Karin's Note: Friday, November 13, 2015

Karin's Note: Friday, November 13, 2015
  • Ward 3 Events
  • Neighborhood Association/Coalition Meetings
  • City Spotlight
  • Community-Wide Events
  • Did You Know?
*************************************************
Dear Tucsonans,
 
The Mayor and Council meeting next Tuesday begins at 12:30 pm and there are many items that are likely of interest to you:
 
  • Budget Updates from FY15 year end and the first Quarter of FY16
  • Public Hearing (Evening) on Proposed Unified Development Code Changes Related to Flexible Lot Design
  • Executive Session on the recent Court Decision on Tucson’s Election Process (challenging Tucson’s current Ward primary and At-Large general elections as prescribed in the City’s charter)
  • Executive Session on Ronstadt Center Development Proposals/Project
  • Also anticipated Recommendation for the City Manager on the Selection of the Police Chief
 
Materials continue to be posted by staff at this link:
 
I’ll review all input received on these and other items slated for discussion and/or action, so please take the time to weigh in (emails to Ward3@tucsonaz.gov get directly to me for the agenda items).
 
Elections
 
The elections matter is one familiar to Tucson. Though voters have adopted the Charter and can amend it (through an election question on the ballot that must be passed by City voters), this time the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that our system is unconstitutional, meaning we should have both primary and general elections that are both Ward-only or both citywide for Council seats. The Mayor and Council must now decide 1) whether to appeal the court’s ruling and 2) whether the decision in any way prevents the approval of the recent election canvass (i.e. the results on the November 2015 election).
 
It is my understanding that the courts had already ruled to allow our November 2015 election to take place while this case was under their consideration, so it’s unlikely we’d “undo” those election results (the re-election of the Mayor and the three incumbent Councilmembers). In addition to approving the election results, the Mayor and Council will have to decide whether to appeal the Court’s ruling or to comply and then put a question or questions in front to the voters in an election (e.g. do Tucson voters want Ward-only or all At-Large elections for Councilmembers).
 
Rather than saying more (we’re typically advised not to discuss matters under litigation for good reason), here’s a summary of the Court’s decision for your information/consideration:
 
SUMMARY**
 
Civil Rights
 
The panel reversed the district court’s judgment in favor of the City of Tucson in an action challenging the constitutionality of Tucson’s hybrid system for electing members of its city council.
 
Tucson is divided into six wards of approximately equal population, and each ward is allotted one seat on the city council. Under the first step of the hybrid system each ward holds its own primary limited to residents of that ward. The winners of the ward primaries advance to the general election, where they compete against the other candidates nominated from that ward. In the general election, all Tucson residents can vote for one council member from each ward that held a primary during the same election cycle.
 
The panel first held that in determining the system’s constitutionality, the primary and general elections must be considered in tandem as two parts of a single election cycle, rather than two separate contests judged independently of one another.
 
The panel determined that the practical effect of the Tucson system is to give some of a representative’s constituents—those in his home ward—a vote of disproportionate weight. That is the very result the Supreme Court’s one person, one vote jurisprudence is meant to foreclose. The panel held that every otherwise eligible voter who will be a constituent of the winner of the general election must have an equal opportunity to participate in each election cycle through which that candidate is selected.
The panel rejected Tucson’s argument that the hybrid system is a reasonable “residency restriction” on the right to vote. The panel held that when two groups of citizens share identical interests in an election, the city may not use a residency requirement to exclude one group while including the other. The panel concluded that excluding out-of-ward voters from the primary election discriminates among residents of the same governmental unit in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
 
Dissenting, Judge Tallman stated that the Constitution does not require Tucson to draw its district borders in a particular way for different local elections. He concluded that Tucson’s hybrid system is constitutional, and the majority erred in holding otherwise.
 
** This summary constitutes no part of the opinion of the court. It has been prepared by court staff for the convenience of the reader.
 
I am reviewing both the initial District Court decision as well as the Circuit Court’s ruling. I will also be listening to thoughts from you and other Tucsonans. This is clearly an extremely important decision and the issues at hand speak to the integrity of our City’s long-standing electoral process. Share your views: Should the Mayor/Council vote to appeal the Court’s decision?
 
The Mayor and Council has already initiated the Citizen Charter Review Committee’s work to thoroughly look at and to craft deliberate recommendations on our electoral process. It’s likely something will be in front of Tucson voters in 2016.
 
Police Chief
 
Several weeks ago the three highly qualified finalists for the position of Police Chief were considered by our appointed Chief Appointment Advisory Committee, the Tucson Police Officers Association, the Commanders Association, as well as the broader public. Right away I got a wave of feedback from the formal groups engaged as well as from a lot (a whole lot) of folks both inside and outside the department.
 
