Ward 2 Council Member Paul Cunningham
Assistant Fire Chief Laura Baker retired this week after 26 years of serving our community. I’d like to extend my appreciation and best wishes on behalf of all of our Ward 2 neighbors.
Chief Baker was Tucson’s first woman fire chief. She also worked hard to get other women into the firefighting profession, including starting Camp Fury back in 2009. Camp Fury is a project with the Girl Scouts to introduce girls to firefighting. It is now a nationwide program.
Thank you, and good luck in what ever you do next, Chief.
Earlier this week, outgoing County Attorney Barbara LaWall elected not to prosecute the three officers involved in the death of Carlos Ingram-López. Neither I, my colleagues nor Chief Christopher Magnus have any authority to tell the County Attorney’s office what to do in this case. It is worth noting that all three officers left the Tucson Police Department shortly after this case came to light.
Even during the summer (or should I say, a normal summer), Tucson derives a lot of its revenue from tourism. Needless to say, the tourism industry is struggling. Visit Tucson reports that hotel revenues were down 35% in the six months from January to July. While that’s not as bad as the cities we compete with for tourist dollars (Seattle, for example, was down 64%), it’s still a big hit to our local economy.
Thanks to Mayor and Tucson City Council, we are hosting mobile mask giveaway events at multiple locations and times throughout the city as an opportunity for community members to obtain washable face coverings for themselves and their families.
Judging by the emails to my office over the last week, the issues on Wednesday’s council agenda that generated the most heat in our community were the extension of GPLET incentives and our declaration of a climate emergency. I’d like to talk a little about another item we discussed that ties into climate change and that touches on the very survival of Tucson as a city in the coming decades: a plan for what to do in a severe drought.
I am going to do something that not enough people in politics are willing to do: I’m going to admit a mistake.
In my newsletter two weeks ago, I wrote that Tucson Electric Power spent money to elect candidates to the Corporation Commission, the body that regulates utilities. They did not.
Make Way for Books is offering a free opportunity for families with young children. The spots are filling up quickly.
My youngest son’s name is Lute, after our coach who just passed away. I wanted him to have a strong Tucson name. One that embodied wisdom, compassion and class. I fell in love with the game of basketball when I was 9 years old due to two people: Coach Lute Olson and Coach Dave Lynch. Coach Lynch was the girls’ coach at Santa Rita High School and my youth coach. Coach Olson signed my program when I attended my first University of Arizona basketball game. I attended one of his basketball camps. I was already a Wildcat fan, but Lute showed us how to love and understand the game.
One of the things that has been most frustrating during our community conversation about COVID-19 has been that there are some people who refuse to believe that there is a real disease out there that is affecting thousands of their fellow Tucsonans. It’s almost as though they think that if they have a certain set of beliefs, that will protect them from being sick. We’ve seen plenty of tragic cases over these past few months that you’d think would show this isn’t the case, but people want to believe what they want, I guess.
Do you need help with grocery shopping?
Call PCOA’s Helpline at (520) 790-7262 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
With COVID-19, it is important for people 60 years of age and older to avoid trips outside of their home and to maximize physical distancing.
Applicants must be 60 years of age or older and have an annual income at or below 200% of the federal poverty level ($25,520/person/year).
We’ve been doing COVID-19 testing at Udall Park for the last week or so. It’s relatively easy to sign up and get the testing done. I know this because I made an appointment and got tested earlier this week.
It takes five minutes to sign up. All you need to do is go to www.pima.gov/covid19testing and click on the Schedule My Test link for Udall, or call 800-369-3584 to schedule an appointment. The test itself was easy too, and there was nearly no waiting.
The City of Tucson Mayor and Council have allocated more than $4.5 million of Federal CARES Act dollars to fund an emergency rent and utility assistance program for City of Tucson residents struggling to pay rent or utilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The City’s Housing and Community Development (HCD) department has partnered with several agencies to administer this program including Primavera, Interfaith Community Services, Catholic Community Services, and International Rescue Committee.
Program details and requirements include:
While I’m aware that there are varied thoughts on what role our police department plays in the community, recently, a local news report regarding officer attrition in the Tucson Police Department left the wrong impression. The response from Chief Chris Magnus, sent to council offices earlier this week, is below. I want to reiterate that I am committed to bringing in more academy classes and expanding our community service officer program.
The City of Tucson, Pima County Health Department and Paradigm Laboratories will begin free COVID-19 tests Friday, August 7 at the Morris K. Udall Center, 7200 E. Tanque Verde Road.
John Lewis passed away last week. I could just call him a congressman from Georgia, but we all know he was so much more than that. He was one of our nation’s most important moral leaders of the last sixty years. He wasn’t just a talker: he spent his young life being jailed and beaten for the simple right of people to vote. A documentary about his life called “Good Trouble” is still available for streaming from the Loft Theater’s website.