Sedona AZ (September 8, 2014) – “When tempers and fury rage, frequently, logic seems to prefer to go on sabbatical. When folks who have disagreed on past issues and decisions have the maturity and good sense to combine their collective thinking in a sensible fashion, so as to unite and defend a measure for the right reason, at the conclusion what’s to stop them from shaking hands and saying, “It’s been real, now you go back to your corner and I’ll go back to mine, and it will be business as usual.”
What some people don’t understand is — that’s so typical of Sedona! However, it pleases me more than anything to experience a hand-shake and cordial reconnection with people once a verdict is in and the reality of “It’s time to move on” is effectively activated.
To those with such an attitude, you are winners – no matter what the decision was with regards to a heated controversial issue.” Quote from “In A Manner of Preaching” – Sedona Eye, December 12, 2011.
And so it is with the conclusion of the Sedona Primary Election, with Sandy Moriarty prevailing for the position of Mayor, and two of three City Council seats to be filled by Angela LeFevre and Jon Thompson. The remaining Councilman will be either Rio Robson or Scott Jablow, to be decided at the General Election on the fourth of November.
The new Mayor and three Council Members will be officially sworn in at the City Council meeting on November 25, 2014. Each of the above named people have expressed the common desire to “give back to the community” and a willingness to devote the time and dedication to serve Sedona to the best of their ability. Solutions to traffic congestion, fiscal responsibility, and growth management rank high among the group, along with implementation of the revised Community Plan.
A unique concern has been identified by Rio Robson, “Meetings that are three-plus hours long are offensive and an insult and do not make it easy for citizens to participate.” Are there any seconds to that motion? In the meantime, it will be business as usual with the present City Council.
Mayor Adams has recently gone on record objecting to the term “lame-duck” stating he will still be the official Mayor until the latter part of November, and intends to remain pro-active. In preparation for his upcoming 2014 State of the City Address on Thursday, October 16, at 5:00 PM in the City Council Chambers, as a preview, the mayor has defined a list of achievements during his past six years. For example, he claims the city debt in 2008 was $72,500,000 compared to today’s indebtedness of $45,000,000, with plans to continue reducing that debt 5 million dollars per year. He expresses gratitude to the 67% of voters who approved the continuation of Home Rule and considers it a sign of validation of good management since he has been Sedona’s mayor.
On the other hand, the mayor admits creating revenue sources, for various Capital Projects, remains unknown. For example, there’s no clear funding source for the storm water management project estimated in excess of $20,000,000. He acknowledges the need for arterial roads and more parking districts, at the same time pointing out provisions for the Lynx transit service and bicycle and walking opportunities which were provided during his tenure. He remains hopeful for new industry to create funding, without the need for increasing taxes, and cites development of the Cultural Park, Yavapai College, expanded medical facilities, and the 200 acres at the wetlands as excellent potential sources. But, of course, Revenue Bonds and Obligatory Bonds also remain options, and Adams suggests this is a good time for the “new” council to consider these because the “rates are low.” He expects implementation of the public process for improvements to the Brewer Road property, the “Heart of Sedona“, to occur in 2015 under the guidance of the new city council.
Adams is emphatic the new council and mayor will be stepping into far better conditions than he did six years ago. He believes they are in a much improved situation with the newly revised Community Plan to seek specific visions via public process and pursue preferred strategic methods for implementation of proposed common focus areas. (NOTE: Source of Adams’ comments = SV3 Video News)
Conspicuous by absence during these discussions has been the excessive influence the Chamber of Commerce, Tourism Bureau, and Sedona Lodging Council has had over this election, and city operations in general. Clearly the over-extended advantage allowed to this special interest combination has not been publicly discussed. It remains a question if, at some point in time, intestinal fortitude will be displayed to pull in the reins on this out-of-control – yet allowed to be in control – unconventional situation to which Sedona has been subjected.
We have a city contract with the Chamber of Commerce for a “City of Sedona Visitor’s Center” still allowed to operate under the flag of Chamber of Commerce. Worse yet, the city has a $1.3 million dollar contract with the Chamber of Commerce for “Destination Marketing” and CEO/President Jennifer Wesselhoff stated (RRNews 8/29/14), “The chamber hired Owens Harkey Advertising to create a new marketing campaign.”
What? Could it have been an oversight for Ms. Wesselhoff’s neglect to identify the contract…for the purpose of marketing the City of Sedona (not the chamber) as being the necessary tool to provide the chamber with the financial means to hire that outside firm?
Why do you suppose the City of Sedona didn’t retain Owens Harkey Advertising to begin with and eliminate the middle-man (chamber)? Wesselhoff further goes on to refer to “a 90-second video capturing all aspects of the Sedona area” and that it “can be seen on YouTube, local television stations, the chamber’s website, and in area hotels.”
What? Why isn’t it on the city’s website since that’s the source of funding and the purpose of the video is to market City of Sedona? But, of course, Wesselhoff again conveniently failed to acknowledge that fact as she continues referring to the city financed Sedona Visitor’s Center as “Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center in Uptown.” Will there be anyone on the “new” city council with substantial integrity to step up to the plate and appropriately deal with this current divisive allocation of public funds…that appears are being used exclusively to promote the Sedona Chamber of Commerce, a special interest organization that admittedly represents regional businesses in direct competition with city based businesses?
Repeating again, the alleged original intent for city contracts with the Chamber of Commerce was stated as a means to promote the City of Sedona. Or was it always this current council’s position to glorify the Chamber of Commerce? Was that the real reason all along for avoiding competitive bidding and to ignore appropriately identifying the City of Sedona Visitor’s Center?
Of course time will tell, although the answer to that question quite possibly lies in the outcome of this election and the witch hunt implemented to make it happen.