Ploog, Williamson Interview – Podcast May 10, 2021

Cities In Chains. Democratic Perspective co-host, Steve Williamson welcomes Sedona City Council Members, Holli Ploog and Jessica Williamson, to discuss the Arizona legislature’s attack on the ability of cities to control themselves.

As an example, Ploog notes that the Arizona State Senate just passed a bill that, even though it has been vehemently opposed by the League of Cities and Towns, by the healthcare industry, and by the school districts, would allow advertising for cigarette use near schools. She says, “There are over 1,500 bills in this session so it’s hard for people to know what’s in each piece of legislation.”

The two guests cite other issues including plastic bags, short-term rentals, ATV use, and more that the legislature prevents cities from regulating on behalf of the cities’ residents. The pre-emptions are the result of bill 1487 which allows the legislature to take away state funding if the cities don’t concede their powers to the legislature. The result is to allow some industries and special interests to run amok.

By refusing to permit cities to regulate short-term rentals, Sedona is dealing with increasing noise, party houses, trash, and density. Williamson reports that there are now 488 single family houses that are short-term rentals within the city limits and an additional 243 houses in the area. The result is more rental rooms disrupting neighborhoods than there are hotel rooms in the city. And the City is powerless to control them.

Williamson offers a quote that sums up the problem: “…sticking it to city councils on behalf of special interests is a cherished tradition in the Arizona state capitol.”

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