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Laser Lights Up Sedona Dark Skies

Sedona AZ (October 20, 2018) – The following is a letter to the SedonaEye.com editor:

From: Eddie Maddock
Date: 10/17/2018 9:30:11 AM
To: Michael Yarbrough

Subject: Re: Holiday Light Program

Sedona dramatic red rock vistas will feature laser light shows for a 2018 holiday program much to the chagrin of outspoken residents who support dark skies designations for the city of Sedona and Village of Oak Creek.

Good Morning, Mr. Yarbrough:

Thank you for taking time to respond to my concerns although the position KSB is taking on projecting light displays into Sedona wilderness is extremely disappointing. With full understanding we live in a constantly changing world, during the years I’ve lived in Sedona, Keep Sedona Beautiful as far as I knew, remained a steady source of balance in order to maintain the mission for which it came into existence: to keep Sedona beautiful by encouraging tasteful commercial and man-made contributions which wouldn’t detract from Sedona’s main attraction, our beautiful red rock formations. In my opinion this garish display is disrespectful and comparable to graffiti left by unthinking intruders on hiking trails and elsewhere. What’s the difference? So it’s claimed the light show is just for a mere 15 minutes for a few nights annually. Doesn’t that translate into being “just a little bit intoxicated” or “just a little bit pregnant?”

Reflecting back to when I was Secretary for Keep Sedona Beautiful, a mission during that time was what could they do besides “keep Sedona clean” making reference to the many, many KSB Litter Lifters that were constantly present in and around Sedona with their litter bags: Keeping Sedona Clean. Never in my wildest dreams would I have guessed they would endorse a garish lighting display, contributing to what may well be considered another step in turning Sedona into a third-rate Disney Land! It’s sad to think that is the way we are headed with, in my opinion, the cheesy laser-lights, if not shooing away wild life it just simply must be terrifying to them as well as roosting birds.

Back in the day when Tlaquepaque had their annual authentic Las Noches de Las Luminarias it was a fabulous, high profile yet low-key event that attracted probably more interest from visitors from the Valley and elsewhere than this tacky artificial non-spectacle ever will. It’s unfortunate the current owner of Abe Miller’s beautiful Tlaqepaque isn’t as tuned in with the purpose of that tasteful complex as his original intention. It was the good fortune for me and my husband to have Abe Miller and his wife, Lynn, as our neighbors when we first moved to Sedona.

Earth lights as seen from space.

Even when Los Abrigados had their “Festival of Lights” years later, it was tasteful and attracted Holiday visitors from near and far. Then the display, subsequently held up at the Posse Grounds, was likewise tasteful although understandably not in the best location. In spite of reports from those sponsoring this latest somewhat low-class laser light show, other comments indicate the alleged success of this questionable Sedona intrusion is quite the opposite. It’s difficult to imagine high-end destination tourists (which is on record as being the type of clientele targeted by the City of Sedona and the Chamber of Commerce) is, in reality, the audience to which the laser-light show is playing.

So be it. Keep Sedona Beautiful, for years relied on by member support to practice what it preaches, appears to have changed values. But of course, and I’ll reiterate, that’s my opinion. Understanding beauty is in the eyes of the beholders, my eyes definitely aren’t in sync with the current administration of KSB. Therefore kindly withdraw my membership and remove my name from future mailings.


Eddie Maddock

——-Original Message——-

From: Michael Yarbrough
Date: 10/16/2018 10:20:24 AM
Subject: Holiday Light Program

Dear Eddie (et al),

Thanks so much for your interest in this. We looked carefully at this event and have determined not to oppose it at this time. We satisfied ourselves that the lighting was limited specifically to the rocks and would not leak into the atmosphere. We would prefer not to have this event and we are in no way endorsing it. We simply decided not to overtly oppose it at this time. If the nature or frequency of the event changes then, of course, we may step in to voice concerns. We have already advised the Chamber that we would oppose events that occur during the year outside of the holiday program. We will continue to monitor this activity and work to protect the Dark Skies.

Again, I appreciate your interest and if you have questions I would be happy to answer them.

