By Tommy Acosta
Sedona News: Let’s talk reality here. Paying someone $75,000 to reverse SB 1350, is like trying to stop a mortally wounded elephant from bleeding out, with a Band-Aid.
There is no way in the known and even unknown universe that hiring a lobbyist will make even a smudge of a difference in the city’s campaign to regulate or get rid of short-term rentals.
That possibility that a Republican-dominated Arizona State Legislature will alter or reverse SB1350 in our lifetime, stands about the same chance a snowflake has of surviving a week in hell, during the summer.
Nope. No way.
No matter what. No matter how you toss the dice or spin that bottle SB1350 opponents have to contend with an immutable right that has been around for centuries. Wars have been fought for it. Men have killed and died for this concept.
A man’s home is his castle. I will say it again. A man’s home is his castle.
Who can deny that? Does anyone believe an elected official running for reelection is going to go against that indelible truth?
Not too long ago there was a valiant attempt by concerned citizens in this city to gain seats on the council and curtail the city’s spending habits by placing state-imposed expenditure limits on the city’s budget.
They garnered enough signatures to put the question to the public through the ballot box.
It looked like they may have had a chance to succeed but then they hobbled themselves with a slogan.
“No Home Rule” became their battle cry.
I was flabbergasted, floored by the immensity of the mistake they were making.
How could they make such a blunder?
Americans on either side of the aisle would never agree to give up the concept of ruling their home. The slogan implies that they should. It works in the deeper layers of consciousness.
It made no difference how hard the group tried to explain it logically, that they felt the city was spending money wildly and should be curtailed by taking the Home-Rule right through which the city had been operating for more than 20 years, away, and giving it to the state.
Voters would have none of that. The group lost by a large margin.
The Alternative Expenditure Limitation effort died on the same vine as their political ambitions. They had lost before they started. And all because of a slogan.
But let’s get back to short-term rental regulation.
A man’s home is his castle. Same of course, for a woman. That truth alone will discourage a legislator from introducing any legislation that rocks that boat.
And let’s not forget about the 800-pound gorilla in the room. That ‘s right. The Goldwater Institute.
They were the sword of light that chopped off the heads of those legally fighting to retain their ability to curtail and control short-term rentals.
The institute got firmly behind SR1350 and threw their legal might into the fight between the cities and a homeowner that started it all.
Jerome, Sedona, and Scottsdale until that point, either banned vacation rentals or severely restricted them.
Despite the best efforts of the cities to stop it, the bill, sponsored by Sen. Debbie Lesko passed with overwhelming bipartisan support.
It was the first law of its kind in the country.
The three municipalities that until that point had control over rentals, took it on the chin. It was a KO. No more short-term rental control. That was it.
Is there hope? Consider this.
If any state legislator were to write and introduce a bill to counter SB1350 they would be shunned. It’s a fruitless effort. It will never succeed. They don’t want a loss on their legislative legacy.
You don’t cross the my-home-is my-castle people. You don’t trifle with the Barry Goldwater Institute either.
The only way to change things is to change the minds of those in power or eject them from their seats and put someone you want in their place.
For that you need the votes and someone to run on that platform — the reversal of SB1350 or at least its modification.
I know there are voices in the community saying the hiring of a lobbyist is a good first step — but if thought thru, one would see it for the exercise in futility that it is.
SB1350 is the law, whether we like it or not. State Legislature Republicans will not go against this bill. They will not introduce a new one either.
They will not mess with the Goldwater Institute. They will not mess with any man or woman’s castle.