Home » City Council, Community » Election Central 2016: Sedona City Council Election Forum

Election Central 2016: Sedona City Council Election Forum

Harry Danilevics opening

A two hour Sedona City Council Election Forum was held at the Sedona Public Library on the evening of July 19, 2016, and sponsored by the League of Women Voters Greater Verde Valley and the Sedona Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau.

Sedona AZ (July 21, 2016) –  On this past Tuesday evening of July 19, 2016, the League of Women Voters Greater Verde Valley (LWVGVV) and the Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau hosted a live feed Sedona City Council Election Forum on Facebook (you can use the hash tag #LWVGVVFORUMS to search Google, Facebook & Twitter for posts related to the forum, or by clicking the Facebook icon on the bottom of Chamber’s website) with thanks to PR Manager Kegn Moorcroft for filming. The video will remain on the Facebook page until the day of the election.

Mary Chicoine was the evenings moderator and she opened with what the LWVGVV is all about; “The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization. Our mission is to encourage informed and active participation in government, work to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influence public policy through education and advocacy.” The organization neither support nor oppose any candidate or political party. This forum was for City of Sedona City Council Candidates up for election, but the Mayor didn’t participate, as she is unopposed.

Our current mayor Sandy Moriarty was in attendance, as well as sitting Councilors Jon Thompson and Scott Jablow, but merely as spectators to the forum. All six of the candidates were arranged at the table from left to right in this order: Tom Lamkin, Joe Vernier, Jessica Williamson, John Currivan, John Martinez, and Gerhard Mayer. The purpose of the Election Forum was to freely inform and to educate ourselves on who is running to manage our local government.

Once again Gerhard Mayer and Tom Lamkin are vying for the two-year council seat, and John Currivan, Joe Vernier, Jessica Williamson, and John Martinez are all campaigning for the three available four-year council seats. Mayor Sandy Moriarty is running uncontested which means she will assume another two-year mayoral seat automatically.

Harry Danilevics opening 2

LWVGVV Sedona Election Forum candidates L to R: Tom Lamkin, Joe Vernier, Jessica Williamson, John Currivan, John Martinez and Gerhard Mayer

Each candidate was provided the opportunity to introduce themselves with a two-minute opening statement, where they were asked to address their reason for running, their qualifications, and what they see as the biggest challenge facing Sedona and how they would resolve it.

Tom Lamkin: “Hello, my name is Tom Lamkin, and I appreciate the opportunity to speak with you tonight. My goal is to hear what you have to say, and not what I have to say so much, but I want to know what your concerns are regarding Sedona, and I’ll do the best I can to address those. Just over four months ago I stepped forward to serve Sedona by asking Council for a chance to interview for the seat vacated by Angela LeFevre. There were others who also stepped forward to be considered, Mike Ward former Sedona City Councilor, Gerhard Mayer from Planning & Zoning also volunteered to be considered. After each of us had interviewed, the council debated whom to appoint to the position. My preparation must have impressed council, who after some discussion decided to appoint me as the interim councilor. I’d like to thank Mayor Moriarty, Councilor Thompson and Councilor Williamson for their votes that put me, Tom Lamkin, on the city council over the last four months. I’ve learned a great deal from the other councilors as well including Councilor Jablow and Councilor Martinez who welcomed me and provided guidance. My greatest challenge I found though in assuming the position wasn’t getting up to speed on the issues but rather developing my own personal philosophy of government. I had to decide how I would govern, and which principles I would follow. I’d like to thank past Vice Mayor Mark DiNunzio for that advice. I don’t mean to imply that our philosophies are the same, but I thankfully only learned that it’s better to question and to understand than it is to assume. My own philosophy is one based upon gathering information and input from all sources, including the citizen’s of Sedona. I support the principles that provide for fiscal responsibility and governing without becoming overly intrusive. I want to focus on the most important issues that have the most impact on citizens while keeping within their will. I ask that you consider me, Tom Lamkin, as your candidate of choice and vote for me to be your Councilor for the next two years, thank you.”

Joe Vernier: “Hello everybody, and I’d like to echo Councilor Lamkin’s appreciation for the League of Women Voters and The Chamber of Commerce for putting this forum together, and I’d also like to say thank you to all who are interested enough to come out here and hear from the candidates and our desire to serve you as the citizens here in Sedona. My name is Joe Vernier, I originally came here in 1999 and served as the Police Chief and retired from my job as a Police Chief in 2010. I wasn’t very successful at it at the time because Allen Everett the Mayor who hired me, initially, asked me to be his Deputy at the state liquor department, so I went and worked down in Phoenix for about five years. But I love this community, the people here, everything about Sedona, so much, that I couldn’t keep myself away from here, so I cam back up here, and I have lived, worked, and played here through all those years, and the one thing I want to do is be able to come back and give back all of the blessings that Sedona and the community and the citizens here have provided for me, my family, and my life, and to me serving on council is one great way to do that. And so again I thank all of you for your time being here and I would look forward to hopefully winning your vote, and I will do everything in my power not to win your vote but to earn your vote as a Councilor to keep your support serving as a Councilor for all of the people here in Sedona. Thank you.”

