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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.

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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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468 Comments

  1. Dana Varney says:

    Last night many of the no on home rule signs were taken in west sedona to the roundabouts all the way to back o beyond. Dark forces were out slithering as Jennifer puts it in the dark. If that’s not a reason to vote no on home rule, I don’t know what is.

  2. Eddie S. Maddock says:

    From: Eddie Maddock
    Date: 8/13/2018 8:11:34 AM
    To: SMoriarty@SedonaAZ.gov; JMartinez@SedonaAZ.gov; JCurrivan@SedonaAZ.gov; JThompson@SedonaAZ.gov; SJablow@SedonaAZ.gov; TLamkin@SedonaAZ.gov; JWilliamson@SedonaAZ.gov
    Cc: JClifton@SedonaAZ.gov
    Bcc: Sheri; ‘T. T.’; 19ward48@gmail.com
    Subject: VANDALISM

    TO MEMBERS OF THE SEDONA CITY COUNCIL:

    If there existed a shadow of a doubt that change is sorely needed in Sedona, reports of blatant vandalism occurring here during the weekend should make it very clear. The answer is “yes.” Most assuredly Sedona is no longer the beautiful, spiritual place on this earth which, over the years, has attracted so many people.

    Now faced with controlling opportunists who are in fear of losing the upper hand to continue their trend to over-develop this once magnificent gift, they are behaving like savages. Destroying political signs of opposition should be regarded as unacceptable by all who live and visit Sedona. And if we presently have a City Council and City Staff who would defend and support this despicable and actually violent behavior then they are no better than those committing the crimes.

    There should be no doubt residents as well as tourists deserve better than this. Quite possibly it will occur with a ruling relating to the recent investigation from the State Attorney General’s Office, soon to be announced. But for certain and even more important is to replace our ineffective leaders with individuals who will cease and desist catering to a particular special interest group, who will put a stop to this criminal activity, and responsibly serve to provide and protect the health, safety, and welfare of Sedona residents, visitors, guests and tourists.

    Little did I realize at the time how sadly appropriate was the title of my article: “City Council Deals Are Destroying Our Sedona Dream.”

    Respectfully submitted but with a heavy heart,

    Eddie S. Maddock

  3. Nice Try says:

    @Eddie S. Maddock Vandalizing signs has become part and parcel of Sedona elections —– ALL OF THEM including School & Fire District Boards and ballot issues.

    Sedona residents are small fish to fry for the controlling REGIONAL chamber of commerce and affiliated lodging council. That city/contract deal set the stage for incorporated Sedona to be the big shots (editor would probably have deleted what I wanted to write) and run amok funding to most who ask ( inside or outside City Limits ) from the City of Sedona pocket book.

    So any potential city council candidates or ballot issue going against our present “gang rule” will be punished. Destroying signs is merely the tip of the iceberg so to speak.

    Needs to stop—– Vote NO on Home Rule. Vote NO to incumbents.

  4. E. S. Maddock says:

    @Nice try, comments are appreciated. Points well taken.

    THANK YOU!

  5. Roger says:

    Just a heads up. If control of Sedona remains as is with incumbents reelected, and then, God forbid, Home Rule is approved, be prepared for a Life in Hell for those who dared to challenge the ongoing march to ruination of Sedona. It’s quite possible the scenario described, living in hell for us, will be the answer to affordable housing. Mass exodus. Who in their right mind would want to continue living here and be subjected to punishment by the dictators, in order of command:

    CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
    CITY COUNCIL/STAFF

  6. @Roger says:

    Oh Roger!!
    So So dramatic..

    Come on back to reality.. You mind is playing a trick on you

  7. Maxwell (Max for short) says:

    The plot thickens. Seems the SB1487 complaint filed against Sedona by Sen. Judy Burges has now been withdrawn by her. However the good Senator Burges has filed a new complaint under the terms of AZ Revised Statutes 35-212. Not even attempting to decipher what all this means good sense tells me to let it alone. The point being certain questionable policies in Sedona are still being scrutinized.

    But here’s the kicker. Our good City Attorney Robert Pickels is quoted as saying (RRN 8/17/18): “Words can’t adequately describe the disappointment that I’m feeling about the depths to which some public officials will sink for political gain.”

    Well guess what Mr. Pickels? How many Sedona residents and voters do you suppose agree with those words based on the action taken by certain city council members since 2013 when “they” had the audacity to set in motion the contract with a regional Chamber of Commerce without competing bids, and thus continue to plunge to new lows for elected officials snubbing the will of the people.

