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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  – 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.

No matter where you go in the country, an Elks Lodge is right around the corner. With more than 850,000 members and 2,000 Lodges nationwide, Elks are providing charitable services that help build stronger communities. Join today.

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. CS says:

    @FYI Number one reason incorporated Sedona should NOT be considered in any proposals for a new county?

    “(4) The Chamber is working regionally with Sedona public taxpayer dollars.”

    Wouldn’t a “new” county simply be a reason to legitimize this rogue Chamber of Commerce to run amok? Camp Verde doesn’t even have a C of C as has been noted in another comment. Flagstaff’s C of C is a stand alone organization appropriately unaffiliated with or funded by City of Flagstaff who provides and operates their Visitor’s Center as it rightfully should. No strings attached to special interests.

    Don’t be blinded, Folks. Coconino County Supervisor Matt Ryan takes good care of us in our county affairs as former Yavapai County Supervisor Chip Davis did before he stepped down. Best idea yet? Remove Coconino portion of Sedona from incorporated area!!! AND LEAVE US THE HELL ALONE!!!!!

  2. Sedona in WHINER COUNTY says:

    Yavapai County was one of the four original Arizona Counties created by the 1st Arizona Territorial Legislature. The county territory was defined as being east of longitude 113° 20′ and north of the River. Soon thereafter, the counties of Apache, Coconino, Maricopa, and Navajo were carved from the original Yavapai County. Yavapai County’s present boundaries were established in 1891.

    Did you get this part?

    Soon thereafter, the counties of Apache, Coconino, Maricopa, and Navajo were carved from the original Yavapai County.
    We are sure some of the more fearful people protested then too.

    Yavapai is called the Mother of Counties although we think of it now as the County of Mothers.

    The County seat of Prescott and Supervisor Garrison seem only interested in making money at the expense of natural resources from this side of Mingus Mountain for their own use.
    Are you waiting for the water issues to come to a head? Go have a look at the maps drawn during the redistricting.
    We were and are oblivious fools.

    We would love to be ruled by Coconino County rather than Yavapai. They respect the land and the life on this land.
    It is time to form a new County.
    No one is focused solely on Sedona, shocker, we know.
    Far from it. Let it be its own little island of whiners. Wine less Whiner County.
    We’ll take Verde or Coconino any day.

  3. Basswood says:

    New county? Unnecessary.
    Why? Serves no purpose except additional taxes for county administrations.
    Positive? Would dismantle city of Sedona and allow Cottonwood to receive the designation of new county seat. Yavapai offices in Cottonwood would transfer to new county. County jail in Camp Verde would transfer to new county. Look at map.

  4. Norm, Sedona says:

    Agree with @CS “”‘Remove Coconino portion of Sedona from incorporated area!!! AND LEAVE US THE HELL ALONE!!!!!””””And that applies to including Coconino in any proposed new county to appease the complainers living in Yavapai County.

    Thank you.

    PS: Could this turn into another ADOT owning W89A in West Sedona? Hope not – but – remember the ensuing Referendum & Initiative resulting from the city council approving such nonsense. City of Sedona can’t take care of their own city roads. WE do NOT need yet another county replacing Coconino Sedona.


    Better than a new County, start working now to replace Garrison.
    At least Davis regarded the opinions of the voters and worked to keep all happy.
    This guy blatantly trashes any view that is not his own or his cronies.
    4 people in the village talk about a bridge and a survey goes out with a million dollar traffic study and a request for Big Park to foot the bill for that and the bridge?
    You will be sued.
    You will fail.
    Replace Garrison next election.

  6. Steve Segner says:

    Basswood, The New county? is “T” party talk, is just BS. some rich T party people in Sedona think there tax money in going to be used by Poor people in other areas. they want to keep there tax dollars in the Valley… the two county that split Sedona will never let Sedona go and the sate would need to pass a law for it to happen…… just more Sedona Eye …. talk


    You are just so misinformed.

