Home » From The Readers, Letters to the Editor » The Ten Thousand’s Two Million Shadow

The Ten Thousand’s Two Million Shadow

Sedona AZ (March 18, 2017) – The following is a letter to the SedonaEye.com editor:

Sedona Red Rock View, a 2015 SedonaEye.com photo exclusive

After reading the SRRN 3/10/17 article “City & Chamber talk contract,” I began to wonder if the Chamber has become a part of a shadow government, and if the Council has unwittingly ceded some of its powers to the Chamber. The City gives nearly two million dollars annually to the Chamber via 55% of bed taxes and funds for destination marketing. This seems an outrageous amount for a “city” of only 10,000 plus people.

Consequently there has been a debate on whether or not to renew the City’s contract with the Chamber for destination marketing. An earlier SRRN editorial supported the Chamber with specious arguments against all the alternative options: a request for proposal for tourism services; an independent marketing firm; a city department of tourism; and a travel consultant study “to assess the current structure and funding and provide recommendations to the city.” It’s hard to believe the Council would pass up an opportunity to fund yet another study, when this would be the logical first step to figure out the efficacy of the Chamber’s destination marketing. Though the Chamber would argue an independent analysis has already been done (by a Yavapai College professor and friend of the Chamber’s CEO), I am skeptical about any statistics put out by the Chamber since the scope of those stats usually include the entire region and not just the city of Sedona. The end result is that it always appears that we are getting more bang for our buck than we really are.

Sedona AZ

Instead of reducing the amount of money given to the Chamber and taking back some of its powers, the Council wants more input in how the Chamber spends its allocation. Consequently the Chamber is worried it will lose control over the money and/or get less in the bargain. Could it be that the Council has realized it has given the Chamber too much money for marketing? The Chamber counters by saying it is spending it on “product development,” i.e. attributes and amenities that make Sedona more enticing to tourists…”And because product development has not been defined, funding can be used for a variety of sources that enhance the visitor experience – traffic and parking mitigation and trail maintenance – while benefiting the city.”

Examples of the Chamber acting as an independent arm of city government are the $56,000 donated to the US Forest Service and its proposed purchase of a Jordan Rd. property for a parking lot at the cost of a million dollars over the next 4 years. This “product development” benefits the tourist industry at the expense of the residents, whose wastewater rates could be reduced with this million bucks. Yet the City justifies its transfer of power in allowing the Chamber to set the agenda as the prudent use of the Chamber as a proxy. “‘That product development piece has given us [the city] some flexibility to do things that would otherwise have no dedicated funding source,” Assistant Karen Osburn said. She went on to add…”As far as we can tell, there is an unlimited number of possible programs and projects. There is a long list so I don’t think we’re going to be in a situation where we say, ‘What are we going to do with product development money?'”

City of Sedona Council Chamber

Wow, this sounds like the Council and the Chamber are now joined at the hip; that there’s been some sort of fusion, a probably illegal blurring of lines between city government and a non-profit; that the Chamber’s board members are now our unelected co-councilors. All the more reason for the Council to take back its powers and take away the Chamber’s destination marketing money and reduce its percentage of the bed tax from 55% to 30%. The Council should be making the decisions on how to spend “product development” money. In fact the Council should cut back funds to bare-bones support of the Chamber and hire an independent agency for destination marketing. Or the Council could eliminate the more non-essential jobs (around economic diversity, social media, etc.) and use those funds to do its own destination marketing. The Council was elected to represent us residents and work for the common good, not to collude in promoting the agendas of special interests.

Henry Twombly
Sedona, AZ 86336

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47 Comments

  1. Another Sedona Loser says:

    No surprises in your very fine letter to the Sedona Eye (Henry Twombly) and a reiteration of the alternatives outlined in a previous Eye article “Business As Usual” which garnered 344 comments. However, the deed is done and the road to ruination of Sedona by controlled interests marches on. The amount in the 2017 budget for the C of C I believe exceeded the $2 million mark at a whopping $2.01 million. And let us not overlook the ill-managed visitors center paid from city taxes at the tune of $300,000 annually only to discriminate against Sedona city licensed businesses unless they are members of the C of C.

    And is it just a coincidence that at least at one time the husband of a key player was listed as a partner at the bottom of the Red Rock News online version? That notation was missing the last time I checked but little wonder the print edition you mentioned ranted praises for the non-profit which we, Sedona residents, are under control. And BTW, is it another mere coincidence that same husband of the unnamed key player is a high-profile Sedona realtor? OMG- amazing but of course no conflicts of interest lurking in this questionable shadow government when it comes to real estate listing/sales commissions. Of course not.

    And the beat continues at the city owned “Hub” as yet another non-profit (Red Earth Theatre) is paid with city taxes what amounts to $50,000 annually to offer entertainment, performances, and who-knows-what including political rallies, again many of which charge admission and compete with tax-collecting legitimate Sedona businesses.

