Karin's Note: Thursday, October 15, 2015

Karin's Note: Thursday, October 15, 2015
  • Ward 3 Events
  • Community Spotlight
  • City-Wide Events
  • Did You Know?
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Dear Tucsonans,
 
There’s a lot of important work at hand for Mayor and Council. I’ll do my best always to focus on the real challenges requiring our best thinking and action.
 
But standing up to bullying and half-truths is also in the job description when it comes to representing the public’s interest. We all do that, too.
 
This week I was disappointed that some bullying and political spin got lobbed onto the airways by a colleague; in fact I noted on KVOA that it felt like “a class bully shooting spitballs at his classmates”.
 
In the paragraph below I outline how the “budget proposal” to “end the Mayor and Council transportation perk” which supposedly “only Council Member Kozachik has declined to accept” is only half the story.  
 
M&C Work-Related Transportation Options
 
Assigned Fleet Vehicle (Mayor/Wards 1, 3, 4, 5)
 
Maintenance .16 per mile x 11,750=$1,880
 
11,750 miles/45 MPG= 260 gallons/year @ $2.50/gallon=$650 (.06 per mile)
 
Depreciation (10% of original car price/year)=$2,500*
 
ANNUAL COST $5,030/year 
 
Transportation Reimbursement Allowance (Ward 2)
 
$200 per pay period x 26 pay periods =
 
ANNUAL COST $5,200/year
 
Staff Drivers for Council Member with Mileage Reimbursed (Ward 6)
 
CM transport to 5 event/week** x 2 hours/event x = 520 staff hours @ $18/hour = $9,360
 
260 events/year x 10 miles/roundtrip @ .55/mile = $1,430***
 
ANNUAL COST $10,790/year ($6,110 only half of staff hours counted as transport)****

*depreciation is actually now zero for 3 of the 5 cars (those put in service 2005/2006); but full cost for all 5 included here to provide more complete picture. No proposal or plan has been considered by the Manager or Mayor/Council to purchase or assign any new or other vehicles for M&C purposes.

**Average events and hours per week provided by City employee under Whistleblower Protection ordinance

*** The Government Services Administration notes that if a government vehicle is available this reimbursement rate should be only be .23/mile (https://www.gsa.gov/portal/category/104715). Per the City Clerk's office, staff are being reimbursed at a rate of.55/mile. Policies/procedures for utilizing petty cash reimbursement for staff mileage incurred to drive a Council Member who has access to a government-furnished vehicle (offering lower cost option) should be reviewed and rectified.

**** Any additional use by the CM office of City fueling stations and/or loaner fleet vs assigned fleet vehicle would add to these estimated costs.

Preliminary Conclusions
 
The Ward 6 proposal (presented first through reporter Matthew Schwartz on KVOA News 10/14/2015) failed to openly disclose that the Ward 6 Council Member uses City taxpayer dollars for a substitute transportation “perk” wherein staff hours are specifically assigned to transport CM to and from community events/meetings).
 
That perk, at worst, is costing City taxpayers twice as much as the alternatives (assigned City vehicle or set cash transportation allowance). At best is costing taxpayers just as much.
 
The lack of transparency and accountability associated with this substitute transportation option raises questions with regard to compliance with local, state and federal regulations. For example, staff should be reimbursed at no more than 23 cents vs 55-57.5 cents per mile given the availability of the more cost-effective option provided through use of a government vehicle (see https://www.gsa.gov/portal/category/104715 ).
 
I promise you that, despite how frustrating and disheartening this kind of political posturing can be, at any time that the Council Member offers ideas, even self-serving ones, I’ll be the first to second his motion as long the proposal is honest, fair, and in the public’s best interest too.
 
Ward 3 Neighborhoods Out in Force Tonight!
 
I look forward to seeing Ward 3 residents tonight as a half dozen neighborhoods host their GAIN (aka Neighborhood Night Out) events. Kudos to the folks in Amphi, Feldman’s, Limberlost, Richland Heights East, Vista del Monte (and the Ward 3 Neighbors Alliance) for investing time and energy in community-building. Their efforts no doubt improve the quality of life for all of us.
 
