April 19, 2013
-Ward 3 Events
-Upcoming Area Neighborhood and Coalition Meeting(s)
-Did You Know?
This week has been a painful one for our nation. The intentional bombings in Boston followed by the horrific accidental explosion in Texas lead us to grieve and to focus our wishes for healing toward the families of lost loved ones and the injured survivors.
As we set out each day--to tackle our list of tasks or survive immediate challenges or in anticipation of some joyous moments—we don’t expect such shock, loss of life, tragedy. When a person or a community suffers we’re right to pause and reflect; to remember that beyond all of our differences our basic humanity unites us. We know loss; we care.
We also seek answers. It’s another thing that unites us. Not necessarily the answers we find, but that quest for some answers; some understanding of why tragedy and violence happen. We want to find ways to prevent more of the same. We all want to find ways to prevent more of the same.
As the events of this week shook us, so did our democratic process in pursuit of some answers: the Congressional debate over reducing future gun violence. The proposed compromise legislation failed yesterday, though 54 voted in favor and 46 against (60 votes in favor were needed because right now there’s a rule being exploited by the minority party in the Senate that requires super majorities, rather than democratic simple majorities, to pass a law). A significant majority of people in our democracy favored the legislation which did not pass. We should not accept that outcome, and can take heart that our own Gabrielle Giffords continues to lead:
Debate will now commence on proposed comprehensive immigration reform. Success matters to our entire community. Our shared security—our prosperity and our safety—remain undermined because far too many people labor in the shadows and fear contact with law officers even as witnesses and victims. Let’s work together in support of the bipartisan coalition seeking solutions, and do our best to reclaim our democratic process too long held hostage by powerful lobbyists and extremist fears.
We have to uphold good process locally in governance as well. I have requested a Mayor/Council review in June of how the City employs the “emergency clause” when enacting ordinances and resolutions. While in some cases it may make perfect sense, the consequences (immediate enactment without opportunity for recourse through public petitions) ought to be reconsidered. Decades old practices don’t always signify best practices.
On a related note, the telecast of Call to the Audience was interrupted two meetings ago. That led to some threads of community conversation about the possibility of ending the telecasting of that portion of our meetings in the future altogether. I’m opposed to taking that step. While clearly public comment can be hard-hitting, and the temptation to “pull the plug” can intensify when we know any one particular elected colleague might be singled out for criticism, I believe the public comment portion of our agenda should be available for viewing just as the rest of the meeting is. It’s for the public to take the viewpoints into account and take note of the tenor of comment offered as they will (we also have basic civility guidelines and don’t tolerate overt threats). No agenda item for discussion of a proposed change of practice has been offered, so it seems our telecasts will not be altered for the foreseeable future.
The 2014 budget holds both good news and challenges. Our core priorities remain the same. We sustain staffing ratios in public safety at levels achieved prior to the downturn and now have an aggressive street paving program which will be implemented for the next five years. Accomplishing that in light of the millions of dollars of Tucson transportation funding cut by the state legislature since 2009 is no small feat.
Across the organization we work to sustain services even as we operate with 1,000 fewer employees (we now have 5,000 vs 6,000 employees, and because of our public safety priority the decrease has mainly occurred in other departments such as Parks and Recreation). We have also taken steps to tackle longer term, structural deficits in our self-insurance fund and pension programs.
Looking to the future it’s clear that we must reprogram investments so we do not grow our obligations but instead better maintain the facilities and infrastructure we have. Infill planning will help, because we can channel resources toward replacing and improving infrastructure that already exists.
Our economic recovery also holds promise. Tucson’s unemployment rate is down 3% since the peak of the recession and we have received top ratings in 2013 for positive job outlook from Forbes and Careerbliss. Strict financial management and effective economic development have fueled progress for Tucson; we need to stay on that course to achieve our best potentials for the future.
I know we will all continue to think of folks in Boston and Texas as this weekend unfolds and count our many blessings as we send healing thoughts their way.