    And the qualification of “product development” as you so aptly pointed out is over the moon. And when is another Harmonic Convergence scheduled for Sedona so these folks can again plan for UFO”s to take off for parts unknown from Bell Rock. Oh – we’re in the big leagues now. Let’s add a landing strip out there at The Dells to accommodate other Martian’s & ET’s along with the upcoming Sanctuary City & Pilgrimage Site. The new and improved Sedona. RIGHT!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Bravo Henry!

    Except for the statement to gift the chamber 30% of thebed taz. No city funds the chamber form the bed tax. The chamber took over the city years ago.

  3. Jim Poole says:

    Great article Henry. It’s really nice to hear a sane opinion.

  4. Mary C says:

    The city is not being run for the residents, but for the business that profit from the two million tourists that clog our roads.

    As far as the city management and city council, they would prefer the residents would just go away.

  5. J. Rick Normand says:

    @ All Readers at The Eye:

    Relative to Henry’s very excellent Letter to the Editor here, I would ask readers and interested parties in the contractual relationship between the City of Sedona and the Sedona Chamber of Commerce to re-read it in the context of the following:

    History of City of Sedona DMO Contract with the Sedona Chamber of Commerce

    1.] In 2002, the ante to the Chamber jumped from $230,000 to $340,000. The extra money was to be spent for a visitor profile survey ($25,000) and the remaining $75,000 was to go to a new direct category of “destination marketing.” The latter was the opening of a Pandora’s Box for that kind of spending.

    2] In 2003, the Chamber asked for and was given $364,000. $120,000 went to the newly established “destination marketing” category, up from the $75,000 provided the year before.

    3] In 2004, total city funding for the Chamber jumped again to $437,887, including money for another visitor survey, new money for a “film office” and over $30,000 in “incentive” money from a new agreement to give the Chamber a portion of any increases in bed tax income.

    4] Public tax funding for the Chamber climbed from over $563,000 in 2005 to a high of over $835,000 by 2008. City tax funds for “destination marketing” grew to almost half of that total.

    5] And then the recession hit. Across-the-board cutbacks reduced Chamber funding back to just under $500,000 in 2009 and 2010. Cries about being “cut” financially grew and Chamber political push escalated to get it back. The City Council bent and added an additional $100,000 to the Chamber’s city tax funding. Entitlement had become entrenched.

    6] “Accountability” finally became a City Council issue. A task force was created to address it for all city-funded non-profit organizations, the Chamber included. Task Force recommendations for funding non-profit organizations were adopted by the Council in 2011. The Chamber now had to at least complete an application process and provide basic information on where it spent the public’s tax money.

    7] Nothing much changed with the new “accountability” process. The upward march of Chamber funding continued with $600,000 in 2011 and 2012. That grew to $625,000 in 2013.

    8] Chamber CEO Jennifer Wesselhoff was recently overheard at an event defending criticism of the Chamber for creating the traffic mess with the comment that there would be the same amount of traffic whether the Chamber advertised or not! How interesting – and revealing!

    9] The City of Sedona’s General Fund is the source of all the money handed over to the Chamber of Commerce. In 2014, the bed tax was raised by half of one percent. That new .5% bed tax portion MUST be spent on tourism promotion. However, there is nothing else that the City is obligated to spend on tourism promotion.

    Before the most recent bed tax increase, the City took about $300,000 from it’s General Fund to support the Chamber’s Uptown Visitor Center and gave another $300,000 to the Chamber for “destination marketing.” This current fiscal year, the City is handing over almost $2.1 million to the Chamber. Only $349,463 of that comes from the bed tax increase that must be spent on “tourism promotion.” The staggering remainder of $1,747,318 comes from the City General Fund. The City is now giving about $.5 million more to the Chamber, even after deducting the bed tax increase, than it ever did before. That’s not a savings in anyone’s book!

    And, btw, dear readers, you should all know that I posted this comment at Steve DeVol’s Sedonadotbiz site and he refused to post/publish it thereby revealing his bias in favor of the Chamber out-weighs his dedication to professional journalism.

    JRN

  6. Rachel Henderson says:

    Some choose to discontinue businesses because the numbers didn’t tally on registers. Ask around. Two accountants said another adjustment to stock market coming. Get prepared.

  7. Eddie Maddock says:

    Nice review, J. Rick, but brace yourself and prepare for verbal attacks. However, you will not have reached maturity until you qualify for at least one predicted death wish. Ask one who knows:-).

    What remains amazing is during the recent chats (special city council meetings) particular hype presumably to justify memorializing this special interest club identifies the Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau as being the backbone of promoting Sedona for 65 years. Really? To begin with back in the day it was the Sedona Oak-Creek Canyon Chamber of Commerce and it was just two or three years ago they they tacked on the part about Tourism Bureau (or Bureau of Tourism, whatever). And realistically how many people actually learned about Sedona through that source? And it certainly contradicts the statement to which you refer mad by Jennifer Wesselhoff:

    8] Chamber CEO Jennifer Wesselhoff was recently overheard at an event defending criticism of the Chamber for creating the traffic mess with the comment that there would be the same amount of traffic whether the Chamber advertised or not! How interesting – and revealing!

