Karin's Note: Friday, June 5, 2015

Karin's Note: Friday, June 5, 2015
  • Note from Staff
  • Ward 3 Events
  • City-Wide Events
  • Did You Know?
*************************************************
Dear Tucsonans,
 
Mayor and Council Process
 
Governing isn’t a solo act and I’ve never had much patience for the theatrical elements of politics. Mayor and Council decisions affect a whole lot of people and set the stage for Tucson’s future. As a group we shouldn’t cast aside any good ideas and we should keep in mind that we’re each likely to offer some good ones and some duds along the way…big deal.  Ultimately, I just want the Mayor and Council to make the best decisions we can collectively come up with once again this year.
 
At next week’s meeting, Mayor and Council we will be making final decisions on the budget and moving to finalize Charter Change proposals for the November ballot.
 
I take the work seriously and got impatient at the table a few weeks ago. My intent was simple. In my frustration I urged that any of us on the Mayor and Council who have earnest proposals to put those on the table in a manner that can be constructively considered and potentially acted upon.
 
What’s that mean? There’s lots of ways to be sure ideas get discussed further. Here’s just a couple (quite routinely employed): 1) Come to the meeting with any formal motions printed in writing if they are longer than a few sentences (it’s obviously impossible to listen to a one or two page ramble heard for the first time). 2) Come having vetted ideas with at least one colleague, one who would ideally then be prepared to second the motion. A motion with a solid second—which is fully in compliance with the Open Meetings Law—signals that at least a of couple of us have studied the proposal in greater depth and can offer arguments in support as colleagues raise their questions.
 
If even these two basic steps haven’t been taken by the proponent of an idea, you and I can be pretty sure the motion has been tossed out for theater, not consideration or action. I get impatient with that.
 
It’s easy to propose stuff no one will vote for but much harder to engage in the work of governance: crafting proposals that can garner a majority support and enactment, thereby actually improving our financial outlook. We have to own the repercussions of governing, while political grandstanding merely flashes in the headlines (or twitter) and passes by.
 
Let me close with a sports analogy in case all that blah blah blah bored you to tears. I am hoping to offer and receive lots of rebounds and assists on Tuesday to help team Tucson; no more lobs from half court when there’s time on the clock.
 
Budget
 
We have largely emerged from the worst of the economic downturn. The result is a changing environment that brings annual operating revenues, which keep ticking up, and our annual operating expenses, which we’ve cut significantly, closer to balance again.
 
But longer-term, structural imbalances continue to challenge Tucson and all cities across the country. The Mayor and Council have taken steps to address some of those issues even as we have remediated immediate operating crises:
  • We’ve improved the fund levels and trajectory for the Tucson Supplemental Retirement System
  • We’ve closed the multi-million dollar deficit that existed in our Liability/Risk Reserve Pool
We’ve accomplished this progress on both operating and structural imbalances during the economic crises, still maintaining strategic reserve levels of approximately 5%.
 
Now what? I have advocated that we have to keep focusing on the structural, long-term imbalances. It’s not yet time, in my opinion, to aggressively rebuild reserves to the 10% level adopted in the best-of-times in 2007. I championed that 10% threshold in 2006-2007 so that when our economy is thriving we would aggressively save for inevitable downturns (imagine where we’d be now if we hadn’t adopted the policy in 2007). But I think it’d be foolish to build reserves much beyond the current 5% until our full budget picture has been balanced by reducing debt and long-term liabilities.
 
I’ll continue to pose two fundamental tenets I think we need to adopt for the foreseeable future: 1) reduce and/or suspend borrowing to minimize the debt service burden on the general fund (I have argued against most Certificates of Participation borrowing for several years now).  2) identify a specific revenue source to cover our long-term obligations to the state-managed Public Safety Retirement System, the greatest source of structural stress on our budget (and most cities’ budgets across the country).
 
We’ve all faced these tradeoffs in our personal finances at some point. We make it paycheck to paycheck (and cut expenses/add income as we can), then decide from any meager cushion beyond that whether to pay down debt and/or save for the future. The same is true with the City. Let me know your thoughts on the right mix to balance those three fiscal demands.
 
