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August 13, 2018


Linda Goldenstein

Thank you Bill! I so appreciate your fact checking and offering true facts to what has become a disturbing and ugly situation in Sedona and our country. We have a wonderful city and community that is being undermined by false news.
Hope you will jump in again with real facts.

Bill Geist

What's wrong with so much of the world today is that those who intentionally misrepresent the truth are rarely called out for it. We can't sit on our hands when these kinds of lies are being perpetrated. We wish your sensational community a more dignified and mature conversation about your future than you're presently having to endure.

Curacy Adams

Interesting data. The real underlying issue however is a now 2.5 MILLION no bid auto renewing contract with insiders which represents 8% of the city of Sedona's average budget over the last 5 years. If we really want to talk about misinformation and cronyism we should be writing about that. Question: at what length will someone go to protect a $2.5 million revenue source that is guaranteed. How many times will you lie and misrepresent what the Sedona Chamber of Commerce really is doing Ms. WESSELHOFF. The little false emails you are blasting around the city are past egregious. Rather than doing a deflection article, we really should be asking about the nefarious relationship between the Sedona Chamber of Commerce and the City of Sedona. The state Attorney General already is, and that is NOT fake news.

Let's face it, Chamber's are becoming less important as technology on a logarithmic basis overtakes brick and motar. You will be replaced by an app. And that is a lot cheaper for the city than $2.5 million a year.

Bill Geist

Most Destination Marketing Organizations are not subjected to bidding for their government contracts because they are sole-source providers; there simply are no other vendors qualified to step into such a contract, largely because no other agencies maintain the databases required to perform the work that a DMO does.

And, the Destination Marketing function is more relevant and necessary than ever to manage the brand messaging for a community (and that can't be distilled down to an app). Without that brand management, a community's reputation (and the message of invitation) will be in the hands of Google, Trip Advisor, the Online Travel Agencies, Facebook and the rest of the 'net. If you think the marketing message is tone deaf to residents' interests...wait until there isn't a DMO and you have no voice in how you are represented.

My suggestion is to tone down the drama and the personal call-outs and begin respectful dialogue about how to better manage the over-tourism that many in your community feel is occurring. Put down the pitchforks and work together to develop a plan forward that both residents and the small businesses that depend on visitors can agree to.

Just a thought...

Curacy Adams

Here is another thought Mr. Geist, to make a statement that 8% of the ENTIRE Sedona financial expenditure is going to a private industry without a RFQ is preposterous. Also making a statement that leaving marketing to the big internet providers is pretty unbelievable in itself, when millions of Americans and foreigners that travel just do that, all over the world.

And also stating that an APP for Sedona is somehow unthinkable or not possible shows your total lack of understanding of current technology.

Another thing we are really tired of is the constant barrage of Ms. Wesselhoff who runs the Chamber telling us via her bulletins all about other cities and towns and their expenditure numbers, but neglects to compare to their overall budgets. For those of us who understand percentages and dollars and how they are used to drive home point to unsuspecting consumers is classic. And on top of that, these comparisons always are cities that actually have a traffic GRID system that allows for multiple access for tourists, AND the ability of residents to move around with somewhat ease and avoid the main roads. Neither of which will EVER happen in our city due to the topographical limitations of this town. You cannot pour 2 gallons of water into a one gallon jug.

The YES PAC is funded over 90% by hotels - not residents. That alone should tell you there is a problem. No outside independent audits of the Chamber should tell you there is a problem. Their internal auditor and board member Marc Sterling just resigned, that should tell you there is a problem, and the Attorney General of Arizona is looking into the relationship between the Chamber and the City of Sedona, that should tell you there is a problem.

Let's face it, this situation smells pretty bad and it is not in the favor of the people who live here.

Bill Geist

I have a total lack of understanding of technology? Apps are so 2010. Most DMOs have moved on...as most consumers have moved on. I didn't say it was impossible. I said that leaving the management of your brand messaging to chance is a bad idea.

Look, we'll have to disagree. My point in responding last night was to attempt to acquaint you to the fact that most Destination Marketing contracts are not up for RFP. While I can certainly understand how some could think it unfair, it's just how it is done across most of the country because DMOs are sole source providers of a service that just can't be found in multiple iterations in most towns. If you have several DMOs in town, by all means...go to RFP. You should. But, I'm pretty sure you don't.

I understand that some residents, like you, are growing weary of your Chamber Director's point of view. I'm pretty sure she's growing weary of the personal attacks she's been forced to endure.

Just a thought...

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