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Eddie Maddock on Campaign Cover Ups

SedonaEye.com columnist Eddie Maddock

SedonaEye.com columnist Eddie Maddock

Sedona AZ (August 13, 2014) – Just how bad and nasty will this election get? Keep in mind the beauty of our surroundings, and yet the potential for implosion perhaps has never been more intense.

We have at least one candidate running for City Council who opted to jeopardize support from legitimate voters by verbally assailing them due to disagreement on a ballot measure. There are those who attack one another; and then there are promoters of candidates with their own agendas and substantial backing who obviously are lurking about.

However, an e-mail from Sedona Lodging Council Chair Steve Segner to Al Comello of Comello Media Services and Moriarty campaign manager, cc’d to Sandy Moriarty, candidate for mayor, drifted throughout Greater Sedona and did appear as a comment on Sedona Eye. (See Article: “Eye on Sedona’s Vocal Discord,” comment from “A ‘Real’ Flatlander” 7/31/14.) What was not made clear about that e-mail is that originally it was sent as an “attachment.”

The Sedona Eye received the attachment and the email from several sources and upon contact with its authors, Steve Segner and Michael Shroeder, both affirmed they had indeed written and wholly stood by their email (letters) content now in the public domain. Therefore, here it is, in entirety, the cover letter to the attachment of the Segner e-mail defined as “Subject: let’s meet please do not pass around” dated Sun, 27 July 2014:

 “I was sent your personal comments regarding the candidates for the upcoming Sedona elections. I do not know all the candidates, but I am very familiar with two.

In the mayoral race, I do not know Moriarty, but I do know Hamilton quite well, especially having worked with him on various projects. In fact, the comments regarding the Sedona Chamber that you made was precisely the conversation, one of many, I had with Cliff at your restaurant.

I, along with many others have for some time questioned the effectiveness of the Sedona Chamber of Commerce and the management, especially since Sedona city councils have handed the chamber $100s of thousands of taxpayer dollars for “destination marketing” and have never been provided proof of performance for these dollars. Something that frankly is not rocket science to do. In fact, at some past council meetings, proof of performance was requested only to either be shot down by some council members or ignored by chamber Management. It certainly makes one wonder what is going on when fiscal irresponsibility occurs at this level and to this extent.

This is public money, not a hand out to a local entity who comes with proposals for programs that are not verifiable. Being public money, where was the RFQ?  (REQUEST FOR QUOTE). Why wasn’t, and I will remind all, the marketing of our city put out for bid?  What’s going on here? The fact that it was not is irresponsible and counter to the fiduciary responsibility of council and the mayor.

There are companies whose sole job it is to promote small tourist cities. Their management costs, unlike ours, is spread over multiple clients, creating more bang for the buck to bring tourists to the city. And through contracts, proof of performance is verifiable.

I don’t get it, why there are some in our city who think the chamber is doing such a great job. Businesses closing, empty stores everywhere and a population that had zero increase over the last decade as confirmed by the 2010 census. (AZ had a 10% increase overall)

The chamber claims four million tourists a year. They made the same claim when I was part of the group who fought for the 179 project against ADOT. Four million was bull then, and it is bull now. No substantiation then, and none now. After traffic counts back then it was confirmed that it was a number pulled out of the air to promote an ADOT four lane highway.  They have not changed their tune.

That’s over 3000 tourist vehicles a DAY, 365 days a year at 3.5 per vehicle.

Not only does the chamber refuse to provide verifiable data on their marketing results, but they keep asking for more dollars. In some cities, chambers are supported by the businesses, not TAX DOLLARS.

And for all their hype, the NUMBER ONE THING THAT PEOPLE USE TO SEARCH FOR INFORMATION IS THEIR SMART PHONES AND TABLETS. This trend has been rising sharply for the last five years, and ANY site that does not auto configure for these formats is in the dark ages. Even our local churches have figured that out.  Whoever is running IT for the chamber is incompetent, and the fact that this form of marketing is huge in today’s world exacerbates the incompetence of chamber management for not instituting this years ago.

The failure of the chamber to verify results is incredible, and the people in this town, and on council continually fall for their pitch. So when Cliff said the “jury is out”, it is time to start doing things a bit smarter. As a business owner, and taxpayer, you should DEMAND that the council stop wasting your money and put the marketing of our town out for bid. Let the chamber bid it also.  This “good ole boy” stuff has got to stop. Maybe Moriarty will, I don’t know, but Hamilton will for sure.

The other person that I know is Angela Lefevre. I have worked with her on the 89a project, and she is a hard worker and a nice person. I have also had more than one detailed political philosophical conversation with her over coffee.

From her mouth, to my ears, she is a firm believer of the Welfare State. Period. I have asked her who pays for this, only to have no answer forthcoming. Some people say that being on council is not political. Maybe from a Party standpoint, I would agree.  However, that kind of philosophy, spending other peoples money and having no hard answer as to who pays the bills is EXACTLY what this city does not need.  Too much of that has already been done in stupid projects like collapsed domes and a botched sewer system. And with the number of 501c3 organizations in Sedona with their hands out to the city all of a sudden we find ourselves not providing the basic structure that a city needs to survive.

Philosophy is important, ESPECIALLY FISCAL POLICY. We have had enough irresponsible members on council over the years to last a lifetime.

Mike Schroeder”

Without further editorializing this will conclude by thanking Sedona resident Mike Schroeder for allowing Sedona Eye to share his profound thoughts with our readers.

Over and out.

For the best Arizona news and views, read www.SedonaEye.com daily!

For the best Arizona news and views, read www.SedonaEye.com daily!

