Home » From The Readers, Letters to the Editor » Hey Sedona, We’ve Been Scammed!

Hey Sedona, We’ve Been Scammed!

I believe Sedonans have just been scammed by the organization called Let the People Vote (LTPV) on 89A! LTPV doesn’t seem to really care about letting the people vote. I attended the ADOT Board meeting May 20 where Councilor Mike Ward, on behalf of City Council, requested ADOT’s Board to extend the deadline on the 89A Route Transfer deal from June 30 until December 15 so the referendum election on November 8 will have meaning and citizens’ votes will actually decide the issue.

Councilor Ward affirmed the current council’s respect for the citizens’ right to vote. When I saw former Mayor Colquitt there representing Let the People Vote on 89A I thought maybe, just maybe, Sedona was united on this issue — to let the people vote and decide if we take back the road or not. Instead the former Mayor urged ADOT to go ahead and put in the 108 lights as soon as possible and said she was sure in November the results of the election would overturn council’s decision. I couldn’t believe my ears.

Was she really NOT asking ADOT to hold off until the election? Was she really telling ADOT to go forward to install the lights and her group would deliver the votes afterwards in a meaningless election in November?

I realized then that the goal of the referendum petition is not really to let the people decide. Let the People Vote on 89A seems to have already, before the vote, decided that the majority don’t want the route transfer. Where is the democracy the petition carriers talked about when they urged people to sign? Where is the statement on the petition they carried that says the purpose of the referendum is to overturn the council vote?

On my copy of the petition it requests that the motion of the Council on Feb 22 to take over the highway “shall be referred to a vote of the qualified electors of the City of Sedona for their approval or reject…” Ms Colquitt must be forgetting that some people signed the petition requesting the right to vote on the issue but would vote in favor of the route transfer. It seems that for her and LTPV group, since she was speaking for them, the peoples’ votes don’t really count.

Colquitt admitted that the goal of LTPV is “apublic vote to overturn the decision of the Sedona City Council to take ownership of 89A.” While we know that is the LTPV steering committee’s goal, they had, at least until now, couched it in the cloak of actually letting the people decide in a vote.

This echoes Councilor Dinunzio’s comment at the May 10 Council meeting that the initiative for the referendum “was not to let the people vote,” but to stop the route transfer.Councilor Dinunzio, who signed the petition, further stated, “They’re probably doing cartwheels that there doesn’t need to be a vote.”

On the contrary, they should also have asked ADOT to wait until after the vote. Hey Sedona, we’ve been had.

In my opinion, that referendum should be declared null and void and just as it says on the petition that, “It is a Class 1 misdeameanor for any person to knowingly sign an initiative or referendum petition with a name other than his own,” maybe it should also be a misdemeanor to misrepresent the purpose of the referendum to the petition signers. By not urging ADOT to hold off any action on 89A until after the referendum, the group known as Let the People Vote on 89A showed their true colors.

Submitted by Barbara Litrell, Sedona City Councilor with the disclaimer “the opinions above are my own and do not express those of City Council or City staff. “


  1. liz says:

    Unlike the way Barbara Litrell and City Council has betrayed the trust of those of us who voted for them, Let the People Vote on 89-A has been completely transparent. I just took their Mission Statement off of their website. No smoke and daggers with this group, they have made it clear from day one they want and hope the voters will overturn the council vote to take ownership of Hwy 89-A.

    If the Council had the moral fortitude to stick to their campaign pledge and follow the will of the people we would not be in the mess we are in today.

    Mission Statement
    Let the People Vote on 89A
    “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
    Margaret Mead.

    To allow the Voters of Sedona the opportunity to vote on the ownership of SR 89-A

    • To reverse the Sedona City Councils 4-3 vote on February 22, 2011 where the majority of Council Members approved a Route Transfer Agreement between ADOT and the City of Sedona.
    • Obtain sufficient petition signatures that will cause a Referendum and Initiative to be placed on a Special Election ballot where all registered voters will decide on the historic issue
    • To protect the financial, safety and environmental needs of the City of Sedona

    Council – I challenge you to be as transparent in your dealings with the residents in regards to Hwy 89-A.

