddie Maddock says:

    May I remind you again, Steve Segner, the charges against me were dropped. Your persistence in implying otherwise are therefore bogus. Will repeat – anyone can sue anyone for anything. The attorneys in that case were the only ones that profited financially. The plaintiffs did not. It is enlightening, however, for you to go on record that WSR is included in your lawsuit threats. Your wrote: “Steve Segner will stand by his recent threat to sue WSR.” Thank you for that.

  41. frivolous lawsuit says:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frivolous_litigation

    In law, frivolous litigation is the practice of starting or carrying on lawsuits that, due to their lack of legal merit, have little to no chance of being won.

    Well folks anyone can file a lawsuit. Complete BS is being posted. If you look at the documents then you would see that the lawsuit SS keeps bringing up was Frivolous that is why it was dropped with Eddie. The others involved also won. Lack of legal merit.

    Imo he keeps on bringing up fake news. why???? Does he want to be a fake newsmaker?? it is to distract you all from all the REAL issues in this town? TOO many TOURISTS,,,,,,TRAFFIC. I can’t get to the store!!!!! The chamber is driving the residents out with all the daytrippers…….. tourists are saying they won’t come back. Sedona has become a one time event. Cheap and loose. A one night stand. IMO
    WAKE up City Council!

  42. give it a break with Sedona Eye editor comment says:

    @SS I heard through the grapevine that (deleted by editor) is suing (deleted by editor)

    (SedonaEye.com editor: Two names were deleted; neither was Eddie Maddock by the way. This comment is viewed as an unsubstantiated rumor and serves no purpose for knowing.

    Yet this comment was edited and allowed to go live because it served as an opportunity for the Sedona Eye to offer for consideration American philosopher Michael Patrick Lynch’s ideas (paraphrased): See your worldview as open to improvement by the evidence and experience of others, and see your knowledge as capable of enhancing or being enriched by what others contribute.

    Democracies cannot function if their citizens don’t strive at least some of the time to inhabit a common space. A space where they can pass ideas back and forth when and especially when they disagree. You can’t strive to inhabit that space if you don’t already accept that you live in the same reality. To accept that common reality we have to believe in truth, we have to encourage more active ways of knowing, and we have to have the humility to realize we are not the measure of all things.)

  43. steve Segner says:

    May I remind you again, Steve Segner, the charges against me were dropped

    Good but they were filed because of what you said…… All I have been saying you all of you should stop the made up bs you post ,or the 1/2 truths, it will come back to bite you, not by me I really do not care what you say…(I use my name) . But other may not be a forgiving, Did no one ever teach you to be truthful. And that saying “In my own opinion” does not make it OK to the a lie, when posters say” People are stealing or getting kickback” then please show us the proof that simple… The a teaching moment.

  44. Norma says:

    While going for my morning walk I ran into a few locals city residents. Our dogs were happy to see each other. They brought up the current situation going on in Sedona, traffic being the main issue. They told me they don’t go out on the weekends anymore. Neither do I.

    I have friends all over the region and those inside the city don’t go out on the weekends. Friends in the village have told me don’t come into the city limits to eat or shop.anymore. Friends in the village own stores and told me their sales are down. The locals don’t want to use 179 anymore. They have lost local shoppers!

    Sometimes more is less and in our case the more the city council gifts the chamber the more that is taken from the residents. What happens in sedona city limits doesn’t stay there. Aren’t we all paying for the chamber members to be enriched?

    City council has gone down the WRONG road IMO. regardless of where you live please send them a email and let them know how they are ruining sedona and the region. Their emails is here:

    smoriarty@SedonaAZ.gov; John Martinez; jthompson@SedonaAZ.gov; JCurrivan@sedonaaz.gov; tlamkin@SedonaAZ.gov; jvernier@SedonaAZ.gov; sjablow@SedonaAZ.gov

    For the Sedona Bullies everything I write is : in my opinion :) :)

    ps anyone can file anything. Proving it is another story. You keep on bringing up 18-20 year old CIVIL lawsuit that parties were released from before it ever went to trial. The others they went after were released from any wrong doing. Bogus. BS NO criminal activity. No criminal filing Civil BS

    Do we have a Sedona Mafia here? Do we have to play under your own chamber lodging rules ? I say NO write city council and give them a piece of your mind. If they hear from us all it may force a change.

  45. West Sedona Dave says:

    I guess what I find the most disturbing here is, one says anyone can file a law suit….

