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Eddie Maddock: To Buy or Not To Buy

SedonaEye.com columnist Eddie Maddock reports on the Sedona closed to the public March 24, 2020 City Council Meeting.

Sedona AZ – Due to the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic mandate requiring individuals to remain socially distanced by at least ten feet, the Sedona City Council meeting on March 24, 2020 was, perhaps as an understatement, peculiar if not downright eerie. In center seat at the dais as usual was Mayor Sandy Moriarty flanked by City Councilwoman Jessica Williams in her typical end seat far to the Mayor’s left and Councilman John Currivan seated at the opposite end. Vice Mayor John Martinez and remaining Council members, Bill Chisholm and Scott Jablow, were strategically located in seats generally occupied by Sedona residents. At the onset of the meeting Mayor Moriarty acknowledged that in conforming to the proclamation of March 18, 2020, this City Council Meeting would not be open to the public in compliance with Coronavirus restrictions.

In order to address some public concerns, Councilman Currivan made the request for more discussion relating to consent agenda 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. Specifically he cited concerns relating to a possible scope of unknown results, particularly with regard to the potential for economic decline and even a recession.

With current lodging occupancy dropping 70% to 75%, essentially shuttered restaurants except for takeout or delivery and other businesses slipping toward the brink of closing and, with Sedona’s primary source of revenue, its sales tax obviously in jeopardy, wasn’t Councilman Currivan’s question exceptionally timely and appropriate?

City Manager Justin Clifford, however, offered assurance that necessary funds could safely be transferred from Uptown parking meter proceeds and purchasing the property at this time would preserve the ability to maintain progress on a long term project: Providing Sedona with a much needed parking structure.

Sedona AZ Forest Road viewpoint – Exclusive SedonaEye.com photo credit Eddie S. Maddock 2019

A stipulation in the 430 Forest Road Real Estate Purchase and Sale Agreement between the City of Sedona, Buyer, and Daniel E. Saunders, Trustee of the Daniel Saunders Revocable Trust, Seller, included agreement that no commissions shall be paid and Buyer (City) agrees to leaseback the Property to Seller at no cost for a period of up to nine (9) months from the date of the Agreement. Both parties agreed to employ Empire West Title Company as the Escrow, and enhanced the affirmation that neither party has contracted with, retained or otherwise employed a real estate broker relative to this Agreement.

Motion to approve was unanimous by Sedona City Council.

Therefore, the second of two transactions to create an Uptown parking facility is now in progress. The first, of course, is the land presently owned by the Sedona Chamber of Commerce, allegedly to be deeded to the City of Sedona at some future date.

Is that not a catchy phrase? “At some future date” who will be seated on the Sedona City Council? Who will be the City Manager? Sedona has been advertising for another City Attorney, and likewise there will be a turnover of other staff members.

Will this well-meaning transaction ultimately be justified, or down the road stifled with redirection for purposes unrelated to the stated cause for which it was purchased?

Or eventually will that questionable acquisition slip through the cracks and become a permanent, but unwarranted asset of a Chamber of Commerce, obligated to serve only their members, many outside Sedona City Limits and not contributing to the city tax base.

But most of all, when and if Sedona merchants including the lodging industry fail to produce adequate revenue to maintain even the barest essentials at City Hall, what will be the source of funding?

Sedona residents sit back and consume a breath of fresh air and sigh with relief. We do NOT have a Sedona property tax. You see in the darkest of times there is always something for which to be grateful, and in Sedona one really needn’t look too far.

195 Comments

  1. Granville says:

    National and local chambers of commerce are responsible for locating efforts to offshore our supply chains. Game’s up, Chambers.

  2. Granville says:

    Hit submit before adding link. Figure it out yourself and look how much money to Democrats in Sedona benefitted. Don’t believe for a second that the Chamber has anything to do with American prosperity but in American denigration and how many items did you buy that say made in China since this Wuhan flu began? If more than a dollar than you are like the people of Europe that stood by in WWII like the 3 monkeys….