  2. Shannon says:

    Yep, Sedona’s been scammed all right! However, it isn’t LTPV who have done the scamming. Look in the mirror, Barbara Litrell, etal, and the truth might just set you free!

  3. Ben says:

    Hey Liz, What the F%*^! Were You dropped on Your head as an infant? And speaking of “Transparency” , Why don’t You tell everyone Who You really are, before I do..

  4. Sheri Graham LTPV Responds says:

    ” – Hey Barbara – How and When and Where do the real facts play into this issue vs your Spin? …”

    “Wow! Lots of unfounded speculation, interpretations and attempts at mind reading going on, as well as some folks in high city positions seem to have found a new religion – as they either keep changing the truth or stretching it for their benefits.

    Let The People Vote on 89A (LTPV) appreciates City Council is finally in favor of letting citizens vote. We believe that if that was their real intention, they would have called for a special election date at their May 10th meeting instead of questioning the need and validity of such an election.

    Fact: LTPV’s principal goals have always been, and remain the same – bringing the SR89A issues to a vote of the registered citizens through a certified Referendum and Initiative – vs an on line and un-certified “poll”.

    For anyone to speak differently of our goals is pure speculation and conjuring on their part, in order to promote a scare tactic that is pure fiction and without merit and in order to promote confusion through misinformation.

    Fact: LTPV clearly understood that SR89A is a commercial State Highway. No new concept. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, than it IS a duck and SR89A is, as it has always been for more than 40 years, a Commercial Route.

    The fiction being portrayed that we are trying to turn that segment into a commercial route is lame and just absurd. Has no one realized that there are no homes there and the Highway is fully comprised of business occupied buildings?

    Fact: The words Councilman Dinunizo spoke (where he has been widely quoted) are his and his alone. He is not nor has ever been a member of LTPV. He expressed his personal comments in response to the ADOT 4/28/11 letter. I firmly believe his words were taken out of context by virtue of editing…and I wonder why, well not really.

    Fact: LTPV has always known and understood the legal process of a Referendum. We told everyone who signed petitions that filing a Referendum was cause to put the ADOT/City Transfer Agreement on HOLD until the results of a special election.

    Fiction: Putting a Referendum, about the city signing an agreement with ADOT for ownership of SR89A does not cause the contract action to be canceled…huge difference.

    Fact: While many people in our town believe they can read minds: LTPV does not assume that ability and had no knowledge as to how ADOT would respond to our Referendum. We assumed ADOT would honor the “hold” status.

    Another Fact: ADOT has a mind of its own and are very clearly tired of their offers, of a safer 89A route, being thwarted by virtue of a newly elected Council who ran on no lights and never mentioned they wanted to own that state route.

    Fact: I agreed to accept the Chair position of LTPV after having retired from all local and state politics for 10 years, and after 11 years of serving the citizens of Sedona for 3 years on Planning and Zoning, and 8 years on City Council where I was the Vice Mayor for 4 years. I also spent 6 years on a State Board. Not ringing my bell – just explaining. How I had vast opportunities to learn.

    Fact: No one on the steering committee of LTPV ran against any of the current council. Three of us are retired City Council Members of several years.

    Fiction: LTPV is not run or directed by people who were voted out.

    Fact: Yep, I worked hard on the Hiway 179 issue with resulted in a beautiful safe Highway through residential and commercial areas and where the State retains ownership.

    Fact: While a Council person, as a private citizen, can speculate and mind read and spin their take on the merits and intentions of LTPV and the statement I authorized to be read for me and our group at the ADOT Board meeting – they have no right to twist, infer other meanings of our words or criticize the messenger, based upon their own intentions. Our words are easy to read…just not what certain council member’s wanted. So Sorry.

    Fact: LTPV is not about 2 or 4 lanes – it is about Costs of a 5 lane State Route that equals some 20 combined miles and who owns it, today, tomorrow and in 20 years.

