By Henry Twombly, Sedona Resident
(December 1, 2013)
This is a call to arms. Well, actually it’s a call to pens, because we all know that the pen is mightier than the sword. Those of us who are opposed to the City Council’s profligate spending have a December 11th deadline to submit our letter for Arguments Against the 2013 New Sedona Community Plan. We need to submit them to “the Sedona City Clerk, CIty of Sedona, Sedona, AZ 86336 for insertion in the publicity pamphlet. Arguments can not exceed 300 words in length. Individuals submitting arguments must provide their name, physical or mailing address and a telephone number. Only your name will be included in the publicity pamphlet. Each argument filed shall contain the original notarized signature of each person sponsoring it. If the argument is sponsored by an organization, it shall contain the notarized signatures of two executive officiers. If sponsored by a political committee, it shall contain the notarized signatures of the committee’s chairman and treasurer.”
Are you tired of continuous tax increases? Are you frustrated that members of the City Council, School District Board, and Fire District Board seem to be representing special interests instead of the public good? Watch what they do, not what they say. They say it’s for the public good, but their policies benefit special interests. So check out the Community Plan online, read in between the lines and come to your own conclusions. Whatever they are, act on them. Unfortunately there were no Arguments Against the Budget Override in its publicity pamphlet. So this absence may have given those undecided how to vote the impression that there was no opposition. If you value your pocketbooks, you don’t want that to happen again. It’s time for all of us to step up and take responsibility for what is happening to our beloved city.
The effect of the new Community Plan will be to enrich special interests, pander to the tourists and impoverish resident taxpayers. It’s all about construction, the industry and the related business that are subsidized by the City’s largesse. The Council wants to build a bike park, a park in Uptown along the creek, sidewalks throughout the neighborhoods, and low-income housing, for which the City would be (and shouldn’t be) the landlord. With the average age of 56 for us residents, how many of you will be using the bike park? Do you use the already existent skateboard park? How many of you will go to Uptown to walk along the creek? That park will be mostly used by tourists. How many of you want sidewalks in your neighborhood that will narrow the road or encroach upon your property? How many of you want low-income housing? It’s a noble concept, but how will those occupants find jobs in Sedona, when small businesses are closing due to exorbitant sewer rates and other stifling policies by the Council? The plan will rezone neighborhoods, so the City can densify housing. The net effect of the plan is to overdevelop the city and further desecrate the beauty of the national forest in which we live. Moreover, the Council plans to pay for all this new construction through general obligation bonds, special districts, and inevitably a property tax, when Sedona is already the sixth most indebted city in the state and each of us is responsible for $5,507.45 of that debt.
If the Community Plan passes, the Council will interpret this decision as a mandate to go ahead with all this construction. And they will spend, spend, and spend every bit of the money that they can squeeze out of you. So check out the Community Plan online, come to your own conclusions and then act on them. Express yourself either here in this webzine or in the publicity pamphlet. Write Arguments For or Against. But whatever you choose to do, be pro-active in determining the future of Sedona.
In addition to the New Community Plan increasing densities, enriching special interests, pandering to tourists, and financially hurting Sedona’s hard-pressed residents and small businesses, infringement on Private Property Rights in both the Focus Areas and the Planned Areas is not prohibited.
Scottsdale voters shot down that city’s 2011 General (Community) Plan update because they were unhappy it had plenty of things for special interests, but nothing for residents concerned about preserving the city’s quality of life. Scottsdale’s new draft Plan could go before voters in November 2014 at the earliest.
According to the ARIZONA REPUBLIC, a General/Community Plan lists goals and policies that guide a city’s development and character for 10 to 20 years. Let’s reject Sedona’s New Plan and give our City Council the chance to either do it right or keep the 2002 Community Plan in effect.
