Home » Featured » Eddie Maddock: Kurt Gehlbach, Do hundreds more vehicles in Uptown make sense for the city of Sedona?

Eddie Maddock: Kurt Gehlbach, Do hundreds more vehicles in Uptown make sense for the city of Sedona?

SedonaEye.com columnist Eddie Maddock provides a forum for Sedona mayoral candidate, Kurt Gehlbach, to provide his perspective on the March 2020 City Council decision to approve the purchase of 430 Forest Road (Uptown) for over its appraised value, and encumbering more than $11 million in new debt for city taxpayers if projected tourism parking meter income fails to service the debt.

Sedona AZ – Although earth as an orb continues its normal rotation, global inhabitants have been thrown into an alien orbit which is NOT in outer space. The seriousness of the deadly coronavirus is reality in the truest form. Isn’t it somewhat stunning to become shell-shocked and forced to face the fact that mere mortals really don’t have a great deal of control?

However and in spite of the turmoil, it is an election year and survivors of the pandemic will have the privilege of casting votes in Sedona for candidates vying for Sedona Mayor and rotating seats on the Sedona City Council.

The two mayoral contenders remain Mayor Sandy Moriarty, opting for yet another term, and a new name on the slate, Kurt Gehlbach.

Because the coronavirus conflict quite likely will obstruct the opportunity for city council candidate forums prior to the primary vote in August, Mr. Gehlbach contacted me inquiring about the possibility for Sedona Eye to feature some information about him. Therefore, this resulting article has been derived solely from e-mail communication obliging the mandate for no private meetings, consultations, or even phone calls.

Mr. Gehlbach opted to focus on his own perspective relating to the city council’s recent approval at the council meeting on March 24, 2020:

  • AB 2570 Approval of a Resolution authorizing a Real Estate Purchase and Sale Agreement for the City of Sedona to purchase the property located at 430 Forest Road (APN 401-160-71) located in Coconino County, City of Sedona, Arizona, for the sum of $480,000 for use as a parking structure.

Due to recent global events creating such an upheaval and uncertain economic predictions, Kurt Gehlbach maintains this premise:

Sedona AZ uptown tourist traffic. The city plans to build parking garages for 500 additional vehicles in Uptown to encourage shopping. [Photo courtesy The Arizona Republic]

“The responsibility of Elected Officials is to the Residents of Sedona, and because of the uncertainty of serious implications with regards to the spread of the coronavirus predicted by the World Health Organization, it is the obligation of our Government to revisit with the residents with regards to any decisions made prior to the onset of Sedona’s devastating shutdowns.”

He continues: “With regards to real estate, I personally have 24 years as a licensed residential Real Estate Agent and Developer, always successful through every negotiation. Why? Experience, research, knowledge and always emotionally prepared to negotiate.

Considering all circumstances I would never move forward with the purchase of any property during an election year and certainly not when we know there’s the possibility for another financial recession.

When moving forward within favorable conditions I first request a current appraisal to be accomplished by the property owner. While waiting for the appraisal, I personally research all comparative properties in order to compare to the appraisal. When the appraisal comes in, I scrutinize the hell out of it making sure everything is accurate and up to date. When negotiations begin, I never offer appraised value, starting the negotiation below appraisal, especially when it’s a cash transaction.”

Questioning the wisdom of the city having paid $100,000 OVER appraised value at the recommendation of the city manager, Mr. Gehlbach stated:The people of Sedona have now been ripped off through pure ignorance!”

His conclusion is the city of Sedona has now set a precedent for any FUTURE land acquisitions to be overvalued, questioning the premise of “property is only worth what the Buyer is willing to pay.” Is that true when the investment was overpriced to begin with?

Regarding future Uptown parking, here’s what Kurt Gehlbach has to say:

A recent ADOT traffic study found the majority of Sedona tourist traffic backs up miles just to drive through the Sedona city limits without stopping before continuing along SR 89A to reach their northern destinations.

“$11.5 million to place 300 automobiles in the center of uptown, and that’s one of two parking structures, totaling roughly an additional 500 automobiles in Uptown Sedona. Add another $500,000 or more for the “ledge work” they will find digging down at least 2 floors or 30 feet (??)”

Kurt continues: “Not long ago our Mayor, Sandy Moriarty, was headstrong to be part of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, designed to cut emissions, basically decreasing Sedona’s carbon footprint within the next three years. Does this make sense to anyone?”

