Tue, Jan. 28

Davis, Paladini should tell Sedonans <br>to solve their own traffic problems

Neither Chip Davis nor his challenger Jon Paladini seem to get it.

In espousing their views on the long-debated Red Rock Crossing issue, both candidates cling to the belief that when it comes to traffic, Sedonans are not responsible for solving their own problems.

Paladini says Sedona is feeling ignored. The Red Rock Crossing issue, in some form or fashion, needs another look. He criticizes Davis and his supervisorial colleagues for abandoning the issue, saying, "It's emotional and controversial but it's not a reason to shy away. As a leader you should step right into the fray."

Davis, too, obviously aware this is a political season, talks of alternatives and solutions for creating a new primary entrance into Sedona. He envisions a two-lane scenic rural parkway splitting off from Arizona 179. It would be a road solely designed to reroute traffic to West Sedona.

Both candidates are subscribing to logic that is similar to the hardest lesson parents ever have to learn: You can't solve your children's problems. They have to do that themselves.

In the case of Red Rock Crossing or any variation, county government for too long has been trying to solve a problem that should be solved by Sedonans themselves. The result of the county's efforts has been a quagmire of judicial wranglings that has accomplished nothing more than running up a bunch of lawyer bills.

This problem manifests itself within the city limits of Sedona in the form of a never-ending traffic jam at the infamous "Y" intersection of Arizona 179 and 89A. It's further compounded by a community that stakes too heavy a balance on the power of the tourism dollar. Sedona begs tourists to come visit Red Rock Country, but Sedona wants someone else to solve the resulting traffic nightmare. Yet any solution offered by the county results in lawsuits from environmentalists, no-growthers and growth proponents alike.

Let Sedona find its own solution to its own problem. Let Sedona deal with the resulting lawsuits that come with trying to deal with this problem.

But once they do, and all the legal hoops have been jumped through, the county should be the first in line to offer financial help as well as any other type of assistance to make this project fly.

It's not a novel concept. Just look at the Cottonwood City Council and the Mingus Avenue extension project. It was visionary planning some 15 years ago that led to this project. The city realized traffic problems were only going to escalate as Cottonwood grew. City fathers also realized that a second crossing over the Verde River into Cottonwood was desirable. They also saw the need to plan now to alleviate the obvious traffic jam at Arizona 89A and 279.

They also had to deal with the touchy situation of acquiring private property rights to construct a public highway.

The City of Cottonwood dealt with those problems. Today, the Mingus Avenue extension to Cornville Road is well on its way to becoming reality and the county is picking up a considerable chunk of the bill.

While it may make for good political rhetoric to talk about solving Sedona's problems, in reality it's about as effective and productive as trying to solve your own children's problems. It just doesn't work. Your children don't grow up to be independent thinkers when mom and dad are always there to pick up the pieces. Sedona will not grow as a community as long as the county is willing to jump in and try to solve problems that should be solved by Sedonans themselves.

But just as any good parent will do once their child begins dealing with his own life problems, the county can do likewise for Sedonans by offering a helping hand only after they first start trying to help themselves.

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