I appreciate the final due diligence being completed by the City Manager and all of the people in Tucson who have offered their perspective on this important hiring decision. I have made it clear that I will support the Manager as long as two priorities are covered: 1) we would be hiring a leader who can garner and sustain the community’s trust in and support for our police department 2) that the leader can effectively advocate for the best interests of the department so the men and women serving can optimally perform their duties in service to the public. Those are not conflicting or competing interests in my mind. TPD, and especially its officers, needs both the community’s trust and support and the community needs a department with the right staffing, resources, vision and approach to effectively provide public safety services. Moving forward I will reject any notion that one priority trumps or conflicts with the other—our community, our TPD.
 
Ronstadt Center Proposals
Sometimes we forget where we started once we reach a new milestone. But I doubt I’ll forget how impossible it seemed just two years ago to move the Ronstadt Transit Center into redevelopment in a way that benefits transit riders and that brings valuable investment into the core of downtown. Tuesday we’ll hear the latest from the procurement process that has already narrowed the redevelopment “competition” down to two options. Two years ago the divide between various interests seemed beyond bridging; soon we’ll see yet another tangible outcome of our community’s willingness and ability to work through differences, because we truly do hold Tucson’s best interests at heart.
 
Speaking of Heart
Last weekend my family and I joined hundreds more to celebrate the transition from “foster” to “forever” familyhood at the Annual Tucson Adoption Celebration. The event was co-sponsored by St. Nicholas of Myra Center, an agency of Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona that works to find loving, permanent homes for children in need of adoption. I hope you’ll consider supporting the many groups that assist foster children in Pima County and also reach out to thank the tireless workers within the system who do their best despite inadequate funding and some very messed-up laws and regulations.
 
I also visited the Toy Train Museum and gotta say---it is a sweet gift to all kids in our community. It’s built and run by devoted and talented volunteers off of donations from visitors. Check it out, offer your support, and enjoy a great destination grown from the heart of great Tucsonans.
 
Thanks all and have a great weekend,
 
Karin
 
*************************************************
Ward 3 Events: 
 
Ward 3 Roll-Offs Available to Neighborhoods
Thursday, November 12th – Monday, November 16th
Clean out your house, your alley, your neighborhood! Roll-off dumpsters will be available at the following neighborhoods for public use:
                Feldman’s 1600 N. Stone Ave. corner of Stone Ave. and Lee St.
                Jefferson Park North side of 900 block of E. Linden St. between N. Tyndall Ave. and N. Park Ave.
                Richland Heights East Northwest corner of N. Wilson Ave. and E. Greenlee Rd.
                Rillito Bend 2544 E. Allen Rd. on eastern ridge of E. Allen Rd.
Next up for November 19th – 23rd: North University, Northwest, Silverbell Terrace and Vista del Monte! Contact the Ward 3 office for more info 520-791-4711 or ward3@tucsonaz.gov
 
Friends of Marty Birdman Yard Sale
Saturday - Sunday, November 14th - 15th 7:00 am – 3:00 pm
319 E. Kelso St.
This weekend, the Friends of Marty Birdman Center will be having a huge yard sale with all gently used furniture, women's and children's clothing and shoes, household goods, toys and more!
 
Volunteer with Tucson Interfaith HIV/AIDS Network
Tuesday, November 17th 12:30 – 4:30pm
Grace St. Paul's Episcopal Church 2331 E. Adams St.
If you'd like to help improve the lives of people living with HIV, this is a great opportunity to get started! Tucson Interfaith HIV/AIDS Network (TIHAN) is recruiting compassionate and committed volunteers for both administrative and care and support roles, including CareTeam members, marketing and communications advisors, and Link Specialists. Volunteers are provided with the necessary training, education and support to fulfill our mission of offering unconditional love and non-medical support to those living with HIV/AIDS, as well as their loved ones. Quarterly training sessions and continuing education programs are held to keep volunteers abreast of the latest issues related to HIV and AIDS. Please contact Bennett D. Burke, Volunteer Coordinator, at VolunteerCoordinator@tihan.org, or call 299-6647 ext. 206. To download a Volunteer Application Packet, visit http://tihan.org/volunteer.htm#volunteerapplicationpacket/.
 
Discover Collage!
Saturday, December 5th 3:30 – 4:30 pm
Woods Memorial Library (Small Meeting Room) 3455 N. 1st Ave.
Make your own collage creations and unlock the artist within. Participants learn basic collage techniques and explore composition and storytelling. Collaging is a great way to upcycle materials into works of art. Presented by DC Unlimited. All ages welcomed!
 
Fun with Mandalas
Friday, December 11th 3:30 – 4:30 pm
Woods Memorial Library (Large Meeting Room) 3455 N. 1st Ave.
In this all ages workshop presented by DC Unlimited, participants will make a mandala of their own or just have fun coloring the ones provided. Learn about the long history of mandalas across cultures, uses of mandalas for health, meditation and just plain fun!
 
