Karin's Note: Friday, March 13, 2015

Karin's Note: Friday, March 13, 2015
 
- Note from Staff
- Ward 3 Events
- Neighborhood/Coalition Meetings
- Community Support Spotlight
- Citywide Events
- Did You Know?
 
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Dear Tucsonans,
 
Welcome Our New City Manager, Michael Ortega
 
The Mayor just announced our selection of Cochise County Administrator Michael Ortega as Tucson’s next City Manager. We concluded that he, as well as Mary Jacobs, were qualified for the job and ultimately decided that his knowledge and experience best match the challenges we expect our top administrator will face over the next few years. Mr. Ortega, who holds an MBA from the UA Eller College, has served as the City Manager of Douglas, Arizona, Member and President of the Douglas Unified School Board, and as Cochise County Administrator for the past seven years. You can view his resume at this link:
 
 
I want to express my appreciation to Ms. Jacobs for her enthusiastic pursuit of the position, and congratulate Mr. Ortega. He will begin his work in June with Interim Manager Martha Durkin to coordinate an effective leadership transition. I am confident he will serve Tucson extremely well.
 
We’ve all by now acknowledged shortcomings in the citizen input elements facilitated by the search firm to engage the public during the hiring process. My colleagues and I did not recognize how the tight turnarounds during a two-day interview schedule would truly undermine thorough preparation and participation. It seemed practical and made sense, so none of us hesitated at the time the steps and scheduling were confirmed with us.
 
Yet we now all agree that we ended up with two qualified finalists, allowing us to proceed rather than delay such a pivotal decision. We will certainly carry the process lessons learned into other key hiring decisions that will occur this year, most especially the hiring of a new Police Chief in light of Chief Villaseñor’s plan to retire by year’s end.
 
City Charter Review
 
The Citizens Charter Review Committee has outlined their recommendations to date and held three public outreach sessions this week (I attended the one held Wednesday evening at the Ward 6 office). The group will hold further deliberations and submit their final recommendations to Mayor and Council soon (you can view their outline, including the timeline, at this link: https://www.tucsonaz.gov/home/announcement/city-tucson-charter-review-committee).
 
Downtown Encampment
 
The Court’s direction this week makes it quite clear that laws on the books already provide the City with the parameters needed to both safeguard the public and uphold constitutional rights to free speech. It’s also clear to me that, despite robust continuums of housing and services offered here and across the country, some people still live outside and without homes for a range of reasons. When I worked on homelessness and poverty at Primavera here for a decade, and also in Michigan the decade prior, I met many Vietnam-era veterans who wanted absolutely nothing to do with government programs or perceived handouts. Other “outsiders” worried about separation from loved ones within the emergency shelter system (including loss of companion dogs). Still others could not shake their use of street drugs (crack then; meth now) long enough to make any clear choices.
 
I look forward to re-engaging in the dialogue (particularly as I have returned to work in this field since last June). That dialogue needs to include honest talk about choices people make in their own lives, and options we might develop as a community that meet vulnerable people where they are while also serving the greater public’s interest.
 
I’m not moved by generalizations that pretend the problem is straightforward or simple, nor by any propositions that deny the roles, limitations, and potentials of both the individual and the community. I am interested in learning more about urban campgrounds established in other (mainly western) states as well as the growing movement for “micro housing” developments. At least those open up new avenues that could engage segments of the population not linked through what we’ve already got. I’ll keep you posted as folks convene locally on this.
 
In the meantime have a great weekend (and note the invitations below to “Do Happy” and more over the coming week).
 
Thanks,
Karin
 
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Note from Staff:
 
Do Happy Update
 
Reminder: Next Friday, March 20 (the first day of Spring), is the International Day of Happiness. Here in Tucson, Mayor Rothschild will kick off the celebrations around noon on Friday by reading a proclamation in Jacome Plaza at the main library downtown, to be followed by food and dance and miscellaneous fun. (To learn the Tucson Happy Dance ahead of time, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3E-sP49ua-0&feature=youtu.be.)
 
Around Ward 3, various activities will making us happy: RillitoBend is planting trees, Samos is throwing a party, you get the idea. What can be happier than taking home a pet? Both the Humane Society of Southern Arizona and Pima Animal Care will be offering adoption deals through Happiness weekend, March 20-22. To get more information and see the growing list of events, visit http://dohappytoday.com/index.html
 
Judith Anderson, Council Aide
 
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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 – 12:00 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.
 