Charter Changes
 
I voted against referring new financial Charter measures to the ballot in November because I think we have not done enough groundwork to put those in front of the voters. Two measures would allow us to secure more debt (I think we have to be very cautious in thinking debt is an avenue out of our structural imbalances). The other would allow us to ask voters to lift the cap on sales tax beyond 2% (neighboring towns have already done so and voters approved increases). I might support such a step IF it were coupled with the specific structural problem we seek to solve; for example to raise the annual funds needed over a defined period of time to achieve a healthy funding level on our Public Safety Pension obligations.
 
I’m in favor of vetting new ideas for improving our operating budget (to bolster our cushion for retiring debt and rebuilding reserves). Some of those ideas can be found, I think, by convening regional dialogue through PAG or other forums so area local governments view budgets more collaboratively. Can we consolidate any common functions for savings (we leverage a lot this way through our cooperative Procurement setup)? Can we draw down more state/federal revenue already generated by our taxpayers (this already underlies the regional movement to annex and incorporate to the greatest extent possible)? We have not convened such a regional dialogue yet, but ought to before the end of 2015.
 
Once we’ve worked more on the fiscal Charter measures, I think 2017 will be the right time to approach voters for some well-reasoned and strategic change proposals.
 
In the meantime I am strongly in favor of the two City Governance improvements offered by the two Charter measures Mayor and Council have referred to the November ballot (summarized as Mayoral Parity and clearer/stronger accountability of Departments Directors).
 
Thank you Burney
 
I join many Tucsonans in mourning the loss of community leader Burney Starks last weekend. You can learn more about his life and contributions to Tucson here: http://www.tucsonsentinel.com/local/report/060215_burney_starks/burney-starks-educator-and-juneteenth-organizer-dies/
 
The Donna Liggins Northwest Neighborhood Center in Ward 3 has hosted the annual Juneteenth festival for several years now, thanks to Burney and his colleague advocates and organizers. I can't remember a single time when I ran into Burney over the past decade when he did not have something on his mind; a project or event that he had devoted himself to for the benefit of all. I'll miss his energy and his kindness.
 
Take care and have a good weekend,
 
Karin
*************************************************
Note from Staff:
 
Got Art?
 
We're trying to collect images of all the neighborhood murals scattered around Ward 3, and we figure there are some treasures we may not be aware of. If you have a favorite or know of a "hidden" piece, please send us a picture, the location (and owner of the property if you know it), the name of your neighborhood, and any information you have about the artist or creation stories about the art. We'll share the results.
 
Please send to Ward3@tucsonaz.gov.
 
Thanks!
 
*************************************************
Ward 3 Events: 
 
Roll-Offs in Ward 3! Roll-offs will be out in several Ward 3 neighborhoods this weekend (and one next weekend). Check the schedule below and get the word out to your neighbors! This is a great chance to get rid of any nagging piles of furniture and bulky trash that have popped-up on curbs and in alleys, especially with lots of people moving out for the summer. Here’s the schedule:
 
                June 4th – 8th
                El Cortez -- 500 block of E. Seneca St.
                Feldman's -- E. Lee St. just east of N. Stone Ave.
                Jefferson Park -- E. Linden St. between N. Tyndall Ave. and N. Park Ave.
                North University -- along E. Lee St. at N. Highland Ave.
                Northwest -- E. Elm St. at N. 4th Ave.
 
                June 11th – 15th
                Hedrick Acres -- 1100 Block of E. Hedrick Dr.
 
Please contact the Ward 3 office with any questions at 520-791-4711 or ward3@tucsonaz.gov.
 
Bike Repair Workshop with BICAS! Saturday, June 6th 9:00 am at Mitchell Park, 1100 E. Mitchell St. Learn about basic bike repairs with two educational demonstrations and get your bike tuned up by a BICAS mechanic! Parts will be provided and BICAS is bringing their talented bike mechanics. All you have to bring is your bike! The workshop starts at 9:00 am with educational demonstrations at 9:30 and 10 am. The first 20 people to RSVP to ashley@mygoodneighbor.org, will receive a free “U” bike lock! Just send an email with “Mountain/1st Bike Lock” in the subject line, or give them a call at 520-512-5740!
 
