By Stephen DeVol
Sedona AZ (September 21, 2015) – It has been said that in Sedona there isn’t an issue so small that Sedonans can’t fight about. Tuesday night, September 15 was no exception.
Does anyone recall the feeling of smelling fresh, clean air? Or hiking a trail, just yourself, and enjoying the great outdoors? Or the sounds of the creek tumbling over the rocks? Or the look of a Native American dwelling and imagined the people who once lived there? We want to imagine how it was and to preserve that for all posterity. So what are we fighting about? We are fighting about how to preserve it, not whether to preserve it. We’re all fighting for the same reason: how best to preserve this wonderful area called Sedona.
At the meeting held at the Village Oak Creek Association (VOCA) Club House a presentation was made about the Sedona Red Rock Verde Valley National Monument (SRRVVNM). The meeting opened with former Sedona Councilwoman and Keep Sedona Beautiful Past President Barbara Litrell. As she opened the meeting she thanked the attendees for their civil discourse of the issue at hand and their polite questions and answers.
Amid the yeas and boos people expressed themselves, which is what Sedonans have always done. But as the meeting moved forward attendees got less patient and eventually tempers flared resulting in a shoving match. The meeting was terminated and the crowd spilled out into hallway and therein tempers flared again. Sedona Fire District EMTs arrived, and the Yavapai County Sheriff responded with five units. No arrests were made and soon the police put the lid back on the simmering cauldron of emotions.
Yes, we all want to preserve our forests. But what we don’t want is lies and fighting. We all know that Keep Sedona Beautiful serves a purpose of helping to protect our beautiful land. But was it really necessary for people with a political agenda to infiltrate the group and push through an agenda that has potential consequences that will be negative for us all. Wouldn’t it have made more sense to approach the very citizens that will benefit from protecting our forests to come up with a way that is beneficial for us all. Why try and push through something that could potentially affect our property rights in a negative manner. Yes, I know some are saying it would be positive. But more are saying it would be negative. So, why is KSB working with people who want to run for office and may or may not be using this as a means of furthering their own political careers? You all know who they are. And, now that we have had a violent incident occur at the meeting, some are out there lying about the incident to even further their agenda. I say, we scrap this entire thing, get together as a community and stop lying. Sit down and look how we can protect our forests, while at the same time protect our own homes. We do not need any more government intervention. The government has never done anything to protect its citizens, and I, for one do not believe they will start doing it now.
These people are adults acting like idiots. I would not expect high school students to act like this, but even more so grey haired adults. But then again it is typical of Sedona politics.
The 89A street lights, the National Monument and disrupting the court room because a women was speeding down Beaver Flats Rd all seem to be associated with Barbara Litrell. I do not know what she does to get people all worked up, but her name keeps coming up when it comes to booing and over active emotions at a KSB meeting or in a court room.
Can’t we all just get along?
I find Sedona high school and elementary school students acting more mature and more intellectual than many adults in our community.
In complete agreement that the Sedona Red Rocks are an asset we need to protect, and we need to come together to decide how to best do just that.
The National Monument proponents are reading A LOT into what this can do for Sedona. Yes, it will protect and PRESERVE the red rocks, meaning those hikes you once enjoyed, those streets you once drove down, the homes you once lived in will be GONE because this is about the land, and not about the citizens. No where in the National Monument proposal is the population considered an asset – just the opposite. There is NO guarantee (and it’s just a pipe dream) that if the National Monument established here will be run by the Forest Service. The Park Service runs National Monuments. When I was a kid, we could climb all over Montezuma’s Castle. Today that’s not possible. When I was a kid, we could take our dogs to Tuzigoot. Can’t do that any longer either because of the NM status. National Monuments are restrictive, and if the Park Service decides that your home or business is within a view shed, your home or business will be removed. We only need to look at other areas where the citizens were sold the idea on the National Monument only to have their homes and livelihoods destroyed.
If you enjoy Sedona and enjoy getting out and hiking, biking, fishing and enjoying the land, then you don’t want the National Monument no matter what lies you’re being told. It’s adorable that the proponents of the National Monument are posting pretty photos on Facebook showing areas and activities in and around Sedona that simply won’t be available – that photo on Secret Mesa? You’ll need to get permission from private property owners to get to the Mesa since access is soon to be behind a gate for the new gated community off Chavez Ranch Rd, and the other trail was made by mountain bikers (not authorized) so will be removed. You’ll also need to get a permit if you take photos for profit or projects (like websites). There’s also a nice photo of a group of men riding horses through the creek. No, that won’t be allowed either. I often see Verde Valley School kids ride horses to the creek – that will not be allowed, and most of those trails behind the school so popular with the kids will be razed. They also posted photos of areas which are outside the NM, which means that they have ever intention of applying these stringent rules to the entire Verde Valley.
