The Opinion page contains selected comments sent to Sedona.biz. The comments are linked to the story. To contribute to the comments page please go to the story and use the comments box found at the end of the story.
You’re Wrong, Mr. Wright
Sedona, AZ (December 16, 2011) – In a Letter to the Editor in the Red Rock News and circulated on the internet, Serge Wright makes the case that Councilor Hamilton is pushing a lawsuit to challenge the constitutionality of Proposition 411, which was passed in the November 9, 2011 election.
At the Sedona City Council meeting held November 10, 2011, the issue of the constitutionality of Proposition 411 was discussed. Note that citizen approval does not make a law constitutional, no matter what the margin might be. The final decision at the meeting, after discussion with city attorney Mike Goimarac and members of the city council, was that the new law is indeed unconstitutional. Challenging the law at this time would be unnecessary and, if a circumstance does arise in the future, then the law could be challenged. Any challenge to Proposition 411 would be initiated by the city clerk, not by the city council. MORE
By Jessica Williamson
Sedona, AZ (December 1, 2011) – You might have heard about the Occupy Wall Street movement. You might also know that the movement has spread across the country and the world. Residents in the Verde Valley have supported Occupy Wall Street by organizing protests in Sedona and Cottonwood. Many people are not sure what the movement is about or what those of us involved in the movement want. Two members of Occupy Sedona put together the following information that explains why we became involved.
1. Corporate money flowing into politics is destroying our democracy. Because corporate money can now flow so freely to candidates, the amount of money needed to run for office is exorbitant. Candidates need millions – now billions – of dollars to compete. They can only get that amount of money from corporations, and the result is that they are “owned” by the corporations who got them into office, not by the people who they are supposed to represent. Corporations and government become indistinguishable and democracy threatens to become plutocracy.
2. Corporations do not act in the public interest. Corporations exist to make money for their owners and stockholders. They should not be expected to act in the public interest. Government is supposed to act in the public interest to balance the corporations’ goals with our values as an American people. When corporate monies control the government, that balance is lost.
3. The huge amount of corporate money in campaigns has distorted our democracy. Because candidates rely on corporate money, corporations “own” them and they don’t represent the people who elected them. We want our votes to count.
4. The actions of Wall Street and the financial industry seriously damaged our economy and the economy of the world. The American people bailed them out, yet they continue to collect huge salaries and huge bonuses while the American people suffer high unemployment, stagnant wages, foreclosure, and uncertainty about the future.
5. No one in Wall Street or the financial industry has been held accountable. They successfully lobbied to prevent regulation that would keep them from doing it again. We want them held accountable.
6. The middle class is being eliminated. The top 1% of Americans control an ever bigger share of America’s wealth while the rest of us see our wealth stagnating or declining.
7. The movement includes people of all ages, from all occupations, and from across the whole political spectrum. The goal is to correct a corrupt and unresponsive political process, not to further the goals of any one political party. We want to put the “We” back in We the People.
8. Government regulations protect America from exploitation by corporations. Effective regulations ensure balance in a civil society. Regulations are not responsible for the unemployment in this country. Only 1,119 layoffs during the first half of this year were attributed to regulations; 144,746 were due to poor consumer demand.*
9. Medicare, Social Security, and unemployment insurance must be preserved. The middle class, the poor, and the vulnerable should not be the only ones to sacrifice in this economy.
10. The tax burden should be fair. The people who have the most – millionaires and billionaires – should pay their fair share to support a society that reflects American values. Tax loopholes must be closed.
11. Corporate tax loopholes must also be closed. Those loopholes allow multinational oil companies to post billions of dollars in profits yet pay no taxes while outsourcing jobs.
*U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Occupy Sedona rallies every Wednesday at the corner of 89A and Coffee Pot Road starting at 3:00. Occupy Cottonwood rallies every Thursday at the corner of 89A and 260 starting at 3:00.
Join the discussion. Visit Occupy Sedona on facebook or join the rallies. Direct comments or questions to email@example.com.