    Hats off to Senator Judy Burges as well as Rep. Bob Thorpe who has been maligned without mercy during this legitimate method for the public to apply checks and balances on the actions of their elected officials.

  8. steve Segner says:

    FYI all cvb are no bid contracts hope that helps

    Scottdale az nas a no bid $ 9,357,000 contract with City Council Report | Scottsdale CVB Destination Marketing Plan
    As reported by Smith Travel Research, occupancy in the Scottsdale market experienced a slight increase from 67.2% in March 2015, compared to 67.6% in March 2016. The City’s Treasurer’s Office reported bed tax revenue flat through March 2016.
    The proposed FY2016/17 Destination Marketing contract budget amount is $9,357,000 which represents 50% of the estimated FY2016/17 bed tax total of $18,714,000. An allocation of $310,852 will be prepared from non-destination marketing funds toward the 2016/2017 Fiesta Bowl games.
    Proposed SCVB FY2016/17 Destination Marketing Guide
    The FY2016/17 Destination Marketing Guide describes the destination marketing plan and tactics that will be used to implement next year’s program of work. The plan, which contains the proposed performance standards and contract budget has been reviewed and recommended by the Tourism Development Commission.
    In addition to the general direction and major activities areas to be undertaken by the Scottsdale CVB, the following are a few areas the bureau will focus on this year to drive new visitation and meeting groups to Scottsdale: 1) launching new brand and corporate identity, 2) shifting marketing strategy to maximize resources and new brand, 3) better deployment of sales staff to enhance efforts, 4) hosting more clients to showcase destination, 5) support of the city’s tourism strategic plan.
    Fiscal Year 2016/17 consists of the following contract budget allocations:
    Contract Amount Fiesta Bowl
    TOTAL
    FY2016/17 Budget
    9,357,000 310,852 9,667,852
    FY15/16 Est. Budget
    8,464,000 298,896 8,762,896
    FY14/15 Budget
    * 8,523,523 287,398 $8,810,921
    FY2016/2017

  9. Eddie Maddock says:

    Thank you @Maxwell (Max for short) for the update. My own opinion remains that had the city council negotiating the original contract with the Chamber of Commerce taken the time necessary to obtain competitive bids (RFP’s) to begin with much stress and unnecessary upheaval in Sedona could have been avoided. The action now taken by Senator Burges will hopefully provide the method by which this nasty situation will rightfully and legitimately be resolved.

  10. Larry W says:

    At long last @Steve Segner and his analysis of Scottsdale’s marketing plan never once mentioned a Chamber of Commerce. References to Scottsdale CVB Destination Marketing Plan and Smith Travel Research is a far cry from a pathetic and amateur “regional” local chamber of commerce playing big shot and pretending to be what they are not!

    Go big, Senator Burges. Sedona, a spotlight in the State of Arizona, deserves a thorough house cleaning.

  11. Segner says:

    Segner:

    The estimated population of Scottsdale is 246,645.
    The estimated population of Sedona is 10,397.
    Your comparison if off.

    The city of Scottsdale invites you to open a b and b and move there. They would love your ideas and strategy. Git along now. Don’t forget to vote in the adjacent town.

  12. J. Rick Normand says:

    @ steve Segner,

    To quote your cut and paste from above: “The FY2016/17 Destination Marketing Guide describes the destination marketing plan and tactics that will be used to implement next year’s program of work. The plan, which contains the proposed PERFORMANCE STANDARDS (highlight added by JRN) and contract budget has been reviewed and recommended by the Tourism Development Commission.”

    As it usual for you Segner, your entire cut and paste recital above has no bearing on what’s happening in Sedona.

    However, the statement enclosed in quote marks does shed light on the fact that the these performance standards, SUBJECT TO AUDIT, in the City of Scottsdale’s contract with the SCVB are NOT present in the City of Sedona DMO Services contract with it’s Chamber, nor are any periodic audits.

    I am simply amazed that every time you comment here at The Eye Segner you, unwittingly as usual, give support to the Sedona Chamber’s opponents. You know, Jen Wesselhoff needs to put a muzzle on you little guy (Segner)! You’re just killing her attempts to justify her contract with the City of Sedona. Please, I beg you, in her behalf, to just shut up and go away.

    JRN

  13. Jack says:

    Segner you’ll never convince the public that you haven’t been part of fraudulent schemes for your personal financial gain. “trust us”

    September 17, 2013 Special City Council. http://sedonaaz.swagit.com/play/09172013-919

    Earth to moon – comparisons ain’t going to fix it.