The WORST part of this proposal is that no matter what most the citizens want (85% on Red Rock News poll are against the National Monument) is that we will have NO SAY and a group of volunteers (we don’t know who they are) will push this through to the President’s desk and it won’t matter what we do. If that’s the case, I suggest moving from the area, because in the end, that’s what you’ll be forced to do – and there goes the property values right into the toilet!
We can get along if you don’t step on my private property and water rights!
Could not agree more !
Except this is NO small issue. This is a BIG GIANT issue since it messes with our way of life, another layer of Federal government bureaucracy, property values, private property rights, and water rights.
Citizens can be very emotional when you are talking about their home. There have been families living in the Verde Valley for a hundred years that will not be enjoying their current life style under the National Monument draconian laws.
The National Monument is said to be “the only way to preserve our red rocks” and there’s a false sense of urgency to do it NOW. QUICKLY! Why?
There was talk of a National Monument back in the 80’s, which gave us Amendment 12 – where is this Amendment NOT WORKING?
It seems the biggest opposition is the Land Trades. Hm. Let’s see – the Cultural Park was established by a Land Trade, and it’s the City and KSB that is allowing development there when we all know that land was NEVER to be developed into perpetuity, otherwise the citizens of Sedona would have NEVER gone along with it. This is just one example of the back-door deals done by the Good Ol Boy network running the city.
There’s nothing that says the rules and laws won’t be broken – we have too much history showing that rules/laws have been broken again and again. What’s that saying about the Gold Rule? Those that have the gold, rules? So so true in Sedona.
Obama said he’ll bus poor folk into the National Monuments so they can enjoy getting out into the forest “as a matter of correcting a social injustice.” OK, I’m all for poor kids enjoying nature, but has anyone for one minute thought about over-crowding and what that will do to our creek and red rocks? more diapers, more trash, more pollution… besides, bringing people from the poorest, drug and gang infested areas of Phoenix – what could possibly go wrong?
I suggest that you think very carefully about this National Monument designation because if it goes through, your life, the city and Red Rocks you love so much, will become OFF LIMITS so it can be “preserved.” My question is a simple one – why preserve the land if you can’t use it?
I attended a KSB meeting to hear the pro side of the story and have since attended numerous anti meetings. The pro side was vague and promises were made that I found to be either disingenuous or vague. The line “nothing will change” was said numerous times. In my research and the evidence shown at the anti meetings, things WILL change and most will be extraordinarily harmful to not just Sedona and it’s residents, but the rest of the Verde Valley as well. The history of the damage done to other communities and land owners when NM’s were established is horrifying and well documented. The fact that Sedona would be the first community totally encompassed by a NM is even more disturbing.
I don’t understand why the proponents of this are ignoring the damning evidence presented and also the fact that an overwhelming majority of locals are adamantly against this and accept the fact that it is just not a good idea and drop it.
Their rush to get this signed off is totally against the will of their neighbors, over 85% of them. Let it go, KSB.
This Monument proposal is authored to be run and remain part of the National Forest, as many are across the country. The National Park Service has nothing to do with this. Private property rights will remain and be protected. What will not be protected are private citizens thinking that public lands are there for them to do whatever they want, such as climbing all over Montezuma’s castle, without regard for resource protection or protection of vulnerable sites. What kind of legacy do you want to leave to your grandchildren?
Amendment 12 has already been weakened to the point that it doesn’t even resemble the original amendment, paving the way for the bigger danger facing us: the transfer of federal public lands to the state for eventual sale to the public. The statement that things are just fine the way they are, and that these lands are already protected is just plainly incorrect, and ignores the reality of this relentless drive to privatize our public national forests.
I have been a real estate Broker for over 30 years and support the National Monument as an economic development issue as well as a preservation issue. It is the best chance to preserve our heritage for future generations.
I ask other realtors and the business people in our community to stand up and be counted in this fight.
“Authored” means absolutely nothing and I would hope you are smart enough to know that. We have none of the 22 monuments in this state run by the FS so the odds of the FS keeping control does not look too good.
Try looking at how well property rights have been “protected” around other monuments.
You are a real estae broker in Cottonwood and may very well benefit from the Sedona residents need to find cheaper homes when they are forced to move elsewhere. Could happen.
I was part of the Amendment 12 process and it is doing just fine in protecting the area and there has been no trade offs to private developers, They can’t by the still standing and still strong Amendment 12.