Jessica Williamson: “Hi, I’m Jessica Williamson and I’m running for reelection this year for the Sedona City Council. I’ve served on there for four years and I believe I’ve made a real and positive impact on the decisions that the council has made. The council tackled a lot of items this year, and during the time I served four years, some of them are; Council lead the fight to prevent Yavapai College from selling the Sedona campus and we’ve been working with the college to establish a culinary and hospitality program, and the college has put 3.5 million aside to do that, and OLLI remains. In order to accommodate the festivals and events held at Posse Grounds and other city venues, we passed an ordinance that allows beer and wine with those events with a permit from the city. We created a citizens engagement program that allows the city manager to establish working groups of citizens to research issues and come back to us with recommendations. We use time-share in lue funds to purchase the Historic Brewer Road Ranger Station Property and begin planning for a community park. Proof the design and construction of Barbara Antonsen Park and it’s under construction. We continue to accelerate drainage projects and we approved funding for our popular splash park for kids and a bike skills park. The coming years are gonna bring additional challenges that are going to require decisive and thoughtful action by the council. The council cannot put off making important decisions about traffic. It won’t be easy and it won’t be cheap to implement the recommendations from the study that’s currently under way. I am prepared to make those decisions, the decisions that need to be made for our community to improve traffic management. I’m dedicated, practical, and effective. I love Sedona and want to continue being be a part of ensuring its bright future.”

John Currivan: “Thank you and thank you all for being here. I’m John Currivan, my wife Pat and I were married here in Sedona 20 years ago and we love Sedona. We want to protect Sedona and in order to protect Sedona I believe we need a city council that does a better job listening to the people. And we need a city council that adheres to certain core principles that I believe in and those include limited government, they include protecting our freedom of choice, they also include fiscal responsibility. Let me tell you just a little bit about my own background because it’s a bit unusual, I started out studying engineering at Cornell University on a Navy ROTC scholarship and I went on and got a couple masters degrees after that. I went into the Navy and served as a Navy Jet Pilot, which means I got to do a lot of really fun things like landing on aircraft carriers, but then the navy sent me back to Cornell for law school to get a law degree and then I served in the JAG core as a Navy JAG lawyer and also as a judge. In private practice I had 28 years of experience as a tax lawyer with a global law firm, Jones Day, doing business planning for small businesses. And here in Sedona I was three years on the Sedona planning and zoning commission. I believe that our biggest problem that we face is probably the traffic problem, and we’ve all talked about it. I believe we can actually do something about it, there’s not a simple solution but it’s going to take some leadership. We’re gonna have to think about solutions outside the city limits, we’re gonna have to get the right people together, people from the county, from the village, from the forest service, but if we do that I believe we can actually come together and solve this very difficult problem. Thank you.”

John Martinez: “Good evening everybody, I want to thank the league of women voters, I want to thank Mary, Barbara for inviting everybody, and the Chamber. This is a unique set up that we got, I actually kind of like that. Obviously I want to make this very quick because I know we all want to go home and watch the National Republican Convention going on. So I’ll see if I can get through this very quickly. Four years ago I was blessed and humbled when the City of Sedona voted me to be on the Sedona City Council, which represents the city which is the greatest and most beautiful city, in my opinion and I think a lot of other people’s opinion, in the world. When I was elected I had no prior governmental experience but I did have many many years in accounting, forty years to be exact. I worked primarily in the private sector and I knew that I could bring that work ethic and experience to Sedona to make this thing run as smoothly as possible. I believe my biggest contribution in the four years that I’ve been here is to bring to life the whole budget process that we go through. Right now we are spending more than we are bringing in revenue. So we need to figure out how to address the needs of the community versus the wants of the community. And I believe that we need to partner even greater with the Sedona Chamber of Commerce, because to quote Jennifer, in the sense that “Sedona’s primary industry is tourism, and Sedona’s economic generator is tourism, therefore Sedona’s future is directly tied to tourism”. Yes, we have traffic problems, but I come from California, and if you’ve ever been there, those are traffic problems, but we’ve got a traffic study going on and the recommendations that they’re coming up with, we have the courage to implement them. Thank you very much.”

Gerhard Mayer: “Good evening, thank you very much to the hosts who gave us the opportunity to present ourselves. And I would like to start with me coming to this country, I was born on the Fourth of July in an American Army hospital in Germany after the Second World War. I was destined to come to this country. Parents moved to the southern Austria border of Italy and now Slovenia. We lived in a two-bedroom apartment shared with two other ladies. Occasionally a Cadbury chocolate was given to us kids by the British occupation forces. Mother lost her three brothers in the war and then lost the estate as well. Nothing left but our lives. I learned very early on to save when we had more than we needed for the not so good times. I learned also that we have met very hard times after the war being occupied for ten years. I met the love of my life here in Sedona, raised my children, and made a decent living for 33 years here in Sedona. So I’m passionate about the place I call my family’s home. But it takes more than passion; it also takes ability to serve the public well. Listening, government should not control the people, people should control the government. Values, character, honesty, leadership, and integrity, I definitely meet those criteria’s. Why I’m running, I’m very concerned about the present and future of Sedona. Tourism will be always our economic engine, it’s our lifeline. The destination-marketing plan of the Chamber of Commerce for 2017 might lead us to a more sustainable tourism. I understand and listen to all sides, having served for almost 8 years as a public servant on various Committees, Commissions, and currently Planning & Zoning Commission there is no lack of experience to serve as a councilor for the benefit of the entire community. Thank you.”

