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Sedona City Commissions Poll Poorly

The City of Sedona Arizona registered voters and taxpayers should solely determine who gets what when and how

The City of Sedona Arizona registered voters and taxpayers should solely determine who gets what when and how, writes a registered City voter and taxpayer.

Sedona AZ (August 16, 2013)SedonaEye.com columnist Eddie Maddock takes time out from her column to write a personal letter to the City of Sedona Council and Staff about City Commissions:


Date: 8/16/2013 3:55:03 PM

To: radams@ci.sedona.az.us; MDinunzio@ci.sedona.az.us; MWard@ci.sedona.az.us; Barbara Litrell; JMartinez@ci.sedona.az.us; JWilliamson@ci.sedona.az.us; DMcIlroy@ci.sedona.az.us

Cc: ternster@ci.sedona.az.us; KDaines@ci.sedona.az.us; KSnyder@ci.sedona.az.us


Friday, August 16, 2013

TO: Members of the Sedona City Council

FROM: Eddie S. Maddock, Sedona Registered Voter

In case any of you missed it, the following letter entitled “Let’s be fair about the cost of arts” from James W. Eaton, former member of the Sedona City Council and P & Z Commissioner, appeared in the 8/2/13 edition of the Sedona Red Rock News:

“…Regarding your July 26 editorial, why should the city bear the brunt of all these wants by the arts community? First, the city’s taxpayers shouldn’t carry the load for the whole of greater Sedona; the counties should be expected to do their share. They collect taxes from city residents as well as from unincorporated areas.

Second, the Sedona Performing Arts Center is paid for by taxes, following a special public bond election which authorized $73 million for the Sedona-Oak Creek School District, which runs it. Why should the city be expected to beg the district on behalf of performers and other users? People can attend the school board’s meetings just as well. This is not ‘passing the buck from one bureaucracy to another.’ That buck stops at the school district.

Third, the city does not own the defunct Sedona Cultural Park . . . it’s private property. The Cultural Park was doomed to fail from the beginning. I was on the City Council when the first developers came in from California and promised the moon there. When I asked if they had done a feasibility study to learn if the park could sustain itself, they replied ‘We don’t need a feasibility study . . . everyone wants this!’ Look at what happened. Thousands of Phoenix residents did not visit to see the Phoenix Symphony perform.

It’s time to get real about the arts in Sedona. Yes, there’s a lot of lip service, but we still don’t have a school band program. Our St. Patrick’s Parade sees bands from Ganado and other tiny towns with a fraction of Sedona’s population, but none from our own city . . . one that claims to be ‘animated by the arts.’

And there are other private business-people that aren’t subsidized and catered to by taxing government entities; they must sustain themselves.

Let’s be fair.” ~James W. Eaton, Sedona <end>

There appears to be misconception regarding the intent of Sedona’’s incorporation. For those who are not aware, the original proposed area of incorporation reflected the existing School and Fire Districts. However, it was due to the decision of the people residing in the Village of Oak Creek, Red Rock Loop, and other related School & Fire District areas that they did not wish to be included within the incorporated City Limits which now exist and where taxes are presently being collected (to which Mr. Eaton refers) to allegedly provide “City” services and appropriate “City” infrastructure. 

We do not exist for the purpose of being a Cash Cow for outlying areas, including but not limited to the Greater Sedona Area aka Fire and School Districts.

Further, our assessed county taxes, be it Yavapai or Coconino, are for the purpose of financial support for the School and Fire Districts. It isn’’t fair or realistic for desperately needed City taxes to continue to be frivolously spent to further subsidize public tax money already allocated to benefit those entities. 

Listening to demands from the art community at the meeting on Wednesday evening was astounding. City of Sedona is to buy up land for museums as occurs in places like Yuma and San Diego? This was from a non-tax paying resident of the Village of Oak Creek? Other examples prevailed throughout the lengthy dissertations . . . whiners carrying on like distressed cats because their balls of yarn had suddenly disintegrated along with their very reason for existence.

What is wrong with these people? What is to prevent them from forming what clearly they truly desire? That being some sort of “regional” art conglomerate whereby they creatively design methods, means, and ways to raise their own funds for their hearts’ desires? What would be wrong with some of these artists to proudly donate some of their work instead of expecting hard to come by city funding to salve their own selfish needs?

To those of you who opted to take a new look (in spite of somewhat intense perceived adversity) at the dated “City Commissions” in a City of a mere 10,000 people, I wish to thank you very much.