    Fiction: the Chair of LTPV has associated herself with a group of 4 laner’s who just want to get revenge.

    Fact: I’ve personally studied all aspect of the current 89A issue, as have the people I’m associated with. We, and a huge group of other vested citizens, are convinced there are ways and means to get solutions that will, in fact, satisfy all rational thinking people.

    Fact: this major policy issue is much broader than us being talked down to with – Oh, these non-believers of our wise decision – just cost us to lose $10.5 million!

    Fiction: the State of Arizona and ADOT can just dump this Highway back on our town without several financial considerations and qualifications.

    Fiction: we just collect the money and we are good to go and sound on all financial aspects.

    Fact: LTPV fully understands there are solutions that will be viable once a Special Election is held for the Referendum (to over turn Councils vote to enter into an ownership position) and Initiative (which creates a new law requiring a real and well thought out improvement, business and design plan for 89A well prior to vote of our registered citizens). Even our current Mayor felt this issue should have been voted on by our register voters. That is all LTPV has ever asked for.

    Fact: I/we and those who signed petitions invite all those who brought our town down to this situation (Angela of DORR, Lin of The Sedona Citizen, Steve of Sedona Biz, Mike of Citizens Against Continuous Roadway Lighting, 4 council members) to participate in civility, facts and information instead of misinformation, spin and scare tactics by virtue of changing the truth or stretching truth for their benefits.

    Fiction: No one can read our minds, know our intentions or ADOT’s…unless they walk in all those shoes.

    QUESTION: Will you be a part of working towards creating harmony in Sedona – or do you want to continue being as devise as you currently are?

    Fact: I live below the new Dark Sky Compliant lighting on SR 179 and can still see the stars and Milky Way. No one wants a Las Vegas look – not even LTPV. Lights are an issue that we must all come to grips with, in one form or another. We believe Safety and Ownership are #1.

    Fact: I am one of the people a council woman asked to have a meeting with to “educate” me on the new information I was, according to her, not aware of. This came about after she and other’s learned of the City paid for survey results that were not palatable and they went into the spin and educate mode. By that time I’d read it all.

    Enough of spun education, slight of hand and new found religion, spin, twists and misinformation: let’s just agree to meet at the special election (“poll”) that will be called by certification of the required certified number of registered voters – vs yet another online un-certified poll.

    Fiction: When you vote for a city council member you give up all of your individual brain power and are just supposed to agree to what that vote cost you = your Constitutional right of expression of displeasure to your elected representatives.

    FACT: All citizens have the right of expression and that is and remains the goals of LTPV.

    Sheri Graham
    Chair/ LTPV”.

  5. Liz Smith for SaveSedonaNow says:

    Response to Sedona Being Scammed says: Save Sedona Now Time to Speak UP! http://www.savesedonanow.com savesedonanow@gmail.com

    Barbara Litrell States Referendum should be Null and Void. Promotes Legal Action against those who signed the petition! When will Politicians/ Elected Officials in the US come clean with their Constituents?

    Well, perhaps never and not in Sedona for sure. We have been misinformed, disinformed and may I say right out lied to. What a shock it was to read the following Press Release from Councilor Litrell “Hey Sedona, we’ve been had. In my opinion, that referendum should be declared null and void”

    Wow our city council member is still trying to take away your right to vote on Hwy 89-A! And in her full Press Release she is also talking about anyone signing petition committing a misdemeanor! Further Misinformation, Disinformation and Lies from our Elected City Council:

    § Repeatedly telling public that the Dark Sky Compliant lights ADOT proposes for Hwy 89a are not the same as the lights on 179 when they in fact know that they are identical to the Monterey lights at the roundabouts on 179 except 5′ taller and 25% less wattage. They know for a fact that the very entity that they are seeking International Dark Sky designation from has confirmed they are dark sky compliant lights!

