Karin's Note: Friday, May 31, 2013

Karin's Note: Friday, May 31, 2013


-Karin’s Note

-Ward 3 Events

-Upcoming Area Neighborhood and Coalition Meeting(s)

-Citywide Events

-Did You Know?

Dear Tucsonans,

City Budget

Mayor and Council unanimously adopted our FY 2014 budget last week. We will be closely tracking expenses and revenues while taking a long view to address structural concerns that will need focused, five- to ten-year strategies to fix. One of our key steps next year must be to join with Pima County and a broad coalition to urge that the state restore funding for streets and transit. Tucson's loss of close to $40 million in state allocations since 2008-2009 has clearly taken its toll. A move by the Governor and state legislature to reinvest in local transportation infrastructure makes sense for economic development and the fiscal health of cities across Arizona. This goal should draw a broad and powerful coalition into the state's FY 2015 budget process. I'll be sure to let you know how you can get involved.

Grand Canyon University

At a previous Council meeting, on a 5-2 vote, Mayor and Council directed staff to conduct further due diligence related to the interest expressed by Grand Canyon University in acquiring the El Rio Golf Course. Staff was also directed to release as much information as possible about the project to the public, and to proceed as discussed in Executive Session. This week both the Council Member Romero and GCU pulled El Rio from consideration. TREO and Oro Valley will be continuing dialogue with GCU exploring potential alternative sites in our region.

Civil Unions
This week I introduced an item to create a Civil Unions program in Tucson much like that being proposed in Bisbee. I prefaced our discussion with the following opening statement:

As the materials prepared by the City Attorney outline, I am proposing that the City take another step to affirm Tucson’s long and proud legacy of opposing discrimination and our track record of doing everything we can to extend equal protection to all of our residents. As you know Tucson was one of the first cities in the nation to prohibit employment and housing discrimination against LGBT people. We also have enacted a domestic partnership program to offer what benefits and protections we can to unmarried couples and their families.
Thousands of Tucson residents, like me, do not have the right to marry our chosen loved ones in Arizona. We do, however, have the right to enter into committed relationships and to do our best to insure that our intentions and agreements underlying those Civil Unions be honored. When any of us promises to love and cherish our partner, to care for them in sickness and in health, to provide safe and caring homes for our children together, then no one should stand in the way of that sacred commitment.
We should be clear that we cannot legally undue the discrimination that persists at the national and state levels. The federal government will continue to collect the same Social Security taxes from us, even though our unrecognized family members cannot access benefits that we’ve paid for. The state will continue to place foster children who are at risk in our loving and capable care, even though we are banned from offering children longer term stability and security through joint adoption.
Countless forms of discrimination will no doubt persist. However, I applaud our colleagues in Bisbee (most notably Council Member Gene Conners and Mayor Adriana Badal) for identifying this additional course of action we can take. Under Arizona law consenting adults can enter into agreements and contracts; the right to do so is unquestionably protected under state statute. After the attorney speaks I will offer a motion for Tucson to officially register and record the Civil Union relationships of committed couples--noting all of the intentions and agreements associated with those Unions. I have asked Mr. Rankin to take this approach as far as we possibly can, and I ask for all of you to join me in that quest.

I am pleased that my motion passed with unanimous support from the Mayor and Council. Final documents will be prepared for formal adoption of the program at a meeting in June.

Highlighting Our Assets
This quote from a Tucson Weekly interview by Mari Herreras with Allison Cooper of the Metropolitan Tucson Convention and Visitors Bureau highlights key aspects of our community that set us apart in positive ways:
We are looked at as a progressive, friendly and welcoming community. The issues we've had, the negative PR on immigration, has not touched us the way it's touched Maricopa County. We also have immense assets upon which to draw travelers to deliver a real authentic experience—our natural environment and spectacular scenery. What we have here you can't experience anywhere else. ... We have so many destination drivers. We are one of the top astronomy and star gazing regions in the world. The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum—we know that 12 percent of our visitors come here just to go to see that attraction.
Those unique assets and the emerging vibrancy downtown have been drawing attention from other corners of the country. Here’s the link to a recent article from the San Francisco Chronicle:

We’ve long known that we can best succeed as a community if we protect and celebrate our unique assets. What brings talent, jobs, interest and investment to an area is a great quality of life…a clean environment; rich culture, diversity and the arts; and a range of safe and affordable living options. We can do well on all measures as long as we hold on to what we value. Gotta love this sweet place we call home!