146 Comments

  1. Warren says:

    @ Mike Schroeder — Great writing! BTW, below is an exchange I had with Angela LeFevre back in November of 2009. It shows who she wants to pay for her dream welfare state and how she wants them to pay. In 2 words, property tax.

    Dear Mr. Woodward:

    While I appreciate your stance on fiscal conservancy, I cannot agree with your way of dealing with this. Yes, we need to tighten our belts and we need to work at better managing our revenues. But we should not be cutting services to those people who most need them. I have no problem with looking at increasing city revenues, if they are properly managed. I enjoy our parks, and marvel at the progress made at the Posse Grounds, and the beauty of Sunset Park , where kids can spend a few previous hours with parents, playing in the safety of a beautifully maintained park. This is what life is all about. Why doesn’t Sedona have a Property Tax? Maybe we should tax those properties which are over 3000 square feet? If folk can afford to buy and maintain such big buildings, and use more than their fair share of resources, then why shouldn’t we tax them?

    Anyhow, you sent me an email and I am responding. Please take me off your email list.

    Angela LeFevre

    And here was my reply:

    I have taken you off the list.

    You need to read the 14th amendment of the US Constitution. Taxing only those with a certain square footage is not “equal protection under law”. It is discriminatory. And no, I do not live in over 3,000 square feet but I do not like discrimination or scapegoating certain elements of the population. Also, you are dreaming and do not know history if you think the tax would stop there. Through incrementalism eventually everyone would be paying the tax and the tax would get higher.

    I said nothing about getting rid of the parks, just the parks dept. Park maintenance would be done cheaper through competitive bid. The City cannot afford the number of people it has on payroll. You will find that out in the future if people like me aren’t elected. Additionally, P&R staff time (ie. our money) is wasted on all the nonsensical summer camp type activities.

    Sedona does not have a property tax because people do not want one and also because they were told, when they were suckered into incorporation, that the sales tax would cover everything. And it could if Council could just stop spending on nonsense, but it is too easy to spend other people’s money.

    “But we should not be cutting services to those people who most need them.” Like the Chamber of Commerce? Like the RoadRunner which practically no one uses? Like Sedona’s DC lobbyist? Like the people who want to be “artists” on our nickel? Like the Main Street Program which provides a job to the person who runs it and a few Uptown events that the merchants and COC should be paying for anyway? What?

    BTW, what’s up with this “…use more than their fair share of resources…”? So you know just what that “share” is? You know how much electricity, gas, water and food everyone is supposed to have? How about toilet paper? How much of that are we allowed?

  2. Fed Up Too says:

    Accountability from the Sedona Chamber of Commerce would be welcome.

    So why don’t you run for council, Mike Schroeder??

  3. First time commenting, long time reader.

    Yes, Mike Shroeder.
    No, Angela Fevre
    No, Sedona Chamber.

    AND who in the hell is the Sedona DC lobbyist?!?!?!?! Names please because obviously I’m paying his/her salary like the rest of you. NO WAY!!

    It’s getting weird out here with too many SWAT vehicles and councilors that ate too much lead as kids. Whattagonnado coppers – knock us old folks off our walkers and disconnect our hearing aid batteries in your batmobile SWAT truck?!

    Let’s take back our town! That should be the rallying cry! TAKE BACK OUR TOWN, VOTE NO.

  4. Warren says:

    @ Dottie — what I wrote about the DC lobbyist was in 2009. I don’t remember the guy’s name, but I sure remember being outraged to learn Sedona had one. Not sure there is one anymore.

  5. sheri g says:

    Thanks Eddie for sending on Mike Shroeder’s written comments. While he and I agreed on the 179 issue and disagreed on the 89A issue – we now agree on this council race.

    Mike S – thanks for providing us with clear information reagarding Angela etc.

    Sheri

  6. Impressive article. Powerful and comprehensive words from a LEGITIMATE resident of incorporated Sedona. No personal attacks or character assassination. Chamber/Lodging/Tourism management, representatives, and especially members should take note.

    Thank you Sedona Eye.

  7. Dana Varney says:

    Appreciates this article

  8. @ warren, @sheri g and re: Mike Schroeder:

    Regarding Angela LeFevre,

    Warren, Angela LeFevre’s remarks stated as, “Why doesn’t Sedona have a Property Tax? Maybe we should tax those properties which are over 3000 square feet? If folk can afford to buy and maintain such big buildings, and use more than their fair share of resources, then why shouldn’t we tax them?” goes way beyond just evidencing her support of heavy property taxes. Aside from her total disdain for the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 10th (evidenced from her past comments and actions which are documented and part of local court records) and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution (as you recited), her comments clearly disclose a serious “envy” problem towards successful Sedonans that are great benefactors of this town. Sheri G, as one of Sedona’s greatest benefactors, did you have any idea that according to Angela LeFevre, you are using more than your fair share of Sedona’s resources? What exactly does that mean? It is, though, the comment of a socialist/Marxist, period! I see great danger for Sedona in her socialist/Marxist remarks.

    Mike, your comment above was, in part, “…she is a firm believer of the Welfare State. Period.” Permit me to further illuminate upon your comment:

    Here’s an excerpt from Angela LeFevre’s OWN ONLINE POSTED BIO during her failed run for AZ LD6 Legislator:

    “I spent some time in London, working for the Labour Party as a Political Party Agent…” [Later on she says] “I have politics in my blood! I am currently President of our local Democratic Club – Democrats of the Red Rocks…”

    Now, here’s an excerpt from http://www.marxist.com:

    In Defence of Marxism

    The Labour Party and the Communist Manifesto
    Written In Defence of Marxism Thursday, 07 May 1998

    In 1947 the Labour Party decided to reprint the Communist Manifesto, with an historical introduction by Harold Laski, to mark the document’s centenary. We’re reprinting the foreword to reflect just how significant Marxism has been within the British labour and trade union movement.