    …about the American Chamber of Commerce in the People’s Republic of China (AmCham China)….The American Chamber of Commerce in the People’s Republic of China (AmCham China) is a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization whose membership compromises more than 3,300 individuals from 900 companies operating across China. The chamber’s mission is to help American companies succeed in China through advocacy, information, networking and business support services. The chamber provides information, networking opportunities, business support services, and advocacy to promote a mutually beneficial bilateral business environment for the United States and China.[1]

    AmCham China is the only officially recognized chamber of commerce representing American businesses in Mainland China. AmCham China has more than 50 industry- and issue-specific forums and committees.[1] These working groups serve as a platform for the American business community and other organizations in China to foster understanding, share information, pursue common interests, promote trade and investment, and strengthen cooperation.[2]

    AmCham China’s headquarters are located in Beijing. In addition to a Tianjin Chapter, it has a Central China Chapter based in Wuhan and a Northeast China Chapter with offices in Dalian and Shenyang.

    2+2=whatever communist China tells the American Chamber to say and do.

  3. Say What? says:

    If vacation renters are in hibernation then please inform us who are all the strangers and literally their dogs walking our neighborhoods? Keep in mind all vacation renters do NOT contract via Air B&B a trade name only. Many vacation rentals are contracted directly with the property owners under the radar and not subject to collect taxes.

    The writing’s on the wall. Thankful here to have missed the TV performances of Sedona Mayor and her sidekick from the Chamber of Crap (oops – typo) Commerce. The writing’s on the wall – they’re lining up to bid for millions of city $$$$ to reinvent Sedona after the dust settles. as if they had anything to do with Sedona having been discovered in the first place.

    Keep in mind cheaters never win AND KARMA LIVES.

  4. I LOVE THE CITY COUNCIL AND CHAMBER says:

    APRIL FOOLS !!!!!
    HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA

    The city Council, Sedona Chamber and City management are the biggest joke in Sedona. NO fooling !!!

  5. Jerry Uptown says:

    City Council might want to rethink that $480,000 for the Forest Road property. It might be put to better use (judging from the C of C obvious control of Sedona) to add it to the multi-millions of $$$$ that will most likely be forthcoming to promote Sedona. More waste of money. Wonder if the Chamber CEO has forfeited any of that $12,000 monthly salary or related “fringes”? Ha – bet NOT!

    And then there’s the pathetic example of a “city manager” and his side-kick “asst. city manager”. Funny how many years Sedona survived without that added annual expense.

    All should be ashamed of the wasteful spending over and above the $480,000 on the table for a piece of land they don’t even need. City Council, time to claim your rightful ownership from the C of C of the property on Jordan Road.

    Just like the rest of us who put in one leg at a time to pull up our panties so do you! That is if any of you even wear pants or have the balls to set the city manager straight on his ill-conceived self-indulged action of extending the chamber commerce financial give-away to EIGHT YEARS.

    Corona virus doesn’t play favorites.

  6. Air B&B carnage says:

    “Of the four million Airbnb hosts out in the world, one-tenth are considered “Superhosts””

    Yes, 400,000.

    Each superhost has 10, 20, 30 houses…each with a mortgage.

    Avg price 500k
    Avg downpayment 7% (35k)

    This is a ticking time-bomb…a repeat of the 2008 fiasco.

    Sedona tourist trapped all the small town charm out of the place. Please, look at all the retail vacancies today, and this has just begun. Imagine Sedona as a ghost town with no charm. It’s not coming back in our lifetimes, plan accordingly.

  7. @segner says:

    Tell your boys and girls at city hall to learn how to do their jobs. NOW. LIKE EXPERIENCED PEOPLE IN OTHER PLACES WHO KNOW WHAT GOVERNMENT DOES WITH THEIR MONEY. CALL ILLINOIS CALL FLORIDA CALL IDAHO etc etc etc

    Desantis said he’s going to take advantage of fewer cars on the roadways by accelerating several, multi-billion dollar transportation projects in Miami-Dade, Tampa, and Orlando areas. For ex. accelerating Sand Lake Rd. Project in #Orlando by 4-6 weeks.

    1:30 PM – Apr 1, 2020

  8. James Harrington says:

    No longer having the ability to sit in silence, while digesting this entire scenario one thing comes to mind.

    Interesting comparison: Sedona City Hall/Chamber of Commerce/Vacation Rentals. What do they have in common? Something to ponder.

    Sadly but realistically, when stripped bare naked, do they really amount to anything other than representatives of renowned “Houses of Ill Repute?”

    ALL OF THEM . . . . .

  9. stoolpidgeon sammy says:

    It must not be so bad, like San Diego 2008, when gas was $5.99 a gal…our 65% hood is fully-packed with the short-term rentals.

