Karin's Note: Friday, February 6, 2015

Karin's Note: Friday, February 6, 2015
 
- Note from Staff
- See You at City Hall!
- Ward 3 Events
- Neighborhood/Coalition Meetings
- Community Support Spotlight
- Citywide Events
- Did You Know?
 
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Dear Tucsonans,
 
Here’s an update on Mayor/Council work and community affairs:
 
Legislative updates
 
Mayor and Council received an update on the activities of the 2015 State of Arizona Legislative Session.  The principles that IGR staff use to guide their work and shape the recommendations (support or oppose bills) that they bring to Mayor and Council are:
  • Protect shared revenues and local fiscal sustainability
  • Protect and enhance local authority and decision making
  • Protect and enhance sustainable local economies with strong economic development tools and infrastructure
As is always the case this time of year, there are hundreds of bill making their way through the legislative process, and we will continue to get regular reports during our Mayor and Council meetings.   If you are interested in following the activities at the State Capital, you can tune in at this site:  http://azleg.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=13
 
Charter review committee update
 
Our Citizens Charter Review Committee has done impressive work to discuss the local constitution and formulate recommendations for changes Mayor/Council ought to refer to the ballot for voter consideration. Their latest memo (dated February 4 and found at this link: https://www.tucsonaz.gov/sirepub/cache/2/bozeematbqf0dkhyyjj1m1d3/668452802062015075801653.PDF) offers their collective thinking to date as well as the timeline for public input and final recommendations. Hope you’ll add your thinking so we can offer you some options for improving local governance/service in the 2015 election cycle.
 
Pension System
 
It’s not news that the Public Safety Pension System administered by the state is grossly underfunded. This year we will need to take steps to catch up on factors previously uncounted by the fund’s advisors (including, for example, cost of living increases guaranteed to retirees). At the same time that we address local impacts within the City budget, work is underway with the public safety employee unions, state legislators and local officials, all of whom recognize the urgency and need for compromise to safeguard the pension system. Remedies may be referred to the ballot for a statewide vote. I’ll keep you posted as we make local decisions and hear more about those state-level proposals.
 
New Developments
 
Hard not to hear Joni Mitchell singing in my mind as we discussed the requested parking lot just south of Broadway Village (SW corner of Country Club and Broadway) where the new Natural Grocers will be opening soon. But really it was not about paving paradise to put in a parking lot; neighbors are divided on the pros and cons of allowing either the proposed parking lot or development under existing zoning/entitlement (which would mean a small office building and fewer parking spots). While we do have neighborhood plans and area plans to guide our land use decisions, sometimes those documents are inconsistent with (and trumped by) the underlying zoning that already exists on specific parcels. That was the case in this instance. For that reason and an often-echoed desire to see Broadway Village and its tenant businesses succeed, I and Mayor/Council colleagues voted to approve the parking requested.
 
We also discussed a request to proceed with an economic development study associated with the Tucson Hotel 1 development at Main Gate. During the discussion I made it clear that I’m concerned about the justification laid out so far for tax incentives. We have to see evidence of a clear and compelling public benefit to justify any tax breaks. I think the project itself will be fabulous and a boost to the immediate area; it will no doubt raise City revenues to some extent as more people stay at the hotel and spend in the vicinity. However we also have to prove that the project would not happen in the same site, scope and timeline without tax incentives and that those incentives are outweighed with greater financial returns than the break given. The developer will be paying for the $5000 impact study, and I will be reviewing that and other information closely before casting my vote on awarding incentives.
 
The Fossil Gem and Mineral Shows are gearing up across the valley now:
 
 
...enjoy and have a great weekend.
 
Karin
 
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Note from Staff:
 
Love of Reading Month
 
February is Love of Reading Month and one way we are celebrating literacy is by joining in the effort to collect more than 10,000 books for high-risk children in our community. If you have any new or gently used children’s books at home that are ready for a new reader, please consider donating them at our office at 1510 E. Grant Road. Our office is open Monday through Friday, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, or you can drop them off in a box by our community room during the evenings and weekends. Collected books will be redistributed to children in Pima County through Reading Seed, Head Start centers, and other organizations.
 
