Home » City Council, Community » Eddie Maddock: The Rise and Fall of Responsible Red Rock Residents continued

Eddie Maddock: The Rise and Fall of Responsible Red Rock Residents continued

SedonaEye.com columnist Eddie S. Maddock provides an insider’s view of the January 1988 incorporation of the city of Sedona in this second of a two part series The Rise and the Fall of Responsible Red Rocks Residents.

Sedona AZ (October 29, 2018) – Moving forward with the saga of the 4R’s, let us review their Mission Statement:

“Responsible Residents of the Red Rocks are committed to preserve and improve the quality of life in Greater Sedona. We take responsibility as citizens and stewards for the present and future that this unique place offers its residents (and visitors). Our vision is a community where generations of people thrive in productive harmony with each other and nature.”

Yes, words adopted at the time the 4R’s decided to incorporate and become official approximately 25 years ago, but the message continues to be echoed to this day in various forms from a variety of sources.

The 4R’s very quickly became high profile, well represented at meetings such as Planning & Zoning Commission, City Council, and others relating to pertinent issues. Statements also were quickly being circulated by opposition to demean the organization’’s credibility and portray a negative reputation.

On the other hand, there’’s documentation dated 12/03/96 indicating a reporter from a local newspaper speaking “anonymously” related the following off-the-record analysis:

(1) The 4R is very effective.
(2) The 4R has accomplished a lot and is a voice that people pay attention to.
(3) Whether a person agrees with 4R views or not, they know they need to sit up and take notice.
(4) The 4R is respected.
(5) The initiative passed, despite a strong opposition from the media.*

*Reference to voter approval of a “Sustainable Growth Ordinance.”

An overwhelming consensus among residents of Greater Sedona was garnered not long after Sedona’’s incorporation, agreeing development was abounding too much too soon. Along with incorporation came the implementation of the Wastewater Treatment Plant, up to that time a missing link for eradicating a stumbling block for contractors and their lust for developing this special place, so deemed by not only those of us living here, but likewise, and, as we all know, tourists.

As developers lined up at City Hall with their plans and seeking approval for their projects, there were those head scratchers wondering what, if anything, could be done to pull in the reins.

And, in fact, there was never a doubt how strong the consensus was in the 4R membership to attempt to slow down the process. Operative words: SLOW DOWN – (much different than STOP development altogether).

David Baron with the Center for Law in the Public Interest located in Tucson was a principal author of the 4R sponsored Sustainable Growth Initiative and, although approved by a mere 52 votes, it was a foot in the door.

Sedona AZ city view 2015

Generalizing again, the ordinance was simply intended to slow down, not stop, growth, –allowing the city’s infrastructure a chance to catch up with development. That was in May of 1996.

Sound familiar?

The Arizona Republic, Thursday, May 23, 1996, offered a fair assessment of this newsworthy accomplishment: “ Sedona Votes to Restrict City’’s Growth” indicating this was the first time ever an Arizona city had taken such aggressive action to rein in development. However, our local Red Rock News, Friday May 24, 1996, misrepresented the intent with the headline “State’s First Anti-Growth Law Approved

The door was immediately slammed on the intruding foot. The Sedona Private Property Owners Association, headed by a high profile local developer, filed a lawsuit against the city refuting the legality of the ordinance which amounted to limiting the number of new building permits issued annually to 70% of what it had been.

The 4R’s joined the city as an intervener and hired its own lawyer to help defend the ordinance, fearing the city would not vigorously defend it. However, of the three options the city had: (1) Appeal the decision; (2) Do nothing; (3) Repeal the ordinance, the city opted for number three. The city council unanimously voted to repeal the ordinance effective immediately.

Unfortunately, however, the controversial Sustainable Growth Ordinance was not the only problem facing the aggressive 4R’s. Evident by an increasing number of questions from general members relating to possible policy infractions, it was evolving into a distractive nuisance, and it was decided and thus became necessary to evoke a “Code of Ethics” to remind those serving on the Administrative Team the importance of abiding by the rules as set forth in the Articles of Incorporation of the Responsible Residents of the Red Rocks and outlined further in the official Bylaws.

This Sedona Arizona City Council has raised taxes every year and has approved new annual rate increases through 2020.

The nature of the Code of Ethics, although more lengthy, can be neatly summed up as “No commitment on any 4R’s activities or position can be made by any member of the 4Rs, at any public or private meeting, without prior Admin approval.”