I am saddened by Mr. Twombly’s response. It is also obvious to me that he has not lived anywhere where the taxes are truly outrageous. We moved here almost three years ago from the Seattle, WA area and our property taxes were four times what they are in Sedona for an equally valuable home. Be thankful and grateful Sedona’s taxes are as low as they are. Mr. Twombly’s comment apparently does not want Sedona as a city to live continue as it is. Sedona is not just for the older age people. If all decisions were based on only “average age of 56”, Sedona would be a city that would not be desirable to tourists or would we have the many grade schools, middle schools and two high schools (yes.. one public, one private). Also, to get to that “average age of 56” one has to take into consideration the snowbirds, who do not live here full time. Without the snowbirds, that average age plummets. To thrive, Sedona needs younger people and younger workers. Please realize most of the population that keeps the restaurants going, hotels thriving and other businesses doing well are people in the younger age brackets. How many “average age of 56” are going to work for minimum wage? There are many of us with children and the money of the city should not be only given for items that provide enjoyment/satisfaction for only a special sub-group such as “average age of 56”. In order for Sedona to survive and continue to be a prosperous community, we need all ages and all economic levels. It is what makes life good! Diversity!
To me, the above letter is based on self interest and does not take the community as a whole into account. I am sickened by people who continue to only think of themselves because whatever they do not want bothers and or inconveniences them or makes them pay money towards something that benefits a group that they are not in. Get active! Get on a bike! Take a walk! Get involved in that group- it is one’s choice to be part of the group benefitting. Money is not the be all end all in life and the small amount we would all contribute for the above mentioned items does not bother me a bit. I am all for anything that keeps Sedona progressive, beautiful, affordable and attractive to other families wanting to move here. I do not want Sedona to continue to be a community where the restaurant workers etc. have to live in poverty while those of us with money can live in luxury. Let’s get priorities in line and be supportive of all things community.
I appreciate Erin’s response, though there are flaws in her argument. First, she does what she accuses me of – advocating for her own self-interest. As mother of school kids (who make up 1/10 of our populatioin), she and her family have benefited from the $73 million school bond for capital projects. So her kids have great facilities, but no real improvement in the quality of education. Second, she argues that young people keep the restaurants going, businesses thriving. It’s the 2-4 million tourists that visit Sedona for its beauty that will be tarnished by the overdevelopment proposed by the Community Plan. Most paying tourists are 40+. Most young people don’t have money to come to Sedona or support the businesses. She seems to overlook the fact that small businesses are closing. Third, as a progressive, she mistakenly thinks I’m arguing from a perspective of age and unconsciously infuses her arguments with age discrimination.
I don’t want to go into further argument with her. I don’t need to have the last word or be right. We all have our different opinions, which we often think are the best policies for others. Often self-interest can be blurred/morphed into the public good, Well-intentioned, we all unwittingly project our self-interest into our policies for the public good. It’s the beauty of democracy that we can share a diversity of opinions. I appreciate hearing different perspectives, especially when they are done without rancor and provide constructive criticism. Different strokes for different folks. So thank you, Erin, for sharing yours.
“To thrive, Sedona needs younger people and younger workers. Please realize most of the population that keeps the restaurants going, hotels thriving and other businesses doing well are people in the younger age brackets. How many “average age of 56″ are going to work for minimum wage? There are many of us with children and the money of the city should not be only given for items that provide enjoyment/satisfaction for only a special sub-group such as “average age of 56″. In order for Sedona to survive and continue to be a prosperous community, we need all ages and all economic levels”
Same form of arguments I have been hearing since my family moved here in 1976. Some things never change.
The Community Plan will NOT rezone neighborhoods as Mr. Twombly states. His statement is completely false. The Community Plan does not rezone any property.
Mr. Twombly’s arguments of how people over 55 don’t benefit from bike parks paid for by the city reminds me of an argument I overheard about how medical insurance costs are more evenly distributed with the ACA Insurance Exchanges.
It went like this:
Senior citizen, “I don’t want to pay for young people’s birth control pills, pregnancies and pediatricians.”
Young person, “And we don’t want to pay for your Alzheimer’s, high blood pressure pills and bypass surgeries.”
Shared costs for individually applicable benefits.
The city is responsible for health, safety and providing those services we cannot well individually provide for ourselves, and to do that for the most good for the most people.
Remember, you pay NO CITY PROPERTY TAX. The Community Plan does not include a budget because it is a document highlighting priorities, not legislating when or even if they will be implemented. But isn’t it better to know how the voters would like to see the city evolve?