In addition to collecting books, we are going to be guest readers throughout the month to share our love of reading with kids in the community. Many thanks to Mrs. Suazo’s third grade class and Mrs. San Julian’s fifth grade class at Laguna Elementary for sharing their favorite books and stories with us this week!
 
The benefits of literacy are innumerable. Help us spread the word. Share a selfie with your favorite book or a picture of your TBR (To Be Read) stack using #LORTucson, like the FB page at https://www.facebook.com/loveofreadingtucson. More information and updates can be found at www.LoveofReadingTucson.com.
 
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See You at City Hall!
 
Charter Review Committee – Monday, February 9th 4:00 pm
 
• Entrée Topic:
Remaining Open Issues
Elected Official Salaries
            Campaign Finance
            Anti-discrimination/Arts/Environment
            Putting together overall package of recommendations
 
• Appetizer:
 Preamble
 Clean-Up Proposal from Staff
 
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Ward 3 Events:
 
- Tax Prep Available at the Ward 3 Office – The United Way Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program is an excellent community service which provides free (free!) in-person tax preparation that particularly focuses on getting refunds and credits to low-income households. In 2014, the VITA Task Force of Arizona helped to return $21.7 million in federal refunds and credits to Arizona.
 
The Ward 3 VITA Site will be open on Tuesdays from 1:00 – 5:00 pm and Saturdays from 9:00 am – 2:00 pm through April 11th. The Ward 3 office is located at 1510 E. Grant Rd. Appointments not necessary – participants will be seen on a first come, first served basis. For more information, and if you have any questions, please call 520-791-4711.
 
- Friends of the Library Book Sale – Friday, February 13th – Sunday, February 16th 9:00 am – 4:00 pm at 2230 N. Country Club Rd. Support Pima County Library while buying up used books and DVDs for excellent prices! Visit www.pimafriends.com for more detail.
 
- Tucson Gems Art Show & Coffee Tasting – Saturday, February 14th 6:00 – 9:00 pm at Rain Crow Gallery 204 W. Grant Rd. Join Rain Crow Art Gallery and Coffee Roasters for a show featuring artwork that blends diverse cultural histories, languages and styles. Featuring Tucson artists Nadia Hlibka and Francheskaa. More info on Rain Crow at http://raincrowgallery.com/.

- Light the Night: Get a Free Bike Light! – Tuesday, February 17th starting at 5:00 pm at N. Treat Ave. & E. Copper St. Living Streets Alliance is again partnering with the City of Tucson Bicycle & Pedestrian Program and the Pima Association of Governments to give away bike lights to people without them. Not only do bike lights improve visibility for both cyclists and others on the street – it's the law that bicyclists have them. City of Tucson Bicycle & Pedestrian Program: https://www.tucsonaz.gov/bicycle Pima Association of Governments: http://www.pagregion.com/tabid/36/default.aspx
Living Streets Alliance: https://www.livingstreetsalliance.org/

- Coffee With A Cop – Wednesday, February 18th 9:00 – 11:00 am at Prep & Pastry 3073 N Campbell. Join your neighbors and police officers for coffee and conversation! No agenda or speeches, just a chance to ask questions, voice concerns and get to know the officers in your neighborhood. Contact CSO Kara Curtis at 837-7241 for more info.
 
- Transportation & Streets Update - Wednesday, February 18th 6:00 pm at Woods Library. What resources are available to assist us in commuting in a more efficient and safe way by bus, street car, bike, walking and auto? This important meeting of the Ward 3 Neighbors Alliance will cover most areas of transit and street updates. The panel will include: Jessica Ballering of the Bicycle & Pedestrian Program, Jorge Riveros of the Tucson Street Dept, Jeremy Paguaga of the city Transit, and more.
 
