Sedona Times February 25, 2010 : Page 1

Special Sedona Municipal Election Issue Vol 3, NO 2 February 25, 2010 Sedona Times Editorial by Tommy Acosta, Editor merica the beautiful, land of the free and the brave. America, beacon of hope and freedom for the world where our forefathers put their lives on the line so we can enjoy the freedoms we have today. America, birthplace of democracy, where the sacred right to elect our leaders remains strong and firm across the nation, with the exception of Sedona, where this right is being put to the test by Proposition 400. The proposition asks Sedona citizens to choose between electing their mayor, or having him or her appointed by a sitting council with no community input. We need to be clear on this, very clear. On the 2010 election ballot there is a proposition A America First on Proposition 400 asking voters to once again decide if they wish to have an appointed mayor or an elected mayor. The reasoning behind this proposition is that a mayor in our town has only one vote, is con- sidered a ‘weak” mayor and basically is a council member with a title and no greater privilege or power than the other members of the council. Further, proponents for the concept of appointing over electing our mayor cite the possibility of disparity and contention between a prevailing council majority and an elected mayor, as evidenced by the disharmony in our current council. Hoping to circumvent such a possibility in the future, the presiding council majority put Vote ‘YES’On Prop 400 Past-Mayor Anita MacFarlane and Past-Vice Mayor Judith Keane Support Prop 400 Opinion by Anita MacFarland S ince Sedona incorporat- ed in 1988 nine city councils selected the mayor from their sitting coun- cil members. Every two years they were able to evaluate their own peers and choose a mayor who showed team- work and leadership ability. This worked well. Anita MacFarland As former mayor and council member I have come to the conclusion that the direct election of the mayor is not appropriate for Sedona. Sedona’s form of city govern- ment is called Council-Man- ager. The council makes decisions and sets policy by majority vote, an the city manager carries out these decisions and manages staff. There is no strong mayor power as in some big cities. The mayor presides over meetings and has ceremonial duties, but legally the mayor is one of seven council mem- bers with only one vote. Popular vote for the mayor began in 2006 and caused an explosive rise in the cost of running for the office, which does not serve a small town well. With the election of the mayor every two years many talented and experienced people have been eliminated because they had to resign or run for mayor or were defeated in the race. This has led to the recent reg- ularity of vacated seats on council being created because of resignation to run for mayor. Sedona voters will not be giving up a democratic right. The previous method of oper- ation was a very successful, smoother, more unified process. Let’s go back to it. Our city will have more unity with Proposition 400 and I hope it is approved. ____________________ Opinion by Judith Keane Vice Mayor, I am supporting Proposition 400 to have the Mayor elected by the sitting City Council members. When the City of Sedona was incorporated in 1988, the H Council-Man- ager form of government was selected by the citizens as the most effective, efficient aving past experience as a Sedona City Council member and Rita Livingston, Sedona Times Publisher flashes radiant smile at KSB Awards ceremony. Photo by Tommy Acosta Sedona Times Publisher Rita Livingston Honored By Gail Simpson and Tommy Acosta S Judith Keane See YES on 400, Page 7 edona Times Publisher Rita Livingston was honored by Keep Sedona Beautiful on Valen- tine’s Day for her service to the community. Each year since 1972, Keep Sedona Beautiful, a non-profit organization dedi- cated to preserving the won- der of Sedona has recognized individuals, businesses and organizations in the Greater Sedona area for exemplary architectural design, land- scaping, lighting and special community service that con- tribute in a significant way to “Keeping Sedona Beautiful.” At the 38th Annual KSB Awards of Excellence cele- bration, Rita was recognized for her many years of volun- teerism and participation in serving the Sedona communi- ty. In 2003 Rita Livingston spearheaded Sedona Area Citizens and put together a Town Hall at our Flicker Shack where members dis- tributed “I Love Sedona” but- tons. She served on the Board of Rachel’s Knoll, where she gathered speakers and partici- pants. She led the effort to stop the passage of the Patriot Act is a board Member of the League of Women Voters, a See KSB Awards, Page 16 of those confusing items where voting “No” means yes and voting “Yes” means no. B The measure asks: “Shall the Mayor of the City of Sedona be selected by and from members of the Proposition 400 on the ballot hoping the public will shirk the concept of democracy for the comfort of practicality. To believe American citizens born, bred and indoctrinated on the democratic principle of choice and the freedom-based right to elect one’s leaders will support appointing one’s mayor over electing him or her, requires a pre- requisite perspective that voters really do not know any better and are not equipped with the necessary skills or intellect to pick their own mayor. It also requires a perspective of being above the Constitution of the United States of America. Regardless if a mayor has only one vote and cannot tell the council what to do, a mayor represents the animus of a community. A mayor is our public face. Amayor controls meetings and assures civil discourse and behavior between council members and the public in attendance. Amayor provides vision and presents ideas to a council for consideration and application. Mayors are our “Avatars” in the public square of government and community. Who better than the electorate to decide who their mayor should be? Who better than “we, the people?” The Sedona Times editorial staff and board stand firm for the right of the elected over the appointed. We believe in democracy. We believe in our Constitutional right to choose our leaders. And we want our readers to know that. We urge the voting public to vote “NO” on Proposition 400. Join us in our duty to pre- serve democracy. Vote ‘NO’On Prop 400 Councilman Cliff Hamilton Opposes Prop 400 When ‘NO’Means ‘YES’ Opinion by Cliff Hamilton allot measure 400, part of your Sedona mail election ballot, is one One Council faction believes that government should be of, by and for the people and that citizens have a right to elect those who will represent them in their government. You’ll hear this faction, currently made up of the Mayor and Vice Mayor, talking about asking Sedona residents what they want and the “will of the people.” Cliff Hamilton City Council rather than being directly elected by the electors of the City.” Voting “No”, means yes, you want the vot- ers to elect the Mayor. If you vote “Yes”, it means no, you oppose having the Mayor elected by the people and favor having the Mayor appointed by the City Council. Actually it’s not that hard but you do have to watch more carefully what box you mark rather than just follow- ing the intuitive approach of marking “yes” for what you like and “no” for what you don’t want. Trying to sort fact from fic- tion and real reasons from hid- den agendas that surround this issue is harder, however fun- damentally, this measure reflects the divergent philoso- phies of government present in the current City Council. The other view is that Council members are there to make the decisions and they know what is best. This view is shared by the current major- ity of Council members and several have openly said as much in Council meetings. They have voted to appoint Council members when there is a vacancy rather than allow the public to elect them. Like electing or appointing the Mayor, it’s a way to avoid the risk of having voters pick someone who does not share their views. In making your own deci- sion, it’s important to under- stand what the Mayor actually does and that the Mayor’s role really is different. First, the Mayor is the face and voice of Sedona, representing the city at virtually every city function and event. Council members do not fill this role. The Mayor is the image of Sedona to residents and visitors alike. Time the job requires is See NO on 400, Page 14

