A Sharing with Barbara Mayer
Sedona AZ (October 16, 2011) – People from all over the world visit Sedona to experience various forms of healing, yet in this month of October it is the City of Sedona herself which needs a very immediate and very gentle yet powerful form of healing.
The Proposition 410 Referendum which will come up for a vote when Sedona voters receive their ballots around Oct. 18 — and need to fill in and mail prior to Nov. 8 – has caused a tremendous split in our city’s very fabric. While many feel this referendum is about voting for 108 continuous additional lights on SR 89A in West Sedona – or against 108 additional continuous lights on 89A – this is not the real issue.
The main issue of this vote on Proposition 410 is a matter of power and vision for not only the Sedona of today, but the Sedona of years to come. Your YES vote on Prop 410 agrees with the recent Sedona City Council to take ADOT’s offer of local ownership of SR 89A in West Sedona. It also supports this council’s decision NOT to install 108 additional continuous lights along 89A. Your NO vote instead agrees to let ADOT keep control and install 108 additional continuous 35 ft. tall street lights over the two miles of West Sedona from Airport Rd. to Dry Creek Road.
What is at the heart of this issue — and this vote — is not the matter of lights, as many Sedonans think. It is the much deeper issue of where the power base lies in the Sedona of today and the Sedona of tomorrow. Those supporting the NO vote and who name themselves Let The People Vote already asked ADOT to install the lights a few months ago without considering the upcoming vote they actually demanded with this referendum. Those supporting the YES vote on Prop 410 support local control and NOT installing 108 additional continuous lights on SR 89A in West Sedona.
Bottom Line? Those supporting additional lights and a NO vote on 410 are basically the old political guard of Sedona Past. They have been in power for many years as Sedona grew from its sleepy town status to the vibrant city it is becoming today. That group is comprised generally of former mayors and politicians as well as some powerful realtors and Old Guard Power of what Sedona has been. They have done many good things for Sedona over the years, yet this very referendum was caused by them when they very decisively lost their power in the last Sedona City Council election. The bottom line for them is not the lights. It’s a matter of getting their power back. The lights may be the topic but power is the issue.
Those supporting Voice for Choice for 89A are basically the same people who voted against installing 108 additional continuous lights on 89A in West Sedona and who voted to accept local control of the highway along with the 15 million dollar package offered to the city by the Arizona Department of Transportation.
That’s the issue. And that’s the challenge of choice which the referendum of Proposition 410 is all about. If you don’t want 108 additional and continuous lighting on 89A and you understand the benefits of local control and owning the road for which Sedona already pays half the cost of maintaining– vote YES on Prop 410. If you want 108 additional continuous lights installed over a year of construction in the West Sedona corridor and letting ADOT keep the road until they decide to put their money elsewhere and force Sedona’s local control of the road anyway, vote NO on Prop 410.
And here’s where the great need for healing comes in. As an InterFaith/InterSpiritual minister, spiritual teacher and author, and former editor-in-chief of a midwestern newspaper with over ten times the circulation of the Red Rock News, I appeal to all religious, spiritual and metaphysical clergy and healers in our Sedona Community. This issue is tearing the fabric of Sedona apart, and our gentle city does not deserve the dissent, personal attacks and hateful messages now circulated by some people who should know better. It does not deserve the misleading tactics of unsubstantiated fear-based advertising and campaigning. Sedonans deserve facts, not fear and fiction.
To all ministers, healers, Reiki Masters, and spiritual leaders of our Sedona area, I send this request. Please help in any way you can to make this month of October a time for healing rather than hate, dialogue rather than rampant dissension, and a growing sense of community rather than the cancerous division we now see beginning to spread its poison in this very special city which we love, and where we are privileged to make our homes. Modern spirituality today goes beyond the pulpit and the prayer book. It becomes most alive in the compassionate caring and uplifting involvement of spiritual leaders who champion the personal and civic growth of the communities in which they minister. And, my sisters and brothers, we need your wisdom and the courage of your healing energies now, most specially.
Today’s Sedona Scene is neither healthy, spiritually positive, nor pretty. And that is affecting the Sedona Soul. This October is a time of choice and challenge. Let it also be a time of compassion, caring, healing and hope. That is what the Sedona Soul deserves.
Barbara Mayer is an InterFaith/Interspiritual minister, teacher and author residing in Sedona, Arizona.