Regarding Sedona residents, Kurt Gehlbach relates:

“Prior to lockdown, I spent days and many hours walking door to door throughout our city gathering 200 signatures myself while sharing in conversation.

The emotions are all over the place, and many of our residents are very angry. I’m truly, truly worried about the future of Sedona so I believe the conversation needs to be about Sedona herself and our residents, to include their mixed levels of anger toward this government. We, as a city, must now come together to create change through a government that will listen, respond, inform, create and prosper with and for the Residents of Sedona. How about grasping the opportunity for such a collaboration giving new life and hope for Sedona’s survival?”

End of input from city of Sedona mayoral candidate Kurt Gehlbach. Read, study, ask questions and by all means plan to vote in August. Life in Sedona continues and be grateful each and every day for what we have and consider by way of your own judgment what will be the best way to preserve and protect this special corner of the world.

Over and Out. Cheers. Be Safe. Stay Well.

507 Comments

  1. Alan says:

    Disappointing election and seems people didn’t have problem with Trump after all.

  2. Sedona Eye says:

    Arizona state officials reveal there are still more than 515,000 votes to be counted. State officials remind Arizonans that in elections past, final vote counts have taken several days. We will wait patiently for the final result and do regret calling the Arizona Presidential winner too soon and without all the facts.

    An error in data on vote counting in the state was revealed: The data incorrectly claimed 98% of votes had been counted instead of 86% and it appears that President Trump will win the state once all the ballots are counted.

    Arizona had been expected to go into President Trump’s column.

  3. @michele says:

    We should start calling you “the Riddler” no one can understand what the heck your Pontificating!!Riddle on loser

  4. Eric the Red says:

    Everybody I’ve spoken with is NOT anxious about waiting for vote counts, they are understanding that all legitimate votes need to be counted and illegal votes not counted.

    This feeling is shared by my Biden and Trump voting family and friends because Yessiree we voted about 50/50 like the rest of the country.

    Don’t be using words with us like anxiously waiting, trepidation, or other big lies. We’re chill. You media people need to learn lessons from crap filled coverage of the country over the past 4 years and get your shit together how to do your jobs and not be tools for politicians, false narratives, and fake blue and red news.

    News is black and white and read all over. Even I learned that in second grade.

  5. Dark Money says:

    what election
    voters are suckers
    it’s fixed for Democrats

  6. Papa says:

    Sad election for Arizona to become the butt hole of California because most of you don’t care to get involved. You wonder why you have a chamber of commerce running your town and not the city? You wonder why you sit in traffic choking on air pollution while the people you put on council tell you to worry about climate change and shuttle busses? You’re ignorant asses.

  7. Harold Newman says:

    Five city employees have been reported as having COVID. The fools (staff & council) continue to move forward with buying more property and planning for this multi story parking garage? Is there little doubt the dreaded pandemic is less of a threat to Sedona than the nut jobs running city hall? Oh but there’s good news? The two lanes functioning during that sewer extension fiasco on 179 have shifted. Now northbound outside lane is open! WOW – progress?!

  8. Orlando Foskey, Golden State Warrior fan says:

    You’re right @alan people didn’t have problems with Trump, it’s power mad Democrats, aka biggest losers and do-nothings. Never any question that Trump loved and stood for America first while Biden Harris stand for socialism which means power over the people. Socialism is getting told who you can have inside your home is normal? You think government telling you they’ll arrest and fine you for sitting at your dinner table with sombody they said you can’t is normal?????? Black leader, author and national powerhouse Larry Elder said, “Harris isn’t black, she’s Indian.” Biden can’t find India on a map and Harris can’t find Delaware. Yep the Democrats are back and looking the same, it’s called taking your power and your rights away. You better send money to Georgia Republicans to save your asses because if you Americans lose those Georgia Senate seats, blacks won’t ever get a seat at the table because the Democrats haven’t let you sit down since they assassinated Lincoln.

  9. Bob, west Sedona says:

    why is city hall open and why can’t they work from home , close it down now

    they’re super spreaders

    stay out of the city

    we don’t need you spreading diseases &

    who fumigates city hall during the day and night, costing us money when you can work from home, you aren’t rocket scientists or that necessary to city life , get out and stay home

  10. @orlando says:

    Biggest loser!?
    Did you forget already that Biden won Arizona our state now has 2 democratic senators . You the one that sounds like a crybaby loser. You can makeup all the lies you want. You and Trump can’t handle ithe term LOSER lol. Suck it up

  11. Tony says:

    Stfu @orlando

  12. @Nathan says:

    Nathan thank you pointing out all the small minded morons like yourselves that think wearing a mask is the sign of a government take over, instead of trying slow the spread of a pandemic.. Aren’t you one of lemmings that pontificated Masks Don’t Work. Thank God you’re not running the country and the other moron Trump will be out

  13. Petra says:

    Wearing a mask is detrimental to student athletes. Scientific fact. Less than 1/2 % of U.S. children even contract the coronavirus and no children have died from coronavirus. Just because you test positive and die doesn’t mean you died from coronavirus. City shouldn’t be advertising for tourists. Scientific fact.