AIDS Awareness
 
I attended the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation AIDSWalk on Sunday and tonight look forward to attending the Latino AIDS Awareness Program to be held downtown.
 
I’ll also be attending the annual Pride in the Desert festivities on Saturday at the Kino Sports Complex, which should be even more celebratory that usual given the great strides we’ve seen for the LGBTQ community in 2015.
 

The Need for Granting Asylum

I share our community’s concern for the welfare of refugees from Central America who are seeking asylum in the United States, including those young people residing at the Southwest Key facility in Ward 3. Here are some recent national stories about their heartbreaking plight and the violent crises in the countries they are fleeing:

The Refugees at Our Door

US Government Deporting Central American Migrants to Their Deaths

Mayor and Council Meeting Next Week
 
The next Mayor and Council meeting will be on Tuesday, October 20th, with the items for the Regular Agenda (no afternoon Study Session) available at this link for your review:
 
 
Thanks everyone, and have a great weekend.
 
Karin
 
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Ward 3 Events: 
 
Amphi Night Out
Thursday, October 15th 6:00 – 7:00 pm
Literacy Connects 200 E. Yavapai Rd
The Amphi Community Action Group and Tucson Police Department invite their Amphi neighbors to illuminate the night with a celebration at Literacy Connects! Enjoy music, activities, refreshments, and more. Free bike lights, child bike helmets, and light bulbs from TEP will be available! The CAG will also be recognizing apartment complexes, businesses, and churches who have been great neighbors. Visit https://www.empowertucson.org/benefits/reports/neighborhood/amphi/ for more info about the Amphi CAG and contact. Special thanks to Tucson Electric Power, Dairy Queen and GAP Ministries for their generous support as well as to Jon Lanza (Principal at Amphi High School) and Woods Library!
 
Feldman’s Neighborhood National Night Out
Thursday, October 15th 6:00 pm
St. Luke's Home, 615 E. Adams
Come join your Feldman neighbors for the 2015 celebration of National Night Out, the annual community event aimed at crime and drug prevention. The entrance for the party is on First Avenue between Lee and Adams.  
 
Ward 3 Neighbors Alliance GAIN
Thursday, October 15th 6:00 – 8:00 pm
St. James United Methodist Church 3255 N Campbell
G.A.I.N. or Getting Arizona Involved in Neighborhoods is an annual event designed to unite neighbors and communities to help create safer neighborhoods. Join for a big  multi-neighborhood gathering, network with each other, form new alliances to improve your quality of living and have some fun! Meet your neighbors, free display booths, entertainment, lots of fun! Jumping Castle for the kids!
 
Limberlost GAIN
Thursday, October 15th 6:30 – 8:00 pm
Sonora Cohousing 501 E. Roger (Community Room)
Also known as National Night Out, G.A.I.N. encourages residents to get together to promote safety, neighborhood communication and celebrate the successes of crime prevention through community involvement!
 
The Haunted Ruins: A Witch's Quest
October 16th – 18th, 23rd -25th, 28th – 30th 
Valley of the Moon, 2544 E. Allen Rd.
Continuing a Tucson tradition that stretches back 40 years, Valley of the Moon will present the Haunted Ruins for 12 nights in October. The 35-40 minute walking theatrical adventure winds through Valley of the Moon following the tale of a young witch who has come here to solve a big problem. Adventures start every 20 minutes from 6:00 pm to 8:20 pm; Saturday and Sunday early show at 5:40 pm. Kids 15 and under enter free; $10 for ages 16 and up. On discount and charity day, Saturday, October 17th, tickets are only $7, and $2 of every ticket sold will be donated to Many Mouths One Stomach in support of the Procession of Little Angels. More details and tickets available online at http://www.tucsonvalleyofthemoon.com/.
 
