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Eddie Maddock: The Tale That Wagged the Dog


SedonaEye.com columnist Eddie S. Maddock offers Sedona the best of times and the worst of times in the ongoing dispute between the Chamber of Commerce destination marketing program and its local government control in a tale of one city.

Sedona AZ – The following phrase suggesting radical opposites is from the opening paragraph of the famous Charles Dickens’ novel, “A Tale of Two Cities:”

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity …”

Considering the number of ongoing disputes here in Sedona (perhaps beginning, but most assuredly not the ending) was the idea of becoming an incorporated city. Of course that argument was settled by the voters, and the City of Sedona designation became official.

However one ongoing tug of war has existed and continues to this day and it is the extent, if any, to which the Sedona Chamber of Commerce has controlled local government. Logically it stands to reason that a member-driven, non-profit organization should not be playing the role of acting as a tail wagging the dog (City of Sedona)… especially since its primary function is to serve Chamber of Commerce members, many located outside the “city limits” and thus are unauthorized to vote, charge Sedona city sales tax, or allegedly make viable decisions within incorporated Sedona boundaries. Old news? Of course.

However a huge mistake occurred at the time Sedona was seeking a source for a “destination marketing” contract and, instead of following the guidelines set forth to obtain bids by way of RFP (Requests for Proposals) and under intense opposition, a contract was approved with what realistically was the “regional” Chamber of Commerce and war, figuratively speaking, was declared.

This conflict quite possibly has recently been resolved by the Chamber of Commerce giving written notice they would not be renewing its contract as Sedona’s official Designated Management Organization (DMO).

Sedona has newcomers on the City Council. They are smart. They are asking a lot of questions. They are astute. But perhaps best of all, they recognize Sedona residents and respect City Limits as their jurisdiction. They have also expressed interest and intent to cooperate with regards to the spirit of regional communication and indicate willingness to seek and share ideas with other Verde Valley communities, but at the same time always to respect the limitations of their jurisdiction.

At recent meetings, the Sedona City Council has graciously spoken well of the Sedona Chamber of Commerce while at the same time maintaining their position relating to the current differences of opinion existing regarding goals and direction of a DMO (Destination Marketing Organization) under which the Sedona Chamber of Commerce had been under contract. That apparently was the basis by which the C of C made their decision to not renew the contract with Sedona.

Sedona Eye Defund Chamber

Conflicts between Sedona Arizona residents and its city councils began after a council awarded a destination marketing contract to a local non-profit membership-driven organization tasked with promoting its paid members businesses and commercial interests, the Sedona Chamber of Commerce. The contract’s negative impact on city residents quality of life issues before, during and after the pandemic, resulted in contentious local elections and city council meetings. In 2023, after newly elected city council members joined existing, the Chamber program was agendized for discussion, review and action.

Recently the following was on a city council agenda:
3.a. AB 2930 Discussion/possible direction/action regarding next steps towards the development of a municipal destination marketing and management program, including a Resolution designating the City of Sedona as the official Destination Marketing Organization.

Because as it appears the transition of a DMO will revert to where many think it should have been in the first place, City Hall, a great deal of thought and logical strategy is being considered, particularly from the newer faces on City Council beginning, but not ending with hiring a professional consultant for direction.

City Council members display a sincere desire to support the premise that tourism needs to have a positive result. The majority of the city council members favor taking a slower approach, while the mayor stated that he “Can’t support waiting.”

Was expressing the need to work for “all Sedona residents and businesses” in fact a confirmed admission that during years gone by residents have, indeed, been shunned and perceivably treated like irrelevant nuisances? Is it fair to relate the overblown credit bestowed upon the Chamber of Commerce and Lodging Council as being the direct source of Sedona’s tax revenue? Has overextended and, perhaps, unprofessional pursuits actually been the cause resulting in out of control tourism creating overuse and disintegration of our most spectacular attraction, Sedona’s beauty, as well as local quality of life being shunned in the process?