Incidentally and readily acknowledging that the results are not official, on a Sedona Red Rock News poll, question asked: Which one of city commissions is most important?

Resulting responses:

NONE: 51; OVERSIGHT: 32; PARKS & RECREATION: 18; ARTS & CULTURE: 13. (Tally reflected is 114, off two based on the 116 given on the website.) However, does that not at least give you food for thought about the wisdom of delegating precious Sedona revenue to a really clear-cut selective group and not the wisest investment for the betterment of the population of REGISTERED VOTERS IN THE CITY OF SEDONA.


Eddie Maddock
Sedona AZ
For the best in Arizona news and views, read www.SedonaEye.com daily!

For the best in Arizona news and views, read www.SedonaEye.com daily!


  1. Comment to James W. Eaton, former member of the Sedona City Council and P & Z Commissioner, whose Letter to the Editor appeared in the 8/2/13 edition of the Sedona Red Rock News:

    While not taking sides one way or the other I think Sedonans need to ask you, why did you publish your letter in that outdated Red Rocks News print rag that no one reads except those without a computer? For God’s Sake, their Editor-in-Chief is a slam poet… that’s his only credential. Enough said? From now on, if you want what you write published for wide-spread reading, publish it here at SedonaEye.com.

  2. Sally says:

    Re J. Rick Normand; Good one. Way to go. :-)

  3. Mr. Normand,

    Amen, Amen and again Amen.

    The time to speak the truth is now …. the future of our communities and America depends upon it!

    Gary Chamberlain
    Cornville AZ

  4. Susan L. says:

    Abt. that RRN poll. The question “which of the city commissions is most important” was in the weds/ 8/14 issue followed by “look for the results in Friday’s Sedona Red Rock News” (8./16) which were:

    10.6% – Arts and Culture
    15.9% – Parks & Recreation
    27.4% – Budget Oversight
    45.1% – None

    So much for the generalization that “everyone” supports commissions.

  5. Jean says:

    KUDOS to James Eaton!!

    Had I voted in the SRRN poll, it would not have been for the woefully inadequate Budget Oversight Commission in that it supports the Mayor and Council’s tax-and-spend agenda.

    During the City Council’s April 26th Budget Workshop the Chairman of the BOC told the Council that, with regard to non-WW capital projects, there was a need to find $2 million/year for the next 5 years.

    Next the BOC Veep proceeded to advocate revenue generation. A City Property Tax (General Obligation Bonds) and a 1% City Sales Tax increase were but two of the options presented.

    Non-essential capital projects such as property acquisition (3 are under serious consideration), Feasibility Study of a Multi-Purpose Facility at the WWTP, Bike Skills Park, Splash Pad at Sunset Park–and several more–remain in this fiscal year’s budget. Go figure.

  6. Same as J. Rick Normand I’ve no particular position for or against commissions. What I see here is a scam to divert attention away from the real issue at hand: INCREASING TAXES FOR RESIDENTS OF SEDONA.

    All these folks from outside city limits making their demands on a city council that they don’t even get to vote for is a bit much. For sure what they need is a regional art council of a sort without trying to drain the coffers of incorporated Sedona and without this city wasting money on non-essentials like buying up vacant land for parks and the other nonsense mentioned by Jean. Their negligence to correct the drainage system and other true essentials is unforgivable. No wonder Sedona’s population continues to dwindle.

    In the meantime it’s the residents who SHOULD count (the voters) that deserve to have their properties protected beginning but not ending with adequate drainage to prevent flooding. Me thinks it’s shameful what’s happening before our very eyes. If Jim Eaton runs for council again, based upon his letter to a competing publication, I would vote for him. And thank you Sedona Eye and Eddie Maddock for calling it to the attention to those of us who maybe aren’t regular readers of the RRNews.

  7. Helen C. says:

    when will you ( j rick) stop your snippy and name calling comments? if your goal is to be taken seriously then treat folks with same amount of respect you feel you deserve.

    pretty much looks like you took sides, which is ok – just don’t say you didn’t. i agree that Sedona eye is providing great coverage on city issues, without any personal bias or editing, so that’s not the issue. issue is: allow for opinions that disagree with your lofty ones as you might learn something.

    oh, fyi, j rick – I have a computer and I do read the red rock news as well and know many others who search everywhere and anywhere for news in order to see the full picture.

    guess you missed the point that eddie m. did read Eaton’s letter in the red rock news and she obviously owns a computer which she seems to use quite satisfactorily.