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Neighborhood/Coalition Meetings:
 
- Alvernon Grant Initiative (AGI) – Tuesday, February 10th 6:30 pm at Emerge! 2425 N. Haskell
 
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Community Support Spotlight
 
- Victim Advocate Volunteer Info Session – Monday, February 9th and Wednesday, February 18th 6:00 – 8:00 pm at TPD Westside Division 1310 W. Miracle Mile Rd. Have you ever wanted to help someone in crisis, but weren’t sure what to say or what to do? The Pima County Attorney’s Victim Services Division is offering an 11-session training course. Sessions will be held on Monday and Wednesday evenings beginning on March 2nd for 6 weeks. All interested participants must attend an information session either on Monday, February 9th or Wednesday, February 18th. Call (520) 740-5525 to register.
 
This is a well-structured, comprehensive and hands on training. The training teaches basic crisis intervention skills, concepts and techniques. In addition, it examines various types of crimes and the specific victimization dynamics that victims of the crimes may face, including common trauma reactions. The training is also the gateway into volunteering or participating in an internship with the Victim Services Division. Volunteers can expect to get hands-on experience working with victims of crime on scene and in the courtroom. Many volunteers go on to work in fields like law enforcement, social work, mental health services, and victim advocacy.
 
- Literacy Connects New Volunteer Orientation – Thursday, February 19th 5:30 – 7:00 pm at Literacy Connects 200 E. Yavapai Road. Share your time and talent! Literacy Connects is always in need of coaches to help children with their reading and tutors to help adults with their English, reading and writing. Visit http://literacyconnects.org/volunteering/ to get familiar with the many ways you can volunteer. Learn about their mission, impact and all the ways you can be involved by signing up for a Literacy Connects Orientation (required before training to be a tutor or coach). Register online or call (520) 882-8006 to RSVP.
 
- Community Gardens in Ward 3 Seeking Gardeners - We have several beautiful community gardens in Ward 3 that are seeking new gardeners. Joining a community garden is good for your health, your spirit, and your community. Community gardeners eat healthier diets, with freshly grown, pesticide-free produce; they get exercise and spend more time outdoors; and they make lifelong friendships. With a membership at a garden near you, you get your own individual plot (approximately 3ft by 20ft) in a larger community garden. The monthly fee is $18 per plot and this fee covers the irrigation system and all water costs, a shed full of tools for your use, a monthly garden education session with a Master Gardener, and a quarterly newsletter. Scholarships are available. Each garden has a monthly meeting where you can socialize with other gardeners, ask questions, share advice, and learn something new from a Master Gardener. This is a great time to start a plot if you’re interested in growing tomatoes, peppers, summer squash, basil and more!
 
Garden plots are currently available at the following sites:
 
Blue Moon - Oracle and Drachman
Doolen Middle School - 2400 North Country Club Road
Mansfield - Mansfield Park 2000 N 4th Avenue
Presidio - Near Fort Lowell & Country Club
Saint Demetrios - 1145 East Fort Lowell Road
 
Any interested gardeners can contact Community Gardens of Tucson at admin@communitygardensoftucson.org or 520-795-8823 for more information!
 
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Citywide Events:
 
- Tucson Gem, Mineral and Fossil Showcase - January 31st - February 15th. Various Locations. For two weeks near the start of every year, Tucson becomes playground the world of international gem and mineral trading, buying, and bargains. This international marketplace of gems, minerals, fossils, beads, and jewelry-making supplies as well as museum exhibits and other treasures includes 40 different sites at hotels, special venues, and tents located across town. Check out VisitTucson’s site for more info: https://www.visittucson.org/visit/events/featured-tucson/tucson-gem-mineral-fossil-showcase
 
- City of South Tucson 4th Annual Health Fair – Saturday, February 7th 12:00 – 4:00 pm at Tucson Greyhound Park 2601 S. 3rd Avenue. Come visit this free community event with your neighbors and be inspired for a year of wellness in 2015! Featuring free snacks, activities, bike repair, insurance information, a Kidical Mass group bike ride (from 12:00 – 2:00 pm), cooking, and more. All are welcome to attend!
 
- Chinese New Year Festival – Saturday, February 7th 11:00 am – 3:00 pm at Tucson Chinese Cultural Center 1288 W. River Rd. Welcome 2015 – the Year of the Sheep! Chinese arts & crafts, games for kids, performances, and food for sale.
 
