Karin's Note: Friday, December 19, 2014

Karin's Note: Friday, December 19, 2014
-Ward 3 Events
- Community Support Spotlight
-Citywide Events
-Did You Know?
Dear Tucsonans,
Bridging a Divide
At our Mayor and Council meeting on Tuesday we voted to proceed with the Joint Development Proposal process for the Ronstadt Transit Center downtown. You can learn more about the results of Phase I and the timeline/outline regarding Phase II at this link:
I am pleased that our consideration of options can proceed, and I continue to believe that we can find a partnership that will meet multiple goals:
  • key enhancements for Transit Center visitors,
  • the furtherance of economic development downtown and,
  • new benefits/revenue for our overall transit system.
It’s not easy to move beyond the contentious either/or and us /them thinking, especially after years of mistrust and polarization have festered as is the case with the Ronstadt Transit Center. I am committed to helping us identify common ground and mutual benefit through this process, and appreciate the diverse voices in our community participating to guide us toward success.
The following article posted Wednesday by CNN highlights what I have been saying about the growing importance of transit systems:
It highlights the “Five Signs America is Falling in Love with Public Transit” including:
  1. More Americans are Taking Mass Transit
  2. Americans are Breaking Up with Their Cars
  3. Cities Think Streetcars and Trolleys are Totally Hot
  4. More City Transit Centers: New Meet Markets?
  5. The Rise of Regional Transit: Long-Distance Relationships
These themes are so similar to the ones that I have been raising in our local dialogue that I questioned my transit staffer, Matt Kopec, to be sure he didn’t plant/post the article himself just to back me up! He has assured me that it was in fact posted by CNN contributor Thom Patterson.
Here’s my OpEd in Arizona Daily Star today about our budding, local opportunities:
I raised the 25% matching funds needed to launch the Pima Association of Government’s regional dialogue on transit to be facilitated by Jarrett Walker next year. I want to thank Cox Communications, Tucson Electric Power, AT&T, the U of A Drachman Institute and the Bus Riders Union for contributing. I look forward to 2015 being our region’s turning-point year for holistic transit planning and progress.
Building Trust
As we anticipated years ago, SB1070 continues to fuel mistrust of TPD amongst many people in our community. The law has moved the enormous anxiety and tension about failed federal immigration policies directly onto our streets and into our neighborhoods.
This week the Mayor and Council concurred with the School Resource Officer (SRO) contract language requested by TUSD, insuring that SROs will under no circumstances question a student’s immigration status. New federal directives from President Obama and the Department of Homeland Security provide us with a solid basis for drawing that line very clearly. Beyond that, Mayor and Council will be reviewing the broader TPD General Orders to be sure we come into line with both the new federal parameters for immigration enforcement as well as the model approach adopted by the City of South Tucson.
Governing always involves evaluating the consequences of our various options. While SB1070 attempts to stack the deck so that local police must participate in federal immigration enforcement, Constitutional concerns and our local priority of public safety should outweigh our state’s reckless overreach. There must be widespread trust in TPD to keep our community safe.
Chief Villaseñor has been appointed by President Obama to serve on an advisory panel addressing another serious dynamic that has undermined trust in local law enforcement departments across the country: the high-profile deaths of several African Americans at the hands of police officers and the associated, broader concerns over racism manifested within our overarching criminal justice system. Community policing cannot work if significant numbers of people resent the police or fear them. Community policing relies on victims and witnesses and “eyes and ears” on the street to help identify and report threats. A breakdown in trust puts the community and public safety officers at greater risk of harm. As the Mayor and Council hires Chief Villaseñor’s replacement in 2015, we need to keep that central objective—trust-- in mind.
Urban Infill
Infill continues in the University vicinity, and on Tuesday Mayor and Council reviewed the proposal for a new hotel on Euclid south of University Boulevard. The project involves the demolition of four structures built almost a hundred years ago. We unanimously approved the project because, in this instance, the applicants persuaded us (and ultimately the Plans Review Subcommittee of the Tucson/Pima County Historical Commission) that the historic buildings would end up lost to either decay or redevelopment. Given their already advanced state of deterioration, adaptive reuse wouldn’t be achievable.
