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Eddie Maddock: City Council Deals Are Destroying Our Sedona Dream

SedonaEye.com columnist Eddie S. Maddock revisits the City of Sedona Dream and why Home Rule and the City Council are destroying it.

Sedona AZ (May 20, 2018) – Whether an idiom, proverb or adage, the saying ““a watched pot never boils”” takes on a totally new meaning in Sedona, Arizona. It might more appropriately be changed to “”watched pots never STOP boiling” in this neck of the woods.”

And as election time approaches, there are so many pots a-boiling that keeping track can be a fulltime job, if not mission impossible.

Adding fuel to keep those pots active are many, many rumors, some without merit and, in particular, relate to the periodic return of the ballot measure Alternate Expenditure Limitation, a.k.a Home Rule. Much has been written elsewhere about the concept of the measure, but “alternate expenditure limitation” defines it in a nutshell.

It’ has frequently been repeated in the event voters deny continuation of Home Rule it will either eliminate or vastly decrease funding for such “city services” as, for example, the library. While such a possibility cannot be denied, let’’s first get something clear.

Our library was established prior to the incorporation of Sedona by volunteers and, to this day, although the city presently provides funding for the operation, it is not owned by “the city.” Volunteers and private contributions made it happen, including design and construction of the present beautiful facility, and the physical efforts to relocate from the former location on Jordan Road.

1958: A volunteer group, Friends of the Library, established Sedona’s first library in donated space, with three shelves of books and magazines also donated. https://www.sedonalibrary.org/history.html

The same was true for the Humane Society of Sedona. Volunteers likewise made that happen without one penny from “a city.” Why? Because it didn’t exist. Minimal funds were, however, derived from both counties and perhaps a grant here and there. Keep Sedona Beautiful has the same story to tell. And, in fact, so does the original Sedona Oak-Creek Canyon Chamber of Commerce, established over 50 years ago and survived prior to incorporation, supported by private individuals, members and volunteers.

No matter where you go in the country, an Elks Lodge is right around the corner. With more than 850,000 members and 2,000 Lodges nationwide, Elks are providing charitable services that help build stronger communities. Join today.

Fundraising galas occurred frequently up at the Elks Club and were always well-attended with proceeds dedicated to benefit one cause or another. People cared. There wasn’t a tug of war for funding as exists this day and age. Community support prevailed.

Posse Grounds was alive and well, and accommodated many local events. We had the Art Barn uptown with a stage for performances, and all did very well without city funding.

We had no boundaries. People actually got along and smiled at each other. That old-fashioned way of life has been traded in for a new trend of power and money grabbing, in what all too often appears to be a result of self-indulgence for quite possibly the wrong reasons.

And unlike other cities/town, Sedona doesn’’t provide such things as water and garbage pick-up. So no, Folks, they cannot cut service in the event Home Rule is denied by voters. YOU pay the providers and it has nothing to do with our city government. The same is true of the Sedona Oak Creek Fire District and the Sedona Oak Creek Unified School District. They are NOT part of incorporated Sedona, but function through regional districts. And unlike, for example, Cottonwood, the City of Sedona does not own the airport.

Same as the fire and school districts, the Chamber of Commerce provides a regional service, but somehow manages to reap huge financial benefits from the City of Sedona which, of course, remain highly contentious.

How many folks would be brokenhearted if eliminating “Home Rule” would force cancellation of the city/chamber contract, headed up by people who seem to be unable to give an accounting of just how many of their members are located outside Sedona City Limits and do not deserve to be promoted via incorporated city funding? That remains a mystery since a simple cursory review of the members listed in the Chamber’s publication (providing such information reveals exactly where they are located) and maybe one or two not even in Arizona?

Further, not all 86336 zip codes are located within Sedona City Limits; however, a quick physical count of the onsite location of members really shouldn’t be that difficult to ascertain those who legitimately are entitled to be promoted at the alleged “official City of Sedona Visitors Center.”

In fact, again unlike most municipalities, actual necessary services provided by Sedona government are pretty much limited to the police department, wastewater treatment plant, providing and maintaining infrastructure which even at that is also limited considering our two major routes belong and are maintained by the State of Arizona.

And, of course, perhaps the primary reason voters approved incorporation? Community development – for the purpose of issuing permits in order to control such things as high density projects and ensure tasteful architecture to blend with our special environment.