Light the Night in Flowing Wells
Thursday, October 22nd 5:30 -- 6:30 pm or as long as supplies last
Intersection of Roger Road and Flowing Wells
A light at night is the law, so be visible! Living Streets Alliance is bringing its Light the Night event to Flowing Wells. The bike safety campaign encourages safe, lawful cycling at night by distributing free front and rear light sets as well as free helmets for youth under 18. Light the Night bike light giveaways are made possible by Pima Association of Governments, the City of Tucson Bicycle and Pedestrian Program and Living Streets Alliance. For more information, or if you'd like to volunteer at a Light the Night event or suggest locations for future giveaways, visit www.livingstreetsalliance.org or call (520)261-8777. https://www.facebook.com/events/1504982279819966/
 
Ward 3 Neighbors Alliance Ballot Preview
Wednesday, October 21st 6:00 – 7:45 pm
Woods Memorial Library 3455 N. 1st Ave.
We have a number of County and City propositions on which we are being asked to vote this November. The League of Women Voters has prepared an excellent presentation on the County Bond Propositions, including background on their creation and a summary of the specifics on each proposition and the arguments for and against them. Of particular interest to neighborhoods is information about the Neighborhood Reinvestment Program. Representatives from Tucson Residents for Responsive Government will also cover propositions for City Charter changes and salary increases.
 
Donate Starting Over Supplies for Domestic Abuse Survivors
Friday, October 23rd 7:00 am – 6:00 pm
SE corner of Grant and Campbell
As part of the Pima County Attorney’s Office and Emerge! Paint Pima Purple campaign during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, stop by the SE corner of Grant and Campbell (next to Bookman’s) with donations to help provide domestic abuse survivors with supplies for creating a new home. Needed items include: gift cards (grocery stores, Target, Walgreen’s, etc.), NEW bedding (pillows, blankets & sheets), NEW bath & hygiene items (bath towels, deodorant, hairbrushes, tampons, etc.). All cash donations on the 23rd will be matched by the Arizona Lottery! Visit http:// emergecenter.org/ for more ways you can help put an end to domestic abuse.
 
Lend A Hand Yard Sale
Saturday - Sunday, October 24th – 25th 7:00 am – 1:00 pm
1545 E. Water St.
This annual event benefits the non-profit Lend A Hand Senior Assistance Program, a growing coalition of 13 Ward 3 neighborhoods, faith-based communities, and business partnerships. Volunteers support aging at home by providing free services to seniors, including transportation, errands, friendly visits and phone calls, light yard work and housekeeping. If you have something to donate to make a difference in a senior's life, call Jane Hoffmann, 323-9299. Donations are tax-deductible. Learn more about Lend A Hand at http://www.lahseniorhelp.org/about.html.
 
Cyclovia Tucson Free Bike Repairs
Saturday, October 24th 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Keeling Desert Park 245 E. Glenn St.
Get ready for Cyclovia the following weekend with free bike repairs, free helmets and other goodies at Keeling Desert Park.
 
Grant Road Improvement Plan Public Open House
Tuesday, October 27th 5:30 – 7:00 pm
Tucson Association of Realtors 2445 N. Tucson Blvd.
Please join the Tucson Department of Transportation (TDOT) and the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) for a Grant Road project update. Following a brief presentation at 5:45 pm, representatives from TDOT, RTA, and the Project Team will be available to discuss the overall Grant Road Improvement Plan and answer any questions you might have.
 
Cyclovia Tucson
Sunday, November 1st 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
What is Cyclovia? A Spanish word signifying the temporary closure of a network of streets to cars so that they become “open” to people! During Cyclovia anyone can enjoy 5 miles of car-free city streets for walking, biking, and all-out fun as a part of the Banner – University Medical Center “Tucson Tandem” Weekend. Enjoy the autumn midtown route featuring our very own 4th Ave and Fontana bike boulevards, lined with all sorts of free activities, entertainment, food trucks, live music, and more! Volunteers needed – check out https://www.cycloviatucson.org/ for more info and route maps!
 
