Ward 2 Council Member Paul Cunningham
Monday night, Jesse Owens Park hosted the West Coast Ballislife Crew. Ballislife barnstorms the country challenging local players to play basketball at local courts. 1500 people showed up to the event.
Among the players were nationally known figures on the “streetball” circuit such as international slam dunk champion Kenny Dobbs and former Harlem Globetrotter Tor’i “Bionic” Brooks.
It’s a good week to talk about rainwater and its importance as a potential resource for Tucson. As of this week, 2021’s monsoon total (1.64 inches) has already passed the total for the entire 2020 monsoon season (1.61 inches). Despite the flooded streets and occasional downed tree, we Tucsonans appreciate the relief that monsoon season can give us.
One of the calls my staff deals with increasing frequency is the presence of homeless people. Unfortunately, with the economic shock of the last 18 months, our homeless population has increased significantly.
Arizona voters passed Proposition 207 last November by an overwhelming margin. The most talked about provision of the new law is that recreational marijuana is now available, although regulated. There was another part of the proposition, however. That dealt with expunging the records of people with marijuana convictions. This makes so much sense. If people are making money off of marijuana as a legitimate business, why should people who got convicted years ago still suffer the consequences?
There is a third public safety service in our community, one that makes the work of the Fire and Police Departments possible. When you need service and call 911, you reach one of the employees of the Public Safety Communications Department (PSCD), which was formed in 2017. A couple of members of my staff made a visit to the center last week.
For Fathers Day, I wanted to tell you a bit about my father, Senator George Cunningham.
I grew up in a politically active family with governors and judges coming by the house, so it would probably surprise a lot of you that I wasn’t that interested in politics when I was growing up. I was well into adulthood when I first started following in his footsteps and becoming active in the community and sought elected office.
Last August, the Pima Council on Aging was awarded a federal grant to support dementia specialized supportive services for people living with Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias and their caregivers. They will be rolling out these programs over the coming weeks and months, and I’ll keep you up to date on them. You can also check their website, pcoa.org.
We have opened pools on a limited basis this summer, but we still need lifeguards. If you know a young person who is interested in lifeguarding, please visit our jobs page at https://jobapscloud.com/tucson/. The starting salary is 12.15/hr and they are taking applications through June 20th.
Last week, I gave some reasons why I am skeptical about having the city participate in an extension of the Regional Transportation Authority. One fact I didn’t mention: the fact that many current RTA projects, particularly in the city, may not end up fully funded.
In 2006, the voters of Pima County passed a law enabling the creation of a Regional Transportation Authority, as well as a half-cent excise (sales) tax to pay for transportation projects. The current RTA expires in 2026, which means it will soon be time for the voters to re-authorize the RTA and the tax. Unless there are significant changes, I am opposed to reauthorization.
I think most of us are familiar with Habitat for Humanity, which is celebrating their 40th anniversary in Tucson this year. In fact, many of you aren’t only familiar but you may have actually volunteered with them given how many local employers have been supportive of the organization.
As many of you know, my colleagues and I adopted an alternative plan for zoo expansion on Tuesday. Back on March 9, we were tasked with approving an expansion plan that many in the community thought was ill considered, and my colleagues and I believed that the Reid Park Zoological Society hadn’t done an adequate job of engaging the public before bringing their plan forward.
The Tucson Police Department sent us some "frequently asked questions.” It included two that deal with mental health crises. This is particularly acute given the death-in-custody of Carlos Ingram-Lopez last year. Below is what they sent us, with some edits for style.
How are Tucson Police officers trained to deal with individuals in mental health crises?
At Tuesday’s meeting my colleagues on the council and I worked on three items having to do with our environment. We got an update on PFAS contamination in some of our wells, worked on the planning process for future green stormwater infrastructure projects, and discussed future code changes to accommodate electrical vehicles in new construction.
It seemed like it was winter just a couple of weeks ago, but temperatures are starting to climb already (it’s 81 as I write this). Like many of our recreational facilities, city pools have been mostly off limits due to COVID-19.