America First On Proposition 400

Tommy Acosta, Editor

AMerica the beautiful, land of the free and the brave. America, beacon of hope and freedom for the world where our forefathers put their lives on the line so we can enjoy the freedoms we have today.<br /> <br /> America, birthplace of democracy, where the sacred right to elect our leaders remains strong and firm across the nation, with the exception of Sedona, where this right is being put to the test by Proposition 400. The proposition asks Sedona citizens to choose between electing their mayor, or having him or her appointed by a sitting council with no community input.<br /> <br /> We need to be clear on this, very clear. On the 2010 election ballot there is a proposition asking voters to once again decide if they wish to have an appointed mayor or an elected mayor.<br /> <br /> The reasoning behind this proposition is that a mayor in our town has only one vote, is considered a ‘weak” mayor and basically is a council member with a title and no greater privilege or power than the other members of the council.<br /> <br /> Further, proponents for the concept of appointing over electing our mayor cite the possibility of disparity and contention between a prevailing council majority and an elected mayor, as evidenced by the disharmony in our current council.<br /> <br /> Hoping to circumvent such a possibility in the future, the presiding council majority put Proposition 400 on the ballot hoping the public will shirk the concept of democracy for the comfort of practicality.<br /> <br /> To believe American citizens born, bred and indoctrinated on the democratic principle of choice and the freedom-based right to elect one’s leaders will support appointing one’s mayor over electing him or her, requires a prerequisite perspective that voters really do not know any better and are not equipped with the necessary skills or intellect to pick their own mayor. It also requires a perspective of being above the Constitution of the United States of America.<br /> <br /> Regardless if a mayor has only one vote and cannot tell the council what to do, a mayor represents the animus of a community. A mayor is our public face. A mayor controls meetings and assures civil discourse and behavior between council members and the public in attendance.<br /> <br /> A mayor provides vision and presents ideas to a council for consideration and application.<br /> <br /> Mayors are our “Avatars” in the public square of government and community. Who better than the electorate to decide who their mayor should be?<br /> <br /> Who better than “we, the people?” The Sedona Times editorial staff and board stand firm for the right of the elected over the appointed. We believe in democracy. We believe in our Constitutional right to choose our leaders. And we want our readers to know that.<br /> <br /> We urge the voting public to vote “NO” on Proposition 400. Join us in our duty to preserve democracy.