Next the candidates were asked to, again in two minutes, publicly answer a question that was given to them ahead of time, which was: 

 “In 2014 the lodging industry increased their bed tax in order to invest more in tourism, Sedona’s primary economic generator, do you support the 55% formula funding to the Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau? Why or Why Not? And what do you think or feel are Sedona’s top three opportunities for economic diversity?”

Joe Vernier

Joe Vernier

Joe Vernier: “That’s a difficult question to answer whether I personally support it or not because that was a decision that was made between the Chamber and the lodging industry and their desire, and I think I understand the purpose behind that, because the fact that we had come out of a significant recession and we were trying to get Sedona operating again and one of the things I experienced after the year after I left, as a police chief, is there were actual layoffs in the city because the economy had declined so much, and just a personal aside on that, one of the people that was laid off was a police officer, subsequently got a brain tumor, and passed away. So he gets laid off, his income is reduced, his medical coverage is reduced, and so those kinds of things are devastating when they happen to individuals, so from that standpoint I can see the importance as to why we would want to have a vital economy here in Sedona. Three diversifications of economy, and this is not my area of expertise by a long shot, but I’m hoping that I will learn more and more from the experts in this particular field. Things I would consider to take a look at is what are the trends that are going out there. Yesterday I was talking to an insurance agent and the insurance agent was telling me that basically Millennials, the younger generations, are moving away form cars, and you have autonomous vehicles, and so as a result are there trends that we can consider for the future. I don’t know the exact answer, but I think that’s what we have to take a look at. So most of those are in fact technology, I know that we have a pretty significant robust medical economy around here and are there ways that we can bring more of that in Sedona, I think that’s something we should take a serious look at. We have a major shift in education and education as you know they’re combining and consolidating schools and so again I think there’s another opportunity for us to look at that as potential point of diversification.

Jessica Williamson

Jessica Williamson

Jessica Williamson: “Thank you, Mary, well I was on the Council and I voted for the additional bed tax and I was totally impressed that the industry that benefits from destination marketing and the chamber the most taxed themselves to pay for that, and I think that’s like a first in lot of ways. I think it provides a source of income, an additional source of income to the Chamber and to the City; the City shares the upside of the additional half tax. I think it was a good initiative and I think it will prove to be very useful in the future as well. Well I think that one of the big things is going to be home-based technology businesses. I think there is a big space, a big push for technological home businesses and I think when we get our broadband robust enough that will be able to take off. I also agree that the medical research and development is an area in which there is likely to be a lot of opportunity. I also think conferences and training here, for art, for a lot of different conference opportunity and training opportunities. Sedona has a draw that would make that a very lucrative proposition I think in the future. I also want to add at this point that one of the things that the chamber has done, this is a little off the topic, one of the things the chamber has done with some of the money that it had is it actually funded opportunities for managing tourism better. It’s doing brochures to get people to different parts of the trails that aren’t currently used as much, to get people off the main trails, they’ve put money aside for implementing some of traffic management.”

John Currivan

John Currivan

John Currivan: “First of all I want to say that I am in favor of development in Sedona. And I know a lot of people complain about the amount that is going to the chamber, it’s about $2 million in the budget this year, but first of all that figure of $2,000,000 includes about $275,000 that’s a carry over from last year, just to be fair, and also that money comes from the bed tax as I’m sure most of you understand that 55% of that goes to the chamber and it’s paid really by the visitors and the lodging industry and not by the Sedona tax payers. So if we were to cut out that 55% and eliminate the amount that goes to the chamber the city budget wouldn’t be any better off. It would just even out more or less. So, I’ve taken a look at the chambers latest marketing plan, actually I’ve read through it, and I think they are trying to address the problems that we are having. You know people say how much is enough, aren’t we bringing enough tourists into Sedona? I think that we recognize that we have peaks and valleys, and the chamber is really doing a good job trying to target the valleys and not the peaks. I hope they are successful in that regard but at least that’s what they are trying to do. They are also trying to target the day-trippers, you know day-trippers come in and they don’t spend very much money and they don’t spend the night, and therefore they don’t pay a bed tax but they certainly contribute to our traffic problem. So they are trying very hard to do that and they are trying also bring in small conference groups. There is one shadow over all of this though and that is our traffic problem. If we don’t solve our traffic problem we are going to actually harm our tourist industry. We hear anecdotal stories about people who say I am never coming back because of the traffic I encountered and all of that. So I don’t want to see that. I do support what we are doing but I want to solve the traffic problem. As far as expansion goes I would just quickly mention medical and aging in place.”

