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Sedona City Council Gives $28K to Mayor’s Committee

Sedona Arizona

Sedona Arizona

Sedona AZ (January 14, 2013)Warren Woodward, City of Sedona resident and taxpayer, in a SedonaEye.com Letter to the Editor writes an opinion of recent Sedona City Council volunteer commission appropriation decisions:

Just last November 30, 2012, Sedona’s overpaid city manager issued a 7-page Budget Memo that contained statements and phrases like:

  • To continue funding projects another source of funds will need to be identified.”
  • “…additional revenue sources will need to be identified.”
  • The current forecast of ongoing revenue barely supports the ongoing operational needs of the City.”
  • “…other funding sources must be pursued.”
  • new revenue sources to address the debt service must be identified.”

How does City of Sedona Council (AKA The Moronic Convergence) deal with this situation (a situation myself and others have warned about for years)? By spending more money on nonsense of course!

At its January 8, 2013 meeting, Council voted 6 to 0, with Williamson absent, to give $28,000 to the “Sedona Visioning Group.

I can see I need to practice my visualization techniques. There’s obviously a big payday in it.

You will be interested to know at the start of this very same January 8 meeting that Council approved a list of priorities for the next TWO years that included “increase most fees (some significantly)” and — get this Orwellian language — “Public outreach to educate the public and initiate a public dialog on future funding mechanisms for capital projects.”

Anyway, to make matters worse, this “Visioning Group” counts amongst its members both Mayor Adumbs (Adams) and Vice Mayor Duncenunzio (DiNunzio).

While I doubt they are benefiting financially from the $28K, it does seem highly inappropriate for members of a beggar group to be voting on whether or not to give that same beggar group free money.

But if you saw the meeting you would understand just how important Adumbs and Duncenunzio and the others think this gift of free money is. Why, they are ‘supporting the arts’ and surely it will generate money in the community! Adumbs even gushed that it would become like the Aspen Institute!

Watching the meeting, one gets a real understanding of how much they enjoy playing at being art patrons and venture capitalists on our behalf (and on our dime!). Lots of self-congratulatory ego tripping.

But wait; there’s more!

They are funding something that has already proved to be a failure!

From the City of Sedona Council January 8 Meeting’s Agenda Item:

Background: The Sedona Visioning Group (SVG) has been meeting since last spring to discuss strategies for Sedona becoming an internationally recognized learning center for arts and culture. The issue arose last spring when the Zaki Gordon Film Institute, located on the Yavapai Community College Sedona campus, was possibly going to close due to a lack of student registrations. Concerned community leaders, City officials and Yavapai College representatives met to discuss ways to avoid the closure of the Institute. [and make us pay for it!]

So, students were not interested. But instead of hearing and complying with public (i.e. market) demand — or lack thereof — The Moronic Convergence, true to form, is throwing money at failure.

I guess when one is “visioning” anything is possible.

Personally, I am disappointed that the “Visioning Group” made no mention of making art more affordable in Sedona.

Art is so expensive here I don’t know how people in the City’s affordable housing will afford it. Plus, I have heard that working families have to go to Cottonwood and Camp Verde for their art. Something must be done and Council needs to establish an Affordable Art Commission.

Seriously, our only hope in this particular instance of fiscal insanity is that the free money Council voted to waste is on condition that the National Endowment for the Arts cough up a similar amount. Other beggars are “competing” for the NEA funds. Sedonans “visioning” at our expense may have to keep practicing their techniques if the NEA doesn’t share the vision.

Beer goggles anyone?

Warren Woodward
Sedona AZ

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7 Comments

  1. It turns out that the story is worse than what I wrote. Someone I sent the story to (whose child went to the school) got back to me with the comments below (I have edited out names; ALLCAPS are in the original). This is what the Moronic Convergence is wasting our money on while at the same time raising our fees and contemplating “future funding mechanisms”:

    Hey, I KNOW a little something about the Zaki Gordon Institute, XXXX was in the last graduating class, and it is now called SVG.

    Here’s the thing, Dan Gordon had provided a private funding endowment and owned the name. Yavapai College pissed him off. A school in South Carolina said, hey, we’ll buy you 10 Million in equipment if you’ll bring your school here. Because of problems with Yavapai, he moved it! In August. Just like that! One week from offer to close.

