Friday, August 7, 2020
Pet of the Week
Ward 3 Neighborhood Association/Coalition Meetings
Ward 3 Events
Did You Know?
This newsletter has a number of important updates for Tucsonans. These include the latest on school reopenings, additional COVID-19 testing and treatment options, information on KIDCO and information on TPD oversight mechanisms. Finally, be sure to complete your Census 2020 questionnaire. #BeCounted #TucsonTogether
We’ve had a unique decennial census effort. As you likely know, typically if you had not already completed your Census questionnaire by approximately May 1, a Census worker would come and knock on your door to assist you to complete it.
This standard practice has always been important because low-income households, recent immigrants and communities of color are historically less willing or able to complete the questionnaire. Were it not for these additional efforts, those communities would not be counted and would, therefore, not receive federal investments in schools and other programs that would benefit them.
But the Census 2020 had a few unique factors at play that have presented additional challenges. First, Census 2020 is the first decennial census to not be run by postal mail—this year the effort sought to use phone and computer primarily. Second, COVID-19 delayed when enumerators could go out and start knocking on doors to complete remaining questionnaires. And just this week, the Census Bureau, under pressure from the White House, announced that would curtail its door-knocking efforts so as to be able to provide the Census report to the president this December.
There’s a lot of coverage
and commentary out there about this move. It raises many red flags. Sufficed to say, my main concern right now is that all Tucsonans are counted.
This change means that enumerators will only have from August 11-September 30 to respond to the 40% of the U.S. population who has yet to be counted nationwide. Here are the response rates as of August 5, 2020 in Tucson:
Those darker orange tracts are still in the 30% response rate. You can also see a number of areas that have only a 40% response rate in Tucson. There’s a solid light tan along Oracle and Stone in Ward 3 as well as census tracts in the 41-50% rates in Wards 1 and 5. If we don’t have enumerators in the field for a lengthy period, these areas are likely to be significantly undercounted and therefore underinvested in.
This last-minute change to the census time frame for enumerators to be active in the field is very troubling. That is why I sincerely ask that you make sure that each of your coworkers, neighbors and everyone in your extended family has been counted. If they’ve not completed their questionnaire, encourage them to call 844-330-2020 to be counted today.
New School Year
As the new school year gets started, I want to offer some information and give a general update. First, each school district’s approach and calendar is slightly different so I would encourage you to visit each district’s website for the latest information from them.
I think the most appropriate thing to share is an excerpt from a statement that the Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman issued this week:
“I want to make clear that Arizona is not currently in a place to resume traditional in-person instruction or hybrid learning models. Every indicator shows that there is high community spread [of COVID-19] across the state. As school leaders, we should prepare our families and teachers for the reality that it is unlikely that any school community will be able to reopen safely for traditional in-person or hybrid instruction by August 17th. Our state is simply not ready to have all our students and educators congregate in school facilities. If we want to return to in-person instruction, every Arizonan must make it their mission to slow the spread of this virus.”
I agree with her. While case growth in the state have begun to decline, we are not yet at a point to begin to have several hundred people report to school sites. In a July 28 letter to Southern Arizona superintendents the County Administrator and Health Department also recommended that schools do not reopen on August 17. In the letter the County Administrator states that a more realistic goal would be after Labor Day. You can read the letter here
On Thursday August 6, the Arizona Department of Health Services released its guidelines for reopening schools. At present, their metrics are not met for reopening.
LEA stands for Local Education Authority, which is jargon for either a district or individual school
The delay of in-person instruction is undoubtedly a strain on our families. One of the ways the City of Tucson is attempting to provide some relief is by providing WiFi to traditionally underserved areas of the city. Also, to help meet this need, TUSD, Amphi and many other districts have purchased several million dollars’ worth of laptops and/or Chromebooks for students to use at home.
Another way we at the City are trying to help is to adapt and expand KidCo. My office has worked with Amphi Public Schools to identify 3-4 new sites for the program in Ward 3. Our friends at the Parks and Recreation Department are currently developing different service delivery models that depend on the magnitude of community spread of COVID-19 and whether school districts are providing in-person, hybrid or all remote learning.
Matt Kopec in our office, through his service with Amphi, has been a big help in organizing both institutions to work together. The three school districts that operate in Ward 3 are Amphi, Flowing Wells and TUSD. You can visit each school districts website (see links below) to learn more about their specific plans for reopening.
