Karin's Note: Friday, June 13, 2014

Karin's Note: Friday, June 13, 2014
-Ward 3 Events
-Upcoming Area Neighborhood and Coalition Meeting(s)
-Citywide Events
-Did You Know?
Dear Tucsonans,
Here are a few updates. Our next Mayor and Council meeting will be held June 17th.
Shelter for Immigrant Youth
You may have heard about the urgent need to respond to tens of thousands of immigrants, primarily Central American, youth being held in Texas and Nogales, Arizona by federal Customs and Border Patrol. Some as young as 5 and 6 years old have traveled without parents or guardians from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. No doubt there will be lots of finger-pointing and shouting matches in Washington D.C. as the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) scrambles to reunify the children with family members already in the U.S. The fact remains that the border facilities cannot adequately shelter and feed them; DHHS has been working in cities across the country to set up transitional shelters.
Efforts to do so in Tucson hit a snag when a site in Ward 3 was initially cleared through zoning, but then told their certificate of occupancy had to be rescinded. I stepped in and we found an appropriate solution, a temporary certificate of occupancy while the shelter agency pursues their standard approvals (this abides by City Code and our established guidelines). I intervened because yet another layer of chaos and scrambling would have undoubtedly contributed to the suffering of the youth. The property will be managed by a professional agency overseen by DHHS and the site had already been largely unoccupied, which could have spelled future trouble if vandalism or blight was to result. For these reasons I believe we acted wisely.
I have not been informed of any other sites under consideration in Tucson or Pima County. I do applaud media coverage of this humanitarian crisis. Bishop Kicanas has convened a meeting today to mobilize broader community support and donations for the affected children. I will keep you posted as those plans and opportunities are established (see interim update regarding Pio Decimo’s outreach below in “Did You Know…”).
Utility Deposit Practices
For several months my staff and I have been working with Tucson Water to ask that they clarify and vet their policies and practices with regard to taking and refunding (or not) deposits from customers. We had learned of several instances impacting Ward 3 small businesses. Owners did not receive the fair notice and clarity they needed to fulfill the evolving deposit guidelines and experienced serious cash flow problems as a result until we intervened and Tucson Water stepped back. I am pleased that Tucson Water has been reviewing our input and will be scheduling time for public discussion/review prior to further implementation.
I offered an amended motion last week with regard to deposit policies for Environmental Services for this reason. Because the Code basically indicates the Director of Tucson Water can institute deposit practices through his/her sole discretion and Environmental Services sought that same vague authority, I asked that we work together to formally outline, publicly review, and then post fair notice for our utility customers. I don’t doubt that, like most other utilities, deposits and other arrangements (e.g. auto-debiting authorization for payments on accounts that have been delinquent) can shore up the fiscal strength of Tucson Water and Environmental Services. I think customers would likely support such practices and comply once given clarity and fair notice. I’ll let you know when the discussion is slated for a Mayor and Council meeting. In the meantime, no more hundreds to thousands of dollars of billing surprises.
Urban Agriculture
My staff and I were active with urban agriculture advocates during the formulation of the City’s General Plan (subsequently approved by Tucson voters in 2013). The City has recently been hosting community dialogues so that our codes and policies can be revised to better reflect the goals and objectives outlined in that General Plan. In general I will be looking for guidance to make it easier for people to engage in gardening, raising chickens, etc. on their properties. We already have regulations on the books to prevent nuisance noise, problem traffic/parking, and health threats in neighborhoods. My hope is that we can avoid assuming that urban agriculture will cause problems, and continue to address actual issues under our existing codes for the specific nuisance or problem instances that might arise. I’ll send you the set of recommendations formulated by staff for consideration by Mayor and Council when they’re ready.
June 17th Mayor and Council Meeting
You can view the June 17th agenda and associated materials at this link:
Let me know your thoughts, and have a great weekend.
Ward 3 Events:
- Juneteenth Festival – Saturday, June 14th 3:00 – 9:00 pm at the Donna Liggins Rec Center 2160 N. 6th Avenue. Juneteenth commemorates African American Achievement and the end of slavery in the United States. Come celebrate Tucson’s 44th Annual Juneteenth Festival as we acknowledge this historic moment and the journey of freedom for people around the globe. All are welcome! The event will include speakers, workshops, music, cultural entertainment, historic presentations and exhibits, as well as a TUSD Essay Contest and YMCA Basketball Tournament. Enjoy a free soul food plate from 3:00 – 4:30 pm! For more information, call 499-7014 or email jtfestival2014@gmail.com.
