Karin's Note: Friday, December 11, 2015

Karin's Note: Friday, December 11, 2015
  • Ward 3 Events
  • Neighborhood Association/Coalition Meetings
  • City Spotlight
  • Community-Wide Events
  • Did You Know?
Dear Tucsonans,
Here are some highlights from the past week of Mayor and Council meetings.
Retreat with the City Manager
Here is a copy of the City Manager’s presentation to us last Friday regarding the City budget and organization:
Here’s certainly one truth: tackling the challenges we face means no more “business as usual”. It’s true we’re emerging from the worst economic recession in a generation. It’s also true that the impact of that recession has been and will continue to be felt by families and businesses, workers and employers, nonprofits and governments long into the future.
Thankfully, Tucson voters passed two key City Charter revisions that will help us make change in how our local government functions. The Charter amendments strengthen the powers of both the City Manager and the Mayor. Clarity in our leadership structure and the boundaries between management/operations (Manager) and budget/policy decisions (Mayor & Council) will help local our government function better, I suspect much better.
Credit to our City Manager Michael Ortega and Mayor Rothschild, who have clearly been communicating and coordinating to formulate a sound plan to guide work for 2016, 2017 and beyond. As I said in some follow-up media interviews: “it’s not pretty, but it’s honest.” And, knowing Tucson, we’ll choose honesty over just about anything else.
Urban Agriculture
On Tuesday we passed an Urban Agriculture ordinance. Urban agriculture is not new to Tucson. Since 2009 our staff and community have engaged in an extensive process to be sure our codes and ordinances enable food production in the City without degrading in any way the public’s health and safety. That objective is clearly supported in the voter-approved Plan Tucson.
The process leading up to this ordinance adoption garnered considerable input from the public. Rather than trying to edit details at our table of seven, I am pleased that we retained the two-year sunset on the ordinance adopted. It’s actually easy to imagine worst-case scenarios, but most of those would actually be mitigated through our ordinances already on the books to prevent excessive noise, odor, and other nuisance concerns. If issues come up in the two-year trial period, you can bet the item will be back in front of us before the end of 2017 for review and revisions.
Equal Pay and Paid Leave
Councilmember Romero’s leadership with the Women’s Commission, the Human Relations Commission and others yielded an important review of our City government’s performance on the matter of Equal Pay for Equal Work. You can see that report at:
Equal pay implementation within the City stems in part from the City “walking the talk” by ensuring that the appropriate standards are met by any business seeking either economic development incentives or contracts for work from the City, both of which involve public dollars. Just as we enforce the voter-approved Living Wage ordinance and nondiscrimination ordinances in those instances, we’ll look for a track record of Equal Pay for Equal Work.
Our dialogue about a potential ordinance that would require that some amount of paid leave be offered by most employers within the City limits caused extensive dialogue at the table. Ultimately we supported Councilmember Romero’s motion to convene a community process to figure out how to advance this important goal, but recognizing that we may, choose other approaches (e.g. tying incentives/City contracts to this as an additional wage/benefit consideration, referring question to the voters, etc.).
Much of my reluctance to proceed ties to my stated commitment at the M&C/ Manager retreat to focus on the direct challenges facing our City government at the Mayor and Council table over the coming year. It’s on us to fulfill our core obligations as elected representatives at the local level. We also need to allow the City Manager to focus intensively on his primary responsibility: to develop proposals for the budget and the reorganization of our City government. I do not disagree with the goals of the Paid Leave campaign or the benefits to workers and employers that can result from figuring out the right thing to do.
Sidewalk and Parks Ordinances
I have consistently opposed any expansion of laws (which TPD will be burdened to enforce) that further restrict reasonable uses of parks and sidewalks. Our local discussion is happening in an era of litigation over the criminalization of homelessness, including the involvement of the Department of Justice. In September 2015 the Department of Housing and Urban Development also added criteria in its review of local funding proposals to potentially penalize communities enacting ordinances that further burden or criminalize homeless people. We have a multi-million dollar proposal in HUD’s hands for consideration; we cannot afford any disadvantage in that process.
