Karin's Note: Friday, January 16, 2015

Karin's Note: Friday, January 16, 2015
- Notes from Staff
- See you at City Hall!
- Ward 3 Events
- Neighborhood/Coalition Meetings
- Community Support Spotlight
- Forums, Training, Conversations
- Citywide Events
- Did You Know?
Dear Tucsonans,
On Tuesday Mayor and Council will review the proposed update to the Infill Incentive District meant to help spark and shape density in the urban core. It’s a complicated set of recommendations forwarded to us after substantial work involving staff, community members and the Planning Commission. I have heard questions and concerns from a whole lot of people, and will be spending more time this weekend studying the details. If you want to learn more and/or weigh in the documents are at this link:
A Public Hearing on the proposal will be held during our evening session.
As you know I intend to spend a good share of time over the coming year on community and regional transportation planning. Getting a good handle on our resources and investment plan will take pressure off other areas of the budget and insure that we fulfill our highest priorities, including street maintenance.
Here are links to two recent articles in the Arizona Daily Star on the topic:
A key element of the planning will center on our transit system, how we can improve ridership in order to reduce the need for City General Funds while leveraging the many public benefits that a sound transit system offers: consumer cost savings, reduced traffic congestion, extended street/pavement life, better air quality, lower heat island effect, community connectivity and affordable/accessible mobility.
Fortunately our system is in a position to take a huge leap forward. With the streetcar line in operation and our existing award-winning bus services in place, we can focus on the “mid-tier” bus rapid transit system that’s essential for any regional transit network. Anyone at all inclined to utilize transit must be able to access secure park & ride lots and straightforward express routes to and from high-activity points. The park & ride/rapid transit hubs can spark economic investment much as the streetcar has, as long as they are formally designated and include some key infrastructure (far less expensive than, but reinforcing of, streetcar extensions).
Next Friday the Drachman Institute and AzTA are hosting a session with Tom Schwetz, Planning and Development Manager for Lane Transit District in Eugene, Oregon and a recognized leader in the development of BRT. I hope you’ll join the conversation, which will be a tremendous lead-in to the regional transit planning process the City is embarking on in partnership with the Pima Association of Governments this spring.
At our meeting next week we’ll get our first full year-end report on fiscal year 2014. Preliminary numbers indicate we did well in balancing our budget, as well as making progress on some of the key structural deficits we face (e.g. improved position on both our self-insurance fund and TSRS pension). You can see the staff presentation materials at this link:
When I was first elected in 2005, the Mayor and Council goals for reserve funds were not as aggressive (now 10% for our stabilization fund and 5% for unassigned reserves). I advocated that we set the higher goals now in place. Prior to the downturn we fortunately did achieve healthy reserve levels. That cushion helped us in the worst years of the economy. No doubt we need to restore reserve levels again over time as the economy recovers.
Keep in mind, too, that even in the horrible economy we suffered recently, the City of Tucson balanced the budget, retained some reserves (some cities exhausted all reserves to get by) and improved our position on key long-term obligations such as the local pension and self-insurance fund. I am ready to work with colleagues and the community to balance the budget again this year, and think we can share some pride in how we’ve done so together through the downturn. As we look to restore service and staffing levels in our highest priority areas, we have to be sure our choices are both responsible and sustainable.
Responsible, Sustainable and Moral
Former Mayor George Miller passed away on Christmas day, 2014. He served on the City Council for thirteen years and as Mayor for eight. His public service and his entire life (as a veteran, teacher, painting contractor, and family man) offered all who knew him inspiration, great stories, and an example of a life well-lived. Those impressions will last.
He and his wife, Rosalyn, graciously Co-Chaired my first campaign for City Council in 2005. I’m not sure how I would have found the courage to run had they declined to do so. Throughout that year and well beyond that they both offered me encouragement and advice (ok and some occasional scolding, truth be told). And Mayor Miller’s advice on the budgeting process has stuck with me to this day. “The budget isn’t a document of just numbers to make work; it’s a moral document. It has to reflect our community’s values or you got the numbers all wrong.” I’m grateful to have learned from such a generous and principled man.
Our Service
Many of you have been served by the outstanding staff in the Ward 3 office, including Tamara Prime, Brianda Vilá, Matt Kopec and Judith Anderson. We recently reviewed and reorganized our efforts some so all of their talents and energy can do the most good for our community. We also welcomed back Bennett Bernal in January. Bennett is familiar to folks in Ward 3 from the days when he served in the Ward 3 office (before 2005 and in the first year of my service on the Council). He expressed the desire to engage in special projects of benefit on the ground in the Ward, and we couldn’t imagine finding anyone more hard-working and passionate to join us in doing just that (I oughta note that he already joined us in our intensive neighborhood cleanups last year as a dedicated volunteer). Thank you, Bennett, for your desire to serve with us and thanks to Tamara, Brianda, Matt and Judith as well for serving so capably.
Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday
Monday gives us an opportunity to pause, whether working or not, and remember the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He refused to be passive or silent in the face of injustice; his sacrifices and his leadership changed the course of our country. I hope we can all be inspired to work harder for the common good in his honor over the coming year.
Thanks for all the ways you do so.
Notes from Staff:
Congratulations Sergeant Baca and Welcome Officer Lucas!
Congratulations, thanks and best wishes to Al Baca, our former TPD Community Resource Officer (CRO) for Operations Division Midtown. He has just been promoted to sergeant!  Ward 3, you'll remember, is served by two TPD divisions, with Midtown covering the neighborhoods east of Campbell Avenue and Operations Division West handling everything from Campbell to Silverbell Road.
Replacing Sgt. Baca as the CRO for Midtown is Officer Daniel Lucas, who recently had the opportunity to work with the new Midtown unit dedicated to property crimes. "We recovered a stolen vehicle, arrested the people responsible, and recovered drugs and paraphernalia from a related apartment," he said, "so I know first-hand that this unit is out there making things happen."
Look for Officer Lucas at Coffee with a Cop sometime soon. We say, "Welcome, Officer Lucas."  He says:  "Stay vigilant, Midtown!"
Pedestrian Safety Bond Proposal
As you may be aware, the biggest portion of the proposed Pedestrian Safety and Comfort Bond Proposal are 16 signature projects including Glenn between Oracle and Country Club and Dodge between Glenn and 5th Street, which could significantly impact traffic in your neighborhood. The Living Streets Alliance and several community members were on the Pima County Bond Advisory Committee's agenda at the last meeting (January 9th) and packed the room with more than 200 supporters and 23 speakers who did an excellent job highlighting the importance of having a walkable region. The committee postponed its decision until the next meeting, Friday, January 23rd at 8:00 am at Riverpark Inn located at I-10 and Cushing.

If you would like to make a 1-minute comment to the committee during the call to the audience and would like some help with talking points, or if you simply want more information

on the proposal, contact Evren Sonmez at Living Streets Alliance (440-9131) or check out their website:


Tax Prep Available at the Ward 3 Office Starting February 3rd
We are pleased to announce that the United Way VITA program will once again be available at Ward 3 to help you prepare your tax return!
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 – 12:00 pm starting February 3rd and ending April 11th.  Our office is located at 1510 E. Grant Rd. Appointments not necessary – participants will be seen on a first come, first served basis. Please make certain to bring the following with you:
  • Picture ID for taxpayer and spouse (if applicable)
  • Original Social Security card or Social Security statement (1099-SR) for EACH family member
  • Proof of income, including W2s and 1099s
  • Documentation of deductible expenses (if applicable)
  • Account and routing numbers for direct deposit of refunds
  • Prior year tax return (recommended, but not required)
  • Form 1095-A if you purchased health insurance through the Marketplace
  • Dependents’ proof of income if you purchased health insurance through the Marketplace
Let us know if you have any questions at 520-791-4711 or ward3@tucsonaz.gov. For more info about VITA, visit www.unitedwaytucson.org/vita
See You at City Hall!
Charter Review Committee Tuesday, January 20th 4:00 – 7:00 pm
Call to audience is at the beginning and end of each meeting. Topics may include the following:
  • Charter Provisions relating to Access to Government and Transparency
  • Appointment and Termination of Department Directors by Manager and Oversight by Mayor and Council
  • Forms of Government in which Mayor Presides at Council Meetings, Cannot Vote, but has a Veto that is Subject to Override by Council Super Majority
  • Council Elections and Size
  • Elected Official Salaries
  • Campaign Finance Provisions
Mayor & Council Meeting – Wednesday, January 21st
Study Session at 1:00 pm
Regular Session at 5:30 pm
Mayor & Council Agendas and Minutes: https://www.tucsonaz.gov/clerks/mcdocs
Ward 3 Events:
- Friends of the Library Book Sale – Friday, January 16th – Sunday, January 19th 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 Village Farm Day of Service – Tucson Village Farm invites you the to join them at the farm, 4210 North Campbell, on Monday, January 19th from 9am-12pm to be a part of Martin Luther King Volunteer Day of Service. For more information, please call 626-5161.
