Published June 23, 2022 in the Sedona Red Rock News
I’m Pete Furman, candidate for Sedona City Council. I’m running to improve the quality of life for Sedona residents, help protect our environment and maintain local control.
Talking with residents and business owners, I hear fears and concerns about a declining quality of life. People cite negative forces like traffic congestion, high housing costs and strangers filling our neighborhoods. They believe that short-term rentals have decimated the availability of rental housing, causing workers to leave.
Crowded restaurants, slow service and rising prices are common. Trailhead parking is difficult and trails are overcrowded and trashed. Irresponsible ATV operators damage the environment and cause noise and congestion problems. Everyone suffers as our doctors and teachers move away. Residents blame overtourism and it’s hard to argue otherwise.
While we can do more, I believe city and community leaders are working to improve our quality of life. But public policy issues are difficult because our many needs and desires pull in different directions. And the process is darn slow. Improving quality of life takes time, money and effort.
In Sedona, tourism funds most of the city budget. Our challenge is to use tourism tax revenues to solve needs of residents and the local businesses we depend on. Managing tourism and mitigating its negative impacts on resident quality of life has become essential. City, [Sedona] Chamber [of Commerce] and [U.S.] Forest Service leaders all play vital roles. It’s important for residents to participate in Sedona’s budget process because that’s where city officials decide how to improve our lives and spend available revenues.
If elected, I will be laser focused on improving quality of life. I’ll seek to increase residents’ understanding of the budget. I’ll track our traffic, STR and housing efforts and will ask for outcome-based measures to gauge progress.
I support the Sedona In Motion projects.
I believe unregulated, commercially operated STRs are mini hotels using state-protected loopholes and don’t belong in our neighborhoods.
I believe workers, families and retirees all enrich our community. I want more teachers, police officers, firefighters, nurses, city employees, artists and hospitality and service workers living in Sedona.
We can’t solve everyone’s needs for housing within city limits, but we’ll do what we can and work regionally to encourage more supply.
My attention will also be on protecting our environment.
Sedona’s Climate Action Plan is a significant body of work. I support it. Government has a legitimate role in advocating for and modeling good choices. Water and fire issues are particularly crucial. Flood protection, water supply and quality, conservation and reuse will get my attention. As will fire prevention, risk reduction and preparedness and evacuation planning.
Another key focus is local control, which means Home Rule. I’ve studied Home Rule and its impact on our city budget.
I presented to council about it. I support Home Rule. Maintaining local control al so means working with state legislators who understand that local leaders know what’s best for their communities and need flexibility implementing state laws.
Through experience, I’ve learned to work with the public, elected officials and city staff. I understand how local governments set policy and I enjoy the public process. I’m energized and ready to work for Sedona’s residents.
Pete Furman is one of six candidates for three seats on the Sedona City Council. Election day is Tuesday, Aug. 2.