Translated: Certain members of the Admin Team were improperly promoting their own agendas as 4R projects, thus misrepresenting the very essence of the purpose for which the “alliance” was established. It was discovered that trusted friends and members had even gone so far as to make unwarranted phone calls under the guise of the 4R Telephone Team. Our brilliant fundraising member, the brains behind well attended “Sedona Architect and Art Hometour” was smart enough to have registered that trade name.

Who would have thought at some future time, after the events had been as well publicized (current examples would be the Wine Fest or the annual Sedona Marathon) efforts would be exerted by 4R betrayers to use the “Sedona Architect and Art Hometour” for raising funds for unauthorized 4R endeavors?

At least two original 4R founders resigned immediately when they learned of the devious activities. Others were not so quick to follow suit. In fact, the only way to get rid of at least one of the original top three was in writing. There i’s a letter here from then-acting “President of the Responsible Residents of the Red Rocks:

“It is with sincere regret this day, the 4R Admin Team has voted unanimously to relieve you of your Admin Team duties for the overall good of our organization.””

This tidbit was newsworthy enough to make the Red Rock News. Sweet.

Forty percent of city of Sedona homes in 2018 remain without a city sewer connection

Other letters from members were received, essentially conveying the same message as the following example:

“March 17, 1997
To Whom it may concern,

In lieu of my inability to understand, or even predict the actions of certain members of the administration team regarding issues which the 4R organization is, intends, or could be contemplated to be involved in, I cannot continue to serve on the administration team.

I feel that most important information has been withheld and/or manipulated in private phone calls and administration meetings in order to control my understanding of situations which are under consideration by this body. Due to this lack of purely factual information, I have found myself in the intractable situation of having voted on issues contrary to my personal beliefs.

A recent ADOT traffic study found the majority of Sedona traffic backs up miles to drive through the Sedona city limits and continue without stopping to reach Flagstaff and Grand Canyon.

I therefore have come to the conclusion that I must resign from the administration of the 4R organization.

I thank each of you for your support and encouragement in the past and wish you each and this organization the best of luck in its endeavors.

(name withheld)”

Those words regretfully sum up reasons the once powerful efforts of what was, originally, a unified force with which to reckon, to crumble and fall. Internal betrayal, manipulation, and deceit prevailed giving new meaning to the proverb:

“Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. One should be on one’s toes and alert of one’s surroundings if malicious people are around, to ensure that they cannot wreak havoc in one’s life.”

Yes, opportunists are forever lurking about, unfortunately, at times and in places where we least expect.

Read www.SedonaEye.com for daily news and interactive views!


  1. Donna Joy Varney says:

    Thank you for another masterpiece Mrs.Eddie Maddock. You are a inspiration, excellent writer and your insights – contributions have truly helped our Sedona community gain neutral knowledge and logic. I hope that others will use this information to unite, put personal agendas aside and make positive change for Sedona’s future.

    I appreciate and adore you. Sedona’s most valuable resource. Thank you!

  2. Marty in Sedona says:

    Very interesting. ” The Sedona Private Property Owners Association headed by a high profile local developer filed a lawsuit against the city refuting the legality of the ordinance which amounted to limiting the number of new building permits issued annually to 70% of what it had been.”

    Time shares were the initial hot items not long after Sedona incorporated – massive structures without benefit of collecting bed taxes.

    It would be interesting how Sedona would look now if the SGO hadn’t been repealed by the city council. One thing hasn’t changed. It seems that was a pretty gutsy thing for them to have done – go against the will of the voters even though by such a small margin.

    Well we are and will always remain the peons. But guess that’s wrong too based on the outcome of the last election.

    “Them’s” the folks running the show past and present.

  3. Alex Brown Jr, Melody Lane says:

    SGI, SGO, Slow Growth, are popular on east and west coasts even now. What’s Sedona’s issue with it? Other than developers dying before spending all their money, what’s the downside?

  4. Richard (D) says:

    It doesn’t seem to matter whether or not a place becomes incorporated. Look at what’s going on in the VOC. Another huge resort hotel. The best thing about that though is maybe it will keep people out of Sedona. Let them park their butts out there. Then take side trips to Grand Canyon and elsewhere via Beaver Head Flat & I-17. Maybe all is not lost. In fact that new hotel out there might be an incentive to reopen a real bridge at RR Crossing. It’s about time. Hey Chamber how about making that a priority?? It would be a neat way out to Jerome and Cottonwood. Better to serve your members outside Sedona City Limits.

  5. Black Bear says:

    VOC spectacular view is now gone. Sold the view and rocks to the lowest common denominator. Greed.
    People of Sedona are jokes. Dancing with drums and pretending they have powers and higher selves. If they were anything special they’d know how to protect Mother Nature. They are only special in their own minds and those minds are whack jobs.

