P.O. Box 10268
Sedona, Arizona 86339
March 31, 2011
Mr. John Halikowski, Director
Arizona Department of Transportation
206 South 17th Avenue
Phoenix, Arizona 85007-3213
Dear Director Halikowski,
This letter serves to introduce ourselves to you. We are Let The People Vote on 89A, a grass roots group of Sedona citizens and a political committee registered with the City of Sedona.
On March 23, 2011 we filed REF 2011-1 with 1295 referendum petition signatures with the Sedona City Clerk. The referendum refers the Sedona City Council action taken on February 22, 2011 to enter into a Route Transfer Agreement between ADOT and the City of Sedona, and related matters regarding management of funds associated with the transfer agreement, to a vote at the next consolidated election date.
With the previous conduct and behavior ADOT representatives and staff have experienced from some Sedona elected officials and residents we understand that communication and interaction with any group from Sedona might send a mixed message and generate some caution and reluctance to proceed. We ask for your time and understanding as we briefly explain our position.
The history of discussion and action between the City of Sedona and ADOT regarding SR89A is long, arduous and documented. Both parties have had changes in decisions, directions and time frames, but we will restrict that discussion to an overview of events of the past 90 days. We believe that, after review of these events, you will agree that Sedona residents have concluded they do not want SR89A to be owned by the City of Sedona, would be agreeable to Option 2 as presented by ADOT to the City, and now they will affirm that in a referendum vote to likely occur in September or November 2011.
1. The City engaged Behavior Research Center to conduct two separate polls, one of Sedona businesses and one of Sedona residents. The two surveys were conducted based on a statistically valid methodology between January 3 and January 21, 2011. Both surveys had margin of error of plus or minus five percent (+/- 5%). Of the residents surveyed, fifty-six percent (56%) were in favor of ADOT retaining ownership of SR89A, thirty percent (30%) were in favor of the City assuming ownership and installing its own safety improvements, and fourteen percent (14%) were unsure. The business survey indicated that sixty-two percent (62%) of the businesses surveyed were in favor of ADOT retaining ownership of SR89A, thirty percent (30%) were in favor of the city assuming ownership and installing its own safety improvements, and eight percent (8%) were unsure.
2. A non-scientific online opinion survey was posted on the City website asking residents to choose one of two options: 1) ADOT should retain ownership of SR89A and install the proposed roadway lighting; 2) Ownership of SR89A should be transferred to the City and proposed safety improvements should be installed. The results were as follows:
1040 total opinions were registered:
665 were in favor of Option 1 (63.9%)
375 were in favor of Option 2 (36.1%)
3. Despite the overwhelming opposition to the transfer of SR89A, the City Council chose to accept the transfer by a 4-3 vote.
4. In response to the City Council action and the citizens’ demand for action, Let The People Vote on 89A filed as a political committee on March 8, 2011. A referendum petition drive commenced immediately and on March 23, 2011, 1295 signatures (by initial count of the City Clerk) were filed. The minimum number of signatures to refer the policy decision of the Council is 363. In other words, more than 3.5 times the minimum number of signatures was filed which virtually assures the referendum election will occur. The actual election date will be determined by the City Council but must occur not later than the March 2012 consolidated election date.
While we acknowledge that you and the State Transportation Board cannot absolutely and definitely conclude from poll results whether ADOT should retain ownership of SR89A, the Arizona Constitution and State law clearly provide that the question from the City’s perspective will be resolved through a referendum vote of Sedona residents.
We hope that your response on behalf of ADOT and the State to this referendum election will be one of acceptance of the constitutional process and the election results suspending any further action regarding the transfer of SR89A to the City until the referendum election is completed. Please feel free to call or contact our Chairperson with any questions or communication.
We sincerely thank you for your time and consideration,
Sheri Graham Dr. Serge Wright Allen R Bradley
Chairperson Steering Committee Member Treasurer
CC: Jan Brewer, Governor of Arizona; Sedona City Mayor and City Manager and City Council Sedona AZ