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Eddie Maddock: Business as Usual?

SedonaEye.com columnist Eddie S. Maddock

Sedona AZ – At a Special Sedona City Council Meeting, 3:00 –Wednesday afternoon –January 11, 2017, after three long years of a contentious destination marketing agreement with the Sedona Chamber of Commerce, the City will again revisit the issue. We can only hope the negotiations will prove to be less controversial, fairer and, in turn, result in acceptable transparency which will dismiss suspicion and mistrust of City Hall dealings. That might very well have been the case had the original commitment for Requests for Proposals (RFP’s) as well as certified outside audits been upheld as proposed during the initial negotiations. Ignoring both valid concerns was a disservice to everyone.

Five options will be discussed at this meeting as follows:

Option 1: Move forward with the negotiations of a new contract with the Chamber of Commerce.

Option 2: Issue an RFP for tourism promotion services.

Option 3: Create a stand-alone destination marketing organization (DMO) without ties to the Chamber of Commerce.

Option 4: Create a City Department to handle tourism promotion.

Option 5: Issue a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for a travel industry consultancy to assess the current structure, funding relationships, etc. and provide recommendations to the city.

Pros and cons of each option will be discussed at length, such as concerns RFP’s will include bids from for-profit agencies. That brings up several questions. Without an official outside audit from a qualified source, how do they know the Chamber has not been making a profit? How many employees have they hired? What has been the cost of improvement to their own facilities, etc? And what is the source of funding for those operating expenses?

And will the City acknowledge the Chamber currently offers their own RFP’s for specific services, realistically reducing them to a mere middle-agency, acting on behalf of the City of Sedona?

And how do they justify the extended branding of the Sedona Chamber of Commerce that has occurred within the past three years? What has been the source of that promotional funding for the Chamber instead of the City?

By creating a stand-alone destination marketing organization, the City could avoid real or perceived conflicts between tourism promotion services and the various other functions of the Chamber of Commerce. Although they specify: “Unclear how local and regional partners would react,” why should that concern the City? Should their focus at long last be redirected to the residents of incorporated Sedona? They are the people who created the City in the first place, clearly, and with knowledge, it attracted tourists.

Sure, a stand-alone destination marketing organization “would result in the re-creation of an already established and successful local agency.” However the extent of success of the present local agency has never been undisputedly proven. The source of increased revenue after the great recession coupled with a reduction in gasoline prices has never factually been factored into the increased tourism and resulting upswing in revenue. Nor has it been determined to what extent advertising monies have merely resulted in excessive day-tripping, which the City’’s infrastructure clearly cannot handle.

As for the suggestion for Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for a travel industry consultancy to assess and monitor the current structure, would that be nothing more than a baby sitter for the contract with the Chamber of Commerce? Should the City have been serving that function for the past three years?

It has frequently been said the City could not afford to operate their stand-alone department. And how would they know? With a Chamber of Commerce now providing funding for USFS trail maintenance, contributing money back to the City for their traffic study, and other generous, but questionably frivolous expenditures, most recently to propose purchasing property on behalf of the City with what appears to be leftover funds from the bed tax rebate, how can they make that determination without a precise and reliable audit from an authentic source? They cannot. Is there any reasonable explanation why the City should not take responsibility for allocating the bed tax revenue -– all of it – including over and above destination marketing?

And the perfect opportunity to establish a genuine Sedona Visitors Center has been ignored by not including such a service at the Western Gateway. How long will this City tolerate discrimination of their own legitimate licensed, tax collecting businesses within City Limits unless they are forced to be members of what clearly is a regional Chamber of Commerce? And the practice of paid referrals is common, but should the City be involved by financing the activity with public funds, and further discriminating against in-city businesses?

Molly Spangler

With the recent hiring of a professional, Molly Spangler, to serve as Economic Development Director, there i’s really no need to burden our busy Chamber of Commerce with more additional duties besides servicing their members, which is the purpose of their non-profit organization.

And, since when was “The Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau” deemed “the Destination Marketing & Management Organization in Sedona for 65 years”? Up until just a few years ago was it not the Oak Creek Canyon Sedona Chamber of Commerce, then changed to Sedona Chamber of Commerce, and most recently “”& Tourism Bureau”” was tacked on? This elaborate extension of creating yet another illusion that simply does not exist is pretty much over the top. Wouldn’t you agree? Dumb question.

