Campaign Nastiness in Sedona Just Reached a New Level
Sedona, AZ (October 27, 2011) – On Thursday evening, October 27, while conducting a public information seminar on the referendum issue at the Sedona Library, six vehicles belonging to Voice of Choice for 89A members were vandalized and magnetic campaign signs attached to each vehicle were stolen. In addition, in another part of this clearly coordinated act, VOC campaign signs along Dry Creek Road and Thunder Mountain were also taken.
Some parts of this campaign had earlier moved the nastiness bar to a higher level than past elections by virtue of one side distributing postcards and newspaper ads labeling the other side “liars.” We’ve seen reports of stolen campaign signs in the past and even grown used to reports of yellow “Yes on 410” signs being stolen at various places around town during this election, but major thefts and vandalism have not previously been a part of Sedona politics.
There is no doubt that emotions have run high in this campaign to decide if the city will have local control of our main street or if ADOT will retain control and install 108 additional streetlights. Spirited community debate is expected in critical issues like Prop 410, but vandalism and theft have no place in the process, regardless of the passion or the issue
Regardless of the outcome of this election and it’s long term impacts on the city of one form or another, we will still be Sedona neighbors when it’s over. Healing the community rift it has widened will take some time. Stealing and vandalism is not the way to begin.
I have been involved in dozens of election campaigns throughout the years – in various cities and in different countries.
I feel I am pretty hardened to some of the election gimmicks that folks try. It is common to hear “the other side” throw dirt (not literally!) at your campaign promises, and try and denigrate the statements which you so carefully prepare. However, here in Sedona, on a very, very local issue, some on the other side are actually throwing mud and physically damaging our property. This does not reflect well on the type of people who are involved in the campaign to stop local control of 89A. I appreciate it is hard to control everyone in your campaign, but it seems that this trend of threats and law breaking seems to be endemic in the other side. Folks have been threatened who display Voice of Choice for 89A signs. And many, many signs have been taken down and stolen. How sad. Yes, I agree with sedona.biz that we need to try and mend these divisions in our town. As a start, it would be good if everyone would decry these tactics and condemn those who break the law in order to make their point
Hi Angela –
I have looked forward to your run for City Council seat but am so very disappointed that you would participate in accusations without proof. Stating someone or some group has broken the law is such a serious allegation and not one to be made lightly. City leadership requires a calm evaluation based on facts not third party rumors and gossip.
How would you or I feel if someone made the same quote as you did about members of the local Democratic Party?
“but it seems that this trend of threats and law breaking seems to be endemic in the other side. Folks have been threatened who display Voice of Choice for 89A signs. And many, many signs have been taken down and stolen.”
Please be an advocate for fact based allegations of such a very serious nature as breaking the law.
I believe that everyone expects that when there is an upcoming Vote, that the two sides will have differing opinions, and sometime Very Strong differing opinions as in this case. However, I have to agree with this article, and Angela’s comment, that the People who want You to ‘Vote No’ have taken this to a whole new level. When ‘Yes’ Signs are stolen and/or vandalized it’s more then the money and time it took to create them, it’s denying Them the basic Right of Political Freedom of Speech.
The People that would like You to ‘Vote Yes’ have spent hundreds and hundreds of accumulated hours in researching all aspects of owning our highway. They check, double check and even triple check all facts before presenting it to the public. Then the ‘Nos’ come along, consistently call them liars, and pull Their own facts out of a cloud in the sky to create fear. I don’t get it.
Theft has stuck me personally when I went out to walk My dogs this morning, and found that someone had come on to My property in the middle of the night and stolen My ‘Yes’ sign out of My yard. My friend who also lives alone displayed it best today when She realized that Her sign was also missing, She looked frightened, and said “People actually jumped over the ditch on to My lawn in the middle of the night, and took My sign that was under My bedroom window. I’m scared!” They had also stolen Her security.
This isn’t the only theft the ‘No’ People have perpetrated against Me personally, and I think that all the Artists in Sedona can sympathize with. I spent an amazing amount of hours researching and creating visual renditions of what our highway would and could look like. I even had them copy-written with the Government. But the ‘Nos’ stole them anyway and used them in Their own advertising. When I asked them about it, I was told “There was no ‘c’ on it so We can do anything We want with them’. Let that be a lesson to All Artists of any type. We no longer own our own work for Life plus 70 years if the ‘Nos’ want to steal it.
Please Vote “Yes” on 410, it’s the right thing to do.
I have repeatedly replaced the same signs over and over again in support of a No Vote for 410. I have not once accused anyone of theft as I have NO proof that anyone broke the law and I am not in the habit of pointing fingers at people without proof.
Many other people have reported their signs missing as well. Again, I do not know of anyone making unfounded accusations against their fellow residents.