Historic Preservation
As part of our celebration of Preservation Month in May, I am proud to highlight several recent advances in Historic Preservation here in the City of Tucson.  On May 21st the Mayor and Council directed staff to prepare a text amendment to the Unified Development Code, Article 5: Overlay Zones, Section 5.8 “H” Historic Preservation Zone (HPZ) to streamline and clarify the Historic Landmark designation processes by:
• Consolidating procedures
• Emphasizing simplicity
• Clearly distinguishing between the requirements for establishing Historic Preservation Zones and Historic Landmarks; and
• Defining Historic Landmark eligibility and design guidelines

My office has been working closely with City staff and community preservation partners like Demion Clinco, to better understand where the challenges exist, and to prioritize this streamlining process so that significant Historic Landmarks are not lost to us.  Mayor and Council voted unanimously to move through the process for these amendments. The following link has more information: 


Secondly, I was happy to nominate the Matus/Meza House Rehabilitation Project, in Old Pascua Neighborhood for both the 2013 Governor’s Heritage Preservation Honor Award and the local 2013 Preservation Awards (sponsored by Tucson Pima County Historical Commission and the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation), where the project was selected for recognition.  The adobe Matus/Meza house is one of the few surviving original houses built when this Yoeme (Yaqui) neighborhood was established in the 1920s. In 1991 it was individually listed in the National Register of Historic Places. It was built in the early 1900s and added onto in several phases through the 1950s. Upon her death in 1988, the last inhabitant bequeathed the property to the nonprofit San Ignacio Yaqui Council.

On May 18th TPD Officer Preston Hould received a 2013 Preservation Award for his role in organizing neighborhood youth to work with the San Ignacio Yaqui Council to clean up the vacant property and secure the house to prevent break-ins and illicit activities. Even after he was transferred to a different patrol area, Officer Hould continued to monitor the property and organize neighborhood youths.  On June 14th, the project and the project team will again be recognized for a Governor’s Heritage Honor Award during the Arizona Historic Preservation Conference in Mesa, Az.  Congratulations and thanks go out to all the project team including:  San Ignacio Yaqui Council; Officer Preston Hould, City of Tucson Police Department; City of Tucson Historic Preservation Office; City of Tucson Housing and Community Development Department; Ward 3 City Council Office; Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation; Poster Frost Mirto Architects; Sellers and Sons, Inc. General Contractors; Oden Construction, Inc.; Canyon Fence; TLCP Engineering, and Dave Stadle with Pima County Juvenile Courts. 

The San Ignacio Yaqui Council and the Old Pascua Museum Cultural Committee are currently planning the future of the Matus/Meza House to serve the community with a range of educational and cultural activities.  For more information about that, contact Guillermo "bill" Quiroga, the Vice President, San Ignacio Yaqui Council.
Have a good weekend,

Ward 3 Events:

-Doolen-Fruitvale NA Cleanup – Saturday, June 1 beginning at 8:30 a.m. in the Sparkman Butterfly Garden (on Sparkman, south of Bermuda). Just show up—tools, water and refreshments will be served. The NA has ordered a City dumpster to be available all weekend for additional neighborhood cleanups.

-Friends of Mansfield Park Annual Pool Opening – Saturday, June 1 from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. 2000 N. 4th Avenue. Prizes, hotdogs, popcorn, Eegees, UA Physics Fun Bus, jumping castle, safety information from Tucson Fire and Police Departments and Music by 93.7 KRQ.  Jump in and cool off for Tucson’s first 100 degree day!

-Fairy Lights on the Moon – Valley of the Moon, 2544 E. Allen Road. Saturday, June 1, from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. Winding paths, statues and enchanted gardens. Come and try the new game “Reign of Wyre.” Free, donations appreciated. More info: 323-1331.