- PPEP Help Your Neighbor Clean-up at Flowing Wells - Saturday, March 14th 7:00 am - 2:00 pm at 4314 North Romero Road (Homer Davis area). Join your neighbors and PPEP Help Your Neighbor Program for a block party and cleanup in Flowing Wells! Volunteers are needed to assist residents through the removal of refuse, graffiti abatement, trimming trees and bushes, removing weeds, repairing fences, raking yards, and painting public buildings. The area from Wetmore to Iroquois and Romero to LaCholla is what is planned to be covered. The program focuses on assisting senior citizens, low-income residents, disabled and impoverished residents.
 
- Hunting/Gathering: Time and Materials Artist Reception & Coffee Tasting - Saturday, March 14th 6:00 - 9:00 pm at Rain Crow 204 W Grant Rd. Join Rain Crow Art Gallery & Coffee Roasters to celebrate Hunting/Gathering: Time and Materials, a new show by artists Kathleen Koopman and Ann Keuper. Enjoy delicious coffee, fantastic company, and beautiful art. Buy Art - Be Happy.
 
- Grant Road Improvement Project Task Force: Land Use - Wednesday, March 18th 6:00 - 8:00 pm at Tucson Association of Realtors. The Grant Road Improvement Project Task Force discusses the land use planning approach, the role and schedule of the Task Force moving forward, and provides the opportunity to talk with special guest Phil Erickson from Community Design & Architects.  http://www.grantroad.info/pdf/GRANT-RD-MTG-REV-AGENDA-3-18-15.pdf
 
- Community Safety: Taking Crime Away - Wednesday, March 18th 6:00 - 8:00 pm at Woods Memorial Library. Join Ward 3 Neighbor's Alliance for an important meeting on public safety in our ward. A proactive approach, this meeting will explore ideas about what each of us can do to promote safety in the community. Come, participate and hear the latest perspectives on proactive community security! TPD, TFD, Post Office, NextDoor and Good Neighbor Ventures will be there to answer questions, take notes on your concerns and give a presentation.
 
- Miracle Manor Community Cleanup – Saturday, March 21st 7:00 am – 12:00 pm in the Miracle Manor neighborhood. Bennett and the Miracle Manor neighborhood are organizing an orphan waste cleanup! If you are able to join to help (and especially if you have a truck), please contact our office for more details at 791-4711 or ward3@tucsonaz.gov.
 
- Financial Literacy Classes – Saturdays, starting March 28th at the Ward 3 Community Room 1510 E Grant Road. The Mountain/1st Community Action Group and Tucson Federal Credit Union are partnering to offer free financial literacy classes covering banking, budgeting and understanding credit. The series of three classes will be held in the Ward 3 Community Room from 2:00 to 4:00 pm on consecutive Saturdays: March 28th, April 4th and April 11th. Participants who attend all three classes and attend an appointment with a budget counselor, either by phone or in-person, will be entered to win a $500 Visa card.  Seating is limited. To register or for more information, contact Ashley: ashley@mygoodneighbor.org
 
- Doolen/Fruitvale Neighborhood Association Annual Meeting - Saturday, April 18th 9:00 – 10:00 am at the Sparkman Butterfly Garden. Puppy meet-and-greet after. Includes breakfast potluck, juice/coffee/water will be provided. First item on the agenda is crime with TPD Officer attending to answer questions.
 
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Neighborhood/Coalition Meetings:
 
- Samos NA – Tuesday, March 17th 6:30 – 8:00 pm at Salpointe Trophy Rm 1545 E Copper St.
 
- Mountain View NA – Thursday, March 19th 6:00 pm at Habitat for Humanity 3501 N. Mountain
 
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Community Support Spotlight
 
Community Gardens of Tucson is looking for individuals with experience and dedication to our community who will consider becoming a member of their Board of Directors. This work has never been more important than today. If you believe you could be an asset to the organization, request a description of board member responsibilities at admin@communitygardensoftucson.org.
 