    So, Yavapai was left holding the bag. They had actually increased enrollment over the prior year, but now had no “school” so they kept it as SVG.

    Here’s the thing, it operates under the Yavapai Community College nightmare. Yavapai is a nightmare of incompetence, I have NO IDEA HOW MANY TIMES XXXX had his classes cancelled for non-payments, when the payment had been received, double charges, no answer, etc. At one point, I had him call the Dean, and believe it or not the Dean fixed an issue in ten minutes that no one had been able to fix in two months.

    XXXX also took regular college classes at Yavapai. It is a VERY VERY BAD SCHOOL. While it is not expensive as colleges go, it is VERY expensive for what you get. I tutored my room mate YYYY in psych courses. OMG, they were such a joke.

    Back to SVG, formerly Zaki Gordon Film Institute. This school has suffered from a bunch of problems. The primary one is that there is no film or arts industry in the region to support the school. Yes, you can bring young film makers in, but you can’t get instructors, and Yavapai won’t pay enough to attract real instructors. Dan Gordon, being famous, did bring people in, but without him, you’ll have hacks and alums. But then, video and film require ACTORS, there is NO ACTING POOL. You can’t get anyone to be in the films. You can’t get crew. You can’t get locations. These were constant ongoing hassles that simply can’t be done away with. There is no TALENT in the area.

    The problem with the school is the usual Sedona one. Too small, too many little feifdoms, weird people who will fight over it, rather than make it better. The over riding institution, Yavapai, being absolutely uncooperative and incompetent. It all kills anything you ever want to get done or accomplish. There is no money, no talent, no simple competence to draw upon.

    But then of course, the stupid City Council will save it. They won’t save a public swimming pool, but they’ll save their little film school, so they can pretend they are somebody.

    Arizona passed some special film taxes a couple years back, which drove the last of the fledgling industry from the state. It is one of ONLY TWO states in the country that has a special film industry tax. It is also one of the most difficult states to film in. Most states allow you to film public places and parks and stuff, as long as you aren’t blocking anything, you only need permits when you overhwelm an area. Not in Arizona, go sit in a park and pull out a camera, it’s a violation.

    So a bunch of well meaning people might say, hey let’s make a film industry here. But the higher and lower ups will just nibble away at it, until like Dan Gordon, they’ll just pick up and go. He says he’ll never set foot in that state again. He had a few other choice words, but I’ll leave them out.

  2. Jean Jenks says:

    “OTHER FUNDING SOURCES MUST BE PURSUED.”

    The City Manager’s Office informed me concerning the City’s ten-year Capital Improvement Plan: “We are looking at identified capital needs averaging around $8 million annually.”

    That would be $10.66 million for the current fiscal year folks, including such “needs” as the Creek Walk ($1.6 million in 2013, $4.02 million total), Banners for Uptown (wanted by the Mainstreet Program and the Chamber of Commerce), etc.

    According to the 12-12-12 Budget Oversight Commission’s discussion [on audio] concerning capital needs: There’s a ton of capital projects…The project list is basically a categorization…The needs are not really identified…There’s no prioritization of capital projects, etc. Also, Commissioner Segner remarked that the people who live here are going to have to pay more taxes.

    Our City Council at Work? “Public outreach to educate the public and initiate a public dialog on future funding mechanisms for capital projects” is to commence in 2013.

  3. Read comments. Find the Zaki comment quite distressing. What do others know of this?

  4. Liked this story on Facebook.

  5. The City of Sedona recently published its first Annual Community Report, a new communications initiative of City Council.

    The purpose of this report is to highlight key accomplishments for Fiscal Year 2011-2012 (July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2012) and to provide major objectives for Fiscal Year 2012-2013.

    The report was mailed to residents in the City limits. If you did not receive one and would like one mailed to you, please contact the City Manager’s office at 204-7127.

    It is also available on the City’s website at http://www.SedonaAZ.gov/AnnualReport.

  6. Jason & gang says:

    man, guess nobody is talking, figures, sedona film fest only good thing in sedona & we don’t need a chamber or council to keep it filling our cash registers/patrick should be mayor/mary fisher should be on council, we love you guys/& this is great place to read news, let the others chase their tails, keep working it

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