Sedona AZ (June 11, 2014) – The following is a letter to the SedonaEye.com editor:
From: Eddie Maddock
Date: 6/11/2014 9:49:22 AM
To: Mike Ward
Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org; MDinunzio@ci.sedona.az.us; email@example.com; DMcIlroy@ci.sedona.az.us; Jessica Williamson; JMartinez@ci.sedona.az.us
Subject: THANK YOU
Thank you for being the only voice in the wilderness to deny the Chamber of Commerce contract for destination marketing at yesterday’s City Council meeting. Please understand, my position is not against the Chamber or the idea of destination marketing.
It has been and remains steadfast that contributing public funds to a member-driven organization without benefit of RFP’s was wrong from the get-go. The determination by certain council members to sanctify the Sedona Chamber as the hallowed do all and be all to run the city is so in-the-face of residents and city-limit businesses it’s almost an embarrassment. Feedback I’m receiving is more and more businesses AND non-profits are dropping Chamber memberships which are probably being quickly picked up by non-tax collecting establishments outside City Limits.
Let us not forget the rental tax city-based businesses are paying for their locations, even if their particular enterprise does not contribute to sales tax (real estate, insurance agencies, for example.) Another kick in the ass to those folks who struggle on a daily basis to keep their doors open while City Council members thumb their noses at them, give the Chamber excessive funding without substantial credibility or a reliable method to account for a return on the investment providing such a thing exists. The logic, or lack thereof, reverts to that meeting last July when Lodging Council representative Steve Segner repeatedly appealed to the City Council the words: “Just trust us.”
The combination of Chamber funding from their own membership, their tourism division, city and perhaps other sources is vague at best regarding how, why, and where the money actually sits as it perhaps is being recklessly dispensed on discretionary disbursement by the Chamber of Commerce and anointed disciples.
By Jennifer Wesselhoff’s own admission, only Chamber members are being given recognition at the 70% City funded alleged “Sedona Visitor’s Center” which is clearly labeled solely as the Chamber of Commerce.
Realizing all of this is “old news” it just seems appropriate to acknowledge appreciation of your logical thinking and contribution although it didn’t do a lick of good. Your questioning other council members about their concern relating to increased lodging occupancy from my vantage point in watching the meeting produced six vapid, expressionless faces. The almost silent response, in my opinion, was “What are you asking such a stupid question?”
When Mayor Adams denied you the opportunity to make a final statement, it wasn’t the first time he has cut you off, while he will let others who are in agreement with his own line of thinking ramble on at length.
What we can depend on is that no matter what, an upswing in economy will be reason for the Chamber to claim fame to increased tax base and fires, floods, or the inconvenience of ADOT road closures will be the cause for sluggish sales. Clogged traffic, gridlock, and lack of parking will not factor in. You were wise to make a point of the traffic and quite possibly the only deaf ears it fell upon were those of your fellow council members.
Good luck to you in your future endeavors with the Forest Service and I hope they have more sense and good judgment than what is being displayed by the majority of the Sedona City Council.
The opinions expressed herein are solely my own.
Eddie S. Maddock
Sedona Registered Voter