 
Valley of the Moon is establishing an Artistic Board! This super-committee will be responsible for many aspects of the theatrical productions. The Artistic Board is a great opportunity for leadership at Valley of the Moon. If you have a passion for organizing, a passion for community theater, or a passion for Valley of the Moon then you should consider applying.
Artistic Board members are volunteers appointed by the Valley of the Moon Board of Directors. Artistic Board membership requires a real commitment of time and energy  - a minimum of 9 months is requested. Preference will be given to those applicants whose personal experience includes theater arts or related activities.
If you are interested in applying please send an email to valleymoon1@yahoo.com. Please submit your application by Tuesday, March 17.
 
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Citywide Events: 
 
- 7th Annual Tucson Festival of Books – Saturday and Sunday, March 14th – 15th, 9:30 am to 5:30 pm. The Tucson Festival of Books is coming up! Spend a beautiful spring break weekend with over 100,000 fellow book lovers at the University of Arizona Mall and nearby venues for exhibits, hands-on literacy activities and presentations by more than 400 authors. The event is free for the whole family! Visit http://tucsonfestivalofbooks.org/ for all the details. Also, the festival is still looking for volunteers – check out http://tucsonfestivalofbooks.org/?id=187 for more info.
 
- Household Hazardous Waste Program 2nd Saturday Collection- Saturday, March 14th 8:00 am – noon at Price Service Center, 4004 S. Park Avenue. Do you have old, unused chemicals, oils or pesticides sitting in your shed or garage? The City of Tucson Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Program has an option for you to clean out your space while keeping these hazardous materials out of the environment. Drop off of HHW is free.
 
Accepted materials include: Automotive fluids, auto and rechargeable batteries from electronics equipment, toxic cleaning products, fluorescent lamps, paints, solvents, lawn and garden products. Rise Inc. will be collecting computer equipment ($2 for monitors without a computer and $10 for each television). 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, downloading the “my-waste” App or by calling ES Customer Service at 791-3171.
 
- Light the Night! - Tuesday, March 17th 5:00 pm near the Randolph Recreation Center in the northeast corner of Reid Park, 50 S. Alvernon Way. Stop by for the conclusion of the 2014-2015 “Light the Night” bicycle safety campaign! On Tuesday, teams of Living Streets Alliance volunteers and staff will distribute free front and rear light sets to people on bikes spotted riding without them. Light the Night is a free bike light distribution and bicycle safety education campaign. Since October, more than 1,200 light sets and 650 helmets for youth 18 and under have been distributed at locations across the region. Volunteers will also have a number of free bicycle helmets available for youth plus safety education material available in both Spanish and English. Ride safe! More info at http://www.livingstreetsalliance.org/event/light-the-night-2/ 
 
- Tucson Cine Mexico 2015 – Thursday, March 19th – Sunday, March 22nd at The Screening Room 127 E Congress St. Tucson Cine Mexico 2015 ticketing and program information is now available online at http://www.tucsoncinemexico.org/! This year's lineup includes outstanding and award-winning documentaries, dramas, comedies, and a thriller. All films will be FREE and presented at the newly renovated Screening Room. Don't miss special events such as the Mexican box office hit Gloria (screening in advance of its USA release) and a musical performance after the documentary Corridos, sones y pasiones!
 
- Building Resilient Neighborhoods: Preparing for and Coping with Extreme Heat and Poetential Electrical Power Grid Outages - March 21st from 1:00 to 3:00 pm at Ward 6 office at 3202 E 1st St.
"Building Resilient Neighborhoods" Work Group hosts a 2 hour free workshop at  the Ward 6 Office offered by Physicians for Social Responsibility, Arizona Chapter . The workshop will be centered on how to best prepare for extreme heat emergencies. They will talk about what to do in case of electrical outages and generally how to prepare for protection of yourself, your family, and your neighborhood.  Call Grace Rich at 520 622 5659 to RSVP.
 
- Family Fun Night - Monday, March 23rd  and every 4th Monday of the month from 4:00 – 6:00 pm join refugees from all over the Tucson community at Refugee Focus on 120 N. Stone Avenue for a night of Family Fun! Join Iskashitaa there and give a ride to a refugee!
 
- Food for Thought - Thurs, March 26th, First Christian Church, 740 E. Speedway Blvd. Come participate in a night of cross-cultural exchange with Iskashitaa Refugee Network as refugees from Africa, Asia, and the Middle East share traditional dishes from their home countries! We hope you will join us for this valuable opportunity to converse and build community. Use a family recipe and bring a dish to pass! RSVP or contact Stephanie with questions at iskashitaafoodworkshops@gmail.com or 440-0100.
 