  8. Helen C.:

    If your goal is to be taken seriously, why don’t you learn to write in proper English with correct punctuation and capitalization as required. You write as if you’re illiterate. Who do you think you are? A slam poet!

  9. Helen C. says:

    Thanks for re-enforcing my point J Rick.

  10. FYI: The only reason I read the RRNews is because people give me copies. For years I was a loyal subscriber. Now when people ask how come I no longer write an occasional letter to the editor, I tell them the truth. My letters are rejected which is ONE of the reasons I’m no longer a paying customer. Which, coincidentally, if I attempt to vote on any of their polls, I’m greeted with a message that “You have already voted” which is not the case. Any guesses as to why that is? Which reminds me, I need to contact the RRNews and ask about that.

  11. Helen C.:

    So, you can actually compose while using more than two thumbs!

  12. Phil says:

    Mr. Normand why do you have to respond to everything? We’ll draw our own conclusions.

  13. Phil,

    And why is that important to you, or anyone?

  14. Helen C says:

    j rick – seems you might want to find a new target…as Phil says: readers can draw their own conclusions. nuff said. (thank God I have thumbs!)

  15. Phil and Helen C.:

    Are you two an innominate tag team? Or is that why neither of you have the mettle to identify yourselves?

  16. Some of the comments here sort of got off target. Enough already.

    Back to Sedona and it’s maybe well intentioned but self-imposed regional obligations. Maybe the generalized art community, those continuing to mainly rely on Incorporated Sedona for funding their projects, might take a second look and for a change offer their services and maybe even have fund raising events to aid in financing badly needed drainage revenue.

    If artists truly love Sedona then why not think about contributing art work instead of expecting city tax money be spent for art in public places? By setting an example maybe you might even convince city council to put aside their own grand ideas to waste money on things like more city parks and the nonsense at the sewer plant for places to picnic when residents are sorely lacking safeguards for their own properties.

    Are those of you living outside Sedona city limits so selfish that you will continue to reap our coffers without paying required city taxes just because you can? The same goes to Sedona Chamber of Commerce which isn’t that at all. It’s a Regional Chamber of Commerce with too many members outside Incorporated Sedona who do not pay for benefits from the city.

  17. Having just returned from vacation catching up on local news is disheartening. Seeing a photo of Mike Ward in a local print publication captioned with a demand on finding a way to finance drainage was to put it mildly, stunning. Then reading articles in that same source as well as past and current submissions to Sedona Eye makes me regret returning from vacation. Even further why did we move to Sedona in the first place? What’s behind this recent love affair the city seems to be having with residents outside our incorporated area? Could it be their ultimate intent is annexation? If that’s the case, those people presently being gifted might stand back and consider how those of us living in the “big” City are actually being shunned. Why would it be any different for them if they became legitimate voting, tax paying contributors to a city being run by questionable integrity?

  18. Becky says:

    If my taxes are raised I’ll buy everything I can in the VOC or Cottonwood and that includes groceries…I’m tired of paying more for less. Yes I am tired of it.

  19. Hello,

    I am wondering you can help me?

    Can you call James W Eaton, and ask him if his mother was Opal Bremmer, and his father was Harold Ralph Eaton.

    If it is please give him my phone number 972-442-5868 Texas.

    My grandfather was Henry Bremmer and my uncle was James Henry Bremmer. His daughter was Opal Bremmer.

    I am researching the family history, and found a obituary “Gladys Bremmer “Ward” listing him living in Sedona.

    Please, if you could, contact him or member of his family.

    Erlene Bremmer Best, daughter of Earl Henry Bremmer, granddaughter of Carl Jerry Bremmer, great granddaughter of Henry Bremmer.

    506 Lone Ridge Way
    Murphy Texas 75094

    thank you again…..


  20. Christopher Fox Graham says:

    J. Rick Normand,

    I’m pretty, too. That’s my other credential.

  21. Dear Mr. Fox,

    Nice to see you read the SedonaEye.com.

    The SedonaEye.com covers a wide range of topics without discrimination to those that want their point of view told and their voices heard.

    There are a few papers in the area that could benefit from this philosophy if they chose to do so.

    Mr. Fox, I have a story for you and you can contact me at FolksvilleUSA@gmail.com.

