Paul's Note: Friday, April 26th, 2019

Paul’s Note
Friday, April 26th, 2019
 
Paul’s Note
Pet of the Week
Ward 3 Events
Ward 3 Neighborhood Association/Coalition Meetings
City-Wide Events
Did You Know?
 
Paul’s Note
 
Asylum Seekers in Tucson
 
Over the last month, our southern border has seen a large influx of migrants seeking asylum from their home countries in the Northern Triangle of Central America, including El Salvador, Nicaragua and especially Guatemala. These migrants are processed by immigration authorities and released while their asylum cases are pending. In the meantime these folks, including many, many children are here legally awaiting their asylum hearing.
 
Several communities near the border, including Tucson, are seeing large numbers of migrants released by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) with no resources or ways to connect with family who can care for them in their cities after CBP has processed them. The asylum seekers are almost always en route to join with family or friends already in the United States but they arrive in Tucson with only the clothes on their backs and little ability to navigate this new place. Local shelters take in these folks temporarily for 1-3 days while they make contact with their family, purchase bus tickets paid for by the family and move on to their final destination. This humane approach from local non-profits keeps migrants moving toward their destination, where they have a roof and a bed waiting for them, and keeps asylum seekers from sleeping on Tucson’s streets, especially as the weather heats up.
 
In my role as your representative in local government, my priority is to ensure that folks passing through Tucson are safe, welcomed and do not become a public health crisis if groups of migrants are dropped into unfamiliar circumstances with no food or water by immigration authorities. Sheltering the migrants and assisting them on their journeys isn’t just the moral thing to do, it’s also the most effective thing to do.
 
The recent influx of migrants has strained the existing non-profit resources to their breaking point. As an emergency measure, the City of Tucson opened up the El Pueblo Center to temporarily house migrants. With donated beds from the Red Cross, City of Tucson Parks and Rec staff opened their doors to families over Easter weekend. Food was even donated by the families of staff members working overtime to help translate and assist the migrants to get to the Greyhound station and continue their journeys. We did this with existing staff and resources, who stepped up to meet a tremendous need.
 
This is an incredibly complicated issue and no one knows exactly how long the increase in asylum seekers will last. At this week’s council meeting, we discussed the situation. Tremendous credit goes to my colleague Council Member Steve Kozachik, who’s worked hand-in-hand with Catholic Community Services at the Benedictine Monastery shelter, and thanks to developer Russ Rulney for opening up the Benedictine Monastery for this purpose. CM Kozachik and Ward 6 staff have been working on this issue for months. He, Mayor Rothschild, Chief Magnus and other city officials have been meeting with Border Patrol, TPD, and a constellation of non-profits to work towards a more sustainable solution. If you’d like to be part of the solution, you can find more information about Catholic Community Services’ work at https://www.ccs-soaz.org/donate/aid-to-migrant-women-and-children.
 
Texting While Driving Ban
 
This week, Governor Ducey took the long-overdue step of signing a bill into law to ban texting while driving. The new legislation will also ban holding your phone during a phone call, surfing the web, snapchatting and other uses of your phone. It does permit use of Bluetooth and other hands-free methods of communicating and, unlike Tucson’s ordinance, you will be able to handle your phone at a red light.
 
Starting in 2021, the state’s law will supersede our local ordinance. Until then, TPD can still ticket you for handling your phone at a red light.
 

 
This graphic explains the details of Arizona’s new hands-free driving law.
 
This is a big win for the safety for everyone who uses the roads, including cyclists and pedestrians. Special thanks are in order to former Senator Steve Farley, who first introduced a bill banning texting while driving in 2007 and remains a tireless advocate for the safety of everyone on the roads.
 
Perhaps most importantly, however, we have to thank the family of Officer Clayton Townsend and other individuals who have been injured or killed by distracted drivers. Officer Townsend was a Salt River tribal police officer who was making a routine traffic stop when he was struck and killed by a driver who was texting earlier this year. This completely avoidable tragedy showed the state Legislature what we in Tucson already knew: texting while driving is dangerous and life-threatening. Many lives will be saved throughout Arizona as a result of this law.
 