Coffee with a Cop
Thursday, November 12th, 4:30 – 6:30 pm
Starbuck's, 4811 E. Grant Rd
Midtown TPD will host their last Coffee with a Cop event of the year. The one-on-one conversations at these gatherings have proven to be stimulating for both the police and community members who participate. How often do we really get the chance to have a crisis-free encounter (and a latte) like this?
 
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Community Spotlight:
 
GAIN/National Night Out 2015
Thursday, October 15th
 
Amphi 6:00 – 7:00 pm at Literacy Connects 200 E. Yavapai Rd
Feldman’s 6:00 pm at St. Luke's Home 615 E. Adams
Limberlost 6:30 – 8:00 pm at Sonora Cohousing 501 E. Roger
Vista del Monte 5:00 – 7:30 pm at McCormick Park
Ward 3 Neighbors Alliance 6:00 – 8:00 pm at St. James Methodist 3255 N Campbell
 
October is Crime Prevention month. Getting Arizonans Involved in Neighborhoods (GAIN) is an event held by police agencies statewide, in collaboration with neighborhood associations, to bring neighbors together to meet with one another and Police Commanders, discuss crime prevention, and forge relationships that strengthen our neighborhoods and communities.
 
Several of our local Ward 3 neighborhood associations and coalitions are joining TPD tonight in hosting an evening to bring neighbors together! Enjoy refreshments, activities, and more. Check out the detailed listing for each event in our Ward 3 Events section. Look forward to seeing you out there!
 
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City-Wide Events: 
 
WMG’s Homescape Harvest Tour
Saturday, October 17th 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Looking for ideas for your dream yard? Next Saturday, Watershed Management Group (WMG) will be hosting their 5th Annual Homescape Harvest Tour, where you can spend the day exploring some of Tucson’s most impressive and well-designed home landscapes including features to harvest water, energy and food. Experience rain gardens, cisterns, passive & active solar systems, greywater systems, composting toilets, shady oases, lush food gardens, wildlife habitat, and much more. Tickets are $15 (or $10 for bicycle riders, public transportation users, and those who carpool). Proceeds directly benefit WMG's Green Living Co-op program. For more information on this event and the Watershed Management Group, visit https://watershedmg.org/.
 
Pride in the Desert
Saturday, October 17th 12:00 – 8:00 pm
Kino Sports Complex 2500 E. Ajo Way
Tucson Pride's signature event features local and national live entertainment, more than 100 exhibitors, the ever-popular kids fun area, food, drinks and more at the huge grass fields of the south soccer complex at Kino Sports Complex. Sponsored by Tucson Pride, Arizona's oldest LGBTQ organization - established in 1977. General admission: $12.00. V.I.P. $50.00. Military (active and retired), Seniors (55+) and Students $8.00 (ID's required for all $8.00 admissions). Those age 12 and under free. https://www.tucsonpride.org/
 
Envision Tucson Sustainable Festival
Sunday, October 18th 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
YWCA 525 N. Bonita Ave.
Celebrate Tucson’s unique position of leadership in sustainability with the 5th annual Tucson Sustainable Festival showcasing the many features of sustainable living in Tucson and our desert Southwest! The festival will feature close to 40 local organizations, companies, vendors and demonstrators with exhibits on key sustainability issues, including solar for the home, local and regional environmental concerns, green homes, water efficiency, recycling, school gardens, co-op businesses, clean modes of transportation and much more. This family-friendly event will include hands-on activities for all ages. Delicious local food will be available for purchase. Admission and parking are free, and Living Streets Alliance will provide a Bike Valet service for those who come by bike. For more information visit http://envisiontucsonsustainable.org/ or like Envision Tucson Sustainable on Facebook.
 