And so this is the legacy you wish to leave for your grandchildren? Hikes that can’t be taken? Views that can’t be photographed?
You are sorely misinformed if you think the Forest Service can or will be our home’s caretaker. National Monuments are run by the Park Service. Think back two years ago when all National Parks, Monuments and Forests were SHUT DOWN by the Obama administration as a ploy to get the Republicans to pass an unmanageable and unsustainable budget. If you think for one minute that the Federal government won’t have a say in our National Monument local government, you are sadly mistaken. Common sense tells you that we can make better, quicker judgements right here at home with out the help of a federal bureaucrat sitting at his desk some 2,000 miles from here.
Why do you want to add another level of red tape, fees, and taxes on to the backs of your grandchildren? Keep the management of Sedona and the Red Rocks here at home – Amendment 12 is working. If more help is needed, all they have to do is motivate the helpful volunteers who will gladly go out and keep trails clean and neat and watch for vandals. Keep the funds here at home. We’ll muddle through somehow – we always do.
BTW: As a community, aren’t we allowed to apply for all the grants available? We don’t need to be a National Monument to receive gifts and donations, correct?
I have been involved in real estate an owner/broker’s wife (now retired) and I am opposed to the oppression, the lack of knowledge given for simple questions, proponents unwilling to disclose their identities, lack of public due process, and the highly probable loss of property and water rights.
The will of the people is the only legitimate foundation of any government, and to protect its free expression should be our first object.
3rd president of US (1743 – 1826)
At 11:40am, the online poll of the Red Rock News shows 78.5% against the NM proposal.
AN OPEN LETTER TO SEDONA CITY COUNCIL (SENT TO THEM 9/21/15):
I am a Sedona resident of 33 years and am beyond appalled and upset at even the chance that this area could be turned into a National Monument.
There is no point.
Why would we give our power away? Cause we assume we are not worthy or capable of taking better care of it than people 2500 miles away who have a million other things to worry about, including the impending bankruptcy/insolvency of the federal government itself?
We are less than two weeks away from another potential government shutdown. Would you really want this area shutdown by the federal government if they were the ones running this place and it was a National Monument closed off to tourists because of a government shutdown?
Can you not see from this one small unintended consequence that maybe there could be a million other unintended consequences that we can’t even see yet?
WHO WE ARE
To give you an idea who we are, we were essentially the only National Green Magazine in the country, based right here out of Sedona, for a number of years leading up to the ’08 crash. We were in Barnes and Noble, Borders, Walmart, Safeway, etc…All the way from New York to Florida to Texas to California. We are heavily involved in the Green Movement and sponsored nearly every major Green Trade Show in the country at one point in time or another.
The word “Green” means: Social, Economic, and Environmental Justice for all people worldwide. The mission statement of our company is to, “create Social, Economic, and Environmental solutions for all people worldwide”.
It is our duty to be experts on the intersection of those three things. This issue is at that intersection.
THE FALSE ENVIRONMENTAL MOVEMENT
This naive, local environmental movement doesn’t have a clue, with their well meaning intentions, that they are getting duped into giving away our water rights and our land and our sovereignty for absolutely no reason whatsoever, other than the “hope” that the federal government “might” give us more money. It is a major legal misstep and there is no reason whatsoever to give up our rights, our control, or our sovereignty over our land, our water, or our city for that matter.
WHERE WE THINK THIS MIGHT END UP GOING
We are already in the fight of our lives to preserve this country. We see a possibility that we will be the center of National News for weeks as the biggest political fight this country has seen since the Bundy Ranch incident in Nevada if this is rammed down our throats against our will.
I also believe the opposition on this is probably going to have the support of the State Legislator, the County Sheriff, the Governor and thousands of people willing to fight this thing to the death, literally.
From what I gather no city has ever been landlocked inside a National Monument. We would be the very first.
I like the idea of us being first and being visionaries and pioneers, but pioneering the worst thing for the People, for the City of Sedona, and for the Rights of the Individual(s) living in our community is not something I want to be a part of. Especially not something that may take away the Rights of our children or our grandchildren.
WHY THE RIGHT IS SO UPSET
Bringing this back to basic Civics 101: In a pure Democracy the 51% get to decide the way things are going to be and the other 49% have to deal with it. In a Constitutional Republic (especially ours with the Bill of Rights), no matter what the 51% think the 49% still have certain rights that cannot and will not be infringed upon.
We are a Republic and this issue is one of those issues where the 49% does not care what the 51% thinks. They will lay their life on the line to not have their rights infringed upon.