    Voters of Sedona, I make these comments to remind all of you that Angela LeFevre has a hard left socialist bent about her and you will not change her mind with your aggregate popular opinion.

  9. Thank you Sedona Eye for giving the public a voice.

    Thank you Ms. Maddock for your excellent reports. Incredible.

    Thank you Mike Schroeder for speaking up and sharing your thoughts. LOVE them. So true.

    What a great positive team. Not to forget all the other important people speaking up. Warren, Sheri, Jean, Teri, Rick and all the others brave souls. You make Sedona Rock!

  10. Aesop says:

    We hang the petty thieves & appoint the great ones to public office — Aesop.

  11. Roger says:

    In agreeing w/Jerry (City Limits) I must also ask what kind of businesses are affiliated with the Chamber of Commerce?

    Being represented by the likes of Steve Segner and the Lodging group, why would respectable establishments condone such sleazy tactics even if, as alleged, Mr. Segner placed and paid for his own attack ads? I wonder if the money paying for all those ads was earmarked “destination marketing” and in fact came from the bed-tax rebate? This city council wouldn’t know or care for that matter.

    Obviously Segner’s obsession to elect Moriarty (mayor) and his selected council members (LeFevre, Jablow, and Robson) must be critical. What could possibly warrant such over-the-top cheap-shot methods to get his people in public office?

    Even that half-page ad placed by Sedona Lodging Council telling people to vote “yes” on Home Rule is reason enough for me to vote “NO.”

    The message came across loud and clear that it was all about lining their own pockets with public dollars. ENOUGH!

  12. Trash talk,

    There will be several ADOT Adopt-A-Highway groups picking up trash on Highway 260 and Highway 89A today (08/16/14).

    Hopefully Verde Valley residents and political candidates will take a moment to post a comment about the efforts of all anti-litter groups in our area that make us all look good. These Adopt-A-Highway groups enhance the image and economy of our area.

    Please send your comments to the SedonaEyE.com and other Verde Valley media organizations …… A thank you is always appreciated by these groups. Look at these groups as the “Chamber of Cleanliness” and give them some support.

    All Verde Valley Chamber of Commerce organizations and Mayors should consider this opportunity since without these Adopt-A-Highway groups our area there would be more highway litter than already exists.

    Gary Chamberlain FVUSA
    “America the Beautiful & BagReadyJobs”
    Empowering our nation’s youth
    FolksvilleUSA@gmail.com
    (928) 202-1186

  13. Jan says:

    Thanks to Roger for bringing up that half-page ad (Lodging Council Vote “Yes” on Home Rule.) It brought to mind a letter also supporting Home Rule in the voter Publicity Pamphlet written by Jennifer Wesselhoff on behalf of the “regional” Chamber of Commerce. The argument she gives for voting “Yes” is no more than a scare tactic to legitimate 501(c)-3 non-profits with unsubstantiated threats that their funding will be cut off. Isn’t that interesting? I believe it’s been mentioned on this site more than once that “services” such as the library, humane society, senior center for example existed before there was a “city.” The veiled threat is a tacky maneuver for unknowing people to support Home Rule in order to, as Jennifer writes, “be able to access all of the sales and bed taxes generated by visitors, allowing for critical capital improvements and city services.” BTW, Jennifer, check out the findings of Ron Budnick, that at least 50% of Sedona’s revenue does, in fact, come from residents!

    “All” of the bed tax? Might that be interpreted as an admission of the Chamber’s intention to go after 100% kickback for the handle they have on “destination marketing” and for which nobody really knows how that money is being spent except to sub-contract with a couple of professional ad agencies to apparently spend what money the Chamber is willing to dole out to them.

    Mike Schroeder’s assessment of the idiotic pandering to the C of C is accurate. It’s time to pull in the reins on rampant spending. All candidates, of course, have pledged support for Home Rule. But it is we, the people, who have the opportunity to make the final decision.

    Please consider the state of affairs this city has reached. Being controlled by a special interest group with no better way to secure their own over-abundance of public funding than to threaten people with loss of their meals-on-wheels if Home Rule isn’t approved?

    Incidentally, why is it that both Lodging Council and Chamber are legally able to take positions and even advertise on ballot issues? Is it legal for non-profits to do that? To take action to influence the outcome of an election? Of course, these one and the same groups are so “special” they probably write their own rules.

    Please: NO ON HOME RULE

  14. Jean says:

    The Lodging Council’s half-page “Vote Yes on Home Rule” ad in the RRN is at odds with the facts.

    Under Arizona law, a new Home Rule ballot measure may be submitted to Sedona voters in two years time, not four, should Home Rule be defeated.

    In addition, street paving and flood control are already in danger. According to Page 1-8 of the City Budget, “In order to continue to address capital infrastructure improvements and pursue new capital outlay projects beyond 2017 [FY 2016-17], other funding sources and/or a debt financing strategy must be pursued.”

    With a fiscally responsible City Council, the cuts set aside “in a restricted lockbox” sans Home Rule could be utilized for funding future street paving, flood control and sidewalk projects in 2017 when their funding runs out. A subsequent YES vote in two years time would open the lockbox.

    BTW, the Lodging Council’s claimed reduction of “over $10 million a year” is fuzzy math. The City Publicity Pamphlet estimates the cuts without Home Rule at $9.0 million next year and $7.4 million the following year.

    I voted NO on Home Rule.

