Karin's Note: Friday, January 3, 2014

Karin's Note: Friday, January 03, 2014

-Ward 3 Events
-Upcoming Area Neighborhood and Coalition Meeting(s)
-Citywide Events
-Did You Know?



Dear Tucsonans,

Happy New Year! I’m excited to celebrate and further improve Tucson with you during 2014.

Mayor Rothschild recently released his Two-Year Vision and Plan. I encourage you to review it at https://www.mayorrothschild.com as well as Plan Tucson, Tucson’s General Plan passed by city voters in November at https://www.tucsonaz.gov/pdsd/plan-tucson, as you consider ways of engaging in the betterment of our community. Our greatest successes will come from pulling in the same direction toward shared goals.

Tackling fiscal challenges will be central in the work of Mayor and Council over the coming months. I’ll continue to advocate that we do that with an eye toward the long term so we resist quick fixes that could undermine the future health of our economy and essential local services. A few specifics come to mind:

Restructuring and Regional Cooperation

Some of our greatest cost savings over recent years have been achieved in partnership with other jurisdictions in the region. Our new Water Services policies have saved most water providers in the region considerable infrastructure spending by gaining access to their CAP water through Tucson Water’s established system (i.e., water wheeling agreements, which also generate revenue for Tucson Water). Our intergovernmental agreements with Pima County (for the maintenance of the entire “Loop Linear Park” as well as planned sports fields at the Rillito Park), the Pascua Yaqui Nation (for their acquisition/operation of the Neighborhood Center in Old Pascua), and TUSD/Doolen School (for soccer fields and a neighborhood walking track) all offer glimpses of how we can sustain top-notch recreational services and facilities without outpacing the City’s resources available for that purpose. I will be working diligently with colleagues and community partners to identify and act upon more of these opportunities.

Multi-Modal Transportation Investments

Our transportation budgets have been particularly stressed due to the recession and federal/state budget cuts. At the same time we all recognize that transportation/logistics (including trade) should be a central pillar of our strengthening economy and that mobility throughout Tucson and the region must be assured for the well-being of our residents and the success of local commerce. Both the Mayor’s Plan and our General Plan highlight goals for more modern and multimodal transportation infrastructure. I will be focusing on these efforts so that the dollars we spend build toward the future we want for Tucson. Clearly that work goes hand-in-hand with insuring that we repair our existing streets and infrastructure as the foundation.

Better Governance

The way we approach all of our longer-term challenges and goals relates directly to how we govern. The better we can reach decisions and insure accountability in implementing those decisions, the smoother our path of progress will be. The dynamics of governing lie in part within the City Charter and further within State Statutes and City Ordinances. We ought to lay out those existing parameters and review them through a sound public process so we can consider changes that would improve the City’s functioning and efficiency while reinforcing the vibrancy and impacts of direct public participation. That’s a lot of words to say that our structure and processes should always evolve to help the City fulfill its duties in the best interest of the public. Right now we have the Manager as CEO versus the Mayor (more like the Chairman of the Board) and six Councilmembers essentially serving “at-large” due to our citywide General Election structure (only partisan primaries are decided at the Ward level). The Mayor/Council “Board of Directors” sets budgets and broad policy, and the Manager and staff hold the power of implementation. It could be that shoring up our Ordinances/Processes (as we have through Mayor/Council adoption of explicit Financial Policies and Procedures) will be the best approach. There may also be specific Charter revisions worth sending to the voters for consideration. In any case the key question I’ll be pushing is “how can the City function better to fulfill its duties to the public?”

Along with these more broad and long-term matters of importance, every month we’ll be conducting our work to address immediate issues. Our next Mayor and Council meeting day will be on Wednesday, January 8th.  The agendas and background materials for both the Study and Regular Sessions are available here: https://www.tucsonaz.gov/clerks/mcdocs.  As always, I welcome your input on the issues.

I look forward to the coming year and the coming term in office serving you. Thanks and have a great weekend.