Honest, beautifully written, insightful, and to the point. I guest that doesn’t matter to some folks who can’t understand that a safely designed five lane 89A with some left hand cut – outs to places like say Mexidona, and which includes neccesary illuninated crosswalks (which incidentally greatly enhance daytime safety due to the striping and in some cases medians as needed and even strobe or LED type lights imbedded in the roadway pavement which I understand are just loved in Tuscon).
If the aesthetics, charm, walkability, improved visitor/resident shopping can not be enhanced rather than posited in a steady decline, the realtors and property owners that have the most to gain in the long term by the takeback of 89A will suffer considerablily but nothing like the current business owners. With the very fraggle economy, if I had a business along 89A, I would be scarred to death of having the sidewalks torn up for the installation of light wiring (one side at a time or both or combination) for how long, vis-a vis the traffic light at airport road and the four year stint for SR179. I thought self flagellation was on the decline, but I guess I am wrong. I may also be wrong, but from just what I have heard and observed, the vote NO coalition has taken very little or no involment or support for the 10 Year Community Plan update. If I am right, that will tell you a lot about their motives and character.
If Sedona owns 89A which they just might anyway if ADOT goes through with their longterm objective of giving small town main streets back to them as has already been done to my knowledge in 4or 5 localities here in AZ, we will be much, much better off if we take the 15 milliion that ADOT put on the table earlier this year.
Our current city manager and his appropriate staff, looked at the financial feasibiliy and responsilbility of accepting ADOTS 15 million package offer. He has 30-35 years experience in managemnet of city gov’t or actually being a city manager. He has the educational training and the on hands experience to make the positive recommendation he made to the city council. Those in opposition, where are your facts, supporting documents, spread sheets, cash flow analysis to support your positon? I think we all know the answer = you don’t have any, PERIOD.
Ted Jones, retired in Sedona, AZ Yes, I can sign my name, unlike Liz Smith.
Amen, Barbara. Your words here bring clarity to the real issue (power) plaguing this City. It is a shame we can’t all work together harmoniously for the future.
On this issue I trust the intelligence and due diligence of the majority of this Council for assessing the deal and actually doing what is best for Sedona. The agreement is good and will allow us to own our own future.
I agree with much of what Barbara has said, particularly about our need for healing the Sedona Soul. But I’d like to add a perspective as one of those “former politicians” with experience on the ground.
Yes there is an “Old Guard” and “Power” can never be discarded as a strong human motivator, but I believe the issue goes much deeper into basic philosophical belief systems. We are seeing the same issues played out on the national, state and many local stages. It’s not new. It goes all the way back to the Reformation in Europe, pre-United States of America. In our country, it was the classical divide between the Jeffersonians and the Hamiltonians; it’s still with us and likely will always remain so!
Using simple common terms, it’s about the classical clash between an individualist approach and a community-oriented approach, between reactionary and progressive, between conservative and liberal, between fear and hope, between things as they are (or were) and things as they might be. Finally, there is the dichotomy of the “strict father” vs. the “nurturing mother” approach to many policy decisions. Sometimes it’s about “the government knows best (ADOT)” vs. “We the People”, but this concept easily flip-flops.
If we were to accept the proposition that “ADOT knows best”, today we would be experiencing a replica of 89A on highway 179. ADOT desired a straighter, flatter, higher speed 5 lane highway with a “suicide” lane in the “gallery district” and signalized, stop and go intersections where roundabouts are today. ADOT strongly opposed sidewalks and bike lanes. That issue turned upon Local Control. It was about Sedonan’s having both a Voice and a Choice. Thank goodness that Voice of Choice succeeded!
Many of the words used to describe the clash of philosophies above are emotionally charged, not well-defined, and often change meaning over time. However, since there are no other descriptive words available to get the point across, they’ll have to do. It is also necessary to point out that it is an extremely rare individual that remains consistent on all issues. Ie., is Rick Perry a heartless executioner, or the only one with a “heart” regarding education of all Latino children? So we sometimes find ourselves with “strange bedfellows”. Consistency is not the norm in human behavior! However, overall tendencies do remain generally intact.
