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Sedona City Traffic Plan: Run Roads Through Our Neighborhoods for Tourists

Sedona AZ (August 4, 2018) – The following is a letter to the SedonaEye.com editor:

No on Home Rule!
Information & Perspective by Warren Woodward
Sedona, Arizona ~ August 4, 2018

Someone asked me how I was voting in Sedona and why. Because everyone is entitled to my opinion, below is my response.

No on Home Rule will force the City to prioritize spending — finally! Notice that the people screaming loudest about what might happen if No wins are those who have the most to gain from Yes winning, the Chamber of Commerce (CoC), the Lodging Council, and the City government itself. Notice that the City (or others), when listing everything they say will be cut, never lists money to the CoC ($2.5M last year!) or City staff (which has increased 31% over the last 5 years while the population has stayed the same).

Because it serves as such a classic example of the fear-mongering used by the Yes people, one of my favorite threatened cuts is $$ to the Library. Oh no, we can’t cut $$ to the Library! Pure misinfo scare tactics. The Library is funded by the County via our County property taxes. It is not going to close. The roughly $400K the City gives to the Library is not needed by the Library. Tony Tonsich, who is running for mayor and who I will be voting for, got the Library’s tax return and found this:

$2,165,377 in publicly traded securities
$613,291 in cash
$534,076 in savings.

The Library is sitting on over $3M! The Librarian makes $95K per year! I want people to make a fair wage but $95K/yr. to run a pipsqueak library in a town of 10K? Forgetaboutit!

I looked up what “real” libraries (like at name universities) are paying librarians and it’s more like two-thirds (2/3) of that!

That is just one example of the waste and abuse. We have been, and are being, totally played. The amount of money given to non-profits is only about $161K, yet cutting that is what the Yes on Home Rule people use to fearmonger. Again, cuts to Staff and CoC are off the table, never mentioned, unthinkable. The $161K is small potatoes in the scheme of needed cuts.

That said, some of the non-profits do need cutting. The Wine Fest? That’s mayor Sandy’s pet project (she is CEO) and gets $8K. Cut it! If people want to play wine connoisseur/dilettante they can do it on their own nickel. For three years on Maui, I put on the largest motorcycle run on the island, the Christmas Toys for Tots run. The government did not subsidize me. In fact, I had to pay the cops overtime for intersection control, and I had to buy motorcycle run insurance to indemnify the government in case someone got hurt on “their” roads. The whole thing cost me thousands. but I was able to pay that plus have money left over by having community support and selling tickets to our raffle and banquet afterward. Point is? A real community event will be supported by the community and should not need government handouts. A wine fest should not need a government handout.

Another good example of the crazed fearmongering is the Humane Society will be cut. This lie comes up every time Home Rule is on the ballot. The truth is City HAS to have a contract for animal control. The Humane Society won’t be cut. It’s that simple.

One trick the Yes people pulled was to increase next year’s City budget from something like $36M to almost $50M. By padding the budget they could then scream about what a huge percent cut the budget would take. Total BS!

More BS is when they say if Home Rule doesn’t pass then the tax money collected will just sit in a state bank account and not be spent because the City can’t touch it. I guess they never thought that taxes (like bed and sales taxes) could be reduced such that there would be no untouchable extra money. Duh!

Woodward writes in this letter to the editor that a classic example of fearmongering by the Sedona Home Rule Yes people are emails bemoaning loss of $$ to the Library from the City. The Library $$ can’t be cut because the Library is funded by the County via our County property taxes. It is not going to close and sits on over $3M! Its librarian makes $95K annually! Read letter for more…

No matter what CoC says, traffic is a direct result of their ad money. I have seen side by side bar graphs of the money given to the CoC and number of yearly tourists. They look the same. The answer to traffic is not to waste money by paving Sedona with more roads, but to stop the advertising. The City traffic plan is so insane they wanted to ruin our neighborhood (Northview) by running a road though it. Durango and Ouray stopped the advertising after finding themselves in the same traffic mess and traffic went back to normal.