Take good care,
Ward 3 Events:
- Teen Gaming – Saturday, April 20 from 3:00p.m.-4:45p.m. at the Woods Memorial Library in the Large meeting room. Teens! Come in and play PS3 Super Mario Cart, PS2 Guitar Hero, and Wii Super Smash Brothers Brawl, Just dance, and other cool and fun video games.
- Cyclovia Tucson in Ward 3 – Sunday, April 28th from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p. in and around Ward 3! Cyclovia gives people from the greater Tucson region the chance to enjoy great weather, see neighbors, friends and people from throughout the area, and get a little exercise – all on city streets that will be closed to car traffic and open to walkers, joggers, cyclists, skaters and all other forms of people-powered movement. This new route will, for the first time ever, connect central Tucson neighborhoods and business districts including Keeling, Hedrick Acres, Samos, the Campbell Avenue Business District, La Madera and Cabrini and more before delivering participants to the Pima County Loop multi-use path at Dodge Boulevard and Brandi Fenton Park. For more information, and to get a map of the route go to the following link: http://www.cycloviatucson.org/events/april-28th/.
- Neon Mile - 6th Annual Historic Miracle Mile Open House and Tour - May 10 starting at 5:30 p.m. at Monterey Court Studio Galleries and Café at 801 Miracle Mile. In its 6th year, the event will highlight the historic significance of the area with particular attention to the contribution of neon. Tour the historic gardens of the Ghost Ranch Lodge, listen to presentations, take a flashlight tour of the Evergreen Mortuary, and celebrate the 1st anniversary of one of Miracle Mile’s newest gems—Monterey Courts. For more information contact the Ward 3 office at 791-4711.
Upcoming Neighborhood and Coalition Meeting(s):
Jefferson Park Neighborhood Association – Wednesday, April 24 at 6:00 p.m. at the Ward 3 office, 1510 E. Grant Road.
Limberlost Neighborhood Association – Wednesday, April 24 at 6:00 p.m. at 401 E. Limberlost
Amphi Community Action Group – Wednesday, April 24 at 6:00 p.m. at 240 W. Navajo
City Wide Events:
- National Library Week: Food for Fines - Sunday April 14 through 24. Pay $1 of library fines with an item of donated food item (unexpired and non-perishable, please) up to a total of $10. All food will be given to the Community Food Bank. For more information, call 791-4010 or go to http://library.pima.gov/
-Household Hazardous Waste Collection – Saturday, April 20th from 8:00 a.m. to noon. Midtown Neighborhoods will hold an their 18th annual Household Hazardous Collection in the north parking lot of Himmel Park, 1st Street east of Tucson Blvd. It’s a great opportunity to get rid of all kinds of things that cannot go into the landfill including: automobile fluids, fluorescent lamps, engine oil filters, paint products, batteries, solvents, pesticides, and much more. RISE Equipment Recycling Center will also be participating in the collections with collections of electronics. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
-Get Outside Club – Thursday, April 25th from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m., the Ironwood Tree Experience staff, teen mentors and volunteers are inviting community members for a free 1-hour urban naturalist discovery walk. All those who are interested should meet on the South bank of the Rillito River Walkway at the Campbell Road bridge (north side of Trader Joe’s parking lot). Look for the Get Outside Club sign. All nice people with nice dogs are welcome!
-Did you know…?
…that April is Water Awareness Month? During April, water providers throughout Arizona are promoting public awareness about the availability, reliability, and quality of this precious resource. Details about activities and events ranging from Tours of Tucson Water facilities and the National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation, to information about Earth Day and the Water festival and can found at http://cms3.tucsonaz.gov/water/wam. Be sure and take a look. There's something for everybody.
…that April is also the month for BIKE FEST? Throughout April, enjoy a wide range of events, prizes and giveaways brought to you by the Living Streets Alliance - Tucson’s Annual Celebration of life on two wheels! Here are just a few of the festivities planned for the month of April:
For more information, please call Ann Chanecka at 837-6691 or Karen Rahn at 837-6584.