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Democratic process? It is unnecessary in this Sedona asylum, where the inmates run the city

The city of Sedona began discussing a car camp for homeless workers at the Sedona Cultural Park in January.

On January 9, the City Council directed staff to begin planning the camp by voice vote, but did not vote to legally or officially approve the camp.

Keeping Sedona residents informed, we notified residents that the council will be discussing camp construction on January 5th and called on them to come out and speak, regardless of their opinion. The pre-meeting online discussion was one of the strongest, with more than 1,700 interactions, 37 comments, and 7 shares to other public board members before the meeting began, but not during the session. was relatively small considering the actual number of speakers.

While most residents want to give workers a safe place to sleep, the main objections from Sedona's working class are the plans, which have a budget of more than $80 million and include housing owned by many incumbents. That's for a city with thousands of multi-million dollar homes. Dear City Council members, is parking the least we can get in our wealthy city? The city can spend up to $23 million on undeveloped land, but cannot build apartment complexes or offer rental certificates.

City leaders insist that affordable housing will arrive “soon,” but not within months or years.

But it's a restaurant that will read this editorial today and try to find a place to sleep in the next few hours before serving a new group of wealthy Sedona residents and tourists living in the gated neighborhood tomorrow. For store clerks and retail store employees, it's literally cold comfort. Spend over $1,000 over a weekend for the “Complete Sedona Experience” to align your chakras and save your aura.

We heard the perspectives of four guests on this issue: a longtime real estate professional and former city housing administrator, a school official and member of the city's tourism board, and a former homeless nonprofit board member and mayor. We also received more than a dozen letters on this issue, most of which were unfavorable to the camp, asking for a postponement to allow for more public input.

Council was originally scheduled to discuss the issue publicly on Feb. 27, but that topic was postponed to March. At least residents and the city council had some breathing room before finalizing the issue.

However, the city of Sedona proceeded to build the camp anyway, as if the city council had already voted “yes.”

Without a City Council action, without a referendum to put council members on the record, and without final input from residents, city officials installed parking lots, graded roads, and cleared the area for the first visitors. prepared. The proposed toilets have not yet been installed, but the site could be opened to the public tomorrow.

This submitted photo shows the parking lot and path to the homeless car camp already constructed, but the Sedona City Council has not voted in favor of construction. The meeting is scheduled for March 12th.
Courtesy photo.

who knows? Probably so, because Congress certainly cannot and will not apply the brakes.

Who needs a public vote? And why bother meeting on Tuesday, March 12th? The city is already building the place, and the pesky elected council is standing in the way. There was no need. Democratic process and the rule of law? Pushau, this is Sedona. Prisoners are running this mental hospital.

This posted photo shows City of Sedona vehicles working at a homeless auto campground.
Courtesy photo.

Even if the vote were to vote in favor of autocamping, it would be scary to build the site before the City Council says, “Yes, let's go ahead.” It seems as if city employees are doing what they want to do, only when they want to do it, and only when it's necessary. A watered down council to rubber stamp something that has already been built, planned and paid for, or simply thought to be a good idea by staff. City council?

It's not clear they're running the show.

This is no longer a city where the city council votes on what policies staff should implement, but a city where staff listens to complaints on social media, initiates projects, and waits for council to sign off on what has already been done. be.

City officials do this not because they have personal agendas or interests, but because this toothless, rudderless City Council, both individually and collectively, has no right to make decisions. We have a decision. We're going to make decisions.” You listen to us, but you don't pick up a shovel or a pen without us telling you to. ”

This Congress lacks the backbone to tell staff who should be in charge, and that will continue to be the case.

Even if the vote were to vote in favor of car camping, the City Council would likely do so because of the sunk cost fallacy, not because it is in the best interest of residents, taxpayers, or workers.

The argument is, “You can't take that back now, Congressmen.'' “We can't unpave the roads, clear the parking spaces, or remove all the gravel. So let's just go ahead and do what our crews have already done. Tens of thousands of dollars in materials and salaries. It has already been paid.”

So why bother with community forums, roundtables, or citizen engagement committees that the city touts as “essential” to the democratic process?

Last week, I received an email that I'm sure most of you received regarding the Sedona Community Planning process.

Don't bother going. Your opinion doesn't matter. It's clear that the city doesn't care, doesn't listen, and does what city officials say. Leaderless leaders will just say, “Okay, you already did what you wanted to do.”

That night, instead of voicing my opinion to the powerless Congress, I decide to take my family out to dinner and celebrate 20 years in Sedona. At least the 5 of us can choose where to go and what to order. Because we no longer have a choice in what happens in Sedona when it comes to the leadership and management of this city.

christopher fox graham


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