John Martinez

John Martinez

John Martinez: “Well, I can tell you right now two minutes isn’t enough, maybe three. But yes I was part of the council that voted to approve the 55% increase and in fact it goes back even further when I talk with Jennifer. They said I think we need to increase the bed tax because at that point, in my opinion, is that we are talking about the visitors coming here and it was mentioned before it would not affect the citizens directly with regard to a tax, and that’s what a lot of people don’t want. But I said they are the economic drivers, the chamber and the hotel lodging industry, so I said we can partner, that would be a perfect private public partnership to generate additional revenue for this city. It was a case of they increase the tax upon themselves which then was passed on to the visitors. What they are planning to do now and it was mentioned earlier, they have got an almost $400,000 product development budget to help the city in a number of ways, trails, and parking, and projects such as that. With regards to additional economic areas that we can advance here in the City of Sedona, the culinary, it was talked earlier, we got the school, we’re gonna have culinary and hospitality courses, that will definitely help the city with regards to it. We are gonna build, if we are gonna manage, the growth in the hotel industry here in Sedona we are going to need qualified people that are going to staff that. The City has just hired an economic development director, that will help start entrepreneurialship with regard to making new businesses in Sedona. It was also talked about, technology, in home technology; we are working on that with regards to the Internet, cell towers, and so on. So I think the future is bright for Sedona, yes we do think we have things to address, but I think it’s a good partnership between the Chamber and the City.

Gerhard Mayer

Gerhard Mayer

Gerhard Mayer: “I want to show you something. I have been here for 33 years and I have seen Sedona grow. I like the growth. I like sustainable growth.  And I talked to the previous director of tourism for Arizona and he gave me an article to read, “In Search of the Tourist Egg, Developers Killed the Goose.” When I talked to Jennifer about the issue of over development and where are we gonna go, and I wrote several articles in several papers in regards of the quality vs. quantity and when we talk about quality, L’Auberge was at the time, I was associated with the people who developed L’Auberge, L’Auberge put Sedona on the map, on the global map I would say. Alright, and I am also a very creative person, I think and come up with ideas and come up with solutions as well. And I have talked about the improvement projects of our economy, and this is a paper I wrote in 2011, I said, “More resorts like the Enchantment within the city limits brand Sedona as a spa, wellness, resort destination.” Culinary institute, I wrote that 1999, and presented it to the Yavapai College, so I am way ahead of the curve. I would like to see a hotel academy by any tourism school, international art academy, with diplomas, office clusters, shared conference rooms, sustainability campus, all ADU facilities, everything else I can explain to you at the table if you’re interested. Thank you.”

Tom Lamkin

Tom Lamkin

Tom Lamkin: “Thank you. I will tell you two years ago when I ran for city council I was for the bed tax and the 55% number. I don’t know what the right number is, but I pledge to you tonight, that when the revenues exceed $100,000,000 and they get $55,000,000 I will look into it further. Sedona is a vital tourist economy, we all benefit from the beauty of the red rocks, and it draws millions of visitors to our city every year, but along with those benefits also come the downside of our success. The consequences of that follow; traffic that’s been mentioned, over crowding of our amenities, and stressing of our infrastructure. We take steps to preserve our trails and neighborhoods and we wonder what can be done better to balance the city and the impact that is happening. There must be some way to balance the wants of the tourists with the needs of the citizens. I believe that the efforts of our destination marketing partner, The Chamber of Commerce division of Tourism, is already working to address this by readjusting its target markets. Renewed emphasis on targeting smaller groups, like the recent biking event is a good example of how Sedona can enjoy more events spread throughout the year with smooth revenue streams that help businesses remain more sustainable and have less impact on the community. We also looked at other resources, it’s been mentioned about Yavapai College, and with businesses we talked about culinary, we talked about maybe we can expand and include wine segments in the wine industry, maybe we should look at high tech and incubators, for cybersecurity, that’s an area that really is growing, can be protecting and can offer jobs. Yavapai College recently announced that the unmanned aerial system known as drones can be certified through their organization. Who knows where drones will lead in Sedona, not saying we want any of them flying around but its something to look into. We have also have to involve businesses as well, I’m excited the city is soon to have a new Director of Economic Development that can work in ways to forge partnerships between the city and private enterprises in Sedona. The recent artists and residents program taking place in the Village of Oak Creek may be considered that we might be able to do the same thing for business. Hosting small businesses for entering or training opportunities might be willing to bring new services to Sedona.”

After opening introductions and answer the question regarding the 55% funding formula and top three opportunities for economic diversity, the candidates speed networked where they had ten minutes to spend at each of the six tables in the room. The discussion would move around providing the ability to interact with each of the candidates for some time where individuals were.

By 8:10 p.m., the candidates were back in the front of the room and were asked to share in one minute’s time “something they had learned in going around the tables, or was there something that you heard that you haven’t heard before”:

Jessica Williamson: “I want to start by saying, I am so weird, I must be a geek, because this is the most fun I’ve had in quite a long time, and I thank everybody for being so interesting and so interactive and so polite and listening to my answers and I really appreciate all that. I didn’t really hear things I hadn’t heard before, I did hear an agreed emphasis on sustainability from a number of people which I really understood and I appreciated hearing that as an emphasis going forward. People are very interested, as everybody here I know is, in traffic. People seem to understand the limitations in what could and couldn’t be done. I’ve just appreciated everybody’s asking intelligent and reasonable questions, and listening to what I had to say. I think you guys are all great.”

