Verde Valley leaders were asked if they were supportive of the mitigated plan for the Sedona-Red Rock National Monument, and if they thought there should have been another round of public process with the reduced acreage proposal.
“I basically have no comment on the modified proposal, as we have not had the time to study it in detail, and I will not be able to do so before Jan. 20,” said Sedona Mayor Sandy Moriarty in an email. “There is no way the Council can have a discussion at this late date, there simply isn’t time.”
Mayor Moriarty noted that her response doesn’t necessarily reflect the views of the Sedona City Council.
“No. I don’t want to ever see these type of things on an outgoing elected official’s last days. It smells of last-minute decisions, not being vetted through,” said District 2 Yavapai County Supervisor Tom Thurman in an email.
Mayor Doug Von Gausig - who spoke for himself, not for the Clarkdale Town Council - said in his personal opinion, the Sedona-Red Rock National Monument is probably not something he thinks would be good for the Verde Valley. It is not a political position, he said, and added that he worries about where people would live.
In regards to having another round of public process, Mayor Von Gausig said he thinks that it has gone on long enough, and that the amount of acreage doesn’t really matter. He’s not sure if there’s enough time in President Obama’s term, and doesn’t believe that President Trump would look favorably on it.
Cottonwood Mayor Tim Elinski said he has not yet seen the new monument proposal, but feels strongly that local leadership should have the chance to “weigh in on it.”
“Our past council received a presentation but we were never given an opportunity to vote in favor or against the National Monument at that time. It would be appropriate for our council to get the chance to weigh in on it.”
Elinski called the official submittal of the monument plan without the input of local officials “an unfortunate misstep.”
District 2 County Supervisor Randy Garrison is adamanatly opposed to the National Monument plan, even with the reduced acreage.
“It wouldn’t matter to me if it was only 8 acres,” said Garrison.
As for a second round of public process on the issue, Garrison said both schools of thought have merit.
“It was discussed already, and it doesn’t matter if it’s 80,000 acres or 160,000 acres, the public has spoken. At the same time, issues like this should go through the system the right way,” said Garrison.
Area citizens have taken to social media to voice their opinions on the National Monument plan: Verde Independent Facebook comments about the proposal include:
Judith Rogers said, “Mr. Obama needs to know this has been hashed out at the local level and the consensus of the majority here was an overwhelming ‘no.’ It’s a last-minute end run!”
Holly Mabery said, “Unbelievable that a small few chose to ignore the voice of the many.”
Lisa Weems Hyatt said, “They got an overwhelming no from the public here and they pushed it through any way. Who exactly sent this through … we want names.”
John French said, “As if the traffic isn’t screwed up enough here. Not to mention all the new rules and regs that will apply if it passes.”
Kevin Ahern said, “Let’s pray this does not go anywhere. Another case of the vocal minority trying to act on everyone’s interest.”
Rie Helm said, “I don’t know of ONE PERSON in my circles that is even remotely for this.”
Emmie Derise said, “Too late. Sedona is already ruined by excessive development.”
Nancy Hoffman said, “Read the article ... adjustments were made to the proposal and submitted. Bet this gets approval, unfortunately. I hope not!”
Judith Rogers added, “I just emailed the president ... feel free to do so as well. At the least, he needs to read both sides of the issue.”
Chrissy A Hoskinds exclaimed, “No ! Stop trying to regulate everything!!!”
Steve Garro said, “I hope it passes. I’m a big fan of public lands.”
To which Michael Ferrentino replied, “Judging by the comments here, it seems like some folk aren’t too clear on the difference between ‘national monument’ and ‘national park’ designation. sigh...”
Steve Garro responded, “And that’s it’s not Government Takeover, but that’s it saving the lands FOR them, not taking them AWAY from them. But then again, I’d bet most people commenting could use some time outside & more away from various screens.”
Sandra Cosentino replied, “The Red Rock Ranger District IS public land already and is being managed to protect the scenic, archaeological and recreation resources.”
Steve Garro responded, “Not arguing with that but this is another layer of needed protection. 20 years ago, Sedona was beautiful. Now, it’s a mall theme park. Enough already.”
Steven Lohbeck said, “They should have done this 50 years ago !”
Holly L Grigaitis exclaimed, “STUPID STUPID STUPID!”
-- Staff Reporter Dan Engler assisted with this story.