There i’s already a campaign in motion to “Make America Great Again.” How about a local endeavor to “Make Sedona Respectable Again”? Meet and greet our visitors with an authentic Sedona Visitors Center and related advertising. Don’’t we deserve it like other places? Flagstaff (AZ) and Park City (UT) are, but two, examples that offer proof they survive very well without financial support to their respective Chambers of Commerce.

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1,043 Comments

  1. Shinkoda says:

    Happy 4th Of July everybody

  2. Nathan, Sedona says:

    About the small airplane with engine problems that made the emergency landing on West 89. It was handled beautifully by Sedona police and they should be commended. Yes give credit when and where it’s due. However wait for even more opposition to complain and make demands for the airport to be closed.

    Bad idea! It was here long before you self-centered egotistic jerks. So city council, certain city staff members, and definitely the leaders of the chamber of commerce, why don’t you all take a long one way hike leading to outside of city limits and don’t come back.

  3. Ivan says:

    Bad ideas by city council and chamber?! Nah never.

  4. Jenny & Larry says:

    Except for the less than wonderful publicity about Arizona being among the top of the list for COVID-19, the silence has become delightful deafening about what the gawd-awful C of C/City Mgr/City Council has in store for Sedona residents. Translated: Those of us who actually LIVE here versus day trippers and looky-loos driving through our neighborhoods.

    We truly hope there will be a local uprising should the City Mgr, and council devotees (primarily John Martinez) strive to further immortalize the C of C as the basic foundation of our “city” government. They are NOT!!!

  5. steve Segner says:

    Those of us who actually LIVE here versus day-trippers and looky-loos driving through “our” neighborhoods.
    LIVE here versus day-trippers living in Sedona conveys no special privileges you are an equal visitors and day-trippers, except the pay most of the taxes.

  6. @steve Segner says:

    Since when did “day-trippers and looky-loos” have the opportunity to register to vote in Sedona? That might just be something those who run for city council should think about. But, of course, isn’t it because they are so enamored by the chamber of commerce and controlled by YOU, stevie boy? You call all the shots. Must be nice.

    And BTW since when were Sedona “residents” let off the hook from paying taxes and, yes, that means to Sedona as well as State, Federal, & County. Check out your monthly utility bills, stevie! We indeed do pay taxes to the city.

  7. West Sedona Dave says:

    @ steve Segner…..You really need to go read what he said….You just added all kinds of BS to something that was never said or insinuated !
    People like you are the problem with this town!

  8. @@steve Segner says:

    You mean Segner is spreading misinfo? That’s so unusual of him! Must be an honest mistake on his part.

  9. Steve Segner says:

    Jenny & Larry says: Those of us who actually LIVE here versus day-trippers and looky-loos driving through our neighborhoods.
    Jenny & Larry move from one place to Sedona and then take ownership. Now it is their road, their town their neighborhood supermarket.
    Yet when they travel they expect, no demand reciprocity! Funny isn’t it

  10. Don says:

    It sickens me to think we’ll be under the thumb of the uneducated here. The fact that the chamber is nationally considered disreputable signals nothing to you sucking Biden’s tit of socialism. (Deleted by editor)

  11. Barney Sussex says:

    Well, Folks, after the outcome of the recent national election forget “business as usual.” More likely expect an influx of illegal immigrants as soon as all boarder restrictions are lifted as President Elect Joe Biden announced today.

    Happy news for these United States of America! All zoning restrictions in Sedona and elsewhere will be lifted. Look for high-rise tenement-type structures to accommodate the thousands of undocumented people looking for “free” handouts once the border is again wide open.

    And just who will be paying for all this free stuff? We, the legitimate citizens – hard working tax payers will pay the price! Catch words = INCREASED TAXES. Translated = SOCIALICSM. Not to worry though because anyone 75 or older will be considered indispensable. (whatever that means)

    Life as we know it is now gone forever. However twas the people who voted and therefore the majority rules. Does anyone else out there wonder if whether or not this majority outcry really understood what it was they were approving over and above their apparent dislike for President Trump?