Ward 3 Events:

-Free Post-Holiday Freecycle Swap - Saturday, January 4 from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. Woods Memorial Library, 3455 N. First Avenue. Have items you never use?  Bring it to the library to swap for something you’d rather own!  More info: 791-4010.


- Beyond Storytelling at Valley of the Moon – Saturday, January 11 from 3:00 – 7:00 p.m. 2544 East Allen Road. Fairytales, true love and adventure await you and your children during this storytelling event. This is a free event with a request to bring new or gently used books to donate to Make Way for Books. This event is part of the overall Beyond Tucson 2014 – Saturday, January 11 which will commemorate those lost on January 8, 2011.  This community-wide outdoor festival will celebrate fun, fitness and family. For a list of events: http://www.beyond-tucson.org/


Upcoming Neighborhood and Coalition Meeting(s):


Feldman’s NA – Thursday, January 2 at 7:00 p.m. St. Luke’s Home, 615 E. Adams

Mansfield Park Coalition – Wednesday, January 8 at 6:30 p.m. Parkside Terrace Apartments, 2150 N. 4th Avenue

El Cortez NA – Thursday, January 9 at 6:30 p.m. Parkside Terrace Apartments, 2150 N. 4th Avenue

Mountain/1st NA – Saturday, January 11 at 10:00 a.m. Mitchell Park, 1100 E. Mitchell

The Oracle Project Steering Committee (TOPS) – Tuesday, January 14 at 5:30 p.m. TPD Westside Substation, 1310 W. Miracle Mile

Alvernon/Grant Initiative (AGI/TNBC) – Tuesday, January 14 at 6:00 p.m. Emerge! 2425 N. Haskell

Campus Community Relations Committee (CCRC) – Tuesday, January 14 at 6:00 p.m. U of A Student Union


Citywide Events:


-Recycle Your Christmas Tree – December 26 through January 12, 2014. Locations are open 7 days a week during daylight hours. In Ward 3 you may take your tree to: Rillito Race Track, 4502 N. 1st Avenue or to Silverbell Road, northeast of Goret. There will be signs indicating where your trees should be placed. In addition, the City of Tucson will have wood chips available for pick-up at Udall Park, Randolph Golf Course and the Los Reales Landfill. Bring a container and take home some free wood chips for your garden. For more information: 791-5000.

-Beyond Tucson 2014 – Saturday, January 11 will commemorate those lost on January 8, 2011.  This community-wide outdoor festival will celebrate fun, fitness and family. For a list of events: http://www.beyond-tucson.org/

-7th Annual Beat Back Buffelgrass – Saturday, January 25. Buffelgrass is a wildfire waiting to happen. Event is sponsored by Tucson Clean and Beautiful, Southern Arizona Buffelgrass and various groups and municipalities.  Volunteers needed throughout the Tucson area. Sign up online: www.buffelgrass.org


Did You Know...?


…that Woods Memorial Library hosts a bilingual story time each month? From 11:00 – 11:45 a.m. on the first Saturday of each month? Come and hear stories and sing songs in both Spanish and English!


…that Watershed Management Group is offering grant funding for schools to participate in WMG’s Schoolyard Water Conservation Education Program in 2014? Is your school interested in creating an outdoor classroom, harvesting rainwater, and creating native habitat?  WMG will select 4–6 schools in the Tucson and Phoenix regions to participate in the program with up to $4,000 per school to cover project costs.  As part of the application process, at least one school representative is required to attend the School Grant Workshop. The school representative should be the teacher applying; school administrators and parent volunteers are invited to attend as well. These workshops will cover details about the application and grant funding along with a baseline training in water harvesting and urban wildlife habitat. The next workshop is on January 9, 2014 from 4:30 – 7:00 p.m. To register: https://watershedmg.org/civicrm/event/info?id=313&reset=1
Contact Joaquin Murrieta-Saldivar, Schoolyard Program Coordinator, at jmurrieta@watershedmg.org, with any questions.