I believe that architect Bob Vint and the development team offered what is likely the best alternative for the site, a well-designed hotel. I also know it’s hard for the West University and adjacent neighborhoods to believe that any infill can work after the high-rise student towers to the north have been so poorly designed and managed. At this point we have to do our best to actively apply all lessons learned to any newly proposed projects.
On a related note, the Mayor and Council rejected a proposed liquor license application for an establishment located in the student high-rises. That action does not reflect on the owners, who have been outstanding operators in Ward 3 on Campbell Avenue. The action does reflect the reality that more liquor can’t be added to the toxic mix brewing already at the tower location; the balconies need to be enclosed in some way and the dangerous behaviors stopped before we add more activity on the ground.
As 2015 draws near, I look back on 2014 with gratitude for the chance I’ve been given to work for you and Tucson. Every ounce of energy and passion we invest together makes a difference for the better, no doubt.
I hope the holidays bring peace and joy to you, your loved ones, and our sweet City.
Have a great weekend,
Ward 3 Events:
- 1st Annual Amphi Indoor Percussion Ensemble Drum-A-Thon – Friday, December. 19th 1:00 pm – Saturday, December 20th 7:00 am in the Amphi High School Band Room 125 W. Yavapai. Amphi High School hosts its first annual Drum-A-Thon – an 18- hour event where students will practice musical and visual techniques, learn various new aspects of drumming, and, most of all, drum!! Students receive donations based on how many hours they participate – the goal is to raise at least $3000 to fund needed percussion equipment and to offset travel expenses. All are welcome to come and watch at any time or stop by to make a donation!
- Blue Moon Community Garden Clean-up – Saturday, December 20th 9:00 – 11:00 am at 1375 N. 13th Avenue. Join your neighbors at Barrio Blue Moon to help maintain the beautiful community garden!
- Celebrate Solstice at Rain Crow Gallery – Saturday, December 20th 6:00 – 9:00 pm at Rain Crow Gallery 204 W. Grant Rd. Women of the Winter Solstice is an exhibit with works of art by women that are introspective and contemplative.  Rest and reflect with these paintings as a visual inspiration for Winter Solstice.  Celebrate this season by cultivating a deeper connection with the creative spirit that moves you and is present in the works of Lisa Mishler, Mary Theresa Dietz and Jane Buckman. www.raincrowgallery.com
- Mingle Jingle - Tuesday, December 23rd from 5:00 - 7:00 pm at the Donna Liggins Center 2160 N. 6th Avenue. Donna Liggins Center is hosting their first annual Mingle Jingle!  The public is invited to stop by and listen to holiday music performed by groups and individuals from the neighborhood.  Festive lights and decorations will light up the outdoors and set the stage for visiting with neighbors and sharing in the holiday spirit.  This free event will also include "Selfie's" with Santa as well as cookies and hot chocolate!
Community Support Spotlight:
Bring your holiday Community Food Bank donations to the Donna Liggins Center
The Donna Liggins center is hosting a food drive for the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona. Show your support for this amazing organization and local families facing food insecurity by bringing canned food to the center at 2160 N. 6th Avenue. Donations are being accepted through January 2, 2015!
Support families at Gospel Rescue Mission during the holiday season
Gospel Rescue Mission typically delivers about 1000 emergency food boxes a month to families in need and that number doubles during the holiday season. Support them as they help families in our ward and city by donating at https://www.networkforgood.org/donation/MakeDonation.aspx?ORGID2=866054088 or dropping off donations at 707 W. Miracle Mile. Call 520-740-1501 with any questions.