Soul’s Formula at Monterey Court Sunday, June 7th 7:00 – 10:00 pm at Monterey Court 505 W. Miracle Mile. Specializing in ‘feelin good’ this diverse six piece band plays Neo Soul/R&B/Funk/Reggae/New Jack Swing. Attendees will get a chance to win 2 tickets to the upcoming "Masters of Funk" show at the TCC! http://www.montereycourtaz.com
 
Mountain View Farmers Market Wednesday, June 10th 3:00 – 6:00 pm at 3306 N 1st Ave. Fresh eggs and produce from our Ward 3 neighbors! Questions? Call Bill Crouse 520-884-9557.
 
Edible Neighborhood Bike Tour Saturday, June 13th 9:00 am - noon. Begins and ends at the Ward 3 Council Office 1510 E. Grant Rd. Create abundance and beauty by harvesting what is otherwise wasted and by setting priorities for our resources in Tucson. Be part of a discussion of the opportunities and take a short bike tour of the existing Edible Urban Forest in the Jefferson Park neighborhood. Learn about:
                * Food that can be sustainably grown
                * Food currently wasted
                * Ways to transform Tucson into a Food Oasis in the Sonoran Desert
For more information, contact Tres English tres@SustainableTucson.org. Discussion and tour sponsored by Sustainable Tucson. Bring your bike, water and hat.
 
Silverbell Road Pre-Construction Open House Monday, June 15th 6:00 – 7:00 pm at El Rio Neighborhood Center 1390 W. Speedway Blvd. Council Member Karin Uhlich, Council Member Regina Romero, TDOT and the RTA invite you to a pre-construction Open House with TDOT staff and the contractor, Hunter Contracting, to:
                • Learn about the planned improvements
                • Meet and talk with the Construction Team
                • Find out about the construction schedule and traffic impacts
                • Talk with RTA’s MainStreet Business Assistance representatives
These improvements include widening Silverbell Road, between Goret Road and Grant Road, to a curbed four-lane divided roadway (2 lanes in each direction), to include a raised median island, bike lanes, a sidewalk on the west side of Silverbell, a multi-use path on the east side of Silverbell, drainage crossing improvements, LED street lighting, signal improvements at the Grant and Goret intersections, bus stop improvements, native landscape, retaining walls at the large slopes, and public art. For more info, visit www.silverbellroad.info.
 
Tucson Juneteenth Festival 2015 Saturday, June 20th 10:00 am - 9:00 pm at the Donna Liggins Center 2160 N 6th Avenue. Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the U.S. and represents a very important milestone in American history, when our nation finally and truly became “the land of the free.”  Join in the celebration at the Donna Liggins Center for a day of fun, food, education, fellowship and entertainment. Everyone is invited! For more info, call 520-429-1724 or visit https://www.facebook.com/Tucson-Juneteenth-Celebration-521630407898433/timeline/
 
 ************************************************
City-Wide Events: 
 
Body Love Conference Saturday, June 6th 7:45 am – 5:00 pm at Pima Community College Center for the Arts (PCC West Campus). The Body Love Conference is a progressive, positive, high-energy event where participants can celebrate and inspire each other and themselves to change the world, and love their bodies. Adults and youth (ages 12+) of all sizes, shapes, shades, sexes, gender identities, and abilities are invited to join for this empowering regional event. Attendees can look forward to a day of revolutionary lectures, workshops, panel discussions, and movement classes, led by inspiring speakers and subject matter experts, plus opportunities for community-building and networking with fellow body positivity activists. Check out the amazing program at http://www.bodyloveconference.com/2015-program/!
 