    § Repeatedly stating that ADOT will force a take back of Hwy 89-A without any financial compensation. The Council knows the statute well and they know they are out right lying to the residents of Sedona, ADOT cannot force Sedona to take ownership of Hwy 89a!

    § Telling the business community that the lights will take a year to install when in fact ADOT told council it will be a 6 month project.

    § Insinuating to public that we don’t have to do continuous raised medians with pedestrian barriers in order to address nighttime safety when in fact two engineering studies – both ADOT and Civtech – have told the City they would be necessary without roadway lighting.

    § Ignoring the real will of the people by paying greater attention to survey/polls of DORR and Sedona.biz than the one they paid for, a professional survey that 2 to 1 were against the ownership of Hwy 89-A. Then they took a second survey on the city website with the same results. Furthermore the more people knew about Ownership of Hey 89-A the more they were against it.

    § Total lies about destruction of trees and shrubs in construction of lights when they know and heard ADOT’s expertise explained on trenching and boring with care, not destruction of trees and landscaping!

    § Peddling the idea of pedestrian lights going in instead of light poles which will ALSO according to their logic will kill the trees and shrubs they claim will be casualties if street light poles go up–there is no difference, the same underground power lines have to be placed in same locations.

    § Barbara Litrell is on record (yes, as KSB president) as opposing even the peripheral lighting nearby the Andante traffic signal which will be installed this winter. NO SAFETY MEASURES IN THIS LADY’S MIND!

    § This council did no due diligent examination of short or long term costs for owning this highway, ESPECIALLY the complete excavation and reconstruction of any highway when it reaches end of life 45-50 years (and this highway is now in year 35). One engineer says plan on $1Million per mile!

    § Claiming owning the highway “solves” all of our west Sedona corridor remodeling/restructuring hurdles with the wave of a hand. Re-planning west 89A will take 5 years minimum. And just guess how many millions Sedona will spend in THAT process. Consultants alone will eat up a lot of the money!

    § They have lied to you about the need for future Bonds, City Property Tax, and Increased Fees to pay for the ownership of Hwy 89-A. They have tried their best to mislead us and have not told the truth about continuous raised medians down Hwy 89-A.

    § City Council took advantage of us when they ran for office. They repeatedly told you they would not take ownership of Hwy 89-A and they repeatedly told you they would listen and abide by the Will of The People. They signed pledges to follow the will of the people and convinced us of Servant Leadership! Now we find it was all just political spin, never intended to follow their signed pledges to the Residents of Sedona.

    We have read your hundreds of letters and we know how discouraged you are by all of this but keep the faith! The community has the power both legally and on moral ground to force the City Council to listen to the will of the people and stop the city of Sedona from ownership of Hwy 89-A.

    What You can Do to Protect Sedona

    Email Barbara Litrell and your city council. “Ask Barbara Litrell and City Council—What has suddenly changed? You claim you want to hear our vote but you wouldn’t listen to the city website survey poll and you wouldn’t follow the $15,000 professional survey you (we!) paid for that told you by 2-1 margins we DID NOT WANT TO OWN HWY 89A!!! What changed? Nothing, you’re still playing your own political games and on your own agenda. The fact that ADOT is dropping the Transfer Agreement is a gift from heaven to us. THANK HEAVEN ADOT UNDERSTANDS PUBLIC SAFETY AND APPRECIATES THE VALUE OF HUMAN LIFE.

  6. City Council Listening Session says:

    City Council Listening Session 6/8/2011 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM at Jordan Hall, 401 N State Route 89A, Sedona. As part of the Sedona City Council’s ongoing communications efforts and community outreach, the third of the quarterly Neighborhood Listening sessions will take place on Wednesday, June 8, 2011 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Wayside Chapel, Jordan Hall, 401 North State Route 89A. This meeting will cover the Uptown area; however, all members of the public are welcome. The next Neighborhood meeting, date and location to be determined, will cover the geographical area of Rodeo Road to Bristlecone Pines.

    Come share your thoughts on issues related to the City of Sedona. For more information, contact the City Manager’s office at 204-7127.

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