    You think that Chip Davis “worked to keep all happy” my question to you is; What spaceship did you step off of??? This is Sedona and it is impossible to keep a few happy let alone “all happy”.

    When you say; “This guy blatantly trashes any view that is not his own or his cronies” what you really mean is that he doesn’t agree with YOUR VIEW.

    If you think that Supervisor Garrison SUPPORTS a bridge, think again, YOU ARE MISINFORMED!

  8. @Steve S says:

    That Rich guy you speak of loses every thing he gets involved in as far as politics go… very SELF serving and SELFish
    Hi hum

  9. Replace Garrison says:

    Yup more T-party talk
    Hate all things government and always think you know better even though they talk out of both sides of thier mouth…

    Funny stuff

  10. Ted says:

    Garrison? What’s a political climber? What’s ambition? Whose behind closed doors besties with your (nonexistent tea party) references? Whose Republican in sheep’s clothing for the Democrats, a Democrat in sheep’s clothing for the Republicans? Think of a wolf sniffing the wind for direction. Think Chicago style. Think because you keep proving you don’t. A label never sticks on a politician because its covered in greed and power slime. Only voters believe in labels.

  11. @Ted says:

    Hey Ted
    Shut up please

  12. Gregg says:

    Ted Yeah Man you said a mouthful. One of the key players in question proves your point by soliciting a liberal leaning online publication. Kiss up Kiss up and hear that sucking sound. Which is why I appreciate Sedona Eye because it’s clearly non partisan and allows comments from different views. Only opportunity for that in Sedona since in particular the other local rag isn’t worth the cheap paper it’s printed on because it’s Bias Bias Bias and always Bias Bias Bias during elections. Sadly they do manage to pull off their agenda. Look at the results of Sedona’s elections including the most recent one.

  13. @Gregg says:

    For a person who is always bad mouthing the RRN… you sure read it enough..
    funny stuff… I guess you have an inquiring mind… You negativity only boosts circulation…

  14. Irina Acton, Pine Valley says:

    Sedona Red Rocks once a spiritually enhanced giving place and beautiful year around.

  15. Teresa says:

    What cracks me up is a fairly recent newcomer to the unnamed group of losers. Wonder if they are aware? That certain person suggested an alternate route via Back O’Beyond? Could it be because a bridge at Red Rock Crossing might possibly disrupt that person’s lifestyle? Not a bad thing to remember: Keep your friends close but keep your enemies closer.

  16. Gregg says:

    @@Gregg FYI RRN available @ public library & price is right. Keep your friends close but keep your enemies closer @@Gregg (deleted by editor)

  17. Karma Beach says:

    Well, nice goin’ former Mayor Rob Adams, former Councilwoman Barbara Litrell, and current Vice Mayor John Martinez, the major players and promoters of the city/chamber marriage from hell. A predicted and well publicized snow storm has Sedona at the moment grid-locked with not only too many cars, but presently they are sliding off highways, and in some cases colliding.

    Why? Ask the Chamber of Commerce about their alleged claim for being responsible for putting Sedona on the map as a tourist town! That in spite of current Mayor Sandy Moriarty having gone on record publicly to state just the opposite. That being, of course, people hear of Sedona whether it’s advertised or not.

    However the three people mentioned above were the key promoters of this ongoing fiasco. Yes indeed – they opted to avoid seeking competitive bids for a professional ad agency to adequately promote Sedona for destination tourism! What have the amateurs at the C of C contributed? Day trippers – along with their hundreds of cars, backed up in all directions, choking our two main highways resulting in dangerous conditions even during good weather!

    Yes – DANGEROUS! It should stand to reason those responsible for causing this present gridlock be held responsible for the many accidents occurring as this is being written. A wreck at Dry Creek Road happened earlier. And recently another disaster at Brewer & 89. Cook’s Hills – at least one lane closed. Airport Road: CLOSED! Uptown Sedona – presently traffic is not moving! Accidents are happening so quickly police and fire responses are backlogged.

