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Open Letter to ADOT, Governor of Arizona, Sedona City Mayor and Manager

Let The People Vote on 89A

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



    whaaaaaa, whaaaaaaaaa, whaaaaaaaaaaaa cried the ousted and disenfranchised former councilors since we the people of a better dark skies Sedona tossed you out in the last election

    they NEVER HEARD US AND THEY STILL DON’T HEAR US so LET THEM HEAR WITH YOUR WALLETS SEDONANS. no hiring people that want to destroy our city’s buccolic and serene atmosphere.

    yea, yeaaaa, yeaaaaaaaaaaa to the ones voting YES FOR THE TRANSFER. we love you Barbara, Cliff, Dennis, and Mike and we are making our list and checking it twice for city business owners NOT getting our money in 2011 and beyond.

  2. Bob says:

    When will these people roll up their carpets already??????? Sherry cannot be serious with this nonsense????? Dr. Wright cannot be serious with this nonsense???? Marginal acceptability at best with self-serving behaviors all of you associated with this referendum.

  3. Janice says:

    To Bob and Sedona Voters:
    Why all the whining? A vote of the people . . . ALL of the people, is the only logical and fair way to proceed with this divisive issue. Providing both sides an opportunity to legitimately voice their opinions will result in a concise, accurate, and positive solution to a fiasco that should never have happened in the first place had the newly elected city council members, with the exception of Dan McIlroy and re-elected Mayor Adams, been up front about their intention to dump the responsibility of a State Route onto the Sedona voting residents. Money for a special election will be well spent, same as the professional poll which reflected the true will of the people but was subsequently ignored by the four members of the city council who voted their own opinions instead of doing what it was they were elected to do . . . represent the preference of the majority of the people.

  4. George says:

    greyhound tickets have been bought in bulk & available for those that don’t want to pay for the turnback

  5. Marv says:

    Hmmm . . . has the line for a one-way ticket out of Sedona started forming yet? Will places in line be reserved for those who take a moment to go and vote “yea” or “nay” on the route transfer?

  6. Steve, Jerome AZ says:

    is this newspaper for or against the decision

    (SedonaEye.com: Thank you for an affirmation that we are doing the work of a news organization properly.)

  7. Bill S. says:

    george use one of the tix %%$#%$ idiots first on the bus #^*&#^*

  8. sheri says:

    I’m really confused as to why some have a problem with a true means of letting the people have a voice – through their right to vote ? isn’t an election on a specific issue called a true measure of the pulse and wishes of our community? So – how about we let the referendum and Initiative process go forward without all the waaaa waaaa comments and false statements – like ADOT did not provide dark sky lights in their option to the city – that this should be where unelected people roll up their carpets…etc.

    Somehow I continue to find the need to ask everyone to remember that this is not the political issue some council members and some public members would like to transfer it into…. this is only about a very large portion of our community who do not agree with buying – or being “gifted” a road that we do not want to own and feel we can not afford.

    On the other hand – do like the comment that those of us who do not want to pay for the turn back should be first in line for the bus tickets….didn’t know a bus that size – that will hold all of us – makes a regular stop into our town. Bottom line is simple: People have a right to their given rights by our Constitution…and, even though you may not like it ….that is what is happening…you have a problem with that? Can’t understand why. Let’s stick with facts vs fear and intimidation.

  9. Liz says:

    Not surprised by all of the nastiness by George, Bob and “Voter” most likely the same person.

    We voted for this Council as we believed their pledge to follow the “Will of the People” and now they tell us if we do not like their dictatorship we can take a bus out of town for good.

    Please remember to thank Mayor Adams, councilors Dinunzio and McElroy as they have kept their commitment to follow the “will of the people” and they DO support the Referendum. On the other hand, Litrell states she supports the Referendum then does all she can to spread misinformation about ownership of Hwy 89-A. The biggest lie of all is that ADOT will dump the road on Sedona if we delay and allow the Referendum to proceed. Litrel knows very well this is not true, why all of the disinformation by an elected official?

  10. Jerry Reynolds...Opinion says:

    You call it disinformation…I was taught it was lying. Yes lying. Some seem to think that lying is ok if it furthers your agenda.

    The ‘mantra’ of the left is “the end justifies the means”. The means would include lying, cheating, stealing and double-dealing.

    The people who submit comments using other than their name to identify themselves are the liars. Pretty stupid, eh? Why bother? We don’t believe a word you say. You have no credibility and really don’t deserve a response.
    You hide behind your acronyms because you are afraid the light of day will reveal you as the sneaky people who are always around ready to ‘stir the pot’.

    I would venture a guess that these people are on the government (city) gravy train and want to keep the folks who’s taxes pay for their cushy jobs from seeing the truth. What’s the truth here? Why the push for the takeover? Who’s going to make a killing on the maintenance and redesign of west Sedona’s 89A?

    The same people are against shining a light on the SFD budget. Ever wonder why?

    One of the arguments made for incorporating back in 1988 was that we would be free from the two counties who governed Sedona and we would thus be in control of our future development and not the counties will. Well, it’s been 22+ years…are you pleased with our ‘control’ over the development of west Sedona? Of the multiple redevelopments of “Uptown” (where most of the money went) because, after all, “the tourist is where Sedona gets its capital”.

    Is this what we thought we were getting when we were asked to vote for incorporation? Be sure that the city has the residents best interest in mind this time before you run out and vote for such a huge undertaking. The ‘staff’ has already indicated that they think a ‘median’ down the entire 89A would be an improvement. You think so? Ask the merchants if they think so.

    My opinion is that it would kill businesses along 89A and not do a single thing to prevent deaths from idiots trying to run across the highway to get to the other side.

    I ask that we all think before we act this time. Don’t you think that is a reasonable request? I hope so.

  11. Bob W. says:

    same person? what arrogance. how can you have an opinion with cretins? democracy in the city of sedona will not have a chance with special interests drowning all others out with threats and name calling and money thrown away on elections that can wait to let the system work as it should. what do the young people think of sedona grownups? not much is my guess.

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