Youth participants attend for free, and adult tickets are only $25.00, with catered lunch for just $10 more! You read that right—just twenty-five bucks for a full day of fun and inspiration! Free daycare will be offered by certified daycare providers, for infants through 12 years. Whether you are taking your very first steps towards self-love and acceptance, or are a bonafide Body Love advocate/activist, The Body Love Conference is a life-changer, and world-changer, you won’t want to miss. http://www.bodyloveconference.com/
 
National Day of Civic Hacking Saturday, June 6th 8:00 am – 6:00 pm at Startup Tucson’s CoLab Workspace 17 E. Pennington St. The civic hacking event is geared toward people and groups who want to make a positive impact in their local community. It is an opportunity for people with diverse skills (no coding experience required!) to work on community issues with other innovators, community leaders, and fellow citizens to make Tucson a better place. This is an all-day event for you to pitch your idea to help make Tucson a better place, or help someone else make their idea a reality. Check out http://hackforchange.org/ for more info on the nation-wide effort. Learn more/register at Startup Tucson http://startuptucson.org/
 
Community Build Day! Saturday, June 6th 10:00 am – 5:00 pm at Hagerty Plaza 316 N 4th Ave. This inspiring one day event brings together youth and adults to paint murals, create mosaics, network and celebrate. This unique people powered grassroots initiative is a collaboration between artists, parents, neighbors and educators from Ajo and Tucson. The theme is: "Imagine the World we Wish to Inhabit". Inspired by last years US Department of Arts and Culture Tucson Imaginings, join this year to continue the process of building what was imagined. http://www.tucsonartsbrigade.org/
 
Summer Art Cruise Saturday, June 6th 6:00 pm at multiple locations. For this free annual summer event, multiple galleries in the Central Tucson Gallery Association fling open their doors during the cool of the evening, offering art, libations and other treats. Includes:
 
                First Annual Small Works Invitational Reception 6:00 – 9:00 pm at Baker Hesseldenz Fine Art 100 E. 6th St. This exhibition will feature  the works of 27 locally, nationally, and internationally known artists. The work will encapsulate a broad spectrum of subject-matter from creepy to quaint and all will be on the miniature scale, not exceeding 12”x12”.
 
                Mujeres Mujeres Mujeres Closing Celebration 6:00 – 9:00 pm at Raices Taller 222 Gallery, 218 E 6th St. Join for the closing celebration for this annual all-women art show featuring 90 works in media from newspapers to fabric to paint. Features a performance by ZUZI at 7:00 pm. http://www.raicestaller222.com/
 
                Drafters Reception 6:00 – 9:00 pm at Contreras Gallery, 110 E. Sixth St. The reception kicks off Drafters, a group drawing show, with 10 artists: Lester Aguirre, Michael Cajero, E.M. Contreras, Melo Dominguez, Lydia Maldonado, Ruben Urrea Moreno, Hector Perez, Teri Pursch, Tanya       Rich, George Strasburger. Drafters stays up through June 27th. www.contrerashousefineart.com
 
Dancing in the Streets AZ Presents: Mozart Requiem Sunday, June 7th 3:00 pm at the Temple of Music and Art 330 S. Scott Avenue More info at www.ditsaz.org
 
Local Food & Beverage Tasting Sunday, June 7th 5:30 - 7:30 pm Agustin Kitchen at Mercado San Agustin. Join for the 3rd Annual Local Food and Beverage Tasting event hosted by Agustin Kitchen and Slow Food Southern Arizona. Enjoy local food, beer and wine tastings, live music and raffle prizes. Money raised will help fund Slow Food Southern Arizona and Scholarships. Bring your ticket with your photo ID to the event. Must be 21 to drink alcoholic beverages. Tickets reserved for the first 200 guests. Slow Food Southern Arizona Members get $10 Off https://www.eventbrite.com/e/slow-food-southern-az-3rd-annual-fb-tasting-tickets-15824603816
 
Sustainable Tucson: Architecture and Sustainability in Tucson’s Built Environment Monday, June 8th. Doors open at 5:30 pm. The meeting will begin promptly at 6:00 pm. Joel D. Valdez Main Library, Lower Level Meeting Rm, 101 N. Stone. Our built environment -- housing, public facilities, commercial buildings -- is vital to sustainability in our cities and towns. Sustainable Tucson invites you to examine technical questions as well as broader social and environmental issues relating to our built environment. www.sustainabletucson.org
 
Cinema La Placita Presents: A Shot in the Dark Thursday, June 11th 7:30pm at 110 S. Church Avenue. Cinema La Placita is back and showing classic movies outdoors in downtown Tucson every Thursday evening from May through August. This Thursday’s feature is A Shot in the Dark, starring Peter Sellers and Elke Sommer. When a widow's husband gets murdered in cold blood, Inspector Clouseau is back on the job leaving Maria, the widow to be the suspect. However, Clouseau struggles the overwhelming evidence as the true suspect is still out there. $3 per person includes popcorn!
 
