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Eddie Maddock: City Council Deals Are Destroying Our Sedona Dream

SedonaEye.com columnist Eddie S. Maddock revisits the City of Sedona Dream and why Home Rule and the City Council are destroying it.

Sedona AZ (May 20, 2018) – Whether an idiom, proverb or adage, the saying ““a watched pot never boils”” takes on a totally new meaning in Sedona, Arizona. It might more appropriately be changed to “”watched pots never STOP boiling” in this neck of the woods.”

And as election time approaches, there are so many pots a-boiling that keeping track can be a fulltime job, if not mission impossible.

Adding fuel to keep those pots active are many, many rumors, some without merit and, in particular, relate to the periodic return of the ballot measure Alternate Expenditure Limitation, a.k.a Home Rule. Much has been written elsewhere about the concept of the measure, but “alternate expenditure limitation” defines it in a nutshell.

It’ has frequently been repeated in the event voters deny continuation of Home Rule it will either eliminate or vastly decrease funding for such “city services” as, for example, the library. While such a possibility cannot be denied, let’’s first get something clear.

Our library was established prior to the incorporation of Sedona by volunteers and, to this day, although the city presently provides funding for the operation, it is not owned by “the city.” Volunteers and private contributions made it happen, including design and construction of the present beautiful facility, and the physical efforts to relocate from the former location on Jordan Road.

1958: A volunteer group, Friends of the Library, established Sedona’s first library in donated space, with three shelves of books and magazines also donated. https://www.sedonalibrary.org/history.html

The same was true for the Humane Society of Sedona. Volunteers likewise made that happen without one penny from “a city.” Why? Because it didn’t exist. Minimal funds were, however, derived from both counties and perhaps a grant here and there. Keep Sedona Beautiful has the same story to tell. And, in fact, so does the original Sedona Oak-Creek Canyon Chamber of Commerce, established over 50 years ago and survived prior to incorporation, supported by private individuals, members and volunteers.

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Fundraising galas occurred frequently up at the Elks Club and were always well-attended with proceeds dedicated to benefit one cause or another. People cared. There wasn’t a tug of war for funding as exists this day and age. Community support prevailed.

Posse Grounds was alive and well, and accommodated many local events. We had the Art Barn uptown with a stage for performances, and all did very well without city funding.

We had no boundaries. People actually got along and smiled at each other. That old-fashioned way of life has been traded in for a new trend of power and money grabbing, in what all too often appears to be a result of self-indulgence for quite possibly the wrong reasons.

And unlike other cities/town, Sedona doesn’’t provide such things as water and garbage pick-up. So no, Folks, they cannot cut service in the event Home Rule is denied by voters. YOU pay the providers and it has nothing to do with our city government. The same is true of the Sedona Oak Creek Fire District and the Sedona Oak Creek Unified School District. They are NOT part of incorporated Sedona, but function through regional districts. And unlike, for example, Cottonwood, the City of Sedona does not own the airport.

Same as the fire and school districts, the Chamber of Commerce provides a regional service, but somehow manages to reap huge financial benefits from the City of Sedona which, of course, remain highly contentious.

How many folks would be brokenhearted if eliminating “Home Rule” would force cancellation of the city/chamber contract, headed up by people who seem to be unable to give an accounting of just how many of their members are located outside Sedona City Limits and do not deserve to be promoted via incorporated city funding? That remains a mystery since a simple cursory review of the members listed in the Chamber’s publication (providing such information reveals exactly where they are located) and maybe one or two not even in Arizona?

Further, not all 86336 zip codes are located within Sedona City Limits; however, a quick physical count of the onsite location of members really shouldn’t be that difficult to ascertain those who legitimately are entitled to be promoted at the alleged “official City of Sedona Visitors Center.”

In fact, again unlike most municipalities, actual necessary services provided by Sedona government are pretty much limited to the police department, wastewater treatment plant, providing and maintaining infrastructure which even at that is also limited considering our two major routes belong and are maintained by the State of Arizona.

And, of course, perhaps the primary reason voters approved incorporation? Community development – for the purpose of issuing permits in order to control such things as high density projects and ensure tasteful architecture to blend with our special environment.

Keep that in mind as you observe approval of at least two more major resort hotels in the near future; Upper Red Rock Loop and Soldiers Pass Road/89A, formerly Biddles. Will defeating Home Rule negate anything like that?