Vote Yes On Prop 400

Past-Mayor Anita MacFarlane and Past-Vice Mayor Judith Keane Support Prop 400<br /> <br /> Opinion by Anita MacFarland<br /> <br /> Since Sedona incorporated in 1988 nine city councils selected the mayor from their sitting council members. Every two years they were able to evaluate their own peers and choose a mayor who showed teamwork and leadership ability. This worked well.<br /> <br /> As former mayor and council member I have come to the conclusion that the direct election of the mayor is not appropriate for Sedona.<br /> <br /> Sedona’s form of city government is called Council-Manager.<br /> <br /> The council makes decisions and sets policy by majority vote, an the city manager carries out these decisions and manages staff.<br /> <br /> There is no strong mayor power as in some big cities.<br /> <br /> The mayor presides over meetings and has ceremonial duties, but legally the mayor is one of seven council members with only one vote.<br /> <br /> Popular vote for the mayor began in 2006 and caused an explosive rise in the cost of running for the office, which does not serve a small town well. With the election of the mayor every two years many talented and experienced people have been eliminated because they had to resign or run for mayor or were defeated in the race.<br /> <br /> This has led to the recent regularity of vacated seats on council being created because of resignation to run for mayor.<br /> <br /> Sedona voters will not be giving up a democratic right.<br /> <br /> The previous method of operation was a very successful, smoother, more unified process. Let’s go back to it.<br /> <br /> Our city will have more unity with Proposition 400 and I hope it is approved.<br /> <br /> Opinion by Judith Keane Having past experience as a Sedona City Council member and Vice Mayor, I am supporting Proposition 400 to have the Mayor elected by the sitting City Council members.<br /> <br /> When the City of Sedona was incorporated in 1988, the Council-Manager form of government was selected by the citizens as the most effective, efficientWay of governing our small community.<br /> <br /> A noble experiment was started in 2006 to have a popular election to directly elect the Mayor. However, it is my observation that has proven to be far less successful than originally thought. It has raised the cost of being elected, discouraging qualified citizens from becoming candidates; it has limited the number of people dedicated to serving as Council Members due to the fact a sitting Council Member must resign to run for Mayor or they are eliminated if they lost the Mayor’s race; and it has greatly contributed to politicizing and polarizing our community’s citizenry.<br /> <br /> As a citizen, you have the right and duty to elect seven competent Council members whom you think will do a good job for our city. They in turn should select their presiding officer, the Mayor, who has an equal vote.<br /> <br /> This has worked well in the past for nine different City Councils and I believe it is the best design for our community. I am hopeful that the citizens of our city approve Proposition 400.

