By Stephen DeVol, Sedona.biz Publisher
(August 5, 2018)
It’s the oldest trick in the playbook of elections: make ‘em mad and they’ll make changes. Well, are you mad enough? This issue with the Chamber of Commerce and the City of Sedona has certainly got the desired result. But civil dialogue is missing from this playbook. And with angry people comes angry solutions. “Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater” is what’s missing from the discussion. Stop and think what you are contemplating doing in anger.
I was in Santa Cruz, California last month. I found all the highways going into and leaving the Santa Cruz have the earmarks of our challenges here in Sedona: traffic jams, too many people, housing, and grappling with the resources to handle all the crowds and traffic. Monterey was the same. Sound familiar? Locals were angry at visitors for ruining their quiet lives. Just take any popular destination and you find the same problems. Everywhere you go the problems are the same. What is different is how you handle those problems.
What about the baby and the bathwater? We have the Chamber of Commerce who operates under a contract with the City of Sedona. What do the rules say about the uses of the bed tax funds? Surprisingly, not just the promotion of tourism.
For purposes of subsection B (of Department of Revenue Rules), expenditures by a city or town for the promotion of tourism include:
- Direct expenditures by the city or town to promote tourism, including but not limited to sporting events or cultural exhibits.
- Contracts between the city or town and nonprofit organizations or associations for the promotion of tourism by the nonprofit organization or association.
- Expenditures by the city or town to develop, improve or operate tourism related attractions or facilities or to assist in the planning and promotion of such attractions and facilities.
Here we have a Chamber willing to assist in other tourist activities, such as sustainability issues. What a great use of resources which work in harmony with the City of Sedona General Plan. Why not redirect the Chamber’s efforts in order to support the community’s vision of a sustainable place to visit and reside?
Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. Instead embrace the Chamber of Commerce as partners and build Sedona for future generations. I would say Yes to Home Rule.
Would you buy something without without checking if another seller had it cheaper?
Would you pay a 350% markup when the normal markup is 15% ? Normal ad agency commisssion is 15%
That’s what the City did with the Sedona Chamber Contract. A NO BID CONTRACT, no other bids were sought. If I had a manager supposedly protecting my interest like that I should not be in business.
Would you buy from a supposed Non-Profit, that was acting in violation of IRS regulations and acting like a for-profit ad agency?
Would you believe a newspaper who had the Editor on the Board of Directors of the Chamber like the Red Rock News does? Would you trust a mayor that runs a tourist business and does not refuse the Wine Fest that she owns a grant from the City every year?
Would you think it fair that instead of the state required .5% that must be spent on tourism instead the city gifts the Sedona Chamber 55% on a NO BID CONTRACT?
If you are not mad, you are not paying attention.
A something ever needed thrown out, this is it.
NO on Home Rule. NO to the incumbents that allowed this abuse of taxpayers.
Sedona in Motion is just a boondoggle that seeks to pave paradise. Undoubtedly there will be a Sedona in Motion 2 when this one fails. They will say, ” We will get it right this time, we promise.”
The Sedona Chamber has suspended advertising in Arizona, for this summer only, you notice traffic is a little better. Imagine how much better it will be once the money that must be spent on tourism is no longer spent on advertising instead on improving the quality of the tourist experience, that will also benefit the residents.
Sedona should be a spiritual, nature and artist community. You can not have unlimited growth in a limited geographical area.
Those presently with the City and Chamber think is should be a “Tourist Town”, with “Traffic is our Destiny !” Show them with your vote that you disagree.
Say NO to the greed, say NO to the traffic, say NO to making Sedona as our past Mayor Pud Colquitt says ” A 3RD rate Disneyland.”
You can say NO. NO to Home Rule, NO to incumbents.
It’s up to you. Tell your friends, send the information you know to everyone on your email list, talk to your neighbors.
This is our home, we can save it.
Tony T. wrote: “The Sedona Chamber has suspended advertising in Arizona, for this summer only, you notice traffic is a little better.”
Historically, summer tourism is always less than that in the spring and fall.
As a resident of Sedona for 27 years, I’m surprised you haven’t noticed that.
You’re implying I may not have noticed that the Sedona summer traffic is less than the Spring Break Traffic?
My point was the the Sedona Chamber admitted they were advertising in Arizona, and stopped the advertising this summer only, possibly in an effort to influence the election. You don’t get upscale destination tourists to Sedona advertising on billboards in Phoenix, it does not matter what time of year. It does not take a certified destination marketing organization to know that is a bad idea.
Jennifer Wesselhoff stated ” We have members that depend on day trippers.” 50% of day trippers by the City’s own study do not stop in Sedona but just drive through.
If your business depends on making Sedona an unpleasant place to be, for residents and tourists alike, I don’t think many voters would support it.
I was implying that your statement and conclusion was based upon a false premise: ie lack of advertising reduced summer tourist traffic.
Steve got this one wrong. Read my letter to Sedona.biz here:
I always appreciate the brave people who post under their own name. Take the brave Max Bacon for example. I’m a fan of max bacon. As a matter of fact in his honor I had bacon and eggs for breakfast.
So you are saying Mr Bacon that the Chamber reducing advertising this summer could in no way have reduced traffic? Then why is the Chamber advertising?
False premise indeed.
Can someone tell me who I could vote for who wants to keep Home Rule while also defunding the Chamber of Commerce?
Neil, the voters decide Home Rule, not the candidates. If you want to stop City $ going towards tourist advertising then vote for Tony Tonsich, Sam Tardio and Noelle Julian.
I appreciate Steve’s desire to be a part of a thriving city whose economy is entirely tourism based.
First, Sedona is always slower in the summer because we are an adult-oriented tourist industry city where families with children drive through to see the red rocks on their way to a destination favorable to families on summer vacation.
Steve is correct, the Chamber of Commerce does promote events, businesses and not-for-profits – as long as they are members and then members of their affinity groups (the more you pay, the more they play).
While Mr. Tonsich makes credible points, Mr. Bacon’s opinions deserve equal consideration sans the sarcasm.
The businesses in Grasshopper Flats often seem to have a different appreciation for what a city and a membership organization can do to encourage their chances of making a living. It seems to me the powers-in-charge offer the solution of getting more tourist-oriented businesses to locate in West Sedona – much to the chagrin of uptown business owners, but then, they are also two different counties.
Has anyone followed up on the decades of suggestions of Park-N-Ride? 200 people, 100 cars or 200 people 10 buses. Then there’s the Village of Oak Creek whose business owners don’t want any southern traffic detoured via SR260, where the state is spending a ton of money on improvements to handle southern traffic. I guess they just want the tourist traffic to use SR260 as an exit route.
I was happy to hear the suggestion (an oldie, but goody) that I17 have signs directing southern visitors to use SR260 as an alternate route to Sedona and the city build covered parking garages with roofs covered with solar panels to power family-oriented added amenities and affordable housing across from the sewer reclamation plant on SR89A, where buses would await their arrival. They can relax in an air-conditioned concession building while waiting for the transit system to drive them to and from Sedona.
I, like so many others, don’t have the answers to all the questions, but I so enjoy dialogue outside the box rather than continued assertions set on a laser beam course.
This is not an endorsement either way on yes or no to Sedona Home Rule, but as an operator of a fractional owner Resort in Sedona, this is THE busiest August I have seen in my 10 years as a hospitality operator in Sedona. It is no longer a “ seasonal” tourist town. It is busy all months of the year.