  10. Kristen Norby, Chino Valley says:

    House rentals are preferred way to travel today. Nobody likes the hotel scene because of sanitation issues with many people crowded in without any connection and relying on people to clean after them that don’t care. The hotel renters don’t care either to keep things nice. Houses are take care by the people investing in them. I’ve made many lasting friends traveling to homes and none traveling to hotels. Hope this explains how they’re preferred.

  11. Former Sedona Resident says:

    As the saying goes, hindsight is 20-20. And in a way that’s been the case since moving from Sedona and relocating. Occasionally the thought of “what if I’d stayed” pops up. Well, no longer.

    Reading of the ongoing decline and trashing of a once special, spiritual, positive energized place it’s sad but not so much for me – having lived there prior to this dismal decline.

    Laughing through the sadness, however, and given the choice of City Hall, the Chamber of Commerce, or rip-off vacation renters, my option would be None of the Above . An independent agent would be a preferred choice.

    Translated: A hooker on a corner of W89A sounds far more appealing IMO.

  12. Steven Richards says:

    Someone posted a comment someplace on Sedona Eye that the Grand Canyon can’t be closed! Unable to locate that comment but this is to inform that person – and others – that, indeed, the Grand Canyon HAS been SHUT DOWN!

    It is closed to visitors!

    Maybe the City Council should take a page out of the Federal Government rules and regulations and immediately sever their ties with the regional chamber of commerce, including giving them any money, and cancel that contract to purchase the Forest Road property and just for once, do the right thing! Represent Sedona residents which is why they were elected – and not to exclusively serve special interests that buy Sedona elections. Just another opinion – BUT – Grand Canyon, closed, now that’s a fact.

  13. Aaron Thompson says:

    It is disgusting that the mayor and six-figure-salary chamber CEO went on Phoenix TV this week to tell everyone there that Sedona will “welcome them back with open arms.” This shows just how jaded they have become. Their free time is not spent helping people in Sedona but assuring tourists that it will be business as usual when this pesky little pandemic is over.

    Let’s think about what they could be doing right now instead of once again promoting tourism, shall we?

    They could meet with the city manager to ask him to re-think his foolish recommendation to spend $500,000 on a parking garage. Although he might not be bright enough to realize that the pandemic will have long lasting economic effects, perhaps (fingers crossed) at least four of the other city council members might just have a little more intellectual candle power. The effects of this pandemic will go way, way beyond a drop in tourism. It will affect every part of the Arizona. U.S. and world economy, including health care costs over the long haul, and that is going to increase city costs, too. Now is not the time to spend $500,000 on something that we don’t need. Save that money to offset future cost increases against dwindling revenues. I am aghast at the ignorance of suggesting that now is the time to buy a parking garage, and the ignorance of the city council going along with that. Anybody who read the newspapers in late February could have known this was going to be more than a little something that would pass in a few months. That is, if you read something other than the Red Rock News and its reports on the Scorpion Swim Team.

    The chamber could use all the down time of the tourism operators to hold virtual meetings and come up with a real, sincere, effort to create “sustainable tourism,” which means reduced tourism, not just an attempt to paper over the problem with a fake project. Real means using a good portion of your precious advertising money to implement the plan and help the tourism industry implement the plan, and helping some businesses get out of the tourism business. Oh, sorry, I forgot … I guess we already fixed everything by reducing the amount of straws put beside the tourists’ $20 hamburgers. My bad.

    Spend the slow time figuring out how the city will downsize and reallocate money to prepare for the prolonged recession and turnaround period, rather than trying to figure out ways to keep all the city employees at full salaries. Like furloughs, reduced salaries, more part time, less money spent on advertising and paying for the chamber CEO’s salary.

  14. Thomas B. says:

    @Aaron Thompson – the only thing flawed about your comments are: THEY ARE BASED ON GOOD, COMMON SENSE!!!!!

    Sadly it seems it would be easier for Sedona City Management (includes city council) to grasp the concept of an alien like “ET” than a “common sense theory.”

    Their focus is on one thing: The misnamed “Sedona” Chamber of Commerce!!! (somewhere along the way they tacked on something about “tourism bureau” to further distort the image – IMO)

    Prediction: City of Sedona will plod onward with the acquisition of the Forest Road property and use this global disaster as another scam to procure the services of a “regional” C of C for more trumped-up reasons.