Upcoming Neighborhood and Coalition Meeting(s):

-Coronado Heights N A Meeting  -Tuesday, June 4th 2013 at 6:30 p.m. Glenstone Village (Community Room), 2835 N. Stone Ave.

-Amphi N A  Meeting - Wednesday, June 5th 2013 at 6:30 p.m. at La Paloma, 240 W. Navajo

-Northwest NA – Wednesday, June 5 at 6:00 p.m. Donna Liggins Recreation Center, 2160 N. 6th Avenue.

-Feldman’s NA – Thursday, June 6 at 7:00 p.m. St. Luke’s Home, 615 E. Adams.

Citywide Events:

-Summer Safari Nights – Reid Park Zoo, 3400 E. Zoo Court. Friday evenings through July 12 from 5:30 – 8:00 p.m. Entertainment, games for children. Adults $9, children $5, free under 2. More info: 881-4753.

-World Elder Abuse Awareness Day – Thursday, June 13 from 10:00 – 11:30 a..m. Abrams Public Health Center, 3950 S. Country Club Road.  Elder abuse is an international problem, largely under-recognized and under-reported. This comprehensive lecture “My World..Your World..Our World – Free of Elder Abuse” is presented by Doug Clark, Assistant Attorney General for the State of Arizona. Part of the SAFEE Program (Stop Abuse and Financial Exploitation of the Elderly). This free event invites the community to attend. No registration is required.

-Did you know…?

…that work continues through the summer on the Grant Road intersection project at Grant and Oracle?  The following is an updated tentative schedule from the Transportation Department for the completion of this intersection (weather permitting, of course).  

Description                                     Location                                                     Tentative Dates
Grading                              North half of Grant and west half of Oracle               June 3-14

Curbs and                          North half of Grant and west half of Oracle               June 17-June 28

Traffic Signal                      North half of Grant and west half of Oracle                June 3- July 19
and Lighting

Median Islands                   North Grant Rd and Oracle (all)                                  June 28-July26
and Deco Concrete

Paving & Temp Striping        Grant Rd and Oracle  (All)                                          July 29-Aug 16
Base paving north side/
finish course entire road

Utility Adjustments              Grant Rd and Oracle  (All)                                           Aug 19- Aug 30

Landscaping                       Grant Rd and Oracle  (All)                                           Aug 19 -Sept 20

Final Striping                       Grant Rd and Oracle  (All)                                           Sept 20

NOTE: There is a 30 day cure period between the time the final pavement is placed and the permanent striping is added. The road will be operational and open to traffic by the middle of August 2013.


…that Friday, June 7 is the deadline for organizations to apply for “Cats in the Community Day?” Each year UA teams assist schools, neighborhoods or non-profits to complete work they couldn’t normally accomplish. The selected date for 2014 is Saturday March 1. If your organization is located near UA and you have an idea for a makeover, you can learn more and get an application from Sheila McGinnis in the University of  Arizona Community Relations Office at 626-4671 or smcginnis@email.arizona.edu.

…that Flowing Wells High School students created PSA’s (Public Service Announcements) that will be aired on Cox, Comcast and TV Azteca? Working with Amistades, Inc. students created PSA’s highlighting the risks of drugs and alcohol. The PSA’s will air through December.

…that the Richey Charter Early Learning Center, in the Old Pascua Neighborhood, opens this Fall? If you live on the northwest side and are looking for a quality, free preschool program for your youngster, consider Richey.  Community information and registration event will be held at the Pascua Center on Saturday, June 8th from 9:00 am - 1:00 pm. 785 W Sahuaro St, Tucson 85705. For more info email Ernette Leslie at ecleslie2@gmail.com.

…that Tucson was named in Travel Channel’s “TOP 10 CYCLING CITIES” - “This desert oasis has more bicycle infrastructure than any other city in the US, boasting more than 700 miles of designated bikeways,” says the Travel Channel in their recent feature, “Top 10 Cycling Cities in US.”  From the Travel Channel: http://www.travelchannel.com/interests/outdoors-and-adventure/photos/top...