If the CoC wants to advertise Sedona then great, but it must be on their own nickel. I am amazed that Democrats and so-called “progressives” are often the ones in this race who are in favor of corporate welfare. Never thought I’d see that day.

The only candidates who are firmly against using City money to advertise Sedona are Tony Tonsich, Sam Tardio and Noelle Julian. In the two year Council seat race, Mike Ward I don’t think wants a complete cutting off of the corporate welfare, but he would be more reasonable than Jessica Williamson. BTW, I was at a Council meeting once in which Jessica actually blocked her ears with her fingers while someone was speaking. Really! That alone is reason to not vote for her.

I could go on. Long story short, if you want more of the same – then vote for the same – incumbents and the candidates like them. If you want real change then vote for the ones I mentioned above and vote No on Home Rule.

There are three four year Council seats open, but that does not mean you have to vote for three candidates. The way primary ballot counting works, it’s better to vote for just the two people who really need to win, Sam Tardio and Noelle Julian, and, of course, Tony Tonsich for mayor also.

Warren Woodward
Sedona AZ

Read www.SedonaEye.com for daily news and interactive views!

12 Comments

  1. Eddie Maddock says:

    Thanks, Warren. You rock!

  2. Tony Tonsich says:

    Now you know, tell your friends, everyone on you mail list. We can change this and take our town back.

    Thank you Warren !

    No to the Home Rule scam.

  3. Karen, west Sedona says:

    followed your advice

  4. Donna Joy Varney says:

    Thank you Warren.
    You have a very large following. Locals listen and respect you.

    Vote for us residents No on Home Rule.

  5. Shannon says:

    Best reason for using post offices? Tampering with USPS is a felony. Ask its employees. Tampering with City Hall boxes is an ooppss my bad.

  6. Sedona Larry says:

    BIG NO VOTE ON JABLOW, ridiculous moronic entitled. God help us.

  7. Gretchen says:

    hey Warren

    You did a bit of “fear mongering “your self with you catastrophe health effects of smart meters(now didn’t you)..

    Your the pot calling the kettle black..

    Thanks for you 2 cents but I’m voting for HoneRule..

  8. Mick says:

    The Truth be told! Thanks Warren, you are our Champion.

    To Gretchen- Have you done any research at all on Smart meters? All bad, bad, bad.

  9. mick says:

    Can anyone tell me: where do I get a couple No on Home rule Yard Signs?
    thanks

  10. Bettye says:

    I’ve had something on My mind for a while now that I haven’t seen or heard mentioned anywhere that I would like to bring up.

    We’ve all been irritated sitting in traffic here, whether it’s been coming down the canyon which is backed up to Midgely Bridge, heading into Sedona on 179 with the round-a-bouts, or on 89A heading to the ‘Y’ which is backed up to almost to Airport Road. All that should be a 10 minute commute turning into an hour. Now add to that an Emergency Call telling us to evacuate because of Fire. It could happen, look at the small towns in California for an example. Lives could be lost.

    We only have 3 roads in and out of the City. Now in this scenario, what if only one of those roads was shut down because of fire. We have approx. 10,000 residents so let’s say they left in 5,000 cars. We have many people that work here from out of town so let’s add another 1,000 cars. And we could have as many as 2,000 or more tourist’s cars Who don’t know the area. I come up with a guesstimate of approx. 8,000 cars on the road, at once. Add to that emergency vehicles that need the right of way, and all drivers being a bit panicked. Please stop for a minute and think about this.

    Of all the many, many traffic studies the City has done, I haven’t seen one that included the above scenario in them. Now the City and Chamber want you to vote ‘yes’ on Home Rule saying they have a plan to take traffic through residential streets to bypass the highway. While residents are trying to get out of their streets? Is that the best they can do? Yes it is, because we have no more roads. The logical alternative would be cutting down on traffic. Now I see that there are even more hotel rooms planned for the future. Our small city is just Not able to handle this type of insanity, and heads should roll if only one life were to be lost because of their lack of planning.

