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Karin's Note: Friday, April 5, 2013

 April 5, 2013

 

-Karin’s Note

-Ward 3 Events

-Upcoming Area Neighborhood and Coalition Meeting(s)

-Citywide Events

-UA4U -An Occasional Communication from the UA

-Did You Know?

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Karin's Note:

Dear Tucsonans,

Tucson keeps popping up in some promising economic rankings these days. We just tied for 3rd place as “Best City for Jobs” (Forbes, March 2013), #2 For Best City to Find a Job (CareerBliss, January 2013). Those rankings reaffirm positive signals we started to see in 2011 when, for example, the National Research Council ranked Tucson the #2 Entrepreneurial Hot Spot among mid-sized cities in the U.S. (November 2011). Overall our unemployment rate now has dropped by 3% since 2009.

Our work on the FY2014 budget proceeds in that context. We have identified options for closing a $15 million funding gap projected by the Manager’s office as well as some strategies to fund $5 million needed to correct inequities within our employee compensation system. While next year poses real challenges, we can all take heart in the fact that our economy continues to steadily improve and our revenues keep trending up.

During the downturn we cut staffing levels in most departments back to the levels  in the late 1990’s (the exception is public safety; we have held the number of commissioned police/fire officers to the ratio per 1,000 residents achieved  in 2006-2007, before the economic bubble). A key goal for the coming year will be to retain FY2012-2013 staffing/service levels, cover pension and health costs which keep rising, and craft a fair plan for compensating our workforce.

City employees, like most working people in our community, have seen their earnings stagnate since the downturn and their cost of living and benefits rise. The proposed compensation plan adjustments would benefit our lowest-paid employees most by adjusting all pay scales by 55 cents per hour. That means higher percentage increase (2-3%) for lower wage earners and lower adjustments (0-1%) for higher paid employees. The Mayor and Council have been pushing for this kind of progressive adjustment option for several years. It’s about time we got the plan, and I applaud our relatively new HR Director Lanni Simmons for presenting it to us. We will seek further feedback over the coming month and integrate final changes in the FY2014 budget.

Far too many Tucsonans lost access to both work and benefits during the recession. The notable drop in unemployment and growth in revenues (reflective of rising household incomes and economic activity) offer hope that more and more families will reach the other side of the financial meltdown each and every month. Over the coming years we must sustain our progress reigniting the local economy so ultimately all Tucsonans have an opportunity to enjoy a decent standard of living. The downturn hit us hard and taught us some difficult lessons. I am confident we will emerge an even better community.

Public Safety

While Police Chief Villasenor reports that both violent crime and property crimes have trended downward (2012 compared with averages 1999-2010), that hasn’t kept TPD from working hard to improve response times for all levels of calls received.  One reasonable change has been to initially respond to “level four” (lower priority) calls with a return phone call from an officer, through which a police report can be taken and an officer can be dispatched upon request. Many people simply need for the police report to be filed and do not express the desire for an officer to drive to the scene. Our Police Chief reports that this approach is saving resources and seems to be meeting with wide acceptance in the community. It also assures that officers can be more promptly dispatched if and as physical presence has been requested at the home or business.

Tucson Fire has innovated as well by creating three types of response teams depending on the type of call received. A full team (with fire truck and/or ambulance) responds to fire and medical emergencies. A Rescue team (with officer and medical technician) responds to calls for help that do not require medical transport but do involve some medical concern. And Alpha teams (officers without medic) now respond to more routine calls for assistance when no immediate safety risk exists. Both Rescue and Alpha teams can respond without fire trucks or ambulances and provide highly skilled and professional aide to the community.

These developments within our public safety departments demonstrate the commitment at both TPD and TFD to provide the best in service as efficiently as possible. I applaud them for their efforts.

Immigration and Gun Safety

Congress has been actively deliberating on proposals for comprehensive immigration reform and legislation to reduce gun violence. Progress on both of these issues could positively impact safety and well-being in our community. We cannot afford to have vast numbers of people in Tucson afraid to contact the police as witnesses or victims of crime for fear of deportation (we fought against SB1070 in part because it undermines public safety). We also cannot afford to be silent when gun check loopholes and easy access to high capacity ammunition and weapons expose us to lethal consequences. Read more about links between loopholes/access and death rates in the report released yesterday called "America Under the Gun" -- A 50 State Analysis of Gun Violence and its Link to Weak State Gun Laws at:

http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/civil-liberties/report/2013/04/02/58382/america-under-the-gun/

Next week the Senate will likely vote on federal legislation to improve our national system for background checks. I urge you to contact both Senator McCain (1-520-670-6334) and Senator Flake (1-520-575-8633) to vote in favor of this reasonable, common sense measure. We’ll keep you posted as other votes come up on immigration reform and reducing gun violence so your voice can be heard.