Farm to Table Gourmet Picnic
Sunday, October 18th 4:00 – 7:00 pm
Mission Garden 929 W. Mission Lane
Friends of Tucson’s Birthplace (FOTB) is excited to be partnering with Native Seeds/SEARCH and some of Tucson's most innovative chefs for this Farm to Table gourmet picnic, featuring local heritage foods, local chefs, local music, and local beverages including sangria, beer and lemonade. Chefs will include Janos (Downtown Kitchen), Chris Bianco (Bianco's Pizza), Kelzi (Mother Hubbard's), Ken Harvey (Lowe's Ventana), Desert Diamond, Doug Levy (Feast), Time Market, and Hannah Seyler (Prep and Pastry). There will also be a raffle for weekend getaways! Tickets are $75 for adults and $25 for children under 12. Only 200 tickets will be sold. Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.tucsonsbirthplace.org/news-events/, in person at Native Seeds Retail Store 3061 N. Campbell Ave. (622-5561) or via check sent to FOTB, PO Box 1228, Tucson 85702 (with “picnic” in the memo line) (777-9270).
 
Do Happy 20on20 Events
Tuesday, October 20th
Various time and locations
The October 20th Do Happy Today 20on20 events will feature University of Arizona student and Do Happy Today co-creator Ivan Mendez performing at 5:00 pm at UA’s Tucson Village Farm UPick, 4210 N. Campbell Ave., plus a yoga event, 10West Cupcake break at CoLab, and a library event with free positive affirmations to patrons all day. Do Happy Today 20on20 events will be held monthly through International Day of Happiness on March 20, 2016. 
Do Happy Today activities on October 20th will be held at: 
  • Pima County Library’s Woods Memorial Branch, 3455 N. 1st Ave. The library will distribute positive affirmations to its patrons all day. 
  • CoLab, 17 E. Pennington St. As part of the Tucson region’s 10West events, Do Happy Today will offer free cupcakes, donated by Cakes for Causes, from 1:00  - 3:00 pm.
  • At UA’s Tucson Village Farm UPick, 4210 N. Campbell Ave., 4:00 – 6:00 pm. Music by Do Happy Today co-creator and University of Arizona student Ivan Mendez will be featured at 5:00 pm.
  • St. Francis in the Foothills Church, Room 30-31, 6:00 – 7:00 pm, will feature its weekly Tucson Tuesday Laughter Yoga class. Donations to participate in the class accepted.
At each of the Oct. 20th “20on20” activities, participants can pick up a 20on20 Happiness and Well-being Challenge Bookmark to use and track their “20on20” activities. Submitted bookmarks will be entered into a drawing on March 20th, 2016, at Limberlost Family Park as part of the 2nd International Day of Happiness: Tucson and Beyond event. To be eligible to receive a gift, the submitted bookmarks must show five approved “20on20” activities. Bookmarks also can be picked up at various DHT Community Partner locations posted on https://www.facebook.com/dohappytoday. The grand prize is a free night stay for two, including brunch for two, at Hacienda del Sol.
 
K-12 Education Town Hall
Wednesday, October 21st 7:00 - 8:30 pm
Catalina Magnet Town Hall 3645 E. Pima St.
Join your Southern Arizona legislators as they host a town hall meeting to discuss the current state and future of K-12 education in Arizona.
All Southern Arizonans are encouraged to attend, share stories about how education cuts have affected them, and discuss how we can work together to solve our state’s education funding crisis.
https://www.facebook.com/events/1046196515444942/
 
Introduction to Social Media Workshop
Thursday, October 22nd 7:30 – 8:30 am
Patrick K. Hardesty Center 1100 S. Alvernon Way
Good Neighbor Ventures is presenting this workshop led by Robyn Gamboa of Rockin' Robyn Consulting, a member of the American Marketing Association. Focusing on proven best practices for attracting more community members through social media and increasing "Likes" on posts, participants will review the most popular social media channels, which ones are best for you, and the Do's & Don'ts. Participants are encouraged to bring a laptop or tablet and passwords to access your social sites. Light breakfast and coffee will be provided. Participants also have the chance to win free website design services from Good Neighbor Ventures. Suggested donation $5; free to Good Neighbor Ventures CAG members. To register or get more information, contact them at 512-5740 or info@mygoodneighbor.org.
 