Mike Yarbrough
President, Keep Sedona Beautiful

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  1. get real says:

    Fire Districts, Taxpayers Face Increasing Costs Due To Mismanagement


    We need to dissolve the fire district go to a county districts. Less overhead, they share equipment. Kazian arrogant rant in the red rock snooze was proof. Horrible attitude he showed his colors, glad he is going. You pay he wants you to shut up IMO

    The kickbacks of gifting taxpayers money gives those radical hoteliers the answers they want.

  2. Joe Lee says:

    Of course Red Rock Ranger Nicole Branton would support the Chamber and their gawdawful light show. The C of C paid the USFS more than just a few thousand dollars of that 2.5 mil they received from the city allegedly for trail maintenance. DUH!!!!

    And BTW it seems so far no one has mentioned the cost of that gawdawful light show. Well how does $100,000 grab you?!@#$%^&* You read it right buddy boys and girls. One Hundred Thousand (another drop in the bucket from the 2.5 mil of city revenue the Chamber was recently handed). Wonder what the return to the city on that investment has been/will be? Are they charging people for viewing? HAH some joke……NOT!!!!!!

    Hope this helps.

  3. De De says:

    @joe lee
    @get real
    You crack me up… your an example of complete futility ..
    (Deleted by Editor) Imagine if you turned your energy to peace and harmony and acceptance..You might acquire angel wings..

  4. @De De says:

    Cool so glad we agree.

    You should get a legitimate job. Chamber should get money from their members, stop grabbing subsidies. Hotels should pay for their own ads. The city council should wake up and stop the ruination of Sedona. The red rock snooze to take a few classes, media bias. How to report fairly. their biggest customers chamber. Then top it off with political parties controlling the cities, towns,people with bobblehead voting and dumbing down communities.

    So glad we agree that special interests are dumbing down communities, So when they stop all the kindergarten BS, become fair minded and tried to earn a honest living instead of stealing taxpayer’s money then we all can live in peace and harmony.

  5. steve Segner says:

    Joe Lee says” allegedly for trail maintenance”? Joe, You can see the trails Red Rock Ranger worked on! just ask.
    Joe Lee says “gawdawful light show” then why do the hotels fill up with visitors to see the show ?
    Joe Lee says”cost of that gawdawful light show” local business people and the bed tax. paid by visitors.
    Joe Lee says”Wonder what the return to the city on that investment has been/will be?”on average city tax growth is up over 17%
    Hope that helps
    Joe, see like a glass is 1/2 empty kind of a guy. Get out side meet some visitors remember Sedona is a tourist town that supports over 10,000 jobs.

  6. Dustin says:

    100K for that (deleted by editor) light show WTF highway robbery (deleted by editor) blue politicians (deleted by editor)

  7. Chamber Cheerleader says:

    “Imagine if you turned your energy to peace and harmony and acceptance.”

    Just accept we will continue to advertise Sedona and keep it a bumper to bumper tourist trap. Resistance is futile. Quit fighting it, we fooled the dumb voters that their favorite non profit or the over funded library would close if we did not win. The library that BTW gets over $800,000 annually from your property tax, that has nothing to do with the city.

    You lost, we won. Get used to it.

  8. Joe Lee says:

    Thank you @Steve Segner for your meticulous critique of my previous observations.

    Of course the USFS provides trails smart ass! In case you weren’t aware Sedona is located in the middle of a designated national forest and my taxes and yours pay for its upkeep.

    The last I knew there was a local group called Friends of the Forest and they actually go out to help maintain trails. Different from you and your chamber folks because Friends of the Forest don’t get paid and don’t expect it. Hot damn @Steve Segner what a different thought process from yours, eh?

    That upswing in the economy you keep implying is a result of the efforts of you and your chamber group? Really? Hot damn again. The timing of you and that group is freaking amazing. I thought Sedona’s recovery began with the end of the Great Recession! Who knew? (You wouldn’t because you took credit for Sedona’s recovery but the rest of the country gives credit for their turnaround after a change in the White House and Congress.) Your ability to manipulate our global economy is freaking phenomenal too. Maybe you’re right if that one hundred thousand dollar carnival light show did the trick here.