On Tuesday we debated (as best we could at 10pm) the details and technicalities of the ordinance revisions in front of us (requiring permits to distribute any food/beverages in parks to “the public”; prohibiting any and all objects on any and all sidewalks between 7am and 10pm, etc.) Because the ordinance passed but will not take effect for thirty days, we all agreed to get further guidance from US DOJ and HUD to be sure the legal and funding questions are answered. Problems can potentially be addressed through a reconsideration vote/amendment in early January.
What echoed in my mind beyond the factual basis of my concerns were some painful truths recalled from my days working at the Primavera Foundation.  According to reports from the National Healthcare for the Homeless Council, homeless people are 500 times more likely than housed people to be murdered. 80% of women on the street suffer sexual assault.
We can’t let emotions drive our policy decisions; we can’t let the discomfort of some (even the majority or the more empowered) trump the actual safety and survival of the few. Thousands of residents may sometimes have to hear insulting rants, cross the street to avoid making contact, or even bear some of the costs of cleaning up messes left behind. People on the streets suffer direct physical and emotional pain all the time.
Our Town
I’ve grown to love Tucson as much as my hometown for good reason. As always we close by sharing some of the best of what’s up around the community. As we celebrate the Holidays together I hope you and your friends and families have a safe and joyous season.
Ward 3 Events: 
Ward 3 Roll-Offs Available to Neighborhoods
Thursday, December 10th – Monday, December 14th
Clean out your house, your alley, your neighborhood! Roll-off dumpsters will be available at the following neighborhoods for public use:
                Coronado Heights 2820 N. Castro Ave. (One block West of Stone Ave. just North of Glenn St.)
                Flowing Wells Jacobs Park 3300 N. Fairview Ave. (by the Neighborhood Recycling Center)
Next up for December 17th – 21th: Hendrick Acres, Keeling, Limberlost and Miracle Manor! Contact the Ward 3 office for more info 520-791-4711 or ward3@tucsonaz.gov.
Stuff the Amphi Bus!
December 5th – 13th
11:00 am – 7:00 pm (Saturday and Sunday)
3:30 – 7:30 pm (Friday)
NE corner of Oracle and Orange Grove Rd (Ace Hardware Parking Lot)
Stuff the Yellow Bus is a neighborhood holiday donation drop-off site. Volunteers are collecting toys, clothing and food for children and families in need in the Amphi neighborhood. The donation drop-off site will run from December 5th-13th, at the Northeast corner of Oracle and Orange Grove in the Ace Hardware parking lot. Items that are needed: new toys, new youth clothing, non-perishable foods, bikes, hygiene items, and gift cards/monetary donations. All donations will be distributed to Amphi families in need. Sponsored by the Amphi Foundation. Volunteers are needed! Please contact Rose Tederous at 520-445-2481 or email rterderous@amphi.com.
Fun with Mandalas
Friday, December 11th 3:30 – 4:30 pm
Woods Memorial Library (Large Meeting Room) 3455 N. 1st Ave.
In this all ages workshop presented by DC Unlimited, participants will make a mandala of their own or just have fun coloring the ones provided. Learn about the long history of mandalas across cultures, uses of mandalas for health, meditation and just plain fun!
Artwalk on Miracle Mile at Monterey Court
Saturday, December 12th 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Monterey Court 505 West Miracle Mile
Visit the artists and shops at Monterey Court. You can use this opportunity to take advantage of merchant and café specials, do your holiday shopping and even get a visit with Santa! For more information call 207-2429.
Mingle Jingle
Friday, December 18th 5:00 – 7:00 pm
Donna Liggins Recreation Center 2160 N. 6th Ave.
The Donna Liggins Center will be hosting a Mingle Jingle featuring individuals and groups from the neighborhood singing and performing Christmas carols and holiday music. Festive lights and decorations, plus cookies and hot chocolate will make this the perfect place to bring your family and say hello!
Rain Crow Art Gallery and Coffee Roasters presents: Calligraphic Expressions
Saturday, December 19th 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Rain Crow Art Gallery and Coffee Roasters 204 W. Grant Rd.
Artist Reception featuring Joyce Brodsky, Lea Stickles, and Nadia Hlibka. Join Rain Crow for an evening of art, conversation and munchies. And of course fresh roasted Rain Crow coffee! Contact raincrowgallery@gmail.com for more information.