    How “interesting and revealing” indeed.

    Over & Out,
    ESM

  8. Jean Jenks says:

    The Chamber’s only audit was at the end of fiscal year 2015 according to Jennifer Wesselhoff. Word is that it was done by a Yavapai College professor and friend of Jen.

    By the way, Jennifer is the current Chair of the BOD for the VVREO (Verde Valley Regional Economic Organization) and Dr. Penny Wells, President of Yavapai College, is the Secretary. Included among the 2017 Directors are Alexandra Wright, Director of Yavapai College’s Regional Economic Development Center, and Molly Spangler, Director of Economic Development for the City.

    Molly was hired last summer. The City Finance Department’s State Schedule G, “Full-Time Employee and Personnel Compensation Fiscal Year 2017,” reports 125 FTEs. This is up 6 from the FTEs reported to the State in FY 2014. Although the City’s population has been stagnating for years, the story with City hiring is different.

    $10,322,070 is the City of Sedona Total Estimated Personnel Compensation Fiscal Year 2017.”

  9. tom howell says:

    Steve DeVol’s Sedonadotbiz site and he refused to post/publish it thereby revealing his bias in favor of the Chamber out-weighs his dedication to professional journalism.
    one smart man that steve

  10. J. Rick Normand says:

    @ All Readers at The Eye:

    Re: Email to Mayor and City Council concerning Sedona Bed Tax

    see weblink below letter to Council…

    Council,

    Unlike Sedona, where a bed tax must also support the Sedona Chamber of Commerce membership, many of whom are not even Sedona residents, and the single industry Sedona Lodging Council as well, the City of Las Vegas is willing to dedicate a massive bed tax to a community asset (the stadium) that will bring benefits to every private citizen of the city and non-Chamber of Commerce member small business, as well as induce high-net worth destination travelers to spend long weekends in the City. Las Vegas’ new stadium will not only attract the tenancy of the NFL but of world-class concerts, conventions, television broadcast facilities and opportunities and will improve the quality of life for all Las Vegas citizens, not just Chamber members. I don’t believe our bed taxes support anyone in Sedona who is not a Chamber member. Maybe this partially explains why Las Vegas never stops growing while Sedona continues to shrink and lose it quality of life standards.

    J. Rick Normand
    cc: 30 undisclosed recipients

    see this link: http://www.azcentral.com/story/sports/nfl/2017/03/27/nfl-approves-raiders-move-las-vegas/99694388/

    JRN

  11. City Math says:

    If we take the $10,322,070 total personnel compensation and divide that by 125 full time employees you get an average of $82,576 per employee. Not bad for four days a week and two weeks paid leave and two weeks paid vacation per year. Plus benefits of course.

    The Sedona city employees should get a raise, the average San Francisco city employee salary is $91,000.

    After all , who wants to live in Sedona? Remember the old days of Red Rock Fever when people sacrificed to live in Sedona. Now they can’t wait to leave.

  12. JD - Sedona says:

    OK – so here we go again. SedonaBiz, same as Red Rock News, picks and chooses what comments they use. And, of course, it’s their choice. So why should the editor of Sedona Eye be criticized for printing all comments and then be subjected to accusations of having made up the negative ones? Go figure.

    And excuse me – Mr. Normand – but Sedona is hardly Los Vegas. If it weren’t for gambling Las Vegas would have NO tourists. And without the scenic red rocks neither would Sedona. There is NO comparison in the two places – NONE! (except, of course, tourists who visit both but for different reasons) As much I dislike the millions given to the chamber of commerce, bringing in big city venues such as you suggest would be disaster. Cannot accommodate travelers right now, or would you disagree with that? Sorry – bad idea!

  13. Ron Maassen says:

    The 2015 audit of the Sedona Chamber of Commerce was performed by Schutte & Hilgendorf LLLC CPA’s of Prescott.

    This is the same firm that prepared the 2014 Sedona CoC 990 tax return. The preparer is listed as Lois Hilgendorf, CPA.

  14. Police Department Asking for donations says:

    Police Department is asking for donations for a K 9 dog. Now that is complete BS since the city GIFTED MILLIONS to the chamber. Why doesn’t “Jen” gift it back?

    Our police has to beg for money to fund it..

  15. J. Rick Normand says:

    @JD-Sedona

    I hear you but you’re missing my point which is probably my fault. But, my point in my comment is NOT that we should emulate Las Vegas in any way but that Las Vegas, when it implements a bed tax does something with the new revenue that benefits the entirety of the private and commercial communities, LV Chamber members or not, whereas when Sedona implements a bed tax, there are NO non-Chamber businesses that benefit, certainly there are almost no private citizen benefactors, and worst of all, the biggest beneficiaries of a Sedona bed tax aren’t even corporate citizens of our City (The Enchantment and Hilton Hotels, for example). So, my point was that Las Vegas bed taxes are used for the benefit of the entirety of the private and non-chamber member business communities, whereas Sedona bequeaths money to the Chamber that benefits no one but there own members, and favorite members at that, many of whom aren’t even part of our City community. Does that say anything about the difference if quality of municipal government between the two cities? Las Vegas grows while we shrink even though we have the Red Rocks with greenery while Las Vegas sits in a God-awful ugly desert. They use their revenues for egalitarian purposes while we use ours to service a connected few.

