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The people of Sedona spoke, and they said, “Don’t take back State Route 89A!”

Results from a scientific survey released by the city indicate the residents are not ready to commit the city of Sedona to the financial burden of maintaining a state highway simply to avoid the Arizona Department of Transportation’s roadway lighting plan.

According to the survey conducted by Behavior Research Center Inc., 56 percent of residents surveyed said ADOT should retain control of the highway and 30 percent believe the city should take back the road. The other 14 percent were unsure.

On the business side, which was also surveyed, 62 percent of business owners said “no takeback” while 30 percent supported city ownership. Another 8 percent were unsure.

The survey’s margin of error is 5 percent, which means it couldn’t possibly be clearer what the people of Sedona want.

They don’t want the city to take on a financial burden with unknown repercussions.
Residents voted no even before seeing a draft of the contract the city would sign with ADOT, which was not released to the public prior to the survey.

Even self-proclaimed anti-street light advocates, who have said they personally support the takeback, are now urging the Sedona City Council not to because it is not the will of the people.

Visits by city staff to community service groups also indicate the majority of residents do not support a takeback, and we have received numerous letters at our office indicating they don’t.

Despite blatant lack of support, it is rumored some City Council members’ minds have been made up, and they plan to vote for the minority 30 percent of residents and 30 percent of business owners.

Opponents of the takeback are already calling for a recall of any council members who defy the will of the people with a promise to circulate petitions immediately.

Council needs to remember it’s not about what it wants, it’s about what the people want.
All of the newly elected council members — Mike Ward, Dennis Rayner, Barbara Litrell and Dan McIlroy — ran on the platform of leading the city where the majority of the people want it to go.

When they were elected, they all felt the majority opposed installation of street lights, although without scientific evidence.

Now, the question has become whether the city should take back the road to avoid the street lights, and a scientific survey indicates the majority of residents don’t want the liability.

Will council keep its promise and follow the will of the people? We will find out Tuesday, Feb. 22, when council members cast their votes.


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  • djs

    Totally agree. A "take back" vote by council should trigger an immediate recall vote for all council members who vote in violation of the citizen's/voters wishes, followed by a vote to void auth to take back the road from the state. <br /><br />How much taxpayer $ did they already waste doing the prep work to force this measure thru?

  • Mountain Bike Babe

    95% of the people who spoke were in favor of the transfer.<br />The argument against the transfer was based on fear, not logic. The fact is the city already maintains many miles of road, this small section with $15.6 million in funding is not the big deal it is alleged to be.<br /><br />Councilman Mike Ward wrote a piece explaining his decision to vote yes on the turn back. He had no choice because ADOT admitted they would force the road on us after they installed 108 lights and then give us no money! Was the Council to wait until ADOT forced a turn back and we lose the 15.6 million?<br />ADOT has a new policy to give back city main streets classified as state hwys.

  • Mountain Bike Babe

    The Prescott City Council appeared at the meeting and stated that taking their road back was the best thing Prescott did and they only got 2 million. The town owning the road allowed them to improve the road in a way that benefited the town most. They also stated that 15.6 was generous and fair and we should take the money.

  • Suzanne Connolly

    As 35 year residents of Sedona, we are surprised by the decision of the Sedona City Council to dismiss the wishes of the citizens and business owners of Sedona. The people overwhelminly rejected the idea of the City taking ownership of 89A. A survey was taken only to have some City Council members reject the results of the survey, apparently thinking they knew better than the people what the people needed.<br /><br /> We need representatives in the City Council who indeed represent us. We need to do whatever we can to return Sedona to the people of Sedona.<br /><br />Suzanne Connolly, LCSW, LMFT<br />Bruce Connolly,former owner (for 28 years) of Sedona Market.

  • Cracker Jack

    What was the point of doing the voter survey when the City Council members already had their minds made up. The monies spent conducting the surve poll should be paid by City Council members!<br />I'm tending to agree wth the RECALL--these people were elected because they would follow the will of the people. What the heck happened from the time they were elected till NOW?<br /> We've got a problem and it is US!<br /> The State has absolutely no money to pay Sedona for taking over SR89A and if the state has no money then I would assume that ADOT has even less!<br /> Wouldn't trust ADOT any further than I could throw them!

  • Cracker Jack

    Since the State has absolutely no money, one would assume that ADOT has even less. So, how in the world is ADOT planning to give the City of Sedna $15+ million? Come on now...you all can't be that dumb. Or should I have stated--Our City Council surely couldn't be that dumb?"<br />Tending to go along with the RECALL! Our City Council members lied to us so in my book,one bad turn deserves another. Out they go! You are with us or against us and they stated they are against us!

  • Marianna Hartsong

    I am disappointed to see that the RRN is inciting dissidence by running yet another poll. The readers of RRN are the 'peoples' vote'. It is not an unbiased readership, nor editorial staff. <br /><br />The vote was taken as per agreement. The vote is totally congruent with the Sedona City Vision statement. <br /><br />Let's move forward, live and let go, not backward.

  • mark griffon

    I will be in favor of a recall by those council members who voted in favor of the takeback

  • k keller

    Because your paper says there is a blatant lack of support, does not make it so. You have adamantly ignored the support for the take bake. There were other polls, numerous speakers and letters supporting the take over. You're driving home your view of the will of the people. I offer another: Democracy as validated by the vote. Council was elected on several issues, primary to many of us, NO to ADOT lights. The will of the people should always be considered, but not take precedence over safety. Should we slow down at school crossings, even if the will of the people doesn't want to? Many of us respect the sanctity of life 24 hrs of the day, as enabled by the fiscally sound contract with ADOT.

  • Marianna Hartsong

    FYI: I have just successfully voted a second time -- that means anyone can vote more than once, thus rendering the results of this survey meaningless, ie. null and void.

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