Ina Road Traffic Interchange Public Info Meeting Thursday, June 11th 5:30 – 7:30 pm at Coyote Trail Elementary School 8000 N. Silverbell Rd. The purpose of this project is to reconstruct the Ina Road Traffic Interchange. I-10 currently passes over Ina Road, and with this project, Ina Road will become elevated and pass over I-10 and the Union Pacific Railroad. The project team will be available to answer individual and property-specific questions. Maps and displays will be available for viewing. For additional information, or to submit comments in writing, please contact ADOT Senior Community Relations Officer, Paki Rico at 520.388.4233, email PRico@azdot.gov.
 
World Refugee Day Celebration Tuesday, June 16th 4:00 – 9:00 pm at Refugee Focus 120 N. Stone, Suite 220R. Every year, countries around the world honor June 20th as World Refugee Day. Join Refugee Focus in celebrating our wonderful refugee community in Tucson – enjoy cultural celebrations, music, food, dance and more!
 
Downtown Links Open House Phase 3: Church Avenue to Broadway Tuesday, June 16th at Hotel Tucson City Center 475 N. Granada Ave. Doors will open at 5:30 pm., followed by a short presentation at 5:45 pm. Phase 3 of the Downtown Links project is designed and poised for Spring 2016 construction. Learn about landscaping, water harvesting and reuse, and recycling of existing materials.
                • Visit information tables; view maps & displays
                • Learn about project features
                • Meet the Downtown Links Citizens Advisory Committee, the project team & the public artists
                • Preview public art
Día de San Juan Fiesta June 24th 5:00 to 10:00 pm Mercado San Agustín 100 S. Avenida Del Convento. A traditional start of Tucson's summer, Día de San Juan celebrates the coming monsoon rain season and honors St. John the Baptist, the patron saint of water. Join a ceremonial procession and the blessing of an altar and enjoy activities including a charreada (Mexican rodeo events), performances by mariachi bands and folklorico dancers, as well as games and activities for children and families. Staged at the corner of Congress Street and Avenida del Convento, west of downtown Tucson, at the Mercado San Agustin retail and restaurant plaza. https://www.facebook.com/El-Dia-de-San-Juan-Fiesta-Tucson-AZ-208228845869696/timeline/
 
Changemaker Day Thursday, June 25th 7:30 am – 12:00 pm at Western Institute High School 1300 S. Belvadere Ave. Are you a young person wanting to do something fun this summer and trying to improve your resume for college? Join Western Institute High School for their Changemaker Day where you will go out into the community and volunteer around town! Call 520-615-2200 to sign up or for more information. www.thewesterninstitute.org
 
Tucson Queer Youth Summit Saturday, June 27th 9:00 am – 1:00 pm at City High 48 E. Pennington St. FREE and open to all youth grades 6-12, the Tucson Queer Youth Summit features workshops on zine making, poetry slams, activism and more as well as a brunch buffet and local queer resources/networking! Council Member Uhlich will be the keynote speaker.  https://www.facebook.com/events/431936963635992/
 
BCA Cross-Border Tours Saturday, June 27th. Join Border Community Alliance on this unique cross border tour that focuses on art and culture in Nogales, Sonora. For details and registration, please visit the BCA website at http://www.bordercommunityalliance.com/.
 
