By Joe Vernier, Sedona City Councilor
Sedona AZ (June 30, 2017) -As many of you know, I have been blessed to serve Sedona as its former police chief and, now, as a city councilor. Both positions require judgement, the ability to look beyond and behind what may appear to be the obvious, patience and – perhaps most important – respect for each person’s unique experience, world view and vision for their life and the character of our community.
Over the past year the Sedona City Council and city staff members have been working to develop policies and plans to address a number of complex issues that affect our city.
These include, changes in state law pertaining to short term vacation rentals, intervening in the APS rate case related to smart meters, traffic challenges, tourism impacts on our economy and quality of life, a U.S. Supreme Court sign code decision, and the question of how we as a city can best manage future requests for cell towers while complying with state and federal rules that support the placement of new telecommunications equipment.
These are complicated issues and the decisions that we make will shape the future of Sedona. But no matter how you feel about any of these issues, whatever action you want your councilors to take, or refuse to take, I urge you to do three things: (1) take the time to listen to arguments from all sides with an open mind, (2) study all the information available from the city and other sources, not just one source, and (3) remember that honest, honorable people can disagree without being disagreeable and still work together to find a solution that advances our community.
One of the great pleasures of serving as councilor is meeting and talking to the many committed residents who care deeply about preserving the incredible attributes that make Sedona what it is. One of the greatest challenges is knowing that Sedona must continually adapt to changing laws, the economy, our national culture and technology. There are no perfect solutions and no crystal balls.
In previous discussions with our mayor, she has shared with me sage advice that a fundamental role of government is to work to solve problems on behalf of its constituents. From my short tenure with Council, this is what I have seen the Mayor and our Council try their best to do.
We endeavor to make the best decisions that we can, with the best information we have at hand. For me, what matters most is that we argue our positions in good faith and with goodwill toward everyone who participates in the debate and eventually come up with solutions that protect the best interests of everyone.
As always, I welcome your opinions and ideas for keeping Sedona beautiful, safe and prosperous for our families and business owners.
And I thank the many Sedona residents who have, over the past year, taken the time to share their opinions and ideas at public forums, workshops, commission and council meetings in a manner that’s civil and respectful of fellow residents, city staff members, and our wonderful American tradition of solving problems through open, honest, public dialogue.
The opinions expressed above are mine alone and do not necessarily represent the views of the Sedona City Council or any other organization.