- Ward 3 Neighborhood Monthly Meeting - Wednesday, January 21st, 6:00-8:00 pm at Woods Memorial Library in the Large Meeting Room.  The program will be "TEP's 2015 Solar Program Overview" and the speaker will be Justin Orkney from Tucson Electric Power.
- Ward 3 Open House! – Thursday, January 22nd 5:30 – 7:00 pm at the Ward III Council Office 1510 E. Grant Road. Join Council Member Karin Uhlich, the Ward III staff, and your neighbors for a fun evening to meet, mingle, and look forward to a great year ahead. Light refreshments from Pastiche will be served. For more info, contact Brianda Torres-Traylor at 520-791-4711 or ward3@tucsonaz.gov. We look forward to seeing you there!
- Blue Moon Community Garden Work Day – Saturday, January 24th 9:00 – 11:00 am at 1375 N. 13th Avenue. Join your neighbors at Barrio Blue Moon to help maintain the beautiful community garden!
- WMG GreenStreets Workshop – Sunday, January 25th 8:00 am – 1:00 pm. Help create lush streets in Jefferson Park - a central Tucson neighborhood! Neighbors will be installing rain gardens in the right of way to benefit an adjacent urban wash through a Conserve to Enhance grant. You'll learn best practices for designing and implementing stormwater-harvesting rain gardens. Kieran Sikdar will be facilitating the fun, learning, and work. This workshop is limited to 15 participants and advanced registration is required. Please register here: https://watershedmg.org/civicrm/event/info?id=432&reset=1
Neighborhood/Coalition Meetings:
- Samos NA – Tuesday, January 20th 6:30 – 8:00 pm at Salpointe Trophy Room
- EGGstravaganza Planning – Wednesday, January 21st 10:00 – 11:30 at the Donna Liggins Center
Community Support Spotlight:
- Street Count 2015 Volunteer Training – Monday, January 26th 5:30 – 7:30 pm at Trinity Presbyterian Church 400 E. University Blvd. Street Count 2015 is coming up on January 29th and Tucson Pima Collaboration to End Homelessness is seeking your help! Volunteers are needed to make sure that every person is counted to help secure service and resources for those experiencing homelessness in our community. All volunteers must attend a training to meet their team and prepare for the Street Count. For more info or to donate, contact streetcount2015@gmail.com.
-SACASA Crisis Advocate Training – Requires multiple training sessions throughout month of February. Join the fight against sexual assault and attend Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault’s 45 hour Crisis Advocate Training to see how you can help. Learn more from Tania Sierra at 520-327-1171 ext. 1957 or email tsierra@arizonaschildren.org
- Literacy Connects New Volunteer Orientation – Thursday, February 5th 10:00 – 11:30 am and 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.
Forums, Training, Conversations:
- Black Life Matters Conference – Thursday, January 15th – Saturday, January 17th at the University of Arizona Student Union Memorial Center and Dunbar Cultural Center. Hundreds of scholars, writers, artists, activists, policymakers, and community members will come together to discuss why Black life matters and what can be done about sustained racialized state violence. The conference will include lectures, hands-on working sessions, arts and performances, and social justice actions, as well as significant time for conversation. The end of the conference will lead into planned MLK activities in Tucson. Co-sponsored by the UA Department of Gender and Women’s Studies. Free and open to all. Register, view the program, and learn more at http://www.blacklifemattersconference.com/
- League of Women Voters Presents: Is Democracy for Sale? -  Saturday, January 17th 9:30 am at Access Tucson TV Studio 124 East Broadway. In this past election, the League of Women Voters had to cancel statewide race forums in October because half of the candidates declined to participate.  The League ended up having ‘conversations’ with candidates from only one side of the ticket.  The conversations were very helpful in helping voters to know their candidates but it was only half the picture.
This spring, the League has decided to discuss the ‘no-show’ phenomenon and “dark money” which is not only happening at the state level but also nationally. To kick it off, the first meeting will be televised by Access Tucson and will feature discussions by Barrett Marson, Max Fose and David Leibowwitz, political consultants, and Jim Ninzel, Braham Resnick and Jeremy Duda, political reporters. Former candidates Christine Jones and Terry Goddard will also be on the panel. To reserve a seat, call the Greater Tucson League office at 327-7652. The program will be aired on Access Tucson, the City of Tucson's Channel 12 and other cable channels.