    JRN

  16. OMG says:

    Suggesting for Jen and her chamber of commerce to gift back money to acquire a K 9 dog replacement? R U nuts? Just another means for them to glorify all they do for Sedona – just like “gifting” the USFS Sedona city tax money for maintaining their trails.

    This city doles out thousands to nonprofits and yet they can’t afford for a replacement of the K G doggie that just retired?

    How much worse can the saga of this once justified as being labeled the most beautiful place on earth get?

    Chamber of Commerce give city money to buy a new police dog? OMG – the opportunity for them to receive some sort of award for their ill conceived generosity? NOT – no, no, no.

    CUT FUNDING TO THIS NO GOOD GROUP OF HOODLUMS. Then you won’t have to go begging for money for a new pup.

    IDIOTS!!!!!!

  17. J. Rick Normand says:

    @JD-Sedona

    This is a re-write of my comment above which I wrote when I was dead tired. Kind of went nuts with the commas. Here’s the way it should read:

    I hear you but you’re missing my point which is probably my fault. But, my point in my comment is NOT that we should emulate Las Vegas in any way but that Las Vegas, when it implements a bed tax, does something with the new revenue that benefits the entirety of the private and commercial communities whether they’re Chamber members or not. When Sedona implements a bed tax there are NO non-Chamber businesses that benefit and certainly there are almost no private citizen benefactors and, worst of all, the biggest beneficiaries of a Sedona’s bed taxes aren’t even corporate citizens of our City (The Enchantment and Hilton Hotels, for example). So, my point was that Las Vegas bed taxes are used for the benefit of the entirety of the private and NON-CHAMBER member business communities, whereas Sedona bequeaths money to the Chamber that benefits no one but their own members, and favorite members at that, many of whom aren’t even part of our City community. Does that say anything about the difference if quality of municipal government between the two cities? Las Vegas grows while we shrink even though we have the Red Rocks with greenery while Las Vegas sits in a God-awful ugly desert. They use their revenues for egalitarian purposes while we use ours to service a connected few.

    JRN

  18. JD - Sedona says:

    Thanks, J. Rick Normand – point well made and favorably received. Maybe it’s just becoming too difficult to understand anything that makes sense in Sedona since most of what they do is so convoluted – Chamber of Commerce and Red Earth Theater contracts for example – not to mention the monthly sewer fees charged to owners of vacant lots. Hope the state sticks to proposal on that one to put an end to it. Then if the city council votes recover the lost revenue from actual sewer users they revolt by getting another referendum going here. Seem that’s the only thing that gets their attention.

  19. Jean Jenks says:

    Jennifer Wesselhoff told Sedona City Council members during their March 1, 2017 meeting that the only audit was at the end of fiscal year 2015 and “was done by a friend in Prescott.” Who actually did it is another matter.

    During the March 15th City Council meeting, Jennifer stated there would be 33 parking spaces in front of the building at 401 Jordan Road immediately and 45 spaces after the drive-through portion of the old bank building gets removed and the area lined for parking. She said the loan would be paid off in approximately three years. If I understood it correctly from the Video of the meeting, the escrow was opened without the knowledge of the City Council and without public input or participation. It’s hard for me to believe a few City staffers didn’t know of this.

    Utilizing $1,015,000 in so-called Product Development Funds equates to an immediate cost of $30,758/space in public taxpayer money for the 33 parking spaces and, thereafter, a cost of $22,556/space at the time the 45 spaces become available. The Chamber will own the property. According to Councilmember Scott Jablow, what the property will be used for after the City’s Uptown Community Focus Area process plays out in a year or two is not known.

    The City Council agreed to let the Chamber purchase the Jordan Road property without ordering engineering, traffic and/or impact studies and without knowing what’s going to happen down the road. Steve Segner wants the 401 Jordan Road lot to be used for a staging area where activity vendors pick up and drop off visitors who are looking to participate in activities in and around Sedona. Also where events managers could pick up those who would be attending their events. Traffic will worsen.

    The historic Jordan Road Character District will be changed immediately without neighborhood awareness or any knowledge of its future. What constitutes a product within the Product Development classification still remains undetermined by City Council.

    As I see it, the multimillions the Chamber will receive from the City would be better spent maintaining City streets in a timely manner and ending annual sewer fee increases.