  15. IMO, it is the many non-profits with 501(c) 4 status that are our issue here . . .

    501(c)(4) organizations can engage in unlimited lobbying so long as it pertains to the organization’s mission. 501(c)(3) organizations are not permitted to engage in political activity, endorse or oppose political candidates, or donate money or time to political campaigns, but 501(c)(4) organizations can do all of the above.

    http://www.nj.com/helpinghands/nonprofitknowhow/index.ssf/2008/07/the_difference_between_501c3_a.html

  16. I appreciate the vote of confidence to run for council. A friend of mine, Ernie Straugh, who I worked with on the SR179 Voice of Choice committee did in fact run and was elected. To do the job right, be fully prepared for all votes, research and get out with the people in order to do justice to that position took Ernie 30 hours a week, sometimes more. Since my wife and I travel at a minimum of three months out of the year, not including trade shows and visiting kids who are not in AZ, there is no way to do justice if I did run and had the privilege or representing the citizens of Sedona.

    As a community we need to make sure that the people we elect have successful credentials in strong, fiscally responsible decision making and focus on the primary services that any well run city should provide to its’ residents. In other words, we all need to do our homework before casting a ballot. It is better for an uninformed voter to NOT vote than to guess or be swayed by the latest political ad or comment that is made…in any election at ANY level.

  17. Wasn’t one of the reasons for doing away with city commissions because of city staff time required to accommodate them? Why then is City allowing a selective un-noticed meeting to occur with members of the Chamber of Commerce and, yes, Lodging Council, to be attended and addressed by Community Development employee Cynthia Lovely? What else is going on in secret that residents don’t know about?

    Please, read the following communication originating from Janeen Trevillyan, Director of Member Services, Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau:

    ——-Original Message——-
    From: Ed Conway [mailto:EConway@sedonarouge.com]
    Sent: Saturday, August 16, 2014 10:24 AM
    To: Steve Segner

    Subject: FW: Chamber Community Issues Meeting Reminder

    From: Janeen Trevillyan [mailto:jtrev@sedonachamber.com]
    Sent: Friday, August 15, 2014 9:22 AM
    Subject: Chamber Community Issues Meeting Reminder

    Community Issues Committee & Guests:

    This is a follow-up to an email from last week inviting you to have input and learn more about the possible economic, traffic and community character impact of several major commercial developments and commercial planning exercises currently in progress at the City of Sedona.

    The Committee’s next meeting will be Thursday, August 21 from 8:00 am-9:30 am in the conference room at the Best Western Arroyo Roble in Uptown. This meeting will include breakfast. Please arrive to allow yourself time to go through the buffet in the breakfast room next door to the meeting room, bring your breakfast to the meeting table and we will begin no later than 8:15 with a presentation by Cynthia Lovely from the City’s Community Development Dept.

    Ms. Lovely will help us know more about the City’s CFA (Community Focus Area) plans and process. Specifically, she will update us on existing CFA projects including the Western Gateway/cultural park area and the status of a CFA at Soldiers Pass Rd/south side of SR89a. An important element will be to learn the City’s priorities for implementing CFA planning efforts in town and how the Chamber can have input.

    If you have not already done so, please RSVP to me with your intent to attend so we can have the meeting room prepared. Thank you.

    Janeen Trevillyan

    Director of Member Services

    Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau

    928-204-1123 x 120

    jtrev@sedonachamber.com

    http://www.sedonachamber.com

    http://www.visitsedona.com

  18. Marge says:

    And so what if both C of C and Lodging Council are incorporated as 501(c)4 non-profits and are allowed to lobby a ballot issue “so long as it pertains to the organizations mission?”

    Isn’t the “mission” of the Chamber of Commerce as a member driven organization to serve and promote dues-paying members? And one might presume the Lodging Council is in the cooperative business of providing rooms to rent for those who travel or are need of such accommodations? Then how in the world does “Home Rule” or electing a mayor or members to a city council “pertain” to their specific missions?

    But of course. It pertains as a means to solicit and continue to glom onto as much city revenue as their endorsed city council members agree to relinquish. And Home Rule? Of course (again.) C of C and Lodging probably have nightmares about being unable to get their mitts on that nine-million dollars destined to be put on hold should Home Rule miraculously fail.

    Something wrong with this scenario? Maybe it’s time for an explanation from the Internal Revenue Service?

  19. If elected, we know that Cliff Hamilton will serve all the people of Sedona. He has demonstrated his committment to Sedona and all of the residents of the city on many occasions. If elected, who will Sandy Moriarty serve? Steve Segner, El Portal, The Chamber of Commerce, the citizens of Sedona?