Keep that in mind as you observe approval of at least two more major resort hotels in the near future; Upper Red Rock Loop and Soldiers Pass Road/89A, formerly Biddles. Will defeating Home Rule negate anything like that?

Since the basic services provided by incorporated Sedona are essentially limited to a Police Department, Wastewater Treatment Plant, Community Development and limited activity by the Public Works Department, how badly would Sedona residents suffer if Home Rule were to be denied?

Certainly it would be unfortunate if grants to non-profits are reduced or eliminated; however, does the public in general have enough grit and determination to keep these services up and running if such a thing were to occur? After all, most were established without Sedona city funding in the first place.

For example, a very recent event was paramount in precipitating the effort to pull this information together.

Featured in “Kudos The Good Life” (May 16-22, 2018) is a recap of The Rotary Club of Sedona’s 2018 Chili Cook-off: In addition to chili-chef winners, there are impressive lists of the names of sponsors for the event. For example, a total of nine sponsored “Beverage, Parking, Shuttle and Judges’ Gifts, seven sponsored “Habanero” and two people were “Serano” sponsors. A total of thirty-two stood up for “Jalepeno and Chili Pepper” while an impressive one hundred eleven donated to the “Rotary Silent Auction.” Keep in mind those numbers, totaling one hundred sixty-one businesses and individuals willing to give of their time, effort and products to make this annual event happen, remain really quite impressive…and prove that community spirit has not taken a leave of absence and grit and desire to make things happen. It can be done with or without incorporated Sedona.

After all, prior to 1988, when boundaries didn’t officially define Sedona City Limits, that’s how folks lived, cooperatively, and in unity without beating a path to a City Hall for funding.

Each and every civic organization offered not only group unification, but brought the community together at events such as the Chili Cookoff sponsored by the Rotary Club.

For so many years Sedona lived “the Impossible Dream.” Has that purpose become so faded and distorted that it no longer exists?

IMPOSSIBLE DREAM LYRICS:

To dream the impossible dream,
To fight the unbeatable foe,
To bear with unbearable sorrow,
To run where the brave dare not go.
To right the unrightable wrong,
To love pure and chaste from afar,
To try when your arms are too weary,
To reach the unreachable star,

This is my quest,
To follow that star
No matter how hopeless,
No matter how far.

To fight for the right
Without question or pause,
To be willing to march
Into hell for a heavenly cause.
And I know if I’ll only be true
To this glorious quest
That my heart will be peaceful and calm
When I’m laid to my rest.

And the world will be better for this,
That one man scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage.
To fight the unbeatable foe.
To reach the unreachable star.

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589 Comments

  1. Heather says:

    The answer is here on Sedona Eye. Close the Tlaq crossover.

    It’s using YOUR FEET TO WALK THE SIDEWALKS TO GO TO THE ROUNDABOUTS WITHIN FEET OF THE STORES AND PARKING AREAS.

    Hey people you ought to thank that guy from Arizona that gave you the answer FREE to your taxpayer city pocketbooks. AND IT’S DO- ABLE THIS WEEK. FIX IT NOW. DO it now. Stop allowing crossover walkers at Tlaq. Believe me it won’t affect the number of people who get from one side to the other. That Tlaq courtyard has only a few openings itself and people still find a way to get out… who knew people were willing to walk between shopping areas without a straight line….well maybe just about everybody that knows about commercial design called MALLS … but the ?!?!? this council and city hall can’t figure out how not to be in the pockets of …..

  2. @midwest vistors says:

    How do you know “beautiful Sedona was once enough” if as you said it was your first trip!?

    Sounds like another LAME attempt to manufacture a FAKE comment by one of the disgruntled few… LOL

  3. Midwest Visitors says:

    Responding to the person who seems to question our integrity, apparently you simply picked the words that suited your purpose, completely ignoring the second sentence in our first paragraph of “Very beautiful Red Rocks, indeed, and we LOVED the hiking trails.” From our perspective you represent yet another reason “once” (trip to Sedona) was enough. We rest our case.

  4. @Never Again says:

    Are you kidding me?????? So let me get this straight, you’re a tourist and you knew all about SedonaEye???? Why can’t you be honest and say that you’re one of the 40 disgruntled on this site.