- Tucson Tour de Little Free Library – Sunday, February 8th 12:00 – 3:00 pm. Have you ever dreamed of bike touring through scenic byways, visiting little cultural gems along the route, all at a mellow pace and in the good company of fellow adventurers? If you find yourself nodding your head yes, then Tucson's first Tour de Little Free Library might just be the experience for you! This inaugural Tour de Little Free Library (LFL) takes place on Sunday, February 8 and will wend through 4 neighborhoods, for a total of about 10 miles over the course of roughly 3 hours. Bicyclists of all ages, sizes, and abilities are welcome! The Tour will first gather at noon at the Dunbar Springs neighborhood Little Free Library (2nd st & 10th ave) and head out from there. More info at https://www.facebook.com/events/616856618419764/?sid_reminder=4353533470048256000
 
The Poetics and Politics of Water: Sherwin Bitsui - Thursday, February 12th 7:00 pm at the University of Arizona Poetry Center, 1508 E. Helen St. A four-part series organized by the American Indian Studies Program and the Department of English, featuring four contemporary American Indian writers. The series explores the centrality of water as a physical and metaphorical element in contemporary American Indian writing, and is linked to a graduate seminar in American Indian Studies and the Department of English. All readings are free and open to the public. More information is available here.
 
- Refugee 101 Info Night - Thursday February 12th, 6:00 – 8:00 pm in Room E23 at Catalina United Methodist Church, 2700 E. Speedway Blvd. Learn more about refugees and their journey to resettlement on a global, national and local level. This is a great informational event with no necessary volunteer commitment. RSVP to Emily Oshinskie at volunteer@iskashitaa.org. Join this interactive workshop the 2nd Thursday of the month at the same time and place!
 
- Valentine’s Day Kids Party - Friday, February 13th at 6:00pm - 9:00pm at Mercado San Agustin 100 S Avenida Del Convento. Back by popular demand!!! Friday the 13th bring the kids on over for 3 hours of non stop pop music and disco balls. This event is perfect for elementary aged kids and parents will need to stay onsite at the MSA but can enjoy grown up time in any of Mercado’s wonderful restaurants, including Seis Kitchen and Catering, Agustin Kitchen, Blu - A Wine & Cheese Stop.
 
- Valentine’s Day Landfill and Recycling Plant Tour – Saturday, February 14th at 8:30 am at 4004 S. Park Ave. The City of Tucson Environmental Services (ES) department is offering a tour of the Los Reales Landfill and the ReCommunity, Inc. Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) a week from Saturday. Participants will be get to learn how ES operates the landfill and see the work begin performed. Tour participants will also gain an in-depth understanding of how recyclables collected in the blue barrels are sorted and marketed. Tour participants will meet in the upper-level parking lot at 4004 S. Park Avenue on February 14th at 8:30 am. The tour will finish by 12:15 pm. Those who take part should wear long pants, closed-toe shoes, hats and sunscreen. Drinking water will be provided. To reserve a seat, call ES at 791-3175 by next Tuesday. From Environmental Services: https://www.tucsonaz.gov/files/media-releases/Landfill_Tour_Valentines_Day_2015.pdf
 
- Have a Heart for Our Planet Festival – Sunday, February 15th 10:00 am – 6:00 pm at The Loft Cinema, 3233 East Speedway Blvd.  Show your love for the world and wildlife by attending the "Have a Heart for Our Planet" festival at Tucson's Loft Cinema. In a single day you could learn about some of the most pressing environmental issues facing our planet in the next decade -- and how to get involved with fellow activists. The day's events will include two free screenings of the groundbreaking documentary Cowspiracy and the Center for Biological Diversity's Melissa Amarello, who will speak at 12:30 pm about the Population and Sustainability program and innovative Take Extinction Off Your Plate campaign. The Loft campus will be filled with sustainable food vendors and speakers throughout the day. Bring your friends and family -- this event is free and open to all. http://action.biologicaldiversity.org/p/salsa/event/common/public/?event_KEY=82996
 