    Sedona needs to call Pres Trump and CNN so he can give Steve Segner a special new award because damn that event will boost tourism and fill up every tourist room in Sedona. BTW hope this idea fills up the other half of your glass of whatever it is you all drink at those meetings divvying up our money. I’ve got to attend one of those some time and get me some of what you’re passing out. Hot damn. I’ll be a member of the green party after all.

  9. @chamber cheerleader says:

    Oh you right about one thing…
    Your vocal minority lost in a big way..

    Just because your “loud and obnoxious “ on SE.
    Remember you are small and change ZERO.

    We the majority are a lot smarter then your small limited mind..
    No one got duped….. we voted with our heart and mind.. now go away dear.

  10. @@chamber cheerleader says:

    your post tells it all.

    Telling people to go away is clearly what you want. When they do you win.

    Special interests are getting rich off the dumb taxpayers just because they love their city they believe their lies. City employee, chamber and lodging are fighting and in it to win it.

    Kazian showed his colors, so did Time Ernster. They are wealthy off the backs a a median households making barely 50k a household!!!!

    So go away dear with your lies, you used scare statics to put fear in poor retirees. Big big bully. Are you proud? We all know your wealthy since you save all those advertising dollars to promote your personal agenda.
    Love you!

  11. Heather Brown, VOC says:

    Point is that lasers shouldn’t be aimed at rocks or around animals. Ever watch an animal jump and roll and swat at lasers in your house, then that’s what’s happening out in the wild. I don’t let lasers in my house and Sedona city council ought not play with them either.

  12. @hearher brown says:

    I’ll take the Biologists opinion over yours.
    You don’t allow lasers in your house…your a crackup

  13. Beatrix @@hearer brown says:

    Hi “hearer” brown – hope your eyesight is better than apparently your “hearer”!
    Apparently you missed this:


    The effect of artificial lights on birds has been known for centuries. In the past, people used flame and lights to attract birds at night to capture them for food. Since their inception, there have been reports of seabirds attracted to the light beam of lighthouses. Artificial lights can “trap” migratory birds by bleaching their visual pigments, causing them to lose sight of the horizon and circle within the cone of light endlessly. They then can die from exhaustion or collision with the light source. It can extend the day for diurnal species of songbirds, making them more susceptible to predators as they sing out their location, or causing them to breed too early since they associate breeding with longer days. It can attract seabirds away from their normal feeding grounds, possibly because these birds feed on bioluminescent sea animals and are cued in to low levels of light.

    So you will listen to the dumb asses @ the chamber of commerce and city hall and apparently even the uneducated woman now acting as Forest Ranger? Especially shame on her for not checking facts prior to giving approval for this travesty on our federal forest lands! SHAME, SHAME, SHAME!!!!!!

  14. Charlie, west Sedona says:

    Sedona (incorporated) creates a wet lands out at their sewer treatment plant as a haven for the birds. Even build a birdwatcher’s viewing station. Then during the Christmas Holidays they project laser lights on bird’s mountain habitat and frighten the s*** out of them? Make them fly crazy? Go coo coo and not in a nice way? What the????? You people are for sure loony tunes and have completely wrecked what was once a haven for nature and wildlife. It’s indicative of shallow short sightedness. That’s sad.

  15. LASER LIGHTS says:

    Wasn’t last year a six minute show? It is nine this year.I think the open range was the only busy place in town full of chamber locals but boy did they make it sound busy all through Sedona. Lies.

    Take a good look around this year.

    There are a lot of endangered species in the area and yes, they do nest on the rock.

    Hopefully all the drone people will show up to fly around the rock. It will look like fire flies and maybe the escaping birds will be able to navigate around them if they can see. The NY Times has been given an article idea in advance. We hope to see that printed.

    We will never listen to the radio station that advertises on the rock before the show.
    Never. We detest the commercialization of our nature and those greedy people behind it all.