Returning to the current local issue, and relating it to the issue of pro or con “Route Transfer”, I will never forget during a candidates’ debate, when a political opponent running for a second term on city council, announced proudly that it was the objective of a city councilor to be reactive to desires of the residents, not proactive in regard to the future of the city. There lies “the rub”. It is a fear of moving into the unknown future. The fear appeared with regard to virtually every progressive (proactive) decision made on our city council. The fear of opposing ADOT on SR 179, the fear of roundabouts, the fear of the cost and effect of the Uptown Enhancement project, the fear of a Dog Park, the fear of medians on 179, the fear of a remodel of City Council Chambers, the fear of televised council meetings, the fear of a National Scenic Area, and on and on.
Since none of us humans is without fear…none of us is consistent…and most would agree that the human family is best served with a reasonable balance of strict fathering and nurturing mothering, this view may be helpful with respect to healing the Sedona Soul.
I Fear the impact of 108, 35″ light poles on 89A, not because an individual light “fixture” can be designated “dark sky compliant”, but because the International Dark Sky Association does not have standards for lighting “Systems” and their cumulative glare/bounce effects.
I do Not Fear the financial impact of ownership of 89A – I agree with the considered opinion of our City Manager that the costs are manageable; I do not fear a city property tax that can only happen if the majority of voters say they want it.
So, color me inconsistent – and color me human!
A beautifully written piece on the power struggle between the old and new guard and their sadly adversarial visions of future Sedona.
The old guard tend to be so personally agenda and power-driven that that are willing to accept control by a disinterested, dictatorial state bureaucracy (ADOT) rather than accepting the logic of forward-thinking local control.
Agree with it or not, old guard thinking (conservative) has always had at its core, the idea that local, smaller government and freedom from bureaucratic, outside control is the preferrable path. Funny, though, that those core principles are thrown aside in what amounts to a bit of a deal with devil (ADOT) in a short-sighted attempt to regain power and push thru a specific agenda.
The old caveat–be careful what you wish for–couldn’t be truer, in that ADOT will be a wildcard for years into the future.
Another thing to think on, long and hard, is some of the unforseen issues that will come with continued ADOT control and installation of continuous lighting. It’s well known that lighting is limited in that it only deals with nightime safety issues. It has no efficacy whatsoever during the day. Numerous studies have outlined more effective and less intrusive measures that can be taken to more comprehensively address safety issues.
Many very informed critics of ADOT control have noted the likelihood that ADOT, with continuous lighting, is simply looking for a way to cover themselves legally if challenged on safety issues.
And/or to force Sedona to take local control as their only option to installation of lights.
Obviously, ADOT is not really interested in addressing safety issues and has little concern for the future of Sedona. They want to be out of the local highway business (correctly so), and likely future decisions, should they retain 89A control, will reflect these self-serving and disregarding attitudes toward our fair city.
Lastly, consider this major unforseen circumstance should continuous lighting be installed: in virtually all state transportation studies conducted throughout the nation, bright, continuous lighting along main thoroughfares have been statistically linked with increased danger in adjacent neighborhoods IF TRANSITIONAL LIGHTING IS NOT INSTALLED AT THE SAME TIME.
What this means for West Sedona is that neighborhoods adjacent to 89A will actually become less safe with continuous lighting as a result of blindness caused by the abrupt transition from bright highway lighting to dark neighborhoods. The likelihood of major safety issues is high (and statistically well-proven), as will also be increased liability concerns for the city of Sedona, who unlike ADOT controlling 89A, will be the actionable party as injuries in these 89A-adjacent neighborhoods begin to accrue.
The only solution to these safety issues and subsequent litigation will be, as suggested by all studies, to install additional transitional lighting for approximately 1/2 mile into the dark, 89A-adjacent neighborhoods.
So citizens considering their vote in the upcoming election should be aware of the crucial issue of transitional lighting in the 89A-adjacent neighborhoods, an issue I would note, that hasn’t been given the importance it truly demands.
It is dreadfully shortsighted to accede to control by old guard interests so intent on an agenda regarding their vision for Sedona and their own efforts to retain power that they are willing to hypocritically disregard their own governing principals to put forth a shortsighted, agenda-driven solution that still fails to address daytime safety issues along 89A.
Is that what really want? The high likelihood that even more ‘transitional’ lighting will be required & additional, unforseen costs borne by Sedona? That our future will continue to be determined by a state bureaucratic entity with little interest in the future of Sedona?
We can disagree on competing visions for the future of Sedona & solutions for 89A safety issues; in either case, we should act like responsible adults and take control of our own future. Decide among ourselves and keep uninterested (in our future), outside forces out of the decision-making loop.