Budget Discussions Continue
 
This week, we were presented with the City Manager’s budget recommendations for fiscal year 2020, running from July 1st of this year to June 30th of 2020. The recommendation reflects months of input from members of the Council, city departments trying to meet the needs of the public and the good work of the City of Tucson finance staff budgeting for an organization of over 4,000 employees with a combined $1.5 billion budget.
 
One of the most important numbers in the budget is the “Business Privilege Tax”- a fancy way to describe our city sales tax. This includes the tax collected at restaurants, retail stores and construction projects, among others. Projected business privilege taxes are up 4.1% over what we budgeted, to $220 million. This is the outcome of more good jobs leading to more spending in our community, new development throughout town and a stronger local economy than we’ve seen in years.
 
As anyone who reads this newsletter knows, that doesn’t mean Tucson is without problems. But it does mean that we continue to grow our city in a way that we will work to provide greater service to our citizens.
 
Some other highlights from the proposed budget:
  • Funding for a new class of firefighters to ensure our world-class fire department continues to provide excellent service
  • Addition of 20 new TPD officers as well as 10 non-commissioned community service officers (CSO’s) to raise our authorized sworn staffing level to 887
  • An increase of the TDOT pavement maintenance budget by $800,000, which along with the voter-approved Prop 101 will continue to fund much-needed road maintenance and improvements
  • Parks and Recs will reopen three previously closed facilities, including Oury Pool and upgrade fitness equipment in eight recreation centers.
These are only a handful of the great projects our city is undertaking to make Tucson a better place to live, work and thrive. The final budget won’t be formally adopted until the second council meeting in May, so as always I welcome feedback on what your priorities are for Tucson.
 
Integrated Weed Management (IWM)
 
At the first council meeting in September, I joined with Council Member Kozachik in requesting a study session agenda item on organic-first integrated weed management (IWM), and the council discussed the subject.  
 
This week the Mayor and Council discussed how the City addresses the issue of landscaping and weeds on city-owned property. The City, with Parks and Recreation in the lead, along with the Landscape Advisory Committee (LAC), Tucson Clean and Beautiful (TCB) and stakeholders began a conversation on how to coordinate efforts and identify a process for establishing an IWM pilot program.
 
The city of Irvine, California, has been a leader in IWM and has been generously sharing its expertise with other U.S. cities interested in learning more about the subject. Brent Dennis, Parks and Recreation Director, recently traveled to Irvine to spend time with the city staff there.  
 

 
City staff has come up with plan to prioritize the least environmentally harmful methods of weed control first, which includes weeding and even grazing with sheep or goats. Then, following the inverted pyramid above, organic herbicides would be used, and only, when no viable alternative is available, would chemical herbicides be used.  
 
Parks and Recreation will take the lead coordinating this program with the Tucson Water, Environmental Services, Transportation and Housing and Community Development departments.
 
Irvine has found that initial costs of an organic first approach can be about 25% higher. But after about three years, water use is reduced, desirable plants and the soil are healthier, and at least equally importantly, the residents of Tucson are much less exposed to potentially harmful chemicals.
 
I am proud that Tucson will be leader in the State of Arizona in organic-first IWM. I would like to thank all of the stakeholders who have worked on this project including the LAC, TCB and Toxin Free Pima County., and thank you to Brent Dennis for his leadership on this issue.
 
Earth Day (and Every Day)
 
 

 
Mayor Rothschild and Carlos De La Torre present new solar arrays at Reid Park.
 
In celebration of Earth Day, I joined Environmental Services director, Carlos De La Torre, and Mayor Rothschild on Monday morning at Reid Park. Behind Director De La Torre you can see the new solar panels in the Reid Park parking lot near the Rose Garden. This array is one of five at Reid and Randolph Parks. Collectively these sites will generate 48.5 million kilowatt hours of electricity over 20 years. The energy generated at these four sites will save the City approximately $2.6 million dollars through avoided utility costs (projected to increase by 2% annually). More broadly, because the water used by solar energy is significantly less, these four arrays will save 15 million gallons of water over their lifetimes.
 
The Reid Park arrays are just some of the City of Tucson sites where we have or are installing solar. The City of Tucson currently has over 9 Megawatts (MW) of solar installed (10,000 solar panels) across 27 City facilities. That’s approximately 14% of the City’s energy that is generated by solar power.
 