Tucson Electric Power’s Kino to DeMoss - Petrie Transmission Line Project
TEP has identified several preliminary alternative routes for the Kino to DeMoss-Petrie (Kino-DMP) 138-kilovolt (kV) Transmission Line, which will connect the Kino Substation to the DeMoss-Petrie Substation and interconnect with the planned UA North Substation. Below is a map of the project area.
I have heard clearly from Ward 3 residents that they do not want to see residential streets used for segment routing. I will continue to share with TEP that that is the position of my office.
TEP is hosting a public meeting on the topic next week. Please join TEP on Thursday, August 13 for a live, interactive virtual open house meeting to learn more about preliminary alternative routes and ask questions about the project.
Kino to DeMoss-Petrie Virtual Open House Meeting
Thursday, August 13, 2020 | 6 p.m.
To participate, visit tep.com/kino-to-demoss-petrie for a link to the livestream
or call 1-253-215-8782 (meeting ID 845 9846 5977 #)
Governing During COVID-19
I’ve written a great deal about the need to have accessible testing available to all Tucsonans. One thing this health crisis has made very clear is that our public health infrastructure and the systems to support a whole-of-government public health response have been weakened to extreme proportions.
Just as more tests are finally available, we are seeing private labs become overwhelmed. In many cases results are taking 14 days or longer. At that rate, the test is worthless. Thankfully Pima County Health Department has partnered with a private lab to provide free tests for the public (funded by Pima County Cares Act dollars) with results within 48 hours.
Pima County has opened two sites so far. The first is at the Kino Event Center and the second opened last week at the Ellie Towne Center. Hopefully you recall that I mentioned that second site briefly last week. It is a partnership with ASU and is the first saliva testing for COVID-19 available. You can learn more about how to sign up to be tested at either site here
The City of Tucson is also working to bring an additional site on-board on the eastside of the city at the Udall Recreation Center. This site will be similar to the existing sites at the Kino Event Center and at Ellie Towne Health Clinic. City staff are working closely with County staff to set-up the site including the initial client intake rooms and to adapt the site for safe use as a testing site. I anticipate that the first date for this site to begin testing of the public is Saturday, August 8, 2020. This site will be funded by the City of Tucson’s Federal Cares Act dollars that Mayor & Council allocated to further expand our public health infrastructure.
This additional capacity, with ability to provide results within 48 hours, is part of the five-prongs we must have in place to keep Tucsonans safe and healthy through this pandemic. Testing, isolation (while awaiting results), tracing (once you have a positive test), and the all-important mundane public health practices (mask wearing, socially distancing, washing hands, etc.) are all topics I’ve written repeatedly about since March. The fifth prong is effective treatment.
Treatment - Convalescent Plasma
Vice Mayor Cunningham has been advocating that the City of Tucson help build up the local supply of convalescent plasma to treat Tucsonans who are hospitalized with COVID-19. If you’ve been following the news reports and studies on this treatment, you know that this could be a very smart way to reduce deaths for Tucsonans suffering with COVID-19.
Convalescent plasma is the liquid part of blood. Patients who have recovered from COVID-19 hold antibodies in the blood that can fight against the virus. While there is much that we do not yet know about how long those antibodies remain, studies have shown that by providing convalescent plasma transfusions, those antibodies can help individuals to fight the infection. While we wait to develop additional treatments and a vaccine, convalescent plasma can be an effective avenue for the City of Tucson to invest in life-saving options for Tucsonans. If you are interested in learning more, I recommend listening to this episode of RadioLab
(be sure to also catch the second story at around 17:45).
Mayor and Council are investing in the Red Cross to build a convalescent plasma bank in Tucson. We are supporting our local Red Cross to purchase two ALYX machines for convalescent plasma collection. Once the machines are up and running, expect to hear more about how residents who have recovered can donate to help save a life.
Community Safety and TPD
As regular readers are aware, the Mayor and Council are developing a community safety pilot program. Part of this effort is an overhaul of our existing oversight processes (internal and external) and community oversight bodies. Related to this, I think it is important that residents are able to easily find and have faith that if they make a complaint, about an interaction they had with TPD, that it will be seriously reviewed and that appropriate actions will be taken.
