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Eye on Sedona Againsters

Sedona AZ (August 22, 2012)The City of Sedona submitted this SedonaEye.com article written by Sedona City Councilor Jessica Williamson:

I had a conversation a month or so ago with a man who has lived in Sedona for a long time. He told me that nothing good has happened in Sedona for 20 years. I was pretty astonished. Nothing? Really? For him, nothing good has happened here since around 1992.

I know that Sedona must have changed a lot since he moved here. More people make their home here, more tourists come to visit, and there are more timeshares, more traffic. Roundabouts have sprouted along 89A and 179. Familiar stores and landmarks have disappeared.

The fact is that we all changed Sedona when we moved here. We can’t really go back to a Sedona we remember and we can’t just bar the gate behind us.

My husband’s father, a banker in a small town in Oklahoma, was fond of saying that 40% of the people in his town were “againsters”, that they never met a change they liked. They resisted any idea of change while all around them the world and their community were changing. They blamed newcomers, city folk, easterners, but changes just kept coming.

When ADOT proposed building roundabouts on 89A some Sedona residents immediately opposed the whole idea. Some people had had bad experiences navigating roundabouts in Europe, others distrust ADOT, and still others were familiar with stoplights, knew what to do with stoplights, and didn’t see why they needed to be changed.

These reactions were all based on pre-existing ideas and anecdotal evidence, not on any consideration of facts about this particular proposal. We seem to immediately respond to new ideas, yes or no, up or down, right now, before we learn anything about them. From my perspective, the roundabouts seem to be working fine. Traffic for the most part moves more quickly than it did with traffic lights, and I think they’re easy enough to navigate. The fears that they wouldn’t work, that no one would ever figure out how to use them, that they’d be a disaster did not materialize. Are they perfect? Of course not, but they didn’t destroy Sedona.

Jumping to conclusions without looking at facts is far more damaging to our community decision-making than we acknowledge. Fear and exaggeration drive too many of our reactions and poison our community decision-making process.

We as a community will soon have a chance to consider Sedona’s future direction. A group of talented and committed Sedona residents has been heading up a public outreach effort to update the Sedona Community Plan. That Plan will describe the direction Sedona will take over the next 10 years, and you can attend meetings where you can have input in deciding how that plan will look. Sedona residents will vote on that plan in 2013. That’s a chance for us to put our fears aside, consider our future as a community, and discuss how we can best manage the changes that will be coming.

The ideas expressed here are mine, Sedona City Councilor Jessica Williamson, alone, and do not represent the thoughts or opinions of the Sedona City Council.

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1 Comment

  1. yep i’m again against HER

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