- Tucson Homeless Connect Event - Friday, March 27th at Trinity Presbyterian Church at 400 E. University Blvd. Need Help? Seeking Services? Come to this one-day, one-stop event to get connected to the services that you need including:
 
• Information on how to get an I.D.
• Clothing
• Shelter/Housing
• Legal Assistance
• Homeless Court
• Help with benefits
• Health Screenings
• Haircuts
• Ticket Assistance
• Pet Care & Grooming
 
Services will be available from 8:30 am – 12:30 pm with lunch provided from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm. No weapons, no alcohol, no drugs.
 
Stay tuned for information on the next Tucson Homeless Connect event. For volunteer/donation opportunities contact Tucson Homeless Connect today! Check out the donations page for a full list of items needed for each event.
 
- Sam Hughes Home and Neighborhood Tour - Sunday, April 12 from noon until 5:00 pm. This self-guided walking tour of the one square mile neighborhood bounded by Campbell Ave./Country Club Rd. and Speedway Blvd./Broadway consists of private residences and gardens as well as several venues that represent the diversity of this historically-designated midtown neighborhood. Tickets are $20 and will be on sale day-of-the-tour in front of Rincon Market (2513 E. 6th St.) beginning at 10:00 am. Pre-tour ticket purchase will be available at Arte de la Vida 37 N. Tucson Blvd. beginning April 1. For more information, call 520-323-7891 or see samhughes.org.
 
- Shift Your Potty Paradigm From Waste to Resource: CT Build Workshop - Saturday, April 18th 9:00 am – 4:00 pm WMG's Living Lab, 1137 N Dodge Blvd. WMG promotes safe and effective use of your waste by turning it into a resource. Come learn how to properly use and maintain a composting toilet with Brad Lancaster. Then assemble and take home your own kit-based barrel system composting toilet. The kit comes complete and ready to install at your home. Learn more about this 1-day workshop, what is included, and what you may need prior to installing your own system at https://watershedmg.org/civicrm/event/info?id=448&reset=1 . Also consider checking out WMG’s Kickstarter campaign to publish Poo to Peaches a children’s book on composting toilets.
 
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Did You Know...?
 
about a possible phone scam involving payments for water service? Tucson Water is receiving complaints from customers who were contacted by telephone and asked to provide financial information to avoid disconnection of their water service. The callers are falsely representing themselves as Tucson Water employees and are asking for money to prevent accounts from being turned over to collections. Tucson Water’s policy is to provide two written notifications of account delinquency or service interruption, followed by an outbound automated phone asking a delinquent to contact the utility immediately. Tucson Water does not request payment or financial information over the telephone. Customers may verify their account and status of service information by contacting Tucson Water Customer Service at (520) 791-3242 or e-mailing TW_CustomerService@tucsonaz.gov.
 
that the Mayor and Tucson City Council is expected to vote next month on hundreds of extra miles of additional street repairs under the Road Recovery bond program? Planned preservation and restoration work under the bond is both ahead of schedule and $11.7 million under budget, due to lower gas prices and favorable bids. Recommendations for additional road work have been made by staff and approved by the citizens committee.  Learn more about the Road Recovery Bond Program at https://www.tucsonaz.gov/street-bonds
 
In other transportation news, TDOT reported that it filled 13,300 potholes between February 3rd and March 5th. Following storms that damaged many roads, TDOT crews have been working six days a week, with 85 percent of the Streets & Traffic Maintenance Division dedicated to pothole repairs. You can report potholes to the TDOT, (520) 791-3154, or email the exact location to tdotsr@tucsonaz.gov.
 
Finally, residents are encouraged to take part in a Transportation Academy! PAG and RTA are hosting a Citizens Transportation Academy to give residents a chance to learn how to get involved in transportation planning efforts. There will be three 90-minute programs, beginning March 31st, which will be held at the Pima Association of Governments Building at Broadway and Stone. PAG and the RTA say they are looking for people who haven't had the chance to get involved in a community process related to transportation. The deadline to apply for the academy is March 1st. Follow the links below for more information. http://www.tucsonnewsnow.com/story/28059352/pag-rta-to-host-citizens-transportation-academy Application/academy information from PAG: http://www.pagnet.org/documents/PAGRTACitizensTransportationAcademyApplicationForm.pdf
 
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