Since the basic services provided by incorporated Sedona are essentially limited to a Police Department, Wastewater Treatment Plant, Community Development and limited activity by the Public Works Department, how badly would Sedona residents suffer if Home Rule were to be denied?

Certainly it would be unfortunate if grants to non-profits are reduced or eliminated; however, does the public in general have enough grit and determination to keep these services up and running if such a thing were to occur? After all, most were established without Sedona city funding in the first place.

For example, a very recent event was paramount in precipitating the effort to pull this information together.

Featured in “Kudos The Good Life” (May 16-22, 2018) is a recap of The Rotary Club of Sedona’s 2018 Chili Cook-off: In addition to chili-chef winners, there are impressive lists of the names of sponsors for the event. For example, a total of nine sponsored “Beverage, Parking, Shuttle and Judges’ Gifts, seven sponsored “Habanero” and two people were “Serano” sponsors. A total of thirty-two stood up for “Jalepeno and Chili Pepper” while an impressive one hundred eleven donated to the “Rotary Silent Auction.” Keep in mind those numbers, totaling one hundred sixty-one businesses and individuals willing to give of their time, effort and products to make this annual event happen, remain really quite impressive…and prove that community spirit has not taken a leave of absence and grit and desire to make things happen. It can be done with or without incorporated Sedona.

After all, prior to 1988, when boundaries didn’t officially define Sedona City Limits, that’s how folks lived, cooperatively, and in unity without beating a path to a City Hall for funding.

Each and every civic organization offered not only group unification, but brought the community together at events such as the Chili Cookoff sponsored by the Rotary Club.

For so many years Sedona lived “the Impossible Dream.” Has that purpose become so faded and distorted that it no longer exists?


To dream the impossible dream,
To fight the unbeatable foe,
To bear with unbearable sorrow,
To run where the brave dare not go.
To right the unrightable wrong,
To love pure and chaste from afar,
To try when your arms are too weary,
To reach the unreachable star,

This is my quest,
To follow that star
No matter how hopeless,
No matter how far.

To fight for the right
Without question or pause,
To be willing to march
Into hell for a heavenly cause.
And I know if I’ll only be true
To this glorious quest
That my heart will be peaceful and calm
When I’m laid to my rest.

And the world will be better for this,
That one man scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage.
To fight the unbeatable foe.
To reach the unreachable star.

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  1. Heather says:

    The answer is here on Sedona Eye. Close the Tlaq crossover.


    Hey people you ought to thank that guy from Arizona that gave you the answer FREE to your taxpayer city pocketbooks. AND IT’S DO- ABLE THIS WEEK. FIX IT NOW. DO it now. Stop allowing crossover walkers at Tlaq. Believe me it won’t affect the number of people who get from one side to the other. That Tlaq courtyard has only a few openings itself and people still find a way to get out… who knew people were willing to walk between shopping areas without a straight line….well maybe just about everybody that knows about commercial design called MALLS … but the ?!?!? this council and city hall can’t figure out how not to be in the pockets of …..

  2. @midwest vistors says:

    How do you know “beautiful Sedona was once enough” if as you said it was your first trip!?

    Sounds like another LAME attempt to manufacture a FAKE comment by one of the disgruntled few… LOL

  3. Midwest Visitors says:

    Responding to the person who seems to question our integrity, apparently you simply picked the words that suited your purpose, completely ignoring the second sentence in our first paragraph of “Very beautiful Red Rocks, indeed, and we LOVED the hiking trails.” From our perspective you represent yet another reason “once” (trip to Sedona) was enough. We rest our case.

  4. @Never Again says:

    Are you kidding me?????? So let me get this straight, you’re a tourist and you knew all about SedonaEye???? Why can’t you be honest and say that you’re one of the 40 disgruntled on this site.

  5. Steve Segner says:

    Heather says:
    November 4, 2018 at 9:57 am
    The answer is here on Sedona Eye. Close the Tlaq crossover.

    wow , really then you only cross two streets not one….

  6. @never again says:

    I work in the city and I am starting to tell all the visitors about Sedona Eye.
    Its good for them to see below the surface at the reality of Sedona. It gives them a better experience. One tourist at a time.