It’s taken awhile to reply. It has taken this long for some of us to recover from the initial shock and sadness of seeing our town being overrun with fear; fear generated by greed.
Greed and Power-seeking few have generated a campaign of fear that caused ill-advised and mis-informed citizens to vote against their best interests, their better natures.
Fear worked before on a national level in 2010. Fear created the most regressive Neanderthal Congress ever. Why not try it locally – they did – it worked.
We citizens of Sedona now have no say in how much of our sky, skyline, roadway, crossings, and safety measures will be forever harmed by the spot-lights, road destructions, and other dangerous “improvements” imposed by ADOT.
Those nefarious few who succeeded in fooling the many, knew history. =
“No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers
of acting and reasoning as fear.” — Edmund Burke
Sedona: An Idea
by Paul Chevalier
Our world has always been a place of uncertainty and outside factions affect our lives. In Sedona we are not immune to what happens in places such as Phoenix, Washington D. C., New York City, Greece, Italy or even China. We can’t do anything to fix problems created in such places. We can minimize their impact on Sedona.
Today in Sedona our greatest uncertainty is our economy. Tourism, at least for the immediate future, is our key business. Sedona is competing for this business with vacation destinations throughout the United States at a time when the amount of money tourists spend is shrinking.
The tourists who come here for a couple of hours or less and then head off to the Grand Canyon will not sustain us. We need tourists who stick around for a while. So, the question is what more should Sedona do to attract a larger number or higher spending tourists to stay for at least a few days and, while enjoying themselves and doing business with our lodgings, restaurants and stores?
Our local businesses and Chamber of Commerce efforts on this subject are critical. And yet, if this were supplemented by wise active involvement of our local government, business would increase more. So let’s ask our government to be more involved.
The big question is how? What should our local government do to improve our economy? There could be long term involvements, such as building a conference center, but financially those are out of the question for now. Our government’s immediate focus needs to be low cost and short term. We need fast payback if some of our businesses are to survive.
So here are just a few ideas that could be quickly implemented at low cost. Some are mine, others have been suggested by our neighbors.
1. Our government and our city businesses needs to put out the welcome mat to our visitors in obvious ways. In particular, city government should do all it can to insure that our festivals are well promoted within our city (i.e. e. uptown banners for major festivals, lodgings and restaurants displaying appropriate festival signs or flyers, citywide festival perks etc).
Governments of other communities doing these things reap the benefit of increased business, particularly by its lodgings and restaurants. In turn, higher tax revenues from the increased business can be used to fix things like city drainage problems faster.
We need to have festivals in Sedona that people want to come back to. The ‘no festival parking’ signs that pop up are a negative that marks us an unfriendly city. Our government needs to find a way quickly to fix that problem.
2. To help businesses and residents reduce their everyday expenses, our government needs to reexamine the various taxes and fees it charges. For example, the wastewater fee for restaurants is indeed strange. It is based on the number of chairs in the restaurant. That makes little sense and might be a temptation. Wouldn’t it be fairer and more logical to base the wastewater fee on the amount of water used by the restaurant? Our city government should be able to get this info from the restaurant’s water company. I believe it is looking into that now. If not, it should.
3. And our city council should sponsor a community-wide competition for the best low cost short term ideas to increase tourists spending over the next twelve months. Even if just one great idea gets implemented, it would be worth the effort of the competition. We have very clever people in Sedona. Government should encourage them to help with this subject.
I will stop here and encourage you to add your own low cost short term ideas in the comments below. Many members of our city council and city staff read SedonaBiz regularly. Your ideas could influence the actions of our government and also the candidates for council. What can you lose by suggesting them?
We are a great community but we need to improve our economy. Let’s offer all the help we can.
er strategy proposed in lieu of Sedona paying back the $586,600 to AZ Department of Parks after failing to secure the grant the city received for the Cultural Park.
