Karin's Note: Friday, November 20, 2015

Karin's Note: Friday, November 20, 2015
  • Note from Staff
  • Ward 3 Events
  • Neighborhood Association/Coalition Meetings
  • City Spotlight
  • Community-Wide Events
  • Did You Know?
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Dear Tucsonans,
 
City Finances
 
The City budget discussion at Tuesday’s meeting included FY2015 yearend projections and adjusted projections for this fiscal year based upon the trend during the first quarter of FY16 (July-Sept). The figures we reviewed are available at this link:   
 
Overall it’s clear that, despite modest revenue growth and the continued management/reduction of expenses, the improving economy isn’t rebounding fast enough to cover big cost increases on our horizon (most notably our growing obligations to the state-managed Public Safety Retirement System, which will jump from $56M in FY16 to $80M+ in FY17 without state-level reforms).
 
We’re going to need to work with you, our Charter Review Committee, other area governments, and the general public to identify new strategies for structurally balancing our City budget. Tens of millions of dollars in revenue can’t be raised without new sources of funding nor can that amount of services be cut without impacting our shared quality of life.
 
We may need to consolidate services across jurisdictions in the region (e.g. Regional Transit Authority) and/or ask voters to approve dedicated local taxes to invest in key priorities (e.g. match the sales tax level in Marana and Oro Valley and apply the amount generated by the added half-cent increment to Public Safety costs), and for sure we must work hard to promote fair and reasonable reforms to the Public Safety Retirement System at the state level. The Mayor and I, as well as other Council colleagues, have offered some initial thoughts along these lines. Ultimately we need to offer a very transparent public process so that we handle this challenge in a way that most Tucsonans believe will be the right balance of priorities for our limited budget.
 
We have reason for optimism. Unlike many cities across the country, in Tucson we survived the horrible economic downturn without entirely draining our reserve funds (still roughly 5% in our “Rainy Day” fund and 3.5% in “Unassigned” reserves). We’ve balanced the budget every year. We simply have to look to new strategies. I think we’ll find those together, and in the process recommit ourselves to a healthy future for Tucson.
 
Boards and Commissions
 
Part of not doing “business as usual” requires us to stop doing “business as usual”. The talk has got to translate into action. One example will be the City Manager’s review (with a Resident’s Study Group) of our many, many (66!) Boards, Commissions and Committees. We have got to maximize the impact of every volunteer hour City residents devote to creating a better local government. We have to focus every single hour of staff time more effectively toward that end. I applaud the Manager and Tucson Residents for Responsive Government (TRRG) for recognizing the opportunity to change our approach and reorganize our efforts.
 
Police Chief
 
It’s virtually impossible to find unanimous support for any leadership position serving over 500,000 people (truth be told, 60% in an election is often called a “landslide” victory). Ultimately I heard overwhelming support from individuals across the community, both inside and outside TPD, in favor of hiring Police Chief Candidate Christopher Magnus. I am pleased that Mayor/Council unanimously approved of the City Manager’s recommendation to offer Mr. Magnus the job.
 
You can learn more about soon-to-be Tucson Police Chief Magnus here:
 
 
I hope you’ll join me in welcoming him and supporting him in his service to Tucson.
 
Tucson’s Elections - 2015 and Beyond
 
Under State statute the Mayor and Council is obligated to approve the election canvass on a very prescribed timeline. While litigation continues about 1) the results of the election (related to two Council seats) and 2) our voter-approved, Charter-prescribed election process, we provided direction yesterday best described as a multi-pronged approach.
 
First, we instructed the City Attorney to engage on behalf of Tucson in the case filed to challenge the 2015 election result. The election was held in-keeping with the Charter as it stands (which has yielded, I should note, both Republican and Democratic Mayors and Councilmembers since 2001). Even if the courts ultimately were to compel Tucson to change our electoral process, we’ll need time to put some questions in front of City voters to change the local process.
 
And toward that end, we made it clear at the meeting that we have already asked that our Charter Advisory Committee work to formulate recommendations on electoral reforms for Mayor/Council consideration this coming spring (in time to refer to a 2016 ballot). I’m glad we got that ball rolling a couple of months ago, and trust the Committee (along with the same expertise and facilitation offered by Dr. Sonenshein) can provide options worthy of voter consideration. As that process proceeds, the City Attorney has been instructed to seek a rehearing by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals involving a full panel of eleven judges (the initial ruling stemmed from a 2-1 decision issued by three judges).
 
I’ll close by saying, as I did at the Council Study Session, that I am no big fan of the current election system (Ward primaries, citywide at-large general elections). I think it’s confusing for voters and could list other concerns. But I stand by the Charter as the local framework that has been adopted by and should only be amended by Tucson voters. Seems clear Tucson voters will be contemplating such amendments in 2016.
 