  16. Highlander says:

    @laserlightscapsall Here’s a factoid. Paintscaping never did anything like Sedona until a certain individual with ties brought them in. They did buildings & garages & bars. Can you say concrete slabs not nature rocks? Ask and receive interesting story of ties that don’t bind but equal spreadsheets. Don’t discount radio tv newspaper ties. Grab grease paint pens & line the names up family & friends ties peoples.

  17. RoboOtangerleisel says:


  18. Belinda gray says:

    Awesome the show is 9 minutes long this year… that was my only minor complaint last year that it was kinda short….

    So excited to see and so are my children.. Great event for locals as well as the surrounding business…

    Yea excited….

  19. Bread & Circuses says:

    Bread & Circuses for morons

  20. Roger says:

    Four nights of torture for wildlife. Disgusting & shocking. How much time does this dreadful commercial lighting outfit spend on practicing their lethal performance? Those who teach children IMO how to disrespect nature should be deemed criminal. People who main or kill for pleasure are sick. What about those who enjoy watching just for kicks? Great work city council for allowing this travesty.

  21. Smart kids says:

    My kids asked last year why they were standing out in the freezing cold to watch a stupid cartoon. “Is that it ?” Even a 6 and 9 year old though it was dumb.

    If you are looking to attract families, big fail.

  22. Betty jo west sedona says:


    Come on Roger(fake name). Give it a rest.. you must be so so sensitive if wildlife was indeed affected. Which it is not. As was mentioned I’ll take a Forest Service biologist opinion over forks here disgruntled about EVERYTHING government (and oh so sensitive)

  23. Betty business owner says:

    @smart kids (deleted by editor)
    The light show was a great day/night for my store… Thanks Sedona

  24. Fake Bettys says:

    Bettys, Chamber trolls trying to influence the narrative. Fake, fake, fake.

  25. No haters says:

    Some accuse us of hating government. No, but who LIKES government waste and payoffs to cronies and insiders.

    We don’t hate the city. We don’t like overpaid city management that works for the Chamber.

    We don’t hate tourists, we were tourists once. We don’t like those that would turn our home into a bumper to bumper tourist trap.

    The only HATERS I see are those that don’t like the fact many are fed up and are speaking out about it.

  26. Camille Paglia says:

    I have been trying for decades to get my fellow Democrats to realize how unchecked bureaucracy, in government or academe, is inherently authoritarian and illiberal. A persistent characteristic of civilizations in decline throughout history has been their self-strangling by slow, swollen, and stupid bureaucracies.

    Sedona, sadly, is in decline.

  27. @fake Betty says:

    Your name calling does not change the narrative…
    The laser show is s GREAT event fun for kids and a shot in the arm for local business..

    Your a troll who contributes nothing except fake information and crying like a little baby…. lol

  28. Ad on TV says:

    big ad for this laser show on channel 15 prime time. Clearly shows it’s a city & chamber event. Such a waste.

    Dumb no ROI If the chamber had to pay their own bills they be bankrupt. Stupid city council. The city is doing harm by subsidizing the chamber.

  29. KS @Fake Bettys says:

    Me thinks the true identity of the Betty etal is really Jessica, and not that of the C of C. Dead giveaway “. . . forks here disgruntled about EVERYTHING government . . . ” Might start thinking about a new tag line, Jessie!!!

  30. Alarmed says:

    @No Haters: You’re spot on about overpaid city management working for the Chamber. The City Manager, aka Snidely Whiplash, has a three-hour PowerPoint Presentation on next Wednesday’s Special City Council Meeting Agenda (3:00 p.m.) plugging the Nichols Tourism Group and ASU’s Center for Sustainable Tourism’s draft sustainability plan for Sedona.

    Included are discussion and possible direction for follow up meetings relating to future workplans and the budget. According to yesterday’s RED ROCK NEWS the overarching environmental theme is “positioning Sedona as a national and international leader in destination stewardship.”

    The Chamber looks IMO to be using more taxpayer millions to turn little Sedona into a cesspool with the help of its high-powered cohorts and the overpriced ‘City ‘Manager.’

  31. Theodore Dalryimple says:

    “In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, not to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is…in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.”

    You are being lied to about the Chamber and how they take residents into consideration. Are you going to sit still for it?