That’s what this issue is. That’s why the Right is so furious. If 51% think they can impose taking away the right to the land and water of all of us, the 49% will fight this to the end.
OUR FOUNDING FATHERS
Excuse me for making this somewhat longer than it maybe needed to be, but I think it’s important to cite our founding fathers here so you can see that we are not alone in our thinking regarding this:
“A Democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.” – THOMAS JEFFERSON
“Remember, Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a Democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” – JOHN ADAMS
“We are a Republican Government. Real liberty is never found in despotism or in the extremes of Democracy.” –ALEXANDER HAMILTON
At the first inaugural address to the United States under the first President ever, on April 30, 1789, he said that he would dedicate himself to “the preservation … of the Republican model of government.” – GEORGE WASHINGTON
“Hence it is that such Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention: have ever been found incompatible with personal security of rights of property: and have in general been as short lived in their duration as they have been violent in their Deaths.” – JAMES MADISON
CONCLUSION: I ASK FOR YOUR PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
This issue is symbolic of the wrong direction we’re headed in overall as a nation, where big government just keeps getting bigger and bigger and people keep giving up more and more of their Inalienable Rights to the 51%.
I strongly recommend, no matter what you think about it to vote NO if a vote is called for the City to take a position this matter.
Actually, I’m asking a little more than that. I’m asking you to vote NO and fight it all the way to the end to stop it if the President does sign an Executive Order for it.
You take a Pledge before every City Council meeting. There is a reason for that Pledge.
“…and to the REPUBLIC for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL.”
What that means to me is you have a duty to protect the RIGHTS OF THE MINORITY (the 49%) despite what your personal opinion is on this matter, or what the 51% think.
It is unjust for anyone to impose giving up our Rights for our land, water, or our city. If one person is harmed in this act it is wrong, if a multitude are it is a tragedy. No matter what your belief is, thousands of us believe our rights are being violated and we will feel deeply, deeply harmed regardless of what you or 51% think. No matter what the consensus is injustice will occur, a minority will be harmed, and I ask you to exercise the sole purpose of government: PROTECT THE RIGHTS OF THE MINORITY FROM THE MAJORITY, when the two are in conflict with one another.
I personally will be standing with our Governor, the Sheriff, and our State Legislators, along with anyone else who has to the courage to stand up to the Federal government against this if this is implement against our will.
I have pledged my allegiance to the REPUBLIC. I am humbly asking you to do the same, no matter what your opinion is.
Owner/Co-Founder of GoneGreen.org
& 33 Year Resident of Sedona
You don’t sound like any environmentalist I’ve ever met. And in regards to giving away ‘our’ land, the land designated for the Monument is already federal land. Thus – is all of America’s land. And as far as the support on your stand at a state level, no doubt you will obtain it. And that is exactly why these federal lands need protection, those people would love to privatize it. Amendment 12 will not protect it from the Koch agenda and selling it off to the highest bidders. Your contention is big government and mine is the 1% and their oligarchy. If it gets privatized – enjoy the limitations!
I find it interesting that your embedded video shows J. Rick Normand asking a simple question of the KSB panel, yet you cut off the video before anyone on the panel answered. Well, their resounding answer was “NO!” KSB goes out of its way NOT to disclose their unproved and unproveable premise that the USFS will be the Monument manager which makes no sense since ALL 22 Arizona National Monuments are managed by the National Park Service, a federal police force, or the BLM. See below:
National Monuments nationwide are suffering from an unfunded $11.5 billion dollar budget shortfall which has existed for most of the Obama Administration and there has been terrible degradation of most all of Arizona’s 22 National Monuments throughout the state.
Note that not a single one of them is managed by the U.S. Forest Service which is claimed by the (nefarious) Monument Workgroup to be the federal management agency that will manage the proposed SVVRRNM – even though KSB, the Sierra Club, Tom O’Halleran, and AZ Congressperson Ann Kirkpatrick can’t come up with a written federal guarantee. In fact, all of our state’s National Monuments are managed by either the National Park Service or the BLM.
Nevertheless, is there any consequence to a distinction between management of the subject proposed National Monument by the U.S. Forest Service or the National Park Service? Yes, there is a monumental (pun intended) consequence that the Red Rock News advertisement conveniently doesn’t mention. The U.S. Forest Service is an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture which operates under “lenient rules” towards public access and activities inside the federal land management designation, whereas the National Park Service, that operates under “Draconian rules” towards public access and activities in the designated territory, is an agency of the Department of the Interior.