  7. Midwest Visitors says:

    @@Never Again apparently you underestimate the extent online publications have of reaching people far and wide. Just Google Sedona and see what you come up with.

    However that isn’t how we happened to find out about SedonaEye. We learned of it from the same friends who told us about Sedona and the main reason we decided to visit. Keep it up and hopefully others web browsers will pick up on the nasty people who apparently live there of what otherwise is a beautiful area – geographically that is.

    Any more questions? I’ve one for you. Are all the hateful Sedona people such as yourself as bitter about life in general as you seem to be about SedonaEye? Nice publicity. Chamber of Commerce – R U paying attention?

  8. Cat is out says:

    Dumb and dumber.

    Think it though is Sedona the upscale destination vacation location?

    Gone is the exclusiveness it once was. All the marketing can’t class it up and bring return visitors. Due to the greed of lodging and chamber they have been successful in driving locals out.

    Think it though, the LOCAL residents are who create a Sedona with personally, charm and class. Market and advertising is driving Sedona into a traffic jam of greed.

    Visitors & residents are unhappy of the Sedona the CITY< CHAMBER < LODGING created. Guess they have to clean their own, wait on on tables after we are all gone. Dumb and dumber awards go to the city for subsidizing the regional chamber without any checks or balances.

    You got what you voted for Sedona fools.

    Look at Jackson Hole https://www.enoughisenoughjh.com/?fbclid=IwAR0qHZdZWOD-opuHI5d6pH4US2T3bG41w344lvhJipRfvDHrRZ5HG05W5Nk There the residents HAVE a VOTE in the taxes unlike Sedona

  9. Mike H says:

    Chamber and Council: Think, did anyone ever say they wanted to visit a place with bumper to bumper traffic? Did anyone ever say they wanted to retire to a place with bumper to bumper traffic?

    OK, your scare tactics got people to vote the incumbents back in. What good does it do you to win if you destroy what you won? The present Sedona is not the town I moved to many years ago. i would not move to Sedona now, as a matter of fact I am leaving. A successful town would have a balance of retired, families and tourists. You’ve already run off the families, note the decline in school registration. You’re running off the retired with traffic and quality of life decline. You will only be left with the tourists. Tourism has always been cyclical. When tourism takes it’s inevitable downturn, you will be left with a ghost town.

    Your past actions are a FAIL. Are you smart enough to change? I’ve voted, once at the ballot box, again with my feet.

    MORE residents can leave.

  10. @cat is out says:

    You should move there….Tired of the BS phoneys and thier rantings about how much they hate Sedona or the residents who voted for Home Rule are fools..Guess what we aren’t fools we’re smarter then you negative blowhards…If Sedona doesn’t offer anything for you then move to Jackson hole… I’d put money on it that once you get thier …..your negative dark mind will see nothing but bad…

  11. steve Segner says:

    Mike H says:
    A successful town would have a balance of retired, families and tourists. You’ve already run off the families, note the decline in school registration.
    Oh please 60 year old don’t have kids . And $ 800,000 homes are not starter homes. And Sedona Is a tourists town.
    As for traffic , 95 % of the time it is just fine ……
    You say Tourism has always been cyclical. When tourism takes it’s inevitable downturn, we no we did great during the last recession because the city council used the bed tax to market Sedona…..
    Sedona is going to grow, homes will be built, hotels and new shops , get ready or move ….. Sedona is not Sun city north…..

  12. @ steve S says:

    (deleted by editor) You, Karen, Gretchen et al are the queens of negativity. Karma will even things out stevie. It always does.

  13. Oh Brother! says:

    Don’t you just love how those being enriched by the city of Sedona control it?

  14. @never again says:

    Oh God….I’m belly laughing at you post..(Deleted by editor)…
    I’m sure you neither live nor work in Sedona…

  15. @midwest visitors says:

    Bye bye
    No one cares what you think…
    Please oh please don’t return

    You wouldn’t enjoy yourself anywhere you went anyway and refrain from commenting here…. As I said we don’t care and I’m sure your just a malcontent local..
    Bye bye

  16. Larry White says:

    @@midwest visitors “As I said we don’t care and I’m sure your just a malcontent local..”

    Kindly practice what you preach. Don’t like SedonaEye? Then ignore it. “No one cares what you think….”

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