John Currivan: “Well I certainly enjoyed it, I thought I got a lot of really good questions. Everybody was engaged, they were all paying attention, they all had things on their minds. I found an awful lot of people wanted to hear about the trash issue, which I hadn’t gotten a chance to talk about before and so I did get a chance to share my thoughts on that with everybody. For the most part things that I heard are things that I had come across before. There was once point that one of the gentleman made about the level of recycling in Sedona, which is a little bit different than I thought, so he’s going to send me a study on that, and I’ll be looking forward to reading it. Other than that it was just a great experience, thank you.”

John Martinez: “This whole thing was just an experience and I really enjoyed it, and at some point Jessica said “I didn’t know how the thing was supposed to be”; Speed Dating! One thing I think everybody should applaud themselves for a good turnout and great questions. But, I, the really thing that I, I mean I knew we have a very educated and studious and engaged citizenship here in the city of Sedona, and this proved it. I mean you had great questions, and I got put on the spot sometimes, and sometimes I just said I don’t know, I’ll have to come back and respond to that. But one of the things that was something that I don’t know is that the homeless problem. Someone said we got a homeless problem, issue, here in Sedona so I got to find out if we do. Thank you.”

Gerhard Mayer: “Well, this was a format I really liked. I didn’t like the first part because two minutes is not enough; I get three minutes at city council to talk. So one thing. The questions I was facing were all legit, all well thought through, and I have to apologize that my passion sometimes runs a little while, everybody said I’m crazy to run for this, and maybe I am. I admit that the topics I was facing from the audience were a little bit out of specialty, the sustainability part, where I was plastered with if I was for trash hauling or not, so I think I did my best I could, and I tell you problem solving skills, creativity, and thinking outside of the box are my strengths. Thank you very very much. Vote for me please, thank you.”

Tom Lamkin: “Well we talked about a lot so I appreciate your time. I can’t say that I hadn’t heard about the issues before because a lot of the same ones come up, you’re all concerned about some of the same issues. The ones that I had in my groups pretty much were small town feel (how to prepare it, keep it), budget balance (what would you do to increase it, decrease it), posse grounds events (don’t mess with them, have that campout, keep the pumpkin fest), traffic, economic development, property tax came up I know I hear that one pretty often, but trash, Tlaquepaque North and possible traffic issues there. The thing that struck me most though was affordable housing and it was pointed out that there may be some restrictions or ordinances on how we can implement something like that here and I think that’s key for us in the future, so I’ll be looking into that. Thank you.”

Joe Vernier: “I believe the most significant thing that I learned while I was out there doing this, I guess you can call it speed dating, I never dated like this. But the most significant thing I learned is everyone that’s here really cares about Sedona, and the community, and are very passionate about the things that they care about. In my meetings with the groups out here pretty much the same things, issues pertaining to budget, probably one of the biggest ones was the challenge to sustainability of our economy, yet at the same time for the people who live here what are the quality of life challenges that go with it. Part of that involves traffic. The trash thing, was very interesting, because still a lot of opposition but apparently I was offered some information to take another look at that so I’ll see what that information is and I guess I’m done. Thank you.”

American FlagThe last section, which ended the evening, was the two-minute closing statement each candidate was allowed:

Gerhard Mayer: “Again, I am a person who is very passionate about this community and I’d like future generations to have the same quality of life here as I have currently and to aim for this goal we’re going have to be a little bit more concerned of which way we are going to grow. And if we’re going to grow smart or if we’re going to go with anything goes, and I would say if we are smart we are going to be providing for future generations and that’s very important in every way you can think of. Economically, environmentally, and the beauty of Sedona and the surrounding area will maintain its current state. So that’s what I’d like to see, is we maintain, improve, and that it’s important for it be improved. And quality like I said before at the tables supersedes quantity and that’s what I think our emphasis should be all about. Thank you very much. Vote for me if you want to have an honest, straight talking, very passionate, and loving, Sedona loving person, on the city council. You will be delighted to have me on there. Thank you.”

John Martinez: “I think all of us love this city. That’s why we moved here and that’s why we still live here. And I’ve tried to represent the whole city when I ran for council, and I know that everyone’s not going to agree with my beliefs for the city of Sedona, but I don’t represent the loudest groups in the city, I have to think of all of Sedona. And I believe my decisions in my heart and in my mind are what I’m doing for the best of the city based on best practices that I’ve learned from people like you that have spoken to me in other areas. They do work, and a lot of people say well just because something is broken we shouldn’t do it. I know there’s a lot of business owners in here that says even if it’s not broke, if it can’t be improved, it should be addressed. When I ran for council four years ago I never promised that I would fix every issue that would be presented, but I did say I would address it. So, there might be some candidates here that’ll say, “I will fix it, I will fix it”, well, as they say, be aware of strangers bearing gifts. We, all of us, all of us want your vote, but if you don’t agree with what I believe in, then don’t vote for me, but vote for somebody. We’ve got a lot of talented people on here and I’m gonna say is that for the last two elections that I’ve been interested in, we’ve got basically like 6,000 registered voters in the City of Sedona and only about 2,500 people vote. That’s horrible. So if you don’t believe what I’m in get off the couch and vote for somebody. As I’ve always said, if you’re not a part of the solution, then maybe you’re a part of the problem. Once again to the league of women voters, and thank you to the chamber. Thank you.”