 Karin

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Ward 3 Events:

-Lend A Hand Yard Sale – Saturday, April 6 from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. 1545 E. Water Street. This fundraiser helps LAH to work with seniors in many Ward 3 Neighborhoods. You may drop off items for sale beginning Saturday, March 30 until the sale.

-Jefferson Park Annual Home Tour and Silent Auction – Sunday, April 14 starting at 11:00 a.m. at the International School at 1701 E. Seneca.  For more information, contact joanchall@yahoo.com.  

-Ward 3 Small Business Peer Support Mtg. – Tuesday, April 16 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., this group meets the third Tuesday of each month at the Ward 3 Council office at 1510 E. Grant Rd.  For more information, contact David Higuera at 791-4711.

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Upcoming Neighborhood and Coalition Meeting(s):

Feldman’s NeighborhoodThursday, April 4 at 7:00 p.m. St. Luke’s Home, 615 E. Adams

Oracle Project Steering committee (TOPS) MtgTuesday, April 9 at 5:30 p.m. at TPD Westside substation at 1310 W. Miracle Mile

Alvernon Grant Initiative (AGI/TNBC)Community Law Enforcement Task Force – Tuesday, April 9 at 6:30 p.m. at Emerge! 2425 N. Haskell

El Cortez Neighborhood Association MtgTuesday, April 9 at 6:00 at Parkside Terrace Apartments at 2150 N. 4th Ave

Richland Heights Neighborhood Association Mtg Tuesday, April 9 at 6:30 p.m. at 3301 Wilson 

Doolen Fruitvale Neighborhood MtgWednesday, April 10 at 8:00 a.m. at the neighborhood butterfly garden on Bermuda and Flower

Friends of Mansfield Park – Wednesday, April 10 at 6:00 p.m. at the Ward 3 Council Office at 1510 E. Grant Road

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City Wide Events:

-NAMI Walk   – Saturday, April 6 beginning at 7:00 a.m. Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium, 2500 E. Ajo Way. NAMI—the National Alliance on Mental Illness hosts this walk in honor of loved ones. Funds help to pay for educational programs, support groups, client support and community outreach. Free event, donations and fundraising encouraged. More info: 622-5582

-John Muir Chautauqua - Saturday, April 6th from 7:00 p.m. to 9pm. at the ZUZI! Theater in the Historic Y, 738 N. 5th Avenue.  Celebrate John Muir’s 175th birthday and gear up for Earth Day with this engaging live performance!  Doug Hulmes, Prescott College Professor of Environmental Studies, engages mind, body, and spirit in this theatrical performance as he presents an environmental perspective of the American West through the eyes and words of John Muir, one of the nation’s first impassioned advocates for wilderness and national parks.  Co-hosted by the Environmental Education Exchange and Ironwood Tree Experience, the evening honors the partnership between the Arizona Wilderness Coalition and Prescott College. Together they work to engage community members in hands-on land conservation efforts via their Wilderness Stewardship program.  Doors open at 6:45 pm and seating is limited. Suggested donation of $8 will support future wilderness stewardship work.

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UA4U - Welcome to UA4U, an occasional communication from the UA Office of Community Relations. Its purpose is to share information of interest with core-campus neighbors and neighborhoods.   By:  Sarah T. Evans -Sevans1@email.arizona.edu

Cat Tran Makes a Difference -During the 2011-2012 year, the Mountain Ave. Cat Tran carried 86,103 passengers.  Its average number of passengers per month during its ten month operation period (June and July are exempt), is about 8,600 passengers per month.  While it is hard to estimate how many vehicle trips that saved on Mountain Ave, it is fair to suggest the number is substantial.  Even if only 10% of the riders would have navigated on Mountain Ave to get to campus (a very low estimate), that saved over 8,000 vehicle trips per year.  This reduces congestion, is environmentally responsible and saves wear and tear on the roadway. The total number of Cat Tran passengers last year for all routes was 456,289 and Cat Tran operations drove 23,093 route miles last year.