Sedona Times Publisher Rita Livingston Honored

Gail Simpson and

Sedona Times Publisher Rita Livingston was honored by Keep Sedona Beautiful on Valentine’s Day for her service to the community.<br /> <br /> Each year since 1972, Keep Sedona Beautiful, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the wonder of Sedona has recognized individuals, businesses and organizations in the Greater Sedona area for exemplary architectural design, landscaping, lighting and special community service that contribute in a significant way to “Keeping Sedona Beautiful.” At the 38th Annual KSB Awards of Excellence celebration, Rita was recognized for her many years of volunteerism and participation in serving the Sedona community.<br /> <br /> In 2003 Rita Livingston spearheaded Sedona Area Citizens and put together a Town Hall at our Flicker Shack where members distributed “I Love Sedona” buttons.<br /> <br /> She served on the Board of Rachel’s Knoll, where she gathered speakers and participants.<br /> <br /> She led the effort to stop the passage of the Patriot Act is a board Member of the League of Women Voters, aMember of KSB the Sierra Club, the Democrats of the Red Rocks and NWABO. Rita is also a founder of Good Morning Sedona.<br /> <br /> “I’m a gatherer of people,” she said after accepting her award. “This is what I need to do. I don’t question it. I just do it.” Her crowning accomplishment is creating the Sedona Times, a publication she by sheer willpower and determination has kept alive and thriving for more than three years.<br /> <br /> “I always felt Sedona needed a newspaper that can tell the truth and present a different side to issues and stories the community’s other paper missed,” she said. “I am proud of the Sedona Times and all of the people who keep it going.” Sedona Times Editor Tommy Acosta said he never stops marveling at Rita’s tenacity and dedication to the community.<br /> <br /> “I don’t think there is anybody living in Sedona who does not know Rita Livingston,” he said. “She seems to be everywhere at once. Sometimes I think she is able to split herself in two so she could attend different functions going on at the same time. She is an inspiration to all of us.” In addition to Rita being honored at the KSB awards ceremony, other community luminaries were recognized as well at the jam-packed ballroom at Los Abrigados Resort and Spa, with popular entertainers Tom and Shondra creating a festive atmosphere.<br /> <br /> The 2009 Community Service honorees include the Oak Creek Canyon Task Force, Ciera Crawley, Jim Eaton, Beatrice Welles and the Sedona Volunteer Park Ranger Program.<br /> <br /> The Oak Creek Canyon Task Force members have dedicated themselves to preserving the integrity of Oak Creek and the Canyon environment.<br /> <br /> This voluntary association of members of the watershed communities work together to understand the watershed, accomplishing wise and sustainable use of water resources.<br /> <br /> Barry Allan and Morgan Stine accepted the award.<br /> <br /> Ciera Crawley is a 2009 graduate of Sedona Red Rock High School. The Sedona Oak Creek School district is no longer using Styrofoam because of Crawley’s senior exhibition project.<br /> <br /> After completing her senior project on the negative effects of Styrofoam, Ciera presented her findings to the school district’s governing board, which in response, agreed to stop using Styrofoam in the district if Ciera could find an alternative that did not exceed the budget. Indeed, she did, and by April 2009, all three schools within the district switched to biodegradable trays.<br /> <br /> James Eaton has become a pillar of the community in his twenty-year residency and his contributions have helped to make Sedona what it is today.<br /> <br /> Some of Eaton’s contributions to Sedona include serving on the planning and zoning commission, Founding Chair of Sedona’s Historical Preservation Commission, City Council member 1990-1994, served on Sedona Citizens Committee on Growth Issues and other city committees. He is a past President of Keep Sedona Beautiful.<br /> <br /> Beatrice Welles received the community service award for her work with the WTPC Project, which rescues kittens and adult feral cats. Through Trap, Neuter, and Release programs, free-roaming cats live out their lives without adding to the homeless cat population.<br /> <br /> The final 2010 KSB community service award went to the Sedona Volunteer Park Ranger Program. Since organizing in June 2007, the rangers have provided over 4,000 hours of service and are a common sight in the city’s parks and Uptown tourist area.<br /> <br /> Their familiar green and tan ranger uniforms with western style hat instantly identify them to visitors. On a typical busy day, rangers will answer questions, pose for photos, pick-up litter, provide short interpretive talks, and respond to a first aid call and much more! Bob Huggins accepted the award on behalf of the ranger program.<br /> <br /> The KSB Building & Architecture award went to West Sedona Elementary SchoolThe new campus plan at the West Sedona School seamlessly incorporates new and existing buildings.<br /> <br /> The new multi purpose room and office building greets students and visitors with a welcoming facade that also allows students and staff to enjoy some of the most breathtaking views in Sedona. Accepting for the school was Principal Lisa Hirsch.<br /> <br /> The KSB Landscaping Award went to The Pioneer Pathway Project. This project is a partnership between the City and other businesses and organizations. It is a “linear park” situated along Jordan Road and a few dedicated Sedona volunteers have driven its success. Janeen Trevillyan and Becky O’Banion accepted the award.<br /> <br /> The Conservation Honors went to Big Park Community School because of its major emphasis on energy conservation, the goal of construction presently ongoing in our school district. This award goes to the Big Park School for installation of roof mounted solar-generating panels resulting in remarkable savings in utility costs of $41,000 each year.<br /> <br /> Proudly accepting for the Big Park School was Principal Steve Gardner.<br /> <br /> The Norman McGee Award is the highest recognition that KSB can bestow on an individual for outstanding dedication and service to Keep Sedona Beautiful and to the community.<br /> <br /> This award is not given lightly nor regularly – only when obviously and richly deserved. Since its inception only 23 people have received this award.<br /> <br /> This year, KSB presented the McGee award to Barbara Litrell.<br /> <br /> During her KSB Presidency, Barbara worked tirelessly and empowered the board and all KSB volunteers to exceed expectations. The rapid growth in membership, events and programs from 2006 to 2008 was attributable to Barbara’s unique ability to inspire all to Keep Sedona Beautiful. She repeatedly went above and beyond to volunteer her communications and leadership skills to accomplish the mission of Keep Sedona Beautiful.