To that end, I want to first share the existing process to file a complaint and request that, to the degree Ward 3 residents are comfortable doing so, that you copy my office with those complaints. Here’s that process:
COMPLAINTS INVOLVING THE TUCSON POLICE DEPARTMENT
The service you received
The way you or someone else was treated
Here are your options for filing a complaint with TPD:
❶ File your complaint on-line at https://www.tucsonaz.gov/police/complaints
❷ File your complaint over the phone. Call (520)589-8642 during business
hours or leave a message after hours at (520)791-4426
❸ Send a letter to Tucson Police Department Office of Professional Standards,
270 S. Stone, Tucson AZ 85701
❹ Walk-in complaints are discouraged during the COVID-19 complaint, but if
you consider this option essential, come to TPD Headquarters at 270 S. Stone
You want to file your complaint through the Independent Police Auditor (IPA).
The IPA may choose to attend officer and witness interviews. If the auditor has concerns with the outcome of the complaint, he/she may request further investigation or involve the Community Police Advisory Review Board (CPARB) in reviewing the case.
What happens when a complaint is filed with the Office of Professional Standards?
Your complaint will be assigned a complaint number (you will receive an email or letter acknowledging the receipt of your complaint with this number).
Your complaint will be thoroughly investigated. This may include interviews of you and other witnesses, examination of body-worn camera and/or other video, collection and review of other evidence, and interview(s) of the department member(s).
You will receive an update on the status of your complaint within 60 days—usually sooner. Barring unusual circumstances, most complaint investigations are completed within 120 days.
Mayor and Council created these additional avenues for filing complaints to ensure effective oversight. Over the next year and beyond we intend to strengthen these approaches. One critical aspect of this, as I see it, will require that residents understand how to file complaints and are empowered to do so and that appropriate actions are taken and known by both the complainant and other member so the community. It will be hard for us to fully tests its effectiveness if residents are not filing complaints.
For that reason, I hope you will share this information with your neighbors. When you hear about specific incidents or concerns, please share this information and encourage your neighbors to contact their ward office.
As always, please take care of yourself and others.
- Paul Durham
Pet of the Week
Ru & Ramone
Are you looking for a companion to keep you company during social distancing? Here is a duet that you can adopt even if you don’t have a backyard or much space. Ru is the grey one and Ramone is the black one. They are a bonded pair and will be adopted together. If you are interested in these or any other animal at the Humane Society of Southern Arizona contact the friendly staff and volunteers to make an appointment.
To protect staff, volunteers and visitors from COVID-19, hours and operations of the Humane Society of Southern Arizona
have been modified. Adoptions can be made by appointment by calling 520-327-6088.
Ward 3 Neighborhood Association/Coalition Meetings
Keeling Desert Park Cleanup
Keeling Desert Park
245 E Glenn St
Keeling residents join to clean up the Keeling Desert Park. As time permits, residents will then move to clean up the crossings at Keeling Elementary School.
Click on the link below to join the meeting.
You can also call in by phone by dialing 1-253-215-8782
and entering the meeting ID: 867 1821 8604
Ward 3 Events
8 am-1 pm
Sacred Heart Church
601 E Ft Lowell Rd
Free Covid19 testing is being offered at Sacred Heart Church. Testing is by appointment only. To make an appointment call the Sacred Heart office at 520-888-1530. There will be the opportunity for walk-ins if there is time and appointment slots that remain open.
Literacy Connects Presents the Best of Stories that Soar
Enjoy a film fest of some of the year's favorite stories re-imagined for the screen. Celebrate and see what next year's shows will look like. Catch a new film daily through August 15 by going to their website
Community Meetings: Renewal & Expansion of the Central Business District
The City of Tucson will host two virtual community meetings to provide information regarding the proposed renewal and expansion of the Central Business District (CBD). Advance registration is required. To register, click the links below:
Did You Know?
Grocery Shopping for Seniors
To better address community needs during the COVID-19 pandemic, Pima Council On Aging is offering grocery shopping services to qualifying older adults (60+) in Pima County. Older adults, but especially those with preexisting conditions, are encouraged to physically distance as much as possible. This includes cutting down on trips to the grocery store. If you or someone you know is in need of this service, please refer them to the PCOA Helpline at (520) 790-7262 to assess if you qualify to receive grocery shopping services and if you have any other needs that PCOA might be able to help with.
SCALE UP Workshop Series for Businesses and Nonprofits
Do you or your neighbors work at or own a local business or nonprofit that is trying to rebuild with a focus on sustainability and resiliency, check out SCALE UP!