SAAF Screening of The Last One Tuesday June 30th at the Loft Cinema 3533 E. Speedway Blvd. A one-night only screening of The Last One. Doors open at 6:30pm and the film screens at 7:00pm. In the eighties and nineties, as the United States gay community was being ravaged by AIDS, families and friends of the dying fought a public battle to find treatment and understanding. The AIDS Memorial Quilt was conceived “as a weapon against not only the disease but the cruelty and bigotry that the disease exposed,” according to one of its founders, Cleve Jones. Today the Quilt is a handmade testament to both the struggle of the early days of the epidemic and its continued impact today, as panels representing lives lost to the disease continue to stream in from all over the world. The Last One is a feature-length documentary that frames the quest to sew the last panel into the Quilt, representing the end of AIDS. Tickets are $10 ($8 for Loft Members) and all proceeds will benefit the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation (SAAF), Aunt Rita’s Foundation, & the Loft Cinema.
 
*************************************************
Did You Know...?
 
that the City of Tucson’s Department of Housing and Community Development is preparing to open the waitlists for three subsidized housing programs? Beginning June 15th at 10:00 am, the City will accept waitlist applications for public housing units at Silverbell Homes, Martin Luther King Apartments, and Lander Gardens. These properties are managed by the City of Tucson.

Also beginning on June 15th at 10:00 am, the City will accept waitlist applications for Moderate Rehab housing. The moderate rehabilitation program provides project-based rental assistance for low-income families. The units are privately owned and available at Bel Air Apartments, Coronado Apartments, Flores Apartments, and Miracle Square Apartments.

Waitlist applications for the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program will be open starting on July 1 at 10:00 am. Section 8 is a federal housing assistance program for low-income individuals administered by the City of Tucson. For detailed information regarding waitlist openings and online applications, visit http://tucsonaz.gov/files/hcd/6-3-2015_FINAL_legal_ad.pdf.

All applications must be completed online through the application portal. A training session for portal applications will be held on Thursday, June 11th, beginning at 3:00 pm at 320 N. Commerce Park Loop, in the Pantano and Santa Cruz rooms. Contact the Department of Housing and Community Development at 791-4742 or HCDHousing@tucsonaz.gov if you would like to attend.

 
…that Tucson’s Bike Map is available now as a phone app? The PAG Tucson Bikeways Map encourages bicycle safety in the Tucson region by informing bicyclists of areas to pedal around the city, including low-traffic route options, low-stress bike routes, bike boulevards, urban trails, and where to cross busy streets. For now, the app only is available on Google Play for Android, but an iOS version is in the works.
Tucson Bikeways map for Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=tucsonbikewaysmap.tucsonbikewaysmap&hl=en
Tucson Bikeways map website: http://gismaps.pagnet.org/bikewaysmap/
 
…that a youth stakeholder representative is needed for the Pedestrian Advisory Committee? The City of Tucson Pedestrian Advisory Committee (PAC) is looking for a responsible and enthusiastic youth, or an adult who works with young people, to represent youth pedestrian interests on the committee. An application for the volunteer position can be found at the link below. The PAC is made up of citizens who learn about best practices in pedestrian planning and programming, hear from other members of the public, and advise the City of Tucson on pedestrian issues. The City of Tucson is a Federal Highway Administration Pedestrian Safety Focus City and is actively working on improving pedestrian safety and accessibility. Pedestrian Advisory Committee: https://www.tucsonaz.gov/clerks/boards?board=115 Membership application: https://www.tucsonaz.gov/files/transportation/PAC_Application_City.pdf
 
…the new SummerGO Youth Pass is available for high-school students for $45? The pass provides unlimited rides on Sun Link, Sun Tran and select Sun Shuttle routes, as well as free entrance to 18 City pools and discounts at various attractions. The pass is valid now through Aug. 5. A student I.D. is required for purchase. Visit www.suntran.com/summergo.php or call (520) 792-9222 for more information about the SummerGO program and where to get your pass.
 
…that PAG is seeking your input on the Regional Transportation Plan? Our population and transportation demands continue to grow, while our transportation funding resources continue to decline. Please share your voice to help PAG prioritize future investments and multimodal infrastructure options for our region as they develop the 2045 Regional Transportation Plan. http://gismaps.pagnet.org/RTPEngage/
 
*************************************************