  6. Kay says:

    Incorporation didn’t stop that ugly cell tower in middle of Uptown or top of fire houses? Surrounded by thousands of miles of desert & they stick that (deleted by editor) next to us to kill us.

  7. Jeff says:

    Black Bear Brother Laughing with ya mate Truth be Truth

  8. Betrayal and elevating personal gain over all else says:

    Too many people in Sedona from extremely steep pyramidal power structures (authoritarian) corporate backgrounds who know little to nothing about group process for community building (consensus). 14 years observing this place and still this fits describing Sedona “leaders”. Even those people that have are grounded in long views (where we might end up if we keep going as Sedona is) don’t get along with each other enough to get traction on changing much. Start with civility and learning to listen, paraphrase what you think you heard and continue discussion – civilly. Just dreaming…

  9. Jerry, Legitimate Sedona Voter says:

    Hmmm MY bet would be it was those amateur drum beating types that managed to infiltrate the Responsible Residents of the Red Rocks organization? Sound plausible? They lurk and smirk as they snatch grab for secret agendas.

  10. What's another legitimate Sedona voter got to say? says:

    But really the sneaks that took down the 4R group were they any different than the city council members elected to fight ghastly lights on W89A? Then to turn around and make a deal with ADOT to own the State Highway? Dumb Stupid Ignorant. At least the group that got together to fight overturn and issue a law to never let that decision be made again without voter approval probably didn’t have enough time for their efforts (Referendum AND Initiative) to be usurped – even by Yellow T-Shirt Bumblebees! It can be done! Short term and one issue just might be a better and safer method?

  11. Claud Thierry, BC (with help) says:

    A Canadian snowbird and wife Marie arrived 14-October Lake Havasu RV park area decided to relocate to Indian Rocks, Florida for the winter months because of immigrants breaching America’s nearby border.

    We enjoyed driving to Sedona and met a news writer during midday meal at Burger King and introduced to this fine website to submit our reviews. Terrific rocks quite stunning peaceful drive. We thought a full day visit think quite right for half day. Now to United States Highway 40 away from Arizona and the unstable border. Keep safe America.

  12. Deb Elwood says:

    @melodylane you’re right

  13. Jerry, Legitimate Sedona Voter says:

    It was a bad mistake when that same council (those wanting city to take ownership of W89A) also voted to do away with commissions and form these secret no/name committees who make decisions that aren’t made public until after the fact. As it’s been mentioned many times on SedonaEye, transparency in local government it appears was deliberately eliminated by really, really bad council members who served only their own agendas and NOT the voting residents of Sedona, Babs, Robbie you know who you are. Too bad we don’t have a Responsible Residents of the Red Rocks city council will listen to. But that will never happen based on the results of the last Sedona election.

  14. Sedona Karen says:

    MSM says the economy is the best it’s ever been and they said it was Trump’s doing. Now watch the low IQers go vote for Democrats. Hey folks you had 8 years of crappy economy. Democrats you need lobotomies if you vote party. I like my new job and my 401k growing. This Democrat is #walkaway today.

  15. Joan, VOC says:

    If republicans don’t vote, kiss your world goodbye. If veterans don’t vote republican than kiss your new benefits goodbye if Democrats get back in. Arizona Democrats are crazy leftists like McGaskill says about her on party in Missouri. Vote Republican for jobs.

  16. John Daniels says:

    Our own Sedona government has gone blue. So why wouldn’t national politics follow suit? After all isn’t Sedona the trend setter for the entire country? To listen to the City Council and local Chamber of Commerce that’s what they’d have you believe. Such nonsense. But that’s just one guy’s opinion.

  17. Randi says:

    I applaud Sedona Times for not taking editorial stands again this year. You are my media heroes.

  18. Eddie Maddock says:

    @Randi – Not speaking on behalf of the Editor/Publisher but as a contributor to SedonaEye I’m extending my own appreciation and thanks for your astute observation.

    All comments are welcome and published without bias. Almost an unknown policy to find this day and age. Not requiring actual names is, of course, at the discretion of the Editor/Publisher and although highly controversial it does offer an opportunity for opinions from those who are reluctant to enter into the mix the chance for their two cents as well as opposition. A double-edged blade of sorts but nevertheless results in interesting exchanges.

    Thanks to you “Randi” for your favorable acknowledgment.

  19. Josh - Sedona City says:

    what I find of particular interest is that so many comments complaining about anonymity are from people who refrain from using their own names.
    Go figure.

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