    So he was gruff, harsh, and spoke his mind. But the economy soured and in spite of an unforeseen pandemic was well on the way to recovery. Ya’ll ain’t seen nothin’ yet if ya actually thought living with a personality not to your liking was bad.

    The Squad is lurking in the background – just waiting to make a move. https://ocasio-cortez.house.gov/media/press-releases/squad-calls-reductions-us-customs-and-border-patrol-budget

    Live with it you fools. All of the country including Arizona and that means Sedona will forever be changed and business as usual will soon take on a new and unexpected direction. Any bets it ain’t gonna happen?

  12. Cam says:

    Ditto great writer

  13. Lloyd says:

    Everyone should be in refi mode as 2 and 3 % with no points or closing costs are out there now. Do your self a favor and get to it this week.

  14. From President Elect Chuck says:

    Notice from the Office of the President Elect.

    It aint over till it’s over. There is no such thing as the office of the president elect.

    Signed,

    President Elect, Chuck Upp

  15. Freddy says:

    If for minute you fail to understand that 10,000 votes from republicans and independents would have saved this state? RINOs like Cindy McCain should resign from the party and register as Democrats. Let her scratch her way to the top there with the AOC socialists, Pelosi and Shiff running the game. No Republican vote or party backing for declared RINOs in the future ever! Republican parry needs to get more black voters and Hispanic voters registered and involved starting yesterday. Republicans step up and keep doing what makes us the party of the people because Democrats went full tilt tech. No more tax breaks for big tech or climate | green eco shill companies. It’s jobs for the people first. Tourism maybe 99th.

  16. Kathy, Uptown says:

    Tourists are a mere few people’s lifeblood here and most serve on staff, city council, chamber, and groups that advise and control and offer mandates who’re tick parasites on the backs of the few professionals that came here and self regulated because of the amount of work and the number of people to employ or be employed by them. You don’t see more practicing lawyers than clients, or thriving stores than buyers, or doctors than patients, or churches than congregants, or schools than students, or dentists than teeth, or nursing homes than patients, and on and on ad nauseum. Can’t afford to live here, go where you can and make it fabulous. We don’t need leeches and parasites in our serene lovely quiet reflective Sedona. We need each other but never you who want to change us or lower our values and standards to accommodate yours. Namaste.

  17. Meghan says:

    @barneysussex

    Damn they’re a scary bunch of commies and anarchists. Republicans better get to those districts and re-educate the fools who elected them.

    The Squad is lurking in the background – just waiting to make a move. https://ocasio-cortez.house.gov/media/press-releases/squad-calls-reductions-us-customs-and-border-patrol-budget

    (Deleted by editor: Please do not submit comments and articles using Sedona Eye publisher, editor, or writers’ names. If you submit a comment and prefer to remain anonymous, use the moniker Anonymous or simply request that your name not be used. Thank you.)

  18. Louise & Adam T. says:

    Apparently the pandemic is the only thing NOT visiting Sedona. Traffic is bumper to bumper out there today. Seems as though business as usual does, indeed, prevail.

    As for this housing shortage, once again the city council took up the matter of “affordable housing” at a recent meeting. This was directed at consideration of rezoning in the Schnebly Hill Focus area. Good Lord, they danced around to consider creating even more traffic? And then with the proposed nearby shuttle staging area it adds up to even more congestion in that already overcrowded corridor?

    What’s strange is that particular property on the creek is zoned for more lodging. If from the get-go the policy requiring a certain number of “workforce housing” in order to approve each and every lodging facility in Sedona had been honored and rigidly adhered to it’s doubtful Sedona would be in such desperate need at this time.

    However It was because of developers’ greed over the years that both the P & Z Commissioners, City Staff, and City Council members acquiesced and allowed them to renege on alternate commitments. And shamefully they continue to get away with it and now the obligation to this day remains unfulfilled.

    Don’t kid yourselves. Business as usual prevails in Sedona. To heck with sensible requirements and then face the task of attempting to fill a void that should never have happened in the first place. Mayor Sandy was here, promoted incorporation, and should surely remember this huge Sedona management downfall one might think.