    Stan and Rosanne Crooke

  20. Js says:

    As a total outsider and having no knowledge of the candidates directly (and really in no other way than the posts that have appeared here), I’ll try to offer a few observations:
    My understanding as a prior board member of a Chamber office in a different state was that the Chamber’s primary role was to enhance the experience of those participating members and offer programs that might help that member succeed. Certainly networking between the members, the development of small business classes with focuses on understanding taxes, marketing, communications with clients would be but a few of the kinds of things the Chamber would deal with. On more than a few occasions, the Chamber did turn to the city for funding special projects. On every occasion, the Chamber was accountable and provided a monthly budget and current expenditures for those projects.
    The Chamber would usually have to make its case before council and there was always some dissent and some agreement among the council members. Some projects were approved and some went down in flames. Some losses were taken very personally by persons on one side or the other. It was a very conservative small Midwestern town.
    Regardless of how upset the losers were, no one ever characterized members of the Chamber as doing anything less than what they thought was best for the community.
    Sedona is unique in many ways, but from my short time in the area, it certainly appears that you thrive on tourism and suffer many of the same pains that many tourist locations suffer, ie, heavy traffic, economic downturns, roadwork or road closures, etc. Your area is beautiful and unique and in a very short time, I have decided that I will call it home, at least for the foreseeable future.
    Since tourism is almost the be-all and end-all of Sedona’s very existence, the Chamber seems to be well-suited to be a resource to help serve both the city and the businesses within (and I’m not sure of those without!).
    I agree that the Chamber should be accountable, but I don’t agree that a third-party marketing firm can provide any more accountability. Whatever metrics would be proposed to determine “success” by a third party firm could just as easily be applied to the Chamber, but would be just as random as the variables that would be beyond everyone’s control. Plus, now your money would be shipped out of town and that’s where it would be when that third party firm failed to meet the appropriate metrics.
    In a town of 9800, as it was stated earlier, I certainly could see where two young professionals like Jennifer and her husband could have “responsible” positions within the community, but again I have no knowledge of the candidates or with what publication where they choose to run their ads.
    I’d like to believe that people love the communities where they live, some just have differences with others in how it should get done. Accountability is a starting point to alleviating some of the current disagreements and misunderstandings. Don’t tear each other up because of those differences. And don’t make it impossible to have a decent dialogue in the future.
    First, help the people currently in their positions understand the expectations and give them the tools to make it happen. Then, make them accountable. Finally, put the people in office that can both lead and admit when they make a mistake. Make them accountable, too.
    The future of Sedona (and selfishly my future here too) depends on it.

  21. Warren says:

    Dream on, Stan & Rosanne. When Hamilton was in office he consistently voted to give the COC free corporate welfare money, He also made other dreadful, spendthrift votes as well such as voting to fund the empty Road Runner buses, the West Sedona Redevelopment scam and the takeover of 89A.

    BTW, that does not mean I’ll be voting for Moriarity. I cannot in good conscience vote for either. NO on Home Rule is really the only choice.

  22. Js says:

    Typically, how long does “awaiting moderation” take? This is my first foray into the type of media. Thanks.

    (Note from editor: It will vary. Occasionally, new comments will land in a SPAM folder that is reviewed daily, and from which hundreds of comments are deleted each day at a predetermined hour. If you do not see your comment within a reasonable time, notify us at Editor@SedonaEye.com with a cut/paste of your comment awaiting moderation. Welcome to the Sedona Eye Daily News and Views, JS.)

  23. @Eddie, Mike, Jean, Marge, Stan and Rosanne and Js:

    Let’s really keep this upcoming Mayoral/Council election positive by dealing in specific truths instead of generalities and “tactical camouflage” discussion topics. Should not, and would not, all honest candidates be willing to answer these questions immediately? Who, if any, will evade answering these critical questions?

    1] Do you support or oppose Home Rule? If you support it, please explain why reduction of the City’s estimated annual budget by 26% is a bad idea considering what that really means is that the City would be forced to put approximately $9 million dollars a year into a rainy day fund in light of the incontrovertible fact that the U.S., AZ, and local economies are in a state of serious decline with no evidence of a turn around on the horizon?

    2] Do you support or oppose awarding the City’s Destination Marketing contract to the Chamber of Commerce without requiring that it be done so through a competitive bidding process to assure the best potential players, such as Roger Brooks International or Total Destination Marketing, get fair consideration at the lowest price?

    3] Do you support or oppose the beneficial financial support, with City treasury money from sales/bed taxes, of non-City of Sedona Chamber members such as the Hilton and Enchantment hotels?

    4] Can you explain what the City’s revenue sources will be should the City’s tourist generated tax revenues significantly decline in the near future?

    5] Would you support or oppose property taxes to supplement revenue if Home Rule is voted in again?

    6] Would you support or oppose designation of the City of Sedona as an immigration “sanctuary” city?

  24. @JS
    As a long time resident and business owner (in the city limits) I completely disagree with you.

    Twenty years ago there was no internet, everyone went to a “travel Agency” to book items. In fact most folks went to a chamber of commerce before they visited or moved to a location.

    Most Cities have or are going to in city or neutral third party destination marketing. Scottsdale is third party neutral, in city lodging does not have to pay more to be represented, as it the bed tax they collect that is being used to fund the promotion. Flagstaff has gone to in city marketing. In that case of in city the businesses together with the city target market their customers.

    Only by going to third party or in city can you keep the level field fair. Why would anyone promote those outside this own city limits? We don’t let the Swiss vote on American issues. Same point. The Chamber openly only promotes only their members. They admit so, happily using 100% of Sedona City funding to promote members outside the city. Sadly the in city business who generated the tax dollars are not promoted. Are the City limit businesses the red headed step child?

    Mike Schroeder is 100% correct. Sedona Chamber is not professional nor do they have the expertise to do a good job. They do have a major conflict of interest.

    By going to third party or in city, both scenarios create a fair playing field. Creates transparency by target marketing and measuring the program with a return on investment. Every business in the city limits deserves a voice, a vote. The Chamber is not 100% city district businesses and they do not contribute to tax basis, Why should the businesses in the city and the residents pay for them? The Sedona Chamber is not added to the quality of Sedona living, they are actually hurting it. They are simply padding their own pockets. In my opinion.

    The City needs to wake up, do it own branding and marketing. A ROI is extremely easy to do.

  25. Jan says:

    The same as Donna Joy Varney, I must disagree with JS. Sedona’s regional Chamber of Commerce is not a professional advertising agency. For the amount of money involved in the Destination Marketing contract, Sedona deserves better. As Mike Schroeder suggests, there are professional firms that excel in marketing small towns. Hopefully they would have the good sense to market Sedona’s assets without attempting to make it another Scottsdale or multitude of other big-city municipalities which this C of C and current council apparently think is the going thing to do….turn Sedona into what it is not.