J. Rick and Eddie Maddock both asked the U.S.F.S. if they would confirm that KSB’s premise that the proposed NM would be managed by the USFS and, once again, the answer was a resounding “NO!”
Sometime times decisions are made with out local input.
NEWSBRIEF: GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, ARIZ (AP) — “Siding with environmentalists in one of the nation’s biggest wilderness battles, President Clinton declared 1.7 million acres of southern Utah’s red-rock cliffs and canyons as a national monument Wednesday. The election-year move effectively blocks development of one of America’s largest known coal reserves, to the dismay of political leaders in Utah, the nation’s most Republican state.”
It will be up to our President.
Those dam democrat’s just love to protect land.
Sometime decisions are made with out local input.
Obama (the Federal Government) simply can not afford to make a decision impacting 80,000 residents. The will of the people (85% against the National Monument) will see their property values drop like a stone and property owners then will probably join in a class action lawsuit. If he wants to cause BIG problems in AZ, he will go ahead and sign the National Monument into existence, but that won’t happen. He’s too good of a politician.
We have rights too.
This kind of behavior and acrimony is one of the primary reasons I moved from Sedona to neighboring Cottonwood almost 5 years ago after 15 yrs. in Sedona.
Ever since moving to Sedona there has been controversy about one issue or another like no other place I have ever lived, to wit: The low water crossing at RR crossing;;
the installation of the round-abouts; the building of the fire-house in the chapel area; the lighting on Hwy. 89…to name just a few and now this. It would appear that something is endemically wrong there.
I heard that a Native America once told an acquaintance of mine that no Native Americans wanted to live in Sedona because there was too much turbulence there. Maybe it’s the vortexs..who knows? But perhaps the Native Americans have something.
This is not a partisan issue Steve. Its extremely childish that the right and the left want to tribally see where their “team” is and take up that position.
This is a out tyranny vs liberty. This is about the rights of the individual, the rights of the minority, the rights of the 49% despite the 51%, despite the Executive Branch exercising dictatorial powers.
All Americans, right and left should depise dictatorial behavior of any President and understand that there are certain inalienable rights of the minority (the 49%) that will be protected and upheld, no matter what. That principle is actually the only unifying principle that gave us all the greatness we ever achieved. It was the rights of the rest of us regardless of what 51% think that makes us American and made us great.
I think Bush is the worst President we’ve ever had, Kennedy was the last real Presdient we had and contrary to African Americans primarily voting Democrat, it was Lincoln who freed the slaves. Lincoln was a Republican.
Its not about Right and Left. Its about liberty vs tyranny.
We have a lot more in common than you think. I am not surprised that im a lot different than any environmentalist you’ve ever met though.
Thats because Im a Constitutional Environmentalist.
Just like you are aware and fear the Koch brothers agenda, I too am aware of the roots of the modern day Environmental movement and I understand what the real agenda behind that is.
As a force in the Green movement I have a responsibility to be aware of the true agenda behind it.
If you knew what I knew about the Environmental movement you’d be more scared of that than the Koch brothers.
With respect, any efforts you have made to help preserve the environment are appreciated! I have no doubt we could agree on many things.
I am neither naive or uninformed and historically well read. I am decidedly and clearly not a Constitutionalist.
Your truths and my truths, are individual perspectives.
I am totally aware of the flaws in most organizations and realize those are embedded flaws in mankind.
With awareness I still reject the Koch agenda and being ruled by the wealthiest 1% and their oligarchy.
No more replies from me, I’m going outdoors to enjoy the gifts of this earth!
I can agree with that and thank you for your honesty about not being a Constitutionalist. Im 100% loyal to the founding principles of this country minus the fact that we waited 100 years to fix the issue of slavery and even longer for womens rights and yet even longer to fix the rights of LGBT but were getting there. It was the founding principles that paved the way for those things (at least that’s what I believe) and I respect the Left for picking up that last issue. I dont know why the Right couldnt lead on that.
They ended slavery and the whole concept of protecting the rights of the minority from the majority is a Republican principle. Actually, I take that back. I do know why. Its because the Right is heavily Christian and theyve mixed Church and State in their political beliefs and not separated out the fact that despite what they believe personally its still important to protect the rights of others, especially those with whom you disagree with.
On that note k keller, I respect your opinion and I appreciate your honesty. Despite our contrasting beliefs I still believe we all pretty much want the same thing, the only thing we disagree on is how we get there.
This was posted on Facebook today. Very good summary of what your neighbors are thinking. I honestly can’t grasp why anyone would be for Sedona, unless they hated their life here. KSB should be hanging their heads in shame.
*would be for the National Monument in Sedona*
for some reason, that got cut off