Vote Yes On Prop 400

Cliff Hamilton

Councilman Cliff Hamilton Opposes Prop 400 When ‘NO’ Means ‘YES’<br /> <br /> Ballot measure 400, part of your Sedona mail election ballot, is one of those confusing items where voting “No” means yes and voting “Yes” means no.<br /> <br /> The measure asks: “Shall the Mayor of the City of Sedona be selected by and from members of the City Council rather than being directly elected by the electors of the City.” Voting “No”, means yes, you want the voters to elect the Mayor. If you vote “Yes”, it means no, you oppose having the Mayor elected by the people and favor having the Mayor appointed by the City Council.<br /> <br /> Actually it’s not that hard but you do have to watch more carefully what box you mark rather than just following the intuitive approach of marking “yes” for what you like and “no” for what you don’t want.<br /> <br /> Trying to sort fact from fiction and real reasons from hidden agendas that surround this issue is harder, however fundamentally, this measure reflects the divergent philosophies of government present in the current City Council.<br /> <br /> One Council faction believes that government should be of, by and for the people and that citizens have a right to elect those who will represent them in their government. You’ll hear this faction, currently made up of the Mayor and Vice Mayor, talking about asking Sedona residents what they want and the “will of the people.” The other view is that Council members are there to make the decisions and they know what is best. This view is shared by the current majority of Council members and several have openly said as much in Council meetings.<br /> <br /> They have voted to appoint Council members when there is a vacancy rather than allow the public to elect them. Like electing or appointing the Mayor, it’s a way to avoid the risk of having voters pick someone who does not share their views.<br /> <br /> In making your own decision, it’s important to understand what the Mayor actually does and that the Mayor’s role really is different. First, the Mayor is the face and voice of Sedona, representing the city at virtually every city function and event. Council members do not fill this role. The Mayor is the image of Sedona to residents and visitors alike.<br /> <br /> Time the job requires isMay spend 15 to 20 hours in a busy week. The Mayor regularly spends 40 to 60 hours every week. This demand stems from Sedona’s growth over the 22 years we have been a city and from an increasing need for city involvement outside our borders. Mayor Rob Adams currently attends meetings of almost 20 different groups representing Verde Valley, county, regional and statewide influence. In our interconnected world, Sedona must retain our voice in outside issues that impact us. We cannot go back to the old Sedona-centric isolationist approach.<br /> <br /> Many Council members who would accept the “honor” of being appointed Mayor are not fully prepared to commit the time and effort the job has grown to require. But the honor of appointment is a tough one to turn down in the political world and the city will suffer the consequences.<br /> <br /> The Mayor’s role in today’s Sedona is not just a “mundane and honorary” one as some have labeled it. Even in our Council-Manager or “weak mayor” form of city government, the Mayor is the only one who can declare emergencies and sign city contracts as Sedona’s chief executive officer. In addition, many of the outside boards and organizations the Mayor serves on are actually governance bodies that make decisions about things like our water, transportation system and legislation affecting our city.<br /> <br /> The vetting process of a campaign lasting five to seven months is far better at sorting out who is and who isn’t up to the task of serving as Mayor. It reveals far more about the background, experience, vision, management skills and leadership ability than a Council appointment process that may last barely ten minutes.<br /> <br /> An election not only requires the candidates to fully reveal themselves to the voters, but to also personally consider just what they are getting into. It also gives them time to plan their lives to meet the challenges they would face as Mayor. An appointment process that may have served the city adequately a decade ago has lost its efficacy to meet our needs today and into the future.<br /> <br /> Other arguments for appointing the Mayor are that Council members have to resign to run for that office, campaigns cost too much, costs discourage people from running and an elected Mayor may not be in “harmony” with the majority of Council members. Let’s briefly look at each of these.