  20. @Jean Jenks says:

    About the Jordan property, RRN 3/22/17 page 6A: “Wesselhoff and City Manager Justin Clifton said the building could be used in a variety of ways.” Then further on, same article: “It seems like there are a lot of things that we could potentially do that would be other types of services,” Clifton said. “That’s why we think this is a good project. Property is limited and they’re not making any more. The bottom line is, there doesn’t appear to be a better opportunity in the foreseeable future.”

    Done deal all right. Forget lack of funding for road and other infrastructure maintenance. Re: Sedona Eye Article http://sedonaeye.com/sedona-paving-program-budgets-one-mile-per-year/

    We are hostages to the “in-crowd” control. How do we clean out the swamp in Sedona?

  21. oh really Jean Jenks?!? says:

    I didn’t realize all of those possibilities for 401 Jordan Road were on the drawing board. It’s great to think that someone for a change is thinking outside the box for unique ideas that may help with problems in Uptown. I guess you don’t like it because Steve Segner’s name is attached to it. Oh Well.

  22. @oh really Jean Jenks?!? says:

    Jean Is 100% correct.

    Thinking outside the box ?????? (deleted by editor) Thinking inside their pocketbooks. How unprofessional that city manager is. “Jen” :Jen” Isn’t he supposed to be neutral?
    Complete (deleted by editor). He should be ashamed he is degrading his own employees by not letting them DO their JOBS!!!

  23. J. Rick Normand says:

    @All Readers at The Eye:

    Below is a copy of an email that I just sent to Jennifer Wesselhoff and the Council is response to her personal email to me…

    Re: Las Vegas (destination traveler) tourism generation and equality of tax revenue distribution benefits philosophy vs. Sedona’s philosophy

    Jennifer and Council,

    The NFL Raiders team (private sector) will contribute $500 million to the new city stadium project, which includes a $200 million loan from the NFL (private sector). Bank of America (private sector) has agreed to loan an additional $650 million toward the project. Sheldon Adelson (private sector), the world’s wealthiest casino owner, stands behind the other private sector partners. Only $750M is coming from a new bed tax, all of which will be dedicated to the City-owned revenue producing capital asset known as the Raider’s stadium which will produce an investment grade rate of return!

    By your own admission, Jennifer, the other 18% (of the LV DMO’s budget comes from their (meaning Las Vegas) private sector partners ($50+ million).

    I say in light of the above, while putting the big numbers aside, you’re missing my point, which is that Las Vegas knows how to attract private sector funding to supplement joint city/private sector projects in revenue producing assets that benefits equally every resident and non-Chamber small business in the city. Sedona knows nothing of how to attract private sector capital to joint ventures with the City in revenue producing projects that benefit every last person and business in the city. And, don’t think for a moment the small size of Sedona makes the LV model invalid here. For instance, a new multi-level parking lot structure could have been majority financed by a private sector partner, and blocks of parking slots could have been sold naming rights with signage to corporate benefactors such as Hensley Distributors (John McCain’s wife) which would have paid back the capital costs with visitors paying to park in the structure to provide a rate of return. But did Sedona consider that? Of course not. The same concept could have revived the old Cultural Part Amphitheater but the Sedona City Council had to irritate magnate Georgia Frontiere to the extent she abandoned Sedona forever. Of course, one point that may mitigate my concept is that the City of Sedona has allowed its bond rating to drop to within two grades of becoming non-investment grade. Do any of you even know of this travesty?

    And, last but not least, in light of the fact that you say “Sports tourism is certainly worth big money to warrant such an extensive investment…,” maybe you will recall the ASU University Athletic District, a joint venture between ASU, private sector investors and the five largest Chambers in the state, excluding Tucson’s, that your Sedona Chamber of Commerce could have had a piece of? That is, if not for the fact the former Councilor Barbara Litrell never told you, which I asked her to do, that I, because my Dad who lived and died in Sedona had been on the Board of Sundt Construction for 16 years who is the primary builder of the UAD, could have walked you personally, Jennifer, right into a little piece of that deal to bring high-net worth sports fans from national championship events to Sedona as side trippers. Jennifer, you and I talked about this before and you told me you would have been interested. So, yet another missed opportunity for Sedona!

    I’m sorry Jennifer and Council, but the City of Sedona needs to stop looking at every venture as one to be tax-funded until it first looks at corporate funding partnerships/sponsorship’s. You don’t need a Sedona Lodging Council mouthpiece to talk it up for you… you need a polished investment banker! I could have explained all of this to all of you at the Council Meeting in which you, Mayor, thought that my time to explain all of this wasn’t worth more than two minutes.

    J. Rick Normand

    JRN

  24. @J Rick says:

    I would love to see if you get a response to that ridiculous email.

  25. West Sedona Resident says:

    @JRN

    Love the way they people that think they have all the answers i.e. (JRN) and the rest, pontificate from the sidelines..

    That’s how it goes here on SE.