In addition to the 10,000 solar panels currently at City facilities, I encouraged my colleagues on the Council to aggressively produce additional solar generation. Our Energy Office began installing these sites (including the five at Reid and Randolph Parks) a few months ago and during the next 2 years we will install and additional 15 MW of solar across 46 sites. Once all the solar installations are complete, the City of Tucson will generate nearly 25% of the electricity it produces from solar!
 
I have been pushing for this since I first took office and I want to thank my colleagues on Council, City leadership and the energy team for working in unison to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, continuing to increase energy efficiency, both of which contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
 
The City of Tucson Energy Office, under the leadership of Michael Catanzaro, is implementing this effort as well as investigating new opportunities and implementing other efforts to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Some of those include:
  • The Energy Office is beginning to benchmark our buildings and ensure that the city is operating as efficiently as possible and investing in energy savings projects in facilities where we can find opportunities for savings.
  • At the request of my office, the City of Tucson is in the initial stages of the development of an Energy Fund, e.g., a mechanism for capturing and reinvesting savings from energy efficiency projects.
  • Tucson Water and the Energy Office are working to identify and implement a variety of efficiency projects to address the water-energy nexus and reduce consumption of both water and energy in City operations.
  • The Energy Office is developing a Landfill Gas to Renewable Energy project at Los Reales Landfill.
  • The Energy Office, my office and other City staff continue efforts to electrify our fleet and install additional charging stations throughout the City.
I’m glad that the City of Tucson is moving quickly to increase the amount of solar energy we are using to fuel our operations. I also know that more is needed. That is why I am advocating for the creation of a City of Tucson Energy Fund that can provide investment dollars for us to continue to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels as well as achieve greater cost savings in the long term.
 
-  Paul D.
 
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Pet of the Week
 
Marley
 

 
Meet Marley. He is a 2-year-old mixed breed at the Humane Society of Southern Arizona. He is up to date on shots, housetrained and great with kids. Marley is a friendly guy looking for his forever home, and this is your opportunity to give it to him.
 
The adoption process begins with a visit to the HSSA facility at 635 W. Roger Rd. Their adoption counselors will be happy to answer your questions and give you background information on Marley or any other animal that interests you. All members of your household (including other current household dogs, if possible) should be present to make sure everyone gets along.
 
You can also adopt a pet at HSSA PAWSH locations at Park Place Mall, La Encantada or mobile adoption sites.
 
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Ward 3 Events
 
45th annual Rodders Day Car Show
Saturday
April 27th
9 am-3 pm
Pima Community College Downtown Campus
1255 N Stone Ave
Event located in West parking lot
 

 
Rodders Day is presented by the Tucson Street Rod Association at PCC's downtown campus west parking lot and will include show vendors, food vendors, drawings, basket raffles, door prizes, a DJ and more. 
 
Pima Community College will be offering tours of its Applied Technology programs, including Automotive, CNC Machining, Welding, Mechatronics, and others at 9 am, 11 am and noon. Tucson's Rodders Days car show is the oldest car show in Southern Arizona.
 
Tucson Audubon Society Hosts Wednesday Field Trips at Sweetwater Wetlands
 
 Every Wednesday, the Tucson Audubon Society hosts free field trips at Sweetwater Wetlands, 2511 W Sweetwater Dr. Birders of all experience levels are welcome to see the variety of species that frequent the facility. Field trips begin at 6 am. Bring binoculars and a camera to view the exciting species in the area. Make sure to bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and proper clothing for outdoors.
 
Sweetwater Wetlands has free parking, as well as a water fountain and restroom. For more information, contact Luke Safford at (520) 576-6044 or saffordluke@gmail.com.
Tucson Audubon Society: http://bit.ly/2GCIQSw
Sweetwater Wetlands: http://bit.ly/2zGvTVQ
 
Balboa Heights Outdoor Movie Night
Friday
May 3rd
6-9 pm
Balboa Heights Park
2536 N Castro Ave
 

 
12th Annual Howling for the Hounds
Saturday
May 11th
11 am-4 pm
Hydraulic Repair & Supply
119 W Alturas St
 

 
Join the Humane Society of Southern Arizona for the 12th Annual Howling for the Hounds fundraiser, presented by Wolves MC Tucson! This year's biker event will be held at Hydraulic Solutions.
 