Citywide Events:
- The Great Cover-Up 2014 - Friday, December 19th and Saturday, December 20th at Hotel Congress and the Rialto. Enjoy some amazing cover bands while supporting an excellent cause at the 16th Annual Great Cover-Up! Over the course of two nights, local bands perform 20-minute sets of music by popular performing artists, with an emphasis on keeping secret just who is covering whom until the moment they perform. The proceeds from suggested donations are given to local charitable organizations. This year all net contributions will go to SAAMHA, the Southern Arizona Artists and Musicians Healthcare Alliance, which provides informational and monetary health-care assistance to people in the local arts community, and the Community Food Bank, which helps distribute food to the less fortunate. http://hotelcongress.com/music/great-cover-2014/
- Holiday Bazaar at the Mercado San Agustin - December 19th and 20th 11:00 am – 6:00 pm, December 21st 11:00 am – 4:00 pm 100 S Avenida del Convento. Visit the Mercado’s annual Holiday Bazaar this weekend for your last minute local gift shopping! Featuring handpicked vendors that offer a curated selection of local handmade goods, the Bazaar is perfect for getting into the holiday spirit! http://mercadosanagustin.com/event/holiday-bazaar/
- 20th Annual Downtown Parade of Lights – Saturday, December 20th at Armory Park 222 S. 5th Avenue. Watch as floats, marching bands, vividly-lit vintage cars and trucks, and community members both young and old proceed through the historic Armory Park neighborhood at the Downtown Parade of Lights!
Food and performances begin at 4:00 pm, followed by the Mayor’s Tree Lighting ceremony at 6:00 pm. The parade will kick off at 6:30 pm sharp, starting at 17th St. and Stone Ave. and concluding at Armory Park, where the parade winners will be announced. For additional information, including parade route and a photo gallery from past parades, visit https://www.downtowntucson.org/.
- Annual Christmas Day Dog-Walking Event – Thursday, December 25th 10:00 am to noon at PACC Shelter, 4000 N. Silverbell Road. You’re invited to bring some holiday cheer to Pima Animal Care Center dogs through PACC’s annual Christmas dog-walking event! Everyone is welcome, but only those 16 years or older will be able to walk the dogs alone. PACC estimates that 200 dogs will need to be walked during the event. The shelter will not be open for adoptions December 25th, but will have regular operational hours (noon to 7:00 pm on weekdays and 10:00 am to 5:00 pm on weekends) before and after Christmas. To participate, please RSVP to Andrew Stocker at Andrew.Stocker@pima.gov by December 22nd.
Did You Know...?
that the City will be observing the Christmas Day and New Year’s Day holidays? All City offices will be closed on Thursday, December 25, 2014 and Thursday, January 1, 2015, with business resuming the following day. Please don’t hesitate to leave our office a message at ward3@tucsonaz.gov or  520-791-4711 and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
All City of Tucson residential and commercial customers with regular Thursday or Friday collection will have their trash and recycling service delayed by one day. Holiday collection schedules are available online at https://www.tucsonaz.gov/environmental-services. Customers may leave a message for Environmental Services Customer Service at 791-3171 or by submitting a service request at https://www.tucsonaz.gov/environmental-services and they will be contacted no later than the next business day. Customer Service will be available on Saturday, December 27, 2014 and Saturday, January 3, 2015 from 8:00 am - 3:00 pm.
…that you can join your friends and neighbors for pickleball at the Donna Liggins Center? Open Pickleball takes place at the Donna Liggins Center (just south of Grant Road on 6th Ave.)  every Tuesday and Thursday from 12:00 to 3:00 pm – perfect for your lunch break! Pickleball plays like tennis, but you use a wiffle ball and a paddle - it’s easy to learn, good exercise, and a lot of fun to play. Pickleball was invented in the Seattle-area in the 1960s by then State Representative Joel Pritchard.  Popular legend is that it was named after Pickles, the Pritchard family’s dog. Daily fee ($1.00 - $2.00) applies for Open Pickleball sessions. Paddles and balls provided. Learn more about pickleball at https://www.usapa.org/.