Dear Mayor Adams:
This is the time for neighbors who were on opposite sides of this important issue to bury the hatchet. I was at our City Council meeting on Wednesday November 9, the day after the balllots on 401 and 411 were counted, and I felt that all our council members have accepted the will of the majority with grace and are anxious to work with ADOT, as the economy improves, to add 89A daytiime safety improvements.
All members of our community should adapt accordingly. To come together as a community the leaders or supporters of the winning side should not crow about the decision made by the voters and the leaders and supporters of the losing side should not complain about the majority decison of our community.
It is in the best interest of everyone in Sedona to make 89A safer day and night. The message received from our Council members on November 9th was that they all motivated to do just that. Let’s support their approach and adopt their demeanor.
The article above states very clearly the results we can expect by turning down ownership of our Main Street. Please, citizens of Sedona don’t complain when the road right-of-ways are torn up in the months to come, and not a single safety crosswalk or pedestrian bench is installed, and our small town charm turns to urban USA look and feel along with 14% diminshment of our night skies.
This No vote to owning our Main Street portrays a deep distrust of our City government. I wonder how many people actually went to the in depth presentations by the City Manager when he gave a financial analysis after months of research along with successful examples of how local ownership has benefited other cities. Clearly it was stated at the meetings, there would be no round-abouts installed and nor were continuous medians were planned. That in fact, citizens of Sedona would have input in the redesign of 89A.
We turned down millions of dollars that would have funded our road for the next 15 years and allowed us to install site appropriate safety features and have use of the 33′ on either side of 89A to benefit our citizens and businesses.
Perhaps with such distrust of City government, we should consider disbanding the City and reverting to County management of Sedona. We could sell the sewer system and school buildings to private enterprise to run; lease out our City offices to businesses. We would save a lot of overhead that way. It would be a lot easier with County management to raise the zoning densities and types so we could increase development in West Sedona.
The only part of Sedona that requires planning, a Sedona look and feel and pedestrian safety is Uptown and the Gallery District. That has already been taken care of. So what do we need a new 10 year plan for? Do we even need to be a City?
This is a real tragedy for our city. That people would want to eradicate that which brings tourists to enjoy our clean air and dark skies indicates complete disregard for our natural environment as well as those who come here and need to cross 89A safely. Their votes essentially eliminate more tourism, Prior to this vote, half of the city’s sales tax revenue came from the businesses located along the West 89A corridor. Sedonans who did not educate themselves adequately ultimately may cause the city to implement a property tax (which we do not have and never had) in order to meet the city’s operating costs. How ridiculous is that?
Dear Bobbie Surber,
While that fact that the only remaining signs, as far as my neighborhood is concerned, are the three or four in front of Serge Wright’s may not be dispositive, it does make one wonder. And it’s good that your years have taught you things. Mine have, as well. In the context of this issue, it is that if there is a short cut to winning an argument through fear and intimidation, some people are bound to take it.
I remain hopeful the the people of Sedona will recognize the benefits in retaining control over our main street and I look forward to a return to civility in our community, whatever the outcome.
I have been reading with interest the responses to this email about disappearing signs and finger pointing. Some of the comments have been vulgar and accusatory. Sad. I appreciate the fact that Bobbie has been above this type of comment. Thank you. I would, however, like to say a couple of things in my defense, and why I took umbrage to the type of activities going on in my home town:
1. I know for a fact that owners of business properties on 89A have been coerced to take down “yes” signs and have them replaced by “no” signs. I would be glad to give detailed information to anyone who is interested. It seems that the NO vote has decided that 89A in West Sedona is “their” domain, and please, do not let anyone else try and rock the boat…
2. I was very angry and upset by the goings on at the library last week, as were others who had signs stolen from their cars and had their car doors muddied where signs once were. It would have been the good if everyone had decried this type of behavior.
It is sad that folks have to descend to slogans such as “socialist” (I bet the person does not even know what that means), when all I am trying to do is make a point about the low levels this campaign has reached. That person’s reaction is a wonderful example of this.
