By Mayor Rob Adams
(February 26, 2013)
Former New York City Mayor, Ed Koch, passed away on February 1, 2013.
There have been numerous articles and comments by members of the public and press that have memorialized Mayor Koch. The common thread between these observations has been the idea that he was a “symbol of NYC.” A few examples of adjectives that have been used to describe the former Mayor include “brash,” “acid-tongued,” “feisty,” “bombastic,” “pretentious,” “tough,” “rude” and “an irrepressible icon.”
Perhaps the most interesting commentary that I heard was on National Public Radio. The commentator suggested that many multi-term Mayors take on the personality of the cities and towns that they represent. He went on to say that Ed Koch was the epitome of the city’s “chutzpah.” This idea set my mind ablaze…….Have I become “Red Rock Rob?”
If you were to ask the citizens of Sedona how they would describe the personality of their city, you would probably get 10,000 different answers. What adjectives would be most commonly used? Some words that I hear most often include “inspirational,” “spiritual,” “contentious,” “mystical,” “passionate,” and “fickle.” When I consider these descriptions, I don’t necessarily relate to them as being an integral part of my own personality. However, they do reflect my analogy of Sedona.
I view Sedona as being a beautiful young woman that has unlimited potential to be a major player on the world stage. She has an old soul, but is fragile and susceptible to the visions and opinions of those that love her. Without exception, those of us that live in Sedona are passionate and protective of her. We have a multitude of opinions about what is in her “best interest.” Our vision statement declares that “we are stewards of one of earth’s great treasures.” As Mayor, I consider the stewardship of Sedona’s future to be my primary responsibility, and I take it very seriously.
It could be arguably stated that the “face” of Sedona has changed more in the last five years of my term as Mayor than in any other comparable time in her history. The tens of millions of dollars that have been spent on enhancements of our uptown area, State Route 179 and the SR 89A corridor have dramatically changed the first impression and character of our town.
The “soul” of Sedona has grown through her commitment to the arts. The development and expansion of programming at the Performing Arts Center, the Mary D. Fisher Theater, the Film Festival, Chamber Music and other art organizations have created venues and opportunities that allow us to experience world class entertainment in our small town. Efforts are now underway to establish Sedona as an internationally recognized community for education of the arts and culture.
The future of Sedona is now being determined by our citizens through the Community Plan Update. The results of this process will be a guide for the future of Sedona, 2020 and beyond.
The process of growth and change is never easy, particularly in a small town. Everyone has an opinion, and they are not reticent to share those opinions. I listen carefully to every citizen that I talk to. That is how I keep my finger on the “pulse” of our city. When I make a decision as a member of the City Council, you can be assured that I have checked that “pulse” and have done my homework regarding the facts surrounding the issues. I love Sedona and want what is “best” for her. I want her to thrive as a city and be the best she can be. The other members of the City Council and the City staff have the same commitment.
Mayor Koch is known for quipping to the public “How’m I doing?” I think the more important question is, “How are you doing?” When I ask this question in public, I am looking for an honest answer. If your experience of living in Sedona is better today than it was when I was first elected, than I am effectively doing my job. If your experience has been diminished, I want to know. “Brash,” “bombastic” and “feisty” are not descriptions that I aspire to be. I much prefer “passionate” or “dedicated.” Sedona shouldn’t accept anything less from its Mayor.
The views that I am expressing are my personal opinions and are not necessarily the opinions or positions of the City of Sedona or the City Council.