- American Denial Film Screening & Conversation – Wednesday, February 18th 6:00 - 8:30 pm at the YWCA Frances McClelland Community Center 525 Bonita Avenue. How do our hidden biases about race affect our reality? Join the YWCA for a free Community Cinema sneak-peek screening of American Denial before it airs on Independent Lens on PBS! This event is free and open to the public. https://www.facebook.com/events/1545622025722761/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming&sid_reminder=4353533470048256000
 
This screening kicks-off the Campaign for Racial Justice, a yearlong series of events to discuss racism in our community, fifty years after the Civil Rights Movement. Save the date for the next event in this series on April 24th: Stand Against Racism Town Hall. Look for more opportunities for education & action throughout the year from the Campaign coalition, which includes the YWCA, Tucson Urban League, NAACP, Black Women's Task Force and Center for Community Dialog-Our Family Services.
 
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Did You Know...?
 
…that Council Member Uhlich is seeking Ward 3 residents to serve on Boards and Commissions? Contribute your expertise and represent your community on issues and policy in our city. We are currently seeking applicants and nominations for the following commissions:
  • Commission on Addiction, Prevention and Treatment
  • Climate Change Committee
  • Commission on Disability Issues
  • Metropolitan Housing Commission
Experience or expertise in the respective field that the commission addresses is preferred. Commission members must be registered voters living within Tucson city limits. Political affiliation is not a consideration.
 
If you are interested in being considered for appointment or would like to make a nomination, please contact Brianda Vilá-Henninger at 520-791-4711 or Brianda.vila@tucsonaz.gov. Visit https://www.tucsonaz.gov/clerks/boards for more information about Boards & Commissions.
 
that the Tucson Conserve2Enhance Program is pleased to announce they are now accepting applications for the 2015 C2E Grant Program? Each year C2E awards a small number of grants to local neighborhoods and organizations to enhance washes and riparian areas throughout Tucson. This funding comes from Tucson Water customer bill donations and C2E participants. Nearly 900 individuals donated to C2E in 2014 to make this grant program possible!
 
One grant workshop will be held Wednesday, March 4th from 5-6:30pm at the Ward 6 Community Room (3202 E 1st St, Tucson, AZ 85716). Please RSVP at tucson.c2e@gmail.com and come learn about the C2E Program and how your neighborhood or organization can apply for funding.
 
Grants will be awarded in the range of $2,500-$7,500 and applications are due Monday, April 13, 2015.
 
For grant details including the application and info packet, please visit: http://www.conserve2enhance.org/node/79
 
that the City of Tucson Environmental Services Department is sponsoring the ‘Look What’s New with Do More Blue’ Poster Contest? Tucson students in grades 4-8 are invited to create a poster that effectively and clearly highlights the importance of recycling in the City of Tucson. This contest is an opportunity for students to creatively express their understanding of recycling and waste reduction in our community and to spread that message to the residents of Tucson. In addition to winning some fun prizes, the grand prize winner will have their artwork enlarged and displayed on the sides of a Tucson collection truck. All 4th-8th grade students in City of Tucson public, private and charter schools (including home schooled students) are eligible.
 
Posters should clearly highlight the importance of recycling in the City of Tucson. This theme can include topics such as using the Blue Barrel, “Do More Blue,” and materials accepted at the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF). A complete information packet is available at http://www.outreach-scheduling.org/downloads/TTT_RecyclingPosterContest_.... The deadline for submissions is February 20, 2015.
 
…that there is a new opportunity for youth in Tucson to create public art? The Mural Club will be meeting every Saturday 3:00 – 6:00 pm through May 16th to design and paint public murals. Youth ages 8 - 18 can now register for the program. All sessions will be held at Citizens Artist Collective, Studio 13, 44 W. 6th Street in downtown Tucson.

Youth have the opportunity to assist master artists on projects, help out on neighborhood beautification efforts, enjoy field trips and help create a wave of change. Each week students will work in the studio and then move out into the field to work on projects. Get involved with the growing international wall art movement. Raise your voice and help beautify Tucson.

There is a suggested $20 material fee per session. To register or for more information 520-791-9359, TMAP@TucsonArtsBrigade.org TMAP Blog: http://tucsonmuralartsprogram.blogspot.com/

 
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