Downtown Transit Center
 
Thank you, John Hudak of Madden Media. John met with me over two years ago and offered to support me in an effort to end the polarizing conflict over the downtown transit center. John believed, as I did, that there must be a way to bring redevelopment to the site that would benefit the transit system and riders while furthering investment and economic activity downtown. Sounds simple; but bringing downtown businesses, bus riders, developers and neighborhood leaders to a single table was not easy. I applaud everyone from those diverse perspectives who gave it a try. Their engagement and trust will result in a meaningful legacy for our city.
 
This week Mayor and Council agreed with the staff and a unanimous evaluation committee recommendation that we engage in initial negotiations on a development agreement with Peach Properties and their partners. The proposed project features mixed-use development (residential, retail, commercial, and public space) integrated with a transit mall concept. You can view their proposal at this link: https://www.tucsonaz.gov/integrated-planning/ronstadt-transit-center-joint-development
 
Thanks also to Nicole Ewing Gavin and her team (Office of Integrated Planning) as well as Marcheta Gillespie (Procurement Department) for facilitating a fair, transparent and competitive process. There’s more to be done. Details of the development plan and agreement, which is subject to Federal Transit Administration approval, will take time and further negotiation. But it’s a huge leap forward to have, in hand, a shared vision and project that all Tucsonans can rally around. I’m proud of all of us for getting there.
 
Karin
 
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Note from Staff:
 
I would like to thank all invloved for the hard work that brought the Arizona Bowl to fruition. In addition to celebrating achievement in college football, the Arizona Bowl will allow for the community to showcase itself to national audience. We are also optimistic about the positive economic impact the Arizona Bowl will have for our City and region. Visit http://www.novaarizonabowl.com/ to learn more.
 
Matt Kopec
Council Aide
 
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Ward 3 Events: 
 
Ward 3 Roll-Offs Available to Neighborhoods
Thursday, November 19th – Monday, November 23rd
Clean out your house, your alley, your neighborhood! Roll-off dumpsters will be available at the following neighborhoods for public use:
                North University 1500 Block of N. Highland
                Northwest 300 Block of E. Elm St
                Silverbell Terrace 2500 Block of N. Jonathan
                Vista Del Monte 2900 Block of N. Columbus
Next up for December 3rd – 7th: Amphi, Balboa Heights, and Barrio Blue Moon! Contact the Ward 3 office for more info 520-791-4711 or ward3@tucsonaz.gov
 
Annual International Thanksgiving Community Potluck Dinner
Friday, November 20th 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Nottinghill Apartments Clubhouse 2660 N. Alvernon Way
Join for this annual international Thanksgiving feast!  The evening will include food, fellowship, and fun for the entire family.  This is a potluck-style dinner, so please bring a side dish with you to share. Children's activities will include crafts, games, and a movie on the Lawn. The dinner provides a perfect opportunity to share the Thanksgiving spirit with our wonderful refugee neighbors.
 
Free Food Available at Amphi!
Saturday, November 21st 10:00 am
New Life Community Church of the Nazarene 3367 N. Geronimo Ave.
Open to everyone! First come, first served!
 
Mountain First Neighborhood Association  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.
 
Iskashitaa Refugee Thanksgiving Day
Thursday, November 26th 2:00 – 4:00 pm
Adjoining courtyard at Desert Courtyard Apartments 1411 N. Alvernon Way
This delectable event caters to more than 150 refugees to give thanks for them being safely resettled in Tucson from dozens of conflict zones across the world. Indulge in traditional Thanksgiving cuisine as well as dishes prepared by our global friends! Please bring a dish to share. Sponsored by Iskashitaa Refugee Network, St. Francis in the Foothills, and local community members. Contact Iskashitaa for more information 520-440-0100 or information@iskashitaa.org  
 
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!
 
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Neighborhood Association/Coalition Meetings:
 
Jefferson Park NA
Wednesday, November 25th 6:00 pm
Ward 3 Community Room 1510 E. Grant Rd
 
Rillito Bend NA Annual Meeting
Tuesday, December 1st 6:30 pm
Northminster Presbyterian Church 2450 E. Fort Lowell
 
Amphi Community Action Group
Wednesday, December 2nd 5:30 – 7:00 pm
Library at Amphi High School
 
Feldman’s NA
Thursday, December 3rd 7:00 pm
St Luke’s Chapel 615 E. Adams
 
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City Spotlight:
 
Family Festival in the Park
Saturday, November 21st 10:00 am to 2:00 pm
Reid Park (Edith Ball Adaptive Recreation Center - west of zoo)
Tucson Parks and Recreation Department presents the annual Family Festival in the Park. Enjoy a carnival, sports and family games, inflatables and crafts! Includes free admission to Reid Park Zoo (8:00 am to 4:00 pm) and free swimming at Edith Ball Adaptive Recreation Center (Noon to 4 :00 pm). Entertainment will be presented throughout the day and a variety of foods will be available for purchase through local vendors. https://www.tucsonaz.gov/parks
 
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Community-Wide Events: 
 