I try and do a lot for this community and do not expect any thanks, I do what I think is right, whether it be litter lifting or registering voters (yes ALL voters) or being a docent or working for causes I believe in. I recognize those qualities in others. We all I hope would work for such things as our Community Plan, and devote time to developing it. That is the kind of activity that matters.
I do believe a yes vote on 410 is the right action – please do not denigrate me or my reasons for supporting this!
Dear Sanford Bach:
How nice of you to chime in on this. Tell us, how much money did you make last year from your investments in the U.S. Military Industrial complex? Why would someone as rich as you are even bother to care about the lights on 89A?
Surely, we are insignificant to you. But there is such a thing as justice in this world even if you tip the scales at will.
We shall see about this referendum. Yes, I am naive believing eventually good triumphs over evil. The people of Sedona will vote for the 89A takeover just like they swept your friends out of office.
And how dare you lecture me on living in a reality-based existance? You are a dynasoar Bach, too steeped in the past to realize your are sinking into a morass of your own ignorance.
You think that with a well-wielded pen you can bully the gramatically challenged in this community but I can out-write you any day of the week, wise guy.
Our fight begins when sedonaelection.com comes to life. Lunch? Name the day, hour and minute and I’ll be there!
Bobbie is right. More people should listen to her. Signs come and go but the Surbers have been oversized pillars of this community in more ways than those that are most obvious? Some of you newcomers can learn a thing or two from them.
Bobbie is right. Angela is a socialist and her accusations should be discounted. Where is your proof Angela? Dirty politics indeed by you making accusations with no basis. Even if no other group or individual has any motive to steal these signs…prove it! Car magnets can easily fly off in breezy conditions and should be outlawed as hazards. What kind of losers deface their expensive automobile with vile slogans and bumblebee colors. How childish.
Signs don’t matter. The herd of citizens don’t vote because of a bright sign. They vote because the Surber’s tell them how to vote.
We should applaud the Surbers for being leaders and we should support them and their candidates for City Council in 2012. Who are we to question their moral or ethical character? When the Surbers, Pud, Scagnelli and Frey come around again in 2012 we should embrace them and their candidates and follow our leaders without question. That is how we will wrestle this City back from “these people.”
Thank You Tommy, for bringing Your perspective to the table. It’s wise and warranted.
In addition to the paper version of the Red Rock News, I also receive the electronic version. When it sent out the editiorial against Prop 410, I sent in several comments. 1. Since most accidents occur during the daytime, how do these lights help to prevent them? 2. Wouldn’t conveniently located, pedestrian controlled crosswalks serve pedestrians both during the day and night? 3. Why would the Red Rock News call those who would disagree with their position ‘insane,” because that seems at least a bit strange.
My comments were never published but one that was supportive of their position was along with one that as basically neutral. Mark Twain said to never argue with people who by ink by the barrel. It is unfortunate that the Red Rock News lacks objectivity and tries to stifle dissent. Additionally, it appears that they cannot accept any criticism no matter how polite, objective or valid it is. It reflects poorly on both the publisher and editor. Running a newspaper doesn’t make one a journalist or objective; it just provides the opportunity to do so.
I/We walk our dog down Soldiers Pass every day. There were signs for both sides for a week, then the ‘Yes” signs started to disappear. My husband and I stood up a ‘Yes’ sign at St. John Vianny driveway, but it was thrown in the bushes overnight. Meanwhile, the other sign for ‘No’ remains, as well as the ‘No’ sign in front of our Vista Montana driveway. That one is on Serge Wright’s property and, although I am confronted with it every time I drive in or out, it would not occur to me to remove or deface it.
When people argue the case for fear, they act in fearful, childish ways themselves. I think this sign stealing is so emblematic of the LTPV position; fear based, falsely motivated and selfish.
The problem with the deniers of the concerted campaign to remove signs is that they know without video of the actual thefts, there is no proof. However, overnight disappearance of many signs all at once seems like a concerted effort to me. Maybe the $400 reward will help find the perpetrators and tell us who directed the effort. The law states that taking campaign signs from the city right of way is a felony. It is polite to ask the homeowner.