John Currivan: “Everything that we do has to be for the best interest of the City of Sedona. It’s for us, and it’s for future generations. And every decision we make has to be done in that spirit. So when an issue comes up, the people that you elect have to look at it in that way and when you elect somebody you have to know what they stand for. We know what the issues are today. We know about traffic, and trash, you could name a dozen others I suppose. But what we don’t know is what is going to be next years hot issue, what’s gonna be a hot issue in the year after that. You are electing people to four-year terms, you need to know what they stand for, and I told you some of my core beliefs when I was speaking earlier. I believe in limited government, that is if we don’t need to get the government involved in something, like for example trash hauling, I think we should not get the government involved. We need to respect the people’s freedom of choice. If people have a, I’ll use trash hauling again just as an example, if people have a choice when it comes to something like that, why should the government take it away from them. And we need to be fiscally responsible; we need to look not only at what our current budget looks like, but what the trends are and where we are heading in order to make sure that tax dollars are spent responsibly. So with that in mind I ask that you just take into account not only how people stand on today’s issues, but also what their core values are so you’ll know how they approach tomorrow’s issues. Thank you.”

Jessica Williamson: “This process tonight really made me realize how much I like being involved in actively considering and talking and thinking about the issues that all of you raised tonight and all of the issues that I have faced over the past four years. It is really exciting for me and I just would like to do this every week but I think you know what I stand for because I’ve been on council four years and I have four years of voting record. It’s not a mystery. I’m practical, I’m decisive, and I can see what the issues really are. I try not to get distracted by all the stuff that floats around every issue that we talk about. Council made a lot of decisions over the past four years and I am really proud of the contribution I have made toward those decisions. But I know people don’t agree with me 100% of the time, some people don’t agree with me ever, and some people agree with me most of the time and some of the stuff they don’t agree with. That’s to be expected. I am not a one-issue voter and I don’t think most people are but I have approached every issue purposefully, and very consciously, to act in a way I believe is in the best interest of all of Sedona. Even the people who don’t vote. Even the people who don’t participate. I am elected to represent everybody and that is what I try to do. I do have a website and I’ve written a bunch of articles and posted issue papers on it. So if anybody wants to know more about how I think and what I think you can go there, and pick and choose. I’ve been effective and I’ve been responsible on city council, I understand the issues, and I think we need a council that’s decisive. That would be me. Vote for me.”

Joe Vernier: “I guess the best I can offer is my intent on council, is to be a representative who uses good judgment and common sense to get the job done that is required on council. And also a significant part of that is hearing your thoughts and feelings and concerns out there and one of the groups I shared with this and that when I was a police chief here, and kind of half joking but there’s also some seriousness on this, during my eleven years as police chief I said there’s a lot of great people, a lot of talent here, in Sedona, and I said I have more unpaid consultants than any police chief in the United States. But I think tapping that talent that we have out here, I think a lot of the representation of that talent is sitting right out here in this room, is a critical piece for me to be able to successfully serve as councilperson. I would ask for your involvement, I have an individual flier in the back with email and a website, that I’d welcome any contact from anybody out there. Please, I’ve been in this community for a long time and a lot of you know me for a long time, please feel free to contact me and ask any question that you want. I’ll do my best to give you an honest answer. I think the one thing ill say is that I was in law enforcement for forty-one years. I had success in everything I did, I maintained my integrity, I ran a good organization, I’m proud of all that we have accomplished, and it wasn’t me, it was the people that I worked with and I have to look at it from the same point serving as a councilor, it’s not going to be about me, it’s going to be about serving you. I believe the servant is government and it’s my job to serve you, and I hope that I can serve you effectively, and always do the right thing at the right time for the right reasons.”

Tom Lamkin: “Thank you, again I’d like to thank you for your time this evening. I felt that the meetings at each table was a great way to get a variety of information that is important to you. We’ve already talked about several of the issues, I won’t go through those again, but I will be looking into them. I appreciate your willingness to be open and honest, what you think is being done right and what you think needs a little bit of improvement. Help us work on council, I ask you to help get me back on council and retain me there. I’m gonna be your councilor for another four months before the election kicks in with the new people, I hope I’m one of them. I still have a lot to learn and understand, I feel that things are getting better, and with your continued help can stay focused. I encourage you to take advantage of the Citizens Engagement Program, little picture of Lauren Browne here who is the coordinator for that at the city. Get on the website, continue to provide your information, we need your input. I’d love to see all of you at the next council meeting. I think it’d be great but watch on the internet if nothing else. I think it’s a great way for you to provide input, especially if you don’t attend one of the sessions, if you’re working, or unable to meet with us. You can find it, great city website by the way, second only to Los Angeles according to what I read recently, but for a small city it’s an unbelievable website. I encourage you to stay involved, and contact any of the city councilors through email, phone, we do read your notes and I’m willing to meet with you to discuss anything further. Call me, I like to talk as you can imagine and my wife was grateful she got a break this evening from me talking to her. Thank you very much for helping with that. So when you think, give me a call or send me an email, you got my card, and I want to thank you. I’ll be glad to talk with any group that you want to assemble or individual meeting, because Lamkin listens. I want to hear what you have to say and represent it on council. Please vote for Tom Lamkin. You’ll notice on the ballot on the very bottom I’m running for the two-year term not the four-year term and vote for that first name, Tom Lamkin, thank you.”