    Complain, pontificate but take NO real action… just live (deleted by editor)

  26. J. Rick Normand says:

    @ All Readers at The Eye:

    Btw, there is NO DMO in Vegas. You should know better Jennifer. They have a Las Vegas Convention & Visitor Authority which is OWNED by the Political Subdivision, County. I have the PDF report on the history. The Website is http://www.lvcva.com/

    JRN

  27. The Thought Proctologist says:

    @ Wsr, WSr, wSr, West Sedona Resident, West sedona resident, West sedona Resident, WSR, WSR times 2, Anonymous and All Readers at The Eye:

    I’m awaiting your next appointment. I want to try out a new procedure on you to alleviate your deteriorating cerebral condition and your total loss of credibility.

  28. J. Rick Normand says:

    @ All Readers at The Eye:

    I have just received the below-recited message from Sedona City Manager Justin Clifton which is the City’s reply to my last posting here. Here is my reply:

    Justin, that’s a distinction without much of a difference and it was incumbent upon Jennifer to note even this minor difference. And, yes, I know the Open Meeting law, but thank you for the reminder. Btw, would you care to comment on Steve Segner’s most recent personal attack on me which he sent to the Mayor and Council? I’m wondering how it is that an indirect beneficiary of Chamber funding from the City has the type relationship with the Council, and especially the Mayor, in which he is comfortable copying the Council with his personal attacks on a member of the press for printing facts? Did you refute his comments, Justin?~Rick

    From: Justin Clifton
    To: John Currivan ; John Martinez ; Jon Thompson ; Joe Vernier ; Scott Jablow ; Sandy Moriarty ; Tom Lamkin ; jrn45biz@yahoo.com
    Sent: Wednesday, March 29, 2017 7:21 AM
    Subject: Re: Jennifer W. gave you incorrect info…see proof here

    Rick,

    Mostly I just want to send a reminder that Council can’t engage in this debate because of open meeting laws. I’m sure you’re aware but I wanted to send a reminder. I’m not sure what this debate is about or why it’s relevant. But as an aside, while it’s true that the LVCVA is a public entity (with private partnership participation), if you look under the “Who We Are” tab of the web link you provided, the first sentence under “About Us” reads: ”As the official destination marketing organization of Las Vegas…” The LVCVA is a DMO, albeit one that is organized differently than the Chamber. Examining their material also reveals that their organization as a political subdivision (opposed to a separate non-profit entity) is an exception, not the norm.

    Regards,

    Justin

    [end]

    JRN

  29. Sedona Eye » The Wizards of Sedona says:

    […] There are five major players:  the City Council; the Sedona Oak Creek School District (SOCUSD); the Sedona Fire District (SFD); the Chamber of Commerce; and, the Sedona Red Rock News (SRRN). Behind the curtain as in The Wizard of Oz, the power brokers pulling the strings are these Big Three business groups: tourism; real estate and development; and building/road construction. The agenda of the Five Players and the Big Three is to fully develop and densify Sedona within its confines of being surrounded by a national forest. Their vision is to transform this small-town community into a ritzy tourist paradise that will attract the rich and famous, emulating Palm Springs, CA. Their goal is to make a lot of money and have Sedona serve as a mecca for the arts and arts education, like Santa Fe, NM. The trouble with this agenda and vision is that their greed has short-circuited common sense in what’s logistically possible, and has overlooked the wishes and concerns of most residents who are not affiliated with any of these vested interests. Besides a common goal, the Big Three and the Five Players have a common foible: fiscal irresponsibility at the expense of resident taxpayers. (sedonaeye.com/the-ten-thousands-two-million-shadow/ ) […]

  30. steve Segner says:

    Jennifer, did in face respond to Ricks letter, and if you notice Rick did not post her reply, !
    Why not you ask, because she crushed him in her reply,,,,,
    Come on Rick post her letter

  31. J. Rick Normand says:

    @ All Readers at TheEye:

    “Enter your name”…above is J. Rick Normand answering Jennifer’s letter which didn’t address the point of my comments at all. She did what Steve Segner always does which is to post a lot of unrelated facts to an argument as if they were relevant. Segner knows very well that I can’t post Jennifer’s letter here because she sent it to me personally at my private email address. But, then, Segner knows nothing of ethics which explains his asinine comment! Segner says she crushed me with her reply. How did she do that? She didn’t even address my point of the failure of the City of Sedona to attract private investment to be applied to tax-reducing City/Corporate partnerships for mutual cash flow generation and she predicated her reply argument on a Vegas DMO that doesn’t even exist as a conventionally defined DMO. Leave it to a little guy who can’t write an intelligible sentence to decide that someone else can write an adequate retort to an argument between professionals.

    And, I see that West Sedona Resident is back who like Segner, has never written a published primary article, done any real documented subject-matter research, or written an intelligent comment as noted repeatedly by the far more intelligent lady known as The Thought Proctologist. Btw, WSR, how is it she always eats your lunch? She’s made a complete laughing-stock out of you. And, why is it that you can’t write, much less get anyone to publish, an article that you’ve written?