<br /> <br /> First, Council members must resign to run for another office only if they have more than a year remaining in their current term. That’s why you don’t see any of the four current Council members resigning to seek re-election or run for Mayor. All are in the final year of their term and can thus reign while they campaign.<br /> <br /> The rule requiring resignation if more than a year remains in a current term is a good one. It makes an elected official focus, for a time at least, on the current job they were elected to do rather than simply making it a stepping stone to the next one they want to pursue.<br /> <br /> A review of candidate campaign financial reports available at our City Clerk’s office shows campaigns actually don’t cost as much now as they have in the past when comparing the number of ballots cast. The contention that campaigns are too expensive seems to matter only to those who lost the election or view appointment as an easier route to a Council seat.<br /> <br /> Four years ago, for example, two winning Council candidates spent almost $15,000 each to get 1,500 to 1,800 votes. That’s between $8 and $10 per vote! Two years ago, winning Council candidates spent about $2.50 per vote.<br /> <br /> Even the last Mayor’s race which included a pitched-battle run-off in the general election didn’t match Council campaign spending per vote cast from two years earlier. This year, with recession driving campaign donations down, the amount spent on campaigns is likely to be lower still.<br /> <br /> There are also economies of scale in campaigns.<br /> <br /> Reaching more voters may cost more in total dollars, but not necessarily per vote cast.<br /> <br /> Total costs should be expected to rise as Sedona’s population grows and costs naturally inflate. We also have several new media in our city which were not here in the past. Advertising in more outlets naturally raises cost.<br /> <br /> It’s also false that campaign costs discourage people from running and thus justify appointments.<br /> <br /> Most candidates in recent elections received more donations than they spent. If candidates used any of their own money in their campaign, it was usually their personal choice to do so. Campaign records clearly show few candidates use or rely on their own money. If someone is discouraged from running it’s more likely due to the time and effort required than personal expense.<br /> <br /> Finally, in an effort to justify appointment of the Mayor comes the “Council harmony” argument.<br /> <br /> Supposedly an appointed Mayor would work better with the ruling Council majority if he or she were appointed by them. History proves different. Witness the disharmonies of eight and six years ago when appointment of the Mayor was still the rule. Eight years ago, five of the seven council members all wanted to be Mayor, leaving the remaining two members to ultimately determine who would reign.<br /> <br /> No matter which of the five these two voted for, they were destined to be out of “harmony” with the remaining majority. And political grudges have a tendency to last.<br /> <br /> Six years ago, a serving Mayor was ousted when a newly elected Council majority replaced him with their own appointment. The vote was 4 to 3. Let’s see, a five to two or 4 to 3 Council split? Seems to have a familiar ring doesn’t it?<br /> <br /> There is no more certainty of Council “harmony” with an appointed Mayor than there is with an elected one and harmony should not be the goal anyway. “Harmony” should probably be the last thing we want on the Council in these times. Election of the Mayor is part of a check and balance system that helps ensure diversity. With the challenges we face, the more different views we have looking for new, creative or practical ways to meet them, the better off we will all be.<br /> <br /> Ultimately it comes down to this: Those pushing appointment didn’t care much about the Mayor’s role until they lost their power to decide who it was going to be. They didn’t care much about campaign costs until they lost the election. And, they didn’t care much about what the Mayor did until they lost the power to appoint who was going to do it.<br /> <br /> Nineteen out of 20 Arizona cities similar in size to Sedona elect their Mayors. Six years ago, Sedona voters chose to elect our Mayor.<br /> <br /> Now you’re being asked to choose again.<br /> <br /> Sedona needs to keep moving forward, not recreating the past.<br /> <br /> Opinions and observations provided in this article are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of other Council members or the city staff.

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