North Mountain corridor community people can buy a boarding pass provided they live within approved boundaries at a cost of $70 for an academic year pass.  Contact UA Parking & Transportation Services for more information at 626-PARK.

CCRC Meeting is April 9: - The next Campus Community Relations Committee (CCRC) meeting will be held Tuesday, April 9 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Memorial Student Union Ventana Room.  CCRC’s membership is a unique blend of representatives from core-campus neighborhoods, City Council Wards 3 and 6, University of Arizona Medical Center (UAMC) and the University of Arizona (UA). CCRC meets with a stated purpose of “bringing together the University of Arizona, the City of Tucson, UAHN, and the neighborhoods in the university area to discuss issues, resolve conflicts, find and implement mutually satisfactory solutions to problems and work for the betterment of the community in an atmosphere of respect.” Guests are always welcome.

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 -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:

  • The Commuter Challenge - For the entire month of April: Register via the Bike Fest website at http://www.BikeFestTucson.com.
  • April 7 - Cyclovia Tucson - A fun, 5-mile car-free block party where folks can walk, bike, skate and take advantage of dozens of activities along the route.  Visit cycloviatucson.org for more information.
  • April 8 - 12 - Pedal the Pueblo:  Bicycle Encouragement Week
  • April 8 - Pedal the Pueblo:  Kick-off Breakfast at Whole Foods on Speedway
  • April 10 - Bike to Work & School Day: The City of Tucson Bicycle Program is hosting a Bike to Work Downtown Breakfast Station in front of the main library. Stop by to get goodies and say hi!
  • April 11 - Pedal the Pueblo:  Happy Hour Celebration at Borderlands Brewery
  • April 12 - Historic Bicycle Tour of Downtown
  • April 14 - GABA Spring Bike Swap
  • April 20 - New Belgium’s Golden Globes - Beer & Film Tour at the Fox Theater
  • April 20 - GABA Bike to the Zoo
  • April 21 - El Grupo’s Bicycle Scavenger Hunt
  • April 28 - Cyclovia Tucson - a new route through mid-town Tucson!

For more information, please call Ann Chanecka at 837-6691 or Karen Rahn at 837-6584.

 … there are two upcoming Cyclovia events to put on your calendar? Sunday, April 7 and Sunday, April 28 (both days from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.) will highlight fun rides through parts of the City of Tucson. Sunday, April 7 is a 5 mile ride starting downtown and looping south. On Sunday, April 28 the ride connects neighborhoods and businesses—in Ward 3! For more information and to volunteer: www.cycloviatucson.org

 …that the Ward 3 Council Office will be the site of Save A Life Foundation’s Continuous Chest Compression CPR Courses? The last Friday of the month (April 26, May 24, June 28 and July 26) from 9:00 – 10:00 a.m. This one hour class will demonstrate the new method of CPR, increasing the number of compressions a responder should administer to victims. Cost to enroll is $10. Please contact the Save A Life Foundation at 623-8484 or online: www.savealifetfd.com  for more information and to register.

…that the City’s Streets and Traffic Maintenance Division is implementing a new system to improve efficiency and handling of constituents requests?  The department is encouraging constituents to either call 791-3154 or send an email to TDOTSR@tucsonaz.gov to report potholes and street issues.

….that Exercise Angel Thunder will be taking place between April 7th and April 20th.  The operation is a partnership of Davis-Monthan and numerous other defense and health care organizations who train together as part of the largest personnel recovery exercise in the world.    The training exercise will mimic an earthquake that will be centered in the White Mountains, with search and rescue activities beginning there.  Tucson residents will be aware of the exercises on April 13th when trainees will fly ‘victims’ into UMC by helicopter between the hours of 8:00 p.m.  – 10:00 p.m.  Base representative anticipate that between 5 – 10 helicopters will land at UAMC during that time.    Questions or comments regarding the activity can be sent to DM public affairs office at 355wgpa@dm.af.mil

...that Great Decisions is a free forum for non-partisan and non-political discussion of current global concerns? On Monday, April 8th from 10:00am-11:30am at Woods Memorial Library Great Decisions will hold their weekly discussion called Assessing Threats to the U.S.  While each session is part of the series, each can stand alone.  In Tucson, there are over 20 groups. The Tucson Great Decisions Association supports these groups and coordinates joint efforts of the program participants in the Greater Tucson area. The Association works with schools, libraries and communal living complexes to nurture the growth of new groups and maintain the viability of existing discussion groups.  For more information, you may contact BettyLu@tgda.org.