    Please new council members, whomever you may be, reconsider the three-year contract with C of C. Exercise the 30-day cancellation clause and allow professionals to market Sedona without all the baggage being toted around during this City/Chamber romance.

  26. Warren says:

    The thing is, marketing Sedona for tourists, whether done by the COC or someone else, is still corporate welfare, and discriminatory corporate welfare at that. What about non-tourist businesses? Isn’t it unfair that there is no marketing for them? If tourist-based businesses want to promote themselves, they should be doing it on their own nickel. Government promotion of business of any sort is wrong.

  27. Eddie says:

    @Asking Questions

    Hi there:

    And what makes you think I haven’t asked the same or similar questions of one or more candidates running for office? Just asking.

    E. Maddock

  28. Warren has IMO hit the nail on the head. Businesses should do their own advertising and, believe it or not, in Sedona we do have dutiful businesses who do so and prefer it that way.

    As for this “Destination Marketing” wasn’t the purpose to market “Sedona?” So far except for a rather cheesy commercial on Channel 12, the most I’ve seen is more publicity for the Chamber of Commerce and Lodging Council. NOT what the money was to have been spent on. And of course without accountability who is to know what is being spent for what.

    In fairness to the commercial, again IMO the photos were beautiful but OMG, the background music(?) might best be described as last weeks chopped liver. If anyone feels the urge to dispute this evaluation, go for it. But if you do please be so kind as to translate one or any of the words being sung by man(?), woman(?), beast(?) or child(?).

  29. Js says:

    I appreciate that the tone has become more constructive and the issues seem to be a little more defined. Yet, absolutes in positions hinder any continuing discussion. Donna Joy Varney states that she “completely disagrees with me”. So I’m assuming she means Sedona has no issue with traffic, that it’s not better to keep an open dialogue that is positive, and that maybe people should be totally negative towards each other and not try to reach a common ground. Asking Questions states that it’s “incontrovertible fact that…” all economies are doomed and “with no evidence of a turnaround on the horizon”. Warren uses the term “corporate welfare” as if it were only negative in nature. Jan agrees with Donna, meaning that she or he must disagree with me on everything.
    I’m not intending to pick on anyone, only request that everyone provide a more objective description of their differences without resorting to generalities. You want accountability from the City and the C of C; I’m just asking the same of you.
    The housing market has begun showing signs of recovery, the stock market stays near it’s all-time highs. The only market that most of us care about is what’s happening to our own market. Are our own businesses more successful or less than they were a year ago? What did we personally or professionally do to make that happen? Did the city or the chamber help? Did we ask the city or the chamber to help?
    The chamber is tasked with helping its member organizations and many of those organizations are largely dependent on tourism. I’m still struggling to come up with businesses that don’t benefit from more people being around. Certainly some businesses will benefit more than others and some have the capacity and budget to market those to people better. Other businesses benefit by catering to the businesses and people that directly benefit from the tourism. If neither of those apply, I’m not sure Sedona as a location works.
    Concerning taxes, the general rule is that they are passed on to the consumer who really pays them. So do the local residents pay the majority or from the myriad of tourists who pass through, regardless of the actual count? I read in an earlier post that the businesses in Sedona pay no property tax and that the City’s general revenues come from the sales tax imposed on all who consume within the city. Would the bulk be the 9800 residents or the tens of thousands of tourists who use the services in the city?
    I agree with Warren that businesses should stand on their own merit and spend their own nickel. Yet, most new businesses fail in the first year, primarily because they are undercapitalized. I don’t know the City Council or the Chamber to even know if I like them. If there truly is any corruption or malfeasance of money, it should be easy enough to uncover. Eddie has said that it is all available in the public records. What kind of community makes these accusations of its leaders without some hard proof, or even some strong hint of misdoings. Do your research, tell Eddie if you find anything amiss and she will use that watchdog persona to bring the rest of the truth out.
    Saying that anyone is not professional is subjective at best, but certainly not a quantifiable exercise without more facts. Maybe the Chamber has not been a professional marketing firm in the past, but I would suggest that they know the town well and try to work with the task they have been given. The rest is usually an exercise in futility. Third party firms, unless you contract with them to deliver specific results and compensate them for those results, rather than a flat fee for their ‘expertise’ and leaving town when the job is finished, have no horse in the race. Yet, I believe you’ll be hard pressed to find one of those firms that will take their fee based on the outcome. Especially when you factor out weather, landslides, airplane crashes and the other factors that could affect their profitability. I would agree that a third party firm would be a great idea if the proper metrics can be included in their contract, but, I think, good luck with that. And of course, they will have to start their discussion and learning curve by talking to the very people that are trying to develop it now.
    Why not keep it local, develop the marketing plan by majority or consensus, but knowing up front that some will benefit more than others. Some of those because of their size and deep pockets, but some because they stop to analyze their own product and say, “how can we market ourselves better?”
    Again, it definitely needs to a collaborative effort, but someone has to make the hard decisions when the day is done. After that, everyone pitches in and benefits and those that don’t typically complain that it wasn’t fair.
    Fighting over it, name calling and generalities without substance are rarely helpful, but an adult attitude to disagree is healthy.
    Choose your next council wisely.

  30. Sharlett says:

    What are your facts to substantiate any thing you have written in both your way too lengthy posts?

  31. Sharlett says:

    P.S. Forgot to say Sharlett’s above post is in response to who ever JS is.

  32. DH says:

    Smells like a distraction post Sharlett. I think JS is smoke and mirrors………clouding things up.

    Mike you nailed it. Eddie you rock! Great points everyone.

