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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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532 Comments

  1. Marv says:

    @Dolly Just Asking – sounds like another opportunity for the city council to break the open meeting law. Any bets that at least four if not not all 7 council members will attend the grand segner soiree? And wasn’t fire board candidate Al Comello campaign manager for Sandy M when she first ran for mayor? All in the family. Hope someone takes photos.

  2. Steve Segners house says:

    Here’s pictures of Stevie’s house.

    https://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/2975-Thompson-Rd_Sedona_AZ_86336_M13236-54533#photo8

    It looks excessive for a socialist. I find it funny how socialist leaders always have such big homes.

  3. Mary Lee says:

    A big problem in Sedona is the city council seems to avert following state laws. Many times while watching council meetings they will discuss during the future plan agenda how they will CAR POOL to different events! Say what?

    So FOUR councilors ride to Camp Verde or Segner Ranch for an event? It’s still A LEGAL QUORUM sitting anywhere or there TALKING or STARING SILENTLY NO MATTER HOW LONG! You are violating the Open Meeting Laws City Councilors! Even the SFD Fire Board was guilty and sanctioned for similar activities. Remember that? For sure we need pictures so @Dolly Just Asking & others GET THOSE PICS AND DEMAND SEDONA EYE PRINTS THEM!

  4. Donald J says:

    @Mary Lee

    Just because members of the council are hanging together doesn’t mean they are discussing Sedona government business…

    You have your facts wrong and are just flatly inaccurate in your post..

    Fire Board members who got busted were plotting and discussing Sedona Fire business outside the regular business meeting. They were ALL Tea party members (deleted by editor).

    But like most posts here on Sedona Eye. Don’t let the facts and you hate of government get in the way of a good fairytale.

  5. Janet, VOC says:

    @MaryLee @BobVOC Friend in the village pocketed $$ in that construction monstrosity boondoggle. Personal fail to you.

  6. Nice Try says:

    @DonaldJ You might want to check your own facts. A quorum, in the case of Sedona City Council, is four and regardless of what they may or may not be discussing it’s a violation of the Open Meeting Law.

    And where in the world did the label “councilors” come from @Mary Lee? If you check any other municipality (Phoenix, Flagstaff, Cottonwood, etc.) NONE of them make reference to their city/town councils as “Councilors.” That’s as phony as the perception Sedona is so special and in reality is an indication of reflecting a false snob appeal. For Heaven’s Sakes even the Red Rock Snooze gets that one right. Unless I missed something have they EVER made reference to other than members of the Sedona City Council, Councilman so-and-so, Councilwoman, etc. Suck it up and quit trying to put on the airs. What’s the expression? Can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear??

  7. Donald J says:

    @nice try

    I have no idea what your talking about….pretty sure you don’t either

  8. Government waste says:

    @Donald J

    What’s your obsession with the Tea Party and hate? The only people that like government waste are government workers and government parasites. You are telling us you like government waste? You know of course Karma will get you. Like when you expect to collect a lavish government pension and the pension system is broke because of a crooked overspending government. It’s coming, and you earned what you will get.

  9. Emmy Holsopple says:

    Never heard of a TeaParty and google says it doesn’t exist now. In school we learned Tea Party was a great deed done by a few to help the many get freedom from taxation and government while on a ship in Boston. What’s your beef? You don’t like religious freedom? You don’t like any freedoms and need to have someone decide what’s best for you to do when that’s not you? Weirdos.

  10. Mike H says:

    I really enjoy watching all these gummint agencies. The spend everything they can so they can ask for more next year. They assume the income and spending is linear, and will always go up. When it’s not linear, it never is in the long term, they will say ” No one could have seen this coming. ” They will also be out of work with a broke pension. What goes around comes around. It will serve them right.

  11. Mary Lee says:

    @Donald J ” Don’t let the facts and you hate of government get in the way of a good fairytale.”

    Repeat “. . . you hate of government . . .”???? You are wrong! No hate of government for me. That’s why I live and have my business in the VOC which offers me all Sedona City benefits by being promoted by your Chamber of Commerce. And without collecting or paying city sales & bed taxes. Best of all worlds. Find another place to build your alternate route over the creek. Try Back O’Beyond.

    Keep your city politics where they belong inside city limits. It’s great fun making comments about your ill-conceived “councelors” versus “council members.” Another advantage of being on the outside looking in. The “percs” just nevah seem to cease!!

    BTW how come Segner doesn’t make an attempt at getting City of Sedona expanded by annexing unincorporated areas like out here in the VOC and Oak Canyon Canyon where he lives? Just think of the additional tax revenue?? C’mon Stevie. Get with it. Spread your charm.

  12. @Mary Lee says:

    Bravo (Brava?) Gotta love it the best of the Greater Sedona Area has just been rediscovered!!! You forgot to mention the tourists hit the VOC before City limits unless they’re coming from Cottonwood via @89A.

    (NO city sales & bed taxes – that means on the price of meals, too) Eat them biscuits tourists!!