SCALE UP (Sustainable Communities Accessing Lending and Expertise Upon Performance) is a seven-week virtual sustainability workshop series for cohorts of 10-15 local businesses and nonprofits, starting on August 11, 2020. It is the perfect opportunity for businesses and nonprofits who have a sustainability project in mind (solar, rainwater harvesting, building retrofit, composting, etc.) and want to use this time to connect to local expertise, a low-to-no-interest green revolving fund, and other green businesses and nonprofits in the community to make their vision a reality.
to learn more and apply, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
if you would like to set up a call to see if the program is a good fit! Applications for the first cohort are due by August 10, and there are future cohorts to join as well. Please note that there are a limited number of scholarships available to nonprofits on a case by case basis.
Small Business and Nonprofit Continuity Grant Applications Through August 28
The We Are One | Somos Uno Resiliency Fund grant program will distribute $2 million to small businesses and $500,000 to nonprofits. The grant program will be accepting applications until August 28.
As part of the City of Tucson’s CARES Act funds, the Mayor and Tucson City Council approved $2.5 million for small businesses and nonprofits. Under the We Are One | Somos Uno Resiliency Fund, the grant program will distribute $2 million to small businesses and $500,000 to nonprofits.
In partnership with the YWCA of Southern Arizona (YWCA) and the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona (CFSA), the grant program has started accepting applications. The YWCA’s Women’s Business Center will administer the small business continuity grants, up to $10,000.
Applications will be available in English and Spanish, and grants will be awarded within 10 business days of submission. Nonprofit continuity grants, up to $20,000, will be administered through the CFSA.
Nonprofits in the City of Tucson and the City of South Tucson are eligible to apply.
Follow the links below through August 28 for more information.
Pima County Health Department is offering free COVID-19 saliva testing at Ellie Towne Center
The testing, which requires pre-registration, is offered by Arizona State University in partnership with the Arizona Department of Health Services. ADHS has partnered with Arizona State University
to provide free saliva diagnostic testing for COVID-19 in high-need underserved communities around the state.
Beginning Wednesday, August 5, saliva testing will be offered every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday from 7 am to 2 pm at Ellie Towne Center, 1660 W Ruthrauff Rd.
Click the link to "Schedule my test"
Click the “Pre-register” button for the Ellie Towne Community Center
Use Agency code: FvCmy1fGe
Create a username (email address) and password.
Staff located at the Ellie Towne Center will provide assistance for anyone who has trouble registering ahead of time.
Other important reminders:
You must bring a photo ID and the QR code shown in your confirmation email.
Make sure you are well hydrated at least 30 minutes ahead of your appointment time.
At 30 minutes prior to your appointment, rinse your mouth with plain water for 20-30 seconds and then spit out the water.
Please do not eat, drink (even water), smoke, vape, or chew gum for at least 30 minutes prior to your appointment.
When you arrive at the site, wear a protective face covering - either cloth or surgical mask
Testing will continue until it is no longer needed to control the pandemic.
The program is funded by the County’s federal CARES Act grant.
University of Arizona Offers COVID-19 Antibody Tests to Essential and Front Line Workers
The University of Arizona is analyzing the blood samples of hundreds of thousands of Arizonans statewide to determine who has developed antibodies against the virus that causes COVID-19. The State of Arizona is providing $3.5 million for the testing, which is available at more than two dozen locations across the state.
The State of Arizona recently expanded eligibility for who can receive this free test. In addition to healthcare workers and first responders, other employees who may be at high risk for exposure are now eligible. A complete list of these employee categories can be found at on the website
For more information and to register for a test, please visit this website
Southern Arizona Community Food Bank Needs You
Since March 24th, members of the National Guard have been stationed here to help pack food and to help with distribution. Since the Guard orders are beginning to expire, the Food Bank urgently needs volunteers to assist in distribution. Know that distribution is outdoors and they drop pallets 6 feet apart to comply with social distancing.
The Food Bank is seeking groups to sign up to volunteer from 6:30am-10:30am at Kino Sports Complex to help distribute food to their clients. The dates available at this time are August 11,13, 18, 25 and 27.
It can get hot! Since produce and dairy boxes are being distributed, they require the ability to lift 25-50lbs. Snacks and water are provided.
That being said, the reward is great. The ‘thank yous’ from clients are the heartwarming highlights of the day.
All precautions necessary to fulfill this task will be taken, including temperature checks and wearing masks.
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.
Follow us on Twitter: @CMPaul_Durham