  33. Would you support or oppose designation of the City of Sedona as an immigration “sanctuary” city? Seriously?

    We are already a ‘sanctuary’ city by default.
    Maybe we could get government dollars for that, but where oh where would we house everyone? Right now legal citizens can not afford to live in Sedona. They commute from the Village (another sanctuary place), Cottonwood and Rimrock. There is an idea. How about they commute from their respective countries?

  34. Jean says:

    @Asking Questions

    I think you’ve missed the bus. ALL candidates speaking at the forums have supported Home Rule as well as the $1.2M/year Destination Marketing contract with the Chamber. And now the election is right around the corner.

    OMG, I suppose you are claiming the financial facts I’ve provided on many occasions are generalities and not specific truths. I have chosen to focus on commenting against Home Rule–an election issue involving financial data. In addition, I advocate voting for candidates other than P & Z Commissioner Scott Jablow due to his motions seconding the Land Exchange and the Development Agreement that took a portion of Goodrow Lane, a public road, away from the residents in the Goodrow neighborhood so that the Rouge could expand by 32 guest units.

    FYI, I wrote the City Council three times opposing the contract with the regional Chamber and the lack of competitive bidding. DiNunzio fed me such nonsense as: (1) for tourists Sedona is the Verde Valley and (2) the City has a history of working with the Chamber. I AGREE 100% WITH WARREN that government promotion of business of any sort is wrong.

  35. We can always tell when those that advocate and receive taxpayers dollars post on Sedona Eye.

    Thank you JS, it would be wonderful if you used your real name. That is super POSITIVE.

    :) :) Love the rain. Have a great day.

  36. Right on, “Jean.” A majority of the City Council are so arrogant they actually believe “City of Sedona” exists to rule the entire Verde Valley. Especially M. DiNunzio, B. Litrell, R. Adams, and J. Williamson – the quorum needed to control their “realm” on behalf of their beloved Chamber of Commerce and Lodging Council.

    Didn’t “Mayor Adams” just insult the “Mayors” of other nearby municipalities by attempting to control their jurisdictions with his letter to Yavapai College? All about “his” recommendations to solve the recent problems relating to the directional changes proposed by Yavapai College? How far did he get with that?

    Point being: Neighboring cities and towns appear to be much smarter than voting residents in Sedona. It seems they aren’t buying into the propaganda constantly being spewed by this worst ever City Council (IMO).

  37. Here’s 2 cents about that sanctuary city plan.

    Plain and simple that its illegal and opens the doors to more illegal behaviors. Pay attention & notice Sedona has imported a drug problem & gang problem under your noses & it’s food workers that are the worst & those homeless skitzos out walking the streets lately scared my kids & their friends & I know one tourist said the city was getting run down looking uptown. You’ve got high school kids & some of us wanting work & McDonald’s & all the restaurants hire bad English speaking illegal Mexicans or other countries . Hire legal Mexicans! Give legals jobs & send the rest out of town. Legals don’t want the illegals here. Ask them if they want their kids hanging with them & we say Hell No Way. Ask legal immigrants what we want. This is long because 3 others giving ideas to write. wish the town cared about us.

  38. @Jean,

    Jean, what are you talking about? I’m on your side and I know as well as anyone how thorough and specific your excellent research is.

    If there’s one soul in Sedona that I’m sure never deals in generalities, it’s you! Have you read my newest article here at the Eye? And, be sure to read the comments. Lin Ennis has taken up the mantle for the pro-Home Rule crowd and you can guess how I dealt with her propaganda. Link: https://sedonaeye.com/separating-wheat-from-chaff-in-this-election-campaign

  39. One of the confusing things here is that none of us were aware “Asking Questions” was J. Rick Normand, at least at the time I responded. It wasn’t until Rick clarified it was he who asked the questions in a comment under his recent article.

    Someone notified me that the post had been changed to include Rick’s name. In checking with the Publisher of Sedona Eye I was advised there had been a mix-up of some sort with the comment and his article.

    Speaking only for myself, I wrote my comment reflecting a response to “Asking Questions” prior to being informed the writer was, in fact, J. Rick Normand. Quite possibly my reply would have been different had I known the true identity to begin with.

    Bottom line. Great questions and I believe three council candidates have responded to the questions under Rick’s article: “Separating Wheat from Chaff.”

    Eddie Maddock

  40. Jean says:

    @Rick,

    Like Eddie, I was clueless about who the true identity of “Asking Questions” was when I responded. And your “Separating Wheat from Chaff” article was not posted at the time. I think you have done an excellent job of pointing out that City Hall is living on another planet. Thank you, Rick. And I couldn’t agree with you more about the poor shape the US economy is in. It’s unfavorable balance of payments position is in uncharted negative territory.

    Sedona’s financial challenges are not being met under Home Rule as we know. Since 2011 the City budget has increased from $30.7M to $38.4M. Yet, in three years time there will be no reserves left to fund non-WW capital projects, and “other funding sources and/or a debt financing strategy must be pursued.” Ref: City Budget Page 1-8. Spending cuts are in order ASAP, and they will be mandatory next year if Home Rule is voted out. If defeated, City Hall can put Home Rule on the ballot again in two years.

    Excellent you addressed Lin Ennis head on and told her to “Give it a rest!” I keep shaking my head every time I read something from her. To put it kindly, she has long-standing credibility problems IMO.

  41. Harold W. says:

    It just can’t be stressed enough that the propaganda (scare tactics) from Chamber of Commerce/Bureau of Tourism/Lodging Council are nothing more than mere hype in order to make sure that $9 million dollars will be available for them to continue to draw on.

