Paul's Note - May 10, 2019

We had a number of items that we discussed at Tuesday’s council meeting. One of the less controversial, but important ones, was our age-friendly city action plan.

In 2016, my colleagues and I passed a resolution calling on Tucson to engage in the World Health Organization Age-Friendly Cities and Communities Network of municipalities, and to encourage and promote public policies supporting healthy aging. In the years since, a group that included the Mayor’s office, Elder Alliance, Pima Council on Aging and other community organizations has developed a five-year action plan to advance the City’s goal of being an Age-Friendly City.

On Tuesday, we passed the action plan, which can be thought of as a set of issues that we have committed to include as we plan for how our city will develop in the next five years. The plan is broken up into eight major areas: Outdoor Spaces and Buildings, Transportation, Housing, Social Participation, Respect and Social Inclusion, Civic Participation and Employment, Communication and Information and Community Health Services.

Many of these issue areas dovetail and overlap. For example, transit and good transportation options being available to older adults make it easier for them to participate in activities, which cuts down on social isolation.

The report that details the action plan contains several items that we are already doing. For example, much of the concerns outlined about our parks will be addressed by proposition 407 that you and your neighbors passed last year. As we implement our new maintenance fund and park ranger programs, we will have a parks system both friendlier and more usable by older adults. Our goal, as is detailed in the plan, is to make sure that older adults are part of the planning process as we spend bond money on our parks.

There are other programs named in the report that we can expand on and improve to better serve older adults. I’ve written before about Tucson Fire’s excellent TC-3 program, which identifies people that are frequent users of 911 services. The action plan calls on the city to facilitate cooperation between community organizations like neighborhood associations and Pima Council on Aging to get help to neighbors that are socially isolated.

In the report, there is also a shout out to groups like CHIRPA, who are often called on to do home repairs for lower-income residents. These sorts of programs do a lot to keep older adults in the homes and neighborhoods they have lived in for years. People that work with these populations call this “aging in place.” The plan calls for more city attention to programs that do this.

If you’d like to look at the plan, I’ve posted it to my council website.

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I heard from a constituent wondering why people are seeing Oro Valley Police directing traffic at intersections. I had my staff get in touch with Lieutenant Robert Garza, who handles traffic enforcement on the east side.

There has been work on several traffic signals in our part of town. The officers were hired by the contractor doing the work. Here was the response from Lt. Garza:

It just so happens that I saw the officers from Oro Valley directing traffic. This was a planned signal outage, and whomever did the work hired off duty officers. Having worked in the Special Duty Office during my career, vendors are allowed to hire any agency in Arizona to perform off duty functions even in the city limits. This isn't a frequent occurrence as most vendors hire TPD officers for their off duty needs. I'm not sure the reason why this particular vendor hired Oro Valley rather than TPD, but I'm just speculating it had to do with cost. Some smaller agencies charge less for off duty services than TPD, but we all try and remain consistent to prevent this from happening too frequently.