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Sedona residents spoke again, and they said the same thing: They do not want the city of Sedona to take ownership of State Route 89A in West Sedona.

Results for Proposition 410 from the Tuesday, Nov. 8, special election showed residents overwhelmingly rejected the Sedona City Council’s decision earlier this year to take ownership of the roadway.

According to Yavapai County elections results, 2,981, or 70 percent, of those who cast ballots voted against the city further considering ownership. Only 1,248 residents, or 30 percent, said the city should own a state highway.

I guess now we know what the “true majority” wants.

A conclusion to the question revealed itself in February, but some Sedona City Council members chose to ignore the survey they themselves commissioned and paid for. A professional study told us then only 30 percent of residents agreed with taking ownership.

Vice Mayor Cliff Hamilton, Councilwoman Barbara Litrell, and Councilmen Dennis Rayner and Mike Ward ignored the people and voted for themselves and their friends. Mayor Rob Adams, and Councilmen Mark DiNunzio and Dan McIlroy did as they promised and listened to the people voting against ownership.

Hamilton, Litrell, Rayner and Ward’s decision to ignore the survey resulted in grave consequences.

The State Route 89A referendum election further divided an already divisive community by pitting neighbor against neighbor, and, in may cases, the gloves came off.

An opinion on the issue could provoke hate mail, threats to boycott businesses, personal attacks or angry visits from the other side. We saw the lowest of the low as people fought tooth and nail to push their agendas at all costs.

Aside from the petty fighting, council’s vote cost the city and residents tens of thousands of dollars in county election fees and campaign contributions.

The city paid Yavapai County $24,600.32 to conduct the election.

We are still waiting for final campaign contribution numbers to be reported, but thus far we know the money spent by both camps trumps the city’s cost. For a breakdown on how much each group spent from June 1 to Oct. 19 and who were the biggest contributors, see Patrick Whitehurst’s story on Page 3A.

Time is also money, and months were wasted. If council’s vote at the end of February had reflected what the survey, and eventually election, told us, residents wouldn’t have spent the last eight months at each other’s throats.

Hamilton, Litrell, Rayner and Ward should be ashamed of themselves.

The results from Proposition 411 show residents don’t trust council to do the job members are elected to do — listen to the majority. Voters approved a measure with 3,226 votes, or 77 percent, requiring their approval to finalize any future route transfers negotiated by council. Only 953, or 23 percent, voted against it.

Future councils can thank Hamilton, Litrell, Rayner and Ward for the red tape.

If this all-out war between residents taught us anything, it’s that we must be careful who we believe when the next election season rolls around. It’s often difficult to discern who is genuine when candidates claim they will vote based on the majority opinion until they are called upon to do so.

Well, now we know who stuck true to their word and who blatantly denied the facts to push personal agendas. It appears a few council members are out of touch with Sedona residents.

Trista Steers MacVittie

Managing Editor


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  • Cactus Jack

    It is a basic political science question: do we elect representatives to reflect the majority or to investigate the issues and make the best decision for the town?<br /><br />We won't know if the voters or the Council made the right decision for 10-15 years, because we won't see how ADOT treats West Sedona for that long, and many of this months voters will be long gone. <br /><br />ADOT now has it in their power to do serious damage to the beauty and livability of West Sedona, and the City will have nothing to say about it. We'll be living with this vote for decades. Hope the majority is right, but experience with distant bureaucrats tells me they aren't.

  • Chris G.

    Cactus Jack, you missed the point. The point Trista made is that when these council members came to my door, they said to me that they would follow the will of the people. They didn't think that the people would disagree with their stance. There is no science to it, WE THE PEOPLE said no to owning a highway, and our elected officials thought that they knew better. They are not supposed to be our parents telling us what's best, they are elected officials that have a duty to listen to us and ensure that our basic freedoms and happiness is the top priority. The fact that council members were out there trying to sway votes, marching in their yellow shirts, and spending their own money should be alarming to everyone. Aren't they supposed to be impartial representitives of the peoples will?

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