    Really, its free of charge?…..The lawyer you retain is free also?

    But in the same threads, all the screaming and hair lighting on fire, about all the blatant corruption with the chamber….When pointed out to contact a local official as in a county or states attorney, the lame response is there told ” to get there own attorney to prove wrong doing?”….( lie)

    So which is it?…..You dont get to have it both ways!

    If you think anyone can just file a libel law suite and its free or next to nothing…..See how much a local lawyers retention fee is!

    And if you think there is corruption with or in the chamber, call your local state or county attorney…..If your right, its completely free because we pay them through our taxes….

    So many of you really need a good civics lesson to start…..And a few others need to understand words and intentions have meanings! Be who ever you want to be online, but you leave your fingerprints all over the internet…….Be smart, be careful……

  46. Question? says:

    Isn’t what Steve is posting slander?

    “slander
    n. oral defamation, in which someone tells one or more persons an untruth about another, which untruth will harm the reputation of the person defamed. Slander is a civil wrong (tort) and can be the basis for a lawsuit.”

    Isn’t it true that Eddie never said whatever he is claiming that is the reason the party dropped her from and civil action? Why would Steve continue to post untruths? Is it because he is a bully?

    “Damages (payoff for worth) for slander may be limited to actual (special) damages unless there is malicious intent, since such damages are usually difficult to specify and harder to prove. Some statements, such as an untrue accusation of having committed a crime, having a loathsome disease or being unable to perform one’s occupation, are treated as slander per se since the harm and malice are obvious and therefore usually result in general and even punitive damage recovery by the person harmed.”

    No crime by those he is accusing. Why is he going down this path? Maybe he should be more concerned of how he is behaving. IMO Isn’t the lodging council hurting the legitimate in-city hotels and businesses from doing their job?
    IMO Isn’t forcing the in-city businesses to join a club paying the club thousand of dollars to be included in the taxes they collect a”kick back”? “Mafia”? they already pay and they didn’t get a vote or voice in the matter. The in-city businesses didn’t sign a release form. While I think of it the members of the chamber didn’t vote on it either. Shouldn’t they? Who is the chamber working for? Themselves? Their directors? The City? the members?

  47. Question? says:

    I found this
    “ALLOWABLE DEFAMATION DAMAGES IN ARIZONA STATE
    Arizona laws allow for the following damages when deliberating a defamation case:
    Reputation impairment
    Impairment of community standing or future standing
    Emotional distress
    Humiliation
    Inconvenience
    Anxiety and future anxiety
    Monetary Loss
    Punitive damages are also allowed in slander and libel lawsuits.” by http://kellywarnerlaw.com/arizona-defamation-laws/

    Isn’t this happening to the residents and businesses that speak up here?

  48. Connie, Camp Verde says:

    Ongoing almost illiterate rants made by that guy named Steve Segner are disgusting at best. Is this the best Sedona has to offer these days? Bullying by grownups?

  49. Anonymous says:

    Well most of you have been here long enough to know BS when it is flowing.

    Those who are receiving any type of benefit from any taxpayer funded programs don’t want you to speak up. So please do!

    Tell all your friends to write call and do whatever they can. It is up to those to prove a public benefit and they can’t. This is why they are trying to intimidate you into silence. Don’t let them win SPEAK UP!

    Public money people! Speak up Get loud!!

  50. Jerry, Legitimate Sedona Voter says:

    What the??? @End of Story writes about the council meeting today (Tuesday June 13) where the council will vote to solidify the city/council contract. So why does Steve Segner persist with bullying threats connected with a frivolous lawsuit 18 years ago? One would think this guy would shut his mouth and rejoice in his victory. He’s won. @End of Story wrote the truth so it seems unless someone else has skeletons in closets they do not want revealed why all the big fuss? Just a thought.

    And as for some inane remarks from good old unidentified @West Sedona Dave-of course attorneys cost money! His recent addition offers nothing new. And that’s exactly what he accuses of others of doing. If I read correctly in Ms Maddock’s rendition of the lawsuit (Miracles Do Happen) she had insurance coverage specially for events (lawsuits). Remarks made here recently prove the value of taking advantage of having umbrella coverage just in case of activities employed by over eager zealots intended to shut up adversaries with or without merit. Sounds like a good investment to met. Could turn out to be a far better ROI than the City has with the Chamber of Commerce.

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