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Letter to the Editor: Red Rock News Owner Patronizes Sedonans

Though I don’t know him personally, I am sure the owner of the Red Rock News is an honorable, well-intentioned man and a highly respected member of the community. But I find many of his editorials to be patronizing, and many of his arguments to be specious. There seems to be a Father-Knows-Best theme that runs through the series of his editorials; nobly and consistently he appeals for the healing of the political divisions in our community. It is somewhat similar to the lament in the aftermath of the Rodney King riots: Hey, why can’t we all get along? But his solution, a dubious form of conflict resolution, seems to infer a curious mix of acquiescence and disenfranchisement. It seems like he (owner of Red Rock News) is saying: My friends and I know what’s best. We’ve been running the community for decades. Don’t rock the boat; just get with the program.

It remotely reminds me of that Love-it-or Leave-it attitude during the 60s and 70s. It’s as though any political opposition to the status quo has no grounds for complaint, and therefore it’s inconsequential.

His arguments for voting yes on the repeal of direct election for the mayor don’t seem to hold up. He makes the fallacious claim that our council-manager form of government precludes (or should preclude) the direct election of the mayor. Obviously it doesn’t, since we directly elected the mayor last time.

He also states the the council-manager system was established “in order to have seven people representing various views throughout the community.” Such a system doesn’t guarantee multiple-view representation.  This is true with the current Council, since 5 of the 7 members usually vote as a bloc, representing pro-growth business interests.

Then he makes several arguments about expanding the pool of council candidates and reducing election costs that seem to have nothing to do with the direct election of the mayor. He thinks that a council-appointed mayor would “advocate for all the various opinions of the council members.” (What about the rest of us?) That never happens, especially when members have differing opinions and agendas.

He seems to discount that a directly-elected mayor would be representing a majority of the residents and thus the will of the community.

His biggest reason for supporting the repeal is “this would eliminate the need for a council person to resign in order to run for mayor.” So what? If you want to be mayor, that’s what you do. And since we don’t have a strong-mayor form of government, why would you want to resign?

Moreover, he doesn’t explain how “this dropping of the direct election of the mayor could heal Sedona and get it back to the wonderful city that Sedona should be.”

I don’t get it. The direct election of the mayor and ALL its council members would allow the community to determine what kind of city Sedona wants to be. If anything, we should be voting on a resolution to prohibit the City Council from appointing the replacement of its fellow members. This allows a majority on the Council to further stack the council with its supporters and then allow them to appoint our mayor.

The repeal is a power play, and voting for the repeal is voting for the demise of democracy in our town.

Henry Twombly
350 Arroyo Pinon Dr.

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