************************************************
Neighborhood Association/Coalition Meetings:
 
Dodge Flower Neighborhood Association Annual Meeting
Saturday, November 14th 2:00 – 3:30 pm
Our Family 2590 N. Alvernon Way
Elections and bylaw changes will be among issues discussed at this annual meeting.
 
Samos Neighborhood Association Meeting
Tuesday, November 17th 6:30 – 8:00 pm
Salpointe Trophy Room 1545 E. Copper St.
 
Mountain View Neighborhood Association Meeting
Thursday, November 19th 6:00 – 7:30 pm
Habitat for Humanity 3501 N. Mountain
 
Amphi Community Action Group Meeting
Saturday, November 21st 10:00 am (third Saturday of each month)
New Life Community Church of Nazarene 3367 N. Geronimo Ave.
The Amphi Community Action Group is bringing together groups invested in the Amphi Neighborhood to identify resources and create a community voice in order to positively impact the quality of life for all Amphi residents. This event will have free food available and is open to everyone. Call 887-8859 for more information.
 
Mountain First Fundraiser
Tuesday, November 24th 6:00 – 7:30 pm
La Cocina 201 N. Court Ave.
Come join your Mountain First neighbors for dinner or drinks next Tuesday evening to see a portion of your check go to the Mountain First Neighborhood Association.
 
************************************************
City Spotlight:
 
AIDSWALK Success!
The Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation's signature fundraising event, AIDSWALK, took place Sunday, October 11th and is proud to have raised more than $140,000 with the help of our community! We had a great time, saw many close friends, and remembered those we have lost at the always-moving quilt ceremony. Didn't get a chance to be a part of the festivities? You can still sponsor walkers online and help get SAAF ever closer to reaching their fundraising goal.
 
Arizona Humanities Lectures
Joel D. Valdez Main Library (Lower Level Meeting Room) 101 N. Stone Ave.
Starting next month, the Pima County Public Library and Arizona Humanities Council will present a series of thought-provoking lectures on a variety of interesting topics. The lectures will be held once per month from December through March of 2016 in the Lower Level Meeting Room of the Joel D. Valdez Main Library located at 101 N. Stone Ave.
 
On Saturday, December 12th, Dianne Post will be presenting her lecture, “Private, For-Profit Prisons: Good Policy or Bad Choice?”
 
Then on Saturday, January 23, 2016, join Allen Dart for “Archaeology’s Deep Time Perspective on Environmental and Social Sustainability.” Marshall Shore will be discussing “Arizona Ghost Towns” on Saturday, February 27th, followed by Betsy Fahlman’s “Art of the Internment Camps: Culture behind Barbed Wire” on Saturday, March 26th.
 
All lectures will go from 11:00 am to 12:00pm. Free parking will be available.
 
*************************************************
Community-Wide Events: 
 
2nd Saturday Household Hazardous Waste Collection
Saturday, November 14th 8:00 am – 12:00 pm
City of Tucson Community Services Center 325 N. Commerce Park Loop
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. This month’s HHW 2nd Saturday Collection will be held at City of Tucson Community Services Center, 325 N. Commerce Park Loop from 8:00 am to noon. As usual, drop off of HHW on 2nd Saturday 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. The program only accepts materials generated in homes—no commercially-generated materials are accepted. More information is available online at https://www.tucsonaz.gov/es/household-hazardous-waste, downloading the “my-waste” App or by calling ES Customer Service at 791-3171.
 
Safe Seniors Event
Saturday, November 14th 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
La Quinta Inn 102 N. Alvernon Way
This Saturday, Operations Division Midtown will be presenting the first ever Safe Seniors event. A number of community organizations have agreed to take part in the event, including the Arizona Attorney General’s officer, the Association for Resources and Choices “Elder Shelter,” the Unites States Postal Inspector, Pima County Council on Aging, Southern Arizona Legal Aid, Tucson Community Food Bank, and Pima County Health Department to name a few. There will be several presentations throughout the event as well as tables for addressing questions and providing information about resources, services and volunteer opportunities. A few businesses have graciously offered to provide refreshments. So, if you are a senior, or if someone you love is a senior, tell them about it and/or bring them. If you have a senior who could benefit from community resources but is unable to travel, come represent them.
 
Know Where to Throw/Green Pathways 2015
Saturday, November 14th 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
El Rio Neighborhood Center 1390 W. Speedway Blvd.
Join us to learn how to reduce, reuse and recycle in Tucson! Enjoy a day of informative fun including:
  • Free document shredding
  • E-waste collection
  • Goodwill reusables and clothing collection
  • Information fair
  • Mr. Nature’s Music Garden (for children!)
  • Upcycled and recycled craft activities
  • Compost demonstration (11:00 am – 12:00 pm)
  • Thrift shop fashion show (1:00 – 2:00 pm)
  • Food trucks, and more!
This event is brought to you by a coalition between Environmental Services, Parks & Rec, Tucson Clean & Beautiful and Goodwill of Southern Arizona.
 
