By John Roberts, Sedona Resident
(April 18, 2018)
What’s up, rather with our city staff ? That’s a far more pertinent question for all of us in Sedona.
There’s a couple of facts about police inaction I have witnessed on the Soldier Pass Roadway with cars illegally parked – – actually on the asphalt paving itself.
Soldier Pass is now being dangerously inundated daily with forest trail hiker parked cars, up to 45 of them, stacked along both sides with some even sitting beyond the white stripe.
On 3/30 I was following a Sedona police car who swerved into the oncoming traffic lane to avoid crashing into two cars illegally parked on our side.
He failed to stop and issue a ticket for the violation. It was obvious why he didn’t because there was no room for him to park safely.
The second incident was on 4/17 when I asked the police official if he was issuing a ticket for the car illegally parked and blocking his vehicle. He replied, ” No.”.
All of this after I had sent a warning to Justin Clifton, city manager, about how dangerous Soldier Pass had become with the illegal parking of hiker cars. No city action to date.
The other set of facts is about the city staff’s behavior in the abrupt unprofessional termination of the really excellent arts oriented programming at the Posse Grounds Hub facility.
In this case the non renewal of the contract with the Red Earth Theatre ( RET ) as managers of the Hub took place without any warnings to RET after 3 years of superb operations.
RET made available some 100 renters evaluations offering opinions about their experience to staff during those 3 years without reactions presented to RET by staff.
Then only after the sudden firing and a strong demand from RET did staff belatedly offer 19 criticisms all with suspiciously similarly worded complaining about RET.
I do have opinions about both sets of facts but city council’s will be infinitely more important should they decide to investigate.
Re The Hub: The non-renewal of Director Kate Hawkes’ contract (read: firing) is another blunder by the amateurs who run City Hall. Kate literally brought the Hub facilities back from the dead three years ago with her Red Earth Theatre. In those three years her presence and creativity have greatly enhanced Sedona’s cultural scene. Her hands-on approach has brought great music, art, poetry and theater, mostly using local talent, to our community. Now, for still mysterious reasons, City Hall has said, in effect, “Nice job, Kate. Now get lost. We can do it better ourselves.” As of July 1, the Hub will be overseen by the city’s Parks and Recreation Department. There will be no hands-on director. According to Assistant City Manager Karen Osborn, “We [the city] are not looking to put on any programs or performances. […] The arts community can put that programming on.” This sounds like the kiss of death for one of our city’s outstanding performance venues. As an example of Parks & Rec’s management skills, look at the debacle called Barbara Antonsen Pavilion. Then call, text or e-mail City Hall to lodge a protest against Kate’s firing. I suspect internal politics or jealousy as the reason for this huge blunder.
The firing of Kate Hawkes is another blunder by the city. “A City animated by the arts” says the mission statement. Another City animation just like Nancy Robb Dunst and Barbara’s Park debacle: great people doing great things for the community they love, now snubbed. Another shameful act of the City of Sedona. Kate Hawkes is a wonderful and dedicated person. Rehire her before she gets away. Another artistic endeavor bites the dust.
I agree I think the hub was an asset to Sedona if the city is going to take it over when I think it should be turned in to a full-fledged little theater I think if we worked with local groups put together a plan we could raise the money the city needs a good theater that will hold 50 + My experience in working with the city is that we come up with a plan we get some support and we come up with some money talk is cheap and we shouldn’t expect the city to put the full bill
Sedona has all of the attributes to create a world-renowned art festival and make “art come to life”. A recreation of the masters. For example, the Sedona Hub could be used to create an early incubator of a “Pageant of the Masters-like recreation of famous works of art” such as Laguna Beach’s hugely successful Pageant of the Masters-Festival of Arts. All it will take is someone with the passion, vision, experience and know-how to get it started! https://www.foapom.com/pageant-of-the-masters/
What’s up with the City’s WW Fund? Instead of lowering sewer fees, $1,118,630 in indirect costs from the Wastewater Fund are allocated to the following City departments in payment of the alleged work they indicate will be done next year related to the sewer plant (Source: 2018-19 PROPOSED BUDGET, Page 44 of 330).
Information Technology, $153,790
Human Resources, $45,710
Financial Services, $178,900
Utility Billing $379,290
General Services, $70,740
City Manager, $60,140
City Clerk, $3,760
City Attorney, $155,890
Facilities Maintenance (Public Works?), $70,410
Some City departments do work for the Chamber of Commerce, a quasi-governmental entity in my opinion. Although the Chamber is taking a couple million dollars or more in City taxpayer money annually, it is not charged indirect costs.