Workshop – Affordable Care Act and Your Health Insurance Options
Saturday, January 12th 5:30 pm
Donna Liggins Recreation Center 2160 N. 6th Ave.
The Affordable Care Act and some facts you might not know:
  • Financial assistance is available to lower monthly costs
  • Free in-person enrollment help is available in your community
  • New plans and prices are available
  • Coverage helps protect both your health and wallet
  • There is a fine for not having insurance ($695 or 2.5% of yearly income whichever is greater)
If you want to know more, the Black Women's Task Force is offering an informative session on the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and Your Health Insurance Options on Saturday, January 12th at the Donna Liggins Recreation Center. The presentations will be given by experienced Navigator Debra Johnson from United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona. Debra will be available to schedule free, unbiased one-on-one appointments after the sessions. Don't miss out on this great opportunity to be informed!
Valley of the Moon Historic Landmark Celebration
Saturday, January 16th 3:30 – 7:00 pm
Valley of the Moon 2544 E. Allen Rd.
Join as Valley of the Moon celebrates its designation as a Historic Landmark. This event will include guest speakers, live music and light snacks and refreshments. RSVP online at http://www.tucsonvalleyofthemoon.com/rsvp.html.
Neighborhood Association/Coalition Meetings:
Mountain/First NA & Community Action Group
Saturday, December 12th 9:00 – 11:00 am
Mitchell Park 1100 E. Mitchell St.
Samos NA
Tuesday, December 15th 6:30 – 8:00 pm
Salpointe Trophy Room 1545 E. Copper St.
Mountain View NA
Thursday, December 17th 6:00 – 7:30 pm
Habitat for Humanity 2501 N. Mountain Ave.
Flowing Wells NACC
Thursday, December 17th 6:00 – 7:30 pm
Ellie Towne Center 1660 W. Ruthrauff Road
City Spotlight:
Be a 2016 Pima County Street Count Volunteer!
The Tucson and Pima Coalition to End Homelessness (TPCH) is tasked by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to count those who are currently experiencing homelessness in our community. In addition, the street count allows us to better assess the needs of our community and continue to provide services and program to help alleviate the issues surrounding homelessness.  United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona is looking for community members to help assess the homelessness in Pima County through a variety of volunteer opportunities: both before, during and after the Street Count date of January 27, 2016. Sign-up today to volunteer to help build a strong community (https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfizZ7IDHPErSjXgF8-SS6yl6EyH2gwi1Px0DRzYTkM9S-k_Q/viewform?c=0&w=1) !
Volunteer with VITA
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) provides free tax preparation to low- and moderate-income Arizonans and helps them to leverage their tax refunds to achieve greater financial stability. Make a difference and help people in your community by becoming a tax volunteer.
Top 5 Reasons to Becoming a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance VITA Volunteer:
  • No Experience Needed
  • FREE Tax Law training & materials
  • Flexible Volunteer Hours
  • Make an impact in your neighborhood
  • Continued Education Credits for tax professionals
JOIN the VITA volunteer team today! For more information please visit http://www.unitedwaytucson.org/ or contact Ellen Pott at epott@unitedwaytucson.org/.
Community-Wide Events: 
Santa on the Streetcar
Saturday, December 12th & 19th  5:00 – 7:00 pm (Streetcar leaves the station at 6:00 pm)
Mercado Streetcar Station, just West of Congress on Avenida Del Convento
Tucson Federal Credit Union, Sun Link and KXCI present Santa on the Streetcar. On December 12th and 19th the Sun Link Streetcar will transform into the Polar Express (or the Pueblo Express). Join Santa and Mrs. Claus along with their jolly elves to sing some classic Christmas carols. Ring in the holiday season starting at 5:00 pm at the Mercado Streetcar Station on Avenida Del Convento where kids and parents alike can make paper snowflakes to decorate the inside of the streetcar. All aboard the streetcar for a fun-filled ride through Downtown Tucson with Santa. The Polar Express will be leaving the station at 6:00 pm sharp with limited space available. Visit https://kxci.org/ for more information.