    35-212. Injunctive and civil remedies; time limit; definition

    A. The attorney general in the attorney general’s discretion may bring an action in the name of the state to:

    1. Enjoin the illegal payment of public monies, including violations of section 11-952 and title 41, chapter 23.

    2. Recover illegally paid public monies plus twenty percent of that amount together with interest and costs, including reasonable attorney fees, to be paid to the state treasurer or other appropriate official, or, in the case of public monies of a political subdivision that did not originate or were not received from this state, to the political subdivision, to the credit of the fund from which the payment was made.

    B. The attorney general may bring an action to recover illegally paid public monies against:

    1. Any person who received the illegal payment.

    2. The public body or the public officer acting in the officer’s official capacity who ordered or caused the illegal payment or has supervisory authority over the person that ordered or caused the illegal payment.

    3. The public official, employee or agent who ordered or caused the illegal payment, including a payment ordered or caused to be made without authorization of law.

    C. A public official, employee or agent of this state, a political subdivision of this state or a budget unit who is charged with collecting, receiving, safekeeping, transferring or disbursing public monies may be held personally liable for an illegal payment of public monies, including payment made without authorization of law.

    D. A public official, employee or agent of this state, a political subdivision of this state or a budget unit who is responsible for disbursing, collecting, receiving, safekeeping or transferring public monies pursuant to a warrant or other form of claim that does not originate from the public official, employee or agent making the disbursal may not be held personally liable for illegal payments made pursuant to such warrants or other claims unless the public official, employee or agent knew or should have known that a warrant or other claim would result in an illegal payment of public monies.

    E. An action brought pursuant to this article is subject to title 12, chapter 7, article 2. If the action is brought by the attorney general, the action must be brought within five years after the date an illegal payment was ordered and section 12-821.01 does not apply to the action.

    F. For the purposes of this section, “public monies” includes all monies coming into the lawful possession, custody or control of budget units, state agencies, boards, commissions or departments or a state officer, employee or agent in an official capacity, and all monies coming into the lawful possession, custody or control of a tax-supported political subdivision or an officer, employee or agent of a tax-supported political subdivision in an official capacity irrespective of the source from which, or the manner in which, the monies are received.

  14. Donna Joy Varney says:

    Don’t be fooled by the clowns that post false information. They are being enriched by the taxpayers dollars.

    The city of Sedona entered into a agreement with a private company aka Chamber – lodging council without the approve, voice of those who the BED TAX was imposed on. By doing so the city violated ARS 9-500.06. Hospitality industry; discrimination prohibited; use of tax proceeds; exemption; definitions

    A. A city or town shall not discriminate against hospitality industry businesses in the collection of fees.

    All these comparisons given by those getting enriched with public funding for their private club is intended to confuse you.

    Scottsdale has a Voluntary-Coop CVB where 2 municipalities and 2 Indian Reservations NO non-contributing LODGING is PERMITTED.

    The contracted lodging districts don’t join, nor do they pay MORE money to be listed.

  15. GNS says:

    @Jack well spoken and well defined. My guess is there just might be (might be being the operative words) a President/CEO of the Sedona Chamber of Commerce and the leader of the Sedona Lodging Council a bit nervous about now.

    On the other hand probably not. They are so damn confident of their handle and control of the city they think they are untouchable. We’ll see.

    And for the life of me I cannot understand the flippant attitude of the Sedona City Attorney. He, too, appears to believe he’s above the law (no pun intended). Again, we shall see.

    One way or t’other the winds in Sedona just might be a’changin’. The outcome of this election should be extremely interesting.

  16. Rude, Mean Mayor Sandy says:

    Is this who you want as mayor?
    Time for a change in leadership?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_ECPHVonv0

  17. Anonymous says:

    Please everybody get you facts straight before you think that the Chamber, Sedona Lodging Council and City Council are going to be hauled off to jail.

    The Chamber is a Non-profit organization that under state statue 9-500.06 (c)(d2), the city can contract with this type of organization to promote Sedona. Donna, please read the whole statue and not just the part that suits you.

    As stated in previous council meetings, the Vice-Mayor contacted three DMO’s to see if they were interested in bidding for the DMO business and all three said no with regards to all the activities the Chamber performs for the City.

    Yes, what the mayor did was not cool. Go Vols

  18. Marv says:

    @Anonymous: “As stated in previous council meetings, the Vice-Mayor contacted three DMO’s to see if they were interested in bidding for the DMO business and all three said no with regards to all the activities the Chamber performs for the City.”

    What the eff activities does the Chamber perform for the City? The Chamber is obligated to serve THEIR MEMBERS! Period end of report.

    DUH -DOUBLE-DUH and see a doctor for dementia remedies.

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