    Yep now maybe former Mayor Adams has an answer to his question to C of C President/CEO during a certain city council meeting when the advertising contract was awarded as payback for the half percent increase in bed tax.

    What question? Well, Mayor Adams actually publicly asked Ms. Jennifer Wesselhoff what “she” was going to do with all the money since she than had it!! Yep – well now we know where at least some of it went!! Bad, bad decisions and all involved in disastrous results for which they should be ashamed and, quite honestly, why should they not be personally held liable for damages resulting in the traffic madness since “they” have been and remain willing to admit they created it?

    Just imagine if this snow storm were, instead, a major forest fire storm where residents were instructed to evacuate their homes and were rendered incapable of doing so because of the damn over solicitation for tourists? Providing for and increasing safe conditions for tourism in Sedona could surely qualify as benefiting and enhancing productivity of the Lodging Council. Who would be brazen enough to dispute that? (as if we don’t know)

    That city/chamber contract should immediately be cancelled and the bed-tax increase be reinvested in making certain Sedona’s infrastructure is capable of handling the results of bad past decisions. As it now stands, city council and staff are using Sedona taxes to create a hazardous environment which one might even question the legality of such fanatical behavior.

    Yep – Karma is a Beach all right (and that ain’t no “beach ball”)

  18. PIGGY TOURISTS says:

    Go home! Stay there!
    Lets close everything and let the piggy tourist go (Deleted by Editor) in thier own backyard.
    Lets not market tens of thousands of people to come in bad weather like WINTER. The roads were so dangerous today because there were too many people on the road.


  19. Demand Change says:

    They don’t care about your safety. If you had a heart attack shoveling snow, or fell on ice, well, too bad, the Chamber has a few business that rely on day trippers. Just ask Jennifer, she has said so.

    In case of a snow storm, a major fire or any other disaster, the tourists will do what they did yesterday, clog the town so there is gridlock and first responders will NOT be able to help you.

    The actions of the Chamber show they do not care about safety or residents quality of life. They will talk about balance, what you see is what happened yesterday.

    I saw it coming, the majority voted for Sandy and a mostly incumbent council that caused this mess. It’s only going to get worse unless residents take action to recall or clog the city council meetings and DEMAND change.

  20. Gridlock says:

    When there is gridlock in the best conditions, you are courting disaster if there are snow storms like yesterday, fire or any other disaster. PEOPLE WILL DIE !!!

    The politicians and the chamber that caused the situation will be sued and should be in jail .


    It took 4 hours to drive from Dry Creek Rd to the VOC. I left at 2:45pm and arrived home with gratitude at 6:40pm. 9 miles.
    One hour to TLLAQ.

    Back up at Son Silver West going south. (first time in 12 years going south traffic jam ) These were people either passing through or just trying to leave the area.

    2 hour stand still in the chapel area. I am a modest woman. I spent that time trying to improvise a way to go to the bathroom seated inside my car and praying that I make it home before I am forced to do that.

    One family got out and built a snowman, they left empty gatorade bottles in the road. Heartbreaking.

    The bridges on 179 were frozen by time I got there. There was a very small camper 5 cars ahead and when we did start moving, I felt like they were preventing many accidents just going slow and cautious, guiding us in safety.
    One flashing police cruiser by BellRock.

    Made it home, Thanked GOD that I was safe and today shopping for female urination devices.
    (deleted by editor)

    Karma beach is right. If there is ever a fire like in California there will be many people burned alive with no possibility for escape.

  22. @Piggy Tourists says:

    Isn’t it more appropriately the greedy Chamber of Commerce, receiving millions of dollars from city coffers, who are, in fact, the piggies. The word “enough” isn’t even in their vocabularies. It’s the C of C who should be held responsible for all the traffic jams, backups, and accidents. Wish their visitors center uptown and business offices in West Sedona would both fall into giant sink-holes along w/city hall. Oh how sweet that would be.

