Sedona, AZ — Recently, our city took a hit from a major metropolitan newspaper accusing Sedona residents of prejudice against “hippies.”
The hit came Nov. 12 from the New York Post in a story titled Fed-up Sedona residents begging LA hippies to stay away; ‘Hate what it’s become’ by Post writer Taylor Knight.
The article accuses Sedona of wanting to block Los Angeles residents visiting our town who may or may not be hippies that are looking for peace and enlightenment, rather than staying for extended periods and spending tons of money.
The article purports that local Sedona residents lament the influx of such seekers, quoting a local journalist who said that without destination marketing, travelers from Phoenix, Tucson, Las Vegas and Californian overnighters come to Sedona without a clear plan on where to stay, eat, shop or what to do, according to the author.
There are those who believe that because the city no longer funds the Sedona Chamber of Commerce and targeted destination marketing, the quality of visitors has diminished and the people coming here are mostly day trippers that are ruining Sedona for the locals.
The article claims in its headline that residents “are begging” LA visitors to stay away, which is absolutely not true, sensationalistic and wrong. Residents simply want tourism in town to be better managed. Also, Sedonans don’t beg. We enlighten.
That headline and article hurt Sedona’s economy by convincing “hippies” or other mainstream visitors that they are not welcome here and should stay home or go somewhere else.
Add the impression that traffic for residents and tourists alike is a nightmare, and that’s yet another reason they should not come here.
Further, the author chooses quotes from non-residents and purported residents who clearly don’t like Sedona.
The truth is, most Sedonans do not believe the beautiful red rocks and stunning vistas, the sacred vibration of the land Sedona sits upon, belong exclusively to them. We don’t perceive ourselves as owners of the land; rather, as stewards with a sacred duty to share and preserve it.
We understand the magic of Sedona belongs to the world and cannot be bottled for us exclusively.
We are warm and gracious, and we welcome our visitors with love and light. Save for a few NYMBYs, we do not hate.
With many businesses in Sedona still struggling, we don’t need any more bad publicity.
We Sedonans are a tight knit community. It’s a small town. Many of us know each other. Any day of the week we might catch a friend shopping, or out eating or hanging out at many of the music venues in town.
The beauty of Sedona is the commonality that binds us together.
And each and every business, whether they be spas, meditation , crystal healing, hiking, exploring, tours, dining establishments, music venues, is a facet of the diamond that we are. There is something for everyone. In the glow of our mountains we bask.
No one has to tell us how important it is to support our businesses so we can continue to enjoy the perks we have. Articles like the one in the Post hurt Sedona. And authors need to realize just how powerful the words they spew are.
As a Sedonan myself, I don’t appreciate outsiders coming in and writing negative things about our city and community, especially those who garnish their articles with provocative and misleading headlines. Keep your leaky pens to yourself and if you have nothing to say, don’t say it
As Sedonan’s we don’t tell anybody or group to stay out of our town. If anyone should stay out, it should be scribes who think they know Sedona but actually know nothing at all.
By Tommy Acosta