Editorials and Opinions

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.