- A New Beginning Celebratory Reception – Saturday, June 14th 3:00 pm at the International Rescue Committee 3100 N Campbell Suite #101.  Join the IRC and members of our refugee community for this celebratory reception of A New Beginning, a photo essay & narrative depicting local refugee women and their children as they begin their new lives feeling supported and empowered. For more information on the project, visit http://www.clickinmoms.com/blog/a-new-beginning-a-philanthropic-photo-project-by-jenna-reich/.
- Save A Life Heartsaver CPR & First Aid Course – Wednesday, June 18th 9:00 am – 2:00 pm at the Ward 3 City Council Office 1510 E. Grant Rd. Save A Life is a non-profit organization affiliated with the Tucson Fire Department. The Heartsaver CPR Course is designed to teach CPR and relief of foreign-body airway obstruction to all lay rescuers, particularly those who are expected to respond to emergencies in the workplace. Although the course may be used to teach CPR to all lay rescuers, it is specifically designed for lay rescuers who are required to obtain a course completion card --- a credential --- documenting completion of a CPR course. All rescuers are trained in adult, infant and child CPR and foreign-body airway obstruction $25.00 fee -  PayPal or cash only. https://www.savealifetfd.com/
- Urban Agriculture & Harvesting Forum – Wednesday, June 18th 6:00 – 8:00 pm at the Ward 3 City Council Office 1510 E. Grant Road. Join the Ward 3 Neighbors Alliance for their annual forum where gardeners and interested neighbors can learn about resources in the community as well as look at the big picture around urban gardening, harvesting, and sustainable food production in Tucson. Topics will include creating a Citizen Science & Desert Food Masters certification, matching food supply to demand, and creating a true desert oasis in Tucson. W3NA hopes that from this meeting neighbors can work together to create a vision of optimal food security in Tucson for the future and that this may begin a community wide organization to work together for the well-being of everyone.
- Park Avenue Transportation Enhancement Project Open House – Wednesday, June 18th 6:00 – 7:30 pm at Salpointe High School Cafeteria. Join TDOT staff to learn about improvements to Park Avenue between Speedway and Ft Lowell Road, including a decomposed granite pedestrian path, a pilot project approved by the Regional Transportation Authority. There will also be water harvesting features, landscape improvements and a new crosswalk.  These improvements were initiated by five neighborhoods who collaborated on a Transportation Enhancement grant in 2006. Construction is scheduled for summer 2015. For materials in accessible formats or languages other than English, please call 520-791-4371 by June 13th.
- Rain Crow Gallery Summer Solstice Party – Saturday, June 21st 7:00 pm at La Placita de la Luna 204 W. Grant Rd. Celebrate the longest day of the year with Rain Crow Gallery! Enjoy light refreshments, live music, and freshly crafted micro batches of fair trade and organic coffee that is roasted in-house. The recently expanded gallery will be open late for cool viewing of beautiful, local works of art. Create fun and beautiful upcycled wind chimes with 100% of the sales going directly to the Community Food Bank. Indigo Oasis will also be there offering skin consultations, chair massage, booking discounts on services, free samples and prize drawings. Visit http://raincrowgallery.com/ for more info.
- Benefit Concert for the Mountain View Neighborhood Tree Planting Project - Sunday, June 29th 6:00 - 9:00 pm at Boondocks Lounge 3306 N. 1st Avenue. The Boondocks Lounge is hosting a musical benefit to assist with the cost of caring for the new trees planted near the popular bar and grill. The Mountain View Neighborhood Association is working towards creating a "green belt" for future farmers markets and community gatherings. Boondocks owners Cathy Warner and Bill Shew have owned the venue for 18 years and regularly host concerts and musical benefits for nonprofit organizations and local concerns.
The event features award-winning singer/songwriter Kevin Pakulis offering a lively mix of his original and uniquely-interpreted American songs. Joining his Band's regular line-up of Kevin Heiderman on bass, drummer Les Merrihew and Joel Dvoskin on guitar and vocals will be Special Guests pedal-steel guitarist Neil Harry and singer Ned Sutton. $7.00 Suggested Donation. www.boondockslounge.com
Save the Date!
