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Observations– by Linn Ennis

Is the City Violating State Law by Supporting Private Interests?

“Arizona’s founders banned gifts to private companies as the result of bitter experience. In the closing decades of the 19th century, local governments borrowed money to force-feed private railroad development. Pima County outside of Tucson, for example, took out $300,000 in bonds in 1882 for a railroad that promised to build some 100 miles of track. The money was spent but the railroad dissolved after a mere 10 miles of track was constructed. The bonds were worthless, but taxpayers were still on the hook for the money.

“This time around it’s shopping malls and the like, and the preferred subsidy is tax rebates rather than bonds. But the result is the same. Local governments are foisting the cost of private development onto taxpayers as private companies promise that with just a few tax dollars they will create a wealth of new jobs.
“People aren’t buying it, and there’s a revolt underway against government subsidized megaprojects. ”
From the Wall Street Journal: http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB124425483396690959-lMyQjAxMDI5NDE0MTIxNTE0Wj.html
There has been recent discussion on City Council about whether certain monies have been legally distributed: arts and culture, grants intended to serve some local businesses but not others. One of the most compelling parts of the above-referenced article is the following observation:
“Two years ago, the city [Phoenix] signed a contract with developer Thomas J. Klutznick, who is building an outdoor mall. The city has to rebate to him $97.4 million in sales taxes over the next 11 years, in return for which it gets 200 parking spaces for commuters catching a municipal bus. The mall, called CityNorth, will be home to an Ann Taylor Loft and other retailers, as well as residential apartments that are already being rented. Arizona Republic columnist Laurie Roberts summed up the deal earlier this year by noting the city will spend about $487,000 for each commuter parking spot. ‘Wouldn’t it be cheaper to just chopper them in to work?’ she wrote.”
Any familiarity to local transportation or developer issues (housing, development impact fees, etc.) is intentional. I hope you’ll read the article and decide for yourself whether this is something we need to watch. Is Sedona in violation? Walking on a precipice? I’m not a legal or political analyst. I value your opinion. Please email your thoughts.

 Artist in Residence


Ruth’s painting is complete. We took her back to Ocotillo last weekend. Please stop in to see the real thing. A photo can’t do it justice. Not her usual style – more “realistic,” yet abstract enough to emphasize what she wanted us all to see in a new way.

Yes, she painted upside down part of the time – to keep from having to reach so far with her 88-year-old arms.

Here’s a thumbnail of the finished painting; please come see it in person, and view some of the other more than half dozen paintings of hers we have.
Paving Soon

Many homes in the lower Chapel area received 2-page fliers on their doors today from Tiffany Construction outlining the streets to be paved in the next two weeks. If your street is torn up and you did not receive a notice of paving, check with your neighbor so you can look at the map.

Farmer’s Market

Today was the second open day for the Sedona Famer’s Market across from the main lookout on Airport Road. There were more vendors and they brought twice as much stuff as last week. (By 11:00 a.m. last Friday, it looked like locusts had razed the place except for the musicians!) The market is open 8:00 – 1:00.

A little jewelry and health potions, but mostly garden produce, eggs, cheese, dairy, meat, prepared foods, etc. Here are a few of my favorites; please tell us about yours!

· Molly’s Tamales – organic, no lard or animal fat of any kind; more vegetarian varieties than meat. You can’t miss with these. I bought a dozen mixed vegetarian varieties for $26.00. A single tamale is $2.50 except for the wild, sockeye salmon which is more and I was told “to die for.” http://mollystamales.com/

· DeCio Past – a two-pack of linguini was $12.00. No sauce needed, but if you want it, the website has recipes. You must go to the market rather than ordering online so you can smell the different varieties. For every 50 pounds of whole wheat durum semolina, 10 pounds of fresh vegetables are added. http://www.deciopasta.com/ Ellen was a bit sorry she grilled a steak when I told her what we were having, because by the time it was plated, she was drooling. If you’re invited to our house for dinner any time soon, this is what we’ll be serving. Only the flavors may change.

· ChocolaTree – under new ownership this used to be the Café Raw Bliss. There are now two locations: West Sedona and Hillside. I tasted the chocolate ganache and had to buy a serving for tonight’s dessert. One teaspoonful is satisfying, so a single $5 serving will cover 2-4 palates. I took Ruth to the West Sedona location for lunch last Friday. We had the bruschetta and the Falafel platter – shared the two dishes and were completely and deliciously satisfied. Oh, and all of it was raw, including the “bread” (no, not dough). Fantastic. I’m going back on Tuesday! http://chocolatreecafe.com

Nature Update

I reported two weeks ago the mother Gambel’s Quail abandoned her nest by our shed door. After a few days, the father stepped in. We hoped the eggs hadn’t become too hot or cold while no one was turning them three times a day or sitting on them. The dad stayed on for over a week – much more skittish at people walking by. When we returned from Ocotillo Sunday, 13 of the 14 eggs were gone or cracked. We hope the chicks made it out alive, and with the scattering of shells, they could have scampered off with half shells on their butts!

1 Comment

  1. Nancy Baer says:

    Re: Article by Linn Ennis “Observations”

    Yes, I too saw two articles re: Phoenix subsidizing shopping mall in the AZ Republic and the WSJ (the case is Turken v. Gordon) and was immediately struck by the implications this case may have on Sedona’s habit of subsidizing the Chamber ($622K and the Sedona Art Center $400K or so). In fact, if the appeal goes against Mayor Gordon, It would seem that Sedona businesses who do not belong to the Chamber would have grounds for a case against the City of Sedona.

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