    Sad situation, indeed, but nothing lasts forever. Even this horrible corona-virus is sending a message, apparently foreign to the egocentrics occupying City Hall.

    With any luck Sedona will go broke and let them just try to go after residents to bail them out. Too many property owners these days don’t even live here but rake in big bucks from their short-term vacation rentals! Why should they care if those likely temporary money-making investments go broke? When the bottom falls out those, too, will become history. Their bucks will already be in the bank.

    Thanks, Gov. Ducey. How about moving to Sedona and running for Mayor or City Council?

  15. Steve Segners says:

    Thomas B. Says:
    You act as if by living in Sedona you are due some special privileges you are not.
    The city council represents all the citizens and visitors to Sedona.
    80% of Sedona tax income comes from visitors and the city understands that.
    : Sedona sits on two state high ways and has always been a tourist town and will remain so. The mayor took the actions to ask people to not come to Sedona for a while I applied her for her actions.

    Aaron Thompson say,s it is disgusting that the mayor and six-figure-salary chamber CEO went on Phoenix TV this week to tell everyone there that Sedona will “welcome them back with open arms.
    Aaron that is not how it went down they went on TV and said do not come to Sedona NOW……. It was a bold move for a mayor of a Tourist town….. And just what are you doing ? Helping at the food bank? Whither you live in Sedona rent in Sedona own a second home in Sedona or work in Sedona make no difference there is nothing wrong with second homes or people buying for investment or people making a living in Sedona from tourism, Aaron you do not make the rules and you do not own the moral high ground.

  16. Jason Williams says:

    Sedona Mayor Moriarty went on TV and dragged the CEO of the chamber of commerce with her? Another example of arrogance of power to give exposure and special recognition to a member-driven organization. Disappointing, Mayor Moriarty. Never knew her to be so blatantly biased. Wasn’t Vice Mayor Martinez qualified or up to your presently questionable standards to appear with you on television?

    And why should City of Sedona be giving money to a regional chamber of commerce for advertising ONLY their members @Aaron Thompson – or anything else for that matter? What a disservice to non-chamber members of Sedona businesses who contribute to city tax base when so many chamber members are outside City Limits and do NOT collect city taxes.

    Let the Rip-Off continue because it won’t last forever. If the City of Sedona gets outside State or Federal funding will they continue to watch non-chamber member Sedona businesses become shuttered, empty store fronts while they continue to promote only Chamber members? They are so clueless it’s frightening.

    City Hall, give up your allegiance to the Chamber of Commerce and do the job for which you were elected. NO SPECIAL INTERESTS!

  17. @steve Segner says:

    I don’t believe you. I have fact checked your numbers and they are FAKE.

    You are a special interest that the taxpayers are subsidizing. If you were such a sustainable and great business you wouldn’t be begging, pushing your agenda on the people. Stand up and become a man pay your own bills. IMO

  18. Sedona Tourist trap future says:

    As I have the ability to see the future, I can clearly see Sedona’s future to be that of a Thanksgiving Turkey. Many days of growth followed by a sharp demise.

    The turkeys running Sedona don’t see this coming. Having interacted with some of those currently in charge, it could not happen to a more deserving group.

    They will meet the fate of all Thanksgiving turkeys.

    Karma wins again.

  19. Ellen C. says:

    I’m one of those Sedona residents who goes with the flow most times, but I, too, have become so disillusioned and turned off by the actions of the city council and city manager. It feels like everything they do and every decision they make is only about “supporting” tourism and the tourism businesses. Anyone who disagrees is dismissed as somehow not being smart enough to understand the way a city should be operated, or a nut, or having a personal grudge.

    Aaron has a point. Why not use this horrible pandemic as an opportunity to change the way we think, and come up with some new ideas and a new vision of Sedona as a real community, not just a tourist trap? Cottonwood has very successfully made that city a real community that balances tourism and services for its residents.

    The chamber of commerce needs to become a real chamber of commerce that exists to help businesses, not a “tourism bureau” that promotes and manages tourism. Why can’t the city show leadership and help them to change, and figure out a plan to help and promote businesses that are not tourist businesses?