    Seems sort of sad. The pandemic is beyond our control but workforce/affordable housing has become an epidemic of another ilk that could have and should have been avoided.

  19. Sue says:

    Face masks mandatory Sedona visitors. Like Chicago you’ll get slammed with a $3000 first offense fine if you don’t have one on while on our streets and in our stores. STOP THE VIRUS. Make them stay away city council !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  20. Liz says:

    Get this straight Democrats and Republicans and No Party registrations that RECOUNTS OF VOTES ARE NOT FRIVOLOUS WHEN IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE LAW. They should be as welcome as sunshine for any election in the US.

  21. Mathew M. says:

    Well @Sue, if the “city” were doing their job this weekend the budget would be substantially elevated. Backed up traffic, people not wearing masks in the markets and elsewhere, etc., etc., etc. When is enough enough? Tourists – we do not want you spreading viruses up here. STAY HOME! City, Chamber of Commerce, lock your own doors and STAY HOME! Clearly you aren’t enforcing your own policies so it’s time to practice what you preach.

  22. Jim, west Sedona says:

    What’s all the mobile home housing supply if not affordable? That’s why I bought it and that’s why my neighbors bought it and that’s why developers want the land we own to put up less affordable housing. City council is a joke.

  23. Alex D. says:

    “City council is a joke” @Jim, west Sedona. However, THEY are in control AND Sedona registered voters elected them. Don’t like it? Then begin a recall. It HAS been done in Sedona before. (Anna Marie Hayes – can be checked out online)

    It takes stamina, determination, and a certain amount of funding. However operative words: “It HAS been done” and therefore remains a possibility. Another not so small consideration. Plan on having a slate of people to run as city council replacements.

  24. Steve segner says:

    Alex,You criticize the city Council and the new counsel hasn’t even been seated yet they were voted in my city residence and you’re already criticizing their actions and want to do a recall , perhaps you are the one that is out of tune with the city, instead of doing a recall perhaps you should just move the people have voted

  25. John, Sedona says:

    Sedona city council votes tallied by Dominion!? bwwwwwwAaahhahhhhhhHhHhhAaaahhh

  26. Alex D. says:

    @Steve segner, my comment of which you criticize was directed at the presently seated city council. NOT those who were recently elected.

    And, of course, we shall wait and see what direction they choose. However and based on the platforms upon which they ran, don’t be surprised if they turn out to be more of the same old, same old. Bring in more tourists (already unhealthy). One bright light might be the departure of the former CEO/Pres. of “The Chamber” of (IMO) “Ill Repute.”

  27. AnnaByArt says:

    Sedona needs new direction as eco destination. Not as fake turquoise and low class art destination.

  28. Bubbles says:

    @jim Yeah man Like Usual segner doesnt address your issue & whacked a mole attacking

    Segner your support of council is asskissing then new council thinks you’re a goner & new person they want will be put in your place

    You did know this right

  29. Enter your name says:

    America is always and will always be center of right or left. Moderation in all politics.

  30. Calvin says:

    Las Vegas Democrat board decertified an election winner based on improper vote counting. Look for real estate in Vegas rather than Phoenix now. I’m a Republican. I’m an American. I’m proud of the Democrats in Vegas. Nice having a bipartisan legal and truthful election there.

  31. Josephine Lynch says:

    Smart logic software was designed and produced by Venezuelan group to manipulate Venezuelan voting machines. Dominion is unparalleled perk for Democrats. Could Hillary’s loss be the result of an underpayment?

  32. EHK says:

    Ask and receive

  33. Bob & Arlene says:

    COVID-19 continues to run amok as does the City of Sedona.

    City Manager has gone on record stating “they” are still promoting Sedona. Encouraging tourists to come here. But, of course, that’s no surprise since Mr. Clifton (city mgr.) took it upon himself to extend the contract to advertise with the chamber of commerce for eight years!

    To hell with public health, safety, and welfare. Where’s Mayor Moriarty? She could put a stop to this as she did when she mandated businesses to close a few months ago. Speaking of “recall” that might be a good place to start?

  34. Max says:

    What is the city manager doing being involved with a private contract with a private business???? Sole sourced??? Get the town lawyer on the phone people. It’s your money.