Tucson Talks Transit with Jarrett Walker Friday, July 11th 5:00 pm at Tucson Electric Power Company 88 E. Broadway.  One of the leading national experts on public transportation is coming to town in July to talk transit.  Mr. Walker is an international consultant in public transit planning and policy, known for his work on educating stakeholders about the choices that transit requires, building clear consultation processes, and helping organizations form coherent and implementable transit goals. The public lecture begins at 6:00 pm, but there will be a reception and information from local transit groups beginning at 5:00 pm. https://www.livingstreetsalliance.org/event/tucson-talks-transit-with-jarrett-walker/
Upcoming Neighborhood and Coalition Meetings:
- Mountain/1st NA – Saturday, June 14th at 9:00 am Mitchell Park, 1060 E. Mitchell
- Mountain/1st CAG - Saturday, June 14th at 10:00 am Mitchell Park, 1060 E. Mitchell
- Cabrini NA – Tuesday, June 17th at 6:00 pm Vineyard City Church  3150 E Ft Lowell
- Samos NA – Tuesday, June 17th at 6:30 pm Salpointe  Trophy Rm 1545 E Copper St.
- Mountain View NA – Thursday, June 19th at 6:00 pm at Habitat for Humanity 3501 N Mountain Ave.
Citywide Events:
- Household Hazardous Waste Collection - Saturday, June 14, 2014 8:00 am – 12:00 pm at the Clements Center  8155 E. Poinciana Drive. Do you have unused chemicals, oils or pesticides sitting in your shed or garage? The City of Tucson and Pima County have an option for you to clean out your space while keeping these hazardous materials out of the environment. Drop off of HHW is free for residents. Accepted materials include automotive fluids, auto and rechargeable batteries from electronics equipment, toxic cleaning products, computer equipment ($2 for monitors without computer), and more. The program only accepts materials generated in homes—no commercially-generated materials are accepted. More information is available on-line at https://www.tucsonaz.gov/es/household-hazardous-waste, by downloading the “my-waste” App or by calling ES Customer Service at 791-3171.
- Dancing in the Streets Arizona Presents A Midsummer Night’s Dream - Sunday, June 15th 3:00 pm at the Temple of Music and Art 330 S. Scott Ave. Join Dancing in the Streets Arizona, a nonprofit dance program primarily for at-risk youth, as they perform Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Tickets ($8 and $10) are available at Antigone Book Store, the Dancing in the Streets studio at 88 W. 38th Street, or at the Temple of Music and Art box office on the day of the performance. Visit https://www.ditsaz.org/  or call 520-298-7738 for more information.
- World Refugee Day Celebration/USCIS Citizenship Ceremony – Thursday, June 19th 10:00 am – 12:00 pm at Catalina Magnet High School Auditorium, 3645 E. Pima. Join the Refugee Integrated Service Provider Network (RISP-Net) and Tucson Unified School District in celebrating World Refugee Day with an event that  will bring together refugees and local community members to celebrate the accomplishments of refugee youth.  The program will feature cultural performances by refugee youth, as well as speeches by TUSD Superintendent HT Sanchez, Mayor Rothschild, other Tucson dignitaries, and Charles Shipman, State Refugee Coordinator. A special Naturalization Ceremony for refugee youth will take place at 11:00 am. The event is free and open to the public.
- Guided Mesquite Harvests and Plantings - Thursday, June 19th 5:00 pm harvest on foot, 6:00 pm harvest by bicycle at the Santa Cruz River Farmers' Market, 100 S. Avenida del Convento. These hands-on harvest tours show you how to identify and sample the best-tasting mesquite trees, how to harvest safely, ethically, and responsibly, and how and when to plant the best bean trees. Participants are encouraged to bring sun protection, reusable water bottle, and carry-bags for harvested pods.  $5 to $10 per person (sliding scale). FREE Bean-Tree Processing Demonstrations will be offered before and/or after the Guided Harvests and Plantings, 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm.
- Cinema La Placita Rear WindowThursday, June 19th 7:30 pm at La Placita Village 110 S. Church Avenue. It’s Cinema La Placita’s 15th season showing classic movies outdoors in downtown Tucson! June is Hitchcock month and this week will feature his 1954 film Rear Window, starring Grace Kelly and James Stewart. $3 admission includes all the popcorn you can eat and goes directly toward funding the series. More info at http://www.cinemalaplacita.com/
- WorldFEST Jam & Celebration– Friday, June 20th 4:30 – 5:00 pm in front of the Joel Valdez Library. The Jacome Plaza in front of the main library will be the stage for a ‘surprise’ global music and dance performance. Come participate or watch as things unfold! Arrive by 4:30 pm for instructions. But don’t show that you know…it’s flash mob style. Contact Mia Hansen at miajhansen08@gmail.com for more info or to RSVP.