  32. @ks....Betty says:

    You find it hard to believe that people are smarter then YOU and love all aspects of Sedona don’t you..thus the name calling and false accusations…

    Get a life and take an attitude adjuster.. oh and by all means enjoy the laser light show!!! It’s gonna be great and no animals will be harmed as per Forest Service biologists… Take a chill pill
    Happy Holidays..

  33. Tom Lowe says:

    As a total outsider, it looks to me a bit tacky for a town and a government park to be promoting laser shows pointed at the most notable signature natural feature of the area.


  34. Funny stuff says:

    “You find it hard to believe that people are smarter then YOU and love all aspects of Sedona” REALLY ? They love the traffic? They love the high taxes? They love the loss of the small town atmosphere? They love the no bid Chamber contract?

    The only ones that love all aspects of Sedona are those that are on the take from the City.
    IMO That would be (Deleted by Editor) , Hope this helps, (Deleted by Editor) overpaid airhead (Deleted by Editor) and the Sedona Chamber takers and their enablers the City Council. .

    Retired residents DO NOT LOVE ALL ASPECTS OF THE CURRENT SEDONA. One other thing, anyone who says they are smarter than you, is not.

  35. Norm Johnson says:

    Wanna lite show? Go to Phoenix for “Lights of the World” AZ State Fair Grounds. Featuring in addition to the lite show entertainment plus carnival with rides. Being promoted as “a full cultural experience.”

    Makes Sedona look even more sick with their “beastly” (no pun intended) laser beams blinding nature’s wildlife. Shame, Shame, Shame. Forget the BS about what the FS biologists allegedly had to say. They most likely are more concerned about losing that hunk of Sedona’s cash account they get from the C of C. So why not go along with the BS hype from the control freak takers and users to promote their own personal agendas. Has anyone EVER PROVEN OTHERWISE?

    With any luck maybe Mother Nature will cooperate and bring in freezing weather. And a blizzard along with it might help even up the score.

    Just more random thoughts which as far as I’m aware are still allowed on SedonaEye.com.

  36. Betty G. Voc says:

    @Funny Stuff

    One again another post of misinformation from the “tiny” minority.
    WE the majority are Retired as well and unlike YOU… we love life and have healthy minds..

    You the “tiny” minority live in a dark place where beauty surrounds everywhere..

  37. F.Y.I. says:

    Another Chamber whopper. “Let’s Face Facts & Challenges Together” states: “The Chamber of Commerce is 100 percent funded by member businesses, not by tax dollars.” (KUDOS, July 25-31, 2018)

  38. Rob, Conspicuous By Absence says:

    It blows how the City & Chamber &not necessarily in that order neglected to tell the USFS and KSB about the laser light testing. Get prepared Bambi & Thumper friends. Brace yourselves becuz the light invasion from 5:30 – 9:00 pm on Mon Tues Weds Dec 10-12. Lights will be blasted all over the mountainous area in order for the villains to get their focus aligned for the main event Dec 13 -16 for the deplorable despicable bullies to torture wildlife we paid for. You are guilty Sedona. You cheap bastards wouldn’t know a sanctuary from a circus.

  39. @Rob says:

    Another so so overblown post by a regular hater here.

    No animals will be affected as per our own Forest Service biologist …
    They have a degree in biology. You have hate in your heart with a degree in posting BS

  40. Betty West sedona says:

    So you say they didn’t know about the laser testing prior to the most excellent event?

    Testing took place last year as well duh.. More nonsense from the small minded minority… can’t wait …it’s gonnabe an excellent show this year. Fantastic

  41. Jerry, Legitimate Sedona Voter says:

    Of course the laser testing prior to the event last year was announced, primarily because it required shooting the damn lights all over the wilderness area and not focused on Camel Back, the target.

    That doesn’t excuse the fact that a major selling point to the USFS and Keep Sedona Beautiful for their support was because of the short amount of time the lights would be focused on the national forest. Yes Folks the “National Forest” and not the exclusive possession of the local chamber of commerce, Sedona city hall, and/or uptown businesses. Get a grip!