    The economic fallout from this pandemic means that many of the local tourist-oriented businesses in Sedona will fail. Not might, but will, but because they won’t be able to outlast all the effects the pandemic will have, which will go way beyond declines in visitation. Now is the time to turn the chamber of commerce into an organization that can help these business owners find their talents to run a business that is not focused on tourism. I believe they have the brains and talent to do this, but they will need help. Why can’t the city focus on helping them instead of continuing to do the same old thing, which is to shovel money at the tourism bureau, for the purpose of tourism promotion?

    I don’t mean to be unkind, but I don’t think the current CEO of the chamber would be capable of making this transition. She has put all of her eggs into the tourism basket, for many years, and has shown that she is not willing to change. She can still manage the tourism function in a new and different iteration of the chamber of commerce at a smaller salary and title, or run a separate tourism program using member fees from the tourist folks, and only the minimum portion of revenues that the state requires.

    The city should take the rest of the money and help support a new, different chamber of commerce that operates as real chamber and will work to help new or transitioning business owners to develop businesses that are not tourism dependent.

    If our city manager and city council don’t get the message from this pandemic that we need to stop being completely dependent on tourism, then they – and we, the people who allowed them to run our city – deserve everything bad that happens to us.

  20. Ronnie W. says:

    Why won’t “city of” Sedona follow other policies such as Flagstaff and give NOTHING to the chamber of commerce? Camp Verde doesn’t even have a chamber. As for the Pres/CEO of the C of C here she apparently has so much time on her hands she’s also on the Board of Directors of Northern Arizona Healthcare! IMO that’s almost as scary if not scarier than the “horrible pandemic.”

  21. Karolyn says:

    While the Sedona city council and city manager decide to move head with a $500,000 parking garage, here is what the city council of Tempe, Arizona is doing. This is from the Arizona Republic newspaper ….

    “The [Tempe] council on March 26 approved transferring $750,000 from the city’s contingency budget to the emergency response budget for city expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The anticipated expenses include paying employee sick time, purchasing equipment and supplies to provide medical assistance, cleaning city facilities and purchasing equipment to make it easier for employees to work remotely.

    Department directors have been asked to spend conservatively through the rest of the fiscal year, which runs through June, and the City Manager’s Office must OK any new hires, Nikki Ripley, a city spokesperson, said.

    Longer term, Tempe looks to scale back on capital projects and stow away cash. This comes after city staff members on March 19 proposed a five-year capital improvements budget — the largest capital budget ever considered by the city — at just over $800 million.

    The budget was put together prior to the health crisis and likely will be significantly altered to reflect the current downturn, said Ken Jones, Tempe’s chief financial officer.

    Jones said staff recommends postponing proposed projects that were to be paid with cash. Those funds would instead go for day-to-day operations, if needed.

    “We think we should hold onto that cash,” he said. “We don’t think we should use cash that could also be used for operations on day one of the next fiscal year to start funding capital projects when we might need it to maintain operations.”

    How stupid is Sedona’s city leadership? Wait, don’t answer that!

  22. Tony Tonsich says:

    If you want change, I have two recommendations.

    1) Dis-incorporate. Shut the city down permanently.

    2) Run for City Council or get out and work for those that are running that share your point of view. Even if you win one election, there is always a very good chance that someone that believes in Tourists First, will win the next election and you will go back to where we are now.

    We are going to be in an economic collapse for quite some time. It is always a good time to reduce layers of government and waste. I don’t recommend running for Sedona office this year. Let those that thought Sedona should only be a Tourist trap get what they deserve.

  23. Steve segner says:

    1) Dis-incorporate. Shut the city down permanently. Idiot can not happen the city has bonds and is split by two counties…….
    2. Elections signatures must be in this week go for it
    3. You say We are going to be in an economic collapse for quite some time.
    Wrong city and business are working on kick starting tourism as we speak. That is why we have the 5% bed tax, using a tax on visitors to pay for it.
    the Mayor has to ask visitors to stay away this week…..

  24. John Daniels W Sedona says:

    Mr. Tonsich:

    Why would a resident of Cornville continue to weigh in our Sedona business?

  25. @Karolyn says:

    You keep conpairing apples and orenges and since you think that Tempe is so much better why are you still living in Sedona?

  26. @Steve segner says:

    segner is dreaming again. Tourism is down to nothing, the mayor has ordered shops closed and he thinks there are so many tourists the mayor has to tell them to stay away. He would like to believe his high times will go on forever, even when they have already stopped.

    segner reminds me of the man that jumped off the top of a 50 story skyscraper. When passing the 10th floor, he yells out “So far so good !” segner of the tourist collapse, “So far so good.”