  13. @mary lee says:

    Yea ok Mary Lee

    You lie…. your business?!. Lol

  14. @Mary Lee says:

    Well, enjoy your life in the VOC with no incorporation or representation by any real government.

    an incorporated city like Sedona wouldn’t allow a 3 story building like your new hotel.

    An incorporated city like Sedona doesn’t have a taxing district (property tax) because there is no residential tax AT ALL!

    Keep thinking that your sales tax is cheaper than the city, Yavapai County is looking to create a lodging tax within the VOC because it works so well in the INCORPORATED CITY OF SEDONA.

    In the next year or so when there’s traffic on SR 179, I’m going to love driving out of Back O’ Beyond, turning right and driving down to VVSR and using your road to get to that nice new bridge that you are all going to pay with another county or property tax THAT YOU ARE GOING TO PAY.

  15. Joe Lee says:

    To the persons attacking @MaryLeeVOC it seems only ONE three story hotel isn’t worse than the number of obstructive developments Sedona city planners allowed to go up in West Sedona. It’s permitted setbacks on developments that frequently determine view obstruction! So pleased you think Sedona’s incorporation has been beneficial to residents because it’s certainly a proven cash cow to DEVELOPERS and OUT OF STATE Uptown commercial landowners properties and business owners!!!! Enjoy your life in Sedona-Urbanville fighting cheap pocketed tourist traffic fueled by greedy hogs. One of the best views in Sedona are teal arches because it proved Sedona cared about Sedona and could say no to corporate powers. NOW you keep electing and reelecting councils that hardly wait to sell out to the next corporate resort hotel motel fast food business, like they did on that Biddle property. Your councils keep selling pristine views for cheap and forever. @MaryLee keep your voice strong. I support you.

    #KeepSedonaStrong! #KeepBigParkStrong! #KeepVillageofOakCreekStrong! #KeepVOCStrong! #KeepVOCAStrong! #KeepVillageStrong! #SedonaNotForSale! #SedonaUnitedAgainstCommercialism #SedonaFailsResidents! #SedonaTrafficSucks! #AvoidSedonaVacaysStaycaysAlways! #LoveYouMaryLee

  16. Nils Sherwin says:

    You can always protest on a Sedona intersection and in restaurants and stores. Hold signs and wear shirts that say “Tourists Go Home” or ‘We Don’t Want Your Carbon” or “Go Home Red Rock Destroyers” or “Save Sedona Now Go Home” or “Stay Away You’re Not Okay”. Get in their faces Hillary Clinton and Cory Booker style and be uncivil or go for the Eric Holder pissed off destruction by kicking them when they walk by. Spit on trail walkers. Scream at people holding up lines in Whole Foods. And target the oldest and youngest because they serve no economic purpose in Sedona.

    @warren You prefer the power of words and fists like the Democrats and Obama’s approval of fracking and stealing solar seed money via his Solyndra money grab? I’m independent and even I know Democrats and Republican environmental policies can be equally vile, but give me a booming economy instead of Democrat’s plantation mentality to afford environmental advocacy. Something tells me that Trump listens to the people better.

  17. Face the Music says:

    No matter what is written in comments, the truth is this city council, city planners and city staff are doing exactly what the majority of the residents want them to do. That was proven by the results of the recent election.

    Non-Profits rallied cuz they thought their funding would be cut off when the biggest source of voter irritation is the outrageous amount of giveaway money to the Chamber of Commerce.

    Clearly the will of the people is business is usual – more resort hotels, rezoning for higher density to accommodate “affordable” housing and big city “stuff” was the outcry from the voters based on the results of the primary. Scare tactics from the movers & shakers gaining the most profit from city coffers prevailed.

    However there’s one more opportunity coming up during the general election. You can vote yes on Proposition #446. “This act may be cited as the ‘Protect Sedona from Excessive Government Spending and Taxation Act’ as quoted from the City of Sedona Voter Information Pamphlet, Page 3.

    PERMANENT BASE ADJUSTMENT CITIZEN’S INITIATIVE PROPOSAL
    Vote “yes” to pull in the reins on runaway spending.

    Face the Facts or Face the Music of continued decline in quality of living in Sedona. Your “Yes” vote will be a reminder to those in charge why they were elected: To benefit Health, Safety, and Welfare, in particular fpr those residents of incorporated Sedona.

  18. Warren says:

    @niles

    No worrys then get ready for a super nice and beautiful bridge across Oak creek at the end of VVSR… to hell with environmental regulations and the Republicans … Let go for it. Particularly if it benefits Wealthy people who OWN a politician in thier pocket…. yea man let’s build it

  19. Cathy Coffel says:

    @Nils where do we sign up for shirts? LMAO

  20. SE QUESTION says:

    Niles, Nils, @niles, @nils, and Nils Sherwin. Are you individuals or one and the same? When people respond how do they know to whom they are responding? Very curious but the exchange is interesting and the person(s) with name(s) beginning with “N” or “n” offer thoughtful suggestions. Thank you one and all.

    SedonaEye reader

  21. Gretchen says:

    @ Face the music

    Your post sounds like typical Tea Party nonsense. If AZ Liberty is for it…
    Then I’m voting the other way.. if it walks like a duck etc etc.