    JRN

  32. Jean Jenks says:

    oh really Jean Jenks?!? is daft and fails to provide his name. The one million in City taxpayer funds the Chamber of Commerce is using to purchase and own 401 Jordan Road is a possible violation of the state’s “Gift Clause.” The Chamber needs to use its own bucks to acquire the property, not City taxpayer dollars.

    More traffic will be brought into the area if there’s a staging area and hub at the Jordan Rd site. Not only will traffic worsen on City-owned 89A and Jordan Rd but, additionally, on the residential streets the City now uses on Saturdays and Sundays as part of its detour route for drivers turning left onto and from Jordan Rd (Forest Rd, Van Deren St, Wilson Rd, Smith Rd, Mesquite Ave, etc.). It’s a crime the City couldn’t be bothered with engineering, traffic and/or impact studies.

  33. WSR says:

    @SS

    Little Ricky would never do that….it would ruin his bloviating smartest man in sedona reputation among the misguided complainers…

  34. The Thought Proctologist says:

    @WSR

    Are you ever going to get professional psychiatric help for your massive envy problem? You hate, and therefor, envy everyone who’s smarter than you, financially more successful than you, better looking than you, more well-known than you, more respected than you, has more friends than you, is better educated than you and more loved than you. There doesn’t appear to be anyone amongst The Eye’s readers and writers who has sunk so low in life as you WSR. You’re the only one among all of them consumed by envy. If you want to disprove this, I’m sure J. Rick, Eddie or me will take you on publicly in a debate (yes, I will disclose my identity if you will). But, you’ll never do that because of the one personality trait that you have that truly is superior to everyone you hate is…cowardice. You’re a yellow-belly WSR and I’m not bloviating.

  35. @J Ricky says:

    Hay Ricky, do you think that just because you say something, we’re supposed to take your word for it????

    I can imagine your lips a flapping but there’s nothing to back up the (deleted by editor) that’s coming out.

    If you’re so much better than all of us on SE why not post an in-edited version of Jens response to you? Otherwise I’d be more than happy to email Jenn myself and ask for her comments.

    Youre real good spouting BS but never admitting when you’re wrong. Case in point, last summer when you were trying to impress your fans on SE thinking that the meeting at Segners house was some kind of meeting violation and how you were going to bring everyone to justice. I’m guessing that since l don’t recall reading how that story ended that IT DIDN’T END THE WAY YOU THOUGHT. Now, I could be wrong and I’m sure that you’d be quick to point out the day and time of your posting from last year, so I’m waiting

  36. The Thought Proctologist says:

    @ WSR,

    Apparently you learn new words at the rate of one a year. Bloviating has been your only new word in all that time which, once again, proves you’re actually illiterate and a very slow learner.

  37. J. Rick Normand says:

    @ All Readers at The Eye:

    We all pay, through our federal taxes, into the U.S. Treasury’s General Fund which is to be distributed to federal agencies, debt service, and other operating requirements of the federal government which most certainly includes the USFS. So, why are we all paying indirectly, vis-a-vis the City’s funding of $2.1 million to the Sedona Chamber of Commerce for DMO services? Is this to say that the federal government, in its duty to maintain federal land as its supreme steward, can’t even afford the cost of maintaining its hiking trails in U.S. Forests, Wildernesses and National Monuments? But Angela LeFevre, Barbara Litrell, Nancy McLean Brown, Birgit Lowenstein and Norris Peterson, et al, all tried to sell us on the concept of SUPERIOR federal land stewardship in their marketing to all of you of their failed Sedona-Verde Valley Red Rocks National Monument designation effort. Does the following tell you that either their marketing promises were fraudulent or the following should be equally highly suspect?

    The LETTER FROM CHAIRMAN AND PRESIDENT/CEO in the Chamber of Commerce ANNUAL REPORT 2015/2016 states “Several of our new initiatives will deliver significant [product development] funds to the USFS to maintain existing trails and build new ones.”

    According to the Group donates to USFS article in yesterday’s Red Rock News, “The Sedona Trail Keeper project donated a $250,000 check to the U.S. Forest Service on March 21….The donation was organized by the Sedona Chamber of Commerce….The donation comes from 25 individuals or businesses each donating $1,000 per year for five years. This will then have matching city funds.”
    [sent to me courtesy of Jean Jenks]

    This clearly proves my point in my comments above and in my private communication to Jennifer Wesselhoff, the Mayor and Council. Sedona simply does not have the expertise, nor the will, to learn how to grow its City economy and quality of life standards except through taxing the public to fund misguided causes and projects.

    JRN

  38. oh really Jean Jenks?!? says:

    Hay Jean, can you tell me when was the time that you stayed at one of our hotels or B&B??? Because that would be the only way that you had any part of “The one million in City taxpayer funds” that you speak about.