This SedonaEye.com article written by Harry Danilevics.

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

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


  1. steve Segner says:

    Ha rick remember this :Rick said:
    For instance, today we, along with AZ State Representative Bob Thorpe, spent two hours in Cottonwood as working group members of Arizona for Responsible Drug Policy to stop the legal (Colorado) marijuana cartel from getting its ballot initiative approved in AZ to bring legal recreational marijuana to Arizona.
    You lost again……

  2. J. Rick Normand says:

    @steve Segner,

    And what’s the name of the attorney who gave you that advice? And, as to the marijuana initiative, the election on the issue isn’t until the general election in November. Typical SS inability to think logically.


  3. West Sedona Dave says:

    Mary C

    LOL…now thats priceless……Guess you dont know how SS funds work do you?

    The people working now, pay who is on SS now……

    The SS program is insurance….Do you get a percentage on your car insurance, home insurance?……NOPE you dont…….understand the vehicle and how it works and you will see…. Just another ignorant SS recipient?….sure sounding that way!

    I want to see it expanded, I believe most retirees should get more…but part of one of our partys platform is to remove SS and Medicare……but there entitlements plane and simple….

    Dont shoot the messenger, understand the game that is being played right under you nose……

    Enjoy your retirement and tacking more from others that you put in!

  4. WsR says:

    @i see through you

    Hey you head case. We now that Deanne Troi is a Star Trek character….. Not a real name……

    Really get some help sicko….. You delusional space traveler you…… Your sicker then previously thought…..you made me belly laugh crazy crazy lady

  5. Deanne Trio aka "I see through you" says:

    To all readers of SE

    I have a confession to make……

    I’ve been posting on SE using different names like I have done for years…..I post a comment then post twice more under different names to back up my first comment… I’ve used names like Sharrlet, “I see thru you”, Alarmed, and various others…..most recently I’ve morphed into Deanne Trio….a commander on the “enterprise”. Yes I am bat crap crazy….

    I go off the deep end when I don’t take my meds….. Love you all

  6. Thomas says:

    It wasn’t my intention to add anything here, just follow the trail by reading the comments. However looking at this mailer promoting John Martinez, Jessica Williamson and Tom Lamkin. both sides state who paid for it.

    One side: “Paid for by: Steve Segner, Al Comello, 95 Portal Lane, Sedona, AZ 86336”

    Other side “Paid for by Steve Segner, Sedona Businessman and Founder of Walk Sedona, the 89A History Walk” followed by “Al Comello, Marketing Professional and Community Volunteer”

    Of course having followed the comments under this and other Sedona Eye comments it looks very much like the City Council, City Staff the local regional Chamber of Commerce questionably identified with Sedona, and the associated Lodging Council are above the law.

    Wasn’t there something elsewhere discussing the recent passage of SB 1487 allowing a state legislator to open up an investigation if it appears an incorporated area is breaking a state law? Any updates if this is under pursuit?

    Maybe the previous city attorney, Mike Goimarac was more in tune with election laws? It would appear so. Oh yes another thing- did Sedona change attorneys again? Thought I read something about the latest one having applied elsewhere. Not a surprise. Why would anyone with ethics work for the City of Sedona?

  7. J. Rick Normand says:

    @steve Segner

    Steve Segner says:
    August 22, 2016 at 1:10 pm

    P.S JRN said: “You said you may want to talk to the City Attorney” I did last month and he said go for it. Freedom of speech.


    So, you checked with City Attorney Robert Pickels and he said “go for it?” I checked with him about your truthfulness and here’s hard copy print proof that you’re lying Steve Segner (and I know you didn’t check with a private attorney either):

    From: Robert Pickels
    Today at 9:39 AM

    To: J Rick Normand

    Mr. Norman:

    My conversation with Mr. Segner was very casual and brief (probably less than a minute). We did not discuss anything specific nor any specific statute(s). As to what Mr. Segner may or may not have believed as a result of our conversation, I cannot have any way of knowing.


    >>> J Rick Normand 8/23/2016 8:09 AM >>>
    Good Morning Mr. City Attorney,

    Thank you so much or your prompt professional reply to my inquiry. Per your instructions, I would like to ask for two simple clarifications, if I may. First, did either you or Steve Segner mention specifically or colloquially A.R.S. 16-901(20)(f), and/or A.R.S. 16-902.01(A), and/or ARS 16-917(A)&(D)? And, secondly, do you feel that your comments to him would have led him to believe he was, in fact or intending to be, in compliance with the aforementioned statutes?



