Guest Viewpoint: Witnessing overreaching government in action


City went way too far

At the city council meeting of 7/26/17, citizens witnessed our overreaching city government in action. City Manager Crystal Dykes and her twin (imported from Minnesota) ramped up their code changes by introducing their version of a Dark Skies lighting ordinance. Once again, the trapping of tourists into Page trump the citizens safety. Once again, council chases the almighty dollar from any visitor who gets within 100 miles of Page. Once again, their focus is not on the citizens’ well-being or safety.
Not only does the lighting code make this city unsafe with darkened streets, businesses, schools and parks; by putting a seven-year compliance window into the code, this council will probably not be around when the lawsuits begin and angry citizens line up at city hall. Thanks to Citizen Tina Holman, we now have more time to voice our concerns when she invoked her/our right to a public hearing before city council through Az. Revised Statute 9-462.04. I encourage all citizens to be at City Hall on August 30 at 5:30 p.m.  
The foreigners who want to buy 860 acres of our prime land at Horseshoe Bend showed their true colors at this meeting. Since most of the negotiations have been held in secret, we citizens saw for ourselves their arrogance, pressure tactics and empty promises. Bryan Hill (PUE manager) has sounded the alarm that this new development may put our water allotment at risk. Do we have enough water? This is the desert, not Hawaii or Florida where these ‘developers’ have done some apartment renovations. All parties now admit we must have a “six-figure water study” done BEFORE any large development can be considered. When these ‘developers’ claimed they didn’t know about it, Vice Mayor Kocjan reminded them he had specifically told them about the possibility of exceeding our water  allotment over a year ago. Citizen Holly asked about their website where she could get more information about them. “Well, we can make one if the city wants.”
What? You would think a legitimate business would have a site loaded with proud examples of their projects. No Holly, you aren’t a “dumb little girl.” It was a question many people were thinking. More young people like you need to ask these questions of your city council, it is your right as a citizen.
Now if all that wasn’t insulting enough to any citizen young or old, with a little bit of common sense, next comes the horrendous treatment by city staff and council of young business owners Trent and Kelly Sutherland. Community Development Director Kim Johnson proceeded to tell council how a new business in Block 17 had placed rental items on the sidewalk. I quote “The business was asked to discontinue the practice and they complied.” The business then parked a trailer with a sign and a kayak in the parking lot. The city told the owner that it was not allowed. Ms. Johnson is asking Council for a decision. Before any discussion could begin, Councilman Warner asked for legal advice. This is a large complex issue says Warner, we can’t discuss it now. Vice Mayor Kocjan points out that there are people in the audience who want to be heard. Levi Tappan asks Ms. Johnson if the business had been notified about this meeting. She replied yes, more than once.
Longtime city watchdog and businesswoman Arlene Miller takes the podium and quoted from a letter she had received from the city in 1995. It states that the building owners in Block 17 own the sidewalks, NOT the city. She had also visited the business that afternoon and found out the owner had NOT been notified they were on the agenda that night. The business owners verified that the city had not notified them. To judge for yourself, listen to the audio of the meeting at http://www.cityofpage.org/government/public-meetings/city-council.
This is only the beginning. Two hundred (200)! pages of code changes are now in the works. Have you seen them? They may be worse than this lighting ordinance. Ask the city for your copy of the code draft. Protect your future and our kids.
We are watching.

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