    That letter from Jennifer Wesselhoff (Chamber of Commerce) in the voter’s publicity pamphlet, same as Lin Ennis, repeats approving Home Rule will allow “for critical capital improvements and city services” but if it does not pass “nearly $10 million in revenue generated will not be accessible for the City to utilize for important projects and services. This 30% decrease will have massive impacts on the quality of life and city services that we all enjoy.”

    By making it sound like the wolf will be at the door and ALL money cut off is deceiving and dishonest.

    She (Jennifer Wesselhoff) wrote the same message in a RRNews article on July 25th. Same old BUNK! No proof, no validity. Business as usual for them is what they want because they are running with a carte blanche and plain and simple wish to continue to do so.

    Next up on their agenda will be almost an additional $50,000 for their “Holiday Central” which offered no return on the investment made for that farce last year.

    Approval of Home Rule will allow for this questionably legitimate activity to continue. Public funds allowed to be out-sourced for advertising non-tax collecting businesses at the expense of city-based business only if they are blackmailed into being members of the Chamber of Commerce? They (Chamber, etc.) care naught about whether or the library or other long established “services” are funded since they must surely be aware they were alive and well prior to incorporation.

    It’s shameful if people believe these deceivers. Proof of that statement? Watch council meetings and see how Wesselhoff and some guy named Steve Segner spin their way and finagle to extract well over a million dollars annually without a lick of credibility. “Trust us” has been their credo for this insane money grab the majority of the council cannot see through.

    If voting NO on Home Rule will cut the bond with the lame duck majority on City Council for the outrageous financial give-away to this out-of-control Regional Chamber of Commerce, then please let it happen. HOME RULE: NO, NO, NO!

  42. Deb, Sedona says:

    I was told by 2 friends that A. Lafever has been passing herself off as a conservative!! Several republican fools that I know believed that crap & decided to vote for her because friends of theirs told them she was!! Do your own homework. She’s the most liberal of all the democrats running!! Blatant liars.

  43. All the following information can be found on the city’s website but it is interesting how much money spend to get elected to a $450 a month job (and the fact most candidates spend nothing on their own campaign, what does that say). If you add up the amount of money already spent, and there is more before Tuesday, it says that amount could fund 1.25 council terms (60 months at 450 a month).
    So here is a summary of how much people have spent and what they spent themselves or their direct household.
    Candidate Expenses Personal contribution
    LeFevre 9383 200
    Thompson 9615 50
    Jablow 3732 NONE
    Budnick 1913 NONE
    Frey 1200 1200 (self funded)
    O’Donnell 61 61 (self funded)
    Lampkin unknown self funded

    Today is the deadline to turn in the required reports, for those spending more than 250, and both mayor candidates and Robson have not turned them in as of the AM.

  44. Charles W. says:

    @Deb, Sedona

    Someone else was trying to find out the name of a male council candidate making phone calls claiming to be “the only true democrat” running for council! All I know is that it was NOT Ronald Budnick, Robert O’Donnell or Tom Lankin.

    Then we have the usual 11th hour attempt by the RRNews to sabotage the election with their editorial supporting Chamber/Steve Segner loving Sandra Moriarity. Very interesting since she is as liberal as Jessica Williamson and Angela LeFevre.

    (RRN has been known to favor the Republican party forever. Just goes to prove their attachment with the Chamber of Commerce and, of course, the fact that Chamber CEO Jennifer Wesselhoff’s husband Rick is a partner of RRN on-line version. That can be verified at the bottom of the home page web site.)

    Desperation time and probably some will buy into it. However, if so there will be a price to pay but I doubt that the RRNews will bother to mention that.

  45. And why wouldn’t the Red Rock News support Sandy Moriarty considering the tons of money spent by her campaign committee for ads in the RRN? Of course maybe they gave her a “deal” since they stand to make good profits if the Chamber continues to reap benefits from the City after Moriarty is elected.

    And wasn’t it Mark DiNunzio who suggested to someone it was all about money? Guess you just answered your own question Mr. D.

    Looks like money will dictate Sedona’s direction for at least the next two years if RRN gets their way. Don’t you just bet the outside city limits businesses are rejoicing? More free advertising is on the horizon for them but not the poor suckers in Sedona city limits unless they are members of the “regional” Chamber of Commerce.

    Truly I hope all potential visitors to Sedona read this web site to learn the ugly truth about the inner workings of Sedona. If ever there was a case of beauty being only skin deep this is it.

  46. Warren says:

    @ Robert O’Donnel – Thanks for that interesting info.

  47. To Mr. O’Donnell:

    Thank you for posting those numbers. I think that it speaks volumes about the quality of people running. Even if you don’t like the candidates, those that were able to raise cash, have the support of friends and neighbors. It also shows that you don’t have support. We will all see on Wednesday if your strategy pays of or not.

  48. Actually, I never said to anyone, “would you donate to my campaign”. Times are tough, asking someone to contribute to a campaign and take that out of their own budget is not something I do. What does it say that only Frey, Lampkin, and myself are self financed. Do the other candidates think so little of their campaigns that all they do is lend it money and don’t put their money in first?

    Even Hamilton has spent 8493 and none of his own. Robson has spent 4780 of other’s money and none of his own.
    I stand by my morals, my word, and my concern for others, I am not a paid representative of any group.

  49. I met with Mr. O’Donnell and found him to have integrity. While we may not see eye to eye on all the issues, I was “charmed” by him and his ability to think outside the box. What he doesn’t know he will ask to find out. He cares about the residents and will listen. Most importantly he knows the difference between Fiscal responsibility and a balanced budget. Knows the game of budgeting more than you make. Who could ask for more?

    Never did he ask for money. Honorable.

    I voted for Mr. O’Donnell. He also visited with many voters after we met. They came back and told me. He was “Fresh” new and not tainted by “friends” He earned their vote also.

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