    I’m not writing this to panic anyone, just to open your eyes. We had the highest fire alert in Yavapai and Coconino counties ever this summer. The weather predictions say we can look forward to even hotter and dryer weather in the future. We need to elect and hire people in our city that understand what Health and Welfare of their citizens mean instead of just lining their own pockets. If it’s to late for You to vote ‘No’ on Home Rule and get our city back, then you will have another chance on November 6, when you can vote ‘Yes’ on PBA.

    The chamber/city mouth piece Steve, aka Gretchen need not respond here, as you are part of the problem.

  11. Ron Maassen says:

    ???Question???

    I heard last evening that a new group “Keep Sedona Moving” (KSM) has formed with the intent to look at regional traffic issues. One objective would be a more direct route from the Village to West Sedona. Supposedly reported in the Villager. I was told Randy Garrison was present.

    Truth or just another rumor in this ever turning mill? Perhaps someone with access to the Villager can verify or kibosh.

  12. Ron Maassen says:

    Re: Question I’ve answered my own question. Here is the link:

    https://www.verdenews.com/news/2018/aug/01/effort-underway-find-new-route-voc-west-sedona/

    Effort underway to find new route from VOC to West Sedona

    Keep Sedona Moving seeks solutions to traffic woes on State Route 179
    .

    Looking down the road at projected population increases, especially those in metro Phoenix, Keep Sedona Moving believes that unless some things are done to alleviate the State Route 179 congestion in the next five to 10 years, traffic will become nightmarish throughout the year, not just during peak tourist seasons. Villager photo by Gail Simpson
    Looking down the road at projected population increases, especially those in metro Phoenix, Keep Sedona Moving believes that unless some things are done to alleviate the State Route 179 congestion in the next five to 10 years, traffic will become nightmarish throughout the year, not just during peak tourist seasons. Villager photo by Gail Simpson

    Speaking before the July 12 Big Park Regional Coordinating Council, Village resident Rick Williams and Yavapai County Supervisor Randy Garrison announced a renewed effort to explore the feasibility of an alternative route from the Village of Oak Creek to West Sedona. A highly controversial issue in the community for many years, a new organization, Keep Sedona Moving, has recently formed to once again assess the desire for such a route, based on the reality of increased traffic. Several possible locations have been proposed, while funding is a big question.

    The following hand-out was distributed at the Council meeting:

    Keep Sedona Moving (KSM) is a grassroots organization formed by four Big Park residents who, like a lot of their neighbors, are becoming increasingly disenchanted with the traffic congestion along Highway 179 and how it has eroded the quality of life they sought in Big Park. Looking down the road at projected population increases, especially those in metro Phoenix, the group believes that unless some things are done to alleviate the problem in the next five to 10 years, traffic will become nightmarish throughout the year, not just during peak tourist seasons.

    There is also the question of public safety, i.e., an escape route in the event of a natural disaster like California experienced last year.

    KSM has thus-far called upon a number of resources, i.e., current and former Sedona City Council members, a former Sedona mayor, a commercial real estate expert, a residential real estate expert, members of the Big Park Regional Coordinating Council and Randy Garrison, Yavapai County District 3 Supervisor, in an effort to sharpen its focus on how to proceed.

    The group believes there is no single answer to the traffic problem. Instead the solution will likely come from a series of measures in Big Park, Sedona and the Verde Valley.

    With the assistance of Yavapai County’s Assessor’s Office, the Yavapai County Graphic Information Systems (GIS) Department, and especially Supervisor, Randy Garrison, KSM is pulling together a simple three- or four-question survey to gauge the level of support for an alternate route between the Village of Oak Creek and West Sedona and to ask whether those in favor would be willing to pay for it via a special taxing district, a special bond, etc.

    The survey will be mailed to approximately 6,500 property owners in August or September…

    (Deleted by editor)

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