    Typical self serving rethoric

  22. NORTHERN LIGHTS says:

    Did you know the Chamber is doing another light show to continue the depopulation of wildlife on Camel Rock? Just a heads up to see if they can fake the numbers again this year. When I went up there to witness it and the most appalling part to me was the radio station advertised on the rock, The show itself royally sucked and I left 2 minutes into it. The town was dead. The numbers faked.

  23. @Northern Lights says:

    I just heard that the Chamber is doing another light show and couldn’t be happier!!! I know that some don’t like it but this town is for everyone not just those on SE!

    Contrary to what some say, it didn’t cause much if any traffic. My business in Uptown did amazing. My friend who owns a real B&B in West Sedona was booked straight through the weekend and actually had to refer her guests to other B&B’s .

    The only issue that I had was the radio simulcast and I heard that’s been addressed and fixed.

  24. Melanie says:

    @Northern Lights thanks for the heads up about the return of the asinine light show to terrorize local wildlife. Will go directly to the Ranger’s Station and file a complaint. Also notify the current US Forest Service Supervisor in Flagstaff. Wonder where is Keep Sedona Beautiful on this? Heard they weren’t concerned because it was only for such a short time. But they never considered the amount of time it took for rehearsing the execution prior to the main event(s).

    Disgusting and disgraceful!

  25. Tom says:

    I loved the laser light show last year and super glad we are doing it again this year..
    People came in droves to see it…..enjoyed it…and pumped money bigvtime into Sedona’s economy…

    Sour grapes to the folks that “make up” nonsense about it hurting wildlife… That’s a bunch of crap… Get a life. Enjoy

  26. Sedona lost vegas says:

    Because people come to one of the most beautiful spots in nature to see lots of bright lights? We have a Dark Skys ordinance to make the light show easier to see? People come to our little city so see bright lights and bright skies they can’t see an any other city in the world? One of the earlier posts said “This town is for everyone”, as soon as everyone is here, no one will want to be here. You are going to finish killing the golden goose with your greed.

  27. Jacob, Sedona says:

    At least in Las Vegas there’s gambling. Wonder when Sedona will jump on that train? Isn’t legalized gambling in Nevada the reason they don’t have taxes (or something like that?) Big buck profits from people who just can’t wait to throw away their money. Look at the profits Arizona makes from the weekly lottery? C’mon, Chamber, Sedona casino’s in every resort hotel. How cool will that be?

  28. steve Segner says:

    Sedona lost vegas says: if you leave sedona will get smaller.! towns grow some people “not”

  29. Sadona says:

    I can see segner being blinded by his greed. He thinks he is taking his money with him. He’s not the sharpest tool in the shed.

    What the city counselors don’t seem to remember is the tourism business is cyclical, retired residents are not. If you drive out all the young people (already done) and all the retired out, you are left with a tourist town, or a ghost town, depending on the economy.

    That will solve the traffic problem. Not in a wise way IMO. But then again some idiots think a light show on the red rocks is a good idea. Nuff said.

  30. The Gecco says:

    SUNDAY – OCT. 14
    MEET THE CANDIDATES
    SEDONA FIRE DISTRICT GOVERNING BOARD
    Oak Creek Canyon Residents & Business Owners
    Bring your questions and concerns for the candidates.
    Mayor Moriarty will provide an update on “Sedona in Motion.”
    Sunday, October 14 – 3 to 5 PM
    Steve & Connie Segner’s Ranch
    2975 Thompson Road in Oak Creek Canyon
    Please Carpool
    Hot dogs, Soft Drinks & Beer
    RSVP: kmlevin1@gmail.com
    To make a contribution to the candidates and for more information :
    GeneandAlforSFD.com

    I would like my hot dog grilled,kosher,raw onion and mustard. We can meet for the first time when I arrive at your door to your open welcome arms.

  31. @steve Segner says:

    If Sedona’s so great then why did the population drop by a thousand or so during the last census? Doesn’t that speak volumes? In fact, many many of the proponents for incorporation moved out not long after they realized their mistake. The government grew but the population did NOT! Even as a place to visit anymore its become just another ho-hum tourist trap. The Chamber of Commerce has managed to choke the charm out of Sedona but at the same time all they’ve really gained is a fat bankroll, a second location, questionable vacations, and how many employees? What the hell they have all the do-re-mi so why not spend it? Big Brother ain’t looking!

  32. A pox on Sedona says:

    The amendment to employment agreement with Justin Clifton in effect from March 19, 2015 until terminated – Expenditure Required: $244,700. Source: Next Tuesday’s City Council Agenda Item 3e.

    SALARY & BENEFITS:

    Base Salary, $173,250.00
    $300 per month for a family Health Savings Account
    Payment of Life Insurance premium in the amount of $50,000
    5.2 weeks of annual vacation time
    Vehicle allowance of $500.00 per month
    City pays matching contributions to AZ State Retirement System
    Cell Phone allowance of $100.00 per month
    A minimum severance payment of six months of salary if terminated.
    Etc., etc., etc.

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