Ward 2 Council Member Paul Cunningham
The restrictions that prevented local governments from implementing their own rules on masks were lifted this week. Mayor Regina Romero quickly used the opportunity to issue an order that Tucsonans wear masks in public when social distancing is not practical.
I support the order.
I’ve heard from a few of you who object to the order. I’d like to talk about a few of the arguments I heard and tell you why I find them less than compelling.
Unfortunately, Arizona is now among the places where COVID-19 is spreading the fastest. We were warned about this, and it is one of the reasons why I pushed so hard to use a portion of CARES Act money for a testing and plasma program.
My colleagues and I have adopted a strategic plan to use the CARES Act money. The $95 million federal allocation will be spent on things from support for small business to aid for families that are facing eviction due to economic dislocation.
Protecting the traveling public on City streets during Tucson’s summer thunderstorm season is the objective of the Tucson Department of Transportation and Mobility’s (DTM) Operation Splash campaign. As weather patterns shift to bring moisture into Tucson, crews from DTM’s Streets Maintenance Division have delivered barricades to hundreds of dip crossings throughout the City.
I’ve read up on George Floyd. He’s about my age and sounds like a person I would have liked to have known growing up. He was from Houston and was a standout football player in high school. He played in Texas’s state high school championship in 1992. Remember how big of a deal high school football is in Texas. That championship was played at the Astrodome.
He was 6’ 6” and called a “gentle giant” and had the nickname “Big Floyd.” His high school friend Donnell Cooper said “He had a quiet personality but a beautiful spirit.”
As far as recreation goes, one of the most important things our city can offer is pools over the summer. Most families don’t have pools at home, and they don’t have access to pools at gyms or private clubs either. That’s why one of my priorities has been to make our city pools available for as many people as possible. Swimming is one of the few opportunities for outdoor recreation when it’s 102 outside. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say it’s a necessity.
We haven’t done nearly enough COVID-19 testing in Pima County. According to the Daily Star, 588 were tested the first weekend at the beginning of the month, with 735 and 1500 in subsequent weeks. They are hoping to test 3,000 this weekend. Even with the increases, we are a long way from having enough people tested to ensure that the public is safe.
If you'd like COVID-19 testing, it will be available on Saturday, May 30th. Please apply by the Thursday before testing.
I got calls at my office from people concerned that Fire Station 21 on Tanque Verde Road and the police department’s air support unit had been or were going to be shut down. Neither is the case right now.
Chiefs Magnus sent us a response on the air support unit:
We have a whole range of offices that we need to make choices on this year from constable to president. With the primary coming up on August 4th, there are all kinds of questions about how we will safely conduct our election.
For years here in Arizona, you have had the option to vote from home. Starting this week, Pima County voters can sign up online to vote by mail for the 2020 Primary Election.
This week, the governor announced that our state’s “stay at home” orders will be extended for another two weeks. We want to do all we can to give our city’s small businesses an opportunity to reopen.
I got some feedback that my newsletters haven’t been very exciting lately. I get that. My staff and I have been trying to play it down the middle with all of you during this crisis, and that sometimes means that these notes to you can be a bit boring, “boilerplate” as one of you said. I’ve had to put aside a few of the issues that excite me the most while our city deals with the crisis, and I’m confining most of my communication with you to just the basic information that we need while we deal with this.
Crews from Southern Arizona Paving and Construction Co., under contract with the Tucson Department of Transportation and Mobility (DTM), will begin a crack seal/fog seal program on various roadways throughout the City. The improvements are associated with the voter-approved Prop 101 Tucson Delivers Better Streets Program.
They tell me that a US Marine never really retires, but they have been known to retire from other occupations.
Judge Michael Pollard served as a Marine in Vietnam and never forgot to keep serving, particularly when it came to serving his fellow veterans. Pollard took the lead in creating many of the city’s specialty courts. Our city’s specialty courts have both reduced recidivism and kept people from being incarcerated.
It might be hard to remember with everything else going on, but it is census month. Filling out the census is crucial for our community. Every person that doesn’t fill out the census means a loss of $1,979 for our region, according to the Pima Association of Governments.
Remember that it's census time. Please make sure to fill out the form. The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials have come up with a list of common questions and answers:
I did not respond to the 2020 Census on April 1, 2020. Is it too late to participate?