- Crime Free Multi-Housing – Thursday, January 22nd 8:00 am – 5:00 pm at the Patrick J. Hardesty Multi-Service Center, 1100 S. Alvernon. When destructive tenants operate out of rental property, neighborhoods suffer. Crime Free Multi-Housing is a solution-oriented program that partners property owners, residents, and law enforcement to eliminate crime in multi-housing properties.  In some complexes it has cut neighborhood crime by 70%.
Even if you don’t have many multi-unit housing complexes in your community, you can learn a lot about landlord accountability from this free, 8-hour seminar presented by the police and fire departments. To register for the next class, contact Becky Noel at Rebecca.Noel@tucsonaz.gov. To learn more about the full program, go to https://www.tucsonaz.gov/police/crime-free-multi-housing.
- What is Bus Rapid Transit? – Friday, January 23rd 6:00 – 7:30 pm at TEP Headquarters 88 E. Broadway. Learn how the 2014 Outstanding Public Transit System decided to use BRT, why they chose it for three separate routes in 2007, 2013, and 2017, and what the results have been.
Join us for a presentation and Q&A with Tom Schwetz, Planning and Development Manager for Lane Transit District (LTD) in Eugene, Oregon. During his more than 30 years in regional transportation planning and project management, Tom has worked to facilitate fruitful regional policy decisions for regional change. This includes the direct planning and development.
- Neighborhood Leadership Institute - Saturday, January 31st 9:00 – 11:00 am at Pima County Housing Center 801 W. Congress. Start the new year by sharing your neighborhood's challenges, accomplishments, ideas and concerns at a  Neighborhood Leadership Institute Roundtable & Coffee. Reserve your place today at 243-6769 or Leslie.Nixon@pima.gov
Citywide Events:
- 24th Annual Jewish Film Festival – Thursday, January 15th – Saturday, January 24th. The Tucson International Jewish Film Festival, now in its 24th year, is one of the longest running festivals in the country. Through cinema, the festival promotes the preservation of Jewish culture and encourages diversity. The festival features 19 diverse films from all over the world and free popcorn is provided at every screening. Ticket prices start at $9 with special prices for students and seniors. Visit www.TucsonJewishFilmFestival.org or contact the Jewish Community Center at 299-3000 ext.106 for tickets.
- Tucson Jazz Festival – Friday, January 16th – Wednesday, January 28th Various times and locations. Enjoy thirteen days of jazz music, food, and festival fun in the Old Pueblo! Artists performances include musical showcases in legendary downtown Tucson venues such as The Rialto, The Fox, and Club Congress, with live music daily throughout the city. The festival will feature jazz pianist Billy Childs with singer/songwriter JD Souther, Grammy Award-winning Robert Glasper Experiment, and jazz vocalist Allan Harris. Two UApresents jazz shows are also included in the line-up: vocalist Dianne Reeves and The Hot Sardines.  The festival ends on January 28th with a special production as composer Burt Bacharach takes the stage with an 11-piece ensemble. http://tucsonjazzfestival.org
- MLK March and Celebration – Monday, January 19th beginning at 9:00 am at Santa Rita Park 401 E. 22nd St. The annual MLK March and Celebration, begins Monday at Santa Rita Park with the festival following at Armory Park (221 S. 6th Ave.). Enjoy activities from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm! University of Arizona African American Student Affairs: http://aasa.arizona.edu/2015-city-tucson-mlk-march-and-celebration
- Day of Service – Monday, January 19th. Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild will open a Day of Service Monday to help celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The event begins at 9:00 am at Los Ranchitos Elementary School, 2054 E Ginter Rd. Volunteers will join forces with a number of other national service teams to participate in a cleanup and beautification project at the school. The event is part of Arizona Serve's AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) program. Arizona Serve: http://arizonaserve.org/
- Through a Lens DarklyMonday, January 19th 5:00 pm at Loft Cinema 3233 E Speedway. The first documentary to explore the role of photography in shaping the identity, aspirations and social emergence of African Americans from slavery to present, Through a Lens Darkly traces the nearly 200-year struggle to counter demeaning and stereotyped images with positive and authentic ones, probing the recesses of American history by discovering photographs that have been suppressed, forgotten and lost. Admission is free. https://loftcinema.org/film/through-a-lens-darkly-black-photographers-and-the-emergence-of-a-people/
- Light the Night: Get a Free Bike Light! – Tuesday, January 20th starting at 5:00 pm at Food City 2950 S. 6th Ave. 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/
Did You Know...?