  35. steve Segner says:

    Max says: at is the city manager doing being involved with a private contract with a private business???? Sole sourced??? Get the town lawyer on the phone people. It’s your money.
    Sorry, the city council approved the contract with the chamber, as in done in all cities, the process was in public and open meetings.
    Comment; Bubbles says Segner your support of the council is ass-kissing then the new council thinks you’re a goner & the new person they want will be put in your place.

    Sorry I have no contact with the city and the Sedona Lodging council is self-funded with no city or chamber monies. I support people running for office I think will be interdependent and forward-thinking. Like President Biden. hope that helps

  36. Nathan, Sedona says:

    Sorry, Steve, but the Sedona Lodging Council most assuredly has gone on record as being an “affinity group” of the Chamber of Commerce.

    https://sedonachamber.com/chamber-affinity-groups/

  37. steve Segner says:

    “affinity group” yes we work with the chamber we have the same goals they have their own board and we have ours. We don’t always agree on projects but we work together hope that help this was the original comment ….Segner your support of council is asskissing then new council thinks you’re a goner & new person they want will be put in your place
    Hope that helps

  38. Rain shaman says:

    Best for Sedona is floods to keep people from bringing plagues and pestilence. Namaste.

  39. Marge, Sedona says:

    Is Steve Segner a deceptive little fellow or what? According to the referenced link @Nathan Sedona the C of C boasts 1000 members. Now back to one of the several unanswered questions. How many of those members are within Sedona City Limits and actually contribute to the city tax base?

    Another question: Has a reliable confirmation of the return on the annual and presently over $2.5 million dollar funding awarded to the C of C EVER been offered? Any assurance Az State Bureau of Tourism wouldn’t have extracted as much or more bang for the buck to promote Sedona? Of course not.

    And now the city manager of Sedona (not the entire Verde Valley) has the audacity to extend for EIGHT YEARS this giveaway contract to the “region” without accountability?

    OMG that’s simply unheard of. Why isn’t the the city manager fired and city council members allowing this to continue immediately recalled? Why didn’t that happen a long time ago?

  40. steve Segner says:

    You say:And now the city manager of Sedona (not the entire Verde Valley) has the audacity to extend for EIGHT YEARS this giveaway contract to the “region” without accountability? first (city council and in public ) approves all contracts.
    Please read my post the city contract with the chamber is year to year and can be canceled at any time by the city … so you are 100% wrong all the information you ask for is available from the city and the chamber. The city contract with the chamber is approved by the city council, not the city manager…. if you do not believe
    I will be happy to meet with you and the city manager and he can explain it to you very slowly so you can understand….

  41. Julian T. says:

    Good grief will that sewer project on 179 EVER get finished? How long has it been going on now? And with the advantage of having no rain for what? – six months? – why the ridiculous amount of time?

    Traffic is backed up (as usual) with cars headed into – where? Oak Creek Canyon? Flagstaff? West Sedona? Surely not uptown Sedona since the city made a total mess of that again. Roundabouts living up to the name since that’s about all they accomplished. More cars aimlessly going in circles.

    You just can’t make this stuff up! Oh and let us NOT forget the condition of our city streets! OMG and heaven forbid that they should be maintained instead of the millions of dollars going to the C of C.

    What about that, City Manager? Maybe if you stepped out of you self centered Ivory Tower and became more observant you might see beyond your egotistic air of importance that’s apparently controlling your life.

  42. @Marge says:

    Oh come on Marge I can only hope that the city extends the contract for 18 years. Since it’s the inception of the funding contract, my small business has thrived to unbelievable levels. Isn’t that what it’s all about? I really don’t care about how many members the C of C has I just care about how many tourists come to Sedona from NY, CA or while visiting their grandpop in Clarkdale SEDONA IS A TOURIST TOWN.

  43. @@Marge says:

    Well guess what? Sedona was discovered years and years before it ever became an incorporated “city.” That big mistake was the beginning of the end of Sedona’s reputation for having been the quiet, spiritual place to visit with respect.

    Now it’s just another as you so appropriately put it – TOURIST TOWN. Run of the mill junk is now sold instead of authentic Indian items and fine art. You are very fortunate if your “small business” continues to thrive. Enjoy it while it lasts.

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