By Marty Macurak, Communications Manager
Sedona AZ (October 2, 2018) – With the Arizona election season in full swing, I invite all Sedona residents to take a civic involvement check-up.
Voting is key, of course, and turnout in the August primary was robust at almost 60 percent. But the city needs your participation, your voice, your experience and knowledge, and your unique perspective much more often than during election season. When was the last time you spoke during Call to the Public at a city council meeting? Joined a committee or commission to help influence decisions and city priorities? Or attended a stakeholder meeting, shared an idea or opinion with a council member, asked a council member to share the reasons for a vote, sought more information from a city staff member, filled out a survey or signed up to receive emails about a major initiative?
I’m old enough to remember the genesis of the term Silent Majority, first used by President Richard Nixon in relation to public sentiment about the Vietnam War, and now used more generally to describe citizens who are less active and involved because they are, more or less, contented with the direction their government is taking.
Been there, done that, myself. I was reasonably contented with the status quo and remained silent.
But now older, and presumably at least a little bit wiser, I’m here to tell you that we are all on the hook, each resident, to show up and create a more sustainable Sedona with better transportation options and traffic flow, a strong sense of community, more affordable housing options for hard-working professionals, and policies and practices to preserve our beautiful natural environment beyond our own lifetimes.
We are a city of volunteers, which is great, but it’s not enough. We must also build and sustain a high rate of civic participation in local government. It’s the only way to ensure that the Sedona we’ll live in 10 or 15 years from now is the Sedona we want to live in.
Choose any one of these things to get started:
- Got an opinion on tourism? The right balance between visitor economic benefits versus community impacts? Visit FutureofSedona.com, look at the data gathered by ASU – you may be surprised by some of the findings — and actively participate in the community discussion and resulting plan as it moves forward. The recent visioning sessions drew a strong turnout from a wide variety of residents, and the ideas shared by the breakout groups were exciting. The Sedona Sustainable Tourism initiative is being led by the Sedona Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau.
- Want more walkability and beautiful bike paths? This Sedona in Motion strategy got big resident support in both an independent ASU survey and the city’s Transportation Master Plan discussions. Ditto for transit improvements. They need your active involvement to make them happen. Sign up for email updates about Sedona in Motion transportation improvements at sedonaaz.gov/sim and show up for stakeholder and council meetings on these topics.
- Care about what our neighborhoods and business areas look like and how they should change over time? Show up for the City Council Land Development Code update discussions on Sept. 26 and 27.
- Interested in community and cultural heritage? Like analysis and detail work? Join the Historic Preservation Commission; the deadline to apply for a current vacancy is Oct. 3. Contact Warren Campbell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Want to offer input about community safety and law enforcement? Participate in the Police Department Community Police Academy to learn how PD operates and dialog with the decision-makers. Contact Lt. Lucas Wilcoxson at email@example.com.
- Want to figure out how all the pieces of city government fit together, and how to ensure your perspective is heard? Reserve your space now for the 2019 Citizens Academy with Citizen Engagement Coordinator Lauren Browne at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Over the past two years, Sedona residents — at stakeholder events, in surveys, at council meetings and the polls – have given the city a clear message about their desire for forward motion on transportation improvements and sustainable tourism. Now, the process is underway to nail down the details of what, exactly, those improvements look like, how they will work in the real world and how we sustain them.
Don’t be part of the silent majority! Show up! Show up with your inquiries, positivity, knowledge, skills and ideas, and stay actively engaged as we envision and realize tomorrow’s Sedona.