  23. @Piggy Tourists says:

    Looks like 2019 gonna look a lot like 2018 with the lies and misinformation you post.. Can’t wait for the new “names” you come up with LOL.

    Oh yea….why when you cut and paste a webpage to SE is it not ever about AZ?
    Desperate much!? LOL

  24. steve Segner says:

    PIGGY TOURISTS says: Lets close everything and let the piggy tourist go (Deleted by Editor) in thier own backyard.
    yes ,how dare they use “your” state hwy’s to see the snow, Lets all remember this is YOUR Sedona. not the piggy tourist!

  25. Marge, Sedona says:

    @steve Segner The way I read your comment is you agree with PIGGY TOURISTS.

  26. Tommy Sedona says:

    @steve PIGGY TOURISTS ….. “Lets all remember this is YOUR Sedona. not the piggy tourist!” ….surprised on your take.

  27. segner says says:

    But, but segner says tourists only add 5 minutes to your drive. Not the 4 hours you saw yesterday or the 45 minutes you see most weekends. Remember, according to the city’s own survey half the day trippers don’t even stop in Sedona.

  28. @demand change says:

    Oh I see…so now you’re blaming a snow storm on the city council!
    Your funny and oh so predicable…(deleted by editor)

  29. Spence & Evelyn says:

    Of course it’s the greed of the chamber of commerce and stupidity of those at city hall who completely overlooked potential unintended consequences. If any of them were decent people (which we know they are NOT for allowing this monster to invade Sedona in the first place) they would immediately cancel the contract with the chamber and direct the money to where it will be beneficial beginning but not ending with city wide road improvements including snow plow and other equipment needed in emergencies even if it meant rescinding that half % increase in bed tax! It has cost the City of Sedona far more than it’s brought in. Doesn’t require the mind of a rocket scientist to figure that one out.

    If they continue down this same road then another State investigation should be opened to require a change of city policy for not providing for the health, safety, and welfare of residents and visitors. If the city ignores it all state funding should immediately be withheld. They simply MUST cease and desist with this giveaway which only puts money in the hands of a reckless few who have taken control of Sedona. Maybe now voters can see just what it is they approved in the last election. Don’t you feel a bit stupid for having been sucked into such an obvious scam?

  30. No one could have known, sarcasm. says:

    So the anonymous named troll claims the city council can’t take blame for not knowing that when you have gridlock traffic every weekend, if there is an emergency, snow, fire or other problem things will stop? They are just lucky no one died, this time.

    The idea is to have some reserve capacity, not give everything to a special interest group and clam ” No one could have seen this coming !”

    I saw it coming years ago. Greed kills.

  31. Sedona no motion says:

    Just wait until they start the boondoggle construction for he falsely named ” Sedona in Motion”. You think traffic is bad now, wait until they start construction. There will be very little motion on Sedona Roads. Even when the boondoggle construction is finished, a couple of turn lanes leading to the same choke points will change nothing. Then there will be “Sedona in motion II, the sequel.” Of course we know how bad sequels usually are.

    (deleted by editor) city manager, says ” Traffic is our destiny !”, he is out to prove himself right. Poor residents are tied to the rails of the oncoming traffic train.

  32. How fun it is! says:

    How fun it is to listen to the scanner.

    Yep City hall has lost their mind paying the chamber millions and they didn’t prepare for SNOWY days! Crackpot city. 100K for laser lights 2.5 million a year to chamber and they can’t handle a day of snow. $edona cow poking.

  33. @PIGGY TOURIST says:

    The tourists are PIGGYS everywhere they go, that does not make it ok.

    Oh yea….why when you cut and paste a webpage to SE is it not ever about AZ?
    Desperate much!? LOL

    Here is one for you, Piggy Tourist Supporter:

    Close enough?

  34. @@piggy tourist says:

    Nice to see people “taking constructive “ ACTIION beside conplaining here on SE

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