  5. Steve Segner says:

    Heather says:
    November 4, 2018 at 9:57 am
    The answer is here on Sedona Eye. Close the Tlaq crossover.
    It’s using YOUR FEET TO WALK THE SIDEWALKS TO GO TO THE ROUNDABOUTS WITHIN FEET OF THE STORES AND PARKING AREAS.

    wow , really then you only cross two streets not one….

  6. @never again says:

    I work in the city and I am starting to tell all the visitors about Sedona Eye.
    Its good for them to see below the surface at the reality of Sedona. It gives them a better experience. One tourist at a time.

  7. Midwest Visitors says:

    @@Never Again apparently you underestimate the extent online publications have of reaching people far and wide. Just Google Sedona and see what you come up with.

    However that isn’t how we happened to find out about SedonaEye. We learned of it from the same friends who told us about Sedona and the main reason we decided to visit. Keep it up and hopefully others web browsers will pick up on the nasty people who apparently live there of what otherwise is a beautiful area – geographically that is.

    Any more questions? I’ve one for you. Are all the hateful Sedona people such as yourself as bitter about life in general as you seem to be about SedonaEye? Nice publicity. Chamber of Commerce – R U paying attention?

  8. Cat is out says:

    Dumb and dumber.

    Think it though is Sedona the upscale destination vacation location?

    Gone is the exclusiveness it once was. All the marketing can’t class it up and bring return visitors. Due to the greed of lodging and chamber they have been successful in driving locals out.

    Think it though, the LOCAL residents are who create a Sedona with personally, charm and class. Market and advertising is driving Sedona into a traffic jam of greed.

    Visitors & residents are unhappy of the Sedona the CITY< CHAMBER < LODGING created. Guess they have to clean their own, wait on on tables after we are all gone. Dumb and dumber awards go to the city for subsidizing the regional chamber without any checks or balances.

    You got what you voted for Sedona fools.

    Look at Jackson Hole https://www.enoughisenoughjh.com/?fbclid=IwAR0qHZdZWOD-opuHI5d6pH4US2T3bG41w344lvhJipRfvDHrRZ5HG05W5Nk There the residents HAVE a VOTE in the taxes unlike Sedona

  9. Mike H says:

    Chamber and Council: Think, did anyone ever say they wanted to visit a place with bumper to bumper traffic? Did anyone ever say they wanted to retire to a place with bumper to bumper traffic?

    OK, your scare tactics got people to vote the incumbents back in. What good does it do you to win if you destroy what you won? The present Sedona is not the town I moved to many years ago. i would not move to Sedona now, as a matter of fact I am leaving. A successful town would have a balance of retired, families and tourists. You’ve already run off the families, note the decline in school registration. You’re running off the retired with traffic and quality of life decline. You will only be left with the tourists. Tourism has always been cyclical. When tourism takes it’s inevitable downturn, you will be left with a ghost town.

    Your past actions are a FAIL. Are you smart enough to change? I’ve voted, once at the ballot box, again with my feet.

    MORE residents can leave.

  10. @cat is out says:

    You should move there….Tired of the BS phoneys and thier rantings about how much they hate Sedona or the residents who voted for Home Rule are fools..Guess what we aren’t fools we’re smarter then you negative blowhards…If Sedona doesn’t offer anything for you then move to Jackson hole… I’d put money on it that once you get thier …..your negative dark mind will see nothing but bad…

  11. steve Segner says:

    Mike H says:
    A successful town would have a balance of retired, families and tourists. You’ve already run off the families, note the decline in school registration.
    Oh please 60 year old don’t have kids . And $ 800,000 homes are not starter homes. And Sedona Is a tourists town.
    As for traffic , 95 % of the time it is just fine ……
    You say Tourism has always been cyclical. When tourism takes it’s inevitable downturn, we no we did great during the last recession because the city council used the bed tax to market Sedona…..
    Sedona is going to grow, homes will be built, hotels and new shops , get ready or move ….. Sedona is not Sun city north…..

  12. @ steve S says:

    (deleted by editor) You, Karen, Gretchen et al are the queens of negativity. Karma will even things out stevie. It always does.

  13. Oh Brother! says:

    Don’t you just love how those being enriched by the city of Sedona control it?