    As Mr Daniels can’t see past the end of her nose, Mr Tonsich weighs in from Cornville because the excessive Sedona Chamber advertising was driving demand for Air B&B in Cornvile.

  27. Joe & Roberta T, Sedona says:

    We wonder what the deal is with John Daniels in West Sedona and the apparent grudge he has against Tony Tonsich? Doesn’t appear to have anything to do with whether or not the city spends half million dollars for property? Hmmmm…… some kind of ax to grind over sour grapes or something???

  28. @John Daniels W Sedona says:

    Mr Tonish has as much rights as steve segner and all the chamber cronies that run city hall, they also use their business address when the live outside the city limits. City employees who control and direct city council don’t live in the city limits.

    Please give it up. It is not flattering for someone in your position.

  29. Marv, Sedona says:

    Miracles do happen!

    Article in today’s Arizona Republic “Forest shuts Sedona’s most popular Red Rock trails” fails to mention the chamber of commerce. And the interview with Mayor Moriarty also didn’t include the chamber’s big-shot know-it-all (she thinks) brazen leader!

    Yep – if ya look closely there’s usually an opportunity to turn a sour lemon into lemonade. Yes indeed!

  30. YAVAPAI = D- says:

    https://www.unacast.com/covid19/social-distancing-scoreboard

    Stay in People.

    Stop wasting energy on to buy or not to buy. It is irrelevant. You lost any power about 5 years ago. Move on or just move.

  31. Tony Tonsich says:

    You’ll notice that 99% of the attacks on me are just personal attacks, not a argument against the points I have made. Thy don’t even try to argue facts.

    There are millions in misspent city funds at stake in my option. To those on the receiving end of that money it is a huge deal. For the residents , it is only a few hundred a month. Many of them, like myself , when they get fed up enough try and do something about it or vote with their feet.

    Those in power love power. You can tell by the apparently vindictive actions of our city management. If you run for office opposing those on the take, they will mobilize, lie and run multiple candidates to make sure you do not get into office. I saw it first hand.

    The only solution in my option is to shut the city down. Contrary to what some say here, it can be done. It just takes a will of the residents.

    My bet, judging by the huge amount of empty retail as the shut down has just started, is the continued movement to Sedona becoming a ghost town. Next time you drive through Sedona look at all the empty retail storefronts. Look at the closed school in the village. Look at the previous to Corona bumper to bumper traffic, only half of which stopped in Sedona.

    These are not the signs of a healthy well run city.

    If it were me, I would wait for the coming depression to take it’s toll. The problem may solve itself.

  32. Tonsich' former neighbor says:

    To Tony Tonsich,

    I have to agree with John Daniels a few posts above, It’s been almost two years since your failed attempt at the mayor’s seat and for the most part, you lost because you proved to us that you were not as well informed as you thought. As one of your former neighbors, I know that Sedona made the right choice.

    I too don’t know why you continue to weigh in with your “know it all” comments when we all know that you don’t “know it all”.

    As John Roberts said, you moved to Cornville so go bother them on in their case, the County. Who knows maybe you can share your wisdom so Windmill Park won’t flood anymore.

  33. Loren J. says:

    Speaking of the last election @To Tony Tonsich, let’s not forget there was also the issue of Home Rule on the ballot.

    Those on the take (non-profits) promoted the scare tactics such as Sedona Recycles claimed “they would stop functioning” (as if the important ones like Humane Society and Library didn’t exist prior to incorporation).

    Then the good old RR New did their customary hatchet job editorial against Tony T. in the last issue prior to the election.

    And let’s not forget the brilliant scholars of that Arizona Liberty group who brought in an unknown third party candidate for mayor at the 11th hour. A cinch for the reelection of Sandy Moriarty and the final nail in the coffin for Tony Tonsich, allegedly much disliked by a top non-elected employee at city hall.

    Only if opposition organizes, forms an official Political Action Committee (PAC) and prepares to campaign door-to-door will things change. And with the dwindling number of registered voters in Sedona (thanks to vacation rentals) it isn’t likely to happen.

    City Council, go ahead, proceed with staff’s recommendation to purchase that property for $500,000 and then as tax revenue dwindles because of the dreadful global virus, watch uptown step out of the ghostly yet beautiful shadows of a once thriving and charming center for authentic visitors to Sedona instead of the common tourist-trap monster it’s become.

