Members of the Sedona City Council should not be involved in the public education process regarding the potential route transfer of State Route 89A.
In the end, it will be up to council to make the final decision, but members’ opinions need to be separated from the facts so the residents of Sedona can make an informed decision.
Ideally, the council’s decision should be based on the outcome of the public involvement process.
However, it appears several council members have already made up their minds and want to use the public process to persuade residents rather than educate them.
City staff has worked with the Arizona Department of Transportation at the direction of council to negotiate a deal for the possible take-over of State Route 89A in West Sedona.
The possibility of assuming control and liability of the highway came about after public outcry in response to ADOT’s proposal to install streetlights along the corridor for safety reasons.
The city has limited time to make a decision or ADOT’s plan moves forward.
City staff is burdened with the mission of finding out how the entire population of the city feels about the issues, not just those who show up at the meetings.
Gauging where the majority of the people stand on any issue can be challenging.
When lights were proposed, people turned out in droves to protest, even going as far as standing on the highway with signs.
Later, when the route transfer was proposed as an alternative, just as many people spoke out against the city — which relies on one source of taxable income — taking on a financial obligation of this scale.
Where the majority actually stands is unknown, and we may even find out many people aren’t that concerned about the issue because they have bigger challenges facing them.
Despite what is revealed, the best way to ensure the facts are delivered without spin is to keep the politicians out of it.
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