  14. @never again says:

    Oh God….I’m belly laughing at you post..(Deleted by editor)…
    I’m sure you neither live nor work in Sedona…

  15. @midwest visitors says:

    Bye bye
    No one cares what you think…
    Please oh please don’t return

    You wouldn’t enjoy yourself anywhere you went anyway and refrain from commenting here…. As I said we don’t care and I’m sure your just a malcontent local..
    Bye bye

  16. Larry White says:

    @@midwest visitors “As I said we don’t care and I’m sure your just a malcontent local..”

    Kindly practice what you preach. Don’t like SedonaEye? Then ignore it. “No one cares what you think….”

  17. Jerry, Legitimate Sedona Voter says:

    Good article re Machu-Picchu @Only we are not doing anything. The only thing Sedona city government can do here is dream up new ways to destroy the place.

    More, more, more tourist traffic translates to them more, more, $$$$$$$.Nothing more. But at what price? They can’s see the forest for the trees.

    Maybe they can’t help themselves, much like birds being attracted to flying towards light. And, yes, even the asinine laser light displays that will soon be plaguing our national forest and dark skies serves as little more than another disruption for Mother Nature to cope with. Go figure.

  18. @ Jerry, Legitimate Sedona Voter says:

    Blame the majority of voters. They had a clear choice in the past election and endorsed the Sedona city government about which you are complaining. Basically the choice now is accept that reality and learn to live with morons or leave.

  19. @Jerry says:

    Wow Jerry you sound a lot like another poster here..

    What you guys eat s bowl of “hate” flakes this morning..
    Relax enjoy the day…
    Stop you obsessive dark mind.. you sound crazy

  20. Eddie S. Maddock says:

    Special City Council Meeting, 12/12/18 – 2:00 PM – Council Chambers, City Hall

    Discussion/consultation with legal counsel to consider the City’s position and instruct the City Attorney regarding the impact of Proposition 126, PASSED BY ARIZONA VOTERS, on 11/6/18, and the possible need for legal action. This matter is brought in executive session. (no public observation)

    For clarification, following is the description of the ballot issue (Prop 126):

    Arizona Proposition 126
    2018 ballot measure
    Location: Arizona
    Ballot Subtitle: Proposed amendment to the constitution by the initiative relating to prohibition of taxation of services
    Ballot Text: A “YES” vote will prohibit the State and local governments from enacting any new or increased tax on services that was not already in effect on December 31, 2017. A “NO” vote will preserve the State and local governments’ existing authority to impose a tax on services in the future

    Translation: The passage of this Proposition by the voters prohibits the City Council to increase taxes. Keep in mind, Sedona sales tax was recently increased one-half percent, approved by the council.

  21. Eddie Maddock says:

    Correction to the meeting referenced in above comment.

    The Special City Council Meeting as indicated in the public notice published in a local paper is “Tuesday, December 12, 2018 – 2:00 p.m.”

    Checking the calendar it appears Tuesday is actually December 11th.

  22. @ Eddie says:

    Executive Session or not it doesn’t really matter, you haven’t set foot in city hall since the horse and buggy days.

  23. Eddie Maddock says:

    @Eddie And back in the horse and buggy days council meetings weren’t on TV. However and FYI watching council meetings during these modern times is even a rare event for me. And with the convenience of accessibility on cable to review for the purpose of referencing any particular agenda item at perhaps a later date why would I bother?

  24. Alarmed says:

    @Eddie. If you are not a crony or insider, the City Council will ignore you. Beloved Jen and SS show up frequently to speak at meetings, are listened to by Council, and have rendered property owners impotent.

    Wasn’t it Jessica Williamson who once stuck her fingers in her ears when a resident was addressing the Council? And didn’t Jessica come out in opposition to residents speaking against the City’s single trash hauler proposal that flopped before it got off the ground?

    The smooth-talking ‘City Manager,’ who disparagingly refers to property owners as customers, runs a non-inclusive municipal government. IMO he’s a front-man for the Chamber of Commerce, the Nichols Tourism Group, and Steve Segner.

    In FY 2019 the City Manager budgeted $2,187,250 in City bed tax collections for “Tourism Management & Development.” No competitive bidding process took place. Chamber CEO and President Jennifer W. falsely claimed in both the RED ROCK NEWS and KUDOS that “The Chamber of Commerce is funded entirely by our member organizations, not tax dollars.”