West Sedona Resident
I have repeatedly replaced the same signs over and over again in support of a No Vote for 410. I have not once accused anyone of theft as I have NO proof that anyone broke the law and I am not in the habit of pointing fingers at people without proof.
Many other people have reported their signs missing as well. Again, I do not know of anyone making unfounded accusations against their fellow residents.
I have been involved with more elections than I can count. From the very first election that used yard signs they have come up missing from both sides. Often the result is storms, someone placing a sign near a property owners home then property owner removes and in a few very rare cases (only one that I know of) it was proven that someone actually unlawfully removed a sign.
Let’s take a deep breath and stick to the issue; regardless of what side you are on the issue is will you vote and how will you vote?
Very well said. Thank you for being the voice of kindness and honor in our community.
Letter to the Editor October 28, 2011
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Tonight, while conducting a free informative session on Prop 410 issues at the Sedona Public Library, all of our Voice of Choice magnetic car signs and most of the road signs along the Dry Creek Road were removed. Not only is this dirty political gamesmanship, but it’s also a felony. But this is simply par for the course with Let the People Vote. After all, even their name is a lie. They don’t want you to vote. Their entire purpose in running the referendum was to thwart your voices from being heard. How democratic is that? Consistently LTPV have resorted to name-calling and outright lies. Why? Because they think that you are nothing more than “cash poor dirt busters” and “fixed income retirees in trailers.” See an actual comment taken verbatim from Sedona Eye below for proof.
So how can we stop this ugliness, this plainly anti-democratic behavior? 1) VOTE loudly and proudly. Of course I’d love your vote to be YES on 410 and NO on 411, but either way, don’t let LTPV silence you!; 2) No matter which way you vote, refuse to allow LTPV to commit felonies. IF you see someone stealing anyone’s sign, please call and report it to the non-emergency number at the Sedona police department. 982-282-3100. This sort of thing simply cannot be tolerated. 3) Refuse to listen to anyone who sinks to name-calling. They consistently seem to think that you are not clever enough to figure out what’s right for yourselves without being bullied into a position. But that’s just not true, is it? You’re all smart, educated adults. You don’t need to listen to people who are sinking to such lows and resorting to thuggery.
We cannot, and should not be bullied or silenced in our own town. Please stand up and be counted!
All best wishes,
Dr. Samantha Ruckman
In support of the Voice of Choice (YES on 410. NO on 411)
(If you are interested in more information, please get in touch.)
September 29, 2011 at 3:31 pm do people from podunk ohio think the city of sedona survives on hikers, bikers & retirees??? go home!
sedona is a tourist town & needs people in our businesses 24/7
why pander to cash poor dirt busters climbing our rocks for free, fixed income retirees in trailers & renting bedrooms from out of state wealthy property owners, hikers that never change underwear or a $10 bill (bag of granola & a bottle of water purchases don’t pay sedona rents!)
ambush? how about getting your head out of the bush & seeing stores and restaurants and outlets and thriving commercial districts need lights & lots and lots of car traffic
give me a break on the eco, dark sky crap – president obama couldn’t make it fly with solyndra & millions and millions of dollars
sierra club & benefactors & other old hippies without real jobs better wiseup and fall in with real world economy
Sedona SCENE – Sedona SOUL
A Sharing With Barbara Mayer
Sedona, AZ (October 30, 2011) – The word “Politics” has become associated with all sorts of sleaziness, underhanded dealing, ego-driven lies and fear-mongering, illegal antics and various kinds of “dirty tricks”. And here I state with some kind of civic pride that I’m originally from Chicago, even though it still carries the reputation of being a city where, on election day, people vote “early and often”. In fact, as editor of my high school newspaper, I once had the honor of a personal interview with Chicago’s original “Hizzoner”, the first Mayor Richard J. Daley himself.
Those were the days. But this is Sedona.