    Would KSB and the USFS give their blessings for this travesty had they been told the truth about the actual amount of time it took testing the lights prior to the event? Doubt it! And why would they care to announce the test times? Probably to try and prevent people from calling the police and fire department when all the lights were shining all over the place. WTF!!!

  42. Gretchen says:


    Hey Rob thanks for posting the dates and time for the pre laser light extravaganza.
    Gonna go all nights it will be interesting to see how they set up for the grand finale .

    Thnks again Rob great Information

  43. Ohooo a Degree says:

    Oh Boy ! The forest service biologist has a degree ? The City management has degrees also, we know how incompetent they are, just look a the job they are doing ruining the quality of life in Sedona !!

    We all know what BS is.

    MS…. More of the Same.

    PHD… Piled higher and deeper.

    The more education you have the less common sense you tend to have. The way Sedona is being run is proof positive of that.

  44. steve Segner says:

    USFS, Mission
    Advocating a conservation ethic in promoting the health, productivity, diversity, and beauty of forests and associated lands.

    Listening to people and responding to their “diverse Needs in making decisions. notice the words {diverse Needs}

    What We Believe | US Forest Service

    The national forests has many diverse uses,. See they are doing just that with the Light show. Thousands of people will see the show and not walk on or disturb the forest…. Or the animals.
    People will come to Sedona in a slow time of the year and that will help business from laying off employees in the holliday season…. all good

  45. Mason, Sedona says:

    Very interesting about what the USFS does and does NOT allow. For several years people were decorating pine trees along SR179 between Sedona and VOC with tinsel and ornaments, very festive and pretty. Before long the USFS said “NO, NO, NO no more!!! It was disturbing the wild life!!!!!!” Why a no-no then and not now? The decorations didn’t even included blinding lights.

    About that diversity spiel? Screw man’s manipulation of natural diversity. Diversity exists in nature naturally. Men like Segner want to control diversity and pretend that interference isn’t normal. Don’t be blinded by his words, be enlightened by his behavior and words. The problem with that USFS person words and Segner’s is 1) you believed heresay without verification and 2) you believed heresay without verification and didn’t check it out for fact. Sheeple. I applaud that USFS woman as the goddess of forest truth.

    Editor I’ll self delete my words about her and Segner and the people and government of Sedona.

  46. Betty Jones uptown says:

    @oh a degree
    Based upon how much time you spend on SE posting (deleted by editor) ..You must be a grammar school dropout.. LOL

  47. Arlie Tewes says:

    hurry and join the dance

  48. Betty Jones, BJ says:

    @BJ, so appropriate, the eternal troll with thousands of names, none of them real. All the LOL’s and insults, such a high minded individual. Have you figured out I just post to show others your juvenile reaction? To show the mentality of those who run our once fair town and lie to the voters? You’re doing a fine job puppet girl. You’re just so smart.

  49. JH Message to Sedona Vice Mayor says:

    Vice Mayor John Martinez made an announcement at the council meeting yesterday (12/11) that the Northern Light Show did NOT use laser lights. Well, Vice Mayor, that doesn’t make one bit of difference as far as terrorizing birds and wild life. Don’t believe it? Read away:

    “The effect of artificial lights on birds has been known for centuries. In the past, people used flame and lights to attract birds at night to capture them for food. Since their inception, there have been reports of seabirds attracted to the light beam of lighthouses. Artificial lights can “trap” migratory birds by bleaching their visual pigments, causing them to lose sight of the horizon and circle within the cone of light endlessly. They then can die from exhaustion or collision with the light source. It can extend the day for diurnal species of songbirds, making them more susceptible to predators as they sing out their location, or causing them to breed too early since they associate breeding with longer days. It can attract seabirds away from their normal feeding grounds, possibly because these birds feed on bioluminescent sea animals and are cued in to low levels of light.”


    And yes, it’s equally as offensive to wild life. Remember the deer in the headlights, Vice Mayor. You and your chamber of commerce show no mercy for the really important things in Sedona. Our natural resources and not stupid lights amounting to nothing more than annoying distractions to nature’s balance. (IMO)

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