Is it the obligation of Sedona government to promote businesses? No. Tourism should have positive results. Hasn’t too much time already been wasted on a “messy relationship” with the Chamber of Commerce? Yes.

It was suggested and agreed upon that most likely it will be good for the Chamber to do their own thing because, among other reasons, their vision is not the same as that of incorporated Sedona, which as presently stated is to “work for Sedona residents and businesses.” Residents, as stakeholders, should no longer be shunned and treated like second-class citizens or flatlanders.

With the task of tackling the logical decision to relocate the official DMO under the roof at Sedona City Hall, a new focus will be directed on the beauty of the area with a realistic approach and recognition of its capacity and thus indicating the need to include a method of educating our visitors. “Brand Sedona” and allow the Chamber of Commerce to deal with commercialization to benefit its members? The suggestion of an Advisory Board consisting of both residential and business participation to work in conjunction with the proposed hiring of a consultant was well received.

Newer members on the Sedona City Council were prudent in inquiring about return on investments. To-date nothing has been made available to speak to the success or failure of the contract with the Chamber of Commerce. For example, was the end result merely the extensive miles of backed up traffic? Who knows? What about success, failure, return on investment, use and participation of the newly created Sedona Transit System?

Here is the answer: In fiscal year 2023, the city’s budget for its transit program was $2,598,390 — not including an additional $75,000 in transit marketing funds paid to the Chamber of Commerce to promote the shuttles — bringing the program’s total cost to $2,673,390. On Oct. 12, 2022, the council discussed the likelihood that the transit program’s FY24 budget would be in the neighborhood of $4 million; Cost per visitor to the city on the basis of the current year’s budget is $19.09.

But all things considered, it seems logical to accept that certain changes, no matter what they are, will result in perhaps “the best of times” for some while for others they will, from their perspective, complain about suffering through “the worst of times.”

However, when seeking an answer about Sedona’s investment in the transit system, most assuredly not a profit producer, perhaps the following is the nicest tribute of all to those fortunate enough to call Sedona “Home:”

“Our ROI comes from all the residents telling us they appreciate our work to restore their neighborhood, from the over 283,000 passenger boardings we saw in a year and from the emissions reduction of 286 metric tons of C02 in the first year.” – Lauren Browne, Sedona Communications Manager.

By establishing an appropriate Sedona City Designated Management Organization and, to include an “official” City of Sedona Visitors Center to rightfully represent ALL Sedona licensed businesses, then . . . at that time . . . won’t the City of Sedona finally revert to being the “dog” who rightfully takes control of wagging its own “tail”?

The best of times?



  1. Hey Myr says:

    You were the twit that said most cities in Arizona didn’t have a chamber?

    Well you got your lunch handed to you on that one! LOL!

    Better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubts!

  2. Shep says:

    The @ sign is not a name or a tag, find your own name or moniker or ?
    Consider @Ted died and create your own identity or a fake one.

  3. Tom says:

    Biden admin tail wagging union dogs.
    Auto workers demand on strike 40 % pay hike. Biden say supports union payouts.
    Got attention bc Bidenomick raised taxes on union wages by same amount.
    Got to pay yo Daddy! Slap yo ass ets

  4. Jason Williams says:

    Well, the tale continues to wag the dogs – City Council. The city will now foot the bill for the operation of the Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center uptown. Nice free publication for all the C of C members outside city limits.

  5. RM says:

    President Biden is going to be impeached for scamming money to pad his lousy government pay, Sedona city council will get unelected because they’re incompetent, and Sedona will become its once class act after a couple decades. One can dream right?

  6. Ray says:

    can’t believe this council

  7. Eleanor says:

    What profit has that transit system made?

