Vice Mayor Paul Cunningham
A common refrain is “government should be run like a business.” If that’s the case, the next question should be, what business would sell its most valuable assets for prices set nearly 150 years ago?
That may seem like an odd question, but it’s pretty much what our federal government does with public lands when a mining operation wants to open up there.
According to the 1872 Mining Act, a claim (basically an assertion of a right to mine) can be made on a certain types of public land and the federal government will charge you the lofty price of $5 per acre.
As many of you read in the Star, we worked on some regulations for dockless scooters. These are motorized scooters that can be rented for short trips. I got to use them on a trip to Southern California last year. Not only were they convenient, but riding one meant I wasn’t using a car, gasoline or taking up a parking space.
From our friends at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base:
Nearly 120 local people with disabilities or special needs will be brought to the flight line Friday, March 22 – the day before Davis-Monthan AFB’s Open House begins to watch the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds practice their routine.
The event, dubbed “Heroes Day,” was organized to accommodate members of the local community who would enjoy the Open House demonstrations but might not be physically able to deal with the extensive walking and huge crowds.
The University of Arizona College of Pharmacy and Tucson Parks and Recreation will host their annual Health Fair at El Rio Neighborhood Center this month. This fair will focus on providing free health services and health information to members of the Tucson community by offering screenings for osteoporosis, diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol, breathing, vision, and medication reviews. Activities will include face painting and a hand sanitizer activity. This event is free and open to the public. Spanish translators will be available.
I heard some good news from one of the city’s Washington lobbyists, Tracy Tucker, this week: we are only one step away from owning Udall Park free and clear.
Morris K. Udall Park was built in 1982, and came about after a land exchange between the city and the Bureau of Land Management. The exchange was supposed to be finalized through subsequent legislation. For a variety of reasons, it never happened.
With over 300 open work orders for asphalt maintenance, the City of Tucson Department of Transportation (TDOT) Streets and Traffic Maintenance Division will add more personnel to its asphalt crews this week to fill potholes on City streets.
Last Friday’s rain and snow caused an increase in the number of potholes on City streets. About 25 staff from TDOT’s Streets Maintenance Division will focus on filling potholes on City streets; nearly triple the amount of staff filling potholes on a typical day.
In colder parts of the world, you'll often see wanna-be daredevils plunge into some near-frozen lake as part of a "Polar Plunge." Yes, it's not as cold here, but we can still do that, especially if it's for a worthy cause.
On Saturday, March 9th, Special Olympics Arizona will host its 11th Annual Tucson Polar Plunge. Special Olympics athletes, families, friends and fans will all be "Freezin' for a Reason" in support of athletes living in southern Arizona.
Our side of town isn’t known for having a lot of neighborhood associations, which are pretty common in other areas of the city. However, it’s been gratifying to see that a few new ones have been organized since I took office.
I had an opportunity last week to have a sit down with T. Van Hook, Chief Executive Officer of Habitat for Humanity Tucson. I learned a bit more about their business model and how the city could be an even better partner with them in the future.
Most of us know about Habitat's main work, building houses for families who couldn't otherwise afford them. They also have many other programs to help lower income families maintain their houses and continue to contribute as home owners.
A member of my staff attended a special event on Thursday morning: the opening of a new house on the far east side.
The house is for Sgt. Caleb Brewer, who lost both of his legs after stepping on an IED in Afghanistan three years ago. Since getting his prosthetic legs, he’s been rock climbing, surfing and running. His life since his injuries is a tribute to perseverance.
The Citizen’s Commission on Public Service and Compensation is considering a recommendation to voters concerning salaries for Mayor and Council. If approved by the Commission the recommendation will be placed upon the Nov. 5, 2019, City Ballot.
The Commission invites you to comment on this issue at the following meetings:
Spend Valentine’s Day morning with someone you love. Come tour the Los Reales Landfill and Republic Services Recycling Facility, and you’ll see how we show our love and care for mother earth. Every week your trash and recycling goes “away” never to be seen again. Or, is it? The tour will show you what happens once the green and blue bins are collected and taken away and how some of those materials are re-imagined through recycling.
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.