    Gary Chamberlain
    Cornville AZ-USA

  22. To Christopher Fox Graham:

    Thank you for two reasons:
    (1) for making the letter to editor from James W. Eaton available;
    (2) for reading Sedona Eye. It doesn’t cost anything either and as a rule the publisher/editor makes all opinions available. :-)

    e. maddock

  23. “The fact that we are here today to debate raising America ‘s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the US Government cannot pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that, “the buck stops here.’ Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.” ~ Senator Barack H. Obama, March 2006

  24. @quote of the decade:

    Members of Sedona City Council, pay attention. Substitute “Sedona” for “America” in a couple of places as in:

    “Sedona has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Sedonans deserve better.”

    Get it?

  25. I would like to commend Mr. Christopher Fox Graham on his recent editorial concerning the childish behavior of the Sedona Mayor, Rob Adams. Mr. Graham, I stopped being a yearly subscriber to the RRN a few years ago, getting tired of the same old “life is good” watered down paper that the former editor was letting past her desk. Now that I have heard about your honest “take no prisoners” type of writing, I’ll be subscribing once again because I can’t wait to see more of your editorials.

  26. Commend this site because we’ve finally been given an outlet for the frustration of gazillions of years of that perverse print rag pablum us.

    Graham? Somebody told him that the Eye was kicking his body parts & he took aim at the mayor of sedona. that’s not journalism. that’s easy street.

    does anybody know when the chamber music schedule is? it’s not posted here & we check this site most days? guess it’s not going on this year..

  27. Joshua says:

    Whoever that person was who said everything on Sedona Eye is negative needs to get a life. Once I started reading through some of these articles, references, and especially comments, it was a trip to a different sort of place. Even disagreements became fun with ongoing bantering. Serious issues? Of course. However a reminder to lighten up now and then might be the one thing worth earnest consideration by those most critical of this publication.

  28. While both RRNews and Sedona Biz remain selective in publishing comments they receive, here we have Sedona Eye who willingly posts a comment from Mrs. Rodger Thomas actually praising Christopher Fox Graham on an editorial he wrote and saying she’s considering renewing her subscription to the publication he represents. Don’t hold your breath waiting for either RRN or Biz to acknowledge kudos in any way, shape, or form to their competition. Point being? Figure it out.

  29. James:

    Over the years I have publicly stated on this very web site that in the Verde Valley, there is no better news medium for unbiased information then SedonaEye.com and I’m proud to say that I read it several times a day.

    As for Mr. Graham, we all know that his employer is VERY biased. Once he took over from his mother, who I thought was a nice person, it’s gone downhill ever since.

    My point is that for Mr. Graham, as the NEW Managing Editor to stick his neck out and speak the truth was a big step in this town. I’m just hoping that this is a first step of many and that HOPEFULLY this will be a new turning point for the Larsons. Will I really step up and kick in a few bucks to renew my long ago expired subscription to the RRN, if this is a new beginning, I may. Certainly the RRN will never be a SedonaEye.com but then again, there’s not many that can be THAT good.

  30. Well said, Mrs. Rodger Thomas. However, how many fine editors at the RRNews have been dismissed or moved to other arenas because they wouldn’t follow the rules as written by the man in charge, Publisher Robert B. Larson? (Gregg Ruland for example) Is it just by coincidence the Chamber of Commerce is so favorably high profile in that publication? Could it be because the Chamber CEO’s husband, Rick Wesselhoff, is listed as one of the partner’s of the online edition? (listed at bottom of RRN home page)

    In all fairness, Mrs. Thomas, I will join you in wishing the best of luck and success to Christopher Fox Graham.

  31. West sedona resident says:

    Thanks for posting that letter from 2013

    Looking at the letter and the comments from the same old complaining cast of characters…

    It appears in 2017 nothing has changed. The same cast still complain about everything government and DO NOTHING…including the letter writer…

    The beat goes on and on ad naseum

  32. Eddie Maddock says:

    Miracles do happen! Thank you, thank you, West sedona resident for continuing to be a fan of Sedona Eye and, especially, picking up on this 2013 letter as the revamping of SE is progressing.

    But even more so, this gives me the opportunity to again express appreciation to both former Councilman Jim Eaton for his letter to the Red Rock News Editor, Christopher Fox Graham, and thank him for having published it. The same goes to the Publisher/Editor of Sedona Eye to find it worthy enough to share input from our local printed newspaper. Both displayed, IMO, a touch of class for being fair minded and unbiased.

    Mr. Eaton’s message remains as valid today as it did on 8/2/13 when it originally appeared in the Red Rock News.

    Eddie Maddock

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