Ward 2 Council Member Paul Cunningham
Back in 2018, you and your neighbors passed Proposition 407, also known as Tucson Delivers Parks and Connections. This $225 million bond package goes to capital improvements. The money goes to improving city parks, including pools, splash pads and ball fields, as well as connections like walking/bicycle paths and pedestrian/bicycle safety improvements.
It’s already August, can you believe it? It’s a new semester for me and I hope it’s a productive school year for all of you that have kids.
Those of you that have come into the office have probably met my staff member Chris Desborough. In addition to his North London accent, you might have noticed that he is visually impaired. He’s done a lot to educate me and the rest of the staff on disability issues.
My staff is well equipped to handle a variety of issues that constituents ask us about. Is there speeding in your neighborhood? We’ll talk to the police about deploying motor officers. Is there dumping in the wash? We can get in touch with the transportation department. You have a question about what you can get rid of at the next household hazardous waste collection? We can find that out for you.
City policy makers hear a lot about aging in place. Many older adults do better when they age in a neighborhood with friends and family nearby rather than in situations which tend to isolate them. The needs of citizens aging in place play a big role in recent changes in both housing and zoning policies.
COVID-19 showed many of us how much of an issue isolation can be. Also, living alone can be a challenge as a person gets older and needs to deal with expenses and chores.
Some new faces will be joining the upper ranks of the Tucson Police Department, and it means that you will be seeing new leadership at Operations Division East, the division that handles calls in most of Ward 2.
Assistant Chief John Strader has left his job at TPD to become a deputy county attorney. Both Captains Christopher Dennison and Monica Prieto (who was once a lieutenant in ODE) have moved to assistant chief.
A few years ago, Environmental Services moved the neighborhood recycling center from Udall Park to the parking lot at the Ward 2 office.
One of the main reasons for the move was that people were using the NRC to dump trash. Environmental Services reported that everything from couches to televisions to, in one instance, a dead cat. Needless to say, that is not appropriate.
My office will be giving $20,000 to Community Home Repair Projects of Arizona. CHRPA helps lower income residents with emergency home repairs as well as provides home modifications for people with disabilities.
CHRPA started off in 1982 as a project by the local Mennonite community. They now serve 1,500 of our low income and disabled residents every year.
Many of you probably read about László Veres’s retirement from conducting the Tucson Pops Orchestra, a job he’d held for the last 30 years.
I want to thank all of you that attended the neighborhood legislature last week. With so much anger and nonsense in our politics, it was good to have a room full of citizens listening to each other and asking smart questions. I’m hoping to have one more later this year. My staff and I are discussing possible topics
I participated in a ceremony renaming the Rincon Police Substation on Golf Links after Erik Hite last week.
I’ve long been an advocate for making neighborhood pools as available for Tucsonans, particularly young people, as possible.
The trouble has always been funding. It took a long time for our budget to recover from the Great Recession, and one of the ways we saved money was by not opening pools and keeping limited schedules for the ones we opened.
I’ve mulled over what to say about the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Unfortunately, I’ve had to comment about mass shootings too many times while I’ve been in office, including one that killed and wounded several of my friends shortly after I was appointed to the council.
I’ll leave the comments on this one to Steve Kerr, a person many of us in Tucson have admired for decades.
It is the middle of May and things are starting to heat up in Tucson. As most of you know, I am a teacher and I can tell you that the middle schoolers at Gridley are ready for summer break to start. Thanks to Tucson voters, this summer we have a lot of new facilities for our young people (and those of us who are older) to enjoy. We have new splash pads, covered courts, walking paths and so much more.