  34. Observation says:

    Isn’t it a hoot how some people go to great lengths to divert readers from comments about this particular subject: Sedona City Affairs (literally?)

    For example, the comment from n95 respirator on Coconino County Sheriff’s Office Labor Day 2019 Holiday Activity.

    Operative words to prove my point: “LABOR DAY 2019 HOLIDAY ACTIVITY”

    Upside? It must be gratifying to the Editor/Publisher of Sedona Eye to have readers devoted to such in-depth research.

    Nuf’ said!

  35. @To Tony Tonsich says:

    I can’t speak to every one of your points but I do remember the articles in the RRN. You can call them hatchet jobs but to those who actually read the paper, we saw many points that were highlighted where Tonsich made comments and opinions that were far from facts. Tonsich had several chances to backpedal but chose to dig his heels in the sand, not surprising we came to realize. While you say that AZ Liberty brought in an unknown third candidate the same can be said about Tonsich. AZ Liberty put their money where their mouths were to support someone who was far from an unknown. Pete Conrad is actually a very nice person. Tonsich had no support from anyone so, who’s really the “unknown”.

    (deleted by editor)

  36. Best Case Scenario? says:

    Sedona extends purchases to include that Forest Road property. And then they, of course, rely on the amateur expertise(?) of the chamber of commerce to campaign (for a high price) to pull Sedona out of the financial slump to which it’s currently headed. Don’t think so? Tax revenue from empty stores doesn’t amount to much. End result = bankrupt!

    Oh how sweet would that be? Bonds are defaulted. Defunct incorporated Sedona returns to jurisdiction of split counties from with it arose (Coconino and Yavapai), and we go back to some sanity without all this local tug-of-war that’s been a disaster from the beginning. And now it’s gone from bad to worse. Big government – was never supposed to happen. Time to let it go?

  37. Karin Thompson, Sedona says:

    Another exemplary job of cutting though the BS at city hall meetings.

  38. Team Building says:

    As I recall the Soy Boy’s of the Sedona Red Rock News claimed Tonsich could not read a financial statement.

    I was in a meeting where previous SFD Chief Kazain challenged Tonsich about the accuracy of his claim staff had charged a hotel and dinner at a 4 star resort on 12/31.

    I watched as Tonsich pulled the copy of accounts payable and handed them to Chief Kazian, who was also on the Sedona City Budget Committee.

    Kazian verified the date as 12/31 on accounts payable. Kazian had nothing else to say. Not that the events were necessarily related, but Kazain soon after quit SFD and moved from Sedona.

    The Sedona Red Rock News claimed Tonsich was ” the worst candidate ever to run”. Or was it the city could not keep their books and Tonsich was supposed to verify every transaction on accounts payable?

    We have people in charge that do not even bother to verify staff stays in 4 star resorts on “Team Building” retreats.

    They should not build a parking garage, parking garages do not ” maintain the small town character” of Sedona.

    Maybe they can have a team building exercise in a 5 star resort to discuss the parking garage?? That is something every small town does. NOT

  39. Jason Williams says:

    ” AZ Liberty put their money where their mouths were to support someone who was far from an unknown. Pete Conrad is actually a very nice person.” @@To Tony Tonsich

    If that were true then why wasn’t Pete Conrad elected Mayor? Should have been a no brainer.

    PS – Wasn’t splitting votes between Conrad and Tonsich the real no-brainer? All it did was assure reelection for Sandy Moriarty.

  40. steve Segner says:

    Best Case Scenario, Don’t think so? Tax revenue from empty stores doesn’t amount to much.
    Bed tax pays for all marketing not sales tax or locals, bed tax controlled by city council not chamber.

    hope that helps

  41. Same Ole same Ole says:

    An anonymous person acuses someone by name for not retracting an unspecified statement.

    I’m sure Mr Tonsich will apologize immediately. HAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA

    When Sedona tax revenues go below expenses, our professional City management will say, “No one could have seen this coming. ” What should we do with this empty parking structure?

    I can’t think of a more useless structure when there is not demand for one.

  42. Jess Wundrin says:

    “Bed tax pays for all marketing not sales tax or locals, bed tax controlled by city council not chamber.” @steve Segner

    What is the occupancy of Sedona’s hotels/motels during this current virus epidemic?