  8. Michele says:

    1. called dreaming @RM
    2. keep eye on it @ESM Sedona truth and light

  9. Ed Hay says:

    “Robert L. Peters” is going to blow the lid off the entire Biden Crime Family coverup. Oversight Chairman James Comer with another bombshell in the Biden family investigation. Millions of dollars paid for performance came to light with FOIA and subpoena discoveries and Biden’s secret email account used to communicate with Hunter Biden beginning while VP and one of the secret names he used. This could be the final domino, the ground has started to crumble under Biden’s web of lies and corruption, a fake wagging the Democrats tail? Was it always the plan to destroy Trump independence by running Democratic Party shills like Clinton and Biden to keep Americans subjugated to socialist ideals? Time to ask and get answers.

  10. Eddie S. Maddock says:

    For a change (and surprise) this is to acknowledge what, in my opinion, is upbeat information available on the accompanying web site video of the City Council Meeting September 26, 2023


    8. REGULAR BUSINESS a. AB 2991 Discussion/possible direction on the work program and accomplishments to date regarding the creation of a tourism bureau and the City’s new role as Sedona’s official destination management and marketing organization. b. Reports/discussion regarding Council assignments. c. Discussion/possible action regarding future meeting/agenda items.

    References made by City Manager Karen Osburn relating to Sedona residents is especially appreciated and the proposed direction for City of Sedona to take charge of marketing without allowing a special interest group to feature only their members is especially a refreshing change of policy.

    Because Sedona Eye as yet isn’t prepared to feature new articles, this information is submitted as a comment – favorable of city activity – an opportunity to hopefully share upbeat news – a rare event these days?

  11. Scott says:

    If it means what you say by city politicians shade truth!

  12. @Eddie S. Maddock says:

    How is the City undertaking any of sort of business venture “upbeat news?”

    I foresee just another bureaucracy and wasted money.

  13. Robt. Simms says:

    If “the city” intends to correct previous decisions (business ventures?) then why isn’t that upbeat news? Especially if the intended venture is meant to undo the stupid decisions made by former Mayor Rob Adams and council members Barbara Litrell and John Martinez at the time Justin Clifton was City Manager – to approve the exclusive contract with the “regional” chamber of commerce to promote ONLY their members.

    Sadly it’s been announced that “city” of Sedona is presently taking applications for a “new” City Manager because Karen Danes Osburn has given her notice to leave the position sometime next spring.

  14. Yea right zzzzzzz says:

    @rm@ed hay


  15. Eddie S. Maddock says:

    @@Eddie S. Maddock – In my opinion the “business venture” involved here is positive because the matter of promoting in-city, tax collecting businesses versus only Chamber of Commerce members is, indeed, a plus for those businesses within Sedona Limits. The past “business venture” of funding a “regional” Chamber of Commerce under ongoing questionable policies was, indeed, just that. Questionable!

    Again congratulations to City Manager Karen Osburn and the present city council members who had the courage to step up to the plate and set a misguided policy on the right track.

    Bravo! (again – In My Opinion)

  16. Debbie, Sedona says:

    City manager’s leaving why because there’s always a reason? Always Always Always Always

  17. L. W. M. says:

    Sedona’s challenge is to keep from getting rundown with growing number of older places in communities and it needs to grow up and remove the idiotic sanctuary city designation by council. Vote on it in next election and guarantee almost nobody buy self involved nuts will approve it.

  18. Pat says:

    ??ante up CM going to work for the chamber the normal city route???

  19. Old Timers says:

    It’s nice to be optimistic and hopeful for the power at city hall to be directed toward residents BUT will that direction continue to be connected with the chamber of commerce – one way or another?

    Will the proposal for the city incorporated area to take over the chamber visitors center uptown result in more money to the C of C and will the city allow it to remain the Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center & Bureau of Tourism?

    Is the current gesture merely another ruse to cover up the questionable relationship “incorporated” Sedona has had with a “regional” member-driven organization since the onset of incorporation?

    As usual time will tell. In the meantime maybe it’s best to refrain from giving accolades to the council newcomers until their true course of action is revealed?

    Just saying . . .

  20. Jim, west Sedona says:

    time usual tells they’ve been up to no good

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