Ward 2 Councilmember Paul Cunningham
I made a trip down to the airport Friday morning to hand out gift cards to help TSA employees buy gasoline and necessities. Buried in the news about the government re-opening was the fact that employees for many agencies, including the TSA, still have to wait a couple of weeks for their next check.
People from across the community, from labor unions to churches, did some great work to support federal employees during the shutdown. After hearing about the TSA workers, I called Charles Sparks, who runs our local TSA, and asked how I could help out.
After months of negotiations between a large array of stakeholder groups, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed Arizona’s commitments to the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan (DCP) into law Thursday afternoon. The Arizona DCP is a set of voluntary cuts that Arizona Colorado River water users have agreed to take over the next several years to prevent deep shortages at which all Arizona users could face significant cuts. Tucson does not see any new cuts to its share of Colorado River water under the signed plan.
Soon, I’ll be making my appointment to the citizen’s committee that will be overseeing spending on the bonds that you and your neighbors passed in November. Those of you that paid close attention to the 409 bonds that were passed five years ago may see something a little different with the parks bonds.
In the road bonds, we had a list of specific projects along major streets, but there was also a part of the money set aside for neighborhood projects. That gave the citizen’s committee some leeway to address needs in individual neighborhoods that were brought to them.
Our Fire Department answers about 90,000 911 calls every year. The nature of those calls has changed a lot over the last few years. More and more of them are what can be called social service calls. These are still people that need help, but our emergency services are not always the appropriate resource.
From our friends at Davis-Monthan AFB:
The US Navy will deploy 14 F/A-18 Fighter aircraft to Davis Monthan from January 22 to February 8, 2019. The Navy F/A 18s will provide a significant joint training opportunity for DM’s own 354th Fighter Squadron. Joint integration among multiple aircraft is what makes the US military the most capable fighting force on the planet. The Navy F/A-18 deployment to DM will afford both squadrons the training to be better prepared for high-intensity conflict.
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday holiday will be observed on Monday, January 21, 2019. Residential and commercial trash and recycling will not be collected on Monday. All City of Tucson residential and commercial customers with regular collection on any day Monday through Friday will have their trash and recycling service delayed by one day. The Los Reales Landfill will be open.
Sun Tran is once again partnering with HSL Properties and KGUN 9 News for the “Stuff-the-Bus” food drive, benefiting the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona. The food drive will help restock items at the food bank that many families still rely on following the holidays.
You can help "Stuff-the-Bus" Friday, January 18, from 6 am to 6 pm at Dorado Golf Course, 6601 E Speedway Blvd (between Wilmot and Kolb). It's along Route 4 for those of you that want to ride the bus.
Tucson Water Customer Service has been receiving phone calls and e-mails this week asking whether the City of Tucson or Tucson Water offers any options or assistance for utility services charges to federal employees during the shutdown.
Here in my newsletter, I try to keep you all up to date on Saguaro National Park. Tucson has a rare and wonderful thing: a national park only minutes away from our city limits. Very few cities our size can say that.
Governor Doug Ducey ordered that flags at all state buildings be lowered to half-staff from sunrise to sunset today, Wednesday, January 9, 2019, to honor the life of Salt River Police Department Officer Clayton Townsend, who died in the line of duty last night. Flags will also be lowered on the day of interment, which has not been set.
It’s time for Tucson’s annual Senior Olympic Festival. It’s the 35th year that Tucson Parks and Recreation has put this festival to promote fitness, health, and an active lifestyle among adults 50 years of age and older.
This year’s “headquarters” for the festival will be Udall Park, which will also be hosting the opening ceremony at the amphitheater.
On New Year’s Eve, Tucsonans can count on Sun Link to be the designated driver and provide a safe ride while they ring in the New Year at venues along the streetcar line. Sun Link will extend service hours on Monday, December 31 until 2 a.m. for those celebrating within the districts, including Main Gate Square, Fourth Avenue, Downtown Tucson, and Mercado District.
Streetcar service will run on a Sunday schedule on New Year’s Day, Tuesday, January 1 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. with service every 20 minutes. Regular Sun Link service hours will resume on Wednesday, January 2.
I’m keeping this week’s newsletter short given our holiday schedule. Still, I’d like to give a shout out to the firefighters at Tucson Fire’s Station 9, which serves the area around Craycroft and 22nd Street.
Some of you may have caught the story on KGUN over the weekend. 96 year-old Clarence Ellquist fell off a ladder while doing work in his yard. Firefighters responded and he was treated for a concussion and a nasty cut.
Beginning at approximately 1 p.m. Friday, December 28, 2018, crews from the City of Tucson Department of Transportation (TDOT) Streets and Traffic Maintenance Division will initiate Operation Freeze in preparation of freezing overnight temperatures. Operation Freeze is put into place to make sure City bridge decks are free of ice and safe for motorists to drive over.
During the shutdown of the federal government due to the lapse of appropriations, national parks will remain as accessible as possible while still following all applicable laws and procedures. Park roads and trails at Saguaro National Park will remain accessible to visitors, but emergency and rescue services will be limited.
There will be no NPS-provided visitor services at Saguaro National Park, including public information, restrooms, trash collection, and facilities or roads maintenance. Both Visitor Centers are closed.