that City of Tucson will be closed in observation of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday holiday on Monday, January 19, 2015?  Residential and commercial trash and recycling will not be collected on Monday. All City of Tucson residential and commercial customers will have their trash and recycling service delayed by one day. The Los Reales Landfill will be open.Holiday collection schedules are available online at https://www.tucsonaz.gov/environmental-services or if you have a smartphone, download the free ‘my waste’™ App to have access to all collection schedules.City offices will be closed on Monday, January 19, 2015, however, 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, January 24, 2015 from 8:00 am - 3:00 pm.
that volunteer docents are needed for the Gem Show? Volunteers are needed to represent Downtown Tucson during the Tucson Gem, Mineral, and Fossil Showcase. Volunteer docents will welcome visitors, help the public with information on restaurants, attractions, hotels, the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar, public transportation, parking, and more. Training will be provided through the Downtown Docents program, a project of the Downtown Tucson Partnership. Volunteer opportunities will be available daily from January 31st through February 15th. All shifts will be from 10:00 am until 2:00 pm. Training sessions will be held January 11th at 3:00 pm, January 12th at noon, and January 14th at 6:00 pm in the Park Tucson conference room, 110 E. Pennington, Ste. 150. Volunteers will receive Downtown Docent T-shirts for their service. To volunteer, please email Brandi Haga-Blackman at brandi@downtowntucson.org.
that Senior Olympic Games began this week? The 2015 Senior Olympic Festival is a celebration of fitness to promote healthy living and an active lifestyle among seniors. This is Tucson’s largest organized senior activity and is open to anyone 50 years of age or older. This year marks the 31st year of the annual games. Competition began Monday at more than 30 venues throughout Tucson, with final events on February 1st.  Visit the Senior Olympic Festival at http://www.tucsonseniorgames.org/ or Tucson Parks and Recreation at https://www.tucsonaz.gov/parks for more information.
that both Tucson Fire Department and Tucson Police Department are accepting applications for recruits?
Applicants to TFD must be at least 18 years old and meet other eligibility requirements. Once those requirements are met, potential recruits must complete training in the department's academy. The deadline to apply is January 21st, 2015. More information is available at https://www.tucsonaz.gov/fire/tucson-fire-department-training
TPD is accepting applications for the position of Police Officer Recruit. Successful candidates from this testing period will be considered for any funded academy class(es) through October 2015. The earliest academy that will be filled from this list will be in April. Applications are being accepted through July 19th, 2015. Read more from TPD: https://www.tucsonaz.gov/police/jobs Official job description from City of Tucson: [expired/outdated link removed]
that a new app has been launched for metered parking in Tucson? Motorists parking in Downtown Tucson and districts along the Sun Link Streetcar route now can pay for metered parking via the new GoTucson smartphone app, launched this week by the City of Tucson Department of Transportation’s Park Tucson. Payment also can be made via a mobile website or local phone number. In addition to parking, the app soon will double as a transit app, allowing people to pay Sun Tran or Sun Link fares. That phase is expected be finalized sometime this spring. A 25-cent convenience fee will be added to each mobile payment transaction. Customers will be informed of the convenience fee before confirming payment. GoTucson was developed in partnership with Charlotte, North Carolina-based Passport. Visit Park Tucson at https://www.tucsonaz.gov/park-tucson.
Download the app for iOS: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/gotucson/id951267746?mt=8
Download the app for Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.passportparking.mobile.gotucson
that the Tucson Association of Realtors Shootout (formerly known as the Ft. Lowell Shootout) runs tomorrow through Sunday at various soccer fields around Tucson? Organizers say the event will have 5,000 soccer players, plus their coaches and families in attendance, contributing up to $5 million to the local economy. To learn more, visit Tucson Association of Realtors Shootout at http://www.fortlowellshootout.com/index.php.
…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 from January 24 - May 16 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/
that the new year is also open enrollment season to sign up for and renew health coverage in the Marketplace (aka Obamacare)? The deadline to sign up for a health plan is February 15, 2015. Application systems are running more smoothly this year and there are more tools available to help people shop for affordable or low cost health plans. Last year, 8 out of 10 Arizonans who enrolled in the Marketplace got financial assistance to help pay for premiums.
Arizonans can use the Connector to go on line and schedule an appointment for free help in your area to complete an application for Marketplace or AHCCCS coverage. Anyone with an internet connection can use the Connector at www.coveraz.org. People without internet access across Arizona can also schedule an appointment directly through a live operator during regular business hours Monday through Friday from 7:00 am – 6:00 pm by dialing 211.