KIDCO presents Lights On Afterschool
Thursday, October 22nd 6:30 pm
DeMeester Outdoor Performance Center, Reid Park
The City of Tucson Parks and Recreation’s KIDCO program is taking part in the 16th annual National Lights On Afterschool event promoting the continued need for afterschool programs in the Tucson community. The theme of the night will be “Around the World.” Bring a blanket or a chair to this FREE event and relax in the cool evening air while enjoying game booths and singing and dancing performances by KIDCO and In-Betweeners Club stars. Food will be available for purchase. For more information, contact KIDCO at 791-5912.
 
Viva La Loca Food Festival
Saturday, October 31st 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Rillito Park 4502 N. 1st Ave.
As part of Banner University Medical Center’s Tucson Tandem weekend, the Viva La Local Food Festival showcases more than 25 of Tucson’s top restaurants, 60+ farmers market vendors, local beer and wine, and local music on the East Field at Rillito Park. Admission is $6, and kids under age 12 enter free. Festival goers can shop Baja Arizona’s finest farmers market and conveniently store their fresh purchases at the complimentary Veggie Valet before exploring the mecca of restaurants.
With all plates, wines, and beers priced at $5 each, the event encourages attendees to sample and share a wide variety of culinary offerings while enjoying a festive atmosphere complete with live music.
For those who choose to ride their bike to the festival, conveniently located along The Loop shared-use path, Living Streets Alliance will provide complimentary, full-service bike valet. For more information on Viva La Local Food Festival and to purchase tickets in advance, visit http://www.vivalalocalfoodfest.com/#about.
 
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Did You Know...?
 
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month       
October 1st  marked the start of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Several events are planned throughout the month, including Wear Purple Day on Oct. 23. Meanwhile, Tucson City Court just announced it has been awarded a $497,000 grant from the Department of Justice, Office of Violence Against Women. Over the next three years, the grant will continue to support the specialized Domestic Violence Court, which has provided access to advocates and services for more than 1,400 victims of domestic violence. The court will partner with the Tucson City Prosecutor’s Office, the Tucson City Public Defender’s Office, Pima County Adult Probation, Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse, and Community Outreach for the Deaf, in an effort to address the issue of domestic violence in our community.
Read the news release: https://www.tucsonaz.gov/files/media-releases/Grant_Awarded_to_Domestic_Violence_Court_2015.pdf
Tucson City Court: https://www.tucsonaz.gov/courts/tucson-city-court
Domestic Violence Awareness newsletter from Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse (Intranet only): https://intranet.tucsonaz.gov/files/cmo/Emerge_October_Educational_eNews_Campaign_-_1_of_5.pdf
 
Beat Back Buffelgrass!
As you know, invasive buffelgrass causes a number of problems for all of us that live in Southern Arizona. In our beautiful open spaces it ruins habitat by outcompeting native plants and diminishing the diverse food supply. In our neighborhoods buffelgrass is not only an urban blight but it is a severe fire hazard when dry.
Beat Back Buffelgrass Day is our largest event of the year designed to educate residents about the issues as well as how to properly identify and remove it. Which is why Tucson needs you!
In order to reach and engage the greatest number of residents, projects both large and small are needed, in all sorts of terrain, all over Southern Arizona. If you have buffelgrass near you why not set up a buffelgrass removal project? You can set the parameters for your site and the Southern Arizona Buffelgrass Coordination Center can help you prepare for it. Need help? Contact Erin Sol at outreach@buffelgrass.org. Register your project here: http://www.buffelgrass.org/content/bbbg-day-2016-site-registration-form Together, we can Beat Back Buffelgrass!
 
Tucson Police Recruiting Community Service Officers
The Tucson Police Department (TPD) is hoping to fill 25 Community Service Officer positions. The job involves driving in marked police cars and responding to calls of burglary, traffic accidents, and found property. To find out more about job opportunities at TPD, please visit TPD Recruiting at https://www.tucsonaz.gov/police/jobs
 
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