Produce On Wheels – With Out Waste
Saturday, November 21st 8:00  – 11:00 am
Please visit one of our locations listed below this Saturday **unless otherwise specified for special hours**. With a $10 contribution you can shop for up to 60 lbs. of fresh nutritional rescued produce.
  • Most Holy Trinity Church – 1300 N. Greasewood Rd., Tucson 85745
  • Pima Community College (@ Downtown Campus) – 1255 N. Stone Ave., Tucson 85709
  • Sierra Vista United Methodist Church – 3225 St. Andrews Dr., Sierra Vista 85650
  • Southeast Arizona Behavioral Health Services – 611 W. Union St., Benson 85602
  • St. Cyril Parish (**7:00am – 11:00am**) - 4725 E. Pima St., Tucson 85712
  • St. Pius X Catholic Church – 1800 N. Camino Pio Decimo, Tucson 85715
  • Saguaro Christian Church – 8302 E. Broadway Blvd., Tucson 85710
  • Vision Church (Cross Streets of Cortaro Rd. and Silverbell Rd.) – 7511 N. Benet Dr., Tucson 85743
Edible Shade Pancake Breakfast
Sunday, November 22nd 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Watershed Management Group 1137 N. Dodge
It’s that time again! Come join Watershed Management Group for a fun-filled morning to celebrate the delicious shade of mesquite, pomegranate, olive and other edible native and desert-adapted trees. Enjoy live music, an artisan market, and educational presentations as you explore sustainability practices in action at WMG’s Living Lab and Learning Center. And come hungry—they’ll be serving up local mesquite pancakes, fresh off the griddle!
Full schedule and more details to be announced. Pancakes $2 each, or three for $5. Non-gluten and vegan options available. More info at https://watershedmg.org/article/whos-hungry-our-edible-shade-mesquite-pancake-breakfast-back
 
17th Annual Ceci and Pepe Barrón Thanksgiving in the Barrio!
Tuesday, November 24th  from 11:30 am to 4:00 pm
El Pueblo Neighborhood Center 101 W. Irvington Road
Southside Coalition, Pepe Barrón Academy, El Pueblo Neighborhood Center, and Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation invites you to join for a free Thanksgiving dinner, live entertainment, a resource fair, raffles and more! For more information please call: (520) 336-8466
 
Community Gathering For World AIDS Day
Monday, December 1st 4:00 – 8:00 pm
The Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd.
Commemorate World AIDS Day at the Loft Cinema in a community-wide celebration of how far we have come in the fight against HIV/AIDS, remembrance of those we have lost, and promotion of awareness of HIV prevention. There will be live music, dance, art and speakers, and a live feed to a sister celebration in Tanzania. https://www.facebook.com/WorldAIDSDay.Tucson/
 
Poet’s Corner Art Sale
Saturday, December 5th 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
4221 E. Burns St
Join for the 10th annual Poet’s Corner Art Sale! 33 local artists featured – look for fine arts, recycled arts, mixed media, pottery and more! http://www.poetscornerartsale.com/
 
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Did You Know...?
 
Get Your Holiday Shopping Done on Small Business Saturday!
Small Business Saturday is coming to Tucson on November 28th! Helping small businesses do more business is helping your community. Small businesses hire within the community and pay wages to local residents who spend their earnings here.
In 2010 American Express began promoting the day after Black Friday to invigorate consumers to not only shop locally, but to shop small. According to AmEx, last year $14 billion was spent at small businesses during Small Business Saturday, and more than 126,000 tweets were sent in support of the initiative (most popular: #SmallBizSat #ShopSmall and #SmallBusinessSaturday).
Ward 3's small businesses are loaded with character and taste (don't forget restaurants are small businesses too), and gift certificates are great stocking stuffers! Let's do our part, Ward 3 -- shop local, shop small on November 28th!
 
Family Storytime at Woods Library!
There's always something fun happening at Family Storytime. Read stories, learn about other good books to read, make crafts, listen to music, and sometimes even watch a puppet show together!
Family Storytime is 45 minutes long and it's for all ages.
Saturdays
11:00-11:45am
Large Meeting Room at Woods Memorial Library
 
View Status of Road Bond Projects
The City of Tucson has an interactive map to track the progress of the Road Recovery bond project. The five-year plan voters approved in 2012 spends $100 million to improve roadways in our community. You can click an area of the city on the map and find out which projects are completed, planned, and active. Information also includes the number of miles in each project and the ability to turn map layers on and off to narrow your search. Due to favorable bids and lower gas prices, the bond program came in $40 million under budget. The excess bonding capacity will add 101 miles of roadway rehabilitation, which are included in the map.
View the map: https://maps2.tucsonaz.gov/prop409/
Road Recovery: https://www.tucsonaz.gov/street-bonds
Bond Oversight Commission Annual Report: https://www.tucsonaz.gov/files/transportation/2015AnnualReportFinal042015.pdf
 
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