  39. The Thought Proctologist says:

    @ @J. Ricky, oh really Jean Jenks?!? and All Readers at The Eye,

    How many of you have noticed that the first two posters I’ve addressed this comment to begin their missives with “Hay” instead of “Hey?” This tells us three things. First, only Steve Segner doesn’t know the difference between livestock feed and a greeting. Second, SS usually goes nuts with question marks (????) as he did in BOTH the postings above. Third, SS always lavishes himself with the phrase “we’re supposed to…” as if he is part of the majority of readers at The Eye and speaks for them. So, Steve Segner, you’re just as pathetic at trying to disguise your comments as you are at writing intelligible sentences.

    And, finally, I offer you this challenge: Since you say to J. Rick “If you’re so much better than all of us on SE (there’s that implied ‘speaker for the majority of readers’ thing again!) why not post an in-edited version of Jens response to you? Otherwise I’d be more than happy to email Jenn myself and ask for her comments…” I would like for you to go ahead and request Jennifer Wesselhoff to respond to J. Rick’s comments to her and to post them here at The EYE. I’ll wager right now that she WILL NOT do that for you little man with the illiterate big mouth.

    Oh, one last thing Mr. Segner. Do you have any idea of when and where to use an apostrophe or a comma? As a purported self-declared spokesman for the Sedona Chamber of Commerce (yes, that’s what I meant to say as opposed to the transparent Sedona Lodging Council) and the City of Sedona, itself, you’re such a terrible literary embarrassment to us all. This is what Jennifer should write about at The Eye, namely disavowing you.

  40. Alarmed says:

    @ oh really Jean Jenks ?!? is wacko and a taker.

    All residents pay sales taxes to the City when they shop retail in Sedona; eat out; have a retaining wall, patio, or fence built: get repairs or upgrades to their house; etc. In addition, the City gets many millions in state and county shared taxes annually that originally emanated from residents. I.e. shared income from state sales and income taxes, vehicle license fees, gas taxes, Yavapai County and Coconino County flood control districts.

    Residents also have friends and relatives visit who wouldn’t normally come to Sedona. Very many of them stay in local hotels.

    As the former Chair of the axed Budget Oversight Commission said, when wastewater fees are taken into account, the residents are paying most of the City’s bills.

  41. QUESTION says:

    The Thought Proctologist, are you one and the same that accused the Editor of Sedona Eye as being the ghost writer for the WSR clan – which may or may not include Steve Segner? If so, why would you now switch channels and redirect your attack? Isn’t your own credibility on the line here since you, too, and same as my own comment here, remain unidentified?

    It seems like Steve Segner’s ego and self importance, and rightfully so judging from his imposing control of all things Sedona, serve to prevent him from using his own name . Why should being grammatically correct be a deterrent when obviously he’s on such a masterful roll?

  42. QUESTION (clarification) says:

    My statement should have been: It seems like Steve Segner’s ego and self importance, and rightfully so judging from his imposing control of all things Sedona, serve to prevent him from using a FICTITIOUS name (not “using his own name”.)

    That opinion is based on his obvious self-confidence. And who would blame him considering the overwhelming support he receives from City Council & Staff?

    Sorry for the confusion – but my main point was wondering why Thought Proctologist has now changde accusations (Eye on Schnebly Community Focus Area) from Eye editor to WSR and associates.

  43. to the Protologist says:

    Just to make it easy, you should post Jens reply what do you have to hide?

  44. West sedona resident says:

    JRN aka thought (deleted by editor)

    Two things Ricky

    Don’t you pontificate enough under one name? Now we have to see you bloviate under two different handles….JRN and Thought (deleted by editor)…

    Another thought

    You should take a writing courses on how to organize and condense whatever nonsense it is your trying to convey.. You posts are way overblown(like your ego).
    You can say whatever it is in like 1/20 of the space that you now use…

    Think about it….using a lot of words to covey zero does not make you smarter!!

    Oh yes…. authoring a nonsense article on Sedona Eye does not make you an author….

    It’s a online blog site. Not a newspaper and you are certainly not a reporter.
    The news owned by Steve Bannon that you quote all the time is Fake News.. He’s gonna get his soon enough… he’s a (deleted by editor) artist just like you

  45. Lordy, Lordy says:

    It’s Friday night so maybe that’s why the last comment from West sedona resident reads like he/she/it has a snoot full. TGIF in motion. Party time – whoopee!

  46. The Thought Proctologist says:

    @ the last 25 comment posters who are not Jean Jenks, J. Rick or The Thought Proctologist,

    You are all the same envious loser who can’t compete with the three names above.

  47. J. Rick Normand says:

    @West sedona resident,

    So now you’re a literary critic? So, why then don’t you write an article? Let me guess…you’re not educated enough, you’re not bright enough, you don’t know how to research anything, you’re not capable of deductive logic, you have no credibility with anyone, you have no hard-earned credentials, you can’t spell, you such a slow learner that you learn at the rate of a new word a year (e.g. bloviate) which explains why your vocabulary is so painfully limited, you’re petty, and you suffer from incorrigible envy of those who don’t suffer all the maladies just mentioned. OMG, you’re such a loser and with a jelly spine!

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