100% of the proceeds benefit HSSA and the homeless pets in their care. The event is attended by Tucson's best bikers with the biggest hearts! Stop by for your chance to WIN a 50" Smart TV, enjoy delicious food by Red Desert BBQ & Catering, a 50/50 raffle, enjoy live music and bid in a live auction!
 
The first 100 people through the gate will receive a FREE event shirt. Entry is only $20 and includes food.
 
Interested in becoming a sponsor? Contact a Wolves representative at: wolvesmctucson@gmail.com
 
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Ward 3 Neighborhood Association/Coalition Meetings:
 
Dodge Flower Semiannual NA Meeting
Saturday
April 27th
2-3 pm
Catalina Heights Church
2741 N Dodge
 
Old Pascua
Tuesday
April 30th
6-7 pm
785 W Sahuaro
 
Division Advisory Committee (DAC)
Wednesday
May 1st
6-7:30 pm
Westside Station
1310 W Miracle Mile
 
Join the Westside Commanders and learn about any new developments with the Tucson Police Department and your Westside Division. This is the time to share your ideas, ask questions and voice your concerns. We encourage business representatives, neighborhood leaders and anyone who wants to become more involved in their community to attend.
 
Sugar Hill
Wednesday
May 1st
6-7:30 pm
Mansfield Park
SE Ramada by Community Garden
2160 N 6th Ave
 
Cabrini
Thursday
May 2nd
6-7 pm
Vineyard City Church
3150 E Fort Lowell Rd
 
El Cortez
Thursday
May 2nd
6:15-7:15 pm
Donna Liggins Center
2160 N 6th Ave
 
Feldman’s
Thursday
May 2nd
7-8 pm
St. Luke’s
615 E Adams St
 
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City-Wide Events:
 
Agave Heritage Festival
April 23rd-May 5th
 
The Agave Heritage Festival features 26 events, including varied talks, demonstrations, tours, tastings, dinners and exhibits at several venues. Presentations and demonstrations -- which take place at the Hotel Congress, Exo Bar, Fox Theater, Loft Cinema, Maynards Market & Kitchen, Mission Garden, Tohono Chul, Tumamoc Hill and other places -- will be led by distinguished experts involved in all aspects of study and production related to this vital Southwestern plant.
 

 
Click here to view the calendar and to view all of the events that are a part of the festival.
 
Tucson Poetry Festival
April 25th-28th
 

 
The Tucson Poetry Festival is an annual event that brings poets to Tucson for readings, writing workshops, and panel discussions. Check out their website at http://www.tucsonpoetryfestival.org/ for details about events and venues.
 
Lend A Hand Yard Sale
 
 
Friday & Saturday
April 26th & 27th
7 am-1 pm
Benedictine Monastery
800 N Country Club Rd
 
Lend A Hand is a Neighbors Care Alliance program under Pima Council on Aging that is located in Ward 3. Their goal is to help seniors and stay in their homes by providing free services to seniors in 12 central neighborhoods.  Volunteers provide all of the Lend A Hand services!
 
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Did You Know...?
 
Food for Fines
 

 
You still have time to lower your library fines! 
 
Food for Fines is still underway. For each non-perishable food item you donate, we will waive $1 in overdue fines.
 
But hurry... Food for Fines ends on April 30!
 
Simply visit your local Pima County Public Library to reduce your overdue fines and help out those in need.
 
All donations are being sent to the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona.
 
Some restrictions apply. Visit our website for more information and to find a list of most needed food items and those that cannot be accepted.
 
Prepare for the Heat and Protect Your Pets (Video)
 

 
With temperatures in Tucson expected to hit the mid-to-upper 90s for the next few days, Pima Animal Care Center (PACC) offers some important tips on keeping your pets safe when the heat moves in. Watch the video linked below to learn more about how to take care of your pets as we approach the summer weather season.
Watch City of Tucson Pet Connection video: http://bit.ly/2Gus8Xd
National Weather Service 7-Day forecast for Tucson: http://bit.ly/2PreSXu
 
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Council Member Paul Durham is on Social Media!
 
Ward 3 has Facebook and Twitter pages so you can keep up with our Council Member and stay in touch with what's happening in Tucson and around the Ward.
 
Please "Like" us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMPaulDurham/
Please "Follow" us on Twitter: @CMPaul_Durham
 
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