  14. Nathan says:

    You @Nathan are a communist or a fascist. Your words of contempt for business owners in the U.S. is a page from Marx and Lenin and Zinn and others. You are a true despiser. If you are a business owner, I wish you massive failures that wipe out all your savings and puts you on the public dole to survive. Then you’ll learn that those you despise and bully and abuse are true advocates for the underdog, that they worked and provided while you hated and vilified.

    If you are a politician or work for a government in any capacity, I wish you to experience what being a true communist and fascist sympathizer is in China or Cuba or Venezuela or the Congo or Russia or Iran or Somalia or Libya or any of the many nations that don’t offer you an opportunity to live in a luxury lifestyle like you do in Sedona and then demand that others settle for less. Stay in your home and don’t come out. Give the city less of your hatefulness.

    Sedona is on the decline because of people like you. You don’t have the intelligence to be more
    than your limited self. Believe it.

  15. Landry says:

    Read the article and start the recall. They are going to blow up more views and rocks to build a huge warehouse for automobiles. They’re
    Charging us $11.5 million dollars to destroy our red rocks and views. For 2 ugly warehouses.

  16. Merlin the wizard says:

    Biden has a record. That’s all folks.

  17. @landry says:

    Oh please Landry. You don’t even SEE the red rocks anymore. All you have is nonsense contempt for all things government.

  18. Tom says:

    @Nathan
    That was the worst acting I’ve have ever seen..Have no idea (deleted by editor) talking about

  19. steve Segner says:

    Landy: says, For 2 ugly warehouses. OK Landy, Lest start with the city has not even approved the design the up-town parking garage yet! and NO they are not charging YOU $11.5 million dollars they are charging the tourist that visit Sedona who will be using the lot. Almost all towns in America have parking garages… get over it or move . Landy, remember 80% of the tax income for Sedona comes from Tourism you pay almost nothing ….. oh ya you do pay sales tax on your utilities … what 3 bucks ?

  20. Julian T. says:

    Speaking of ugly @Landry, has anyone checked out roads in many subdivisions?
    If anything is in need of funding it’s maintenance for our infrastructure. Never had such neglect before incorporation. At least in Coconino County our then “county” roads were properly maintained. Not so with these idiots at city hall. More citified downgrading to completely and further destroy the charming small town character. What a shame.

  21. Alison M. says:

    Well maybe the economic engine driving Sedona might be tourism but it wasn’t tourists who voted to incorporate, it was a handful of stupid residents who bought into all the hype and lies about what it would mean for THEM. What it’s turned into is a tourist trap nightmare. Period ……….. end of report! Yes this is from one who does hate government – Sedona City Government!!!

  22. GGO says:

    I’d like to post that our teachers are not professionals and that they do not teach our children well. They are bought and paid for union workers which equate to government workers, no need to work when your paycheck is guaranteed and you own the Human Resources playbook. No ability to terminate for poor performance means that the worst workers stay and the best give up because of the worst and leave. Our public educational system is failing because of the NEA and other teachers unions.

  23. @ Julian says:

    You still whining about Sedona begin incorporated back in 1988!!??
    Are you frigging kidding me!!!!! That was over 30 years ago. Get a life will ya!?

  24. Steve segner says:

    ghost i’m sorry but Arizona teachers are not unionized they are also hired and fired at will buy the principal in their district you bring your eastern views and hatred of unions with you you need to do a little research before you spout miss information our teachers are poorly underpaid much remember the responsibility of raising kids and teaching kids is primarily the parents teachers are just there to help.
    Allison I agree 30 years is long enough to quit whining about incorporation we are tourist town get over it can you remind me of a person who still complains about their parents liking their sibling better get on with your life

  25. Michigan rules to examine Dominion machines says:

    Capital Hill – The Trump campaign is celebrating a huge legal victory after Circuit Judge Kevin Elsenheimer said he would allow investigators to conduct a forensic examination of 22 Dominion voting machines used on Election Day in Antrim County, Michigan.