    Are you saying local economy from bed tax will sustain this poor excuse of a city through this economic downturn? Good luck with that one!

    You are correct about one thin Segner. The city council who authorized the great ongoing give-away of millions of bed tax rebate to a regional and unaccountable chamber of commerce were fools. Nothing to date has replaced them with the guts to retract or correct the idiotic blunder IMO!!

  43. @steve Segner says:

    Mr Segner,

    As you are so close the the City Council and staff:

    1) Why are there so many empty stores?
    2) Why are the stores already vacant when the virus epidemic just started?
    3) Of the few remaining stores, how many will never re-open?
    4) Have they talked to local realtors about all the recent listings of previous Air B&B’s ?
    5) Who are they going to tax to make up for the lost revenue?
    6) Does anyone think it might be a good time to wait before buying more city property?
    7) Do you think it might be wise to stop paying Millions to the Greater Sedona Chamber for sustainability education and move those funds to the general fund?

    Pray tell us all those writing as Segner.

  44. Hal Johnson says:

    It’s definitely different here in Sedona these days and pleasantly so. With the uncertainty of the future this city council would be fools to spend half-a-mil on the Forest Road property or any other for that matter. That Jordan Road plot of land sits as a disgraceful eyesore – not even needed for extra parking these days.

    Wonderful change even though it’s taken dreadful circumstances to make it happen. Wise up, city council. For once force the aggressive city manager and his sidekicks to pull in the reins. We don’t need their big city ideas including multi storied parking structures.

    Thank you.

  45. steve Segner says:

    1) Why are there so many empty stores?
    Perhaps you have noticed we are in the middle of a statewide stay at home order! Nothing to do with city government or the chamber, the job of the city, chamber and the lodging association is to help get business up and running when the Governor says it is ok.
    Sedona has a huge following in Phoenix and you can bet the it is safe we will be marketing statewide. Hotels are working on programs now. Some of us are not just sitting home complaining.

  46. Wunder Y. says:

    “Sedona has a huge following in Phoenix” @steve Segner.

    If that’s the case, then why would you waste money on advertising? And aren’t Phoenix tourists mostly just traffic clogging day trippers? DUH!

    Typical Chamber/Lodging revenue grabbing reaction. When will we (if ever) get city council members who aren’t bought and paid for buy the greed mongers?

  47. MikeH says:

    Here is a predictive strategy that will, guaranteed, improve your prognostication batting average. Whenever you make a prediction about a government, predict the worst outcome you can think of. The only surprise will be that you’re probably not pessimistic enough.

  48. @steve Segner says:

    Perhaps you should read question 2.

    Remember the elementary school test that said read everything before doing anything? You are one of the more intelligent people writing as segner, although that is not saying much. I think the whole lot of you writing as segner have about an 80 IQ.

  49. @steve Segner says:

    Even though on your undeserved six figure salary you can now afford nice clothes, it does not make you intelligent. For your reference I have included the definition of an 80 IQ.

    IQ 80 Score Meaning. … Individuals who get an IQ score within the range of 80 to 89, according to one of the more detailed modern psychometrics scale, are ‘below average’ intelligent. IQ 80 falls under this category, being on the very bottom of the range, just above ‘borderline retarded’.

    People with low IQ believe in building a parking garage during a depression.

  50. Morris T. says:

    Hal Johnson, I agree with your perspective but disagree with one assumption.

    I agree that the Jordan Road property is an eyesore, and is unneeded (and never really was needed, anyway, even before the coronavirus recession. Also, that our city council members are fools. Not only have they agreed to purchase land for a parking garage that is not needed, doesn’t fit the character of a small town and is badly sited, they agreed to spend $100,000 over the assessed value! Yup! Check it out online, friend, they bought land during a recession for 25% more than the assessed value.

    Where we disagree is that any of this constitutes “big city” ideas. The city manager’s last job was in a tiny, tiny town in Colorado (and he wasn’t loved there, if you read some of the comments that were online in that town at the time he was hired). And the city council simply goes along with everything they are told by the city staff, none of whom have “big city ” experience.

    They are small thinkers who are not capable of looking at problems in new ways and will therefore continue to do the same thing, which means support the Lodging Council and rely on tourism. Until the time comes when a combination of negative market forces and environmental circumstances will create the perfect storm of inescapable failure. Unfortunately, those monumental failures inevitably hurt many people and take many years to repair.

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