    The City of Sedona and the Chamber of Commerce are currently under investigation by the Arizona Attorney General for violation of the State Constitution’s “Gift Clause.”

  25. Ernie says:

    @alarmed without the SedonaEye.com your Sedona would be ball less. feel neutered? you should. sorry for your loss.

  26. Eddie Maddock says:

    @Alarmed – IMO one of the worst actions taken by any city council was to implement Citizen Engagement committees and do away with the more transparent former commissions.

    Quite honestly, my own ears were boxed when attempting to extract the names of those working on a particular such committee some time ago. That was perhaps when interest in council meetings from my perspective pretty much went hither and yon. It seemed to me and remains so that too many decisions are made in these private meetings, prior to going to council. So why bother? Again, just another opinion.

  27. Citizen Engagement says:

    Citizen engagement is the same as the merging of fire departments and schools. Layers of power are removed and eventually those layers also removed until there is one panel.
    Its called the implementation of The United Nations Agenda 21.
    The city of Sedona and Cottonwood are signed on to that.
    You are late to the table.
    Read up on it.
    The US signed on at the rio agreement. The late George Bush.

  28. Gretchen says:

    @ESM
    You say “too many decisions are being made behind closed doors” …I say…. how would you know if you’ve never took the time to be involved in those meetings!?

    Easy to say things when you don’t take the time to involve yourself.
    IMO

  29. Alarmed says:

    IMO Steve Segner and Jen are the worst of the worst. They have been lying and twisting facts to suit themselves and the Chamber of Commerce for several years.

    City property owners’ votes are not worth a s*** with so many cronies, insiders and deceived individuals casting ballots in Sedona. The outcome of the Council elections last August was unfair.

  30. @Eddie Moddock says:

    Citizen Engagement, REALLY!!!! Don’t you get tired crying about things 5 years old? I guess if things don’t go YOUR way, you will forever complain. It’s amazing how the folks on SE tend to agree with you, vote against everything City of Sedona and continue to lose at the poles by big margins.

    IMO, that means that residents don’t agree with you or have moved on with their lives.

  31. Ray, Any Bets? says:

    Wanna bet the nature of the secret meeting today will be to figure out a way to scam residents into footing the bill for the city’s portion of funding those proposed lane additions at the Y ? Should be an easy fix, really. Just stop throwing millions to the chamber of commerce.

  32. @Ray says:

    Secret meeting? (deleted by editor)

  33. Eddie S. Maddock says:

    To those who derive pleasure in attacking me and others with whom you disagree, maybe when and if you use real names your input might have merit. Otherwise it serves little more (if anything) than adding up the number of comments to my contributions on Sedona Eye. (almost 600 on the above) Thanks for taking time to care:-)!

  34. @ESM says:

    Oh I see Eddie….you hold conversations with people who don’t use thier REAL name(as if they are legitimate) only if they AGREE with you

  35. @Alarmed says:

    The Sedona City Council…Chamber of Commerce…Red Rock News

    To quote George Carlin: “It’s a big club, and you ain’t in it.”

    (Deleted by Editor) Find out more on YouTube

  36. Carl says:

    Best reason not to base city zoning or development on today’s needs? Any educated planner from reputable firms and schools will explain that government regulations change daily. Yes, daily.

    The new Ben Carson opportunity zones will be signed today and are better options than the old ADU programs. Get real in Sedona and don’t chase the ass’s tail.

    You need to realize niche marketing is the best ROI. Stop pretending you have an affordable housing issue to get free money from the government. It ain’t free. It’s going to cost you on the council seats in next election because you are endangering your cash cow revenue. Whole Foods and upscale stores don’t go or stay in Sedona with out high dollar residents and long term high dollar residents. Poorer people have Bashas.

  37. Jazmyn Willow the Lionessa de Sedona says:

    I grew up in Highland Park, Texas. Sedona council didn’t come from places that revel in small populations. A MSM report today on Phoenix news listed the best small population American places to live and Highlands Park in one. Best comparable to Sedona from the list? Great Falls, Virginia. Do your own research and find out why. Namaste Sedona.

  38. Mike says:

    Name withstanding her Point is good.

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