Sedona: Stand up to false news

July 20, 2018


Surprise. Outrage. Disappointment. Even sadness.  Those were just a few of the reactions I heard yesterday – and felt myself – as it was revealed that political discourse in Sedona has been dragged to an unprecedented new low.

State Senator Judy Burges (R-D22) of Surprise and Peoria has used her legislative authority to lodge a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office alleging that the Sedona City Council violated the state Constitution’s Gift Clause in agreements with the Chamber to market and manage tourism in Sedona.

While there is much still to learn about this bizarre development, one thing is crystal clear: these false allegations are a political stunt designed to misinform and manipulate Sedonans in the run up to the August elections.

Enough is enough.

Tourism-related issues are being openly debated this election season, a sign of good civic health. Sedona’s residents, the Chamber and the City Council are all involved in finding solutions to shared concerns about traffic and quality of life. Together, we are making progress.

Sadly, a small group within the community seeks to derail honest debate and poison community goodwill by spreading false news such as these bogus allegations. Read the City of Sedona’s response: “False news in a small community”

Sedonans should see these reprehensible tactics for what they are and reject them in no uncertain terms. False accusations designed to sow suspicion have no place in our political life.

The Attorney General has one month after a complaint is filed to investigate and report. The timing of the complaint means the investigative deadline is August 12 – well after early voting begins August 1. The Chamber of Commerce Board and I join Mayor Moriarty and City Manager Clifton in finding the timing of the complaint suspicious in view of the election schedule.

We strongly encourage the Attorney General to move as quickly as possible to resolve this complaint – which we have no doubt is groundless – and short circuit this obvious attempt to disrupt Sedona’s civic life.

Mayor Moriarty said the allegations prove that  “…false news has slithered into our beautiful town.”

Don’t let false news and its outrageous practitioners derail the vigorous, honest community discussion that is bringing out the best in everyone who loves Sedona.

Reject cynicism and manipulation.

Join the vast majority of Sedonans who believe in honest public discourse.

Together, let’s keep working toward solutions that benefit everyone.

That is how we will make Sedona the best place to live, work, play and visit.

–Jennifer Wesselhoff