Holiday Nights at Tohono Chul
December 11th and 12th 5:30-8:30 pm
Tohono Chu 7366 N. Paseo del Norte, Tucson, AZ 85704
Celebrate the holidays surrounded by a million twinkling lights and glowing luminarias at Tohono Chul on the first three Saturdays in December. Stroll around the lighted gardens and enjoy complimentary cookies and hot cocoa. Beer, wine and additional snacks will be available for purchase. Entertainment venues throughout the gardens will host different performances each weekend.
Luminaria Nights at Tucson Botanical Garden
December 11, 12, 13, 5:30  to 8:30 pm
Tucson Botanical Gardens 2150 N. Alvernon Way
Add to Itinerary Tucson Botanical Gardens's paths are lined with luminarias for the holidays, and the gardens are filled with musical entertainment and festive refreshments. IAdmission Adults $18, Children (4-12) $9.00. Members $5.00 and Children $2.50
Winterhaven Festival of Lights
December 12th – 26th  6:00  to 10:00  pm
Winterhaven Neighborhood Central Tucson
Central Tucson neighborhood Winterhaven glows with LED lights, festive decorations, and music for walkers, runners, and riders of hay wagons and trolleys. Open to autos on Saturday, Dec. 26. http://winterhavenfestival.org
An Imam & a Rabbi Walk into a Room… Shattering Stereotypes
Sunday, December 13th 4:00 pm
Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church 1300 N. Greasewood Rd.
This Sunday, Imam Watheq Al-Obaidi will be sitting with Rabbi Thomas Louchheim to discuss what their respective faith traditions really teach about peace, compassion and respect for our fellow human beings and for all of Creation. Dr. Watheq Al-Obaidi is the Imam of the Muslim Community Center of Tucson and a well-known scholar of Islamic jurisprudence. Thomas Louchheim has been the Rabbi of Congregation Or Chadash of Tucson Reform Jewish congregation for the past 20 years and is well-known for his interfaith work in the community. The program is presented by PeaceWalk Tucson, an affiliated program of the Culture of Peace Alliance (COPA). The program includes Jewish and Muslim prayers at sunset and an opportunity for small group discussion about the comments from Rabbi Tom and Imam Watheq and actions we each can take to build understanding, respect, and peace. To RSVP (requested), or for more information, visit peacewalktucson.org, email contact@peacewalktucson.org or call Bob Shatz at (520) 577-6990.
21st Annual Downtown Parade of Lights
December 19th 6:30  to 8:00 pm
Downtown Tucson
Join the 21st Annual Downtown Parade of Lights, featuring holiday-themed floats, vehicles, and entertainers. Enjoy the day downtown by visiting Santa Claus at the Historic Train Depot, shopping at new downtown retailers, or enjoying a treat from a downtown restaurant. Stay for the Tree Lighting Ceremony at 5:45 pm and celebrate the holidays with the parade at 6:30 pm. The 2015 Parade of Lights will take place in historic Armory Park neighborhood. Entry staging takes place along the north and south sides of 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th Streets from 6th Avenue to 5th Avenue.
Did You Know...?
Thryve ScaleUp Applications Open
Thryve ScaleUp is a growth accelerator program focusing on high-potential, growth-oriented companies with annual revenues between $150,000 and $500,000, approximately two years old and in the early growth business cycle. Startup Tucson received a $1.44 million, five-year contract from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s ScaleUp America program to fund Thryve ScaleUp. Thryve ScaleUp is accepting applications from companies who are looking to grow rapidly, are you ready? To apply visit http://startuptucson.org/thryvescaleup. Have more questions? Come to one of our informational sessions at CoLab Workspace (17 E. Pennington) either Wednesday December 16th at 5:30 pm , Wednesday, January 6th at 9:00 am or Saturday, January 16th at 10:00 am. The applications deadline is January 17th
W3NA needs YOU!
With the Neighborhood Reinvestment Program having been voted down along with the County bond propositions, it’s quite clear that we, as neighbors, need to assume the initiative to build and enhance our neighborhoods and community. That being said, the Ward 3 Neighbors Alliance needs your help, especially if you have business, financial and/or legal experience and are willing to offer input, expertise and a little time to participate in their fiscal action team. The task is to help analyze, prioritize and determine those projects and ideas presented to W3NA for which the Alliance can be an effective partner or participant to help bring them to fruition. If you’d like to contribute to this W3NA undertaking, visit http://w3na.weebly.com/ for more information or to contact the Board of Directors.