- World Refugee Day Potluck Picnic – Friday, June 20th 6:00 – 8:00 pm at Armory Park Center 220 S. 5th Ave. Everyone is welcome to join in this potluck picnic for World Refugee Day. Come celebrate new futures and conquered pasts with food, drumming, dancing and lots of Eegees! Consider carpooling with a refugee family to help with transportation and start dreaming of your favorite ethnic dish to share. Free to the public. Contact Nicolle Trudeau at ntrudeau@refugeefocus.org for more information.
- Cox Movies in the Park We Bought A ZooFriday, June 20th at dusk in Reid Park Demeester Performing Arts Pavilion 900 S. Randolph Way. Bring a blanket or lawn chair and enjoy We Bought A Zoo along with popcorn, soda, food vendors, live music, jumping castles, balloon twisters, and arts and crafts exhibits from area non-profits. Admission is free! Visit https://saaca.org/Cox_Movies_in_the_Park.html for more details
- Pre-Monsoon Mesquite Milling, Sunday, June 22nd 6:00 am to 9:00 am, Exo Roast Co. and Tap & Bottle, 403 N. 6th Ave., Tucson. Bring Your Own Pods! Pods for milling must be clean, dry, and free of mold/fungus, stones, leaves, bugs and other debris. Cost: $3/gallon of whole pods, with a minimum of $10. See www.desertharvesters.org/how-we-run-mesquite-millings for more information. The milling event will also include a native wild foods demonstration highlighting what's in the wild-harvest season now.
- El Día de San Juan Fiesta – Tuesday, June 24th 5:00 – 10:00 pm at Mercado San Agustin 885 W. Congress. El Día de San Juan Committee invites the public to the 17th Annual El Dia de San Juan Fiesta. The Fiesta will feature a procession, live music and dance, food and arts & crafts vendors, games and activities for children, and free water and watermelon. Free and open to the public, the Fiesta is non-alcoholic and boasts a family-friendly atmosphere. El Día de San Juan honors the Saints Day of St. John the Baptist, and has been celebrated by families living on the Westside for a century. Local tradition hails St. John the Baptist as the one who brings the rains, kicking off the monsoon season in the Old Pueblo.
Did You Know...?
that Friday, June 20th is World Refugee Day? Each year, people around the world celebrate the journey and contributions of refugees by joining the United Nations for World Refugee Day. Tucson is home to more than 11,000 refugees representing close to 100 different countries, and we are fortunate to call many of these families our neighbors in Ward 3! Each individual has an amazing story to tell and brings with them a rich and vibrant cultural background. Visit http://www.tucsonrefugeefest.com/?page_id=2  to learn about the festivities on June 19th and 20th that celebrate the lives and cultures of refugees and the great benefit they bring to the Tucson community.
…that CASA Mariposa is in need of donations of clothes, food and other supplies for women and children?  There has been a significant increase in the incidence of groups of women and children arriving at the border, being picked up by ICE, and then dropped off at Greyhound stations in Tucson – typically groups of about 30-40 would arrive a couple of times weekly, but last week it jumped to just under 100 per day. There is a huge need for help receiving and providing services for these groups. CASA Mariposa has been deeply involved with this effort and United Way has joined them in asking for volunteers and donations of the following supplies from the community:
- travel bags for food and belongings                       
- bottles of water             
- instant ramen soup cups                                     
- socks for children
- Pedialyte and Gatorade for dehydration                
- children’s blankets
- sweaters, sweatshirts for children and adults         
- bananas                       
- toothbrushes and toothpaste                                
- clean stuffed animals     
- women’s sanitary supplies                                  
- diapers (sizes 3-4)
If you can contribute any of these items, please bring them to Catholic Community Services at the north entrance of 140 W. Speedway, Monday through Friday, between the hours of 8:30 am and 5:00 pm. Goods may also be taken directly to CASA Mariposa at 127 N. Palomas. For information on volunteering, contact 520-269-6597.
…that harvesting your mesquite pods before the monsoon leads to higher-quality flour?  Read more at http://ediblebajaarizona.com/calling-all-mesquiteros. Mesquite flour is naturally sweet, nutritious, and gluten-free, great for people with hypoglycemia and diabetes as it slows the body’s intake of sugars.  Many Tucsonans grow, harvest and mill their own flour. 1 gallon of whole mesquite pods mills into about 1 pound of flour, so the cost averages $3 per pound of flour—a bargain considering that the flour usually sells for $14–$20 per pound.  If you want to learn more, check out these upcoming events offered by Desert Harvesters at www.desertharvesters.org