I have been involved with more elections than I can count. From the very first election that used yard signs they have come up missing from both sides. Often the result is storms, someone placing a sign near a property owners home then property owner removes and in a few very rare cases (only one that I know of) it was proven that someone actually unlawfully removed a sign.
Let’s take a deep breath and stick to the issue; regardless of what side you are on the issue is will you vote and how will you vote?
Bobbie is right. More people should listen to her. Signs come and go but the Surbers have been oversized pillars of this community in more ways than those that are most obvious? Some of you newcomers can learn a thing or two from them.
Bobbie is right. Angela is a socialist and her accusations should be discounted. Where is your proof Angela? Dirty politics indeed by you making accusations with no basis. Even if no other group or individual has any motive to steal these signs…prove it! Car magnets can easily fly off in breezy conditions and should be outlawed as hazards. What kind of losers deface their expensive automobile with vile slogans and bumblebee colors. How childish.
Signs don’t matter. The herd of citizens don’t vote because of a bright sign. They vote because the Surber’s tell them how to vote.
We should applaud the Surbers for being leaders and we should support them and their candidates for City Council in 2012. Who are we to question their moral or ethical character? When the Surbers, Pud, Scagnelli and Frey come around again in 2012 we should embrace them and their candidates and follow our leaders without question. That is how we will wrestle this City back from “these people.”
The problem with the deniers of the concerted campaign to remove signs is that they know without video of the actual thefts, there is no proof. However, overnight disappearance of many signs all at once seems like a concerted effort to me. Maybe the $400 reward will help find the perpetrators and tell us who directed the effort. The law states that taking campaign signs from the city right of way is a felony. It is polite to ask the hoemowner.
IWe walk our dog down Soldiers Pass every day. There were signs for both sides for a week, then the ‘Yes” signs started to disappear. My husband and I stood up a ‘Yes’ sign at St. John Vianny driveway, but it was thrown in the bushes overnight. Meanwhile, the other sign for ‘No’ remains, as well as the ‘No’ sign in front of our Vista Montana driveway. That one is on Serge Wright’s property and, although I am confronted with it everytime I drive in or out, it would not occur to me to remove or deface it.
When people argue the case for fear, they act in fearful, childish ways themselves. I think this sign stealing is so emblematic of the LTPV position; fear based, falsely motivated and selfish.
Hi Cynthia – You might want to ask the property owners why the signs are no longer on their property. I think you might find the same answer as was stated by John Miller in the RRN that signs were repeatedly placed on his property without his permission.
Also have learned when signs on side-street are placed between properties and in the city right- away homeowners do not know this is not their property and remove signs.
I know the above reasons are not as dramatic as a massive conspiracy to steal signs but are some of the lessons I have learned over the years. Also know what it is like to replace sign after sign, very frustrating indeed!
Thankfully this will be behind us next week as we all find out what the residents of Sedona want in regards to ownership of the road.
I have been reading with interest the responses to this email about disappearing signs and finger pointing. Some of the comments have been vulgar and accusatory. Sad. I appreciate the fact that Bobbie has been above this type of comment. Thank you. I would, however, like to say a couple of things in my defense, and why I took umbrage to the type of activities going on in my home town:
1. I know for a fact that owners of business properties on 89A have been coerced to take down “yes” signs and have them replaced by “no” signs. I would be glad to give detailed information to anyone who is interested. It seems that the NO vote has decided that 89A in West Sedona is “their” domain, and please, do not let anyone else try and rock the boat…
2. I was very angry and upset by the goings on at the library last week, as were others who had signs stolen from their cars and had their car doors muddied where signs once were. It would have been the good if everyone had decried this type of behavior.
It is sad that folks have to descend to slogans such as “socialist” (I bet the person does not even know what that means), when all I am trying to do is make a point about the low levels this campaign has reached. That person’s reaction is a wonderful example of this.
I try and do a lot for this community and do not expect any thanks, I do what I think is right, whether it be litter lifting or registering voters (yes ALL voters) or being a docent or working for causes I believe in. I recognize those qualities in others. We all I hope would work for such things as our Community Plan, and devote time to developing it. That is the kind of activity that matters.
I do believe a yes vote on 410 is the right action – please do not denigrate me or my reasons for supporting this!
Dear Bobbie Surber,
While that fact that the only remaining signs, as far as my neighborhood is concerned, are the three or four in front of Serge Wright’s may not be dispositive, it does make one wonder. And it’s good that your years have taught you things. Mine have, as well. In the context of this issue, it is that if there is a short cut to winning an argument through fear and intimidation, some people are bound to take it.
I remain hopeful the the people of Sedona will recognize the benefits in retaining control over our main street and I look forward to a return to civility in our community, whatever the outcome.