Free Thanksgiving Spa Day
Wednesday, November 18th 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Grace St. Paul’s Episcopal Church 2331 E. Adams St.
Need a quick makeover before the Thanksgiving holiday? Grace St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, in partnership with the Aveda Institute, will be offering haircuts, manicures, scalp massages, facials, aromatherapy and more, absolutely free and open to everyone! Men’s and children’s services will be available too.
 
Transportation Public Open House
Thursday, November 19th 11:00 am – 2:00 pm
University of Arizona Student Union (Kiva Room) 1303 E. University Blvd.
Pima Association of Governments’ 2045 Regional Transportation Plan identifies projects that are anticipated to be scheduled in our region starting in fiscal year 2016 through fiscal year 2045. Stop by this public open house to see what projects are identified in the draft plan and share your comments with us. Free bus passes are available upon request. Call 792-1093 for more information.
 
Community Gathering For World AIDS Day
Monday, December 1st 4:00 – 8:00 pm
The Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd.
Join us at the Loft Cinema for this special collaborative community event to commemorate World AIDS Day, celebrate how far we have come in the fight against HIV/AIDS, remember those we have lost, and promote awareness of HIV prevention. There will be live music, dance, art and speakers, and a live feed to a sister celebration in Tanzania. Come enjoy the music of Jeremy Michael Cashman and Mighty Joel Ford, Vannessa Lundon and Reverb, dance from Esperanza Dance Troup and Youth Hip Hop and artists Jessica Gonzales, Keaton Kohl and Austin Pierson, with even more to be announced!
 
World AIDS Day is an opportunity to create awareness about HIV/AIDS from a global perspective. HIV/AIDS has similar effects on people’s lives everywhere, but cultural and environmental differences cause the fight against HIV/AIDS to be intrinsically unique to each community. We want to celebrate these similarities and differences. Creating an international dialogue about HIV/AIDS has the propensity to increase a global awareness, which collectively brings people together with a sustainable and much broader understanding about HIV/AIDS. We hope this broader understanding can span the globe and bring communities together in our fight against HIV/AIDS.
 
*************************************************
Did You Know...?
 
Call for bicycle-themed art
BICAS is seeking donations to benefit their 20th Annual Art Auction, which will take place in early December. All mediums are welcomed. Feel free to pick up salvaged bike parts from BICAS for Auction-related projects. Then bring your ready-to-hang creation to BICAS at 44 W. 6th St., during open shop hours: Tuesday through Sunday 11am-6pm. The deadline for submissions is November 28, but early submissions will be featured in their Open Studio Tour on November 14th & 15th (11-5pm) and some entries will be featured at Dragoon Brewing Co. on Nov 19th (5-8pm)! Proceeds from this fundraiser support and sustain BICAS in their efforts to provide affordable and free bicycle education and services to the Tucson community. For more information, visit http://bicas.org/art-auction/ or contact art@bicas.org.
 
Raptor Free Flight returns to the Desert Museum
Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, 2021 N Kinney Rd.
Twice a day through March 27th, you can see the most extraordinary (and possibly the most popular) exhibition of birds of prey in the United States. Raptors native to the Sonoran Desert fly free, completely untethered, often swooping so close you can feel the brush of feathers as a narrator describes their attributes, habitats and behaviors. Demonstrations occur daily at 10:00 am and 2:00 pm (allow about 20 minutes to get from the museum entrance to the demonstration area). Bring your camera! For a gallery of free flight images, go to http://desertmuseum.org/galleries/?gallery=rff2014. For information about Desert Museum hours and fees, visit http://desertmuseum.org/visit/hours.php.
 
Reminder to Stay Safe During the Holiday Season!
The holidays are just around the corner. While enjoying the festivities, do be aware of some safety concerns. Typically, around this time of year, we will see an increase in car break-ins and burglaries. The Tucson Police Department’s Community Resource Officer said, “many of the people who commit these crimes don’t bother with smashing windows. They will just check doors as they walk down the street to see what vehicles are unlocked.” So keep this in mind especially as you’re going about your holiday shopping, and be sure to lock your vehicles and avoid leaving anything of value inside. Stay safe!
 
PAG Open Houses Set for Early November for Public Feedback on Regional Transportation Projects
Every four years, Pima Association of Governments updates its long-range regional transportation plan and seeks public comment. Draft details of the 2045 Regional Transportation Plan will be available for review during open houses scheduled next month throughout the region:
 
11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 19
University of Arizona
Student Union, Kiva Room
1303 E. University Blvd., Tucson
 
For more information about the draft 2045 RTP, please visit www.PAGregion.com
 
*************************************************