Please vote YES ON 410! Local control, local solutions. Let the people who care most about Sedona (all of us), make the crucial decisions regarding our future.
I support the city taking over 89A .
My only question is, if piping or sewers, or cables are necessary in the future beneath 89A, would passing 410 mean that we could not access any state funding that might be potentialy available because the city of Sedona “owns” the 89 corrridor?
Following up on Mr. Van Briesen’s comments – Residents need to understand the quantifiable impact that ADOT’s 108 35′ tall lights with 200 w low pressure sodium bulbs will create:
Calculations performed by Christian Luginbuhl, US Naval Observatory indicates that the “BOUNCE BACK (UPLIGHT) IS ABOUT 230,000 LUMENS.”
He further states, “I ESTIMATE WEST SEDONA TOTAL UPLIGHT IS ABOUT 1,600,000 LUMENS. THEREFORE THE ADDITIONAL UPLIGHT FROM THE PROPOSED CRL IS ABOUT 230,000/1,600,000 = 14% INCREASE OVER CURRENT LEVELS.
THIS IS COMPARABLE TO THE UPLIGHT EXPECTED FROM ABOUT 30 ACRES OF COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT UNDER YOUR CURRENT 100,000 LM/AC LIGHTING CODE.”
Vote Yes on Proposition 410
Barabara Mayer vividly and rationally pleads for spiritual sanity to prevail. Barabara constructs compassionate caring of our culture. Our pride and purpose is preservation as protectors of our small part of the universe.
I had a dream that turned into a nightmare. ADOT took control, put in spotlights, and neon signs all along 89A. ADOT took ten years to dig up and then refill, and caused over half the LOCAL businesses along 89A to go OUT of business.
I had a nightmare. ADOT changed our beloved Red Rocks into blinking advertising signs. And then, and then, gave it all back to the City of Sedona and said too bad, so sad.
I had a nightmare. Too late to complain, they said; too late to undo the Las Vegas style center strip that once was West Sedona; too late to fix the misery and mayhem caused by the road construction and landscape desecration.
I had a nightmare that ADOT took control and destroyed all it touched. Please, Don’t let this become real — vote Yes on 410. – Mike
I just listened the Cliff Hamilton video and have a few comments. First he said we can afford the road and suggested there was money coming in the future to pay for it. How does he know this? What if ADEQ comes back again and forces the city to completely sewer the city? You can’t count on the future. How does he know what the cost of the Hwy will be in the future? The city has no plans, no design, no public input. It could cost $2M or it could cost $60M? He said, “ADOT will dictate how the road will look and feel.” Did they dictate on Hwy 179 or did Voice of Choice have input. If everyone would look at http://www.tusayan-az.gov/planning.html and see the beautiful road ADOT built for the Town of Tusayan you will see a beautiful road. One that had input from the community and it too was a 4 lane with a suicide lane prior to construction. And the cost of this road with planning, design, right of way costs and construction is $6M for less than a mile. According to the CivTech Study bike lanes alone on Hwy 89A will be $5.8M and roundabouts $1.1M each.
Lastly the night time accidents cost lives and are 7 figure claims…all the daytime accidents pale in comparison. Answer this question, “If ADOT deems lights are necessary to prevent loss of life, then we take ownership and do not have lights and a pedestrian is killed, could we be found to be grossly negligent for not maintaining the same standard of care ADOT recommended?” Now punitive damages come into play. Of course we have insurance, but how many claims will it take for the Arizona Municipal Risk Retention Pool to dump us? Then we are in trouble.
Draxler….. if someone gets killed during the day when 85 percent of the accidents happen do we get sued for not doing something to enhance safety during the day and night? Daytime accidents are death in waiting. that is negligent.
How did Joe Vernier get so politically corrupted? He used to be a stand up guy. Oh well, another reasonable person who got corrupted by Frey, Scag, Sterling, DiNunzio and Pud.
Serge Wright is just flat out ignorant and flaunting it.
We must control the road to fulfill the community vision. ADOT won’t do it.
None of these people have vision. They only have fear of the future and they spread fear and lies.
I hope the same prayers of healing will be offered for the the friends and families who suffered the loss of their loved ones in the accidents along 89A. We should offer the same level of compassion for the motorists who have to live with the fact that they killed a human being they were unable to see until it was too late.