    “Our team is going to be able to go in this morning at about 8:30 and will be there for about eight hours to conduct that forensic examination and we’ll have the results in about 48 hours, and that’ll tell us a lot about these machines,” Trump election attorney Jenna Ellis told Fox News.

    Rudy Giuliani called the order a “big win” for honest elections, though the legal challenge is actually not related to the presidential election. Judge Elsenheimer’s order stems from a challenge by a voter who claims that ballots were damaged during a recount of a village marijuana proposal that just barely passed. Antrim County infamously showed Joe Biden as the winner of the county before a “human error” was discovered and Trump was revealed the true winner of the county by several thousand votes.

    Lawsuits allege that nearly 300,000 votes were manipulated in Michigan. Dominion “is responsible for “the injection or fabrication, of 289,866 illegal votes in Michigan, that must be disregarded,” says expert witness Russell Ramsland Jr.

  26. Eddie Maddock says:

    On a happier and hopefully more cheerful note, coming back from my afternoon walk today an unexpected pause occurred while observing one by one, seven deer exiting my yard, gracefully leaping over the split rail fence in single file. The last being the smallest – maybe a teenager.

    This was a bonus after two days ago opening a shutter on a front window also viewing in single file crossing my front porch a family of javelinas, likewise concluding with a tag-along baby attempting to keep up.

    Proof that the best things in life are free? In my opinion – YES! Commercialization didn’t create these two lovely scenes. No way!

  27. Steve segner says:

    Michigan rules to examine Dominion machines Lawsuits allege that nearly 300,000 votes were manipulated in Michigan. Dominion “is responsible for “the injection or fabrication, “allege” not proof …. you lost 7,000,000 Americans said trump must go. Supreme court laughs at Trump. Georga and Arizona said hit the road…. now Blue states. 50 states said the election was fair. Trump is just picking the pickets of his followers… to help pay his bills. It added that all states with close results have paper records of each vote that allow for a recount, if necessary.

    “This is an added benefit for security and resilience,” the coalition wrote. “This process allows for the identification and correction of any mistakes or errors.”

    CISA Director Chris Krebs also retweeted a message from election law expert David Becker that condemned “wild and baseless claims about voting machines,” according to CBS News.

  28. Joe Lee says:

    Another thing money can’t buy. RAIN! At long last and after how many months? Today it’s raining – well, to varying degrees depending on where you are. Even snow at higher elevations.

    And so you holier than thou city council and city manager, etal. Your land acquisitions and big plans for parking garages and similar endeavors which will choke out even more of Sedona’s charm, including wildlife, keep it up and no amount of money you can throw at the chamber of commerce or other means of advertising can replace what none of us can live without – WATER – RAIN – PRECIPITATION!

    Please vacate your imaginary ivory tower which emanates too much negative energy and related activities.

  29. Janet, Main Street says:

    Nearly 7,000,000 million voters said Biden wasn’t worth voting into White House. The dominion machines are crooked or the people in charge of some of the polling places are crooked and you didn’t dispute that fact and all good Americans don’t and won’t. Clean and fair elections is what makes us great. Software hacks and election fixing are unAmerican.

  30. Greta says:

    Biden was aided by a corrupt media and corrupt computer handlers and corrupt government politicians and officials like Pelosi and others with fortunes made by their Chinese handlers. Russians too, but it was never Trump they owned, but the Democrats. The Huffington Post ADMITTED that the Democratic Party holds one of the slimmest majorities in the House of Representatives and can only hope for a tie in the Senate. You didn’t win Steve. You lost good governance for a corrupt Biden Harris owned by FAANG and China-Russia pact that thinks and knows you are fools and dupes in the Democratic Party. You ruined Sedona, Steve. You pretended it was a tourist town when all it is is a stair step to the Grand Canyon and Phoenix. Tourists don’t stay here except for a day or a week. You don’t rebuild towns for more toilets and garbage cans, Steve.

  31. Tommy says:

    Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi says she doesn’t have “any concern” about Representative Eric Swalwell’s ability to serve in Congress despite the congressman’s long time ties to a Chinese spy.

    Well, that’s a relief. If it were me, I’d be worried that the congressman might be a traitorous SOB and was blabbing secrets to an enemy agent while under the covers with her.

    But that’s just me.

  32. Suzanne Miles says:

    It’s wonderful news to read wildlife is still around although very surprising. After the asinine laser light show a few years ago, promoted by the chamber of commerce and financed with city taxes, it’s a wonder Bambi and friends didn’t leave forever.

