As debate surrounding Sedona’s top issues these days heats up, our web comments also increase.

Since the controversy ignited at the Sedona Fire District and the Sedona City Council voted to take over State Route 89A in West Sedona, we’ve been bombarded with comments because residents and our readers want a voice.

Most recently, stories coming out of City Hall have been most popular with our readers all around when it comes to letters to the editor and website comments.

Read more ...

Just as consumer confidence reached a level where many Americans felt comfortable traveling again, another wrench has been thrown into their plans.

Prices at the pump continue to inch upward with rumors of $4 gallons not too far in the future, and just in time for all the spring breakers who planned to road trip this year.

Read more ...

On Saturday, March 5, the Sedona Main Street Program does its job again bringing our community together with the 41st annual St. Patrick’s Parade & Festival.

Leading the charge is Arianna Throne, whom our feature writer, Lu Stitt, discovered after receiving a tip regarding Thorne’s designation as a top qualifier for the U.S. Western Region Irish dance competition. She will compete in the World Irish Dance Championships in Dublin in April.

Thorne will be accompanied at the parade by local businesses, service groups and volunteers all vested in making the community event the best it can be.

Read more ...

Dear "Sleepless in Sedona,"

While we appreciate your letter regarding noisy trash collection, we’re afraid we can’t do anything with it.

The Sedona Red Rock News receives hundreds of letters each month. Some letters are signed with contact information, as our policy requires, while other writers use aliases or simply leave letters unsigned.

Read more ...

Three Sedona City Council members kept their promise to follow the will of the people Tuesday, Feb. 22, and voted no on taking back State Route 89A from the Arizona Department of Transportation.

Mayor Rob Adams and Councilmen Mark DiNunzio and Dan McIlroy listened to the majority of residents and voted accordingly, and we say thank you to them for their commitment to democracy.

Thank you particularly to McIlroy, who had been thought to support the takeback and later changed his vote because a takeback was not the what the majority wanted.

The city of Sedona spent staff time and tens of thousands of dollars to educate the public only for four council members to disregard and challenge the findings because they were not in line with how those council members had already decided to vote.

Tuesday’s meeting, along with the education process and a $14,675 survey — $8,325 for residential and $6,350 for businesses — were a complete waste of taxpayer dollars and staff time. Council members Barbara Litrell, Mike Ward, Cliff Hamilton and Dennis Rayner weren’t interested in what Sedona’s residents wanted unless it fit with their agendas and demands of special interest groups.

The scientific survey conducted by a professional marketing company was also challenged by the very council members who ordered it to be done. Why did they challenge their own study? Because it didn’t come back with the results they were looking for.

The timing of the survey was cited as why the results were no longer valid. It’s funny those council members weren’t questioning when the survey would be taken and how much information residents would have prior to questioning when they thought it would come back in their favor.

Instead, those council members cited unscientific polls taken by biased sources. We conduct a poll every week on our website and have never once cited it as a true gauge of the public’s sentiment. We know online polls aren’t scientific and never try to pass them off as such. We learned that in journalism school.

We commend Litrell for her effort to gather information. However, research gathered with an open mind is often much different than information found when looking for ways to sell your idea.

Despite the passion evident in both camps, the audience followed Adams’ direction and treated each other with respect regardless of a person’s position. The only outburst came from Raynor who shouted at a West Sedona businessman during public comment.

Federal and state representatives often don’t listen to the people, and we’ve come to expect that from those government officials. It’s sad to see that attitude and abuse of power has trickled down to the local level.

The hot platform during Sedona elections lately has been “listening to the people.” So far, Adams and McIlroy are the only two who have kept that promise. DiNunzio, who was appointed to council, also listens to residents even though he never promised he would.

Now the city has a contract stating ADOT, the government agency that cannot afford to plow snow off State Route 89A north of Sedona a couple of times a year, will supposedly pay them almost $11 million by June 30 and thus lights will not be installed in West Sedona. That $11 million isn’t going to pay for much when it comes to safety improvements or road maintenance, and the chances the city will ever receive additional funds becomes less likely as our entire state struggles financially.

So the question becomes, how can Sedona afford to make State Route 89A safe to protect residents and visitors and avoid liability, and how can it pay for future maintenance? The city has already cut contributions to service groups and nonprofits because tax revenue is down, and sales tax revenue isn’t expected to rise significantly anytime soon.

Sales tax alone won’t pay for the roadway. Thanks to the wisdom of four council members, residents can expect different forms of taxation in the future — property tax and taxes on groceries come to mind.

Written by Managing Editor Trista Steers with input from Publisher Robert B. Larson

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.

More Articles ...