    J. Rick Normand
    Arizona Liberty


  8. steve Segner says:

    Robert Pickels reply in FULL.

    Good morning, Mr. Normand:
    “I did speak with Steve Segner about whether I believed there was any preclusion of efforts provided by private individuals acting unilaterally in support of a candidate without the candidate’s approval. In our conversation, I qualified my comments by stating that they were not to be construed as legal advice. However, I did mention the First Amendment and an individual’s right to expression.”
    I hope that answers your question. If you should need any follow up clarification, please don’t hesitate to ask.

    Best regards,

    Robert L. Pickels, Jr.

    City Attorney

    102 Roadrunner Dr.

    Sedona, AZ 86336

    (928) 204-7200

    HUMMM Ricky, just forgot to post this …….Bad Ricky.

    I sent a mailing to every home in Sedona saying who I support and why, little Ricky or should I say large Ricky got his panties in a wad.

    I know the “T” party hates government, but sending a post card in support of the current city council is outrageous! Something should be done, Democrats getting out the vote is outrageous and must be stopped.

    I’m sure that state will react quickly they will probably drive up from Phoenix with sirens blazing.

    Please Ricky give them a call.



    Phoenix Office

    1275 West Washington Street

    Phoenix, AZ 85007-2926

    (602) 542-5025

    Fax (602) 542-4085

    One question, why would a grown man, get all worked up over a post card asking people to vote? Trumps, ME


  9. Thomas says:

    The missing link in Steve Segner’s response to J Rick Normand is the FACT that the cards mailed indicated they had been paid for by Steve Segner AND Al Comello. Therefore it wasn’t an individual promotion as Segner maintains and as he apparently indicated to the City Attorney.

    It would be interesting if Mr. Pickels’ opinion would be the same if he had been told the entire story. An individual sending a mailer or running an election campaign is one thing. However two or more necessitates forming a Political Action Committee. How long is Sedona going to get away with breaking state and possibly even federal laws?

  10. Sheri Graham says:

    Have been reading the above exchange and just had to enter into the fray.

    What an amazing answer from our current city attorney, Mr. Pickels Jr, regarding two individuals (Segner and Al Camillo) teaming up to send out a mailer supporting two city council candidates!

    Last I understood, from our previous City Attorney Mike Gomaric, was that if one person teamed up or combined with another person(s) and paid for an ad to try to “influence an election” and did not form a PAC (political action committee) then they just broke the law. Had nothing to do with First Amendment rights as this issue/concept falls under election laws.

    This grown woman does Indeed get worked up over Segner’s bully tactics and now Mr. Segner saying he does not/has No understanding of election laws.. I get very worked up by him thinking he can send out a very expensive “post card” to influence our election thinking he does not have to obey the laws.

    And I get very worked up over his continual twisting truths to promote “his” dream world!

    When he actually stated, he would run for City Council – even though He Is Not a Resident of the City of Sedona – I began to question his understanding of our laws…… then realized he so much like Hillary = If he says it enough times than he Just EXPECTS us to believe him…..

    News Flash S Segner: Truth does matter. Respect of our laws does matter. Bullies ultimately loose their status as the good guys Really Do Win!

  11. J. Rick Normand says:

    @steve Segner,

    Your convoluted mind has misfired again. You’ll notice in the first email to me from City Attorney Pickels, he added the comment “If you should need any follow up clarification, please don’t hesitate to ask.” I didn’t hesitate and I did ask. His followup statement is the one I printed above. It takes precedence. I will tell you this…you will need an attorney shortly. And, the reason AZL and I are worked up is not because your asking people to vote, its because you’re illegally telling them who to vote for. Read the statute little dogfood salesman.


  12. WSR says:

    @litty Ricky

    Hey Steve S…….I’m sure you have Nothing to worry about…

    Open alleged open mtg law violation went no where….Hot air by JRN and The Tea Party AKA AZ Liberty

    Trying to keep recreational marijuana of the ballot by JRN and the Tea Party aka AZ Liberty….. More Hot Air…..it’s on the ballot

    They are much more impressed with their over bloated EGOs than anything else…
    Fear not SS…….they TEA Party aka AZ Liberty are hipocrital blowhards

    For people so concerned about taxes and the limiting of government. They sure waste ALOT of money……

  13. J. Rick Normand says:

    @Sheri Graham,

    Sheri, I want you to know that your comment here is about the best thought-out and written that I’ve ever seen in a long while at The Eye. It is greatly appreciated that you would pick up the mantle at this point on this issue of flaunting of the law by arrogant people who think they’re above it. Some of you readers who are new to Sedona should know why Sheri’s comment is so powerful. It’s because she is a highly respected and well remembered former City Councilor and Vice-Mayor of Sedona as well as the current owner of the Sky Ranch Lodge on top of the airport mesa.


Leave a Reply

Copyright © 2008-2017 · Sedona Eye · All Rights Reserved · Posts · Comments · Facebook · Twitter ·