    Maybe now the “poor me it’s too difficult” whiner has gone to Utah city hall might get the intestinal fortitude aka guts, balls to withdraw funding for a bunch of nonsense and allow the member driven organization (chamber) to stand on their own credibility. What a Christmas present that would be for Sedona!! A New Year with new trends and a sensible beginning.

  33. Bob says:

    @Eddie Maddock
    Thanks for reminding me. Rain and wildlife and peace and quiet. Money can’t buy it but it can destroy it. Goodnight Sedona. Peace be with you.

  34. Mike says:

    That laser light boondoggle proved how unreliable and ignorant Sedona city management is to withstand negative outside influences. Made a laughingstock of us with their pop culture genius ideas.

  35. Jacobin Swede says:

    Sedona is fake news, a letdown, bad nail salon, bad traffic flow, bad food

  36. Carol says:

    Nicely shared Eddie.

  37. Jack Goodwin, Arizona says:

    Will add to your input @Jacobin Swede. That would be the tax on meals at restaurants. Meals are overpriced to begin with and then you get the bill. Wham – an additional sock in the kisser. NOT WORTH IT! (imo)

  38. GGO says:

    Let me repeat teachers today aren’t good with few exceptions. The 30 – 50 year olds are intellectually and socially lazy. They are susceptible to others influences because they never learned how to develop backbones.

  39. Ryan Moynihan says:

    If Biden appoints Cuomo as Attorney General he’ll prove his incompetence to govern. Ridiculous choice on a scale of 1-10 he’s chosen a 2. I’m sorry for wasting my vote on him.

  40. Troybilt says:

    Andre Rutherford said, “Been to Sedona once and then I developed my pictures. They’re all of the same rocks with cars. Been! Hello from Alabama.”

  41. Samantha J. says:

    With all due respect what does the above article have to do with the national election? Don’t we get enough of that BS every time we turn on the TV? Why not stick to the subject and address local issues? Just asking.

  42. @GGO says:

    I know right GGO Your main Accomplishment in life is posting (deleted by editor) on Sedona Eye. (Deleted by editor)

  43. Michele says:

    We need tourists or we wither on the vine and we don’t care what residents want because without tax revenue we don’t get Funded. Got it yet?

  44. Anna & Jason says:

    Well this will be our last visit to Sedona! It’s too bad we didn’t listen to comments from people who have pointed out distinct changes. Hiking trails are as bad as the two highways 179/89 & Back O’Beyond has been shut down. People considering coming here as a retreat from stress DON’T BOTHER! It’s horrible.Over publicized charm choked out! Results? Two bit chintzy tourist trap not worth your time and money & skeptics believing the chamber of commerce hype won’t take our word for it although word of mouth advertising has long ago been tagged as the most effective form of advertising. We’re letting our contacts and blog groups know now. Join us. Demand refunds at hotels that over hype and under perform.

  45. steve segner says:

    Anna & Jason says: chamber of commerce hype won’t take” our “word for it although word of mouth advertising has long ago been tagged as the most effective form of advertising
    Then why is Coke, and Disneyland, and Vagas, spending hundreds of millions of dollars on advertising? No, I guess they won’t “Take your word for it “The chamber’s job is to promote business. end of story. You say Demand refunds at hotels that over hype and underperform? hotels get no money from the city or chamber in fact they supply the majority of funding for Sedona. You have always lived in a tourist town and tourism supplies over 10,000 jobs to locals ….

  46. Hoy Jaramillo, Williams AZ says:

    agree A&J
    trails abused
    too many people
    food 2 star best
    Creek water bad & E. coli
    town destroys rocks views for commercial (deleted by editor)
    hikes suck car exhaust
    tourists car jockey deadbeats
    Save ur $ Stay Williams

  47. Perry says:

    Add in the Taxes! Sedona taxes are ridiculously high!

  48. Trippers from CA says:

    A, J, and Hoy, you are correct! Back O’Beyond road closed over an hour ago due to lack of parking at trailhead. And what about keeping social distancing on a hiking trail? Now when that becomes difficult – well – something’s wrong. The great outdoors? NOT! We are fortunate in having found a lovely vacation home rental and so, Steve Segner, paying your high bed taxes – not a problem for us. And we packed a picnic lunch (no high priced diner meals) but will take our food home to our vacation rental thank you very much.

  49. Mike says:

    Lost her charm

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