There Are No Guarantees in Life or in Sedona
By Tommy Acosta
Sedona, AZ (October 30, 2011) – This editorial is not for those who have made up their minds and voted early on the 89A referendum but for those who are against the lights but fear the cost of assuming responsibility over the scenic route will be too much for Sedona; for those who have yet to cast their vote.
Sometimes knowing what to do can be harder than finding a snowflake of truth in a blizzard of lies, especially when facts are turned inside out and deception rules the day.
Whether we take over 89A or not, there is no guarantee ADOT will come to the bargaining table with the same offer as before. They may give us more. They may give us less. They may even force us to take 89A without a monetary carrot attached.
If Prop 410 wins then what those who fought against the 89A transfer accomplished is to mess up the prior 89A deal with ADOT, possibly resulting in less or no money for Sedona if ADOT decides to play hardball if anticipated-highway revenues further tank.
If Prop 410 is defeated, then its proponents may have wasted valuable city funds on a special election that will not, in the end, guarantee the erection of the lights.
Since the 89A fight is all about the lights and everybody knows it, has anyone considered the possibility that the Fed money allegedly earmarked for the light poles might not be there anymore?
Could it be we are fighting over an illusion?
The money for the lights is supposed to come from the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient, Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU). This Act funds needed highway improvements states cannot afford.
SAFETEA-LU, which expired in 2009 and extended eight times since, allocates about $41 billion per year on transportation projects.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates the shortfall in transportation revenue for the Act will reach $14 billion in FY 2012.
That means the Feds have only $27 billion to throw around for SAFETEA-LU. There will be priorities. Lights for 89A might not be on the Fed’s short list. The whole lights fight and referendum could be for nothing.
For those who fear the dough ADOT offered us to take 89A will be spent on vainglorious safety improvements, let us suppose Prop 410 passes and ADOT lives up to its original deal.
There is nothing, no one, no government agency forcing the city to blow the $10 million-plus bundle ADOT originally offered on expensive medians and roundabouts. We can stash the cash and use it when we really need it.
The city can pick and choose, with public input, how much to spend and what to spend it on. Sedona owns the road and no one but its citizens can decide what to do with it.
Now…what to do? You don’t want the lights but you are concerned about the costs of 89A ownership?
Let logic rule your vote.
Vote yes on Prop 410 and the city gets to go back on the bargaining table. Maybe we get a better deal or maybe not. Makes no difference! We still have the option of letting ADOT keep it and walk and away from the bargaining table if we don’t get the offer we want. Nothing is lost and the fear of taking it over is no more.
Vote yes on Prop 410 and even if ADOT says screw you, no deal, they still can’t get the lights up because they ain’t got the money. Even if they do, we can tie them up in court for a few years. By then the economy will be so miserable they won’t have the money for sure.
If we lose in court and somehow they get the funding, we make them pay for the electricity. They may not even have the cash for that and we still get to keep our dark skies.
Voting yes on Prop 410 is a win-win for those who don’t want the lights. Period!
The answer to your dilemma dear conflicted Sedonans is simple. You don’t want the lights? Vote yes on Prop 410.
Oh, and one last thought for those who fought valiantly for Sedona dark skies that are still on the fence.
Don’t let the other side win.