I watched a woman driving a car run over two people on bicycles last month at noon time, on the corner of 89A and Coffee Pot; the sun still was not bright enough to protect these people. I do not know what happened to the person who was taken away by an ambulance but his bike was destroyed and it looked scary. Could have just as easily been a child crossing the street. Maybe she was on the phone? I do not know how she could have run over these people? Maybe she was drinking? texting?
Lights do not stop drunks from laying in the road or people from being senile and walking in front of moving vehicles.
No one has been hit at night in years, yet day time accidents are still happening.
It seems people are the problem, i.e., not paying attention, not taking responsibility. We have laws against drunk driving but not against drunk walking on public roads.
VOTE YES on 410 for SEDONA’S FUTURE
Whoa! No one denies compassion for those pedestrian deaths. However, if there had been a signalized intersection and crosswalk at Andante, the pedestrian deaths probably would not have occurred. Why has ADOT not put that signal in already? It has been more than 2 years since that FHWA grant approval.
LIGHTING CHOSEN NOT ENVIRONMENTAL
Again, continuous 35′ tall/200watt high pressure sodium (HPS) roadway lighting is NOT dark sky friendly or “green” by any stretch of the imagination. The FIXTURE itself holding the bulb is ‘dark sky compliant’. However tall poles and HPS bulbs increase the bounce-back light from the large overlapping cones of light on the ground making the entire road area equivalent to a 30 acre industrial park. Yes, a ribbon of light! This image does not advertise to anyone that we are concerned about our sustainable and green image here in Sedona.
ADOT APPROVAL NOT NEEDED IF WE OWN THE ROAD
If we own the road, there will be safety measures decided on by all of us (residents and businesses) during a community process. Once the road is totally ours, NO approval from ADOT is needed for any improvements (dare you to ask the City Manager). The road will no longer be a “state highway”, but our “City Street “and we can make whatever improvements we choose – with or without a by-pass road. These improvements could include among many ideas out there low level street lighting and judiciously located short medians – some with crosswalks where needed. Installations could be phased in over time – the way we all improve our homes. Meanwhile, of course, all improvements would be in harmony with our community plan and business, resident, auto, cyclist and walker friendly.
LIABILITY NOT AN ISSUE
As for liability, you can check with the City Attorney and find out how much the City has paid out for any accident death and that number was way, way, way below the 7 figure settlements etc suggested above. Liability insurance costs to the City would only increase by $300-$400 per year if we own the road. Since we already share liability with ADOT that suggests liability is not an issue. If it really were an issue on West 89A, the Andante signal and crosswalks would already have been installed.
CAN SEDONA STILL NEGOTIATE IMPROVEMENTS WITHOUT A ROUTE TRANSFER?
There is a recently ‘floated’ idea that somehow Sedona can still “negotiate with ADOT” to make our Main St a boulevard without a route transfer, as long as we come up with some money. Lots and lots of communication has happened with ADOT (including that very issue) before this situation got to the “either accept a route transfer OR we give you the continuous roadway lights” scenario which this Council was faced with. ADOT has been talking to the City for many years now on this issue and others (the Uptown 89A negotiations and the SR179 improvements). ADOT is very tired of negotiating with Sedona.
ADOT HAS ALREADY NEGOTIATED WITH SEDONA
Then there is the argument that ADOT cannot just give the road back after the upcoming project, because they need to negotiate with Sedona first. What do you think ADOT was doing for the last year with the newly-elected Council (overwhelmingly elected with a 24-hr safe and community plan harmonious road as one of the primary campaign issues)? I trust this Council to examine any new agreement carefully and make the right decision.
Considering what ADOT has been through with Sedona, I want to take charge of our own future as soon as possible. I want Sedona residents and businesses to work together to Keep Sedona Beautiful. Sedona could either be a positive example of a route transfer (a good deal from ADOT) or a negative one (example of what ADOT can do when a small city segment tampers with a Council contract decision). Vote YES on 410!
“Today’s Sedona Scene is neither healthy, spiritually positive, nor pretty.”
Personally, I don’t see Sedona in this light.
Human consciousness has an effect on the molecular structure of water and everything else … including lights, power, etc. and whatever else was mentioned.
We might focus upon the confident images of what we would like to bring forth into our physical reality here in Sedona through positive visuals which will manifest what we seek rather than what we are trying to avoid.